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Russia challenges Britain on Skripal: insists on proper procedures being followed; demands answers

Russia publishes detailed rebuttal of British claims on Skripal case, demands British answers to host of unanswered questions

Alexander Mercouris

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The Russian Foreign Ministry has published a formal statement responding to British claims of Russian involvement in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal, and demanding that Britain answer questions about its conduct of the Skripal case

The complete text of the statement – known in diplomatic language as an Aide-memoire – is as follows

21 March 2018    21:33
Aide-memoire to clarify the state of affairs as regards the so-called ‘Skripal case’

1. On 12 March 2018, Prime Minister of Great Britain Theresa May, addressing the House of Commons, said it was “highly likely” that the Russian Federation was responsible for the poisoning of former GRU colonel, double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal on 4 March 2018 in Salisbury, with a nerve agent identified according to British classification as A-234.

The United Kingdom has publicly raised a question about Russia’s “concealing” and “using” part of its chemical arsenal, thus alleging that Russia has “violated” its obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC) – one of the most effective multilateral treaties in the disarmament and non-proliferation field, which was initiated, among others, by our country.

Thus, the United Kingdom has come out against Russia as well as against the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) itself and the tremendous work that has been done within this organization during the last two decades, including with participation of the United Kingdom.

Pursuant to the requirements of Article III of the CWC, the Russian Federation submitted a full and complete declaration of all its chemical weapons stockpiles. That data was thoroughly checked and verified by the inspection teams of the OPCW Technical Secretariat. The fact of the full elimination of Russia’s chemical arsenal has been officially confirmed by the authorized international institution – the OPCW.

2. On 12 March 2018, given the gravity of the accusations brought against our country, the Russian Embassy in London sent a note verbale to the Foreign Office of Great Britain requesting access to the investigation materials, including samples of the chemical agent that British investigators were referring to, so that it could be tested by our experts in the framework of joint investigation.

Thus, we proposed to act in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article IX of the CWC. It stipulates that States Parties to the Convention should first make every effort to clarify and resolve, through exchange of information and consultations among themselves, any matter which may cause doubt about compliance with the CWC. Under the provisions of that Article, Russia would be ready to respond to the United Kingdom’s request within 10 days.

Unfortunately, the British side rejected that option and, instead of following the existing norms of international law, chose to unscrupulously politicize the issue.

3. British Prime Minister Theresa May suggested that a special Security Council meeting to discuss the matter be held on 14 March 2018.  Suspecting that London would play dirty, Russia insisted on making the Security Council’s meeting open.

It is incomprehensible what the British side was trying to achieve by bringing the issue to the UNSC. This matter by no means falls within the mandate of the UNSC. It is quite obvious that all discussions are pointless until the OPCW gives its assessment of the Salisbury incident (it is important to know whether a nerve agent was actually used; if it was, how the likely origin of the chemicals was determined; what, and on what basis, actions were taken with regard to the victims, etc.).

4. On 14 March 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May, apparently having come to senses, finally sent a letter to Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW Ahmet Üzümcü (circulated to all OPCW Executive Council Member States on 15 March 2018) inviting the OPCW Technical Secretariat “to independently verify the analysis” of the British investigation into the Salisbury incident.

As indicated in the press release by the British Foreign Office of 18 March 2018, following the letter by Ms Theresa May, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW invited experts of the OPCW Technical Secretariat to visit the United Kingdom to carry out an independent analysis of the findings of the British Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in connection with the Salisbury incident. On 19 March 2018, OPCW experts arrived in the United Kingdom.

Russia expects the OPCW to make an official detailed account of developments around the ‘Skripal case’. We proceed from the understanding that the OPCW Technical Secretariat shall conduct a full-fledged independent investigation in accordance with all relevant provisions of the CWC.

5. Russia has more and more questions both in legal and practical terms. And we intend to seek answers through the OPCW.

Russia states that it has not used chemical weapons against Great Britain. We suppose that the attack on the Skripals with toxic chemicals shall be deemed a terrorist act. As Yulia Skripal, a Russian citizen, is among the victims to the incident, we propose cooperation with the British Side under Article IX of the CWC.

We would like to ascertain the following issues.

Where, how, and by whom were the samples collected from Sergei and Yulia Skripal? How was it all documented? Who can certify that the data is credible? Was the chain of custody up to all the OPCW requirements when evidence was collected?

Which methods (spectral analysis and others) were used by the British side to identify, within such a remarkably short period of time, the type of the substance used (“Novichok” according to the western classification)? As far as we know, to do that, they must have had a standard sample of such agent at their disposal.

And how do these hasty actions correlate with Scotland Yard’s official statements that “the investigation is highly likely to take weeks or even months” to arrive at conclusions?

What information and medical effects led to a hasty decision to administer antidotes to the aggrieved Skripals and the British policeman? Could that hastiness lead to grave complications and further deterioration of their health status?

Which antidotes exactly were administered? What tests had been conducted to make the decision to use these drugs?

How can the delayed action of the nerve agent be explained, given that it is a fast-acting substance by nature? The victims were allegedly poisoned in a pizzeria (in a car, at the airport, at home, according to other accounts). So what really happened? How come they were found in some unidentified time on a bench in the street?

We need an explanation why it is Russia who was accused on the ‘Skripal case’ without any grounds whatsoever, while works to develop the agent codenamed “Novichok” in the West had been carried out by the United Kingdom, the USA, Sweden and the Czech Republic. There are more than 200 open sources publications in the NATO countries, highlighting the results that those countries achieved in the development of new toxic agents of this type.

6. Even from purely humanitarian perspective London’s action appears simply barbaric. On 4 March 2018 (as British authorities themselves claim) a nerve agent attack against Russian citizen Yulia Skripal was committed in the territory of the United Kingdom.

Russian Federation has demanded exhaustive information on the course of investigation into the Salisbury incident involving a Russian citizen (the Russian Embassy in London sent the relevant note verbale on 12 March 2018).

The United Kingdom is breaching elementary rules of inter-State relations and is still denying, without any explanation, Russian officials’ consular access to Yulia Skripal envisaged by the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. For more than two weeks now, we have not been able to credibly ascertain what happened to our citizen and what condition she is actually in.

On 16 March, the Main Directorate for High-Priority Cases of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation initiated a criminal investigation into the attempted willful murder of Russian citizen Yulia Skripal committed by dangerous means in the territory of the United Kingdom.

The investigation will be conducted in accordance with the Russian legislation and the norms of international law. Highly qualified experts will contribute to the investigation.

The investigators stand ready to work together with the competent authorities of the United Kingdom. We expect a cooperative approach of the British side.

7. In the UN Security Council as well as in the OPCW and at other international fora, the Russian Federation has been a consistent and insistent proponent of thorough, comprehensive and professional investigation of all crimes involving toxic chemicals, and of bringing perpetrators to justice.

We are ready to engage in full-scale and open cooperation with the United Kingdom in order to address any concerns whether in bilateral format or within the OPCW and other international instruments, working within the purview of international law.

As a responsible member of the international community and a bona fide State Party to the CWC Russia will never speak the language of ultimatums or answer informal and word-of-mouth questions.

The Western countries’ action on the fabricated ‘Skripal case’ contravenes the norms of international law and the general practice of inter-State relations, as well as the common sense itself. Naturally, we run a detailed record of all that, and when time comes, those guilty will inevitably be brought to justice.

Compare this careful statement with this infantile video published by the British Foreign Office, which conflates speculations about the case appearing on Russian television channels and in Russian newspapers with formal statements of the Russian government

To be clear, the Russians have provided a full explanation of their position: they were not involved in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal, they do not possess any stocks of Novichok chemicals, and the Novichok chemical used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal cannot therefore have come from their stocks, which do not exist.

It is perverse and mendacious for the British to go on pretending that the Russians have not fully answered the question Theresa May put to them in her notorious ultimatum of a week ago.  Not only have the Russians fully answered the question; they have done so repeatedly.  It is another matter that the British do not like the answer.

The Russian statement or Aide-memoire speaks for itself, but I will just add two further points to it:

(1) Former British ambassador Craig Murray, whose articles on the Skripal case have been quite simply outstanding, has made the point that the British have never actually said that the chemical agent used in the attack on Skripal was made in Russia.

Instead the formula always used in all British and Western statements about the chemical agent used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal is that it was of a type developed by Russia.

I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve agent as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the “Novichok” programme a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilisers. This substance is a “novichok” in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China.

To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days. The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the UK at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday:

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

When the same extremely careful phrasing is never deviated from, you know it is the result of a very delicate Whitehall compromise.

To which I would add that the formula of a type developed by Russia is actually wrong.

The family of chemical agents the Western powers call “Novichoks” (apparently it is not a Russian term) were not “developed by Russia”.  They were developed by the USSR, which was a different and much bigger country than Russia.

The main production facility was allegedly in Uzbekistan, which is not part of Russia, though there is actually doubt about whether any “Novichok” agents were ever made there.

The British have apparently tried to get round this problem by saying that Russia is the USSR’s successor state and “assumed responsibility” for all the USSR’s programmes.

This is absurd.  Russia does not control everything that happens across the whole territory of the former USSR and it is absurd to say that it “responsible” for some of the things that might go on there.

Three former constituent republics of the USSR – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – are now members of NATO.  Ukraine and Georgia are on bad terms with Russia and are regarded by NATO as NATO aspirant states. Uzbekistan, though currently friendly to Russia, has not always been so.  Moldova is deeply split between a pro-Russian President and a fervidly anti-Russian and pro-Western government.

To suppose that Russia is responsible for what goes on within these countries is ridiculous.  Yet they were part of the USSR – the country where development of the Novichok chemical agents took place – to the same extent that Russia was, and it is at least possible (indeed it is highly likely) that knowledge about the Novichok programme is dispersed across some or all of these countries, just as it is now dispersed in the West.

It seems that the facility where most of the research into Novichok chemical agents was done was located in Saratov which is now in Russia.

However given that the USSR was a different and much bigger country than Russia, it cannot be said that Novichok chemical agents are “of a type developed by Russia”.  It is false and misleading to go on saying so.

(2) An article in the Guardian today contains this quite extraordinary sentence

A Russian official said on Wednesday that Moscow would not accept the results of an inquiry into the source of the poison being undertaken by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

The official in question is Vladimir Yermakov, a deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for non-proliferation, who the Guardian also reports in the same article saying the following

It is not possible to evaluate what happened in Salisbury within the framework of the [chemical weapons] convention and within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Deeper expert evaluations will be needed, and in any case we need to conduct our own investigations for Russia to be able to draw any conclusions

The sentence in the Guardian article saying that “Moscow would not accept the results of the inquiry into the source of the poison being undertaken by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons” is therefore wrong.

Yermakov simply made the point that the OPCW is not a police agency and its role is limited to confirming the identity of the chemical agent used in the attack. In order to find out who actually carried out the attack, and to understand fully what took place in Salisbury, a proper and thorough criminal investigation of the entire incident is needed.

That is obviously correct.

I would add that one of the most troubling aspects of this case is the way the British are trying to present the identity of the chemical agent as “proof” both of its origins and of who was responsible for the attack, when in fact it is no such thing.

To reiterate a point repeatedly made – including by Craig Murray (see above) and by the Moon of Alabama – the mere fact that a Novichok chemical agent might have been used in the attack does not prove that Russia was responsible for the attack because Novichok chemical agents can be made – and have been made – in places other than Russia.

The paragraph in the Guardian is doubly misleading because as the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Aide-memoire shows, it was Russia not Britain which originally insisted that the OPCW become involved in establishing which chemical agent was used in the attack, with the British initially resisting all outside involvement.

On the subject of the actual criminal investigation – which alone can determine who was responsible for the attack – the Russian Aide-memoire makes clear that Russia demands that it participate fully in the investigation since the attack being investigated was an attack on its citizens

The United Kingdom is breaching elementary rules of inter-State relations and is still denying, without any explanation, Russian officials’ consular access to Yulia Skripal envisaged by the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. For more than two weeks now, we have not been able to credibly ascertain what happened to our citizen and what condition she is actually in.

On 16 March, the Main Directorate for High-Priority Cases of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation initiated a criminal investigation into the attempted willful murder of Russian citizen Yulia Skripal committed by dangerous means in the territory of the United Kingdom.

The investigation will be conducted in accordance with the Russian legislation and the norms of international law. Highly qualified experts will contribute to the investigation.

The investigators stand ready to work together with the competent authorities of the United Kingdom. We expect a cooperative approach of the British side.

The Aide-memoire only refers to Yulia Skripal.  However since the Aide-memoire was published the Russians appear to have discovered that Sergey Skripal was a Russian citizen as well.  Apparently he never formally gave up his Russian citizenship, so that so far as the Russians are concerned he has dual citizenship: Russian as well as British.

Here is what Alexander Yakovenko, Russia’s ambassador to Britain, has to say about this

I must make it clear: Sergei Skripal has dual citizenship – Russian and British. Britons said that as he has British citizenship, they will be reporting nothing on his condition to us

Accordingly the Russians will presumably now also demand full consular access to Sergey Skripal as well as to his daughter Yulia Skripal, and no doubt they will also now extend their own investigation to look into the circumstances of the attack on Sergey Skripal, as well as into the attack on his daughter, Yulia Skripal.

This may prove important since it may make it easier for the Russians to obtain – or demand – information about what Sergey Skripal has been up to since he left Russia.

I retain an open mind about who was responsible for the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal.  I genuinely do not know who carried out the attack and why, and since I do not know I think it is improper to guess.

What I will say is this: the Russians are offering clear explanations, are posing relevant questions, are insisting on established procedures being followed in accordance with international treaties and with the Chemical Weapons Convention, and are offering their full cooperation to the OPCW, whose involvement they were the first to insist upon.

They are also offering – indeed insisting – on their full participation in the criminal investigation of the attack on two people they say are their citizens.

By contrast the British are keeping what they know secret, initially resisted calling in the OPCW, are blocking the Russians from having consular access to two of their citizens, and are denying the Russians information about the investigation of an attack on two of their citizens.

They are also saying things about a supposed Russian failure to answer questions and a Russian failure to cooperate which are simply untrue.

I leave it to the readers of this article to decide for themselves who – the Russians or the British – is behaving more suspiciously in the conduct of this case.

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Mueller report contains claim Russia taped Bill Clinton having phone sex with Monica Lewinsky

Bill Clinton allegedly was recorded by Russia in the 1990s, allowing Russia to learn of the affair before American officials.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report mentions a claim that Russians recorded President Bill Clinton having phone sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky — but the reference was redacted from the version released to the public.

The redaction is likely to anger Republicans, because the allegation has been known since at least 2001 and the Mueller report’s reference to a claim that President Trump watched prostitutes urinating in a Moscow hotel room was not struck out.

Clinton allegedly was recorded by Russia in the 1990s, allowing Russia to learn of the affair before American officials. A reference to the Clinton intercept was redacted from the Mueller report to protect “personal privacy,” but sources told the Washington Examiner that the context makes clear what was blacked out.

According to the report, Center for the National Interest President Dimitri Simes sent Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner a 2016 email with recommended talking points to counter Hillary Clinton’s Russia attacks. The email referenced “a well-documented story of highly questionable connections” between Bill Clinton and Russia.

At a meeting in New York, Simes told Kushner the details: Russia allegedly recorded President Clinton on the phone with Lewinsky, opening questions of foreign leverage over the ex-president-turned-potential first spouse.

“During the August 17 meeting, Simes provided Kushner the Clinton-related information that he had promised. Simes told Kushner that, [redacted],” the Mueller report says. “Simes claimed that he had received this information from former CIA and Reagan White House official Fritz Ermarth, who claimed to have learned it from U.S. intelligence sources, not from Russians.”

Ermarth, 78, a 25-year CIA veteran and chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 1988 to 1993, said he was concerned with the wording in the report. He said the report inaccurately suggests he mishandled classified information, when in fact he used public sourcing.

“The line in the Mueller report that says any of this was based on intelligence information is the product either of faulty remembering by Dimitri or a flawed inference … or a hostile fabrication by the Mueller people,” Ermarth said. “[The report wording] implies my misuse of intelligence or use of intelligence that is classified in this context. And that is completely false.”

Independent counsel Ken Starr’s 1998 report on Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky identified 17 phone sex calls in 1996 and 1997. The report says Clinton told Lewinsky “that he suspected that a foreign embassy (he did not specify which one) was tapping his telephones, and he proposed cover stories. If ever questioned, she should say that the two of them were just friends. If anyone ever asked about their phone sex, she should say that they knew their calls were being monitored all along, and the phone sex was just a put-on.”

Ermarth thinks he told Simes that the Clinton-Lewinsky phone call was intercepted while the president was traveling on Air Force One, but that detail is believed to not have been conveyed to Kushner or included in the report.

The former CIA officer, who was not interviewed by Mueller, said he discussed the intercept with Simes during a trip to Washington in either 2014 or 2015. The story’s omission from the Mueller report hints at a double standard for the Clintons, he said.

Mueller spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment, as did Simes. A White House spokesman and Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell did not respond to requests for comment.

The report was redacted by Justice Department leadership in cooperation with Mueller’s team. There were 855 redactions, according to the Smoking Gun. Only 7% of of those redactions were justified by “personal privacy,” according to an analysis by Vox. Most information was withheld because it involved grand jury deliberations or because it could harm an ongoing criminal case.

According to the report, Simes told investigators Kushner appeared to consider the phone-sex story “old news,” as news outlets had long ago reported that Russia had advanced knowledge about Lewinsky. Meanwhile, Kushner told Mueller’s team he did not receive information from Simes that could be “operationalized” and doubted new negative information could be unearthed on the Clintons.

Though the report was redacted to protect the former president’s privacy, it does reference an alleged sex tape featuring Trump watching prostitutes urinate in a Moscow hotel. The Mueller report says Russian businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze texted former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that he “[s]topped flow of tapes from Russia.” Rtskhiladze told Mueller’s team that “he was told the tapes were fake, but he did not communicate that to Cohen.”

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FBI Texts Show Agents Discussed Recruiting White House Sources To Spy For Bureau

The texts and sources reveal that Strzok had one significant contact within the White House – Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Joshua Pitcock.

Sara Carter

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Via SaraCarter.com:


Senior Republican chairmen submitted a letter Thursday to Department of Justice Attorney General William Barr revealing new texts from former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok to his paramour FBI Attorney Lisa Page showing the pair had discussed attempts to recruit sources within the White House to allegedly spy on the Trump administration.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson revealed the information in a three page letter. The texts had been obtained by SaraACarter.com Tuesday and information regarding the possible attempt to recruit White House sources had been divulged by several sources to this news site last week.

The texts and sources reveal that Strzok had one significant contact within the White House – Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Joshua Pitcock, whose wife was working as an analyst for Strzok on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server. A senior White House official told this news site that Pitcock’s wife recused herself from the Clinton investigation as soon as Pence and Trump became the Republican nominees in July 2016. A senior law enforcement official also told SaraACarter.com that Pitcock’s wife no longer worked under Strzok after she recused herself from the Clinton investigation.

However, the text messages uncovered from November, 2016 and have left questions lingering about the relationship between Strzok, Pitcock and his wife among congressional investigators and lawmakers.

“The course of our oversight work we have reviewed certain text messages that may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump’s transition team,” the letter states. “In text messages exchanged between former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, the two discussed the possibility of developing “potential relationships” at a November 2016 FBI briefing for presidential transition team staff. Specifically, it appears they discussed sending “the CI guy” to assess an unnamed person ‘demeanor’ but were concerned because it might be unusual for him to attend.”

The Senators are investigating if any “of these communications, and the precise purpose of any attempts to ‘develop relationships’ with Trump or VP Mike Pence transition team staff are not immediately clear.”

Were these efforts done to gain better communication between the respective parties, or were the briefings used as intelligence gathering operations? Further, did any such surveillance activities continue beyond the inauguration, and in the event they did, were those activities subject to proper predication,” the letter states.

“Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed.”

The Texts

A few weeks after the presidential election, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page discussed the logistics for the briefing. Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page said the following:

Strzok: Talking with Bill. Do we want Joe to go with Evanina instead of Charli for a variety of reasons?

(Strzok is referring to former FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence division Bill Priestap. ‘Joe is referencing FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in January, 2017. And Evanina is in reference to William Evanina, National Counterintelligence and Security Center.)

Page: Hmm. Not sure. Would it be unusual to have [sic] show up again? Maybe another agent from the team?

Strzok: Or, he’s “the CI guy.” Same.might [sic] make sense. He can assess if there [sic] are any news [sic] Qs, or different demeanor. If Katie’s husband is there, he can see if there are people we can develop for potential relationships

Page: Should I ask Andy about it? Or Bill (Priestap) want to reach out for Andy (McCabe)?Strzok: I told him I’m sure we could ask you to make the swap if we thought it.

FBI Seeks Sources In White House

There was one major connection in the White House. According to documents, White House sources and the FBI one of FBI’s top counterintelligence analysts who was personally working for former FBI Special Agent Strzok had a spouse working directly for Vice President Mike Pence.

The White House and the FBI told this news site that she had recused herself from the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server and working for Strzok as soon as Pence and Trump announced they were the candidates for the party.

The FBI asked that her name be kept private as not to reveal her identity. Her identity, however is revealed in the texts below. But this news site is withholding her last name for security reasons.

An FBI Intelligence analyst named Katherine, is married to Joshua Pitcock. Katherine’s name is different from her husbands. Pitcock worked for Pence as his Chief of Staff from January, 2017 until he resigned in August, 2017.

Prior to accepting his then new role at the White House, he had served as a senior Trump campaign official and long time aide to Pence.

Katherine had been detailed to Strzok and according to sources was one of the top analysts in the investigation into Hillary Clinton, according to federal law enforcement sources and U.S. officials.

Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in 2017 and then fired from the FBI in August, 2018. He was fired after an extensive review by Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton investigation and was removed from Mueller’s team after the IG discovered his anti-Trump text messages to his paramour former FBI Attorney Lisa Page.

A senior White House official told SaraACarter.com that it is “our understanding that as soon as the President and Vice President accepted the nomination, she recused herself for the entire time after they were officially the nominees from anything that would have spill over to the White House.”

FBI officials could not immediately respond for comment.

Trump announced Pence as his pick on July 15, 2016. They officially became nominees on July 21, 2016 at the Republican convention. This means, Katherine was working on the Russia investigation with Strzok prior to that time frame. Strzok’s direct involvement and actions during the investigation will more than likely lead to criminal charges, a source with knowledge told SaraACarter.com.

A former senior intelligence official who spoke to this news-site said “my concern about this is the potential for information to flow from her to her husband to spin any information that the Vice President may or may not have heard during that time frame.” The former intelligence source said the connection raises questions regarding information that may have moved from the FBI into the vice president’s orbit “regarding former (National Security Advisor Michael Flynn),” they added.

The senior White House official responded saying, “she was recused from that investigation before he was ever sworn into office. That didn’t happen.”

However, “the texts leave many questions unanswered and appear to show that Strzok was in communication with Pitcock on some level,” the intelligence official added.

During the time Pitcock served as chief of staff, Flynn became the highest profile target of the now debunked investigation into the campaign.

In the letter Grassley and Johnson refer to Barr’s testimony “during your April 10, 2019, testimony before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, you stated that you are looking into the ‘genesis and conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016.’ You further stated that ‘spying did occur,’ and that you believe it is your obligation to look into the question of whether surveillance activities by the Federal Bureau of lnvestigation (FBI) or other intelligence agencies were adequately predicated.”

“We share your concerns about these activities, and are troubled by the apparent unauthorized disclosures of surveillance efforts and other classified information during the same time period,” the Chairmen state in the letter. “We bring to your attention information that may assist your review.

Page Two of The Letter

Questions for Attorney General Barr April 25, 2019

  1. Please describe the nature and extent o f your review o f FBI surveillance o f the Trump Campaign, President-elect Trump’s transition staff, Vice President- elect Pence’s transition staff, President Trump’s staff, and Vice President Pence’s staff, including your efforts to determine whether that surveillance was adequately predicated.
  2. How many counter-intelligence briefings were provided to the Trump and Pence transition staffs prior to Inauguration Day? Please list the dates, all agencies involved, and each official that represented those agencies at the briefings.
  3. Many of the FBI employees involved in these activities are no longer employed by the federal government. How will your review obtain information needed from these individuals?
  4. Will you commit to providing the results of your review once completed?
  5. What steps have you taken to investigate whether DOJ or FBI officials hadunauthorized contacts with the media during the Russia investigation?

We anticipate that your written reply and most responsive documents will be unclassified. Please send all unclassified material directly to each Committee. In keeping with the requirements of Executive Order 13526, if any of the responsive documents do contain classified information, please segregate all unclassified material within the classified documents, provide all unclassified information directly to each Committee, and provide a classified addendum to the Office of Senate Security. Although our Committees comply with all laws and regulations governing the handling of classified information, they are not bound, absent prior agreement, by any handling restrictions.

 

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Ethics, Morals and Integrity in British Public Life

Why does the UK Government, the FCO in particular, allow its retired diplomats to be able to go straight into the private sector without any ‘cooling off’ period?

Richard Galustian

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The ethics of allowing retiring British government officials to use immediately ‘the revolving door’ seems immoral.

Something that immediately springs to mind is how did former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair amass a fortune of nearly £100m within years of leaving office?

Ponder that fact about Blair when considering the true definition of ethics and integrity in public life worldwide.

War torn Libya is a most recent example in point. Libya, where most reasonable people would think it strange for companies to try and win business while there is war; or maybe it’s as the original Baron Rothschild put it, seek business when there is “blood on the streets”.

Peter Millett, former British Ambassador to Libya, is a merely a case in point, becoming a Board member of the LBBC (https://lbbc.org.uk/).

The Libyan British Business Council do some good networking for companies who seek work in the war torn country that is currently Libya, not, to be frank, earth shatteringly effective, not its fault given the civil war, but it has to be said, only a few of its individual members (of the LBBC) are distinguished and capable and well connected in their own right; most others are less so.

More important for Millett though, no doubt, is his new personal company he recently created in London. It’s called The Peter Millett Consultancy Ltd and describes itself as “Interested in offering consultancy and advice to companies and organisation interested in working overseas.”

Why, many ask, is any former Ambassador continuing to comment/meddle in affairs of their last posting, without making it abundantly clear they work for the private sector actually for themselves and not HMG, a distinction difficult for most locals, on this case Libyans to make. What, if any, are his conflict of interests? The British and Libyan public have a right to know.

Why does the UK Government, the FCO in particular, allow its retired diplomats to be able to go straight into the private sector without any ‘cooling off’ period?

Why is he (or any former government or military personnel) allowed to do this? The problem applies to all countries, not only those who served in Libya.

However Libya serves well to highlight the overall ethical problem.

And of course Millett is no exception but an example and as an individual is a fine capable man. However what worries Libyans is that he (and other like him from not only UK) regularly for example tweet about Libya without declaring their personal financial interests, such as retainers from companies. The rumour amongst Libyans is that Millett is receiving fees through one of the Tripoli based Libyan ‘Prime Minister’ Fayez Serraj’s departments or from one of Serraj’s cronies. Something which is very doubtful one hopes.

(Note: SEE COMPLAINT LETTER FROM EAST LIBYAN AUTHORITIES, THE HoR, COMPLAINING ABOUT PETER MILLETT ADDRESSED TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.)

Some Libyans even have said that he was incompetent as an Ambassador in Libya. The fact is conventional wisdom says that he served no better or worse than his predecessors.

The truth is he probably mistakenly considers himself still important for Libyans and that he can influence Libyans – he and others like him are deluded in that regard. Similarly in America the former US State Department official Jonathan Weener continues his efforts in Libya.

Meanwhile in keeping with the many years tradition of ‘revolving door’ from Diplomatic service to private business, a new former Ambassador will no doubt be swelling the ranks of British private enterprise. Frank Baker OBE has just left the Diplomatic Service.

The new man in Libya being Martin Reynolds CMG, appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador in succession to Frank Baker.

By the way, Mr Reynolds will take up his appointment this month, April 2019.

The movement of individuals between the public and private sectors – known as the revolving door – it is feared by many could lead to ‘conflicts of interests’ situations, increasing the risks of, what some might call, corruption. Given their previous decision-making power, as Government servants with past access to key information and influence, former ministers and members of the government clearly can be an important asset for private companies. But is it ethical?

Governments should thus ensure that appropriate measures are in place to avoid former public officials misusing the information and power they hold to the benefit of their private interests. But do they?

The definition, according to Transparency International, of

“cooling-off periods, is the introduction of a minimum time interval restricting former public officials from accepting employment in the private sector…it is the most common measure to prevent conflicts of interest. Countries in Europe have set different cooling-off periods and requirements for former members of the government wishing to join the private sector. They usually vary from one to two years and are linked to specific types of activities in the private sector.

Overall, enforcement is still very weak and scandals related to post-public employment continue to appear in the media.

In the UK, the cooling-off period used to be measured in years but these days it’s weeks!

It begs the question when will ethics return to public life not only in UK but around the world?


HoR LETTER To HMG:

22 April 2019

Greetings,

Regarding: Former British ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett.

We urge you to open an urgent investigation into the suspicions of corruption associated with Libyan institutions and companies that deal with the the former British ambassador, who is still actively supporting and working with the Muslim Brotherhood and is now an ordinary citizen, he is providing political support and encouragement to the terrorists through social media that they are using on their channels as if it’s international political support to encourage young Libyans to fight and lose their life, in the absence of an appointed ambassador from his country.

This former ambassador, who, in a sign of international disregard and negative exploitation of the situation in Libya, had arranged for his country to arrange support for several officials of the Central Bank of Libya and the National Oil and Investment Corporation and support their installation in their positions through the Skhirat agreement and then resigned from the British government Another assignment as ambassador before his retirement, which raises the suspicion of corruption, we also surprised that a country so keen on the principles and transparency, Britain, did not move or notice this, dedicated to the special benefit of those who enabled them to lead these institutions, Corruption is at a time when Libyans are suffering from poor living in a time of corruption.

The list includes the governor of the Central Bank, Sadig Kabir who came to the position of governor by violation and was removed from office four years ago, and the President of the National Oil Corporation, which was charged with violating the law by the government of the member of the organization of the terrorist group Omar al-Hassi of the Libyan Fighting Group during the armed coup of militias in the Libyan capital In 2014 and the heads of departments of investment bodies, which at the lowest cases colluded from this former ambassador and interference in the internal affairs of Libya in order to prepare for private benefit and corruption, not the good of others.

It may be that the British government through these connections received wrong information and evaluation that resulted in the provisions, at that time, to provide political support terrible through this ambassador to the stream of corrupt political Islam from the Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Salvation Front and the Libyan Fighting Group, which carried out a terrorist act in the heart of Manchester, He (millet) when he was ambassador said that he was keen to “neutralize the sovereign institutions from the conflict” and this contradicts law and all Libyan procedures, in order to enable his friends and future partners who met with him on a continuous basis, including oil officials (Mustapha Sanallah), Libyan investments Authority (Ali Mahmoud) and the Central Bank (Saddik Kabir).

After the end of his term in Libya, and the appointment of another ambassador who worked with all respect and professionalism and was very different from Millett, the former British ambassador Peter Milllet established a company called “Peter Millet Consultancy” with one share holder, Peter Millet, in the UK.

The company called “Peter Milliet” has become an adviser to one of the largest global oil marketing companies, “Glencore”, which was contracted for an exclusive monopoly for the marketing of the Messella and Sarror mix oil for three years, and it is now been revealed that he contracted with the Libyan Foreign Investment Corporation as a consultant to help Cases brought against them in the United Kingdom.

Peter Millett’s name also appeared as an intermediary in the deal to print the Libyan 1 dinar’s paper recently with the governor who he defended and ensured his continued position through the political agreement signed in Skhirat.

With the aim of protecting the interests of the Libyan people ,,, We would be grateful to publish the results of your inquiries about the suspicions of political corruption that led to huge financial corruption and the extent to which any person (Millet or others) benefited from what happened in Libya and its impact on the status of these institutions and the assessment of the damage to the taxpayers’ the Libyan citizens from their interventions and the extent of conflict of interests of Peter Millets private work as a public servant as ambassador to his country to the contracts now, and how he exploited this to obtain these gains and enrich and benefit in return for political support and facilitate access to visas and meetings with actors in his government With the aim of Political gain to stay at the expense of the Libyan people, who suffered the scourge of these same adherents in violation of the law and the Constitution of Libya by these swindlers despite them being relieved from posts and removed by the House of Representatives before and after the political agreement.

We wish you success and the Libyan people well…

With a great appreciation and respect,

Talal Al – Mayhoub

Chairman of the Defense and National Security Committee

HOR

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