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Sources Say U.S. Intelligence Agencies Tasked Foreign Partners With Spying On Trump’s 2016 Campaign

Sources say U.S. intelligence agencies ‘illegally mobilized foreign intelligence agencies to target Trump advisors long before the summer of 2016.’


The U.S. Intelligence Community asked fellow members of the “‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance to surveil Trump’s associates and share the intelligence they acquired with US agencies,” sources told a small team of independent reporters who broke the story yesterday. 

In “CIA Had Foreign Allies Spy on Trump Team, Triggering Russia Collusion Hoax, Sources Say,” journalists Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi, and Alex Gutentag reported that top-line takeaway, along with several other key details. According to the authors, “multiple credible sources,” said that “the United States Intelligence Community (IC), including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), illegally mobilized foreign intelligence agencies to target Trump advisors long before the summer of 2016.” 

The article, published on Shellenberger’s Substack, noted, “Until now, the official story has been that the FBI’s investigation began after Australian intelligence officials told US officials that a Trump aide had boasted to an Australian diplomat that Russia had damning material about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.” That probe, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, launched on July 31, 2016, although Special Counsel John Durham would later conclude the Australian tip failed to justify the investigation into the Trump campaign. 

Spying on Trump

However, British intelligence sources began targeting Trump on behalf of American intelligence agencies possibly as early as 2015, according to Tuesday’s blockbuster article. Several outlets had previously reported that the British Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, had discovered “alleged ties between Trump and the Russian government.”

According to the British-based Guardian, “a source close to UK intelligence” claimed, “GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious ‘interactions’ between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents.” Yet the Guardian reported:

GCHQ was at no point carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team or proactively seeking information. The alleged conversations were picked up by chance as part of routine surveillance of Russian intelligence assets. Over several months, different agencies targeting the same people began to see a pattern of connections that were flagged to intelligence officials in the US.

Not so, according to Shellenberger, Taibbi, and Gutentag’s sources, who were familiar with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s investigation. “In truth, the US IC asked the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance to surveil Trump’s associates and share the intelligence they acquired with US agencies,” the journalists reported their sources as saying, with the Five Eyes nations being the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Sources also claimed, according to Tuesday’s article, that “President Barack Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan, had identified 26 Trump associates for the Five Eyes to target.” According to the journalists, a source confirmed the IC had “identified [those associates] as people to ‘bump,’ or make contact with or manipulate,” and claimed the individuals were “targets of our own IC and law enforcement — targets for collection and misinformation.”

A source close to the investigation reportedly told the team of journalists that “[t]hey were making contacts and bumping Trump people going back to March 2016,” and “sending people around the UK, Australia, Italy — the Mossad in Italy. The MI6 was working at an intelligence school they had set up.”

Shellenberger, Taibbi, and Gutentag further reported their sources’ claim that “[u]nknown details about the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and raw intelligence related to the IC’s surveillance of the Trump campaign are in a 10-inch binder that Trump ordered to be declassified at the very end of his term.” The three journalists stressed that this new information “is supported by testimony already in the public record.” In fact, much of the article confirms theories developed from the evidence gleaned over the years.

Years of Evidence

For instance, in “All The Russia Collusion Clues Are Beginning To Point Back To John Brennan,” I highlighted Brennan’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017 that he had “encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about.” Brennan told the committee back then that he didn’t know whether there was collusion with Russia, but that he passed the information on to the FBI. As I wrote at the time:

The evidence suggests, however, that Brennan’s CIA and the intelligence community did much more than merely pass on details about ‘contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign’ to the FBI. The evidence suggests that the CIA and intelligence community — including potentially the intelligence communities of the UK, Italy, and Australia — created the contacts and interactions that they then reported to the FBI as suspicious.

The known entities of this apparent conspiracy included Stefan Halper, an American confidential human source (CHS) informant for the FBI who, as I wrote at The Federalist, “worked at Cambridge University alongside Sir Richard Dearlove, the former director of the British intelligence service MI6, and Christopher Andrew, the official historian for the British counterintelligence group MI5.” 

It has long been known that Halper reached out to several members of the Trump campaign as a CHS for the Crossfire Hurricane team. But Halper’s efforts to ingratiate himself began before the official launch on July 31, 2016. In mid-July 2016, Halper approached Carter Page at a conference at Cambridge. American Steven Schrage, who organized that conference, detailed the happenings in the article “The Spies Who Hijacked America.” 

As Schrage told it, “For most of the conference, Halper couldn’t be bothered with Page, about whom he made snarky comments about behind Page’s back.” But that changed after Dearlove arrived at the conference and spoke with Halper. Halper then “seemed desperately interested in isolating, cornering, and ingratiating himself to Page and promoting himself to the Trump campaign,” Schrage wrote.

While Halper’s outreach to Page came only a couple of weeks before the launch of Crossfire Hurricane, the apparent targeting of Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos first occurred in March 2016. Open-source material reveals that “on March 14, 2016, George met London-based college Professor Joseph Mifsud while traveling in Italy.” At the time, “Mifsud, then director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, claimed connections to the Russian Government.”

According to Papadopoulos, he had traveled to Italy, specifically Rome, at the encouragement of “a woman in London, who was the FBI’s legal attaché in the U.K.” That initial meeting of Mifsud led to several more, including the fateful one where Mifsud supposedly told Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton — the conversation the FBI claimed justified the launching of Crossfire Hurricane.

As has been detailed at length, most comprehensively by Lee Smith at RealClearInvestigations, Mifsud has numerous connections to Western intelligence services and has taught at the Link Campus University in Rome, a university whose “lecturers and professors include senior Western diplomats and intelligence officials from a number of NATO countries, especially Italy and the United Kingdom.”

Confirming Theories

These details closely match the information that sources revealed to Shellenberger, Taibbi, and Gutentag. And should the raw intelligence reports exist, as those sources claim, there will be concrete confirmation that foreign intelligence services targeted the Trump campaign, which in turn will confirm many of the theories posited about the real start of the Russia-collusion hoax.

It seems unlikely there will be anything in writing to establish John Brennan or another member of the U.S. Intelligence Community solicited assistance from the other members of Five Eyes. Nonetheless, Americans deserve to know what was in that 10-inch binder and which foreign intelligence services interfered in our 2016 election by “bumping” members of the Trump campaign to craft the Russia hoax. 

The now-known significance of that binder also raises the specter that the search of Mar-a-Lago wasn’t to protect classified materials but to protect intelligence agencies — American and foreign. 

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