Diary

Print That "Second Dossier" on Toilet Paper

That way, it may still have some utility. The Guardian has the report on a Second Dossier here, and there are more holes in the story than my son’s jeans. First and foremost, Cody Shearer is the purported author of the Second Dossier, and he is a longtime, loyal Clinton hack who palled around with Sidney Blumenthal and has a history of skulduggery for the Clintons.

Second, the Guardian doesn’t explain how Shearer, an espionage amateur, “independently set out some of the same allegations” as in the Steele reports. We don’t know if he used the same FSB source as Steele or some other Putin operative. As this WSJ piece explains, he was more likely than not to have been played (and Steele as well).

There is a third possibility, namely that the dossier was part of a Russian espionage disinformation plot targeting both parties and America’s political process. This is what seems most likely to me, having spent much of my 30-year government career, including with the CIA, observing Soviet and then Russian intelligence operations. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that Vladimir Putin continues in the Soviet tradition of using disinformation and espionage as foreign-policy tools.

There are three reasons the Kremlin would have detected Mr. Steele’s information gathering and seen an opportunity to intervene. First, Mr. Steele did not travel to Russia to acquire his information and instead relied on intermediaries. That is a weak link, since Russia’s internal police service, the FSB, devotes significant technical and human resources to blanket surveillance of Western private citizens and government officials, with a particular focus on uncovering their Russian contacts.

Second, Mr. Steele was an especially likely target for such surveillance given that he had retired from MI-6, the British spy agency, after serving in Moscow. Russians are fond of saying that there is no such thing as a “former” intelligence officer. The FSB would have had its eye on him.

Third, the Kremlin successfully hacked into the Democratic National Committee. Emails there could have tipped it off that the Clinton campaign was collecting information on Mr. Trump’s dealings in Russia.

That Shearer was part of Hillary’s “secret spy network” does not actually make him a spy. Shearer “shared it [the Second Dossier] with select media organisations before the election”, which is another open question, and then there’s this from the Guardian.

The Shearer memo was provided to the FBI in October 2016.

It was handed to them by Steele – who had been given it by an American contact – after the FBI requested the former MI6 agent provide any documents or evidence that could be useful in its investigation, according to multiple sources.

The Guardian was told Steele warned the FBI he could not vouch for the veracity of the Shearer memo, but that he was providing a copy because it corresponded with what he had separately heard from his own independent sources.

If Shearer also reported an allegation about some lewd acts that Trump did in a Moscow hotel room, then to me it lends less credibility to both reports, not more. Without any evidence and nothing beyond the word of an unnamed Russian spy, it’s an allegation without a shred of support.

While the Guardian stated that the FBI was “still assessing details” of Shearer’s efforts, left unsaid is how seriously that assessment is being taken. My guess is not that much, considering the source.

And there are other questions such as, who paid Shearer to do this? Perkins Coie? Some other cut-out? Somebody had to have given him money in exchange for conducting this “investigation”.

Finally, the timing of this article–one day after the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the Nunes memo–stinks. It could have been disclosed any time after Buzzfeed dumped the contents of the Steele reports onto the Internet. In my opinion, Shearer’s work product doesn’t raise red flags, it raises red blimps.