I have been following the story regarding the arrest of the sub-source who reportedly provided much of the apparently fabricated “intelligence” that went into the Christopher Steele dossier that was commissioned by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to get the dirt on GOP candidate Donald Trump. The real story is, of course, that the Democrats used their incumbency in the presidency to illegally involve various national security agencies in the process of defaming Trump, but for the time being we have to be content with the detention of Russian born Virginia resident Igor Danchenko for the crime of lying to the FBI.
My problem is that apart from the lying, which might be categorized in a file labeled “Everyone Lies to the Police,” I can’t quite figure out what the poor sod did that was criminal. I have reconstructed the sequence of events as follows: A business intelligence research firm Fusion GPS originally began researching Trump’s possible ties with Russia during the primary elections on behalf of a conservative who wanted to damage Trump’s campaign. After Trump became the Republican nominee, the original funder discontinued the search, but Fusion GPS was hired to keep going by the Perkins Coie law firm, which was working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Christopher Steele, former MI-6 officer with a good reputation and reported access to information coming from Russia among other places, was sub-contracted by Fusion to assist in the effort by compiling a dossier containing defamatory material on Trump. As he had limited access to the kind of sleaze that was being sought, Steele contacted a known intelligence researcher who appeared to have such access. That was Danchenko, an analyst who specialized in Russia, whom Steele subsequently described as his “primary sub-source.” Danchenko had worked for the Washington DC based and Democratic Party linked Brookings Institution from 2005 until 2010 and was considered reliable.
Steele tasked Danchenko with finding out details about Trump and the Russians, to include possible contacts with the Kremlin’s intelligence services during a trip to Moscow in 2013 where the Trump Organization was hosting the Miss Universe contest. Danchenko did just that to Steele’s satisfaction, which also pleased Steele’s clients. The information collected subsequently was incorporated into what became the notorious Steele Dossier and was used by the FBI among others to make a case against Donald Trump and his associates.Among other initiatives, the Bureau used the file, which it knew to be largely innuendo, as justification to obtain a secret surveillance court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court (FISA) which authorized a wiretap targeting former Trump adviser Carter Page.
The only problem was that some of the information was fabricated, apparently by Danchenko, though that is by no means clear. The fake material included the notorious anecdote about Trump urinating on a prostitute in the bed that Barak Obama had slept in when he had visited the Russian capital. The assumption was that Trump would have been photographed in flagrante and the Kremlin would have been able to use the material to blackmail him. Other parts of the final dossier were also discovered to be false.
Making something up in a criminal investigation might be wrong, even criminal, but both Steele and Danchenko were private citizens with no legal status at the time. It was up to Steele to validate the information he was receiving. As for Danchenko, he was one of numerous former officials of various governments that have set themselves up profitably as intelligence peddlers. Some of them make a very nice living from it and many of them are quite willing to bend the facts to make a client happy. In my own experience in CIA I have run into many intelligence peddlers in Europe and the Middle East and they all use the same MO, namely mixing confirmable factual information with fabricated information so the former validates the latter. Since leaving government, I have also worked for three private security firms in the US and I would suggest that at least two of them would have been quite willing to slant what they were discovering to fit what the client was seeking to find. Such behavior is not at all unusual in the business since ex-intelligence officers and policemen tend to have a history of operating with little oversight and minimum accountability.
In this case, the charges cited in the indictment derived from statements made by Danchenko describing the sources he claimed to have used in providing sensitive information to a Steele’s United Kingdom investigative firm with which he had contracted to prepare what are identified in the indictment as “Company Reports.” The implication would of course be that he had no actual sources and instead used his creative writing skills to come up with some suitable narratives relating to Trump’s behavior. Danchenko, for his part, reportedly claimed to investigators that it was Steele who overstated the information that had been provided from confidential Russian sources which was in the nature of “raw intelligence,” not a finished product. Be that as it may, the final dossier was a concoction of verifiable facts mixed with gossip, rumors and sheer speculation. Danchenko also denied knowing who was paying for the investigation even though it appears that he had had contact with several Clinton associates, most notably one Charles H. Dolan, who may have actually suggested to the investigators what type of “information” was being sought.
The arrest came as part of the special counsel John Durham investigation into Russiagate and related matters, most specifically the claim that Russian intelligence agencies had interfered in the 2016 election. This latest activity comes after Durham’s recent charging of Hillary Clinton’s former campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann in an indictment that alleges that he lied to federal investigators in September 2016, when he gave them information that he falsely claimed showed a connection between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank in Russia.
So the takeaway from all of this is that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to subvert the 2016 election. On the contrary, it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign that sought the dirt on Trump and used a largely fraudulent dossier to make its case. And, oh yes, President Barack Obama knew exactly what was going on, which led to the completely illegal involvement of the intelligence and law enforcement federal agencies. And you can bet that if Obama knew, so did his Vice President Joe Biden. And the former head of CIA John Brennan and FBI head James Comey, who corruptly engaged their agencies in the conspiracy, are still walking free instead of in jail where they should be. And as for Hillary….I will leave that up to the reader.
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is [email protected].