Saturday, February 10, 2018

The "Dossier" May Not Be True, But It Is NOT Fake

I posted this comment on the Bernie Goldberg blog in response to so many claims that the Chris Steele "dossier" is fake. It explains what I have learned about fake vs. verified vs. credible. Quote...
I'm going to spend a little effort relating some things I know and some things I believe about the dossier. I've read it. I've read books and news articles about it. I've read the under oath testimonies to the House and Senate Intel Committees of Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the company that contracted Christopher Steele. I've seen on TV former intelligence officers from both the US and the UK who have worked with Steele or have knowledge of his work and reputation.
You probably know by now that Steele is a former British Intelligence Officer with MI6. He has years of experience in his field and worked undercover in Russia for years until he was inadvertently outed by another agent. Since then he has formed his own investigative intelligence company and does contract work to gather intelligence most often for private companies who hire him for his expertise, his reputation, and his credibility. He has continued to maintain a network of people inside and outside Russia, and has worked for and against Russian companies in legal actions providing intelligence to be used in court. He was very instrumental in exposing the Russian participation in the FIFA soccer scandal a few years ago, and that is how the FBI knew of him and knew his work. Steele is known as a straight shooter and a highly credible person.
Fusion GPS is a US company that specializes in mostly corporate intelligence. If Company A is suing Company B, A will hire Fusion GPS to investigate B to find out every thing they can to use in their case against them. This includes anything from the financial reports and SEC filings of Company B to the personal lives of the relevant actors in B. But most of what they find is from the public record: real estate deals, any available public records of banking deals, contracts with the government, foreign investments, divorce filings, anything they can find on the record. The Free Beacon hired Fusion GPS because they wanted to know everything they could about Trump and his financial dealings. They didn't ask for dirt per se, just what was he up to. Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS team went about collecting every bit of information they could get from the public record on Trump's dealings, especially with regard to Russia. At some point in the Summer of 2016 Simpson felt that they had gathered pretty much all they could from what was publicly available, and so contracted with Steele's company, someone they had worked with previously, to go beyond the public record. Simpson did not tell Steele what to look for or who the client was. His mission was "find out what Trump is doing in Russia".
Steele had been a spy for the UK in Russia, a very effective one. What he did in the private world was basically the same as what he'd done for Her Majesty: gather intelligence, in this case intelligence about what Trump was doing with the Russians. The "dossier" is really not a dossier but a series of intelligence reports which he and Fusion GPS referred to as memos. Since public records were for the most part unavailable to him, he mostly used his connections to the intelligence community and politics in and around Russia and the Kremlin. Steele refers to his contacts or sources as "a contact" or "a trusted contact" or "a credible person close to" a specific person in the Russian government or oligarchy. Here is an excerpt from his memo of July 2016:
1. Speaking in July 2016, a Russian source close to Rosneft President, PUTIN close associate and US-sanctioned individual, Igor SECHIN, confided the details of a recent secret meeting between him and visiting Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Republican presidential candidate Donald TRUMP, Carter PAGE.
2. According to SECHIN's associate, the Rosneft President (CEO) had raised with PAGE the issues of future bilateral energy cooperation and prospects for an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia. PAGE had reacted positively to the demarche by SECHIN but had been generally non-committal in response.
3. Speaking separately, also in July 2016, an official close to Presidential Administration Head, S. Ivanov, confided in a compatriot that a senior colleague in the Internal Political Department of the PA, DIVYEKIN (nfd) also had met secretly with PAGE on his recent visit. Their agenda had included DIVEYKIN raising a dossier of "kompromat" the Kremlin possessed on Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, and its possible release to the Republican's campaign team.
4. However, the Kremlin official close to S, IVANOV added that s/he believed DIVEYKIN also had hinted (or indicated more strongly) that the Russian leadership also had "kompromat" on TRUMP which the latter should bear in mind in his dealings with them.
As you can see, this is an intelligence report that relies heavily on the word of people that Steele knows or has met with or has worked with in the past.While some of the dossier, for instance Trump's dealings with the Agalarovs surrounding the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow or his business partnership with Russian mobster Felix Sater can be verified, what cannot be verified must, like any intelligence report, be judged by its credibility and the credibility of its sources. As Simpson said under oath, Steele, as a long-time intelligence officer, is well versed in how to tell the credible from the BS.
Almost immediately into this project, Steele became alarmed at what he was finding out about Trump and the Russians, namely that the Russians had compromising information on Trump, and the pee tapes were a minor part. He found that the workings of cyber teams to sew chaos in the US election was directed by Putin personally in order to elect Trump with the 2 goals of ending the Ukraine and Magnitsky sanctions and returning Russia to its former glory as a world power. These efforts became so successful that Putin later ordered a pull back for fear of backlash against Russia by the US media.
Steel very soon went to the FBI because he felt a duty as an ally to America to let the US government know what the Russians were doing and how a potential US candidate could well be blackmailed at some time in the future. How the FBI dealt with this information is another story.
The whole point of this "essay" is to say, The "dossier" is not fake. It is the credible work product of a highly respected and credible former intelligence agent with no bias and no goal but to "find out what Trump is doing in Russia". Is it all true? That is not and probably can't be known for sure, so when the FBI or Comery says it hasn't been verified it's because it can't be. And BTW, the "salacious" parts of the dossier play a surprisingly small part in the dossier as a whole.
Is the dossier credible? Based on Steele's experience, background, and previous work the US intelligence community thinks so, and obviously I think so.
The dossier is not fake. To be fake, the dossier would have to have been entirely made up by Steele. He had no motive to do so. To the contrary, a fake dossier exposed would have ruined his reputation and destroyed his career and business. For $160,000? I don't think so.
Today I realized that there is a fourth status that can be applied to intelligence work such as the dossier. Along with fake, unverified, and credible, there is corroborated. See my earlier post on possible corroboration of the dossier by similar information they had received previously and separately.
Update: Since writing the above new developments have come to light. Trump supporters are now claiming that the Steele memo was not his own work product but was based on information given to him from someone else. The story goes that a man named Cody Shearer, a "fixer" for the Clintons, created his own "dossier" which he gave to Clinton buddy Sid Blumenthal who then gave it to Steele. The headline is "Hillary Clinton's Fingerprints All Over The Dossier". Here's the thing though. The story also says that the Shearer dossier is developed from different sources than the Steele dossier. What this actually means is that the "unverified" Steele dossier is in fact corroborated by the Shearer dossier.

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