Shortly after I wrote my article about how the Russiagate scandal is flagging, an article appeared on the BBC’s website which confirmed my article’s key point: that no evidence has been found of collusion during the US election between Russia and the Trump campaign.
The BBC article incidentally provides a classic example of something I also spoke of in my article: the fact that in the absence of any actual evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign supporters of the Russiagate scandal are now latching on to what can be best described as ‘non-facts’ to keep the flagging ‘Russiagate’ scandal going.
The ‘non-fact’ in this case is that it seems that US intelligence identified a Russian diplomat called Kalugin at the US embassy in Washington as a Russian spy. Kalugin, we are asked to believe, is the same person as a Russian spy at the US embassy called “Mikhail Kulagin” who the Trump Dossier alleges was recalled in August 2016 because of his excessively heavy involvement in Russia’s interference in the US election.
This may be correct, but it is completely beside the point. Kalugin or “Kulagin” may indeed be a Russian spy – though he denies it – and he may indeed have been identified as such by US intelligence either before or after the Trump Dossier was written. However that fact in no way corroborates the fantastic allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia made by the Trump Dossier. As I have written previously and as others are now also saying, it is a commonplace for someone fabricating such a dossier to involve real people and real events in it in order to give their fake story an air of authenticity. For all we know, that is all that happened in Kalugin’s case.
What is much more interesting is that the BBC article admits that the FBI investigation has so far drawn a blank, and that this is causing growing frustration on the part of the Russiagate scandal’s supporters, who it seems include former officials of the Obama administration. Thus in discussing the interactions with the FBI inquiry of Christopher Steele – the Trump Dossier’s author – the BBC article has this to say
Trump’s supporters are entitled to ask why – with the FBI’s powers to subpoena witnesses and threaten charges of obstructing justice – nothing damning has emerged.
Perhaps there is nothing to find. But some former senior officials say it is because of failings in the inquiry, of which more later.
The roadmap for the investigation, publicly acknowledged now for the first time, comes from Christopher Steele, once of Britain’s secret intelligence service MI6……[Steele] wrote a series of reports for political opponents of Donald Trump about Trump and Russia.
He flew to Rome in August to talk to the FBI.
Then in early October, he came to the US and was extensively debriefed by them, over a week.
He gave the FBI the names of some of his informants, the so-called “key” to the dossier.
But the CIA never interviewed him, and never sought to.
This comes from several people who are in a position to know.
They are alarmed at how the investigation is going, and worry it is being fumbled.
One said: “The FBI doesn’t know about Russia, the CIA knows about Russia.
“Any sources Steele has in Russia, the FBI doesn’t know how to evaluate.
“The Agency does… Who’s running this thing from Moscow? The FBI just aren’t capable on that side, of even understanding what Chris has.”
Another reflected growing frustration with the inquiry among some who served in the Obama administration: “We used to call them the Feebs. They would make the simple cases, but never see, let alone understand and go after, the bigger picture.”
(My editors have asked me to explain, for readers outside North America, that feeb is slang for someone feeble-minded, used above as a contraction of the initials FBI.)
The suggestion that the FBI – which as the BBC article admits has a strong presence in the US embassy in Moscow – is incapable of conducting a counter-espionage investigation involving Russia, is an absurd one, all the more so as this is an investigation which as the BBC article itself admits also involves the CIA, and which as the House Intelligence Committee hearing on 20th March 2017 confirmed, also involves the NSA.
The simple reality, which believers in Russiagate simply will not face, is that the reason the FBI inquiry is drawing a blank is because there is nothing there for it to find.
Instead of facing that reality supporters of Russiagate however latch onto ‘non-facts’ – like the fact that US intelligence apparently believes Kalugin was a Russian agent – and like true believers everywhere demand more and more inquiries of ever greater length and scope to prove the truth of what they think they already know but the evidence for which simply is not there.
That this is the paranoid mindset which has now taken hold finds confirmation in the BBC’s article itself
There are either a series of coincidences or there is a conspiracy of such reach and sophistication that it may take years to unravel.
“I hear a lot of people comparing this to Watergate,” said Congressman Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee.
“Let me just tell you, the complexity of this case is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
“Watergate doesn’t even come close. That was a burglary in the Metro section of the Washington Post.
“It doesn’t have the international waypoints [of this]. Russia’s M.O. is to avoid attribution. This investigation is going to take time.”
This is nonsense. Either evidence exists of cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia, or it does not. The claims of such cooperation are very detailed, as set out in the BBC article itself
In the report, Steele spoke of an “established operational liaison between the TRUMP team and the Kremlin… an intelligence exchange had been running between them for at least 8 years.”
Members of the Obama administration believe, based on analysis they saw from the intelligence community, that the information exchange claimed by Steele continued into the election.
“This is a three-headed operation,” said one former official, setting out the case, based on the intelligence: Firstly, hackers steal damaging emails from senior Democrats. Secondly, the stories based on this hacked information appear on Twitter and Facebook, posted by thousands of automated “bots”, then on Russia’s English-language outlets, RT and Sputnik, then right-wing US “news” sites such as Infowars and Breitbart, then Fox and the mainstream media. Thirdly, Russia downloads the online voter rolls.
The voter rolls are said to fit into this because of “microtargeting”. Using email, Facebook and Twitter, political advertising can be tailored very precisely: individual messaging for individual voters.
“You are stealing the stuff and pushing it back into the US body politic,” said the former official, “you know where to target that stuff when you’re pushing it back.”
This would take co-operation with the Trump campaign, it is claimed.
If this was indeed what happened then it would have required ongoing and intense cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia. Evidence of that would be abundant, and it should not be difficult to find it, especially so when the investigators are the FBI, the CIA and the NSA. In fact it beggars belief it has not been found already, a fact which all but proves it does not exist.
There is no reason therefore to speak of a particularly complex or difficult inquiry. Those who say this are either being deliberately mendacious or have been duped by the ongoing hysteria. Nor is there any reason why this inquiry should take a long time, always supposing however that those controlling the inquiry are genuinely interested in finding the truth.