Real Russian attacks against FBI, as FBI was trying to pin something fake on Trump?

Yahoo! News has an in-depth exposé of a serious and coordinated Russian intelligence effort to penetrate the FBI's internal communications system.  The breaches were so bad that the bureau lost connection to many of its vital sources.

The operation, which targeted FBI communications, hampered the bureau's ability to track Russian spies on U.S. soil at a time of increasing tension with Moscow, forced the FBI and CIA to cease contact with some of their Russian assets, and prompted tighter security procedures at key U.S. national security facilities in the Washington area and elsewhere, according to former U.S. officials. It even raised concerns among some U.S. officials about a Russian mole within the U.S. intelligence community.

That's pretty disastrous for a leading intelligence agency.  It takes years, and tremendous luck, to develop such sources, because these are people who take life-or-death risks to communicate.  The Russians knew way more than they were supposed to know.

Breitbart News has an excellent analysis arguing that the opening had been created by the Obama administration's flawed Russian "reset."

But I have another take.

Even as this news would have made its way to James Comey and Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok, those guys, based on what's known from the news, were far more focused on Getting Trump.  They didn't seem to be as focused on the real Russian spying going on; they preferred to muck around in U.S. politics, using their unearned political power for their own personal purposes instead.  No doubt, the curious Russians were watching this whole thing closely, and they could see they were dealing with politically obsessed idiots, probably moving more boldly as a result.

At a time when the FBI needed to be dealing with only serious, verified Russian intelligence, agents were instead dealing, by choice, with fake stuff, and fake stuff they knew to be fake, such as the Steele dossier.  It fit what they wanted, though, because they used it for political surveillance and investigational purposes anyway.  They set up dishonest FISA warrants to spy on Trump officials, after setting up evidence as a pretext.  They spied on Carter Page, a guy who had cooperated with the FBI on an authentic spy case a few years earlier, and, using an undoubtedly expensive American sparrow operation, they bagged George Papadopoulos, a Middle East and energy policy expert, for the same fake stuff after an apparent setup by another apparent Western intelligence asset from Malta, named Josef Mifsud, who has since disappeared. 

They unmasked hundreds of Americans, happily spying on people the law said they were not supposed to spy on, again, not for intelligence purposes, but for political purposes.

They focused on young social climber Maria Butina as a spy, which may have been valid, but there are some significant arguments out there that it wasn't and she was not a real spy.

They dismissed Hillary Clinton's illegal and unsecured private server...all while knowing that this big-league spying from the Russians was going on and the Russians were going to benefit.  And apparently, Comey, too, was using fake email addresses, same as Hillary — we know a bunch of them in the Obama administration were doing it, opening themselves up to Russian surveillance — all in the interest of avoiding accountability from those God-awful American citizens, who had access to the Freedom of Information Act.  They effectively prioritized that over protecting America, just as they knew that the Russians were getting very, very aggressive.

People like Comey and McCabe knew about this stuff.  Yet they focused on Getting Trump, and by the time the special counsel was appointed, they had spent millions to do it.

It's since been in the news that the U.S. extracted a top Russian asset close to Putin into the States, a man who would have known that the whole Steele dossier stuff was fake, too.  One can only hope investigators will eventually get to know what he has to say about this whole sorry contrast in priorities.

What can be concluded is that not only have intelligence capabilities been damaged by the politicized and phony spying against Trump, but such damage has come at a time when real spying from Russia has damaged U.S. capabilities, too.  That leaves the FBI as a largely useless agency as far as counterintelligence goes.  The bureau will work hard to get to the bottom of who might have betrayed it on the real Russian spying.  Pity these people don't seem to be as eager to clean house on the smog hampering their operations from the politicized spying.  That's as damaging as the real security breaches.

Image credit: Kremlin.ru, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Yahoo! News has an in-depth exposé of a serious and coordinated Russian intelligence effort to penetrate the FBI's internal communications system.  The breaches were so bad that the bureau lost connection to many of its vital sources.

The operation, which targeted FBI communications, hampered the bureau's ability to track Russian spies on U.S. soil at a time of increasing tension with Moscow, forced the FBI and CIA to cease contact with some of their Russian assets, and prompted tighter security procedures at key U.S. national security facilities in the Washington area and elsewhere, according to former U.S. officials. It even raised concerns among some U.S. officials about a Russian mole within the U.S. intelligence community.

That's pretty disastrous for a leading intelligence agency.  It takes years, and tremendous luck, to develop such sources, because these are people who take life-or-death risks to communicate.  The Russians knew way more than they were supposed to know.

Breitbart News has an excellent analysis arguing that the opening had been created by the Obama administration's flawed Russian "reset."

But I have another take.

Even as this news would have made its way to James Comey and Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok, those guys, based on what's known from the news, were far more focused on Getting Trump.  They didn't seem to be as focused on the real Russian spying going on; they preferred to muck around in U.S. politics, using their unearned political power for their own personal purposes instead.  No doubt, the curious Russians were watching this whole thing closely, and they could see they were dealing with politically obsessed idiots, probably moving more boldly as a result.

At a time when the FBI needed to be dealing with only serious, verified Russian intelligence, agents were instead dealing, by choice, with fake stuff, and fake stuff they knew to be fake, such as the Steele dossier.  It fit what they wanted, though, because they used it for political surveillance and investigational purposes anyway.  They set up dishonest FISA warrants to spy on Trump officials, after setting up evidence as a pretext.  They spied on Carter Page, a guy who had cooperated with the FBI on an authentic spy case a few years earlier, and, using an undoubtedly expensive American sparrow operation, they bagged George Papadopoulos, a Middle East and energy policy expert, for the same fake stuff after an apparent setup by another apparent Western intelligence asset from Malta, named Josef Mifsud, who has since disappeared. 

They unmasked hundreds of Americans, happily spying on people the law said they were not supposed to spy on, again, not for intelligence purposes, but for political purposes.

They focused on young social climber Maria Butina as a spy, which may have been valid, but there are some significant arguments out there that it wasn't and she was not a real spy.

They dismissed Hillary Clinton's illegal and unsecured private server...all while knowing that this big-league spying from the Russians was going on and the Russians were going to benefit.  And apparently, Comey, too, was using fake email addresses, same as Hillary — we know a bunch of them in the Obama administration were doing it, opening themselves up to Russian surveillance — all in the interest of avoiding accountability from those God-awful American citizens, who had access to the Freedom of Information Act.  They effectively prioritized that over protecting America, just as they knew that the Russians were getting very, very aggressive.

People like Comey and McCabe knew about this stuff.  Yet they focused on Getting Trump, and by the time the special counsel was appointed, they had spent millions to do it.

It's since been in the news that the U.S. extracted a top Russian asset close to Putin into the States, a man who would have known that the whole Steele dossier stuff was fake, too.  One can only hope investigators will eventually get to know what he has to say about this whole sorry contrast in priorities.

What can be concluded is that not only have intelligence capabilities been damaged by the politicized and phony spying against Trump, but such damage has come at a time when real spying from Russia has damaged U.S. capabilities, too.  That leaves the FBI as a largely useless agency as far as counterintelligence goes.  The bureau will work hard to get to the bottom of who might have betrayed it on the real Russian spying.  Pity these people don't seem to be as eager to clean house on the smog hampering their operations from the politicized spying.  That's as damaging as the real security breaches.

Image credit: Kremlin.ru, CC BY-SA 4.0.