Many Reporters Paid for Covering the Russiagate Story

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excalibur

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Yep, the intelligence community gave orders to smear reporters who dared speak the truth. Those orders were carried out by fake news people pretending to be journalists. And naturally, by the Democratic Party as well.


Three years ago, on February 25th, 2021, Aaron Maté at RealClearInvestigations ran “In Final Days, Trump Gave Up on Forcing Release of Russiagate Files, Nunes Prober Says.” Extensively quoting former Principal Deputy to the Acting Director of National Intelligence Kash Patel, Aaron wrote a section on “Assessing the ‘Intelligence Community Assessment,’” detailing a lot of the same story Michael Shellenberger, Alexandra Gutentag and I ran in Public and Racket Thursday. Describing a 2018 House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) report on the subject, Aaron wrote:

The March 2018 House report found that the production of the ICA “deviated from established CIA practice.” And the core judgment that Putin sought to help Trump, the House report found, resulted from “significant intelligence tradecraft failings that undermine confidence in the ICA judgments.”

Many of us who followed this story — a number of reporters on both sides of the aisle did so obsessively — have long had a good idea about the general direction of that House investigation. The tale of improper CIA and FBI surveillance mixed with manufactured intelligence has been in the ether since late 2017 and early 2018.

I’ll list just a few of the names who reported stories in this direction over the years, in some cases day after day on broadcast shows. An attentive reader will notice nearly everyone on the list has been denounced at some point by the mainstream commentators who got this story horribly wrong. Aaron, considered a traitor by former mainstream colleagues, faced pressure from staff at The Nation, was denounced by The Guardian as part of a “network of conspiracy theorists,” and failed to gain support from any major media outlet or press advocacy organization when the FBI passed on an outrageous request from Ukrainian secret services to remove him from Twitter.

Others who got this story right but were singled out for dismissal or ridicule include:


• former CIA officer Ray McGovern, who was called “fringe” and “conspiracy-mongering” by Max Boot, a member of the illustrious club of pundits who botched both the Steele dossier and Iraqi WMD stories;

• former NYPD officer and Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, who has been on this subject for years and was called a “misinformation superspreader” by the New York Times after the 2020 election;

• Intercept founder Glenn Greenwald, denounced as a pathological bigot for dissenting on Trump-Russia themes, and ultimately forced out of his own publication for writing critically of Hunter Biden and Burisma without adequately addressing the question of “Russia’s hand”;

• former CIA operative Larry Johnson, who said years ago that the surveillance campaign began with the GCHQ, Britain’s version of the NSA, in 2015 and was among the first to say publicly what our source just told us, that there is intelligence suggesting Maltese professor and supposed Russian asset Joseph Mifsud was British intelligence. He’s naturally been denounced as a “conspiracy theorist”;

• Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, declared “bonkers” by the Daily Beast, perhaps the most aggressive promoter of the “collusion” theory and one of the most dependable producers of factually dubious stories on this subject in the mainstream press landscape;

• author Lee Smith, the major chronicler of the HPSCI work (more to come on this), who naturally was ripped for “conspiracy theory” for publishing a book on the subject;

• Pulitzer-winner Jeff Gerth, who wrote a 24,000-word deconstruction of Trump-Russia coverage in the Columbia Journalism Review that included a quote from Bob Woodward saying the media needed to “walk down the painful road of introspection.” He was called a “Trump-Russia denialist” who “can’t handle the truth,” by David Corn of Mother Jones, one of the first people to publish the phony Steele-blackmail story;

• another RealClear writer, Paul Sperry, who wrote about CIA chief John Brennan overruling dissent to create the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. Sperry popped up in the Twitter Files when the office of California congressman Adam Schiff, who infamously said he had “more than circumstantial” evidence of collusion, asked to have Sperry banned;

• Professor Margot Cleveland of The Federalist and Chuck Ross of the Daily Signal, who both got this right and were both marked “unreliable” by Pentagon-funded NewsGuard;

• former The Hill and current JustTheNews writer John Solomon, who published a significant amount of the key documents in this matter, and was the subject of a poisonous media campaign that crested particularly during the period of the first Trump impeachment;

• citizen investigators like the Racket-profiled “Sleuth’s Corner” of @Walkafyre, @TECHNO_FOG, @RyanM58699717, @climateaudit, @FOOL_NELSON, and @Hmmm57474203. This group who uncovered the name of the “primary sub-source” of famed British ex-spy Christopher Steele, Igor Danchenko, not only went roundly uncredited, but was immediately accused in the New York Times of putting Danchenko “in Russia’s sights” by Virginia Senator Mark Warner.

There are countless others. Even I took more than one whack at this material in the past, among other things listing episodes involving illegal classified leaks as a way of focusing attention on intelligence abuses surrounding the Trump-Russia scandal. I heard the gist of this week’s story six years ago, but didn’t have the details and the multiple people willing to be sources I needed to put something in print. That changed when Michael, Alexandra, and Public got their scoop a few weeks ago.

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