Evolution of the Russian-Collusion Narrative

by Disobedient Media

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Alternatively attributed to John Maynard Keynes, Paul Samuelson, or Sir Winston Churchill, this statement and question speaks to the mutability of knowledge. It is a mistake to view the Russian-collusion case as the product of a set, initial design. Extremely complex organisms arise from adaptive selections due to environmental factors. These selections yield some attributes that appear to be well designed, but others that are kludged. Similarly, there was no single, initial design that created the Russian-collusion narrative. Rather, the narrative developed from a series of decisions by many actors, in different countries, in pursuit of various goals. These goals, however, all hinged on one event: the election of Hillary Clinton. Understood as a product of such a chaotic process, the schema of what has unfolded makes sense. This article is both a condensation and an expansion of matters discussed in my July 2, 2018 assessment of this subject, published by Disobedient Media.

Mifsud’s connections: Joseph Mifsud is the Maltese professor whose meeting with Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos was purportedly foundational to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation, which led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s examination of President Trump and his associates. Mifsud has been presented as a Russian spy; in fact, his connections to British and Italian intelligence and political operatives are very strong.

Claire Smith ─ Mifsud is associated with Claire Smith of the United Kingdom.  They were both affiliated with Link Campus University in Rome, a school that confers degrees in strategic and diplomatic studies, and is known to be attended by professionals who are members of Italy’s intelligence and security services.  Claire Smith was also associated with the now defunct London Academy of Diplomacy, which was co-directed by Mifsud.  Smith, along with Mifsud, also taught at the University of Sterling.

For eight years, Smith was a member of Britain’s Security Vetting Appeals Panel, which examines cases for governmental employees in which security clearances were denied.  She was a member of the United Kingdom’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), a panel with oversight over Britain’s intelligence services, including Defence Intelligence, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and GCHQ (signals intelligence).  The CIA’s Chief of Station in the U.K. has, in the past, been a regular participant in the JIC’s weekly assemblies.

It is difficult to conceive of a person who would have attained more experience in the vetting of individuals to be entrusted with state secrets than Claire Smith.  Yet, if the narrative of Mifsud’s being a Russian asset is to be believed, Smith was duped by this alleged spy for many a year.

Vincenzo Scotti ─ Mifsud’s ties to those involved with Italy’s intelligence services are conspicuous.  Scotti, the President of Link Campus University, where Mifsud taught, was formerly Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.  From 1990 through 1992, Scotti was Italy’s Minister of Interior, a position whose responsibilities included the administration of the SISDE (Intelligence and Democratic Security Service), which, in 2007, became the AISI (Internal Information and Security Agency), one of Italy’s preeminent intelligence services.  Scotti was involved deeply with Italy’s intelligence apparatus: Italy’s Court of Accounts ordered Scotti to pay €2,995,450 for an operation in which an Italian governmental account was used to purchase a building for an inflated price to create an off-book funding source for the SISDE.

Franco Frattini ─ A reported friend and fellow professor of Mifsud’s at Link Campus University was twice Italy’s foreign minister; Frattini, from 1996 to 2001, was chair of Italy’s parliamentary committee charged with oversight of the nation’s intelligence services (COPACO, now named Parliamentary Committee for the Intelligence and Security Services and for State Secret Control).  Such oversight specifically included SISDE and SISMI (Military Intelligence and Security Service).

Gianni Pittella ─ An elected member of the Italian senate, Pittella was the subject of a July 29, 2016 Time article whose first paragraph reads, “Gianni Pittella, a longtime Italian member of the European Parliament, hit the campaign trail this week.  Sitting at the back of the Gran Caffe L’Aquila, he warned a group of local businesspeople and supporters of the evils of fascism.  Except Pittella wasn’t touring Italy.  He was sitting in Philadelphia, trying to convince American voters to oppose an American candidate: Donald Trump.”  Gianni Pittella stated to the Italian press that Joseph Mifsud was his “dear friend.”  Simona Mangiante, George Papadopoulos’s wife (they married in March 2018), has stated that it was Pittella who introduced her to Joseph Mifsud in 2012; Mangiante went on to work for the professor.  In a January 2018 interview with The Guardian, Mangiante stated that she “always saw Mifsud with Pittella.”

Of note is that Natalia Kutepova-Jamrom, who reportedly connected Professor Mifsud with Russian international-relations, academic, and media representatives, while she interned for Mifsud’s London Academy of Diplomacy in 2014, was also was connected to Gianni Pittella. Kutepova-Jamrom’s Russian LinkedIn page notes that she cooperated with one of her “university lectors, Mr. Gianni Pittella . . . .”

On November 10, 2017, The New York Times erroneously reported that the Kutepova-Jamrom appeared, at age twenty-four, in Mifsud’s office “with an improbably impressive résumé. Fluent in Russian, English, German and Chinese . . . .” However, Kutepova-Jamrom’s Russian LinkedIn page notes that she is only fluent in her native language, but possesses a “professional working proficiency” in German and in English, and an “elementary proficiency” in Chinese. Such skills in multiple languages are not unusual for a European with an advanced degree, but commonplace. Kutepova-Jamrom began interning for Mifsud after obtaining a degree from the London Academy of Diplomacy, which Mifsud directed. The New York Times presented Kutepova-Jamrom as a highly trained Russian operative; in fact, Kutepova-Jamrom’s LinkedIn page is riddled with spelling errors.

Link Campus University, Italy: Mifsud, Scotti, and Frattini were all employed by this Italian university.  David Ignatius wrote in the Washington Post that, in 2004, the CIA organized a terrorism conference at Link Campus University.  The event was entitled, “New Frontiers of Intelligence Analysis.”  According to Ignatius, the conclave was the product of years of planning by the CIA Global Futures Partnership’s founding director, Carol Dumaine.  Link Campus University may be considered to be a European waypoint for the AISI, the FBI, the CIA, and, most probably, the British intelligence services.

Attorney Andrew Bagley has been employed by the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike since January 2015; this company was involved deeply in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hacking debacle.  In 2010, Bagley served as a visiting researcher at the Link Campus University in Rome; while there, his résumé notes that Bagley, “Conducted research and held discussions with Italian and American prosecutors, special agents, and intelligence officials about intelligence analysis, national security, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism policy.”  According to Bagley’s online résumé, he served as the E-Discovery Technical Advisor to the FBI, conducting legal research, advising on technical issues, and drafting policy for the Discovery Coordination and Policy Unit within the FBI, from 2012 to 2015.

Mifsud’s disappearance: Since Mifsud said publicly that the FBI interviewed him in February 2017, his disappearance is suspicious. Would the FBI really lose contact with the purported spark that initiated the entire Russian-collusion investigation?  If the FBI, the AISI, or some other allied intelligence or law-enforcement service is holding Mifsud, this fact should be made public.  Certainly, if Mifsud were an accomplished Russian intelligence asset, possessing an unsurpassed record of fraternization with senior members of both the British and the Italian foreign and intelligence services, Mifsud should have been in possession of an elaborate exit plan should his true identity and mission become known to the West.  Where is it?  If the FBI or the AISI has any evidence that Mifsud attempted to flee to Russia, it begs credulity that this supremely incriminating information would not be made public.

Mifsud’s connection with the Clinton Foundation: Mifsud is quoted to have said to the newspaper la Repubblica, “I am a member of the European Council on Foreign relations,” adding, “and you know which is the only foundation I am member of? The Clinton Foundation. Between you and me, my thinking is left-leaning.” On November 1, 2017, The Sun published, “’I DISHED NO DIRT!’ Mystery British professor at centre of FBI Trump-Russia probe tracked down in Italy after fleeing his London home.” In the article, Mifsud is quoted as stating, “I am a Democrat and a Hillary Clinton supporter.” These statements by Mifsud might be a diversion to cloak any true ties he might have to Russia’s political establishment, but if they are true, the implications are colossal.

1MDB: Before his notoriety and disappearance, Mifsud had been engaged as the founding director of the Essam & Dalal Obaid Foundation (EDOF) Centre for War and Peace Studies at Link Campus University.  The EDOF was founded by Tarek Obaid, who cofounded and is Chief Executive Officer of PetroSaudi International Ltd, a British-Saudi Arabian company.  The CEO of the EDOF is Tarek’s brother, Dr. Nawaf Obaid, whose biography, as presented by procon.org, notes that he was a “Visiting Fellow, London Academy of Diplomacy, Stirling University (UK).” Joseph Mifsud served as a director of this academy.

According to U.S. and Swiss investigators, 1MDB, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, allegedly defrauded the people of Malaysia through criminal mismanagement, bribery, money laundering, and the misuse of government office. The missing funds amount to at least $4.5 billion. PetroSaudi was a participant in an initial 1MDB enterprise. 1MDB and PetroSaudi formed a joint venture, with the sovereign fund investing $1 billion. Reportedly, just thirty percent of the allocated funds were directed to the joint enterprise, the remainder went to a separate company allegedly controlled by Jho Low, a central figure in the 1MDB case.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, two, unnamed PetroSaudi executives are being investigated by the Swiss Attorney General’s office in connection to the case.  The Wall Street Journal noted, “PetroSaudi said in a statement that the company is aware of the investigation by Swiss authorities and that the company isn’t the subject of the probe.” The paper also quoted a statement by attorneys for the company, “PetroSaudi denies any wrongdoing in connection with its Joint Venture with 1MDB and it rejects any claims that it, or any of its officials, are involved in the misappropriation of funds from 1MDB. PetroSaudi will cooperate fully with investigating authorities.”

A joint DOJ/FBI press conference was held in July 2016 concerning the 1MDB case, in which a special agent stated, “At least $1 billion traceable to the conspiracy was laundered through the United States and used to purchase assets here.”  According to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, “The funds were stolen under the pretense of having 1MDB invest in an oil exploration joint venture with a foreign partner. . . . But this wasn’t a legitimate investment for 1MDB or for the Malaysian people.” Neither McCabe nor the official fbi.gov statement named PetroSaudi as a foreign partner of 1MDB. It is notable that in this DOJ/FBI press conference, when asked by a reporter about Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s involvement in the alleged fraud, Attorney General Loretta Lynch refused to name him, though the former prime minister is currently enmeshed in the 1MDB scandal. Najib Razak is reported to have received $681 million during the time in which the alleged 1MDB fraud took place; the source for this transfer of funds is reported to be Middle Eastern.

The Japan Times, on April 16, 2016, reported an Associated Press story that stated, “Saudi Arabia has for the first time publicly confirmed Malaysia’s claim that $681 million in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bank accounts was a donation from the Saudi royal family, countering accusations that the money was siphoned from the heavily indebted state investment fund 1MDB.” Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reportedly referred to the transferred funds as a “genuine donation.”

What would precipitate such largesse? Though Saudi Arabia has sought closer ties with Malaysia, including the transference of Wahhabism, the branch of Sunni Islam that is practiced in Saudi Arabia, the money bestowed on Prime Minister Najib Razak, as a single politician, is massive. BBC News, in a January 27, 2016 story, stated that, “The secretive donation to Mr Najib was allegedly paid over in several wire transfers between late March 2013 and early April 2013, just ahead of the election on 5 May. . . . A Saudi source said the donation was approved by the late King Abdullah . . . Prince Turki bin Abdullah, one of the king’s sons, is reported to have had extensive business dealings in Malaysia.”

Prince Turki bin Abdullah is one of the two cofounders of PetroSaudi. Reportedly, by order of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, Prince Turki bin Abdullah was one of the eleven princes arrested and detained in Saudi Arabia on November 4, 2017, in a claimed crackdown on corruption, though any charges against the prince have not been specified publically.

Reputedly, two persons with associations to Jho Low or to 1MDB have been ardent Democratic supporters. According to The Wall Street Journal, Rapper Pras Michél made political donations of more than $1 million in support of President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.  According to The Journal, these contributions were made in a period in which Michél purportedly received $20 million in gifts from Low.  Businessman Frank White Jr. cofounded DuSable Capital Management LLC with Michél.  The Journal reported that 1MDB purchased DuSable’s share in a Malaysian renewable-energy project for $69 million.  Frank White Jr. was a fundraiser and bundler for President Obama; he was a member of Barack Obama’s 2008 national finance committee. The Wall Street Journal, in a July 1, 2018 article, stated that, “Mr. White is listed on Mrs. Clinton’s website as a “Hillblazer” who contributed or raised at least $100,000.  He has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, its website says.”  DuSable Capital Management is also listed as a donor on the Clinton Foundation website, having given between $10,001 and $25,000.

The White House-Malaysian connection:Of particular relevance to Hillary Clinton’s possible intersection with the Essam & Dalal Obaid Foundation, which established the Centre for War and Peace Studies at Link Campus University, with Joseph Mifsud as its director, are two emails from Nawaf Obaid, the CEO of the EDOF and the brother of the CEO of PetroSaudi; these emails were first noted by the Sarawak Report. The first email was addressed to President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, Michael Froman.

Nawaf Obaid wrote in his email to Froman, “I think I should alert you on a possible deeply embarrassing situation that Secretary Clinton could find herself in.  The confidential secret assessment that I had come to see you about two weeks ago is nearly complete and I hope to be able to pass you a copy with a lot of hard supporting intelligence next week when we meet.  Basically, this assessment has uncovered beyond any doubt the existing close ties between Malaysian controversial politician Anwar Ibrahim and the Muslim Brotherhood network.”

The second email from Nawaf Obaid was to his brother, the CEO of PetroSaudi.  This stated, “Secretary Clinton was made aware the weekend before her trip to Malaysia about ‘the assessment’ and was advised NOT to meet him in person.  On arriving in KL, she had no plans on seeing him or having the picture taken with him.”

Anwar Ibrahim, however, has stated his support for Israel and for the rights of homosexuals: these views are antithetical to the Muslim Brotherhood’s beliefs.  At the time of these emails, Anwar Ibrahim was a leader of the opposition to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The defiled-bed narrative: Anwar Ibrahim, who may become Malaysia’s next prime minister, has been imprisoned repeatedly, due to a series of trials that date back to Anwar’s initial hearing in 1998, which resulted in a prison sentence that was overturned in 2004. Tried again in 2010 and 2011, he was acquitted in 2012, only to have his acquittal overturned two years later, resulting in a five-year sentence. He was only recently pardoned by Malaysia’s king.

Anwar Ibrahim’s supposed crime was sodomy, a serious offense in his Muslim-majority country. The evidence: Anwar’s mattress carried into the courtroom more than a dozen times ─ the bed stained purportedly with Anwar’s bodily fluids, suggestive of the act for which he was charged. This charge, involving a defiled bed, is similar in its attributes and in its ramifications to the pith of the dossier prepared by British ex-spy Christopher Steele.

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Secretary of State Clinton knew of the circumstances of Anwar’s trials and imprisonment for sodomy when she refused to meet with him: Anwar was a major political figure in Southeast Asia and his conviction for sodomy was the subject of sustained, international protest and derision, including commentaries by the UN Secretary-General, the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and Nelson Mandela. Not to be outdone, on August 9, 2000, Vice President Gore, during the time in which Hillary Clinton was First Lady, denounced Anwar’s first trial for sodomy as a “mockery.”

In a November 2, 2010 Washington Post article concerning Clinton’s visit, “Malaysia assures US that Anwar will get fair trial,” Sean Yoong of the Associated Press wrote, “Clinton averted a possible diplomatic tiff by deciding not to have a face-to-face meeting with Anwar. But she said U.S. officials have been ‘in regular contact’ with Anwar and ‘we are watching his case very closely.’” This article also quotes Clinton as saying, “It is well known that the United States believes it is important for all aspects of the case to be conducted fairly and transparently and in a way that increases confidence in the rule of law in Malaysia.”

Hillary Clinton’s toadies, who reportedly provided input to what became the Steele dossier, or her other associates, were certainly in a position to suggest the inclusion of the defiled-bed narrative as a means of barring Mr. Trump’s White House bid. Why? As T. S. Eliot observed, “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal . . . .” Such a repulsive story was tested in Anwar’s case and it worked; all that need be done was a bit of repackaging and, voilà, the Trump-prostitutes-urinating-on-a-bed allegation was ready for deployment.

Further, on April 26, 2014, commenting on Barack Obama’s trip to Malaysia, the first such visit by a U.S. President in decades, The Guardian noted, “US president to hold talks with prime minister Najib Razak . . . Obama will not meet opposition leader.” The paper continued, “Anwar was recently convicted for the second time on sodomy charges that the US and international human rights groups have claimed are politically motivated. Anwar is appealing, and could be forced to give up his seat in parliament and go to prison if he loses. Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told reporters travelling with Obama that the president typically does not meet with opposition leaders during foreign visits, but felt the issue was important enough to dispatch Rice instead. Obama and other top officials have raised Anwar’s case in past meetings with Malaysian officials, Rhodes added.”

The CIA would have provided support for all intelligence aspects of the President’s trip. Such information would be provided either directly to the President or to his National Security Advisor. Thus, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Susan Rice, and Ben Rhodes all knew about Anwar’s sodomy case; they also surely knew it to be the most important cudgel that kept the ruling party in Malaysia in power. It was this knowledge that was likely repurposed in an attempt to sabotage the Trump campaign and presidency.

Alternatively, the details of Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trials were well known to foreign policy and intelligence professionals since the inception of the case. Russian or allied intelligence officials had ample opportunity to reconstitute the specifics of the story so that it could become the salacious center of Christopher Steele’s collusion dossier. The congruencies of these two scandalous allegations are manifest.

It must be added that in an extraordinary interview, broadcast by RT, the international television network funded by the government of Russia, the following was said to a journalist, “It was just a smear campaign . . . . But again, as I said, do not underestimate the wishes of the people. . . . You have the entire cabinet, the entire government resources, every night, in the national media, abusing me, and still I increase my majority, but worse, use this as a political ploy, trumped-up charges, use the police, and finally even the judiciary. But never suggest the judiciary was independent. It was disgusting, when you use this façade: democracy, democratic elections, judicial independence, and you abuse the process.”

The Guardian termed the interviewer a “useful idiot” for Vladimir Putin. The foregoing, quoted statement, however, was not made by Donald Trump; the quoted words were spoken by Anwar Ibrahim in a July 3, 2012 interview, in response to a question concerning the sodomy case against him. The interviewer: Julian Assange, in the final episode of his eponymous show.

It must be discovered if this interview, coupled with the other facts and intersections involved with the sodomy case against Anwar, presaged the Steele Dossier and served as a lattice upon which the effort against Donald Trump was built. It is also of critical importance to note that the Anwar case’s archetype, its ramifications, and Clinton’s refusal to meet with Anwar, can be linked back to the cast that enveloped Professor Joseph Mifsud. If the defiled bed narrative in the Steele dossier is, indeed, a reconstitution of the narrative that motivated the Anwar case, the consequences are not just that the Steele Dossier was cribbed from another case and thus cannot be true, but that those who inserted the story are guilty of a grievous offense, whose yolk was formed by corruption on a scale unknown in the history of presidential politics in America.

The need: In March 2015, when it became publicly known that Hillary Clinton used a private email server, the urgent requirement for a countervailing narrative became paramount, for intelligence professionals realized that any nation that hacked this server would possess compromising information on Clinton. This could not be fixed, for foreign actors who penetrated the server could release information that would potentially expose Clinton to prosecution under the Espionage Act.  Clinton’s opponent had to be made to look worse in any comparison, even if the worst came out about her, through the exposure of state secrets due to her abrogation of the grave responsibilities with which she was entrusted.

“Fake it ‘till you make it” may be at the core of the Russia-collusion case.  By creating the Steele dossier and by lassoing George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, the foundation was built for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) case to permit collection. The hope of the plotters may have been that a broad inquiry would yield an economic crime within Trump’s business empire or, at least, aspersions with regard to obstruction of justice, which could be of great use politically.

Trump Tower: Donald Trump’s advocacy of the birther issue began in March 2011 and agitated Barack Obama and numerous officials.  Is it coincidence that Michael Gaeta, the FBI special agent who most recently was posted in Rome and who oversaw dossier author Christopher Steele from our embassy there, was the same agent who, in 2013, ran an organized-crime surveillance operation against a reputed Russian gambling kingpin, Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov, which resulted in 30 indictments.  In that operation, Special Agent Gaeta supervised electronic surveillance proximate to the kingpin’s NYC apartment.  The kingpin lived at Trump Tower.  As of 2012, there were 13,778 special agents in the FBI: the odds of the same agent being both Christopher Steele’s handler and the agent in charge of a criminal probe, which required extensive electronic surveillance to be directed at a resident in Trump Tower, must be calculated on the basis of these two events being independent; the odds are one in thousands.

Did the surveillance operation directed at Donald Trump, while he was running his campaign from Trump Tower, have a rehearsal in the form of the operation against Tokhtakhunov, who had resided in Trump Tower?  The Obama Administration’s reported surveillance of nettlesome journalists James Rosen and Sharyl Attkisson suggest that this is a strong possibility.

Two hop: A report by the National Research Council states, “Communications metadata, domestic and foreign, are used to develop contact chains by starting with a target and using metadata records to indicate who has communicated directly with the target (one hop), who has in turn communicated with those people (two hops), and so on.”

In the initial case of electronic surveillance at Trump Tower, which ran from 2011 through 2013, employment of a two-hop search would mean that if Tokhtakhunov had 75 contacts on his phone, all these contacts would have been subject to metadata collection, and each of their contacts would have been subject to such collection as well.  Assuming these individuals also had 75 contacts per phone, a total of 5,625 people could have had data from their phones intercepted.  Beginning in 2011, this surveillance would have, most plausibly, resulted in collection against Donald Trump.  The Russian would probably have had some building employees on his phone, to support the maintenance of his apartment.  These employees would likely have had the owner of the building, Donald Trump, on their phones ─ creating a pathway to collection.

The ruse: The New York Times, in a December 30, 2017 story, engaged in a very subtle sleight of hand, for Australian officials sat on the Papadopoulos information, obtained by the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, until it was revealed publically that the Democratic National Committee’s servers had been hacked. Papadopoulos’s supposed statement to Downer regarding the Russian’s having dirt on Hillary Clinton was then equated, by The New York Times, with a prior knowledge of the alleged DNC hack, which Papadopoulos supposedly gleaned from an earlier meeting with Mifsud. This led The New York Times to conclude, “But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.”

However, the legal stipulation concerning Papadopoulos, signed by Robert Mueller, never mentions the Democratic National Committee, nor the DNC, in its fourteen pages of text. This suggests that it was Hillary Clinton’s private emails that were at issue.  The New York Times, however, wrote that, “Although Russian hackers had been mining data from the Democratic National Committee’s computers for months, that information was not yet public . . . .”  Mifsud, if he said anything, was almost certainly speaking about emails from Clinton’s private server, which had become a matter of intense press scrutiny for more than a year before the Papadopoulos-Downer meeting.  The Times was complicit in conflating a possible, general statement by Mifsud ─ that the Russians had dirt on Hillary ─ with foreknowledge of the DNC hack.  This ruse is significant, for it is demonstrative of the FBI’s putatively beginning their counterintelligence probe with nothing as their predicate.

Halper and the CIA: Cambridge Professor Stefan Halper’s querying George Papadopoulos and Carter Page about possible Russian activities may be viewed as being designed to skirt the law and established practice.  Although Halper has been cast in the press as an FBI informant ─ that he allegedly served for years as a CIA asset is notable, for the CIA has long been prohibited from spying on American citizens in America.  (Halper’s CIA ties were reported by journalist Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept and by a separate article in Mother Jones on May 19, 2018.)

The initial information concerning Papadopoulos was probably ascertained two ways: first, when President Trump announced Papadopoulos as one of his then five national-security advisors in March 2016, Papadopoulos’s U.K. travel, coupled with his inexperience, made him an attractive target for a sting (along with Carter Page).  Second, Papadopoulos’s overseas address facilitated Section 702 incidental collection. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) targets non-U.S. individuals believed to be situated outside America, for the purpose of acquiring intelligence.  Thus, to gather intelligence against the Trump campaign, Section 702 collection could have been targeted at Professor Mifsud, especially if Mifsud was an asset of U.S. or allied intelligence.

It is also curious that Halper was reportedly paid for at least some of his activities by the Office of Net Assessments of the Office of the Secretary of Defense; one payment was made in 2016 and one in 2017. Coincidentally, over a decade before, Nawaf Obaid, the CEO of the EDOF, which funded the security-studies center at Link Campus University that Joseph Mifsud was to chair, directed a study for this Pentagon office. According to the Saudi-US Relations Information Service, Nawaf Obaid was “the project director for a major study on Sino-Saudi energy rapprochement and its implication for U.S. national security . . . .” This study was “conducted for the director of net assessments in the Office of U.S. Secretary of Defense.”

According to the American Thinker, this same Pentagon office, which functions as an in-house think tank, has, to date, awarded to the Long Term Strategy Group, a private company, $11.2 million in contracts. The president of the Long Term Strategy Group is Jacqueline Newmyer; she, according to numerous stories by the American Thinker,The Daily Caller, and others, is one of Chelsea Clinton’s best friends (the ramifications of these contracts are now reportedly the subject of an investigation by the Pentagon’s Inspector General).

In his June 4, 2015 memorandum to this Pentagon office, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter redirected the office’s mission, present since its inception in 1973, from that of assessing long-term threats and future adversarial capabilities, to that of focusing on current or near-term military and geopolitical threats. Pentagon offices have a long history of mispurposed use. For example, the Pentagon, during George W. Bush’s first term in office, created the initially secret Office of Strategic Influence, which inserted misleading news stories into foreign media outlets and conducted psychological warfare operations, to support certain actions that led to the buildup and the decision to conduct the Iraq war.

The Office of Net Assessments’ long interaction with various parts of the CIA is established by a review of the CIA’s public archives. Therefore, did CIA Director John Brennan work through this Pentagon office to compensate or to position Halper in opposition to members of the Trump campaign? The Office of Net Assessments’ role, if any, in the Russian-collusion maelstrom must be investigated, for given the mindset of an Obama or a Clinton acolyte, what greater, present, geopolitical challenge could there be to the established order than the election of Donald Trump?

Conclusion: In the 2011 book, Sex Scandals in American Politics: a multidisciplinary approach to the construction and aftermath of contemporary political sex scandals, Dr. Mark Sachleben wrote, “The charge of improper use of power can be a substantial tool, to use in reverse, against powerful politicians. Government leaders in Malaysia accused Anwar Ibrahim, a political reformer and the leader of the opposition, of being a homosexual . . . .” Sachleben then noted, “the allegations and charges, most analysts agree, were introduced to the public to undermine Ibrahim politically.” These words speak to the unfairness of the charges leveled against Anwar Ibrahim, but what of Donald Trump?

In 1999, Robert A. Hooper, a past Fulbright Senior Scholar to Malaysia, wrote an astounding piece in the Los Angeles Times. The article was entitled, “A Dress Turns Into a Mattress: Malaysia’s Own Monicagate.” Hooper related a whirlwind, “Early last year, months before Anwar’s arrest and beating, Malaysian law-enforcement officials were inquiring about the key players in the Monica script. Who were Linda R. Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg? Which party did Starr belong to? Where did Paula Corbin Jones come from and who has been helping her? How did Tripp become involved with Starr? Mahathir’s team may have had their basic script laid out and only needed to flesh out its details. Who better to turn to for inspiration than the United States government and its impeachment mini-series?”

Thus, the derivation of the core of the Steele Dossier may be viewed as a Möbius band: a loop that has as its defining characteristic the property of being non-orientable. Thus, a person traveling on the band would experience being flipped from right to left or from left to right upon each rotation. The Steele dossier, therefore, may be considered to be the ultimate product of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, as transposed by the events in Malaysia.

The Trump-collusion narrative, as most often presented, is a farrago of politically motivated distortions and lies, perpetrated by men and women who have held or do hold great positions of trust in government or in the media. Russia’s attempts to debase America’s democratic process, to enhance Russia’s relative stature, are clear, but are not synonymous with Russia’s being the first cause of this challenge to our democracy. The past specter of Soviet supremacy led America to make extraordinarily damaging errors that were avoidable: most notably, our involvement in the Vietnam War.

If America continues to inflate radically Russia’s actions in 2016, we, and not Russia, besmirch our own democracy while inflating Vladimir Putin’s prestige. The gross misrepresentations of the facts of the case, the interlocking histories of both American and Russian manipulations of foreign elections, and the unimpactful interference that Russian actors perpetrated in the 2016 election cycle, bring to mind another misrepresentation: throughout the 1950’s, CIA analysts predicted the Soviet economy would soon surpass America’s, a prediction that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev liked and repeated. As of 2017, America’s gross domestic product was over twelve times larger than Russia’s.

Richard B. Levine was Director of Policy Development on the NSC Staff under President Ronald Reagan; after six years at the White House, he became the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Technology Transfer and Security Assistance, serving under three Secretaries of the Navy. He is the recipient of two Presidential letters of commendation and the Department of the Navy’s highest civilian decoration, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award. Mr. Levine received his baccalaureate, with honors, from the Johns Hopkins University. He holds an MBA from Harvard.


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