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In that post, the CIA’s go-to guy at the Washington Post tries to paint a picture of Joseph Mifsud, the guy who someone dragged hapless George Papadopoulos into the affair and tried to paint him as a conduit between the Trump campaign and Moscow, as someone who any reasonable person could mistake for a Russian agent of influence…so long as no one really bothered to look. Some of my observations:

Here is a picture of Mifsud standing by a member of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee.

Read her bio.

One would note, going back to the comment by Steve Hall, that Smith and Mifsud were both on faculty at University of Stirling at the same time.

Devin Nunes has the best summary:

If Mifsud was a suspected Russian agent, then allowing him the access to the venues where he regularly appeared is a scandal of epic proportions.

The best interpretation of this article is that the CIA knows Mifsud’s exposure as an agent of a Western intelligence agency is going to happen. Then they are going to be left to explain how bogus information fed to Papadopoulos by a friendly intelligence agency was used to bolster the case for a special counsel to investigate a sitting president. There probably isn’t a real good explanation beyond what is here in the article, which is “well, we thought he looked fishy” and hoping that no one notices the very real coincidences that connect Mifsud and friendly intelligence agencies.

And there are these additional angles:

Today, a story by my colleague, Elizabeth Vaughn, on how people who previously refused to cooperate with the investigation of DOJ IG Michael Horowitz were now cooperating and that the main figure was from Department of State.

Speculation is that just as Samuel Johnson observed, “when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully,” when a reluctant witness in an IG probe knows that a prosecutor will force them to testify, it serves to focus his attention on important matters…like not being indicted.

Elizabeth’s post tugged at a story that I was trying to write last week because it was unusual, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was unsettling.

If you’ve been in government or in big business you are familiar with upper management deciding their own subordinates are as dumb as a bag of clawhammers (studiously ignoring who promoted and mentored them) and bringing in a consultant that is frequently unfamiliar with your business processes or corporate culture or the history of how some management and staff relationships came to be and letting them “fix” things. Often these consultants are staffed with very smart people but they don’t get paid to listen, they get paid to make changes. Many of these firms seem to have a template approach to solving problems depending upon what the newest fad in business management circles is. Changes imposed from the outside rarely last and only occasionally produce positive results. But they do one useful thing, they provide cover for failing management because the departed consultant’s findings can be blamed by upper management for performance downturns.

The story in question was from Politico (which, when it isn’t going full metal OrangeManBad does decent reporting) headlined: Spies fear a consulting firm helped hobble U.S. intelligence.

These insiders said the efforts have hindered decision-making at key agencies — including the CIA, National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

They said McKinsey helped complicate a well-established linear chain of command, slowing down projects and turnaround time, and applied cookie-cutter solutions to agencies with unique cultures. In the process, numerous employees have become dismayed, saying the efforts have at best been a waste of money and, at worst, made their jobs more difficult. It’s unclear how much McKinsey was paid in that stretch, but according to news reports and people familiar with the effort, the total exceeded $10 million.

In each case, bureaucratic changes that slow response time or hamper intelligence collection capabilities could cause the loss of company secrets, private government data, the democratic process and even American lives. Already, some projects at the NSA have been cut or delayed as a result of disgruntled employees leaving the agency.

“At CIA, they shattered longstanding structural constructs that people had invested their whole careers in,” said Larry Pfeiffer, a 32-year intelligence veteran who now serves as the director of the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy and International Security at George Mason University. It resulted in “a coordination nightmare” widely considered to be “very heavy-handed,” added Pfeiffer, who left government before the restructuring but remains in close contact with current officials.

Pfeiffer said he doesn’t know “a soul at CIA or NSA who would tell you that the reorganizations have made things better.”

“That’s exactly what happened,” a former CIA operations officer said.

Why, you might ask, would an intelligence agency advertise to the world that a retooling of the intelligence community failed miserably? Wouldn’t that be something you’d keep to yourself? And why, even though Congress was allegedly notified, is this story based on leaks from the CIA rather than Adam Schiff? I understand people being upset at having their world changed but why make this complaint public after the consultant has already pocketed the money and is laying on a beach somewhere sipping fruity drinks with umbrellas and planning their next foray?

My theory is that if you read my earlier post and Elizabeth’s post and this article together, the common thread is Attorney General Bill Barr’s designated cleaner, US Attorney for Connecticut John Durham, mounting a serious investigation to find out just how the f***ity-f*** that the Steele Dossier was shopped about government, briefed to the president, used to justify as many as four FISA warrants on Carter Page, and became the focus of the lynch mob led by Robert Mueller.

You have two things happening.

First, players not actively involved in the whole play engineered, I think, by Brennan, are seeing that it is to their advantage to be not only on the right side of history but the right side of Horowitz and Durham. These people who had refused to cooperate out of some sense of personal loyalty, or loyalty to the Obama legacy, or because they are totally down with the #Resistance are now reluctant to be bankrupted by becoming targets of a federal investigation.

Second, you have the institutions involved cobbling together excuses for why they behaved as they did. In this case the CIA is saying that because a consultant screwed up traditional lines of coordination, that it was easy for Joseph Mifsud to be mistaken as Russian agent of influence and that his long standing ties to Western Intelligence services overlooked because the people familiar with Mifsud were no longer involved. The same reorganization could have prevented warning flags from going off over the Steele Dossier because of staff and organization changes.

Bottom line is, yes it happened but it really isn’t our fault seems to be the line of defense.

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The one thing that doesn’t make sense is why Politico, particularly the reporter who is up to her unibrow in pushing the Russia collusion narrative, is now suddenly writing on a subject more appropriate for the audience of GovExec.com.