“Spygate is the first American scandal in which the government wants the facts published transparently but the media want to cover them up.”
British journalist John O’Sullivan — Tweet (May 24 2019)
“Russiagate is the worst and (considering the lack of actual evidence) most fraudulent political scandal in American history. We have yet to calculate the damage Russiagate has inflicted on America’s democratic institutions, including the presidency and the electoral process, and on domestic and foreign perceptions of American democracy, or on US-Russian relations at a critical moment when both sides, having “modernized” their nuclear weapons, are embarking on a new, more dangerous, and largely unreported arms race.”
Stephen F. Cohen
“The first conclusions to emerge from Robert Mueller’s report will prove discomfiting to the centrist (…) which blamed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election defeat on a Russian plot. They will also be a serious affront to most in the US media, which has for two years made ‘Russiagate’ its biggest story.”
Le Monde Diplomatique
“The press is part of the operation, the indispensable part. None of it would have been possible…had the media not linked arms with spies, cops, and lawyers to relay a story first spun by Clinton operatives.”
Lee Smith — US journalist
June 5 2019 — Stephen F. Cohen — professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University — is America’s foremost expert on US -Russia relations. Cohen just penned an extremely interesting analysis of Russiagate. Cohen argues that Barr’s investigation is important and should be encouraged. Cohen is right. And I can promise you this much: if the investigation is thorough, the conclusions will shock American people and the world. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
Russiagate has caused great damage to America’s democratic institutions. And, until we know how this scandal actually began, the chaos caused by Russiagaters will continue to mount, with no end in sight.
One way to end Russiagate might be to discover how it actually began. Considering what we have learned, or been told, since the allegations became public nearly three years ago, in mid-2016, there seem to be at least three hypothetical possibilities:
1. One is the orthodox Russiagate explanation: Early on, sharp-eyed top officials of President Obama’s intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA and FBI, detected truly suspicious “contacts” between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians “linked to the Kremlin” (whatever that may mean, considering that the presidential administration employs hundreds of people), and this discovery legitimately led to the full-scale “counterintelligence investigation” initiated in July 2016. Indeed, Mueller documented various foreigners who contacted, or who sought to contact, the Trump campaign. The problem here is that Mueller does not tell us, and we do not know, if the number of them was unusual.
Many foreigners seek “contacts” with US presidential campaigns and have done so for decades. In this case, we do not know, for the sake of comparison, how many such foreigners had or sought contacts with the rival Clinton campaign, directly or through the Clinton Foundation, in 2016. (Certainly, there were quite a few contacts with anti-Trump Ukrainians, for example.) If the number was roughly comparable, why didn’t US intelligence initiate a counterintelligence investigation of the Clinton campaign?
If readers think the answer is because the foreigners around the Trump campaign included Russians, consider this: In 1986, when Senator Gary Hart was the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, he went to Russia—still Communist Soviet Russia—to make contacts in preparation for his anticipated presidency, including meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. US media coverage of Hart’s visit was generally favorable. (I accompanied Senator Hart and do not recall much, if any, adverse US media reaction.)
2. The second explanation—currently, and oddly, favored by non-comprehending pro-Trump commentators at Fox News and elsewhere—is that “Putin’s Kremlin” pumped anti-Trump “disinformation” into the American media, primarily through what became known as the Steele Dossier. As I pointed out nearly a year and a half ago, this makes no sense factually or logically. Nothing in the dossier suggests that any of its contents necessarily came from high-level Kremlin sources, as Steele claimed. Moreover, if Kremlin leader Putin so favored Trump, as a Russiagate premise insists, is it really plausible that underlings in the Kremlin would have risked Putin’s ire by furnishing Steele with anti-Trump “information”? On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that “researchers” in the United States (some, like Christopher Steele, paid by the Clinton campaign) were supplying him with the fruits of their research.
3. The third possible explanation—one I have termed “Intelgate,” and that I explore in my recent book War With Russia?: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate—is that US intelligence agencies undertook an operation to damage, if not destroy, first the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump. More evidence of “Intelgate” has since appeared. For example, the intelligence community has said it began its investigation in April 2016 because of a few innocuous remarks by a young, lowly Trump foreign-policy adviser, George Papadopoulos. The relatively obscure Papadopoulos suddenly found himself befriended by apparently influential people he had not previously known, among them Stefan Halper, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, and a woman calling herself Azra Turk. What we now know—and what Papadopoulos did not know at the time—is that all of them had ties to US and/or UK and Western European intelligence agencies.
US Attorney General William Barr now proposes to investigate the origins of Russiagate. He has appointed yet another special prosecutor, John Durham, to do so, but the power to decide the range and focus of the investigation will remain with Barr. The important news is Barr’s expressed intention to investigate the role of other US intelligence agencies, not just the FBI, which obviously means the CIA when it was headed by John Brennan and Brennan’s partner at the time, James Clapper, then director of national intelligence.
As I argued in The Nation, Brennan, not Obama’s hapless FBI Director James Comey, was the godfather of Russiagate, a thesis for which more evidence has since appeared. We should hope that Barr intends to exclude nothing, including the two foundational texts of the deceitful Russiagate narrative: the Steele Dossier and, directly related, the contrived but equally ramifying Intelligence Community Assessment of January 2017. (Not coincidentally, they were made public at virtually the same time, inflating Russiagate into an obsessive national scandal.)
There is no doubt whatsoever that John Brennan is at the center of Russiagate. All roads lead to John Brennan. It is also already absolutely clear that several European Intelligence Agencies have collaborated with the CIA on this operation.
British MI5/MI6 and GCHQ have contributed to the “Steele Dossier” which was used as the legal justification for the spying on the presidential campaign. Why else would Brennan refer to this garbage document as the “Crown material” in an email to James Comey?
Now, let me remind you something that the CIA has never acknowledged so far.
In February 2013, John Brennan, then the director of Central Intelligence, named Gina Haspel as acting Director of the National Clandestine Service, which carries out covert operations around the globe.
However, she was not appointed to the position permanently due to criticism about her involvement in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. Her permanent appointment was opposed by Dianne Feinstein and others in the Senate. Francis Archibald — Former COS in Malaysia and Pakistan — was picked to run the NCS.
From 2013 to 2017, Haspel was the Chief of Station in London. That is right. There can be only one conclusion: Haspel was running the European chapter of Russiagate. And now you can easily understand why Brennan was desperate to secure the nomination of Haspel as CIA Director, despite her horrendous track of records.
I have argued that the Skripal Affair is also part of Russiagate. In March 2018, Gina Haspel lied to President Trump about the Skripal Affair in order to persuade him to escalate measures against Moscow.
On April 16 of this year, The New York Times reported it without correcting Haspel’s falsehood. Please, note that the story told by the Times is not only false, it also contradicts the official narrative. (Several non–mainstream media outlets have reported the true story.)
The pieces of the puzzle are finally starting to fall into place.
Chris Hedges/ Stephen F. Cohen War with Russia?
The progress of US -Russia relations from the Cold War to detente to the origins of Russiagate, the unprecedented position where the president of the United States is accused of being a tool of the Kremlin.
America’s foremost expert on US -Russia relations explains this development, and the extreme danger that Russiagate has put us in.
How Did Russiagate Begin? — The Nation
How Did Spygate Begin?