“For Russian intelligence, a systematic effort to threaten, coerce and co-opt journalists is a decades-old practice. Former KGB general Oleg Kalugin mentioned in his memoirs how his service had “several good agents” at the U.S. government-funded news service that broadcast to the Soviet Union, Radio Liberty, including the head of its Russian service, Oleg Tumanov. The copious files of another KGB defector, Vasili Mitrokhin, indicated that the French news service Agence France-Presse had at least six Soviet intelligence agents on staff through the decades. It’s not just the Russians; Chinese intelligence tries to recruit Western journalists, and the Iranians have tried as well.”
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|The Early Edition: January 10, 2018|
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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.
The transcript of the Glenn R. Simpsons interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee was unilaterally made public by the top Democrat on the panel, Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Simpson is the co-founder of the opposition research firm Fusion G.P.S. and the transcript provides details about the commissioning of a dossier which alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia compiled by former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele. In an op-ed for the New York Times last week, Simpson and his co-founder Peter Fritsch called on the Judiciary Committee to release the transcript, but this was met with a pushback from Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). Nicholas Fandos, Matthew Rosenberg and Sharon LaFraniere report at the New York Times.
The transcript of Simpsons testimony is available at Just Security.
Steele sat down for a full debriefing with the F.B.I. in September 2016 over his concerns about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and that Trump could have been blackmailed over an alleged sexual escapade at a hotel in Moscow in 2013. Ken Dilanian and Mike Memoli report at NBC News.
An internal Trump campaign source reported his or her concerns about Trump-Russia connections to the F.B.I., Simpson said in the testimony, also saying that Steele severed his relationship with the F.B.I. as he was concerned based on an article that was published by the New York Times in October 2016 that agents were being manipulated by Trump insiders. Alan Yuhas, Julian Borger and Stephanie Kirchgaessner report at the Guardian.
Its political rhetoric to call the dossier phony. We can argue about whats prudent and whats not, but its not a fabrication, Simpson said in the interview, adding that Fusion G.P.S. were mostly concerned with Trumps business dealings until Steele brought back something very different. Katie Bo Williams and KJonathan Easley report at the Hill.
Somebodys already been killed as a result of the publication of the Steele dossier, Simpsons testimony claimed, declining to reveal further details because, Simpsons lawyer claimed, he wanted to be very careful to protect his sources. Brandon Carter reports at the Hill.
Feinstein said that she decided to release the transcript because the American people deserve the opportunity to see what he [Simpson] said and judge for themselves, a spokesperson for Grassley said that Feinstein made the transcript public with no agreement from committee Republicans and accused her of undermining the integrity of the committees oversight work. Kyle Cheney reports at POLITICO.
Speculation over the New York Times article published in October 2016 has increased following the release of Simpsons testimony, Erik Wemple explains at the Washington Post.
The key points from Simpsons interview are provided by Amber Phillips at the Washington Post.
Trumps personal lawyer Michael Cohen has filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the Steele dossier, Cohen said that allegations against him in the dossier are provably false, including claims that Cohens wife is Russian and that her father is a leading property developer in Russia. Alex Johnson reports at NBC News.
The editor in chief of BuzzFeed News has defended his websites decision to publish the Steele dossier in an op-ed at the Washington Post, saying that a year of government inquiries and blockbuster journalism has made clear the dossier is unquestionably real news.
Twitter has failed to meet a deadline to provide lawmakers with further information on Russian interference in the 2016 election, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner (Va.) yesterday expressed disappointment with the social media company. Ali Breland reports at the Hill.
U.S.-Russia relations would be done if Russia attempts to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections, the U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said yesterday in a closed-door session with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Andrew Desiderio reports at The Daily Beast.