6:53 AM 10/31/2017 – M.N.: Comments to Mr. Hall’s article: “The “Russian clumsiness” in this affair was pushed very much to the front. The good, well designed and executed intelligence operations (please, forgive my amateurish ramblings, I am not a pro at all in these matters) probably are never or very rarely discovered and publicised, unless they are meant so by design.”

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Russia’s outreach to George Papadopoulos went just how spies would have done it. I ran the CIA’s Russia operations. Here’s what I make of the Trump aide’s plea deal.

 October 31 at 6:00 AM 

Steven L. Hall retired from the CIA in 2015 after 30 years of running and managing Russian operations.
“Who is George Papadopoulos?
George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in early October to lying to federal officials about his contacts with Russian nationals. He is one of three former Trump campaign officials facing criminal charges. (Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

The facts as laid out in the newly unsealed plea agreement between special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to President Trump’s campaign, do not provide a slam-dunk case that the Trump team was colluding with the Russian government. But to a former CIA officer like me, everything Papadopoulos admitted in the plea deal looks consistent with the modus operandi of the Russian intelligence services engaged in an “active measures” covert operation. So what might the Russians have been up to with Papadopoulos?

…and it is still not entirely clear how far the Russians may have gotten into actual voting machines and voter registrations databases at the state level.

…an as-yet-unidentified professor there became interested in Papadopoulos after learning that he had a foreign policy role in Trump’s campaign.”

[“The London professor is not named in the official court documents but the Telegraph can disclose his identity as Professor Joseph Mifsud, honorary director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, which is affiliated to the University of Stirling in Scotland.”

Prof Mifsud confirmed he was the London professor described in the document drawn…” – M.N. ] 

“However, like most good Russian operations, this one built a strong element of deniability into the construct. The Russian government can easily say that it did have contact with some members of candidate Trump’s foreign policy team, but only in support of future foreign policy planning; if their past statements are any guide, they will label any other analysis as American “Russophobia” or Cold War-era thinking. They will simply deny any claim that Russia was trying to pass Clinton “dirt” to the Trump campaign.”

M.N.: There might be another interpretation of this “deniable construct”, as I tried to address many times previously in my posts: the behind the scenes, carefully and pedantically conceived, arranged and staged, the sophisticated manipulations of the German Intelligence. This “deniability” went just that far and no further, it might have been deliberately designed to point to Russians, which does not exclude the genuine Russian activity. The “Russian clumsiness” in this affair was pushed very much to the front. The good, well designed and executed intelligence operations probably are never or very rarely discovered and publicised, unless they are meant so by design.

Please, forgive me these amateurish ramblings, I am not a pro at all in these matters. Whatever is deeply hidden, arises our natural and deep curiosity, and with those trained as psychiatrists, it probably is a professional thing and trait. 

Absolute irreverence is a desirable feature of the medical profession, although not always employed and practiced. It should also be the principle of the high quality, deep intelligence analysis. The various types of politicization and also various types of conventional “groupthink” might obscure the vision. Searching for the truth as we see it, is the guide. The Delphic divings are always a temptation. 

And these are the general thoughts, not related necessarily to this particular article. 

“Russians will of course denounce all of this new information as conspiracy theories.”

M.N.: And it might be a “conspiracy theory”, but this does not exclude the genuine Russian activity at all. The multi-level complexity of this affair has to be appreciated. The fact that some Russians busied themselves with these activities does not exclude the possibility that they were skillfully directed by the others, in this instance, by the more sophisticated and more subtle Germans with their own agenda. 

“Americans should remember that all of that is also part of the Russians’ active measures operation against us, and that there is probably more to come.”

M.N.: The Americans should also remember the historical circumstances around the WW2. 

And all this is not to diminish the extent and the significance of the new Russian threat: it is very, very real, and very much in front of our eyes. This issue was misunderstood and neglected for decades after 1990-s in the self-soothing blinding bliss. The historical issue of the Russian Threat, in all its manifestations, aspects, developments, etc., has to be studied carefully and objectively, it has to be understood, diagnosed correctly, and to be dealt with, the earlier the better, and preferably now, and in a well thought out, methodical and consistent fashion. The illusion of the “end of the Cold War” is shattered. This is a new reality, but it does not have to become the “new normal”. Normal it is not, and will never be. This new reality is very much abnormal, and this historical disease has to treated, as efficiently and as radically as it is possible and feasible. 

Russia’s outreach to George Papadopoulos went just how spies would have done it – The Washington Post


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