The CIA Bull in Glenn Simpson’s Russia Shop

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

In criminal trials the rule for prosecuting and defending lawyers is the same. Never ask a witness a question unless you already know the answer. The corollary rule for defending lawyers is – if the answer to your question will incriminate your client, don’t ask it, and hope the prosecutor fails to do his job.

Glenn Simpson, a former employee of the Wall Street Journal in New York, is currently on trial in the US for having fabricated a dossier of allegations of Russian misconduct (bribes, sex, blackmail, hacking) involving President Donald Trump and circulating them to the press; the objective was to damage Trump’s candidacy before the election of November 8, 2016. Simpson was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017; then the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on November 8 and again on November 14, 2017. So far, Simpson’s veracity and business conduct face nothing more than the court of public opinion. He has not yet been charged with criminal or civil offences. That will happen if the evidence materializes that Simpson has been lying.

Simpson’s collaborator in the dossier and his business partner, Christopher Steele, is facing trial in the London High Court, charged with libels he and Simpson published in their dossier.  Together, they are material witnesses in two federal US court trials for defamation, one in Miami and one in New York.  If they perjure themselves giving evidence in those cases, they are likely to face criminal indictments. If they tell the truth, they are likely to face fresh defamation proceedings;  perhaps a civil racketeering suit for fraud;  maybe a false statement prosecution under the US criminal code.

One question for them is as obvious as its answer. Who do an American ex-journalist on US national security and an ex-British intelligence agent go to for sources on Russian undercover operations outside Russia in general, the US in particular?  Answer — first, their friends and contacts from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); second, their friends and contacts from the Secret Intelligence Service or MI6, as the UK counterpart is known.

Why then did the twenty-two congressmen, the members of the House Intelligence Committee who subpoenaed Simpson for interview, fail to pursue what information he and Steele received either directly from the CIA or indirectly through British intelligence?

The answer noone in the US wants to say aloud is the possibility that it was the CIA which provided Simpson and Steele with names and source materials for their dossier, creating the evidence of a Russian plot against the US election, and generating evidence of Russian operations. If that is what happened, then Simpson and Steele were participants in a false-flag CIA operation in US politics.

This isn’t idle speculation. It has been under investigation at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)  since Simpson and Steele decided in mid-2016 to go to the FBI to request an investigation, and then told American press to get the FBI to confirm it was investigating. At the fresh request this month from the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the FBI is still investigating.  

Simpson’s appearance at the House Intelligence Committee was the sequel to his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee; for that story, read this.

Simpson’s three lawyers from the Washington, DC, firm of Cunningham Levy Muse, who appeared with him at the Senate and House committee hearings. From left to right, Robert Muse; Joshua Levy, and Rachel Clattenburg.  
The firm’s other name partner, Bryan Cunningham, was a CIA officer specializingin cyber operations.

The transcripts of the House Intelligence Committee were released last Thursday. Simpson’s first appearance was on November 8, and can be read in full here.

Simpson’s lawyers did all the talking; Simpson said nothing, pleading the US Constitution’s  Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

Although his lawyers repeatedly claimed during the earlier Senate Committee hearing that Simpson was testifying voluntarily, the House Committee recorded that Simpson was compelled to testify. “Our record today,” the November 8 transcript begins, “will reflect that you have been compelled to appear today pursuant to a subpoena issued on October 4th, 2017.” Simpson then told the Committee through his lawyers that he would plead the Fifth Amendment and not answer any questions. The first transcript is a record of debate between Republican and Democratic members of the Committee.

This resulted in an agreement for Simpson to testify under the subpoena but on terms his lawyers said would limit the scope of the questions which he would agree to answer.

Steele, according to the November 8 transcript, was also summoned to testify. A British citizen with home in Berkshire and office in London,  he refused and the Committee recorded his “noncooperation and nontestimony.”

Republicans outnumber Democrats on the House Committee, 13 to 9. Just 5 Republican members were at Simpson’s November 14 appearance; 7 Democrats. The Republican committee chairman, Devin Nunes, was absent.  Release of Simpson’s transcript was an initiative of the Democrats. In a statement by their leader on the committee, Adam Schiff,  the Democrats claimed last week  “thus far, Committee Republicans have refused to look into this key area and we hope the release of this transcript will reinforce the importance of these critical questions to our investigation.”

Read the November 14  testimony here.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee on the podium at an open hearing inNovember 2017.    From left to right: Adam Schiff (D), Michael Conaway (R),and Thomas Rooney (R).

Search the 165 pages of the transcript for the CIA, and you will find many references to the letters, C, I and A – specialize, social, commercial, especially, association, financial and politician.   There were 44 mentions of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI); 4 mentions of “British Intelligence” –  the spy agency to which Steele belonged ten years ago –  one mention each of the Israeli Mossad, the Chinese and  Indian intelligence services.

According to Simpson, “foreign intelligence services hacking American political operations is not that unusual, actually, and there’s a lot of foreign intelligence services that play in American elections.” He mentioned the Chinese and the Indians, not the Israelis. The Mossad, Simpson did tell the Committee, was his source for his belief that Russian intelligence has been operating through the Jewish Orthodox Chabad movement, and the Russian Orthodox Church.  “The Orthodox church is also an arm of the Russian State now… the Mossad guys used to tell me about how the Russians were laundering money through the Orthodox church in Israel, and that it was intelligence operations.”

There are just two references in the Committee transcript to the CIA. One was a passing remark to imply the Russians cannot “break[ing] into the CIA, [so instead] you are breaking into, you know, places where, you know, an open society leaves open.”

The second was a bombshell.  It dropped during questioning by Congressman Thomas Rooney (right),
a 3-term Republican representative from Florida with a career as an army lawyer.  Rooney asked Simpson: “Do you or anyone else independently verify or corroborate any information in the dossier?”

Simpson replied by saying, “Yes. Well, numerous things in the dossier have been verified. You know, I don’t have access to the intelligence or law enforcement information that I see made reference to, but,  you know, things like, you know, the Russian Government has been investigating Hillary Clinton and has a lot of information about her.”

Then Simpson contradicted himself, disclosing what he had just denied. “When the original memos came in saying that the Kremlin was mounting a specific operation to get Donald Trump elected President, that was not what the Intelligence Community was saying. The Intelligence Community was saying they are just seeking to disrupt our election and our political process, and that this is sort of kind of just a generally nihilistic, you know, trouble-making operation. And, you know, Chris turned out to be right, it was specifically designed to elect Donald Trump President.”

How did Simpson know with such confidence what the “Intelligence Community” was “saying”,  and who were Simpson’s and Steele’s sources in  the “Intelligence Community”?  Rooney failed to inquire.  Instead, he and Simpson exchanged question and answer regarding the approach Simpson and Steele made to the FBI when they delivered their dossier. In the details of that, Simpson repeated what he had already told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rooney then asked what contact had been made with the CIA or “any other intelligence officials”. Simpson claimed he didn’t understand the question at first,  then he stumbled.

Source: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/20180118/106796/HMTG-115-IG00-20180118-SD002.pdf — page 61.

What Simpson was concealing in the two pauses, reported in the transcript as hyphens, Rooney did not realize. Simpson was implying that noone from Fusion GPS, his consulting company, had been in contact with the CIA, nor  him personally. But Simpson left open that Steele had been in contact with the CIA. Rooney followed with a question about “anyone”, but that was so imprecise, Simpson recovered his confidence to say “No”. That was a cover-up – and the House Intelligence Committee let it drop noiselessly.

Intelligence community sources and colleagues who know Simpson and Steele say Simpson was notorious at the Wall Street Journal for coming up with conspiracy theories for which the evidence was missing or unreliable. He told the Committee that disbelief on the part of his editors and management had been one of his reasons for leaving the newspaper. “One of the reasons why I left the Wall Street Journal was because I wanted to write more stories about Russian influence in Washington, D.C., on both the Democrats and the Republicans… eventually the Journal lost interest in that subject. And I was frustrated…that was where I left my journalism career.”

Left: Glenn Simpson reporter for the Wall Street Journal in 1996, promoting his book, Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics.  Right: Simpson in Washington in August 2017.

When Simpson was asked “do you – did you find anything to — that you verified as false in the dossier, since or during?” Simpson replied: “I have not seen anything – “. Note the hypthen, the stenographer’s signal that Simpson was pausing.

“[Question]. So everything in that dossier, as far as you’re concerned, is true or could be true?”

“MR. SIMPSON: I didn’t say that. What I said was it was credible at the time it came in. We were able to corroborate various things that supported its credibility.”

Sources in London are divided on the question of where Steele’s sources came from – CIA, MI6, or elsewhere. What has been clear for the year in which the dossier’s contents have been in public circulation is that the sources the dossier referred to as “Russian” were not.  For details of the sourcing.  The subsequent identification of the Maltese source Joseph Mifsud, and the Greek-American George Papadopoulos, corroborates their lack of direct Russian sources.    Instead, the sources identified in the dossier were either Americans, Americans of Russian ethnic origin, or Russians with no direct knowledge repeating hearsay three or four times removed from source.

So were the allegations of the dossier manufactured by a CIA disinformation unit, and fed back to the US through the British agent, Steele? Or were they a Simpson conspiracy theory of the type that failed to pass veracity testing when Simpson was at the Wall Street Journal? The House Intelligence Committee failed to inquire.

One independent clue is what financial and other links Simpson and Steele and their consulting firms, Fusion GPS and Orbis Business Intelligence, have had with US Government agencies other than the FBI, and what US Government contracts they were paid for, before the Republican and Democratic  Party organizations commissioned the anti-Trump job?

The House Committee has subpoenaed business records from Fusion, but Simpson’s lawyers say they will refuse to hand them over. The financial records of Steele’s firm are openly accessible through the UK government company registry, Companies House. Click to read here.

Because the Trump dossier work ran from the second half of 2015 to November 2016, the financial reports of Orbis for the financial years ending March 31, 2016, and March 31, 2017, are the primary sources.  For FY 2016 and FY 2017, open this link to read.

The papers reveal that Orbis was a small firm with no more than 7 employees. Steele’s business partner and co-shareholder, Christopher Burrows, is another former MI6 spy. They had been hoping for MI6 support of their private business, but it failed to materialize, says an London intelligence source.  “Chris Burrows is another from the same background.  They all hope to be Hakluyt [a leading commercial intelligence operation in London] but didn’t get the nod on departure.”

Left: Christopher Steele; right, Christopher Burrows.

They do not report the Orbis income. Instead, for 2016 the company filings indicate £155,171 in cash at the bank, and income of £245,017 owed by clients and contractors. Offsetting that figure, Orbis owed £317,848 – to whom and for what purposes is not reported.  The unaudited accounts show Orbis’s profit jumped from £121,046 in 2015 to £199,223 in 2016, and £441,089 in 2017.

The financial data are complicated by the operation by Steele and Burrows of a second company, Orbis Business Intelligence International, a subsidiary they created in 2010, a year after the parent company was formed.  Follow its affairs here.

According to British press reports,  Orbis and Steele were paid £200,000 for the dossier. Simpson told the House Intelligence Committee the sum was much less — $160,000 (about £114,000).  Simpson’s firm, he also testified, was being paid at a rate of about $50,000 per month for a total of about $320,000.  If the British sources are more accurate than Simpson’s testimony, Steele’s takings from the dossier represented roughly half the profit on the Orbis balance-sheet.

British sources also report that a US Government agency paid for Orbis to work on evidence and allegations of corruption at the world soccer federation, Fédération Internationale de Football (FIFA).  Indictments in this case were issued by the US Department of Justice in May 2015,  and the following December.  What role the two-partner British consultancy played in the complex investigations by teams from the Justice Department, the FBI and also the Internal Revenue Service is unclear. That  Steele, Burrows and Orbis depended on US government sources for their financial well-being appears to be certain.

Another reported version of the FIFA contract is that Steele, Burrows and Orbis were hired by the British Football Association to collect materials on FIFA corruption,  and provide them to the FBI and other US investigators, and then to the press. The scheme’s objective was reportedly to advance the British bidding for the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 by discrediting the rival bids from Russia and Qatar. Click to read.  Were MI6 and CIA sources mobilized by Orbis to feed the FBI with evidence the US investigators were unable to turn up,  or was Orbis the conduit through which disinformation targeting Russia was fed to make it appear more credible to the FBI, and to the media?

US Congressional investigators have so far failed to notice the similarities between the FIFA and the Trump dossier operations. Early this month two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that they have called for a Justice Department and FBI investigation of Steele for providing false information to the FBI. The provision of the US code making lying a federal crime requires the falsehoods occur “within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States.” Simpson has testified that when Steele briefed the FBI on the dossier, he did so at meetings in Rome, Italy.

Now then, Part I and this sequel of the Simpson-Steele story having been read and thoroughly mulled over, what can the meaning be?

In the short run, this case was a black job assigned by Republican Party candidates for president, then the Democratic National Committee, for the purpose of discrediting Trump in favour of Hillary Clinton.  It failed on Election Day in 2016; the Democrats are still trying.

In the long run, the case is a measurement of the life, or the half-life, of truth. Giuseppe di Lampedusa wrote once that nowhere has truth so short a life as in Sicily. On his clock, that was five minutes. He didn’t know the United States, or shall we say the stretch from Washington through New York to the North End of Boston. There, truth has an even shorter life. Scarcely a second.

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25 comments

  1. Alex Cox

    Paragraph 2 of this story doesn’t make sense.

    The author writes, “Glenn Simpson, a former employee of the Wall Street Journal in New York, is currently on trial in the US for having fabricated a dossier of allegations of Russian misconduct …”

    A couple of lines later, he writes,”He has not yet been charged with criminal or civil offences.”

    You can’t be on trial without being charged with something. Which is it?

    Reply
    1. rd

      Maybe this from a bit further down?

      “Simpson’s collaborator in the dossier and his business partner, Christopher Steele, is facing trial in the London High Court, charged with libels he and Simpson published in their dossier. Together, they are material witnesses in two federal US court trials for defamation, one in Miami and one in New York. ”

      I suspect there is a bunch of made up stuff, a “honey trap” run by the Russians that sucked in the brain trust of Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and George Papadopolis, Russian money in real estate transactions and project financing, and Manafort et al trying to get paid for being political geniuses in Eastern Europe.

      The primary reason I generally don’t believe in conspiracies is that they can usually be better explained as the result of sheer incompetence and hubris. The conspiracies usually occur in the attempt to cover up the stupidity. The revelations of Vietnam Pentagon Papers and Watergate come to mind.

      Reply
      1. nonsense factory

        “The primary reason I generally don’t believe in conspiracies is that they can usually be better explained as the result of sheer incompetence and hubris.”

        I divide conspiracy notions into two categories: grand mal and petit mal. The former are generally implausible due to the large number of participants involved and while occassionally attempted, they are typically exposed pretty quickly. They may still have significant effects – for example, there was a large conspiracy to sell the Iraqi WMD story to the public, involving top levels of the British and American governments and a good section of the corporate media. That’s the grand mal version.

        Petit mal is your typical small criminal conspiracy. The FBI, for example, almost always includes ‘conspiracy to commit mail fraud’ on the list of federal charges.

        With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there is some evidence that Clinton and Co. actually wanted to run against Donald Trump, and tried to get their allies to manipulate the Republican primary in favor of a Trump victory (hence all the free corporate media coverage of the Donald). The dossier, fabricated or not, seems to have been one of many ‘ace in the holes’ that the Clinton campaign thought they could use to discredit Trump (including the Access Hollywood tape, etc.) in the general election. If so, this strategy really blew up in their face – they thought they could manipulate the process, so they could ignore the Rust Belt concerns, and that’s what handed Trump the presidency.

        If the Clintonites were to admit this, however, they’d have to step down from party leadership and let the Sanders Democrats take over, and that’s what this is really all about now, their effort to prevent that outcome.

        Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe one should include this sentence preceding the selected bit, for context? “So far, Simpson’s veracity and business conduct face nothing more than the court of public opinion.” Less than careful, maybe artful, drafting, but the takeaway is that these guys are on trial “in the court of public opinion.” Where the jury is made up of uninformed and incurious but lascivious mopes. And the Players know that the Game is outside the ken or interest of most, and immunity and impunity and opacity are the principal axes of play…

      Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt And impeachment in aid of the Narrative. Some of us even do it to ourselves, without any prompting from those selling the crapified narrative. But never mind, it’s all part of the species death wish, right? http://collections.museumca.org/?q=collection-item%2F2010542075

      Reply
    3. John Zelnicker

      @Alex Cox
      January 22, 2018 at 8:42 am
      —–
      It does seem contradictory. I assumed that Helmer meant “trial” in the sense of being questioned by the Congressional committees, under subpoena, with lawyers present, and invoking the Fifth Amendment, all of which are features of trials generally. OTOH, by the plain meaning of the words, it appears that Helmer made a mistake. YMMV

      Reply
      1. 3.14e-9

        The “on-trial” claim gave me pause, too, but after reading back over the first and second paragraphs a couple of times, I think he was using “on trial” in a loose, figurative sense in order to make a point, and not in the literal, legal sense.

        I suppose someone would have to ask Helmer what he actually meant, but the point I think he was trying to make is that the House Intelligence Committee avoided asking the obvious question about whether the CIA had anything to do with the dossier, because, even though some or all of the members knew the answer, they didn’t know how Simpson would respond. Simpson’s lawyers, meanwhile, were hoping the committee, acting in a prosecutorial-style role, would fail to do its job of pressing their client for the truth.

        The rest of the piece suggests to me that Helmer thinks neither the committee nor Simpson’s lawyers wanted the whole truth to be on the record (even though it was a closed hearing, a transcript was being made), and that the interrogation was conducted accordingly.

        Reply
  2. EoH

    Helmer’s sources are top men. Top Men. [Pan to humongous warehouse with anonymous crate being rolled amidst thousands of others.]

    Reply
    1. Chris

      Your spell check is being pedantic. Noone is an English word. It has a long history of usage as an accepted (but not preferred) version of ‘no one’ (UK) or ‘no-one’ (US).

      Reply
      1. Kurt Sperry

        I would disagree and argue that “noone” is always unambiguously incorrect English.

        I actually assumed the use here was a simple typo until I saw the second instance.

        Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Making stuff up is against site rules. Simpson is being sued in the US for defamation, as a simple Google search confirms.

      https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/oct/5/glenn-simpson-sued-for-libel-by-russian-bankers-in/

      You are accumulating troll points with this plus an unsubstantiated general comment.

      You may argue that depicting Simpson as being on trial is overly dramatic, as in most people might assume that would imply a criminal action, but it is not inaccurate. He can be deposed and may be put on the stand. Both are sworn testimony.

      Reply
      1. none

        I see, I was going to ask the same question about Simpson being on trial. It would be clearer if the article came out and said the trial was about a civil suit. The article otherwise seemed to say two conflicting things. And it doesn’t seem like unbiased reporting if readers have to cross-check the assertions with google searches to find out what’s really being said.

        Would it also be more customary in legalspeak (since it’s a civil suit) to say that he’s at trial, rather than on trial?

        Reply
      2. nervos belli

        You yourself are racking up points then.
        From the article:
        “Glenn Simpson, a former employee of the Wall Street Journal in New York, is currently on trial in the US”
        “He has not yet been charged with criminal or civil offences.”

        Now what is it? If this means “someone has sued him but the judge hasn’t had a hearing yet”, then this is pure sophistry worthy of reporting on so called russiagate by the WaPo. Do you really, really want to compete with WaPo in journalistic integrity?

        Reply
      3. Bugs Bunny

        Yves, as a lawyer I would personally never use “on trial” to describe a defendant’s position in a trial in a civil suit but rather “being sued” or “facing litigation”. To be clear, in either case where the matter is heard and finally decided in court, I would call that a “trial”.

        Maybe other lawyers will weigh in but “on trial” in a civil matter just seems overly dramatic. I’m ready to be wrong on this so any plaintiff litigators (or law professors) let loose…

        Reply
        1. Ellery O'Farrell

          I’m a lawyer, too, and agree that as a matter of legal language “on trial” implies a criminal proceeding. If it’s a civil matter, the term “defendant” or equivalent is more appropriate, to me.

          Of course, nonlawyers haven’t been trained in this rather recondite terminology and may easily conflate and confuse the usage. As we are the ones with the professional language constraints, and they’re just describing what they see, why shouldn’t they use what we think of as erroneous or, at best, sloppy descriptions? It’s not as if we don’t occasionally (often?) mischaracterize a court’s holding when describing it in a brief–what they’re doing is actually less disingenuous…

          But it’s better, I think, to use the appropriate words. Bloggers, especially on legal matters, have at least a de minimis responsibility to know what they’re saying and how to say it. Or at least enter the caveat that the author isn’t a lawyer and doesn’t pre/intend to use words in their legal sense, even when describing a legal proceeding–bloggers should know that the law is complicated and often turns on the legal meaning of a term….

          Reply
      4. EoH

        My apologies for breaking your rules. In my experience, Helmer’s output is often controversial.

        I agree with the comments that “on trial” refers to a criminal case. Other phrases describe a civil action – in litigation, being sued for defamation, etc. A reader would want to know which one it was, to better evaluate the subject’s credibility. Helmer’s resume suggests he knows the difference, but chooses to be vague. That may indicate bias on his part that a reader would want made clearer.

        Reply
        1. Ken

          When I first read the paragraph that said that Simpson was on trial,I inferred that the author was claiming that Simpson had been indicted, charged, and entered a not guilty plea in a criminal case, which I was suprised that I hadn’t heard of before. Given that the author then delineates the legal status and scope of House and Senate hearings shortly thereafter, I do not believe that the author does not know how to clearly characterize different legal proceedings. I also think that most readers would likely make the same inferrence as I did. Because of these things, I found the author’s characterization of a civil lawsuit (that was not mentioned at all in or linked to in the article although other relevant links were provided) was disingenuous and purposely meant to mislead the reader.

          Reply
          1. EoH

            Helmer’s first paragraph sets up that expectation (emphases mine). It starts, “In criminal trials….” A professional writer’s first sentence is usually his most important.

            The second paragraph’s opening sentence reinforces that framing, “Glenn Simpson…is currently on trial in the US.” Helmer continues the framing within that sentence: “[Simpson] is currently on trial …for having fabricated a dossier of allegations of Russian misconduct (bribes, sex, blackmail, hacking) involving President Donald Trump”.

            Helmer inserts “allegations” to qualify Russian conduct. In the same sentence, he fails to insert it where journalists not wishing themselves to be sued usually put it – “for having [allegedly] fabricated a dossier”.

            For a writer of Helmer’s experience and education, it would be reasonable to assume that he understood and intended the implications of his opening paragraphs. He uses them to frame his criticism of the allegations against Russia and that the CIA’s part in this, if any, has received too little coverage.

            Reply
  3. Rhondda

    I pay pretty close attention to this topic and I must say I sometimes wonder if the Russians haven’t sold the rope to the American political elite. I read all 311 pages of Simpson’s testimony. I was struck that much of what he was “fed” by Steele confirmed his “OMG Russia corruption” biases.

    And I say “fed to him” when I’m in a generous mood, giving him the benefit of the doubt, because usually I am of the opinion that he’s either a really crappy CIA agent posing as a journalist or just a garden variety rat f*!@er. A black job political operative, stitching together a few almost-believable “facts” and out-and-out fabrications with squishy words like “collusion” and “ties.”

    From the embedded link in Helmer’s text above:
    http://johnhelmer.net/glenn-simpson-chases-his-shadow-into-a-black-hole/

    London due diligence firms say the record of Simpson’s firm Fusion GPS and Steele’s Orbis Business Intelligence operations in the US has discredited them in the due diligence market. The London experts believe the Senate Committee transcript shows Simpson and Steele were hired for the black job of discrediting the target of their research, Trump; did a poor job; failed in 2016; and now are engaged in bitter recriminations against each other to avoid multi-million dollar court penalties.

    A source at a London firm which is larger and better known than Steele’s Orbis says “standard due diligence means getting to the truth. It’s confidential to the client, and not leaked. There are also black jobs, white jobs, and red jobs. Black means the client wants you to dig up dirt on the target, and make it look credible for publishing in the press. White means the client wants you to clear him of the wrongdoing which he’s being accused of in the media or the marketplace; it’s also leaked to the press. A red job is where the client pays the due diligence firm to hire a journalist to find out what he knows and what he’s likely to publish, in order to bribe or stop him. The Steele dossier on Trump is an obvious black job. Too obvious.”

    Emphasis mine.

    Reply
    1. 3.14e-9

      Rhondaa writes:

      I read all 311 pages of Simpson’s testimony. I was struck that much of what he was “fed” by Steele confirmed his “OMG Russia corruption” biases.

      Same here, but not just about what he was fed by Steele. Simpson claimed to have done some of his own research and said it was consistent with what he got from Steele.

      I’m about three-quarters of the way through the transcript of Simpson’s interrogation by the House Intelligence Committee, and I’ve read all 312 pages of the Senate Judiciary Committee transcript, which bears little resemblance to what was reported in the major media – shocking, I know.

      Among the “bombshells” the mainstream reported was “proof” that it wasn’t the dossier that launched the FBI’s investigation of Trump, and therefore the dossier couldn’t have been used as justification for a FISA warrant. A bigger bombshell, which of course none of them mentioned, is that Simpson, with his client’s consent, was secretly briefing Clinton-friendly reporters on information from Steele’s memos, and they used it to write stories based on “unnamed sources.” He even admitted that he didn’t verify the information before feeding it to the media, said he didn’t feel he needed to, because it came from a trustworthy source. Where have we heard that before?

      Few in the NC commentariat, at least from what I saw, had any problem accepting that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, so I’m wondering why it’s that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing. It’s well-established that the State Department often acts as a cover for the CIA, and the agency under Secretary Clinton had a strong anti-Russia faction that’s on the record as meddling in Ukraine’s presidential election. And how much doubt could there be that both Clintons kept the CIA connections they made while in office?

      Then there was the whole “Grizzly Steppe” report just before Trump’s inauguration, presented as a consensus among “17 intelligence agencies” that the Russians “hacked the election” to help Trump win.

      I’m not 100-percent convinced that U.S. intelligence was behind the dossier, but it’s enough of a possibility that I’m not writing it off as some nutty “conspiracy theory.”

      Reply
      1. integer

        Few in the NC commentariat, at least from what I saw, had any problem accepting that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, so I’m wondering why it’s that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing.

        FWIW this NC commenter has never had any problem believing that this may be the case. In fact I am fairly certain that it is the case, although from what I understand the FBI and MI6 were also involved.

        Adding: Heh. I posted this before looking at Rev Kev’s link to the Raimondo article, which comes to the same conclusions. Interesting times!

        Reply
  4. Scott1

    I believe that Seth Abramson or someone put photographs to the Steele dossier showing people in the places & at the times delineated in the Steele dossier.
    From the very first Steele said he would not & could not reveal his sources. It was from the first indicated that it would be to the FBI & CIA to discover.
    He said he believed that his sources were credible.
    When I was studying Intelligence services the CIA was said to be the private army of the CIA. These days I don’t know exactly who the CIA works for, or answers to.
    I certainly don’t think well of the CIA believing they are wrapped up working for their Front businesses more than focusing on the mission of spying in the interests of the American people.
    Of private intelligence companies I get what I can from IHS Jane’s.
    That the CIA lost 20 assets, human beings, in China for incompetent secret communications methods would lead professionals to withhold as much of identities as possible.
    For awhile there I believe Steele was worried about his own health.
    David Corn at Mother Jones was reticent to break the story.
    So now what I see to look for is what Steele said needed to be done, & that being what Mueller is doing at the behest of the DOJ.
    The US has been at war, albeit Hybrid war since the imposition of sanctions for their violations of international law as regarded the annexation of Crimea & the attack on the Ukraine.
    Sanctions are Economic Warfare.
    That the US feels the right to engage in warfare of any kind Economic or Hot over violations of International Law leads me to believe that the UN will fail to prevent the apocalyptic riot.
    But that as regards Trump becomes neither here nor there, correct?

    Reply

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