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15 December 2017

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David Habakkuk

TTG,

It is not clear that Steele used any sources at all.

As you will have seen, the view taken by Dr Patrick Armstrong - who was a long-serving Canadian government analyst of Soviet and Russian affairs - is that the whole dossier was essentially fabricated. As it happens, I have followed Dr Armstrong's writings for more than a decade,and he has a pretty good track record.

As regards Steele, as I have pointed out repeatedly here on SST, he has 'form' in fabricating evidence and corrupting law enforcement procedures, and I am in a position to prove this. If people like Steele, or Luke Harding, or Sir Robert Owen, or a great many others, want to get into an argument with me, rather than continuing to attempt to suppress the evidence I have in my possession, there is nothing I would like better.

However, my respect for Dr Armstrong does not mean I always agree with him. As I have already argued here on SST, I think it possible that Dokuchaev and Mikhailov were used to feed Western intelligence agencies with the crap about FSB hacking which has led to the lawsuits from Gubarev.

But if you do a little elementary - 'Tidewater' used the term 'dogged', which I take as a compliment - research, you will see that if Dokuchaev and Mikhailov were conduits, the channels are far more likely to have been through the FBI.

As you clearly have no knowledge whatsoever of how British intelligence, or British society, works, explaining the kind of appalling creature Steele is is liable to be a bit difficult. Suffice it, for the moment, to say that MI6 never seems to have done 'dogged', any more than Luke Harding's kind of journalist does.

Some of us have done, both in intelligence and journalism.

irf520

"While many of the Democrats and the liberals cheer this interference due to their hatred for Trump, a precedent is being established. The next time, it is quite possible, that law enforcement and intelligence agencies take such interference up several notches and actually steal an election, but on the behalf of a highly totalitarian candidate who targets liberals for extra-judicial treatment. Of course by then it is too late as there is no capacity to resist authoritarianism."

That won't happen. Either Trump drains the swamp as he promised, or demographic changes point to a permanent democrat majority. I'm not optimistic.

Jack

Sir

Do you believe this "conspiracy among the leaders of the US and UK ICs (to include the FBI)", can be exposed through any inquiry? It seems that these institutions always use state secrecy to prevent any accountability.

Assuming that there are no repercussions for this conspiracy, how far will they now go? Are we already in an Orwellian society?

Jack

David

There is no doubt in my mind that the Obama WH was at least aware and complicit but more likely an active participant in this conspiracy. We know that Susan Rice unmasked the surveillance. We also know what Farkas said on a public broadcast. We know how Obama acted with closing Russian consular facilities.

I agree that the political leadership are "useful idiots" with no conviction or character to stand up to the manipulation of the top echelons of the IC. This conspiracy at the highest levels of both Britain and the US is possibly unprecedented wherein disinformation and the use of the powers of law enforcement and state security to directly manipulate constitutional perogatives must lead to increasing authoritarianism.

Expecting that the Republican leadership in Congress will probe this conspiracy seriously and bring it to light is wishful thinking in my opinion. They too have their hands in the cookie jar in all this, as this did not come about just in the last year. The systemic rot in government has been building for decades. Of course they too opposed Trump vigorously during the elections. Now however, their partisan loyalty must be rankled due to the blatant partisanship at the FBI and DOJ to exonerate Hillary for her exposure of top national secrets. They'll want to right that and stack the decks with their own partisan hacks. To do that they may have to discredit Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Ohr, Loretta Lynch, et al by showing how they all colluded in the obfuscation of the Hillary investigation and changing the original charge of gross negligence for partisan reasons. This is the only silver lining because this process to settle partisan scores could unravel and bring to light the roles of Clapper, Brennan, Rice, Farkas and possibly even Barak Obama, which of course has the potential to blow the lid off the lawlessness in the IC here and in Britain.

What strikes me as the most interesting is that none of these guys believed that voters in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would vote the way they did and hand Trump an unexpected election win. This hubris of assuming that ordinary voters can be easily manipulated will not likely be repeated. They'll take the next steps to insure no uncontrollable candidate will be given the opportunity to get that close.

Trump is in a very tough situation. He is surrounded by Borgists and he has the MSM at war with him. All the organs of state power are arrayed against him. I'm not sure he bargained for this. The belief in some quarters that this is all fine because Trump is unfit to be POTUS, is similar to the strategy of our policy and military leadership that jihadis can be used to serve our purpose and then when that has been accomplished they can be removed. This lawlessness at the highest levels of the IC and law enforcement can't be rolled back without a significant crisis of confidence in all governmental institutions. So, every effort will be made to contain this conspiracy and maintain & grow the increasing powers of our national security state.

Richardstevenhack

That would be true if CrowdStrike weren't completely compromised and/or completely incompetent.

There is zero evidence that the FBI monitored anything going in or out of the DNC. And CrowdStrike's whiz-bang IDS missed quite a bit apparently after it was installed.

However, Bill Binney is correct when he says that the NSA has it all - if it existed. That they've never admitted that, it pretty clearly states it doesn't exist. The NSA could easily do a show and tell just like they did in the Sony case. They haven't because they can't.

And now we have the CIA - over a year later - claiming they captured Putin giving direct orders to hack the DNC (or merely "meddle in the election"). That is simply laughable.

Richardstevenhack

Not to speak for TTG, but it is a little more complicated than that. The VIPS people are basing their theory on the Guccifer 2.0 entity files. The problem there is that the Guccifer entity almost certainly had nothing whatever to do with the alleged original hack and was merely brought in - by who, we don't know - to confirm the DNC's charge that it was a Russian hack.

Also, there is nothing in the Forensicator's analysis to prove that those Guccifer files were downloaded at the same time as the Wikileaks files. The Forensicator merely claims that the Guccifer files were downloaded locally somewhere in the eastern US, and not transferred over the Internet as the official narrative states.

VIPS unfortunately tries to make the case that the original Wikileaks files have the same origin. They might, but The Forensicator's analysis doesn't prove that.

turcopolier

Jack

I doubt it unless Trump simply fires the lot (leaders) and starts over with radicals like Trey Gowdy. pl

Keith Harbaugh

WaPo on Friday published a really massive (five broadsheet pages) attempt to influence American opinion on Trump and Russia:

"Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin
and leaves a Russian
threat unchecked"

By Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Philip Rucker,
Washington Post, online 2017-12-14, in the print edition of 2017-12-15
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/

PT and others: If you have the time and interest,
I think it would be valuable to do some inspection for bias
in this story.
I don't have the expertise to do that myself,
but think it would be valuable for some to do so.

blue peacock
"...none of these guys believed that voters in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would vote the way they did and hand Trump an unexpected election win."

Yeah! If Hillary had won, none of this would have been revealed. We wouldn't know that Lynch, Comey, McCabe, Strzok fixed the Hillary investigation. That we have a deeply partisan and out of control FBI, DoJ and the IC.

Peter Strzok & Lisa Page were removed from the Mueller team in August. The DoJ has stonewalled providing any of the documents and took months to even disclose any of the text messages between Strzok & Page. They've only released 375 text messages between the two when there are reportedly over 10,000 between the period of Fall 2015 to December 2016.

But it is not just these two people on Mueller's team. What about Jeannie Rhee, Andy Weissmann, Brandon Van Grack, Aaron Zelinsky and Zainab Ahmad? Each of them contributors to Clinton's campaign.

blue peacock

Col. Lang

Trey Gowdy is the current Chair of the House Oversight Committee. Couldn't he unravel this conspiracy from his current position?

johnf

Richardstevenhack

"However, Bill Binney is correct when he says that the NSA has it all - if it existed. That they've never admitted that, it pretty clearly states it doesn't exist. The NSA could easily do a show and tell just like they did in the Sony case. They haven't because they can't."

I thought the protocol was that - for legal/constitutional reasons in both cases - GCHQ monitors domestic American traffic and NSA monitors British domestic traffic. So that neither outfit can be accused of spying on their own citizens.

So the answers would lie in London and not Washington.

J


Attorney Sought Massive Paydays For Pres. Trump’s Accusers

http://www.oann.com/attorney-sought-massive-paydays-for-pres-trump-accusers/

turcopolier

blue peacock
i don't think so. The Deep State p---ks can stonewall him indefinitely unless he is their boss. pl

J

Colonel,

One of the those who found out that $21 Trillion was 'missing', happens to be an old classmate of POTUS, and a good friend and supporter of his. All the 'missing' is documented with the t's crossed and the i's dotted. Which is forcing the DoD IG to keep up the links to the documentation in question. Close to 2,000 auditors going into DoD to do a complete audit, and if that isn't enough auditors to do the trick, POTUS can easily throw in another 2,000 or 3,000 or more if necessary.

The Deep State p---ks are crapping their drawers about now in dread of the long overdue audit that will uncover all their ill gotten taxpayer dollars, and hopefully send a bunch of them to prison cells.

LondonBob

So neocon outlets the WSJ and NYPost have finally stated the obvious and denounced the Mueller investigation. I presume this is to do with Kushner, perhaps Jerusalem, after all it has been an obvious sham from the beginning and they choose mention it only now.

I see the Inspector General is now seen as the hope for cleaning house.

English Outsider


TTG - All organisations I've ever come across have had their weaker sections, but that the UK intelligence scene is an unsupervised shambles I don't at all believe. The fact that as far as is known Mr Steele himself has not been the subject of an internal enquiry must surely indicate that what he did was approved, as does the fact that his work was later publicly defended in the UK. There can therefore be no question here of an ex-employee simply going off the rails, and doing so unknown because of sloppiness.

But that doesn't matter as far a query four is concerned. That query is, what liaison was there between the US and the UK Intelligence communities relating to Mr Steele's work.

It doesn't matter because 1. If Mr Steele's work was indeed not known about in London at the start it was certainly known about in London after the dossier was published. Then there would have been a flurry of communication between the two sets of authorities. 2. If Mr Steele had received authorisation from his former employers to construct a dossier on an American Presidential candidate there must have been communication between the two Intelligence communities before that authorisation was given.

(2) is far more likely but in either case the respective Intelligence communities communicated. Therefore it is legitimate to ask what was the nature of that communication. More than legitimate, essential. It can't be that often that the UK and the US Intelligence communities decide to run an operation against an American President and if that was the case here it should surely be looked at.

The Twisted Genius

English Outsider,

The cooperation our intelligence agencies is indeed tight. NSA and GCHQ are almost one through their FVEY relationship. The CIA relationship with MI6 is also extremely close. I know that CIA prevented all US intel agencies from running unilateral operations in the UK in the 1990s. Two of my Russian agents were traveling to the UK for an extended period. I had to promise that I would not task these agents against any target in any way while they were in the UK in order to convince Bonn Station not to declare my agents to MI6. It was a hard sell and I had to temporarily inactivate this agent in order to finally convince Bonn Station. Shortly after that, I had to inform Bonn of a third agent traveling to the UK. They jokingly accused me of mounting an invasion of England. I'm sure the FBI is just as tight with MI5.

Given that closeness between our ICs, I'm sure damned near everything the UK IC has on Russia is shared with the US IC. If Trump and/or members of his entourage got caught in the spotlight when the UK IC shined it on their Russian targets, I'm betting that info was passed to their US counterparts and that information would have been of great importance to the DNI January 2017 report and to Mueller's investigation.

However, I still don't know how much Steele shared with his old bosses. He has admitted to begin sharing his reports with old CIA friends in Rome in August 2016. That seems an odd thing to do if his reports were going to MI6 first. Compared to what the UK IC may have passed to their US counterparts, I don't think the Steele dossier amounts to much.

Jack

TTG, Sir

The Steele dossier may not amount to much, especially considering that it may be essentially fabricated. Steele however is of interest in the allegation of Trump's collusion with Russia, because of his shady role in the Litvinenko cover-up and his prior connections with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS who was hired by the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on Trump. As English Outsider points out, it is highly unlikely that Steele was operating on his own without the knowledge of British and US intelligence to generate oppo research on a presidential candidate in a general election.

The dossier itself is interesting with respect to two questions:

1. Did any FBI agent or DOJ official or anyone in the IC have any role with the production or dissemination of the dossier?

2. Was any part of the dossier used to obtain a FISA warrant on Trump's campaign?

Both the FBI and DOJ are stonewalling in answering these two questions, which, IMO, raises suspicion.

"Last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused to tell the House Judiciary Committee whether the FBI had paid or offered to pay for the dossier. 'I'm not in a position to answer that question,' Rosenstein replied during the oversight hearing. Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis followed up by asking, 'Do you know the answer to the question?' Rosenstein replied: 'I believe I know the answer, but the Intelligence Committee is the appropriate committee…'
'Did Peter Strzok help produce and present the application to the FISA court to secure a warrant to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign?' asked Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio during an oversight hearing.'Congressman, I'm not prepared to discuss anything about a FISA process,' Wray replied.

It seems to me that Rosenstein and Wray could have answered both questions directly without disclosing "sources and methods" and resorting to classic bureaucratic obfuscation. Their responses spoke loudly.

TTG, do you believe the suspicion that top officials at the FBI, DOJ and the IC in both Britain and the US conspired to defeat a presidential candidate and derail a legitimately elected POTUS, require a full and transparent investigation? Because if that is the case and there seems to be reasonable suspicion that is the case right now, it is a significantly bigger deal than any Russian interference. We should expect our adversaries to interfere just as we do in their internal affairs. However, for our law enforcement and IC to interfere is completely beyond the pale. No American should stand for that, irrespective of their partisan loyalty. If the DOJ felt it necessary to appoint special counsel to investigate potential collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, then the suspicion of interference in a presidential election by law enforcement should necessitate an even more vigorous and transparent investigation.

LondonBob

Worth remembering the head of GCHQ went in to early retirement on Trump's inauguration. May was very quick to head to DC. Questions were asked in Parliament as to whether our intelligence services had been mounting a dirty tricks campaign.

Superficially the intelligence agencies and military have never adapted to the end of the cold war and so it wouldn't surprise me that their obsession with all things Russian led them to partake in a dirty tricks campaign against Trump at the behest of Brennan, Clapper et al.

David Habakkuk

EO,

Any intelligence organisation which is afflicted by systematic misreadings of the history of a target country is liable to be a danger to its own. This is all the more so, if it is primarily engaged in espionage – as the consequence is liable to be that it will listen to the ‘humint’ which confirms its preconceptions.

Accordingly, it will will either listen to people from the target country who genuinely share its misconceptions, or people who – for a variety of possible reasons – find it convenient to pretend to do so. (If you want to be fooled, there are many in the former Soviet space who can, as it were, ‘do Chalabi.’)

It is a matter of some moment that when the ‘Henry Jackson Society’, a central organisation of British neo-conservatism, was formed back in 2005, the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, was among the signatories of its ‘Statement of Principles.’

(See http://henryjacksonsociety.org/about-the-society/signatories-to-the-statement-of-principles/ .)

To anyone who is reasonably familiar with the history of arguments about Soviet military strategy, and the rather conclusive way in which they were resolved through evidence emerging in the wake of the retreat and collapse of Soviet power, this is rather as though a former head of Counter Terrorism Command signed the ‘Statement of Principles’ of a ‘Jacques Clouseau Society.’

Also relevant is the fact that the ‘Henry Jackson Society’ had its origins at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, among acolytes of a peculiarly seedy and disreputable historian called Maurice Cowling.

He is, I think, best seen as a Gollum dreaming of being a Grima Wormtongue: in which ambition h has been, vicariously, extraordinarily successful. The scale of his inanity is well brought out in a review by Neal Ascherson of a biography of the historian and sometime MI6 officer Hugh Trevor-Roper published in 2010 by Adam Sisman.

‘The fogeyish camorra [that’s Cowling and his cronies – DH] who ran Peterhouse in the 1980s chose him as master because they assumed he was a semi-Fascist ultra like themselves. But, as the Cambridge historian Michael Postan put it, “They are such fools: they thought they were electing a Tory and never realised that they were electing a Whig.”’

(See https://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n16/neal-ascherson/liquidator .)

As it happens, during the ‘Thirties Peterhouse had been a nest of the worst kind of ‘appeaser’ – and a central thread in Cowling’s historical work was an attempt to defend their delusions.

By contrast, Trevor-Roper and Postan were among those who, while having no shred of sympathy for communism, believed that the most serious threat to European civilisation came from Nazi Germany, and that on ‘realpolitik’ grounds it was necessary to ally with the lesser evil against the greater.

An ironic contrast, perhaps: Postan came from Bender, down the road from Kishinev, from which the ancestors of Jeffrey Goldberg came. Clearly, more of the Jews with brains came here, many of those with plenty of grievances and not much in the way of brains made it to the United States. (Or perhaps – to indulge a fantasy – they confiscated their brains on Ellis Island, and let all the grievances through.)

As so often, Sir Robert Owen’s travesty of an inquiry into the life and death of Alexander Litvinenko opens up interesting and disturbing questions. Of particular interest is paragraph 4.83, concerning Litvinenko’s collaboration with the ‘Mitrokhin Commission.’

It was this collaboration which involved the fabrication of ‘evidence’ designed to implicate Putin in employing Mogilevich in attempts to supply Al Qaeda with a ‘mini nuclear bomb.’ The fact that this evidence was fabricated at a time when Litvinenko was an agent of MI6, and Steele, depending on which contradictory version you choose to believe, either head of that organisation’s Russia Desk, or not, has been obscured by systematic lying by ‘official sources’ in the UK and the US.

It is really difficult to ascertain the actual truth, because these rascals change their stories from one minute to the next – and their ‘useful idiots’, like TTG, continue to take what the ‘stenographers’ in the MSM write seriously.

Included in paragraph 4.83 is the following statement:

‘Mr Scaramella was introduced to Mr Litvinenko in late 2003 by a mutual acquaintance, Victor Rezun, also known as Victor Suvorov. Mr Scaramella asked for Mr Litvinenko’s help in the enquiries that he was conducting for the Mitrokhin Commission, and Mr Litvinenko agreed.’

This may be an awful warning in the dangers of paying heed to people who agree with one. In 1985, Vladimir (not ‘Victor’, Owen is sloppy once again) Rezun, who used the pen-name ‘Viktor Suvorov’, and who had defected from the GRU, had published a piece in the journal of the ‘Royal United Services Institute’, which attempted to portray Stalin as having prime responsibility for the outbreak of the Second World War.

The following year, the Israeli historian Gabriel Gorodetsky published a rebuttal in the same journal. The opening page – with the link to the ‘Suvorov’ piece – is at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03071848608522774?src=recsys& .

In 1990, Rezun/ ‘Suvorov’ elaborated his argument in the book length study ‘Icebreaker’, which was translated into Russian in I think 1992 – and in the then pervasive atmosphere of disillusionment with all things communist, had a very considerable impact.

This prompted Gorodetsky to develop his criticism in a Russian-language study published in 1995, whose translation, in English, is ‘The Icebreaker Myth.’ The argument was further developed in his 1999 English-language study, ‘Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia.’

The implications of these arguments are quite fundamental, and too complex for me to go into, even in another of my characteristically prolix comments.

A critical point is that the situation which the Western powers confronted in 1945 was, in crucial respects, precisely that which intelligent supporters of ‘appeasement’ had feared.

And yes, not all of those who argued for seeking accommodation with Hitler were Obama-style pompous assess like Chamberlain, or people with ‘semi-fascist ultra’ tendencies like some of the ‘Peterhouse right’ and Leo Strauss. That said, a lot other refugees from Central and Eastern Europe, lusting to ‘get their own back’, and, frankly, having no more understanding of the principles of constitutional government than Thomas Jefferson thought such people were likely to have, are clearly of the same kind, and are no more capable of rational assessment of evidence than Dearlove.

When I hear a name like ‘Strzok’, I try to stop myself simply taking the ‘worst case scenario’ for granted.

In 1945, Russian power was further into Europe than at any time since 1815, with the economic and social systems of the major European countries destroyed, and communist parties in powerful positions in key countries, in particular France and Italy.

At the same time, the old colonial powers were patently no longer in a position to sustain their empires, while, once again, there seemed ample reason to fear that the likely beneficiaries of the disintegration of these would be communist.

The great countervailing factor, of course, was that American power was mobilised for global involvement, in a way which simply could not have been factored into the calculations of the ‘appeasers’ prior to 1941.

Central interpretative questions, from that day to this, have had to do with two, interrelated, issues.

One has to do with whether or not this outcome was something which emerged in large measure by ‘happenstance’, or whether it was the result of a cunning Stalinist strategy aimed at what TTG refers to as ‘reflexive control.’ Related to this is the question of whether there were strategies available to the Western powers which might, conceivably, have secured a better outcome.

It may here be of interest that the time when ‘Icebreaker’ was being translated into Russian was precisely that at which Christopher Steele was ‘cutting his teeth’ on Russian affairs, with John – now Sir John Scarlett – as MI6 ‘station chief’ in Moscow: and he was central to the ‘exfiltration’ of Mitrokhin.

What Rezun/ ‘Suvorov’ was attempting to defend is, first, a well-rehearsed piece of German neo-fascist apologetics – that Hitler only pre-empted a plan by Stalin to attack – and second, the view that MI6 held at the time: that Stalin had a cunning long-term strategy aimed at finessing Germany and the Western powers into a rerun of the 1914-18 war.

These arguments have always, as it were, ‘cut across’ other divisions, in strange ways.

So, in essence, Gorodetsky’s ‘Grand Delusion’ study is a restatement of the view of Stalin’s policy held by the diplomats of the interwar German Moscow Embassy. Among the many ‘threads’ in the complex story he tells is that of the long, patient, but ultimately unavailingly struggle that Friedrich Werner, Count von der Schulenberg, the German Ambassador to Moscow in the period leading up to ‘Barbarossa’, waged to prevent what he correctly saw would mean ‘Finis Germaniae.’ It ended with his being strung up with piano wire at the Plötzensee prison.

(See http://www.gedenkstaette-ploetzensee.de/index_e.html .)

If one attempts to understand this history, it becomes possible to grasp that the notion that the interwar American Foreign Service experts on the Soviet Union had a single position is the product of simple ignorance.

So Kennan, the supposed architect of ‘containment’, paid lip-service to Schulenberg’s view, but ultimately disregarded it. By contrast, Charles (‘Chip’) Bohlen, who was Roosevelt’s translator and advisor, learnt most of his Sovietology from his German colleagues.

Later, the people who came to realise that Senator Jackson was little more than a ‘village idiot’ – Commander Michael MccGwire in the UK, Ambassador Raymond Garthoff in the US –, were, fundamentally, adherents of the ‘Schulenberg line.’

(I had this discussion, briefly, when I met MccGwire in the loo at a ‘Pugwash’ meeting addressed by Robert McNamara and Sir Rudolph Peierls, shortly before the latter’s death.)

The historiographical argument however is now clearly ended. Why Gorodetsky in important respects misread Hitler, his refutation of the Suvorov/Kennan/MI6 view is not longer contested by serious historians.

English Outsider


TTG - thank you for that very interesting and informative reply.

Intelligence work is an integral part of our defence. Over the centuries we have, both in the States and here, managed to pull off the trick of having powerful defence forces without the danger that those forces will dominate our politics. The last time we failed to do that in England was in Cromwell's time, and although such events as the Curragh mutiny and perhaps some stirrings in the 70's might have chipped away a little at that accommodation here, I doubt it was ever in serious danger. The military does defence. The politicians do politics. These generalisations are so obvious that I'm almost ashamed of setting them down; but we are not banana republics where the military is the only force in the land and can intervene politically as they wish.

The Steele dossier. I do of course believe you when you say it didn't amount to much from an intelligence expert's point of view. In fact that must be apparent to the non-expert too. If US intelligence had really thought that the Steele dossier indicated that the US President was controlled by the Russians they'd probably have sidelined Steele early on. You wouldn't want a loose cannon getting in the way of an investigation as serious as that. Instead they let Steele carry on hawking his dossier to all and sundry.

That's the point. As you indicate, the Steele dossier was never a serious piece of intelligence work. It was not intended to be. It was constructed to be used for political purposes. It was constructed in order to damage Candidate Trump. Had Mrs Clinton won, the Steele dossier might never have come to light and would have been just a minor part of the dirty tricks that accompany big elections. Something to show to journalists and the influential - a background piece of smear - but nothing more than that.

That's bad enough. Intelligence communities shouldn't take sides in an election. They shouldn't be party to smear campaigns. That's not what they're there for. But worse was to come. Trump won unexpectedly and the dossier was then used to discredit the early days of his Presidency. It did, too. Here I can move away from an intelligence world that is foreign to me and state clearly that amongst the general public that dossier did greatly discredit Trump. It's been so pushed on us that among most of the people I know there is a general belief that Trump is under Russian influence and the Steele dossier is cited as proof of that. As far as I can tell many in America believe that too.

I respect your view, that you have expressed before on SST, that there are other things to be checked out to do with the "Russian Connection." My instinct is that there aren't but I'm not going to argue that with an intelligence expert. Set all that on one side and look at the Steele dossier as it is. Not of much value as intelligence but of great value as part of a political smear campaign that has surely made the early days of the Trump Presidency more difficult than they should have been. Part of a smear campaign that has made it that degree more unlikely that Trump will be able to carry out the work he was elected to do.

So what are our intelligence agencies doing, moving away from their real work of keeping their respective countries safe and engaging in back-door party politics? I don't believe they'll regain our confidence until those four queries raised in my first comment above are answered.

Above I mentioned the Curragh mutiny. Similar constitutional issues emerged then. The Steele affair is not merely a matter of some chancer getting in over his head. The issues raised are more important than that. Here's a lawyer setting them out:-

"Nevertheless, what happened, said Mr Justice Keane, was “extraordinarily wrong and extraordinarily improper”. He added that it was “far worse” because the Curragh officers “were getting themselves involved in the political business of the country. . . [which was] extremely subversive of the whole British constitution”."

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/curragh-mutiny-had-disastrous-effect-on-discipline-in-the-british-army-1.1734239

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