From the Independent Journal Review
The explosive and unverified dossier alleging Donald Trump’s close ties to Russia made quite the journey before it landed in the hands of top U.S. intelligence officials.
At the center of this tale is outspoken Trump critic Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
……In mid-November, the documents took another route into Washington that ultimately led to them being mentioned in the joint intelligence report on Russian interference that was delivered to Obama and President-elect Trump. On 18 November, the annual Halifax International Security Forum opened in the Canadian city, bringing together serving and former security and foreign policy officials from around the world.
Senator John McCain, a hawkish Republican, was there and was introduced to a former senior western diplomat who had seen the documents, knew their source and thought him highly reliable. McCain decided the implications were sufficiently alarming to dispatch a trusted emissary, a former US official, to meet the source and find out more.
The emissary hastily arranged a transatlantic flight and met the source at the airport as arranged. (The Guardian has agreed not to specify the city or country where the meeting took place.) The meeting had a certain cold war tradecraft to it, as he was told to look for a man with a copy of the Financial Times. Having found each other, the retired counter-intelligence officer drove the emissary to his house, where they discussed the documents and their background.
The emissary flew back within 24 hours and showed McCain the documents, saying it was hard to impossible to verify them without a proper investigation. McCain said he was reluctant to get involved, lest it be perceived as payback for insulting remarks Trump had made about him during his rambunctious campaign.
……Roughly a month after the election, on December 9, McCain reportedly met one-on-one with Comey and provided him with the documents. The documents ended up leaking to top media and U.S. officials.
Another month later, BuzzFeed published the unverified documents and CNN reported that Barack Obama and President-elect Trump had been briefed on the controversial dossier.
Incredible. It’s like a ridiculous cloak and dagger B flick. McCain was so desperate to ‘get the goods’ on Trump that he fell for a wild-assed bogus report about Trump and some blackmail plot by the Russians.
Another story says the entire thing was created by a 4Chan user, and sent it to anti-Trumper Rick Wilson knowing he would act on this tip.
Carl Bernstein suggested that McCain was handed it by a former British ambassador to Moscow.
Bernstein told CNN: ‘It came from a former British MI6 agent who was hired from a political opposition research firm in Washington who was doing work about Donald Trump for both republican and democratic candidates opposed to Trump.’
The former MI6 operative, is Christopher Steele, who was hired by Fusion GPS, a corporate espionage firm, to dig up dirt on Trump but apparently came up with a fabricated smear instead.
The secretive firm, which is run by three former Wall Street Journal reporters, was hired by Planned Parenthood to push back against undercover videos that appeared to show officials selling fetal tissue.
The firm also worked for Democrats in 2012 to uncover dirt on one of Mitt Romney’s top donors, leading to charges from conservatives that the Obama campaign was engaging in ‘Nixonian’ tactics.
……Fusion GPS is run by three former Wall Street Journal reporters: Glenn Simpson; Tom Catan; and Peter Fritsch.
Simpson was educated at George Washington University, and worked for Roll Call in Washington and the Wall Street Journal. He left there in 2009, and later spoke of his discontent at the paper after it was bought by Rupert Murdoch.
Catan grew up in the U.S. and Britain and attended the London School of Economics.
He later became editor of a business magazine in Mexico, worked for the Financial Times in New York and Argentina, and was the Spain correspondent for The Times, according to an online biography.
He covered antitrust issues while at the Wall Street Journal and also worked for it in Madrid.
Fritsch was the Wall Street Journal’s foreign bureau chief for Mexico, Brazil, Southeast Asia and Northern Europe, before becoming the paper’s national security editor.
……Fusion GPS was originally hired by a Republican donor – who has not been publicly identified – to dig up dirt on Trump in 2015.
……After Trump won the nomination, the firm began working with Democrats and honed in on Trump’s links to Russia.
Basically, Fusion GPS is a political prostitute.
Steele is now ‘in hiding’.
Yet another story is that a donor and a strategist for Planned Parenthood wrote the dossier.
An intelligence official confirms that the story is a hoax:
A senior U.S. intelligence official with knowledge of the preparation for the meeting with Trump told NBC News that the president-elect was not briefed on the so-called two-page addendum to the dossier originally generated as part of anti-Trump Republican opposition research.
Multiple officials say that the summary was included in the material prepared for the briefers, but the senior official told NBC News that the briefing was oral and no actual documents were handed to the Trump team.
Intel and law enforcement officials agree that none of the investigations have found any conclusive or direct link between Trump and the Russian government period,” the senior official said.
Journalism is dead.