The foreign intel angle on Spygate: What probably didn’t happen, and what probably did

A history of “knowing” things that never led anywhere.

This should more properly be titled “A slice of the foreign intel angle on Spygate,” because it’s not a comprehensive survey.  Such a survey would at a minimum have to include British, Australian, and Italian involvement in human intelligence (HUMINT) threads, among others.  The survey here isn’t that expansive.

Rather, it separates out a chunk of the purported information to date on one part of the larger story line.  The part in question is a combination of signals intelligence (SIGINT) and Russian intelligence, and in particular, U.S. and friendly intelligence on Russian intelligence.  The latter – or at least claims about the latter; i.e., claims about our intel on Russian intel – played a key role in perpetuating the Russiagate narrative when it was looking particularly seedy and ill-starred.

In retrospect, it appears skepticism about some claims of foreign-intel sourcing was always in order. Continue reading “The foreign intel angle on Spygate: What probably didn’t happen, and what probably did”

Russia-Ukraine: Putin announces his presence from inside the OODA loop

Fastest OODA Act on the planet? Or just faster than Biden and NATO?

UPDATE: See latest-breaking move by Putin at the bottom.

There’s nothing more tedious than listening to an interpreter translate Vladimir Putin talking for 45 minutes about Russian history and Ukraine.

But after the lengthy intro, Putin moved to the briskly-paced Act Four an hour and change later, signing decrees recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk (Donbas) as “People’s Republics,” and concluding Russian cooperation agreements with them.

The “presidents” of the so-called independent Donetsk and Luhansk were present for the event, albeit at the other end of the football field. Continue reading “Russia-Ukraine: Putin announces his presence from inside the OODA loop”

The dive: Arcanum, Sater, and some timeline nuggets

Swamps, shells, and polo sticks.

Felix Sater made something of a splash with a counterclaim filing in court on 3 February, enumerating a list of allegations against a group of Kazakh clients and the consulting company Arcanum which had sued him in 2019.

A number of commentators were astonished at Sater’s claims about the intent and activities of the original plaintiffs.  I have to say, though, that his filing didn’t surprise me nearly as much.  The reason is basically that, after looking over the information we already have about the events of 2015, it had begun to appear that there well could have been outside hands in the key threads involving Sater that year.  Those key threads were his asset recovery work for the Kazakh clients (who sought billions in funds allegedly embezzled by Mukhtar Ablyazov nearly 10 years earlier) and his shepherding of an incipient deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow. Continue reading “The dive: Arcanum, Sater, and some timeline nuggets”

TOC Ready Room 8 Feb 2022: Domestic terror alert results “changing quickly,” says Google

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Just a short update for Tuesday, as sites across the Web take note of a new National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin published on 7 February 2022.

The bulletin is not hard to interpret.  It says the following in the first paragraph:  “The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors. These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence.”

The bulletin goes on to say, Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 8 Feb 2022: Domestic terror alert results “changing quickly,” says Google”

Ukraine, election legitimacy, and Trump’s big day of validation

Expressing U.S. interests. Or, rather, not.

There’s commentary below on the Ukraine issue, but first, the meta-message of President Biden’s press conference on Wednesday:  Trump can be un-impeached any time now.  The two things he was impeached for have become U.S. policy under Joe Biden.

The first impeachment of Trump was over Trump’s handling of arms shipments to Ukraine.  Democrats in Congress charged that Trump improperly delayed them and showed inadequate support for Ukraine’s security, allegedly as an extortion move against the Ukrainian government in a quest to get Kyiv to attack Joe Biden.

Now showing inadequate support for Ukraine’s security is Biden’s U.S. national policy.

The second impeachment of Trump Continue reading “Ukraine, election legitimacy, and Trump’s big day of validation”