Glenn R. Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for a scheduled appearance before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Targeted leaks have become a common occurrence during the Trump era, especially regarding the Trump-Russia probe. Over and over, publications like The New York Times have essentially served as stenographers for anonymous officials that are trying to get ahead of a story. It’s not a coincidence that right after George Papadopoulos accused the FBI of running a female spy against him, suddenly there was a full spread in the Times admitting to the act but assuring everyone it was totally above board.
That’s the game. Obfuscate and lie to start. Then when finally caught red-handed, try to rehabilitate the narrative with yet more lies and obfuscation via pre-planned leaks.
We’ve got another example of this coming from the U.K. that seems to be a direct response to Bill Barr’s new investigation heating up. It has appeared for a while that U.K. intelligence was going to end up caught in the middle of all this, which would mean U.S. officials were colluding with a foreign government to target a Presidential campaign.
That’s not a narrative the FBI nor the U.K want out there so they’ve got to do damage control. Enter Ben Riley-Smith and his new “exclusive” for the Telegraph.
Lots is known about how the FBI handled the Steele dossier – 17 memos compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele about Trump campaign’s Russia links.
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) May 19, 2019
To start, this isn’t actually an exclusive. Undercover Huber, an anonymous insider who’s done excellent work on this entire ordeal, broke this story a year ago.
EXCLUSIVE: Christopher Steele may have handed at least one of his dossier memos to the UK's highest ranking security official, who works for the Prime Minister, @theresa_may – THREAD
— Undercover Huber (@JohnWHuber) April 25, 2018
I revealed that Steele gave his memos to the British Prime Minister’s top security advisor Charles Farr over a year ago (April 2018), but thanks for confirming it, better late than never 👏 https://t.co/YxpI3B7gNl https://t.co/93cW6ksh5S
— Undercover Huber (@JohnWHuber) May 19, 2019
Regardless, what’s the play here? If you read through Riley-Smith’s thread you start to get an idea of why he’s writing this and who his sources are. The thread is 20+ tweets long but when you get to the end, that’s when what’s really going on becomes apparent.
What is the significance of our disclosure?
One, it suggests British intel figures treated the Steele dossier with gravity, escalating it rapidly up the system.
That is in marked contrast to Trump’s position, which is that the dossier is “fake” and “phony”.
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) May 19, 2019
Annnndddd…there it is.
Riley-Smith alleges that the U.K.’s treatment of the dossier stands in contrast to Trump calling it phony and fake. You can see him fluffing this pampered narrative throughout his tweet storm, essentially trying to build the case that the U.K. acted properly and the dossier isn’t actually unverified garbage.
What’s clear is that this entire exercise is just a weak attempt to rehabilitate Steele’s work, protect him, and protect those who bought his grift. If enough officials leak to the media how seriously they took the Steele dossier, then that’s supposed to excuse the fact that they got suckered by a Russian misinformation campaign. Never mind that random people on the internet were able to poke multiple, gaping holes in the dossier within days of its public release. Apparently the FBI and British intelligence are run by morons who saw nothing suspicious about false claims of Miami consulates and ridiculous stories of pee tapes.
Mollie Hemingway has been another conservative journalist who’s done incredible work on all this and she sees right through the facade.
So Brits are spinning that they took seriously a laughably ridiculous dossier that Trump accurately called "fake" and "phony." What does this tell us about British intel? What does it tell us about Trump? What does it tell us about journalists who peddle these claims? https://t.co/TmFV7AjOu5
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) May 20, 2019
All of this says nothing good about the Obama administration either. It’d be incredibly naive to think that they weren’t aware of this being pushed to U.K. officials, even after Trump had been elected. Despite that, they left Trump in the dark for weeks. When they did finally brief him, they didn’t let him know how far the dossier had traveled and instead presented Steele’s delusional musings as quasi-verified intelligence.
You start to get a picture of the frantic operations among U.S. and U.K. intelligence to push and verify the dossier after November 2016 happened. Whether this reached the level of them trying to potentially stop Trump from taking office, I’m not sure.
What I do know is that Steele’s dossier is a complete dumpster fire and is indeed “phony” and “fake.” No amount of targeted leaks or kid glove write ups from Ben Riley-Smith is going to change that. The truth is coming out and no one involved with the dossier’s use and dissemination looks anything but extremely corrupt at this point.