It’s Easy to See Espionage

Given the impeachment open hearings regarding Ukraine and a false conspiracy theory picked up by Republicans – that Ukraine (not Russia) was behind 2016 election meddling – it’s good to remind ourselves of just exactly what the Russians did in 2016. Here’s the famous indictment issued a year and half ago against 12 Russian hackers who stole documents from the DNC in 2016. Its 29 double-spaced pages, but reads like a short story. (And this is just the DNC hacking, not the additional meddling with fake news ads on Facebook and speeding conspiracies.).

Here’s the intelligence community assessment from January 2017. Full IC consent.

Or read the book The Perfect Weapon by David Sanger.

Or remember the Russian deep-cover spies who were exposed in 2010? The Foley’s? Juan Lozaro? How about Jack Barsky and his story?

Or read up on any David Ignatius novel. Or don’t read a novel, but remember the classic KGB espionage actions throughout the Cold War. Stealing the bomb? Another Los Alamos worker was identified just this week! Or throughout the rest of the struggle.

And Trump, and the horrible lack of judgement he uses in picking extremely vulnerable people to surround himself with (remember that Jared Kushner couldn’t even get a clearance because he’s so shady, until Trump ordered it) – he is vulnerable himself to witting or unwitting assistance to the Russians. Check this piece out – not that I think Trump is a full employee of the KGB, but what makes him an easy target and how would they do it? And don’t forget that Putin is a career KGB counterintelligence official.

All I’m saying is that it’s absolutely obvious to even casual espionage observers what the Russians did, why they’d do it, and how bad it is to have Trump in office along with the the horribly ripe (for the Russians) people he picks to advise him. Having a major political party have a cult-like atmosphere around their leader (Republicans and Trump) has to be a perfect dream for Russian intelligence.

One thought on “It’s Easy to See Espionage

  1. I’m still confused as to why Republican leadership has continued to allow this situation to happen. I think it’s all “deny, deny, deny” to maintain their foothold of power in the Executive. I guess the risks are worth the benefits to them?

    Russia isn’t the only country that benefits from Trump as POTUS. I’m thinking of Israel, Saudi, and Turkey. We’re always pointing to Russia for election interference, but I have strong inclinations to believe it’s a combination of countries that may have colluded together to target American audiences.

    Espionage and vulnerability to it may be easily visible to you and me, but I’d like to share with you a conversation between a Soviet deep-cover spy and his handler from a book I’m reading, “The Company,” by Robert Littell:

    “America. What is America really like? I have been to the German Democratic Republic and to Cuba, and once, to Canada, but never to America. Everything I know about that country comes to me filtered. And so I ask you, Yevgeny: describe America to me.”

    It struck Yevgeny as a strange question, coming from a man who had access to all kinds of secret intelligence documents; who could read the daily translation of the New York Times circulated by the KGB. “Americans are a great people,” Yevgeny began, “trapped in a terrible system that brings out the worst in them, in the same sense that our system brings out the best in us. The capitalist system emphasizes acquisition and accumulation. People are conditioned to judge themselves and others by the quantity of material wealth they possess; as they know others will judge them the same way, they have a predisposition to flaunt the symbols of their material wealth. This explains the preoccupation, on almost every level of society, with trophies — large and flashy automobiles, diamond engagement rings, Rolex wristwatches, younger and slimmer second wives, suntans in the winter, designer clothing, the psychoanalyst’s couch.”

    “And how would you describe the attitude of Americans toward life in general?”

    “They laugh at the drop of a hat, and loudly, which I take to mean they are frightened.”


    “Frightened of losing everything they have accumulated, I suppose. Frightened, as a country, of not being the biggest and best. Nothing in recent years has had more of an impact on the American psyche than when we put Yuri Gagarin into orbit before their John Glenn.”

    “And what are their superior qualities, Yevgeny?”

    “Americans are bright and open and imaginative and innocent. Their openness makes it relatively for an espionage agent to function, since your average American is ready to accept people at face value. Their innocence results in a kind of mental blindness; they are raised to believe that their system is the best in the world, and they are unable to see evidence to the contrary — they don’t see the twenty-five million Americans who go to bed hungry every night, they don’t see how Negroes live in the ghettos, they don’t see how the working classes are exploited for the sake of higher profits for the few who own the means of production.”

    “Your Americans sound curiously like the principal character in the stories I read to my nieces. She, also, is bright and open and imaginative and innocent.”

    “Why do you ask me about America?”

    “When you are engaged, as we are, in a conflict, there is a tendency to demonize your enemy.”

    “The Americans certainly demonize the Soviet Union.”

    “It is a great mistake to reduce your enemy to a demon. It leaves you at a distinct disadvantage when you are attempting to outwit him.”


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