Posts Tagged ‘espionage’

The KBG Groomed Trump for 40 Years: Former Russian Spy

January 29, 2021

Donald Trump was cultivated as a Russian asset over 40 years, says former KGB spy Yuri Shvets:

“For the KGB, it was a charm offensive. They had collected a lot of information on his personality so they knew who he was personally. The feeling was that he was extremely vulnerable intellectually, and psychologically, and he was prone to flattery.

This is what they exploited. They played the game as if they were immensely impressed by his personality and believed this is the guy who should be the president of the United States one day: it is people like him who could change the world. They fed him these so-called active measures soundbites and it happened. So it was a big achievement for the KGB active measures at the time.”

— “‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy,” David Smith, The Guardian

More:

“Piling up incriminating information about Trump’s Russian connections,” John Sipher, Washington Post

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Justice Department Stopped FBI From Examining Trump’s Russia Ties

August 31, 2020

Justice Department Stopped FBI From Examining Trump's Russia Ties

“The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump’s decades-long personal and business ties to Russia.”

” … law enforcement officials never fully investigated Mr. Trump’s own relationship with Russia, even though some career F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators thought his ties posed such a national security threat that they took the extraordinary step of opening an inquiry into them. Within days, the former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere.”

— “Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump’s Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say,” Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

Related:

“More evidence of Trump’s subservience to Putin — and we still don’t know why,: Max Boot, Washington Post

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Senate Report Details Links Between Trump Campaign and Russia

August 20, 2020

Senate Report Details Links Between Trump Campaign and Russia

The Republican-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has released the fifth and final volume of its report on foreign interference in the 2016 election, detailing Russia’s support of the 2016 Trump campaign, and how the Kremlin took advantage of the Trump transition team’s inexperience to gain access to sensitive information, endangering U.S. security.

“… the report showed extensive evidence of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and people tied to the Kremlin — including a longstanding associate of the onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, whom the report identified as a ‘Russian intelligence officer.

The Senate report was the first time the government has identified Mr. Kilimnik as an intelligence officer — Mr. Mueller’s report had labeled him as someone with ties to Russian intelligence. Most of the details about his intelligence background were blacked out in the Senate report.”

— “G.O.P.-Led Senate Panel Details Ties Between 2016 Trump Campaign and Russia,” Mark Mazzetti, New York Times

The bipartisan report also details Russian support of the Trump Campaign through Putin-ordered hacking of DNC computers and data releases thorugh Wikileaks, and possible compromising information the Russians may have on Mr. Trump and women he may have … interacted with during Moscow trips.

Meanwhile, U.S. intellience agencies report that Russia is trying to help Mr. Trump win re-election in 2020.

(more…)

When German Spies Blew Up New Jersey

January 17, 2020

Before the U.S. entered World War I, German spies blew up the munitions works on Black Tom Island in New York Harbor. A Vox video.

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GOP-Boosting NRA Member Maria Butina Deported to Siberia

October 28, 2019

GOP-Boosting NRA Member Maria Butina Deported to Siberia

After spending 15 months at Florida’a least-luxurious resort, Trump Doral Tallahassee Federal Correctional Institution, the NRA Lifetime Member, unregistered Russian foreign agent, AU grad student, and GOP sexy-time associate Maria Butina was deported to Russia, landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport en route to her hometown, Siberia’s Barnaul. At this time we cannot confirm the deportation and Siberian exile of Butina’s US pals, who include GOP operative Paul Erickson, Trump campaign aide J.D. Gordon, NRA officials David Keene and Peter Brownell, and Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne.

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Deep State Damage: Maria Butina Brings Down Overstock CEO

August 23, 2019

Deep State Damage: Maria Butina Brings Down Overstock CEO

After babbling about the “Deep State” and “Men In Black” last week, Overstock. com CEO Patrick Byrne admitted to a 3-year affair with jailed Russian agent Maria Butina and resigned. The company’s depressed stock price rose 15 percent in response.

More:

“Patrick Byrne’s Overstock Exit Came After Admission He Romanced Russian,” Jeran Wittenstein, Bloomberg

“Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigns after saying he aided in ‘deep state’ Russia investigation,” Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post

“Overstock investors cheer after ‘too controversial’ CEO Patrick Byrne resigns,” Tomi Kilgore, MarketWatch

“Overstock CEO Resigns to Focus on Career as Deep State Intelligence Asset, One Assumes,”
Bryan Menegus, Gizmodo

“Overstock Ex-CEO’s Bonkers Rant to Fox Business: I’m Part of ‘Deep State,’” Justin Baragona, Daily Beast

Update:

“Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne Claims Maria Butina Offered to Arrange One-on-One for Him With Putin,” Audrey McNamara, Daily Beast

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, Overstocked, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Maria Butina Sentenced to Prison

April 26, 2019

Maria Butina Sentenced to Prison

On  Friday, Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan sentenced admitted Russian spy Maria Butina to 18 months in prison. “I am deeply embarrassed,” said Ms. Butina.

The former American University grad student pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy against the United States, acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation, and seeking to influence U.S. conservative politicians through the National Rifle Association.It’s a salacious spy story of sex, guns, money, and the National Prayer Breakfast, and it’s packed with oligarchsRepublicanslobbyistsTreasury officials and Kremlin connections, a saga spanning the globe from Siberia to South Dakota. Her older American lover, Paul Erickson, a GOP fundraiser and NRA supporter, is charged with fraud and money laundering in a separate case.

Ms. Butina, deemed a flight risk, has been imprisoned since her indictment in July. We hope she will be able to continue with her Tai Chi in prison.

More:

“Maria Butina, Russian who conspired to infiltrate conservative U.S. political groups, sentenced to 18 months,” Spencer S. Hsu and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

“Russian Agent Maria Butina Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison: ‘I Destroyed My Own Life,’” Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast

“Maria Butina is not a Russian spy, but a ‘spotter’: DOJ revives intrigue over gun rights activist,” Kristine Phillips, USA Today

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Spies In Disguise

February 18, 2019

Jonna Mendez, former chief of disguise at the CIA, explains how spies disguise. A Wired video.

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GOP: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

December 19, 2018

GOP: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Former American University grad student Maria Butina pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy against the United States, acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation, and seeking to influence U.S. conservative politicians through the National Rifle Association. It’s a salacious spy story of sex, guns, money, and the National Prayer Breakfast, and it’s packed with oligarchs, Republicans, lobbyists, Treasury officials and Kremlin connections, a saga spanning the globe from Siberia to South Dakota.

Ms. Butina, deemed a flight risk, has been imprisoned since her indictment in July. We hope she’s been able to continue with her Tai Chi in jail. There are indications she will be testifying before a federal grand jury sometime soon.

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Report: Sessions Talked Policy With Russian Diplomat

July 25, 2017

Report: Sessions Talked About Campaign With Russian Diplomat

The Russian ambassador to the U.S. told his superiors that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to Mr. Session’s public assertions and sworn testimony, reports the Washington Post:

“Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he had no recollection of an April encounter — has provided ‘misleading’ statements that are ‘contradicted by other evidence.’ A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had ‘substantive’ discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Sessions has said repeatedly that he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials and that it was only in his capacity as a U.S. senator that he met with Kislyak.

‘I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,’ Sessions said in March when he announced that he would recuse himself from matters relating to the FBI probe of Russian interference in the election and any connections to the Trump campaign.”

— “Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show,” Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, Washington Post

President Trump is hinting that he will fire Mr. Sessions and attacking him, but not for campaign collusion or for lying about it. Mr. Trump is upset that Mr. Sessions recused himself on the Russia investigation and isn’t persecuting his former political opponent, like they do in, say, Russia.

More:

“Sessions Discussed Campaign Matters With Russian Ambassador,” Aria Bendix and Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

“Sessions hires his own lawyer,” Rebecca Savransky, The Hill

Related:

“Ex-Bush ethics lawyer: Trump calling for Clinton to be prosecuted is an ‘impeachable offense,'” Aida Chavez, The Hill

“Russian envoy, at heart of U.S. investigations, ends tenure in Washington,” David Shepardson, Reuters

“Kislyak Leaves His Post With Russiagate in His Wake,” Griffin Connolly, Roll Call

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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