|Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks|
|Clapper: Intelligence community ‘cast doubt on the legitimacy’ of Trump’s victory – The Hill (blog)|
|12:09 PM 9/23/2017 Paul Manafort: why Trumps old ally could hold the key in Muellers Russia hunt The Guardian|
NFL Distances Itself From Trump After He Says Protesting Players Should Be Fired Saturday September 23rd, 2017 at 12:05 PM Donald Trump 1 Share “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect.” Who shot John?! | Clapper: Russias election interference cast doubt on Trumps victory Saturday September 23rd, 2017 at 7:33 AM by mikenova Saturday September 23rd, 2017 at 12:04 PM … Continue reading“12:09 PM 9/23/2017 – Paul Manafort: why Trump’s old ally could hold the key in Mueller’s Russia hunt – The Guardian”
|Russia: Relations with US poor over ‘Russo-phobic hysteria’ – The Ledger|
|The Importance Of Civil Discourse|
Polarizing hostile discourse will only breed more division while, at the same time, making real debate over issues less likely.
|“Prewar period of global disorder: Trumps U.N. Speech Marks The End Of Global U.S. Leadership Saturday September 23rd, 2017 at 10:20 AM|
Weekend Roundup: Trump’s U.N. Speech Marks The End Of Global U.S. Leadership Saturday September 23rd, 2017 at 10:20 AM Donald Trump 1 Share We are leaving the postwar era that saw the U.S foster the founding of the U.N. and entering what may be a prewar period of global disorder. who shot john – Google Search Saturday … Continue reading““Prewar period of global disorder”: Trump’s U.N. Speech Marks The End Of Global U.S. Leadership Saturday September 23rd, 2017 at 10:20 AM”
|10:32 AM 9/23/2017 FISA Warrants Against Paul Manafort and Muellers Investigation|
Quotes Muellers investigation is first and foremost a counterintelligence investigation we know that with the Facebook search warrant that Mueller is potentially interested in pursuing Russians living in Russia who tried to disseminate disinformation in the U.S. He would surely be as interested in identifying and nailing the Russian operatives who participated in active measures to influence … Continue reading“10:32 AM 9/23/2017 – FISA Warrants Against Paul Manafort and Muellers Investigation”
|Media says Trump is just like crazy dictator Kim Jong-un, and other absolutely moronic press comments – Fox News|
|NFL Distances Itself From Trump After He Says Protesting Players Should Be Fired|
“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect.”
|“Who shot John?! | Clapper: Russias election interference cast doubt on Trumps victory Saturday September 23rd, 2017 at 7:33 AM|
“Who shot John”?! “Who shot John”?! – GS Michael Novakhov comments: Mr. Clapper, dear sir: Where were you in 2015 and 2016? Wasn’t it a part of your duties to prevent these type of disasters, and to recognize them in advance, well in advance? But I do not blame you. No one has a right … Continue reading““Who shot John”?! | Clapper: Russia’s election interference ‘cast doubt’ on Trump’s victory Saturday September 23rd, 2017 at 7:33 AM”
|manafort trump tower – Google Search|
Washington Post–Sep 22, 2017
Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before … wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Clapper: “Possible” That Trump Was Recorded On Manafort Wiretap …
RealClearPolitics–Sep 21, 2017
Fox News Slammed by Legal Experts for Saying Trump Was Right …
Newsweek–Sep 20, 2017
Former CIA Officer: On Wiretapping, Trump Was Right All Along
In-Depth–The Daily Caller–Sep 20, 2017
Sorry, but FBI tapping of campaign aide is a far cry from backing …
Opinion–Newsday–Sep 21, 2017
The Paradox of an Explosive Week in the Mueller Investigation
In-Depth–The Atlantic–Sep 21, 2017
|Meet the notorious characters who call Trump Tower home|
New York City’s most high-profile residential buildings are often home to some of the wealthiest—and shadiest—figures in the world. Take, for instance, the Time Warner Center, where members of the Saudi royal family and known corrupt Russian officials knowingly shack up. Or Walker Tower, where the purchase of a $50.9 million penthouse has been named by the U.S. government in connection to an international money laundering scheme.
It should come as no surprise that Trump Tower is no exception. Bloomberg has compiled an extensive, and rather epic, list of the building’s past and present occupants, shedding light on the international cast of characters who traverse the building’s gilded halls.
At that, following is a list of a handful of Trump Tower’s current residents, who include an embattled former sports administrator who plead guilty in a crime connected to the FIFA scandal, and Trump’s former campaign manager.
Donald Trump, Floors 66 through 68
Of course the Republican presidential nominee shacks up in the top floors of his namesake tower, hidden behind a grand entryway gilded in gold and diamonds. The palatial penthouse, Bloomberg reports, takes a tip from Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi: “One reason Trump’s triplex is so vast, he has written, is a trip he took to…Khashoggi’s condo nearby, where he stepped into a living room bigger than his own.” Trump, who has the best temperament, wanted to level up with a Saudi arms dealer. That’s reassuring.
Guido Lombardi, Floors 62 through 63
Real estate investor Guido Lombardi is a self-proclaimed Italian count, Trump supporter, and sympathizer with Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League party.
Helly Nahmad, Floor 51
Art dealer Hillel Nahmad, of the Nahmad collecting dynasty, has been snatching up apartments on the 51st floor of Trump Tower since at least 1999, when he paid $2.5 million for Unit 51J. Years, and millions, later, Nahmad amassed the entire floor for a total $18.4 million. Nahmad was sent to prison for five months in 2014 for running a high-stakes gambling ring.
Related: the massive Panama Papers leak from earlier this year identified Nahmad’s father, David, as the owner of a Modigliani that the grandson of a Jewish art dealer claims was snatched from his grandparent’s shop in Paris during the Nazi occupation.
Ernie Garcia, Floors 48 through 49
The chairman of used car dealer DriveTime plead guilty to bank fraud in 1990 in connection to the collapse of Charles Keating’s Savings and Loan. Garcia was sentenced to probation, and currently takes up residence in the tower.
Paul Manafort, Floor 43
Trump’s former campaign manager, who resigned in August, has lived in Trump Tower since 2006. Manafort transferred the apartment from an LLC to his name in 2015.
Jose Maria Marin, Floor 41
If one must serve house arrest, Trump Tower is not too shabby of a place to do it. That’s the case with Jose Maria Marin, a former administrator of the Brazilian Football Confederation who’s serving a sentence in connection with bribery charges stemming from the FIFA crisis, to which he plead guilty.
Susetta Mion, Floor 32
Ivana Trump’s pal Susetta Mion, of the Italian fashion family, has been shacked up in a Trump Tower pad after allegedly looting her mother’s bank accounts and possessions and carting it all across the Atlantic in 2007. In an interview with Bloomberg, Mion called the issue a “family quarrel that’s being resolved.”
Juan Beckmann Vidal, Floor 31
Vidal’s name is not as well known as the liquor brand he controls: Jose Cuervo. The tequila bigwig owns three apartments in the building.
For a list of the colorful characters who formerly purchased in the building, including Andrew Lloyd Weber and Haitian dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier, head on over to Bloomberg.
Watch: Architecture that comes to life in Game of Thrones
|Paul Manafort: why Trump’s old ally could hold the key in Mueller’s Russia hunt|
Trumps ex-campaign chair is a major target for special counsel Mueller, and an indictment may not be far off which could change everything for the president
When Paul Manafort, the former Washington super-lobbyist, bought an apartment in Trump Tower in Manhattan for $3.7m in 2006, there was no reason at the time to read the hand of destiny in it.
Dont fool yourself. That money we have is blood money
|How Trump followed a Russian map straight to Paul Manafort – Salon|
|Clinton’s ‘What Happened’ does not tell what really happened – Irish Times|
|What the FISA Warrants Against Paul Manafort Tell us About Muellers Investigation|
The Trump-Russia saga has more characters than War and Peace and plot twists harder to follow than Game of Thrones. So making sense of the latest news that the FBI had taken out not one, but two surveillance orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort can be difficult to put into context. But in fact, this new piece of information actually can help connect the counterintelligence and criminal investigations that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is overseeing, and show how a FISA warrant may have played a role in each.
I have already provided a detailed description of the (onerous) process of obtaining a FISA order, and the legal standards it requires. The only thing to add in Manafort’s case is that since he is a U.S. person (or USPER, in intel slang), the standards to obtain a FISA warrant on him are slightly higher than the generic process I described in my earlier piece. First, the probable cause standard required the FBI to provide evidence that Manafort was knowingly engaging in clandestine intelligence activities (rather than merely being an agent of a foreign power) in other words, that he wasnt just acting on behalf of a foreign power, but that he was doing so with full knowledge that what he was doing involved spying. Second, in order to continue monitoring Manafort, the FBI would have been required to check in with the FISA court every 90 days and show that their surveillance had, in fact, produced foreign intelligence information. Only with this continuing, additional evidence would the FISA order be renewed for an additional 90 days at a time.
Keeping these factors in mind, lets look at what we know. We know that the FBI had one FISA surveillance order on Manafort on or about 2014. This was in relation to his consulting work on behalf of the pro-Russia ruling party in Ukraine at the time. We also know that the surveillance ceased at some point before Manafort joined President Trumps campaign in 2016. It then recommenced at some point after that, based on his connections with Russian intelligence and evidence suggesting that he was encouraging them to interfere in the presidential election. That surveillance continued into at least early 2017. The gap covered the period of time when Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner met with Russians at Trump Tower to discuss depending on whose version you believe adoptions or incriminating information the Russians claimed to have on Hillary Clinton. Following along so far? Good.
Lets look at the gap. According to reporting, the initial FISA surveillance ceased after a court found that the FBI was no longer collecting foreign intelligence based on that order. This likely would have occurred at one of the 90-day renewal points after the surveillance began. Now, one conclusion might be that there was no foreign intelligence activity actually happening or perhaps that the basis for this order itself was somewhat flimsy. However, if the order had been renewed at least once since it commenced, which would be likely even if it began in late 2014 or early 2015, that was probably not the case: After all, in order to renew the order at any point prior to it ceasing, the FBI would have had to produce ongoing foreign intelligence collection.
I invite you to consider another possibility. If Manafort was already being developed by Russian intelligence since 2014, and was approached in a more concrete, operational way around summer 2016, then they would likely want him to begin communicating with them through other means than he was already using. If this happened, collection on the lines, accounts, or facilities targeted by the initial FISA order would go dry, and would explain why the surveillance ceased. In other words, there was no longer any foreign intelligence activity happening on the first FISA but thats because it was happening somewhere else.
(Its worth noting here that a FISA order would not necessarily need to cover only phone lines, or even a single mode of communication; as long as the FBI could prove that the mode of communication was being used by the target and likely to produce foreign intelligence, multiple communication channels could be authorized in the same order you dont need to obtain a separate FISA warrant for a phone number and an email address, for example, as long as you can demonstrate that both belong to and are used by the target.)
That the first FISA order ceased because Manafort became operational is admittedly purely speculative. But based on my experience working against foreign intelligence targets, this would be consistent with the timeline in several respects. First, the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting has been characterized by many intelligence experts as a test run an experiment to see how open members of the Trump campaign might be to engaging in some potentially illegal behavior in order to benefit the campaign. Having Manafort already on board would make sense in this scenario: Even if this might have been only an initial approach to Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner, the Russians would know they had at least one person in the campaign Manafort at that point who was all in, and could make the meeting less threatening for the newbies.
Second, it helps explain why a second FISA order was brought before the FISA court. It would make sense that after the initial FISA surveillance ceased and Manafort went dark, the FBI would be trying to determine what he was up to. We know that in this period the FBI obtained new intelligence that Manafort was in contact with the Russians and had enough evidence to substantiate a second FISA application. The new intelligence may have formed the basis to go back on the same lines or accounts as in the initial FISA. But if the FBI uncovered new channels or modes of communication that Manafort was using with the Russians, this could also be the reason for the second FISA warrant: Just because the FBI went up for a second time on the same target does not mean that they recommenced surveillance on the same channels as before. (This latter possibility implies some uncharacteristic operational sloppiness on the part of the Russians, but considering that Manafort was taking notes from the Trump Tower meeting on his iPhone and emailing directly with a Russian oligarch in code about offering secret briefings on the Trump campaign, this is not necessarily a stretch.)
Third, this theory would explain Muellers keen interest in Manafort in particular. Muellers investigation is first and foremost a counterintelligence investigation. Regardless of whether Don Jr. or Jared Kushner had any subsequent meetings or contacts with the Russians or colluded with them in their active measures, the FISAs suggest that Manafort holds the real keys to the kingdom. Namely, how was election interference plan conceived? What operational measures were involved? Was there any quid pro quo? Who else was in on it? This is to emphasize that Mueller may be just as if not, more interested in Manafort spilling the identities and methods of the Russians in this whole scenario as in those of any Americans members of the Trump campaign who were involved. After all, we know that with the Facebook search warrant that Mueller is potentially interested in pursuing Russians living in Russia who tried to disseminate disinformation in the U.S. He would surely be as interested in identifying and nailing the Russian operatives who participated in active measures to influence the election here in the States.
Which brings us to Muellers criminal investigation on Manafort. To get Manafort to talk, Mueller needs some, shall we say, incentives. The prospect of serious jail time for not cooperating is usually effective. The problem is, that for all of Manaforts redflaggy behavior with the Ukranians and the Russians, there arent really a lot of laws against spying. Theres the Espionage Act, which relates to defense and classified information and doesnt apply in the current scenario. And theres the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which as Steve Vladeck explains is a procedural statute: People or entities designated as foreign agents must register if the Department of Justice asks them to, but as long as they comply they are out of the crosshairs of criminal prosecution. Manafort retroactively registered as a foreign agent in June.
Financial crimes, by contrast, carry significant penalties, particularly when multiple charges are added together. Here is where the FISA orders could have come into play again. Its important to emphasize that the goal of using a FISA warrant is not to collect evidence of a crime; its to collect foreign intelligence information. However, since 9/11 and the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, evidence of criminal activity that is obtained through the course of a FISA investigation can be used to open a criminal case, as long as a significant purpose of the FISA inquiry was to obtain foreign intelligence. Here, the FISA warrants on Manafort were based on his intelligence connections. But if he was engaging in financial shenanigans, related or unrelated to his alleged intelligence activities, signs of it may have become apparent during the FISA monitoring, allowing the FBI to open a separate criminal case on Manafort which is where we are now.
We dont know the content of the communications monitored under the FISA orders, which might really add the missing links to what connections, if any, existed between the Trump campaign and Russia. But the existence of the FISA warrantss themselves on Manafort, and their timing, gives us a way to understand the facts so far. So even if, like me, youve never made it all the way through War and Peace (I dont even watch Game of Thrones), you can still follow along with Mueller: Theres a method to his madness against Manafort.
Image: Getty/Chip Somodevilla
|Trump Withdraws White House Invite To NBA Champions|
“Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
|Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota among states targeted by Russian hackers in 2016 race – Reuters|
|Federal government notifies 21 states of election hacking – WFLA|
|State: Russians tried to hack Washington elections – KOMO News|
|Trump And Kim Are Trading Personal Threats As Millions Of Lives Hang In The Balance|
Experts are concerned the pair are edging dangerously close to war.
|Weekend Roundup: Trump’s U.N. Speech Marks The End Of Global U.S. Leadership|
We are leaving the postwar era that saw the U.S foster the founding of the U.N. and entering what may be a prewar period of global disorder.
|who shot john – Google Search|
|Churchill’s definition of Russia still rings true|
The Kremlin has given the West little cause for reassurance.
In recent weeks, Russia and its tycoons have displayed their sense of nationalist interest with unmistakable clarity in a manner that suggests an inherently adversarial, if not downright hostile, attitude to Western governments, interests and companies.
Robert Dudley, the chief executive of TNK-BP, the joint venture between BP and wealthy Russian-connected shareholders, left Russia because of complications with his work visa. Those problems coincided mysteriously – and, for the Russian side, conveniently – with broader disputes about the company’s investment policies and senior personnel appointments.
Since leaving, Dudley has been trying to run the company from somewhere outside Russia, even though his partners in the joint venture no longer recognize him as chief executive. BP accused them of enlisting state agencies to pursue their battle – a familiar combination of commercial and government forces in Russia’s quest to restrict foreign influence in its oil industry.
At around the same time, Russia put forward a proposal to NATO for a new treaty that would subsume NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe into a new security architecture designed by the Kremlin to reflect Russia’s re-emergence as a power on the global stage. There were reports, too, that Russia planned to renationalize part of its huge grain exports, raising concerns that Moscow would add food to its armory of economic and diplomatic weapons alongside state-dominated gas, oil and arms exports.
As indicators of Russia’s sense of national interest, those events sent out clear signals: after the chaos and decline of the Yeltsin era in the 1990s, the Kremlin was flexing economic and diplomatic muscle in pursuit of influence and wealth.
But there was an equally clear flip side, a mirror-image of the West’s readiness to cast Moscow in the role of villain and spoiler.
From Russia’s viewpoint, NATO has been a meddlesome force, extending influence within what used to be the Soviet fief, a sense of encroachment magnified by the U.S. plan to station anti-missile defenses in the Czech Republic and Poland.
That rankles with Moscow. Imperial memory is a powerful force, instilling a yearning for lost glories and an urge for new modes of influence, acknowledgment and respect.
It should surprise no one that, once the Kremlin made a strategic decision under Putin to reassert control over its own energy resources, outsiders would have a hard time navigating the oil and gas business that gives the Moscow elite control over such massive wealth and power.
There is a sense, too, that by projecting itself as a pole of opposition to Western plans, Moscow is offering itself as an alternate, a counterweight and an equal player, defining itself quite deliberately as the West’s muscular opposite, as much the “other” as in 1939.
Sometimes that divide takes on the trappings of a redefined cold war. Moscow maintains as many secret agents in Britain as it did in the hey-day of Soviet intelligence-gathering, according to the British security services. After the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer, in London in 2006, Britain and Russia expelled four of each other’s embassy personnel. Each side has accused the other of conducting unacceptable espionage.
On a more ominous scale, Putin himself compared the American plan for a missile shield in Eastern Europe to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and threatened to turn Russian missiles against new European targets.
But the power these days lies in pipelines, not warheads. Russia provides an increasingly significant proportion of Europe’s natural gas supplies and controls the pipeline network that distributes it.
Europe is the prime market for Russia’s gas, a font not only of burgeoning revenue but also of vital technology and investment to broaden and develop Russia’s economy. That should give the West some leverage: by instilling trepidation among potential western partners, Moscow jeopardizes its access to the West’s technology.
Yet, European divisions over dealings with Moscow leave the West vulnerable to the Kremlin’s manipulation.
Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP, was asked the other day what suggestions he would offer to companies planning to do business in Russia.
“My advice,” he said, “would be: tread with caution.”
|Clapper: Russia’s election interference ‘cast doubt’ on Trump’s victory|
James Clapper. AP
James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said Friday that the US intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election “cast doubt on the legitimacy” of President Donald Trump’s victory.
“Our intelligence community assessment did serve to cast doubt on the legitimacy of his victory in the election,” Clapper said of Trump in a CNN interview Friday evening.
“I think that, above all else, is what concerned him, and I think that transcends, unfortunately, the real concern here, which is Russian interference in our political process which, by the way, is going to continue,” Clapper said.
Watch the segment below:
It was the most direct assertion about the effects Russian operatives had in the US election — the investigation of which has evolved exponentially in the last four months under special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the Russia probe on behalf of the US Justice Department.
Mueller and his investigators have focused on several people close to Trump who have ties to, or have made contact with, the Kremlin — including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and others. Information gleaned from US government surveillance of Manafort prompted concerns that he had encouraged Russians to “help with the campaign,” according to a CNN report on Monday.
Paul Manafort. AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Kremlin operatives reportedly bragged about trying to use people close to Trump — like Flynn, Manafort, and former foreign-policy adviser Carter Page — to make inroads with the campaign.
And Donald Trump Jr. became the subject of heavy scrutiny in July when it was discovered that he, along with Manafort and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner attended a meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who promised to deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Russia’s efforts to sway the US election were further revealed this month when Facebook announced that Russian-associated Facebook accounts had purchased $100,000 in ads during the election. The ads were used to target voters in some battleground states.
Donald Trump. Alex Wong/Getty Images
A soft spot for Trump
Clapper’s assertion that Russia’s activities cast doubt on Trump’s legitimacy will likely strike a nerve with the president. Aides and allies have said previously that Trump’s ire toward the Russia investigation stems from that exact notion that Russia’s meddling potentially diminishes his November 2016 victory.
Trump himself is a subject of Mueller’s investigation for possible obstruction of justice, for his part in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Trump has said that he had the Russia probe in mind when he made his decision, and later said that firing Comey took “great pressure” off of him in the investigation.
To date, neither Trump nor anyone subject to Mueller’s investigation has been accused of any wrongdoing, and Trump has denied the same.
Hillary Clinton. Screenshot via CNN
For her part, Clinton has made crystal clear whom she blames for Russia’s interference.
In an interview with USA Today published Monday, Clinton said she thought some Trump associates had an “understanding” that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted her to lose and Trump to win.
“There certainly was communication, and there certainly was an understanding of some sort,” Clinton said.
“And there’s no doubt in my mind that there are a tangle of financial relationships between Trump and his operation with Russian money,” Clinton said, adding that she was confident the Trump campaign “worked really hard to hide their connections with Russians.”
The federal government told election officials in 21 states on Friday that hackers had tried to break into their systems before the 2016 election, The Associated Press reported.
Key battleground states like Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia were among those targeted, the report said. The AP said the government did not specify who the hackers were, but election officials in several affected states told the news wire service that the attempts were linked to Russia.
|JAMES CLAPPER: US intelligence assessment of Russia’s election interference ‘cast doubt on the legitimacy’ of … – Business Insider|
|The Web: News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions from mikenova (17 sites)|
|The World Web Times: Heres the buried bombshell|
Heres the buried bombshell: White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller. – by mikenova Tuesday September 19th, 2017 at 5:46 AM Trump Investigations Report 1 Share Trump Lawyers Clash Over How Much to Cooperate With Russia New York TimesSep 17, 2017 The debate in Mr. Trumps West Wing … Continue reading“Heres the buried bombshell…”
The World Web Times
|Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 19.09.2017 11:18|
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|mikenov on Twitter: Heres the buried bombshell: White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire… trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/09/1|
Heres the buried bombshell: White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire… trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/09/1
mikenov on Twitter
|Trump Investigations Report: Heres the buried bombshell: White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.|
Trump Lawyers Clash Over How Much to Cooperate With Russia … New York Times–Sep 17, 2017 The debate in Mr. Trump’s West Wing has pitted Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, against Ty Cobb, a lawyer brought in to … Tuesday September 19th, 2017 at 4:50 AM 1 Share ty cobb trump – Google Search Tuesday September 19th, 2017 at 5:05 AM … Continue reading“Heres the buried bombshell: White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.”
Trump Investigations Report
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|mikenov on Twitter: 9:15 PM 9/18/2017 – Manafort FISA Report trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/09/1|
9:15 PM 9/18/2017 – Manafort FISA Report trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/09/1
mikenov on Twitter
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|1. News in Photos from mikenova (4 sites)|
|Day in Photos – Voice of America: September 11, 2017|
A look at the best news photos from around the world.
Day in Photos – Voice of America
|1. News in Photos from mikenova (4 sites)|
|WSJ.com: World News: Hurricane Irma Blamed for 10 Deaths in Cuba|
Hurricane Irma killed at least 10 people as it slammed into Cuba and scraped across its northern coast over the weekend, the communist islands official media reported Monday.
WSJ.com: World News
|Saved Stories – None|
|Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks|
Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still dont know what happened… While some in our government may have at least partial knowledge, the American public doesnt know the answers to these questions.
Search Results for: 9/11
Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still dont know what happened. How did a ragtag bunch of hijackers, armed only with box cutters, manage to gain control of those airliners? How did they get into the United States to begin with? Who supported them while they were here? Why didnt law enforcement which had plenty of clues as to what they were up to stop them? Prior to the attacks, our government spent billions on anti-terrorist programs designed to prevent precisely what occurred on September 11, 2001 yet Mohammed Atta and his accomplices managed to slip through the cracks. How?
While some in our government may have at least partial knowledge, the American public doesnt know the answers to these questions.
What we do know, however, is that our lives were changed forever: propelled into a war without end, the United States launched attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere that are still ongoing. Thousands of Americans and an untold number of Afghans, Iraqis, and others hundreds of thousandshave so far perished in what our generals tell us will be a generational conflict with no discernible end in sight.
We also know, thanks to public agitation around this question, that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had substantial involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The campaign to reveal the redacted portions of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11 was partially successful, although there is still much the government is keeping from the American people. What we learned from the pages that were revealed is that Saudi government employees aided and directed at least two of the hijackers and that Prince Bandar al Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, was at the center of the spider web that ensnared the nation on 9/11.
Now a lawsuit brought by some of the 9/11 families reveals that, a full two years before 9/11, the Saudi government funded a dry run designed to test airline security. As Paul Sperry reports in the New York Post:
Two years before the airliner attacks, the Saudi Embassy paid for two Saudi nationals, living undercover in the US as students, to fly from Phoenix to Washington in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks, alleges the amended complaint filed on behalf of the families of some 1,400 victims who died in the terrorist attacks 16 years ago.
The lawsuit accuses the Saudis of providing both financial and operational support to the operation, which was clearly a covert action by Saudi intelligence. Lawyers for the complainants allege that the two students Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi were part of the Kingdoms network of agents in the US.
The evidence marshaled by the lawsuit is pretty impressive. It shows that:
It was November, 1999, when Qudhaeein and Hamdan boarded an Air West flight to Washington, D.C., and started acting in a highly suspicious manner. A summary of the FBI files on them states:
After they boarded the plane in Phoenix, they began asking the flight attendants technical questions about the flight that the flight attendants found suspicious. When the plane was in flight, al-Qudhaeein asked where the bathroom was; one of the flight attendants pointed him to the back of the plane. Nevertheless, al-Qudhaeein went to the front of the plane and attempted on two occasions to enter the cockpit.
The reaction of the pilots was clearly Islamophobic they carried out an emergency landing in Ohio, where the duo was arrested, handcuffed, and taken in for questioning. Luckily for the Saudi conspirators, the FBI decided their behavior was no big deal and let them go. It was only later that our Keystone Kops discovered that a suspect in a counterterrorism investigation in Phoenix was driving Shalawis car and this student had trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and had received explosives training to perform attacks on American targets. As for Qudhaeein, the FBI concluded he was a Saudi intelligence agent, based on his frequent contact with Saudi officials.
Move along, folks nothing to see here!
I wrote about the connection between the Saudi government and the activities of some of the hijackers in San Diego, which was revealed when the 28 pages of the redacted Joint Inquiry report were partially unredacted. We wouldnt know anything about this part of the 9/11 plot if Robert Mueller then FBI director, now the special counsel heading up the Russia-gate probe had had his way. When the Joint Inquiry sent former FBI lawyer and counterterrorism expert Michael Jacobson to San Diego to investigate Saudi links to 9/11, Mueller was furious, as Andrew Cockburn reports in Harpers:
Bob Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told me recently that Robert Mueller, then the FBI director (and now the special counsel investigating connections between Russia and the Trump campaign) made the strongest objections to Jacobson and his colleagues visiting San Diego.
Graham and his team defied Muellers efforts, and Jacobson flew west. There he discovered that his hunch was correct. The FBI files in California were replete with extraordinary and damning details
Jacobsonss San Diego sojourn unearthed much evidence of FBI incompetence, including the fact that two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar,who had arrived in California from Malaysia and been taken under the wing of Saudi agents, had been close with an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, as Cockburn informs us:
Hazmi had actually lived in his house after Mihdhar left town. Shaikh failed to mention his young Saudi friends last names in regular reports to his FBI case officer, or that they were taking flying lessons. Understandably, the investigators had a lot of questions for this man. Nevertheless, Mueller adamantly refused their demands to interview him, even when backed by a congressional subpoena, and removed Shaikh to an undisclosed location for his own safety. Today, Graham believes that Mueller was acting under orders from the White House.
Think about this for a moment: the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for collusion with Russia and possible obstruction of justice himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Was Mueller, possibly on orders from President George W. Bush, colluding with the Saudis to cover up their role?
The Bush administration, with its familial ties to the Saudis, had every interest in covering up Riyadhs active complicity. Aside from that, they were pushing the fable of Saddam Husseins links to the 9/11 attacks.
So many lies! So much official obstruction! Now, however, the truth is finally coming out. With the passage of legislation stripping the Saudis of their sovereign immunity over President Obamas veto the class action suit against the Saudis is moving forward. Armed with thousands of pages of documents showing how Riyadh and its global network of Islamic extremists have succored, aided, and directed al-Qaeda and allied organizations in terrorist attacks against US citizens and interests, the families of those killed, wounded, and traumatized on September 11, 2001, are about to get their day in court.
And what is bound to come out is the complicity of US officials in the cover-up. It looks to me like Robert Muellers time in the spotlight is about to get a lot more interesting.
A NOTE TO MY READERS: Our fundraising campaign is over, and Im happy to report that we reached our goal. Many thanks to all of you who contributed. Without your support, we just could not continue our work.
Independent journalism in the foreign policy field is more important than ever, and were grateful for your support. Its a good thing that we can confront the future, however problematic it may be, with the full confidence of our readers and supporters. Again, many thanks.
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Read more by Justin Raimondo
Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of <a href=”http://Antiwar.com” rel=”nofollow”>Antiwar.com</a>, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000]. View all posts by Justin Raimondo
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Felix Sater speaks at the Chabad of Port Washington in Port Washington, New York, in 2014. (YouTube: Felix Sater)
Every time someone asks Donald Trump if he knows Felix Sater, his Russian-born, Brooklyn-bred former business associate, Trump draws a blank. Despite the fact that Sater worked on and off for a decade with the Trump Organization, and despite his recent headline-making appearance as an exuberant negotiator on behalf of Trumps hardnosed attorney, Michael Cohen, in seeking to build a massive Trump Tower in Moscow last year, Trump ducks.
I mean, Ive seen him a couple of times; I have met him, Trump said, in a deposition in a court case involving Sater in 2013. And The New York Times reported him as saying, If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldnt know what he looked like. As late as 2015, when asked about Sater, Trump hemmed and hawed. Boy, I have to even think about it.
Its no wonder that Trump, especially now that hes under investigation over his ties to Russia and its meddling in the 2016 election, would respond to questions about Sater by saying: Whos he?
Of all the characters caught up in Russiagate, none come close to Sater for having a decades-long record as a larger-than-life, outside-the-law, spy agency-linked wheeler-dealer from the pages of a John le Carré novel. His past record includes a conviction for lacerating a mans face with a broken margarita glass in a bar brawl and his involvement in a multimillion-dollar stock fraud and money-laundering scheme. Despite that record, which came before he worked with Trump, Sater spent nearly a decade working with the Trump Organization in search of deals in Russia and other former Soviet republics. But on August 28, Sater made the front pages of the Times and The Washington Post, thanks to leaked copies of e-mails that he sent in late 2015 and early 2016 to Cohen, concerning Saters efforts to work with a group of Russian investors to set up a flagship Trump property in the Russian capital.
In language that Cohen himself described to the Times as colorful, Sater seemed nearly beside himself as he reported on his work in Moscow on behalf of Trump:
Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it, wrote Sater. I will get all of [Vladimir] Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. Echoing a line that would later become Trumps own description of why he and Putin might get along, Sater wrote that the Russian leader only wants to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man is a good candidate for someone who knows how to deal.
Sater couldnt resist adding, Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins [sic] private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. According to the Times, Sater was eager to show video clips to his Russian contacts of instances of Mr. Trump speaking glowingly about Russia. Which, of course, Trump has done repeatedly over the years. And, though Trump has denied that he has any business interests in Russia, even as he was gearing up for the Republican presidential primary race, Cohen and Sater were deep into previously undisclosed talks with Russian partners about constructing a Trump-branded hotel, according to The Washington Post. In a statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week, Cohen did admit writing to Dmitry Peskov in connection with Saters work. Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, confirmed the contact.
So who, exactly, is Felix Sater? Tim OBrien, author of a biography of Trump, wrote about Sater in an article titled Lean, Mean Trump-Russia Machine. He was born in 1966 in the Soviet Union, and he and his family moved to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, when he was just 8. According to a recent Guardian profile, Saters relationship with Cohenand to organized crimegoes way back:
Sorting out Saters checkered past leads into a convoluted labyrinth of crime, legal entanglements, shady deals, alleged ties to US and foreign intelligence agencies and, of course, intimate connections to Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. The best comprehensive account of Saters long and complicated path was written by Andrew Rice and published in August in New York magazine under the headline The Original Russia Connection. Rices account, which includes parts of a lengthy interview with Sater, draws heavily on a 2007 breakthrough piece by Charles Bagli in The New York Times. Bagli was the first to uncover and report in depth on Saters criminal past. This past February the Times published a blockbuster story by Megan Twohey and Scott Shane recounting an effort by Sater, Cohen, Gen. Mike Flynn, and a Ukrainian politician to put forward a half-cocked Ukrainian peace plan and deliver it, freelance fashion, to the White House. In addition, various lawsuits, testimony, and depositions by the characters in Saters erratic orbit, including by Trump himself, provide valuable material in figuring out who Sater is and what role he plays in the Trump-Russia story. In this piece, I draw on all of these sources and more.
Saters first run-in with the law came in 1991according to the indictment, as reported by Bagli in the Timeswhen Sater, then an upstart stockbroker in his mid-20s, grabbed a large margarita glass, smashed it on the bar and plunged the stem into the right side of [a rival] brokers face. The man suffered nerve damage and required 110 stitches to close the laceration on his face.
Sater, who served time in prison for that assault, was barred from financial trading by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Yet in 1993, Sater and several partners took over a securities firm called White Rock Partners, later called State Street Capital Markets, which portrayed itself as a legitimate brokerage firm but, in fact, ran a criminal enterprise involving stock fraud, money laundering, and a so-called pump and dump scheme that involved conspiring to inflate the apparent value of near-worthless stocks, sell them off to unsuspecting investors, and cash in. In so doing, for protection Sater drew on the assistance of his fathers friends in the Genovese crime family. According to Rices New York piece, Sater laundered fraud proceeds through a labyrinthine network of Caribbean shell companies, Israeli and Swiss bank accounts, and contacts in New Yorks Diamond District. In the mid-1990s, New York reports, Sater spent a great deal of time in Moscow, where, according to a friend and business partner, Sal Lauriawho later wrote a book about all of thisWe were dealing with ex-KGB generals and with the elite of Russian society.
It all came crashing down in 1998, when New York City police uncovered a stash of guns and documents in a mini-storage locker in SoHo implicating Sater and his partners in the fraud and money-laundering schemes. According to the Times, citing other defendants in the case, Sater pled guilty to racketeering charges for bilking at least $40 million from his investors. Using Saters testimony, the feds eventually convicted 19 of Saters cronies, including half a dozen who had mob connections. Significantly, the prosecutor who oversaw Saters cooperation agreement in the 1998 indictment, now sealed, was Andrew Weissmannwho is currently one of 16 prosecutors and criminal justice officials on the staff of special counsel Robert Mueller, whos leading the Russiagate inquiry.
Enter the spies. During his time in Moscow and traveling around eastern Europe, Sater began cultivating ties to arms dealers, officials in US law enforcement and national security agencies, andaccording to his interview in New Yorkeven meeting with the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency. In order to get some bargaining power after he was indicted in 1998, according to Sater himself, he told the FBI that he had obtained valuable information about Osama bin Laden, a cache of Stinger missiles, and more. His information, it seems didnt pan outbut after 9/11, Sater did cooperate in some fashion with the US government. Overseeing the Sater case back then was none other than Loretta Lynch, then US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). In her confirmation hearing to serve as US Attorney General under President Obama, Lynch confirmed that Sater did in fact work with the FBI and other agenciespresumably the CIAin providing information crucial to national security. Where and how Sater gathered the information that he provided, whether or not it involved contacts with the Russian FSB (the successor to the KGB) and GRU, and whether those agencies themselves established a covert connection with Sater is something that both Mueller and the US intelligence community ought to be looking at today, of course.
Saters connection with Trump starts in the mid-2000s, when Sater joined a real estate firm called the Bayrock Group, which had been founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan. Arif hired Sater in 2003, making him the firms chief operating officer. The firm later set up its headquarters on the 24th floor of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, just below Trumps own suite of offices. (Saters first office suite, with his criminal enterprise called State Street Capital, had its offices in a Trump-owned building, 40 Wall Street, in the mid-1990s.)
Over the next several years Arif and Sater, via Bayrock, started or collaborated with Trump on a series of hotel and resort projects in Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, and elsewhere. Their most important collaboration was the development in 2005 of the Trump SoHo project, which, according to the Timess 2007 exposé of Sater, was a sleek, 46-story glass tower condominium hotel [then] under construction on a newly fashionable section of Spring Street. New York magazine adds that, oddly enough, the Trump SoHo tower happened to be directly across the street from the storage facility that had been Saters previous undoing.
When told by the Times about Saters criminal past, Alex Sapir, president of the Sapir Organization, which was involved in the SoHo project, said, This is all news to me. At the time, though, Trump didnt separate himself from Sater, mingling with him at the SoHo opening, hanging out in Colorado while working on another project, andaccording to Sater, at leastregularly interacting.
How did I get to Donald? Sater asked New York magazine, with typical braggadocio. I walked in his door and told him, Im gonna be the biggest developer in New York, and you want to be my partner. After that, Sater said, hed frequently pop into Trumps own office to talk about this or that deal. Donald wanted me to bring deals to him, Sater told New York. Because he saw how many I put on the table at Bayrock.
Sater and Bayrock sought to extend the Trump brand to Ukraine, Poland, and elsewhereincluding Moscow. Around 2005, Sater identified a location for a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, and he says that he personally escorted Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump around Moscow back thenan assertion that neither of the Trumps have denied. Last January The New York Times reported, During a trip in 2006, Mr. Sater and two of Mr. Trumps children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow opposite the Kremlin, connecting with potential partners over the course of several days.
After the financial crisis of 2008, Bayrock ran into difficulty, and Sater went out on his own. According to New York, following his separation from Bayrock he went to work for the Trump Organization, even carrying a business card listing his title as Senior Advisor to Donald Trump. Despite that, Trump denies ever employing Sater directly.
Saters links to Trump in recent years are obscure. According to recent reporting by the Times and the Post, however, as recently as 2015-16, Sater and Cohen, Trumps lawyer and the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, were working together on a Trump Tower Moscow arrangement, though that too didnt pan out.
But Sater and Cohen would cooperate on another venture. Following Trumps election, the two men worked together to develop a curious peace plan for Ukraine. In it, Sater and Cohen worked with Andrii Artemenko, a Ukrainian opposition politician who himself had a questionable past, having spent time in prison in Ukraine for an embezzlement scheme, according to the New York Times story last February that first broke the news of his collaboration with Sater and Cohen (the charges against Artemenko were eventually dropped). According to the Times, Sater met Cohen and Artemenko at a New York hotel just two blocks from Cohens current residence in Trump Park Avenue. Cohen, whos married to a Ukrainian woman, has business ties there himself, having once tried to get a Ukrainian ethanol business off the ground.
In 2014, a popular revolt toppled Ukraines pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was replaced by another oligarch, the pro-Western Petro Poroshenko. Paul Manafort, the GOP operative who would later sign on as Donald Trumps campaign manager, was on Yanukovychs payroll for years, and when Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia, Manafort contracted with opposition politicians in Kiev to help build an anti-Poroshenko blocand Artemenko joined in. (Manafort, of course, is under intense scrutiny in the Russiagate investigation from Mueller and two committees of Congress over his possible role as a go-between in collusion between Russias spy network and the Trump campaign. In July, Mueller ordered a pre-dawn raid at Manaforts Virginia home seeking evidence in the case, amid speculation that Manafort might flip and turn against Trump.)
According to the Times, the Artemenko plandelivered to Sater and Cohen, and then to Michael Flynn, the short-lived White House national security adviser who was forced to resign in Februaryinvolved using unflattering or compromising information (kompromat) to help oust Poroshenko and then winning the support of a new Ukrainian government for a 50- to 100-year lease of Crimea to Russiawhich in 2014 occupied and annexed Crimea, which for many decades had been part of Ukraine. Because the vast majority of Ukrainian political forces would never agree to surrender their claim to Crimea, the plan was considered a hopeless nonstarter by most experts familiar with the Ukraine crisis. Yet the role of Sater and Cohen, both Trump associates, contributed to the growing belief in Washington that Trump, who has steadily refused to criticize Putin for his authoritarian excesses, extrajudicial killings, and suppression of free expression in Russia, has questionable ties to Russia.
The plan went nowhere, however. According to the Times, Sater gave Cohen the proposal in a sealed envelope, who reportedly said he left it in Flynns office. But in an interview with HuffPost, Cohen said he never delivered the envelope. But that doesnt quite jibe with the Timess original report, which noted that when Flynn resigned (because of his own still unexplained conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition), Cohen was still waiting for a response, hoping a new national security adviser will take up their cause. So far, as far as we know, current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hasnt responded to the idea, which is probably long dead.
Even allowing for Saters long-established record as a liar and self-promoter, theres plenty here for Mueller and other investigators to dig into. And Sater, too, seems to believe that something big is coming. In his interview with New York magazine, he hinted ominously about the near future. In about the next 30 to 35 days, he told reporter Rice, I will be the most colorful character you have ever talked about. Unfortunately, I cant talk about it now, before it happens. And believe me, it aint anything as small as whether or not theyre gonna call me to the Senate committee.
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The Nation.–Sep 8, 2017
Every time someone asks Donald Trump if he knows Felix Sater, his Russian-born, Brooklyn-bred former business associate, Trump draws a …
‘Help world peace and make a lot of money’: Here’s the letter of …
Business Insider–Sep 8, 2017
Trump Moscow letter of intent divulged
CBS News–Sep 8, 2017
Not at all quiet for Trump on the Russia front
St. Louis American–Sep 8, 2017
Letter of intent to build Trump Tower Moscow: ‘Help world peace and …
Metro US–Sep 8, 2017
Document details scrapped deal for Trump Tower Moscow
Highly Cited–CNN–Sep 8, 2017
felix sater – Google News
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Four out of six suspects in the arson of a three-story building in May last year were arrested in November 2016 as part of a large-scale operation of the FBI and the New York police against the organized crime groups of immigrants from the former Soviet Union countries.
The US Prosecutor’s Office in the Eastern District of New York has unveiled an indictment on charges of arson of the 3-story residential building in the Brighton Beach/Coney Island district of New York, in which an illegal poker club was located.
The major fire occurred on the night of May 2, 2016, but its reasons have not been officially announced until now. Residents of the building were evacuated, but firemen had to rescue two people blocked by flame in an apartment on the third floor. As a result of the fire-fighting operations, several New York fire fighters suffered injuries and burns.
According to the document, six members of the so-called Russian mafia have been convicted of arson; five of them were arrested almost a year ago on suspicion of other crimes, whereas the sixth person, Viktor Zelinger, is still at large.
Members of a transnational OCG Aleksey Tsvetkov, Leonid Gershman (Lenchik), Vyacheslav Malkeev (Steve Bart), and Librado Riviera (Macho), arrested on charges of racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal possession of firearms, illegal usury, and the organization of an underground gambling business in November 2016, are currently in custody. As reported by the CrimeRussia, the investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies.
Detention of members of the criminal syndicate, November 2016
It is known that exerting pressure on their victims through their relatives in the US, the crime group would extort money abroad, namely in Israel and Eastern Europe. It was reported that the majority of those detained during the police operation had previous criminal experience. In particular, Aleksey Tsvetkov aka Pelmen, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1992, used to be an expert in debt collecting. In 2003, he was arrested by the FBI as a member of another Russian organized crime group, the Brighton Beach Crew, headed by Zinovy Bari.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Gershman and Malkeev were the Brighton Beach gang’s ‘power hitters’ along with Tsvetkov.
As reported by the press service of the Prosecutor’s Office of New York, all of them face various prison terms in accordance with the charges (from 17 years to life imprisonment).
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Columnists, talking heads and op-ed writers are holding open auditions for a role that presumably needs to be filled if we are ever going to get to the bottom of what seems fated to be dubbed, for better or worse, Russiagate: a new Deep Throat.
I get it. In the years since Watergate, the Washington Posts famous golden sourcelater revealed to be former FBI No. 2 executive W. Mark Felthas become practically synonymous with the ideal of the noble leaker. The original Deep Throat was instrumental in thwarting the conspiracy and bringing [President Richard] Nixon down, Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general, approvingly wrote in the Los Angeles Times in May. Was it wrong for Deep Throat, as FBI official Mark Felt was then known, to guide the investigation? Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan asked in June, in the midst of a column praising leaks and anonymous sources, and inviting more. New York magazine columnist Frank Rich has gone a step further and already announced his casting choice: James Comey is todays Deep Throat.
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The unarticulated presumption, which Sullivan, Litman and Rich are not alone in making, is that Feltthe FBIs deputy director in June 1972, and subsequently the parking-garage interlocutor who steered Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to reportorial heightswas an honorable, selfless whistleblower intent on exposing the lawlessness rampant in the Nixon White House. Or, as David Remnick spelled out in the New Yorkerechoing Deep Throats original hagiographers, Woodward and BernsteinFelt believed that the Nixon administration was corrupt, paranoid and trying to infringe on the independence of the bureau. The president and his top aides ran, Felt believed, a criminal operation out of the White House, and [Felt] risked everything to guide the Post reporters. A new biopic about Felt, starring Liam Neeson, is due out on September 29th and shows every sign of continuing to portray Deep Throat as a profound patriot and dedicated FBI lifer.
But heres a heretical thought: Mark Felt was no hero. Getting rid of Nixon was the last thing Felt ever wanted to accomplish; indeed, he was banking on Nixons continuation in office to achieve his one and only aim: to reach the top of the FBI pyramid and become director. Felt didnt help the media for the good of the country, he used the media in service of his own ambition. Things just didnt turn out anywhere close to the way he wanted.
Only recently, more than four decades after Nixons downfall, has it become possible to reconstruct Felts design and what really happened during those fateful six months following the Watergate break-in. Doing so requires burrowing through a great number of primary documents and government records against the backdrop of a vast secondary literature. Nixons surreptitious tape recordings rank first in importance, but only mark the starting point. One has to also research documents from the FBIs vast Watergate investigation; the bureaus subsequent internal leak investigation; records from the Watergate Special Prosecution Force; documents from Felts own FBI file; and lastly, two unintentionally rewarding books: Mark Felts original 1979 memoir, The FBI Pyramid, and the slightly reworked version published in 2006, A G-Mans Life.
What youll end up with is the real story of Deep Throat. And you might be left with this realization: No matter what happens to Donald Trumpwhether hes absolved, exposed or neitheryou should hope theres nobody as duplicitous as Mark Felt manipulating out understanding of Russiagate.
On May 1, 1972, John Edgar Hoover was days away from marking his 48th year as FBI director, or as one of his arch-critics labeled him, the No. 1 Sacred Cow of American Politics. The wily, 77-year-old bureaucrat was the closest thing to a cult of personality in the federal government that has ever existed; not even an unprecedented, year-long spate of bad publicity beginning in late 1970 had loosened his grip on the directorship. Sycophancy within the FBI was rife. Presidents and underlings came and went, but Hoover seemed invincible if not immortal, as inseparable from the law-enforcement empire he had built as the empire was unimaginable without him.
Yet behind the scenes, Hoovers selfish refusal to step down when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 1964, and two presidents lack of gumption to force him out, had put into motion a fierce, no-holds-barred struggle within the FBI to succeed him. It bore a striking resemblance to what used to happen inside the Kremlin, once a doddering Soviet leader neared the end of his term. More than a few top FBI executives saw a potential director when they looked in the mirror during their morning shave. And Hoovers unwillingness to let go had unleashed what the dean of Watergate historians, the late Stanley Kutler, noted as the war of the FBI succession.
The executive with the inside track during Nixons first years was William C. Sullivan, who carried the title assistant to the director. A mercurial, intense, secretive personality, Sullivan was regarded by Hoover for a time almost like a son. The standard measure for where subordinates stood with the stern and formal Hoover was his method of addressing them. If someone was Miller instead of Mr. Miller, that person had achieved a high level of familiarity. Hoover called Sullivan, who oversaw the bureaus all-important counterintelligence and domestic security responsibilities, simply Bill.
Yet Sullivan had a character flaw that became fatal the closer he got to the top of the pyramid: He was impatient. When the Nixon administration soured on the aging Hooverchief of staff H. R. Bob Haldeman acidly described the director as a real character out of days of yoreSullivan saw an opening, encouraged by like-minded Justice Department officials. He began leaking derogatory information about Hoover to journalists considered sympathetic, including, most notably, Robert Novak, the reporting half of the Rowland Evans and Robert Novak syndicated column.
Hoovers FBI leaked all the time, of course, to favored reporters. The bureau may not have invented the practice, but it had perfected the art. No federal agency rivaled the FBI in terms of the well-placed, exquisitely timed disclosure designed with an end in mind. Information is the currency of power in Washington, and leaking to the press was instrumental to the bureaus unofficial clout, the reason the FBI engendered fear in many quarters beyond its actual brief. But until Sullivan came along, leaking had largely been controlled, sanctioned and institutionalthat is, directed against the bureaus perceived adversaries or to burnish the FBIs image and reputation. Never had leaks been employed for personal gain at Hoovers expense.
Hoover soon figured it out. He fired Sullivan for disloyalty, insolence and insubordination, but not before a confrontation that instantly became part of FBI lore. In October 1971, Sullivan returned from a leave to find the locks in his office changed. Sullivan exchanged harsh words with the FBI executive who had thought up that particular touch. When the executive called him a Judas, the perpetually rumpled, bantam-sized Sullivan promptly challenged his dapper, six-foot tall adversary, William Mark Felt, to a fist fight.
Following Sullivans hasty exit, Felt became the front-runner to replace Hoover, despite being widely disliked internally. His nickname inside the bureau was the White Rat. He had acquired that sobriquet during the six years he headed up the Inspection Division, Hoovers instrument for enforcing discipline and meting out punishment. Felts martinet-like inspection tours, where he out-Hoovered Hoover to curry the directors favor, had earned him the enmity of agents and agents-in-charge throughout the country. Felts inspection report after the infamous break-in at the Media, Pennsylvania, FBI office in March 1971 by anti-war activists was typical. Felts report absolved the Seat of Government (as FBI headquarters was immodestly called during Hoovers reign) of all culpability, and made the Media agent-in-charge the scapegoat, as former Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger wrote in her 2014 book, The Burglary. We would probably not have pissed on [Felt] if he was on fire, retired agent Robert P. Campbell recalled in a 2011 interview, reflecting the rank-and-files disdain.
Felt never enjoyed strong support within the Nixon administration either, unlike Sullivan. While Crazy Billy had worn his ambition to succeed Hoover on his sleeve, Felt was self-serving in an unattractive way. Though consumed with what he believed was his rightful inheritance, Felt often exhibited a false humility, perhaps out of fear that his ambition would become too obvious to Hoover. If you wanted to ruin somebodys career in the FBI, a former agent later recalled, all you had to do [was] leak it to somebody in the press that so-and-so [was] being groomed as Hoovers successor. The result was that Felt did not interact with credibility with his peers, recalled Donald Santarelli, then an associate attorney general at the Justice Department, in a 2011 interview.
On the morning of May 2, 1972, Hoovers lifeless body was discovered on the floor of his bedroom one hour after the ever-punctual director failed to come downstairs for his 7:30 a.m. breakfast. Later, mourners at the funeral home were stunned by what they saw in the casket. There in the coffin lay a small, gray-haired, frail-looking man. The mortician had washed Hoovers hair and all the dye had come outfrom his eyebrows too.
Felt was not surprised by the portrait of infirmity. For all intents and purposes he had been running the bureau for more than a year, confident that if he bided his time (unlike Sullivan), Nixon would inevitably turn to Hoovers natural legatee.
Felt was wrong.
Nixons surprise appointment of a dark horse outsider, assistant attorney general L. Patrick Gray, to be acting director within hours stands as one of the most far-reaching personnel decisions ever taken by a president inadvertently. His attention consumed by the upcoming election, geopolitical strategy and the effort to withdraw U.S. ground troops from Vietnam, Nixon was anxious to avoid having Hoovers FBI become an issue in 1972. For the first time, a director was going to have to win Senate confirmation, and Nixon was leery of giving Democrats on the Judiciary Committee the opportunity to work over a nominee in an election year, possibly even block his confirmation. The president considered the appointment equal to nominating a chief justice to the Supreme Court. Nixon wanted a vigorous man who would occupy the post long after his second term ended. Grays acting appointment was roundly criticized on the grounds that he was a Nixon crony. But he otherwise aroused little opposition because he was as colorless as his name.
Gray wasnt promised the permanent appointment, only that he would be considered for the post if he did a creditable job. Yet the message behind Grays interim statusthat Nixon was intent on bringing in someone from outside the bureauwas an unmistakable signal to several executives angling for the job, and they decided to retire. The ambitious Felt saw the acting designation, however, as a small opening. It still left six months in which to persuade Nixon to see the light by nominating an insider, as Felt wrote in his 1979 memoir.
Felt was acting the part of Grays indispensable top deputy, while simultaneously belittling the interim director behind his back, according to interviews I conducted with contemporary FBI officials, when the Watergate break-in serendipitously occurred on June 17, 1972. The burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex by Nixon campaign operatives presented Gray with a dilemma that Felt could easily exploit to his advantage. If Gray could not manage the FBIs politically sensitive Watergate investigation to the White Houses satisfaction, he risked alienating the president and losing out on the nomination. Yet if Gray didnt allow an unbridled investigation to run its full course, he might fail to win confirmation before what was sure to remain a Democrat-controlled Senate. Gray essentially resolved the dilemma by absenting himself as much as possible, while leaving supervision of the investigation in the hands of professional subordinates, most prominently, Felt.
Grays decision facilitated Felts recourse to that bureau specialty, the artful leak. As John Dean has confirmed in numerous interviews beginning in 2011, Felt knew that nothing was more likely to incite the White House against Gray, and prove he was Hoovers unworthy successor, than stories in the press about the politically sensitive probe. As White House counsel and desk officer for the cover-up, Dean was person most frequently tasked with conveying the presidents ire to Gray. Similarly, Democrats hackles would be raised by any stories suggesting that the FBI was conducting a lax or superficial investigation.
Felt acted quickly. On June 20, three days after the break-in, the Washington Post published a story headlined, White House Consultant Tied to Bugging Figure. The article, citing Federal sources close to the investigation, revealed that a one-time White House consultant named E. Howard Hunt, who was also a former CIA officer, had an as-yet undetermined connection to the five burglars nabbed red-handed at the Watergate office complex. Hunt, of course, would turn out to be the co-ringleader of the break-in, along with G. Gordon Liddy, the Nixon campaigns finance counsel.
In his 2005 book about Felt, The Secret Man, Woodward described in detail how Felt provided the critical and substantial buttress for the scoop about Hunt. Although this investigative development would have become public inevitably, the fact that it happened so swiftly stunned a White House still grappling with how to respond to the break-in. The White Houses initial pose was to appear nonchalant and above the story, as captured in Ron Zieglers infamous, contemptuous observation that he would not be commenting on a third-rate burglary attempt. But the morning the article appeared special counsel Charles Colson roared to the president, as captured on an Oval Office recording, Pick up that God-damn Washington Post and see that guilt by association! Colson had been responsible for hiring Hunt, and instantly, the administration became obsessed with how information known only to the police, Justice Department prosecutors and the FBI had come out. Where the hell are all these leaks from our side coming from? Nixon wondered aloud. The impulse to circle the wagons, rather than make a clean breast of the campaigns culpability, took root.
Yet that kind of Watergate story was only half of Felts influence operation. Four days later, Felt managed to get fabled Time magazine reporter Sandy Smith interested in allegations that Gray had conferred with John Mitchell, the head of the presidents campaign, right after the break-in, and that Gray had been overheard boasting that the FBIs investigation would be wrapped up in 24 to 48 hoursthe clear inference being that the probe would be a whitewash. Smith presented the allegations for comment to Gray, who vehemently denied both. Merely being asked such questions left him furious. He knew that a journalist of Smiths caliber, who had access to the highest echelons in the bureau, would not be posing such questions unless the allegations came from someone Smith firmly believed was in a position to know. When the Time story actually appeared in print on June 26, the piece was thankfully trimmed of its falsehoods, Gray noted in a memo. Apparently, Sandy Smith had been unable to corroborate the allegations to his or his editors satisfactionwhich was hardly surprising, since neither of them was true. The leak to Time came from Felt himself, as Deep Throats revised autobiography, published in 2006, acknowledged. Subsequent leaks to Smith would prove more successful.
In the four months that remained before the election, Felt continued to feed the Washington Post and Time tidbitsranging from the connection between Watergate and the White House operatives known as plumbers to how campaign funds had been laundered through Mexicoalthough the weekly magazine never received the public acclaim the daily newspaper later did. Felt could leak with relative impunity because Watergate was not, and never became, a significant issue during the campaign, and therefore, presented no threat to the only presidential candidate who might appoint Felt directorRichard Nixon. George McGovern, the Democrats nominee, was a jackal in Hoovers parlance, anathema to every Hoover disciple and vice versa. The South Dakota senator had spent much of 1971 publicly lambasting the late director for various deficiencies, including alleged senility. Nixon, on the other hand, did discuss potentially appointing Felt to the position at one point, according to Oval Office tapes.
As Nixons confidence in Gray waned over the leaks, William Sullivan re-emerged as a potential rival after securing a top job in the Justice Department. That complicated Felts scheme greatly, for now he had to figure out how to damage Sullivans reputation too. He did so in leaks to Times Smith, whose discretion in such matters was legendary, in contrast to the untested Woodward. As in June, Felt was not above misleading Smith on occasion; we also know from Woodwards handwritten notes that Deep Throat told the cub reporter an enormous number of falsehoods (as John Dean was the first to point out), including during their famous clandestine rendezvous in an Arlington, Virginia parking garage. But then Felts relationship to the truth was always casual at best. His goal was incitement, rather than protecting the presidency, the bureau, democracy, or the rule of law from Nixons predations. Even the Posts most celebrated Watergate story of October 10, 1972the seminal or centerpiece story that alleged a massive campaign of political spying and espionageprominently featured a lie uttered by Felt. Deep Throat falsely asserted to Woodward that a letter damaging to the campaign of Senator Edmund Muskieconsidered the Democrats strongest candidate until he finished poorly in the New Hampshire primarywas a White House operation, concocted inside the gates surrounding the White House. What Woodstein represented in the Post as hard evidence of a political dirty trick was a fabrication, as an internal FBI inquiry and later, the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, determined.
Felt never achieved his goal of becoming director, of course, except for the two hour and fifty minute interregnum that occurred between Grays sudden resignation in May (for having destroyed embarrassing documents unrelated to Watergate found in E. Howard Hunts White House safe) and the appointment of a new acting directoranother outsider named William Ruckelshaus. Unbeknownst to Felt, Nixon had learned in October 1972 that Felt was leaking to Times Sandy Smith. The presidents impulse was to fire Felt immediately, but cooler heads at the White House explained that Felt knew too much to make such a move just before the election. His removal would have to wait until after November, when a new director could be ordered to clean out the pestilence in the FBIs upper ranks.
As it turned out, Felt abruptly resigned from the bureau in May 1973 to avoid being investigated right then and there for leaking. It was a fate he didnt entirely escape, because a year-long internal investigation was launched a few months later anyway. Subsequently, the Inspection Division learned from Carol Tschudy, a bureau secretary for 17 years, that she was unable to recall how many calls transpired between a Washington Post reporter and her former boss, Felt. However, she said, the frequency of Woodwards calls seemed to depend upon various developments in the Watergate case. Felt tried to make a go of consulting and the lecture circuit, and worked on his memoir after he retired from government service. In 1980, Felt made news when he was tried and convicted of ordering illegal FBI break-ins targeting the left-wing Weather Underground, a violent faction of domestic anti-war radicals. Nixon contributed to Felts defense fund and testified at his trial, and Reagan later pardoned him.
Meanwhile, Deep Throat went down in history as a do-gooder who saved the rule of law and American democracy from a criminal president. This was largely thanks to the large dose of buncombe in Woodward and Bernsteins initial 1974 description of their source in All the Presidents Men, and greatly magnified by the depiction in the eponymous Hollywood movie. Deep Throat, they wrote, was trying to protect the office [of the presidency]. It wasnt until 2005 that Woodward admitted in his book about Felt, The Secret Man, that Felt never really voiced pure, raw outrage to me about Watergate or what it represented (which is not surprising, given Felts contemporaneous role in sanctioning illegal FBI break-ins).
It remains true that Felts information, regardless of his motive, helped keep Watergate in the news at a time when few Americans cared, and that was important. Stories in the Post, Time and elsewhere helped shield the three original federal prosecutors from political interference. And after they won convictions of all five burglars, plus Hunt and Liddy, in January 1973, the prospect of serious prison time finally broke the back of the cover-up. One of the burglars, James McCord, alleged that perjury had been committed during the trial, precipitating a foot-race to the prosecutors by John Dean and deputy campaign director Jeb Magruder, which, in turn, unleashed a flood of revelations that eventually put the president himself at risk.
Primarily because the Post (most prominently) reported increments of the break-in story (but never the cover-up, remember) before the burglars were actually tried, the fable took hold that the press exposed Watergate. This was a legend propagated by a media eager to bask in the Posts reflected glory. The press was the decidedly junior partner to the legal machinery. For an authority on the subject, one need look no further than Sandy Smith, who broke as many significant stories about Watergate as anyone in the media. Theres a myth that the press did all this, uncovered all the crimes, he was quoted as saying in an official history of Time, Inc., published in 1986. Its bunk. The press didnt do it. People forget that the government was investigating all the time. In my material there was less than two percent that was truly original investigation. There was [a federal] investigation being carried out here.
This fact, in all likelihood, is the reason why Felt never came forward to claim the riches and acclaim that supposedly awaited Deep Throat. Indeed, he perpetually lied about being Deep Throat after theWashingtonian fingered him in June 1974 as the first prime suspect, just as All the Presidents Menwas being published. Felt had to fear his actions could not withstand close scrutiny. His motive would be exposed as base and self-serving, and he would be roundly condemned in the only fraternity that he knew and cared about, the society of current and former FBI executives and agents. When finally outed in Vanity Fair in 2005 by his family, who had understandably imbibed the fable, Felt was dehabilitated by dementia and the few remaining peers able to recognize Felt for who he was and what he did were drowned out by the wave of nostalgia for the legacy media.
Felts admission left Pat Gray reeling; he likened it to being hit with a sledgehammer. Suffering from pancreatic cancer with only a few weeks to live, Gray summoned the strength to denounce publicly the man he considered, until that moment, his loyal and trustworthy executive officer. He had never grasped Felts treachery despite ample contemporaneous warnings. Now Gray belatedly realized that Felt had been a formidable foe primarily because he was such a skilled liar. The Vanity Fair story also stunned John J. McDermott, the special agent-in-charge of the Washington Field Office when it conducted the Watergate investigation. McDermott had long thought that the mysterious Deep Throat was actually a reporters invention and composite, meant to fuzz up the identities of several discrete White House sources. But once Felt claimed the mantle and Woodward confirmed it, McDermott immediately recognized that Felt had engaged in the same underhanded tactics as Sullivan. McDermott expressed shock, dismay, and disgust at Felts perfidy, and the bogus media-driven theory that Felt had a need to expose information which otherwise would have been suppressed. He defied anyone to prove that the FBI had failed to follow a single Watergate lead, concealed information from the Justice Department or did anything to warrant Felts behavior. Its embarrassing for the bureau to be exposed as having had such people as Felt and Sullivan, McDermott said in November 2010.
When the biopic comes out later this month, dont be fooled. Felt betrayed the bureau, and more importantly, the investigative and legal machinery that is, more manifestly than ever, the last barrier between a government of laws and not of men or women.
There should be no pining for another Deep Throat. Leaks from bona fide whistle-blowers are one thing. Leaks from a self-aggrandizing FBI executive in the know, even if good for a few headlines, are bad for the rule of law. Nor would it be helpful to have an FBI executive plying reporters with false stories, indifferent to what gets printed or broadcast so long as it harms his bureaucratic enemies. Special counsel Robert Muellers investigation is far too important for that.
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Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person
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This week cable news began breathlessly practicing saying the name Felix Sater over and over again, after it leaked that he had conspired with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen to try to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election. Who is this Sater guy? Where did he come from? Why havent you heard his name before? Well, if youve been reading a site like Palmer Report, youve known full well who Felix Sater is and why hes so crucial to all of this for a very long time.
Palmer Report first began trying to connect the dots between Felix Sater, Russia and Donald Trump back in February. We werent the first. To be frank, it was rather easy to see that something was there. Sater and Cohen had been exposed as part of the truly weird Kremlin plot to convince Trump to use blackmail material to oust the president of Ukraine, so Putin could install a puppet. That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trumps desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. Hed also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasnt difficult to see where this was all going.
It was abundantly clear back then that Sater was the linchpin to unraveling Donald Trumps connections to the Kremlin, and that Sater and Cohen were in close cahoots when it came to those connections. The trouble: at the time, no one could piece together specifically what those connections were. Sater was confirmed to have been involved in some of Trumps sketchiest real estate deals, such as Trump SoHo. Cohen was Trumps attorney at the Trump Organization. But what were they doing together, and what did it have to do with the Kremlin?
This week the answer finally arrived: Felix Sater and Michael Cohen were trying to help Donald Trump get his Trump Tower Moscow built during the election. Cohen even went so far as to contact the Kremlin for help. Sater bragged in an email that the project would get Trump installed in the Oval Office. Now that the crucial missing piece is in place, everyone from Congress to the Special Counsel is using it to zero in on Sater to get him to flip on Trump. Things are finally in motion.
But if youve been playing close attention, youve known for the past eight months that it was going to come down to Sater, his relationship to the Putin-controlled Russian underworld, and his relationship to Trump through Cohen. Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we dont yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasnt yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. Its because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.
The post Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along appeared first on Palmer Report.
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A giant Facebook like seen at the companys new headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Photo by Robert Galbraith/Reuters
Facebook announced Wednesday that a Russian propaganda organization used the social media platform to purchase $100,000 of political advertising.
Heres what you need to know about this news:
What was found?
Facebook found 470 inauthentic accounts associated with approximately 3,000 political ads from June 2015 to May 2017. The ad purchases and accounts are affiliated with a Russian troll farm, dubbed the Internet Research Agency, which spreads pro-Russian propaganda and false information across the World Wide Web.
Most of the ads did not contain references to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, voting or the candidates. Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights, Facebooks Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said in a blog post on the companys website.
Facebook also conducted a wider search for political ads that potentially originated from Russia. The company found $50,000 worth of spending on 2,200 ads. A Facebook spokesperson, however, cautioned that this group of ads carried a low amount of certainty because the companys search included sources with weak connections to Russia.
How does the Russian propaganda machine work? Special correspondent Nick Schifrin talked to someone who used to work as a troll inside the Internet Research Agency. Watch his July 2017 report from Inside Putins Russia.
What is the Internet Research Agency?
The agency had become known for employing hundreds of Russians to post pro-Kremlin propaganda online under fake identities, including on Twitter, in order to create the illusion of a massive army of supporters, journalist Adrian Chen wrote in 2015 in the New York Times Magazine.
Chen reported that the agency was responsible for false reports of toxic fumes in Louisiana and an outbreak of Ebola in Atlanta, both in 2014.
Learn more about the Internet Research Agency from this 2015 conversation between PBS NewsHours Jeffrey Brown and journalist Adrian Chen.
Why its important
In January, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin led a campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paid trolls social media users who were compensated to deliberately post controversial content and the social media accounts of the pro-Kremlin television network RT were part of this effort, according to their report.
What Facebook found is one small piece of this larger, consistent, Russian effort, John Sipher, a former CIA agent who ran the agencys Russia program for three years, told the NewsHour.
This is a big deal because I think its more evidence of a coordinated Russian attack against our system, Sipher said.
And for those who suggest that $100,000 in ads is not much: This is just one troll farm that Facebook has proven was Russian, Sipher said. Im sure theres all kinds of other stuff that hasnt been picked up on yet.
In addition to the ad buying, an investigation published late Thursday by The New York Times, with research from the cybersecurity company FireEye, detailed other ways that suspected Russian trolls disseminated false and hacked information.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Washington Post that Facebooks disclosure is a profound warning to us and others about future elections. A question left to answer, he said, is whether any of the pro-Russian trolls coordinated with President Trumps 2016 campaign team.
Stamos, the chief security officer, said Facebook has since shut down the 470 suspicious accounts and pages.
We have shared our findings with U.S. authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary, Stamos said.
But Facebook has not shared copies of the ads with the public, and does not plan to, a Facebook spokesperson told the NewsHour. A Facebook official told the Washington Post that our data policy and federal law limit our ability to share user data and content, so we wont be releasing any ads.
Facebooks refusal to share the ads has drawn criticism from eBay founder, philanthropist and First Look Media founder Pierre Omidyar and former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter.
Stamos noted that Facebook has made improvements to weed out fake accounts based on their activity on the platform and end the spread of fake news in the past year, with more improvements planned.
We are looking at how we can apply the techniques we developed for detecting fake accounts to better detect inauthentic pages and the ads they may run, Stamos said. We are also experimenting with changes to help us more efficiently detect and stop inauthentic accounts at the time they are being created.
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I doubt that the Trump-Russia affair would become possible if the FBI were not thoroughly infiltrated by the Russian agents and the “Fifth columnists” – Michael Novakhov Trump Investigations Report
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