Posts Tagged ‘espionage’

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

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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

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Never Fear, Jared’s Here

April 3, 2017

President Trump, has appointed son-in-law Jared Kushner to run his new Office of American Innovation. And what could be more innovative than giving your daughter’s husband a job? The goal of this new biz exec “SWAT team” is to run the federal government “like a great American company.” Would that be like the four companies Donald Trump bankrupted, or the one that landed Jared Kushner’s daddy in prison?

Trump in-law Kushner may have little time to spearhead SWAT raids. He’ll be talking to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his meeting with Sergey Gorkov, head of the Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB), sanctioned by the U.S.in 2014 after Russia seized the Ukraine. The meeting was in December, while Mr. Kushner still ran the family business, the multibillion-dollar Kushner Companies. He still owns some Kushner Company assets.

The Intelligence Committee inquiry isn’t a fishing expedition. Last year a New York VEB employee, Evgeny Buryakov, admitted he was actually a Russian SVR spy. Mr. Buryakov is serving two and a half years in a US prison.

More:

“America’s government can’t be run like a business. That’s a feature, not a bug.” Jeff Spross, The Week

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Pentagon Won’t Punish ‘Pillow-Talk’ Petraeus

February 4, 2016

Pentagon Won’t Punish 'Pillow-Talk' Petraeus
David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director after revelations he’d shared classified information with his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell, won’t be punished any further by the Pentagon, reported the Washington Post. General Petraeus pleaded guilty to a single count of unauthorized use of classified material last year in a …, um, “sweetheart deal.” Now he won’t even be demoted and will continue to receive a four-star general’s retirement benefits, including a pension of nearly $220,000 a year.

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

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Petraeus Pillow Talk Plea

March 3, 2015

Petraeus Pillow Talk Plea

David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director after 2012 revelations that he’d shared classified information with Paula Broadwell, his mistress and biographer, will plead guilty to a single count of unauthorized use of classified material, and faces up to a year in jail. Perhaps General P. can continue to advise the White House on Middle East policy from prison, since that’s a pretty secure location.

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Feline Spies

May 20, 2013

Feline Spies

“Domestic house cats, it seems, may be alien sentinels—sent to spy on us and report their findings back to the mother ship. Or, as some theorists have put it, they’re like alien camcorders tracking our every move.”

— “Are Cats Spies Sent by Aliens? A Deep Examination of One of the Internet’s Best Conspiracy Theories,” Austin Considine, Motherboard

Related:

“Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories,” Maggie Koerth-Baker, New York Times Magazine

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Image (“The Blogger and His Cat, After Edward Penfield”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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