A Legend No-One Knows
I was interested to hear this news, but I can’t say I was surprised. I won’t claim that he must be an agent, but Carter Page’s time before he was mentioned by Trump raises more questions than it answered for me.
Enter Carter Page, a 44-year-old Ph.D., and business school graduate who claims an expertise in Russia and energy, yet who, I quickly discovered, was known by neither Russia experts nor energy experts nor Russian energy experts. ("I can poll any number of people involved in energy in Russia about Carter Page and they'll say, 'Carter who? You mean Jimmy Carter?'" says one veteran Western investor in Russian energy.) Page also, as I would be surprised to discover, appears largely unknown to Trump's own campaign.
When I heard about the contact between Page and a pair of Russian agents busted in a spy ring in 2013, I wanted to know who Page was. Turns out, rather ironically, many other people, from reporters to the major players in Russian energy, to even Trump's own people, were mystified as to who Carter Page, PhD. was.
Reading through the report, it sounded like somebody eager to be a big shot, but who apparently didn't actually do much of anything worth remembering. Yet suddenly he shows up as a major, expert advisor for Donald Trump.
Why does somebody present themselves as somebody they are not?
I wouldn't be averse to believing that Carter's just an idiot who got in over his head, a professional toady who magnifies himself to pursue his ambitions.
I wouldn't be averse to believing that Carter might have unknowingly been working on Russia's behalf, compromised by way of another asset who wormed his or her way into his life.
But what leapt out at me with Carter Page off the politico profile was how much it seemed like he was either blending into the wallpaper, or people simply weren't talking about what he did. How does that man become a major policy adviser overnight to the President? We look at Paul Manafort, and he's got a long career of associating with Putin's orbit of sympathizers, among other unsavory characters. I mean, if this didn't scream connection, what would? Tillerson isn't much better. More than just being acquainted, Tillerson got an order of friendship medal from the Russian Government, that friendship largely tied to Russian energy interests, the main economic prop for Putin's power and influence. Too bad Obama's sanctions hit them both where they hurt.
But of course, that would be too obvious. Too many people would be looking at them, maybe even keeping tabs.
But Carter Page? He's no-one. Or if he's somebody, nobody's talking about him. Either he's being real subtle about being an expert in those markets, or he's doing something people don't talk out loud about. Or maybe he's just the kind of over-ambitious, approval-seeking deceptive little twit who would be willing to trade an upgrade in his stature for doing his handlers favors. Who knows? What we do know at this point, is that he is not who he was said to be. What he was presented as? A fiction. A Legend, as they say in Human Intelligence. For what purpose, we don't yet know. These could be the actions of a con man, or the actions of a foreign intelligence asset.
But whoever and whatever he is, the FBI thought he was suspicious enough to get a FISA warrant on, and FISA warrants generally aren't frivolous affairs. Comey's quote said something to the effect of having to go before the judges with stacks of evidence thicker than his wrists.
I know what the Republicans would like to believe: The evil Obama spied on the Trump Campaign! They'll suppose quite a bit of what's not in evidence to bring themselves to believe that. But if Obama didn't order any surveillance, if Lorretta Lynch never ordered the FBI to pursue it, what do we have here?
Is there a reason why Trump never vetted his people? I mean, I would be flabbergasted if a vetting of Page wouldn't turn up that 2013 investigation. yet what does Carter say? That he wouldn't volunteer that information to the Trump campaign or administration.
Carter's not the only one with a problem like that. Plenty of undisclosed contacts by Trump Campaign and Trump Administration officials. This whole thing stinks to high heaven of object lessons in why you vet your staff, vet your cabinet, and vet your national security team. So many undisclosed meeting with Russians among so many people who applied for security clearances. This isn't merely a matter of inconvenience or embarrassing mistakes. Though prosecutions are rare, not being entirely truthful about contacts when applying for a clearance is not only a grounds for being denied that clearance, but in fact for being charged with a felony.
After all the high-horse-riding, bloody-shirt-waving BS about Hillary Clinton's use of a private E-Mail server, the Republicans seem to have said, "You know what? I'll show you sloppy. I'll show you breach of national security! Hold my beer!"
Seriously, people! Let's stop screwing around here. The Republicans started with nothing, and worked their way up to nothing. The best they got, and this was too good for them, was an unearned political boost at just the right time to goose our electorate into voting for Trump. But in our emotional response to what turned out to be a big, hollow goose-egg of an empty revelation, we might just have elected the worst national-security compromised administration of all time!
I mean, at least with Nixon, most of his worst scandals could seem to be motivated by overzealous patriotism, but here?
If your patriotism involves bringing in help from a foreign power to undermine the free and fair elections of your nation, it's a hideously corrupted patriotism. It borders on, if not outright crosses the line into treason.
To ignore that possibility for the sake of an adolescent belief that all misfortune that befalls your side is the result of persecution by your adversaries... that does this country a real disservice. America needs, and we should demand a full investigation, a select committee, above and beyond the politics that have proved such a terrible distraction.
If it proves Trump innocent, so be it. The point is not to let this shadow overhang our system, to threaten the legitimacy of those who follow!
If the Russians intervened to throw our system into chaos, the uncertainty that the Republicans are sowing and maintaining serves their agenda.
We need to know. This form of government is built on people knowing what's going on with their government, and doing what they will about that. Are the Republicans concerned this might harm them politically? Well, if they had taken care of it from the start, if they had not fed on that poison fruit of a poisoned act, they might have avoided that harm.
However much it might harm Republicans, I can guarantee you that these kinds of events aren't helping them. It does not do the Republicans any good to further protract this battle to deny Americans what they have a right to know. It's time for the GOP to stop playing games with America's national security. It's time for the Party Leadership to stop being Putin's Useful Idiots.Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 11, 2017 9:19 PM