The Trump Dossier? How About the Coming Intel Community Review?

The Trump Dossier started as opposition research - by GOP opponents of Trump who put money down to hire a retired British spy. After circulating like a bag full of offals no one wanted to touch, it finally was leaked by Buzzfeed and reported on by CNN.

You see? Two sentences in and the word "leaked" is already a potential frat boy joke for anyone reading this with any knowledge of the Trump Dossier and it's unverified and probably false contents. These type of stories have been floating around Washington for generations. What was in Edgar Hoover's files? For example. Or what lowdown did LBJ have on some senator he didn't like. Which would have been more than a few, if history is any guide.

But they stayed that way. Dark secrets that even if they were released would be done so in euphemistic terms. And the targets would have had to hang their heads in shame, or provide an appropriate dose of wounded, noble outrage.

Not anymore.

Trump has diffused this half-baked attempt to slander him and cripple his incoming administration with spy-movie tactics worthy of some B-grade Manchurian Candidate flick. The British spy? Christopher Steele. His firm? Orbis Business Intelligence. Yes, really, that's who did the opp research. How did Trump diffuse his so-called dossier? By fighting it head on with dismissive contempt and an audacious joke.

I'm a germaphobe. Done. Finished. Ba Da Dum! Yugely.

There may be tricky business ahead with Russia, but there cannot be a real scandal anymore. And yes, Buzzfeed and to a lesser extent, CNN, have only themselves to blame.

So the appropriate dose of wounded outrage is left to someone like CNN's Jim Acosta - whose George Clooney good looks and surly stare suggest he would love to have been a senior correspondent in the 80's, when you could do real damage to a politico. All he could at Wednesday's press conference do was shout/whine: "That's inappropriate!"

And the rest of the media is now divided between those who profess older and higher standards of journalism, and outfits like The Daily Beast, who find themselves caught between their sneering hostility towards Trump and the irresistible urge to work silly jokes into their stories on the dossier:

  • a weak stream of evidence
  • turned out to be a wet blanket

And so on. Even at the Weekly Standard's podcast, they couldn't resist cracking a joke about how having thrown the kitchen sink at Trump, they now tried to throw the ... wait for it ... urinal at him. Ha.

But to be fair to the Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway in that podcast professed to be "terrified" of the prospect that journalism is now reduced to partisan advocacy. And that the intelligence community itself is perhaps showing disturbing signs of partisanship. Senator McCain handed the Trump Dossier to the FBI's Comey. How did it get from there to the media? Was it already in the media's possession by the time McCain handed it to Comey? How? Who? When?

Look, if the Department of Justice can be politicized, as not only Trump but others have accused it of becoming, then why not the intelligence community? If the very academia from which many of the highly-qualified postgrads working at the various intel agencies come from, has been radicalized for decades, why should intel analysts and officials remain immune to at the tenets of progressive ideology?

While Paul Ryan tried to separate the staff in intelligence agencies from their appointed bosses - criticizing the latter and praising the former - he has had to come down on Trump's side in this sordid matter. Sordid because of the process involved, more than the unproven and probably false substance of the dossier.

And yes, there's an intel review coming. Don't think that because you might work at the NSA or CIA or any other intelligence agency, that you're exempt from the disruption Trump is already bringing to the beltway. You're not.

So what is now an excuse for silly jokes by writers at The Daily Beast, will soon be a deadly serious inquiry into how America's intelligence agencies go about their work. It's high time, even if this review offends and, you bet, disrupts life in the beltway for spooks.

Posted by Keeley at January 12, 2017 2:27 PM
Comments
Comment #412163

Thanks for the read Keeley.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 12, 2017 3:35 PM
Comment #412164

In another thread, Royal Flush said:

At one time CNN actually did real investigative reporting and was not nearly as politically biased as today. They have fallen in the view of many Americans and this is easily seen by their drop in viewers. I sometimes watch CNN for developing stories but rarely watch commentary.

I feel it is more appropriate to respond here:

What Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper and Carl Bernstein did IS investigative journalism. With hard work and careful sourcing, they were able to learn that American Intelligence Agencies believed the dossier was credible enough to be included in the Presidential Daily Briefing.

Christopher Steele’s dossier had circulated among the media for half a year. If the media was politically biased, why did no one publish it until today? Why did CNN decline to publish the dossier alongside Perez/Sciutto/Tapper/Bernstein’s story?

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 12, 2017 4:13 PM
Comment #412165

Warped, Why didn’t any other News agency pick the story up? I’ll tell you because it was UNCONFIRMED, in other words FAKE NEWS!!!

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at January 12, 2017 4:19 PM
Comment #412166

The contents of the dossier are fake news without independent confirmation. The revelation that they were discussed in the Presidential Daily briefing is absolutely not fake news.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 12, 2017 4:22 PM
Comment #412167

Warped, It was FAKE. If it had any merit it would be all over the MSM and Talk shows. Give it up already it’s FAKE.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at January 12, 2017 4:24 PM
Comment #412168
it would be all over the MSM and Talk shows

The revelation that American Intelligence Agencies discussed the dossier in the Presidential daily briefing IS all over the MSM and Talk shows.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 12, 2017 4:40 PM
Comment #412170

What other dossier did they discuss? Since Warren Porter believes the content doesn’t matter all the topics should be discussed. That’s why this one is in the news. Why not all the others?

Or, is it the content of this particular dossier that makes it fake news worthy?

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 12, 2017 5:02 PM
Comment #412173

Warren, I don’t wish to burst your belief bubble regarding investigative reporting in the US today. This humorous video from Jon Steward and The Daily Show may give a laugh.

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/pcvkh4/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-roger-waters

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 12, 2017 5:22 PM
Comment #412174

Weary Willie,

Let me be more specific. Some aspects of the content of the dossier are newsworthy (emphasis mine):

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
(from the original article)

But other aspects of the content of the dossier are not. For instance, the actual details of the “compromising personal and financial information” (such as the suggestion that Muscovite Prostitutes were hired to urinate in a bed Obama once slept in) are not newsworthy unless independently corroborated and verified.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 12, 2017 5:24 PM
Comment #412175

Sorry Warren, try this link to The Daily Show.

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/4d109s/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-investigating-investigative-journalism

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 12, 2017 5:26 PM
Comment #412177

Oh, but I love Pink Floyd! Oh well, it was nice to hear Jon Stewart and John Oliver criticize the modern state of the media. The fact that CNN doesn’t produce long-form investigative documentaries a la FRONTLINE saddens me. Like you, I am not someone who watches their commentary. BUT, I still respect CNN for the investigative reporting that they still do such as the hard work Perez et. al. did to discover that the dossier dismissed as fiction for much of the past 6 months is being taken seriously by American Intelligence.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 12, 2017 5:41 PM
Comment #412178

The name of the retired MI-6 agent who originally compiled the information about Trump is Christopher Steele. He is respected and once served as the head of the MI-6 Russian desk. The information came out a while ago and he has been in public view for some time, but due to the compromise of his identity and the great danger it presents, he and his family have gone into hiding.

Posted by: phx8 at January 12, 2017 5:48 PM
Comment #412180

Phx8,

No matter how well respected Steele may or may not be, we cannot investigate Trump let alone impeach him on Steele’s work alone. Let’s wait until after the intelligence agencies have finished their work and choose to share what they’ve learned with the rest of us.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 12, 2017 5:56 PM
Comment #412182

I found this article to be very informative. It’s a shame few will bother to read it.

Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a New Era of Corruption)

https://newrepublic.com/article/64252/goodbye-the-age-newspapers-hello-new-era-corruption

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 12, 2017 6:29 PM
Comment #412185

Btw, not ignoring others in previous thread, difficulty posting.

WP,
Absolutely. The entire story about his being compromised is tantamount to accusing Trump of treason. That requires the kind of certainty we have not seen, that is for sure.

It is one of the insidious things about the hack and leak by the Russians. It really does undermine our confidence in American democracy. It encourages all kinds of paranoia and conspiracy theories. The worst part is that it might be true. Everything Trump does adds fuel to the fire. He may not be compromised, but when it comes to Russia, everything he does encourages belief in it.

One aspect of the story receiving little attention is the report that the Russians were coordinating with the Trump campaign. Trump never denied it. He was presenting material from a Wikileaks dump just hours after it became available, which is pretty remarkable, considering there were thousands of e-mails at a time. Former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort was on the payroll of the pro-Russian former Ukrainian President. That is a fact, and Manafort resigned because he failed to register as a foreign agent.

Posted by: phx8 at January 12, 2017 6:45 PM
Comment #412186

I suggest that phx8 speculates on stocks rather than on Trump and treason as I might find that actually interesting.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 12, 2017 6:53 PM
Comment #412187
It’s a shame few will bother to read it.

I’ve seen that TNR piece before. It is still quite relevant today despite being written nearly a decade ago. The big news of recent years has been the success the NYT and WP have had pay-walling their content. Lots of Americans buy a subscription out of duty rather than because they must.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 12, 2017 7:20 PM
Comment #412188

Subscription news is admirable. At various times I subscribed to:

Time Magazine
Newsweek
US News and World Report
NYT
WSJ
and many more.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 12, 2017 7:26 PM
Comment #412192

Since Trump may be compromised by the Russians, every allied nation will have to cut off their intelligence networks from the US Executive Branch, especially Israel. If Trump is compromised, he might pass on info to the Russians, and they could pass it on to Iran & Syria. Of course, Trump may not be compromised, but no ally will be able to take that chance, no matter how small. Given what Trump has been saying, it is just too risky to trust the new administration.

Posted by: phx8 at January 13, 2017 1:32 AM
Comment #412196

I think phx8 has been reading to many grocery store tabeloids.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at January 13, 2017 10:19 AM
Comment #412202

KAP,
If you were in the British government, and your former head of the MI-6 Russian desk told you Trump was compromised, would you still share intelligence with him? If you were an Israeli in the same situation, having seen what Trump has been saying about Russia, would you take the smallest chance on that?

Posted by: phx8 at January 13, 2017 11:11 AM
Comment #412203

phx8, IT IS UNSUBSTANCIATED, UNCONFIRMED, do you know what that means? So Trump wants to have better relations with Russia, every President this century has even Obama with the famous RESET. Trump even said he probably won’t have a good relation with Putin but he will try just like his predecessors have. How do you know that British agent didn’t pay someone to say what they did and that agent wasn’t paid by a anti Trump group?

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at January 13, 2017 11:21 AM
Comment #412205

If you were in the British or Israeli government, would you still share intelligence with someone who does not know that “that an unclassified system was no place” for discussing classified information? With someone who was confirmed to be “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information?”


Posted by: kctim at January 13, 2017 11:38 AM
Comment #412210

Let’s lighten up a little on my Pal phx8.

He’s just having a little fun with his schizophrenic paranoia as evidence by his anxiety, fear, delusion and irrationality.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 13, 2017 2:24 PM
Comment #412211

It keeps getting worse. FBI Director Comey knew about an investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia, but said nothing. He said a great deal about Clinton, first editorializing about ending an investigation with no criminal charges, and then announcing in a letter to the House Oversight Committee that he was re-opening it. This was arguably the biggest single factor in her defeat in the electoral college. Polls showed a large drop as a result of ‘re-opening’ the investigation.

I have no idea how this will turn out, but it is really, really bad.

Posted by: phx8 at January 13, 2017 3:30 PM
Comment #412212

Again phx8, Do you know what UNSUBSTANCIATED, UNCONFIRMED means?

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at January 13, 2017 3:36 PM
Comment #412215

KAP,
That means it may or may not be true.

By itself, without context, the story would not stand.

Given the larger context, namely, Trump’s repeated praise for Putin, his campaign’s ties to Russia, his refusal to release taxes, his refusal to put his businesses in the hands of anyone outside the immediate family, his invitation to Russia to launch a cyber attack against Hillary Clinton, the 164 references to Wikileaks in just one month, the refusal of American banks to lend him money but the willingness of Russian oligarchs to do so, and more; given that context, it sure looks like Trump was compromised.

Posted by: phx8 at January 13, 2017 4:17 PM
Comment #412217

Lots of smoke there phx8. Let us know when fire breaks out.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 13, 2017 4:48 PM
Comment #412218

In other words phx8 “FAKE NEWS”.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at January 13, 2017 5:05 PM
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