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Levitz writes: "The fact that America's top intelligence agencies are taking these claims seriously - or, at the very least, want the president-elect to think they are taking them seriously - is big, bizarre news."

Painted Matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, bearing the faces of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin at a souvenir shop in Moscow. (photo: Joshua Nistas/Reuters)
Painted Matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, bearing the faces of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin at a souvenir shop in Moscow. (photo: Joshua Nistas/Reuters)


Intelligence Chiefs Presented Trump With Claims That Russia Has 'Compromised' Him

By Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

11 January 17

 

uring the Republican primaries, anti-Trump Republicans’ search for dirt brought them into contact with a former member of MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service, CNN reported Tuesday.

Currently the proprietor of a private intelligence firm, this man had spent much of the 1990s as a British spy in Russia. Drawing on that experience, the contacts he’d gathered from it, and the funds of Never Trump conservative donors, this spook began drafting a memo on the mogul’s relationships with Russian businesses and political entities. After Trump secured the GOP nomination, donors aligned with Hillary Clinton paid the spy continue his work.

That investment yielded 35 pages of memos (which have now been published by Buzzfeed) and two explosive allegations:

1. Russian operatives claim to be in possession of compromising personal and financial information about America’s president-elect. (The former “information” allegedly includes a videotape of Trump watching several Russian sex workers urinate on the bed the Obamas slept in at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow.)

2. There was a continuous exchange of information between Trump surrogates and “intermediaries for the Russian government” throughout the 2016 campaign. Allegedly, the Russians had been cultivating Trump for five years; he supposedly fed them information about Russian oligarchs in return for information from “moles in the DNC” and Russian hackers. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his ex-foreign policy adviser Carter Page, and his lawyer Michael Cohen are named as intermediaries. The Guardian reports that the FBI applied for a warrant from the FISA court to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of making contacts with Russian officials. The court rejected the request, saying it was too broad, and it’s unclear if a warrant was ever granted.

Cohen has already denied the report, calling it “fake news” and “absolutely silly stuff” that “reads like a John Le Carre novel.”

Trump responded on Twitter:

One week before the election, David Corn of Mother Jones published a story detailing the existence of these memos and their allegations. But many viewed a single, anonymous private spy as a less-than-credible source and the media quickly moved past the story’s explosive claims.

But the CIA did not. And CNN reports that America’s top intelligence agencies presented Trump with a two-page synopsis of the spy’s memos during his intelligence briefing on Russian hacking last week.

According to the network, these memos have been circulating through the intelligence community since last summer. But more recently, U.S. intelligence agencies completed a review of the British spy’s work and his vast network of contacts, and found them credible enough to present his findings to the president-elect.

None of these claims have been substantiated, and their contingency should be stressed: To believe them, one must not only trust an anonymous foreign spy who was paid to generate unflattering material about Donald Trump, but also believe the claims of Russian intelligence operatives, who may have an incentive to bluff.

Nonetheless, the fact that America’s top intelligence agencies are taking these claims seriously — or, at the very least, want the president-elect to think they are taking them seriously — is big, bizarre news.

Trump’s strange reaction to the intelligence community’s consensus about Russian involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee, which included a blanket disavowal of the CIA, and repeated praise of Vladimir Putin, may betray the truth of the secret memos’ claims.

Or that odd behavior may explain why the CIA would leak dubious intelligence that discredits the president-elect.

Either way, this is a pretty major plot twist, considering we still have ten more days till the end of the prologue.

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+20 # tedrey 2017-01-11 12:15
The purpose of the intelligence agencies (both those of the US and of other nations) is to find out facts, reveal some of these, suppress others, and make up additional stuff at the request of persons who may or may not be legitimate national leaders. It is necessary to remember that telling the truth to the public is not at all the major part of their required role as they see it.
 
 
-8 # Johnny 2017-01-11 12:31
"The fact that America's top intelligence agencies are taking these claims seriously - or, at the very least, want the president-elect to think they are taking them seriously - is big, bizarre news."

America's "top intelligence agencies," a.k.a. the deep state, are not taking these claims seriously. They are fabricating the claims.
 
 
+15 # wtd 2017-01-11 13:53
Author might be more convincing if he mentioned the fact that the original source for the "golden shower" incident was a spoof published on 4CHAN and trolled to NeverTrump activists. The gullible fools taken in by it included Sen. John McCain and yes, the CIA. When you really, really want to believe, suspending credulity is no problem.
 
 
+3 # DongiC 2017-01-11 14:15
Will it ever stop? Now we have the CIA and President-elect Trump clashing once again. Both have a creditability problem which is sad. We like to think that our president is believable, especially if he addresses us in national emergencies and who would ignore the CIA if it calls attention to a terrorist plot?

I hope the president and the CIA settle their differences for the good of all of us.
 
 
-3 # Jaax88 2017-01-11 16:43
DongiC
Generally I like your point of view, but I am not sure what you are saying here. "Ignore" call outs by the CIA of a terrorist plot? Isn't that what Bush2 did before 9/11?
 
 
+2 # keenon the truth 2017-01-11 18:35
Read it again. It is a rhetorical queztion.
 
 
+1 # DongiC 2017-01-12 18:56
Yes he did. The results, of course, were devastating.
 
 
-2 # Jaax88 2017-01-12 00:29
What difference does that make? I was just asking him a question. Read again.
 
 
0 # ronnewmexico 2017-01-14 00:17
Has this court ever..
"The Guardian reports that the FBI applied for a warrant from the FISA court to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of making contacts with Russian officials. The court rejected the request, saying it was too broad, and it’s unclear if a warrant was ever granted."

rejected a FBI requestr for a warrant?
If they did I would guess it is a first. If it was rejected I can only guess there was not substantiative reason for the request.
 
 
0 # sharag 2017-01-14 11:05
The Russians, MI6, numerous other intelligence agencies in other countries as well as our own agencies probably have compromising information on every one of our top politicians to use as and when needed. However, who can believe any in the intelligence community anymore? They lie with every breath to manipulate every story in the direction they want it to go. I'm no Trump supporter and think he will be terrible for the country and world, but the intelligence agencies aren't any better.
 

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