After the revelations of the past couple of days where it was conclusively established that the Steele Dossier was the central element that generated the Russia hoax investigation, and not the ludicrous and implausible story that Crossfire Hurricane began based on a casual conversation between George Papadopoulos and an Australian diplomat who seems to be an MI6 asset (see As the IG Report Nears, The New York Times Quietly Changes Its Story on George Papadopoulos and How the George Papadopoulos Story Was Manufactured to Justify a Hoax Investigation) the question of the provenance of the Steele Dossier has become more and more critical.
We’re learning about some key misrepresentations in the report. For instance, one person that is portrayed as a conduit to Russia is actually a long time FBI informant (see The Strange and Unexplained Coincidences in the Mueller Report Continue to Pile Up) and we know they accepted information from at least one source who was known to be either a liar or just stupid (see NEW: FBI Was Aware the Main Source for the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Was a Liar, They Used Him Anyway).
The larger question about the dossier is the role the Russians had in creating it. Persons as widely separated by politics and position as New York Times reporter Scott Shane and Attorney General Bill Barr have wondered aloud if the dossier was actually a Russian disinformation operation(see If This New York Times Reporter Suspected The Dossier Was A Fraud Why Is He Only Reporting On It Now and Kevin McCarthy Calls The Russia Collusion Hoax A Coup Attempt And He’s Right).
One of the first things that you notice about the sourcing in the dossier is the incredible number of former and current Russian intelligence goons who were willing to talk about what had to be a highly classified operation with no less an objective than gaining control of the President of the United States (see The Steele Memo Is Much More Likely Russian Dezinformatsiya Than It Is Intelligence). In most places, particularly in places like Russia, that is not cocktail lounge gossip. And Russia doesn’t just take away your security clearance when you divulge secrets, they often run you alive into a crematorium. Now the Daily Caller had uncovered information that makes the sourcing look more and more like a Russian operation.
Dossier author Christopher Steele identified a former Russian spy chief and a top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin as being involved in handling potentially compromising information about President Donald Trump, State Department notes show.
In her notes, State Department official Kathleen Kavalec also referred to the two Russians — former Russian foreign intelligence chief Vyacheslav Trubnikov and Putin aide Vladislav Surkov — as “sources.”
The references to Trubnikov and Surkov, which have not previously been reported, are not definitive proof that either were sources for Steele’s dossier or that they were involved in an effort to collect blackmail material on Trump.
But the notes are significant because they are the first government documents that show Steele discussing potential sources for the information in his dossier, which the former MI6 officer provided to the FBI.
Think about that for a moment. I could see some low level operative shooting his mouth off to impress someone but claiming the former head of the SVR and a current Putin aide are talking about something this sensitive. What makes this more interesting is Trubnikov’s relationship with another well known figure in the Russia hoax:
Trubnikov also has links to Stefan Halper, an FBI informant who collected information from Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. Halper arranged for Trubnikov to visit intelligence seminars at the University of Cambridge in 2012 and 2015. He also tapped Trubnikov to contribute to a Pentagon study published in 2015.
Halper tapped Trubnikov to contribute to a study he did in 2015 for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA) titled “The Russia-China relationship: The Impact on the United States’ Security Interests.” Halper, who served in three Republican presidential administrations, was paid over $1 million from 2012 through 2018 for reports from ONA, which is led by Pentagon officials Andrew May and James Baker.
Given Halper’s role in attempting to sandbag Mike Flynn and compromise Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, one is left wondering if Halper was one of Christopher Steele’s intermediaries.
The very fact that Barr is asking the right questions is a good sign that we’ll eventually have the answers to these questions and many more.