Apelbaum, Mechanics of Deception (March 2018) deserves to be read in full. It describes little known connections between the authors, promoters, and customers of the “Steele dossier”. Some take outs (emphasis is mine):
rather than a private intelligence firm. From its self-description:
In 2011 before the dossier affair blow up, they were also promoting their surveillance, psychological warfare expertise, and influence operations capabilities which included services such as:
- Creating public opinion groundswells
- Delivering targeted political media campaigns
Luke Harding, an Orbis contractor and Guardian reporter, mythologized his boss Steele as a super-spy, and create a halo of credibility around him and his dossier. He neither disclosed that he worked for Steele, nor that Ambassador Wood, who also praised Steel, did. Harding’s articles, published within days after the Steele dossier, carried a lot of weight. Example headlines:
Donald Trump dossier: intelligence sources vouch for author’s credibility. Ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele, named as writer of Donald Trump memo, is ‘highly regarded professional’ (Jan 12, 2017)
Sir Andrew Wood, former UK-Moscow ambassador, consulted on Trump dossier. Sir Andrew Wood told US senator that Christopher Steele’s report ‘might be true, might be untrue’ but that author was credible (Jan 13, 2017)
UK’s former Moscow ambassador in spotlight over Trump dossier. Sir Andrew Wood says he rates judgment of report author Christopher Steele, who ‘would not make things up’ (Jan 13, 2017)
Harding acknowledged only that he met Steele in December 2016 and didn’t know what he was working on. He continued describing the garbage Steele dossier as an “astonishing secret investigation.”(The Guardian, March 2017, Nov 2017).
Working for the Guardian, Luke Harding started to work for Steele/Orbis after the 2016 elections, and he remains a Guardian reporter. He has been drumming up Russian collusion conspiracy theory all the time since then, and he denied that Jeremy Corbyn was a Communist spy. Luke Harding also single handedly made up some distinct hoaxes that spread like fire through the US media and caused long lasting damage:
- A hoax suggesting that General Michael Flynn had relations with a female Russian spy (The Guardian, March 2017). The alleged Russian spy is British citizen Svetlana Lokhova, who is suing the Guardian and a few other fake news outlets for defamation. From her complaint Svetlana Lokhova v. Stephan Halper et al:
“The Guardian Article went viral. It was shared via Twitter by virtually every major news network hundreds of thousands of time on April 1, 2017. Between 2017 and the present day, it was republished over and over hundreds of thousands more times. … The Guardian Article was universally understood to imply that Lokhova was an agent of Russian intelligence and that she and General Flynn had engaged behavior that caused “US intelligence officials” “serious concerns”. …”
- A hoax claiming that Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy (The Guardian, Nov 2018).
Harding also published a book Collusion.
For example, Tatianna (Tatyana) Duran, an Orbis Senior Intelligence Analyst, previously worked for the US State Department and had a US government “Secret” security clearance. On October 11, 2016, Duran accompanied Steele to a senior State department ‘urgent’ dossier meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Kavalec.
In at least 3 cases, Fusion GPS/other sources paid reporters five digit figures for these publications [promoting Steele dossier].
So who researched and wrote the core parts of the dossier? It looks like it was a team effort. Most of the textual evidence points to Glenn Simpson and his wife Mary Jacoby as the architects of the dossier framework.
The whole FIFA case revolved around England’s hope to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup … Steele didn’t perform any hands-on investigative work on the FIFA case himself. From the documentary evidence, a few of his contacts in MI5/MI6 shared with him some of the SIGINT, HUMINT, and FININT intercepts. He then repackaged the data and passed the file to the DOJ and FBI …
Steele doesn’t speak fluent Russian nor for that matter does he even read or write Russian.
Why then the sudden increase in Russian cyber warfare related chatter in the dossier? The reason could be that someone asked Steele to include this material in order to ride the wave of the DNC internal email leak which was published in June-July 2016.
The main protagonists are Glenn Simpson, Mary Jacoby, Peter Fritsch, Neil King Jr., Shailagh Murray, Thomas Catan, Begona Cortina, Chris Steele, Chris Burrows, Sir Andrew Wood, Luke Harding, Sir Richard Dearlove, Stefan Halper, Jonathan Clarke, Edward Baumgartner, Nellie Hauke Ohr, Bruce Genesoke Ohr, Jonathan Winer, Robert Otto, David Kramer, Strobe Talbott, Cody Shearer, Sidney Blumenthal, Lisa Holtyn, Victoria Nuland, Scott Dworkin, Alexandra Chalupa, Natalia Budaeva, Nadia McConnell, Melanne Verveer, Iryna Mazur, Ilya Zaslavskiy, Rinat Akhmetshin, Edward Lieberman, and Evelyn Lieberman, but many more recognizable names are mentioned. The article shows connections among them, and their ties to other fake news personalities, the top of the Democratic party, and its contractors Perkins Coie, Fusion GPS, Orbis Business Intelligence etc. Also mentioned is William Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital:
A good illustration of how effective this ‘rent a journalist’ process is can be glanced from the activity of William Browder the CEO of Hermitage Capital and the brain behind the Magnitsky act. In April 2016, When the European parliament was about to screen Andrei Nekrasov’s “The Magnitsky Act-Behind the Scenes” movie. Browder sent an email to Matthew Kaminski, the executive editor of Politico and a WSJ reporter (and a close friend of Kramer, Simpson, Jacoby, and Fritsch) asking him to ‘cover’ the upcoming event. In the email dated 4/24/16 Browder [orders a journalistic hatchet job against Andrei Nekrasov]
This is by no means a single isolated incident, Matthew Kaminski, just like Evan Perez, David Cay Johnston, and other anti-Trump reporters dedicate significant amount of their commercial publications as well as their own private Twitter activity to Russia collusion narrative.
Peter Strzok makes a cameo appearance in connection with Glenn Simpson’ wife Mary Jacoby. An unexpected name is Robert Otto, the Air Force General, who resigned in December 2016. Following is information about the couple Bruce & Nellie Ohr, which is more central to Spygate than it is currently thought.
In 1967, Halper received a Bachelor of Arts with high honours from Stanford University. After this, Halper started to study at the University at Oxford, where he studied with Bill Clinton. This was at the same time that Clinton became friends with Strobe Talbott, the future brother-in-law of Cody Shearer.
[Glenn Simpson testified that Steele] “Used his old contacts and farmed out other research to native Russian speakers who made phone calls on his behalf “. Two of these “native Russian speakers” were subsequently identified as Nellie Ohr and Edward Baumgartner.
[Nellie] Ohr was the third contributor to the dossier. [sic!] Simpson controlled and managed dossier contractors like Nellie Ohr, Edward Baumgartner, Chris Steele, and Chris Burrows.
Baumgartner, Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, and David Kramer are all Harvard alumni. Nellie Ohr knew Stefan Halper since at least 2000. Nellie Ohr also worked in the MITRE Corporation with Halper’s son Marin Halper for six years from 2002-2008.
The CNN Trump Dossier and Collusion team: Jake Tapper, Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, and Carl Bernstein receiving the Merriman Award from Jonathan Karl from ABC. Martha Ohr, was Karl’s news producer at ABC Television. Karl was also at Vassar College with Peter Fritsch and Martha Ohr’s sister-in-law Nellie Ohr.
We know that Nellie Ohr’s husband, Bruce Ohr, was the Department of Justice’s contact for Steele and Fusion GPS and in fact held meetings with both about the dossier.
Glenn Simpson’s wife, Mary Jacoby, founded Main Justice in 2009, a company specializing in paid corruption research and reporting … While at Main Justice, she worked with Bruce Ohr and in fact nominated his FIFA investigation for the GIR Anti-Corruption award.
Jacoby knew and worked with Christopher Steele, Nellie Ohr, Peter Strzok and his wife Melissa Hodgman—the Associate Director in SEC Enforcement Division, Peter Fritsch, Neil King Jr. and his wife Shailagh Murray, David Kramer, Jonathan Winer, and Sidney Blumenthal who worked with her at Salon in 2004.
Nellie Ohr utilized DOJ and State Department documents that pertained to Russian organized crime, cybersecurity, corruption, and opportunistically incorporated them into the dossier briefs. This careful mixture of partial truth and fiction explains all of the tidbits of information in the report that are marginally plausible and give the dossier a first-person witness quality and a thin veneer of creditability.
When it comes to the bulk of the literary work, Simpson, Jacoby, Baumgartner and Ohr likely authored it and Steele—if he did any actual writing—just formatted the reports in order to tag them with his scent and make them look spyish by using terms like “Source X” and redacting some phrases.
Neil King Jr. from Fusion GPS is married to Shailagh Murray who was President Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor. She was also Joe Biden’s Deputy-Chief-of-Staff. King and Murray knew Steele, Kramer, Winer, and the Ohrs going back to the mid-2000s.
From John Solomon in the Hill, Russian oligarch, Justice Department and a clear case of collusion
In September 2015, senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official Bruce Ohr and some FBI agents met in New York with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to seek the Russian billionaire’s help on organized crime investigations. The meeting was facilitated — though not attended — by British intelligence operative Christopher Steele.
In 2012, Steele’s private firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, was hired as a subcontractor by a law firm working for Deripaska, who then headed Russia’s largest aluminum company. Steele’s firm was asked to do research to help the law firm defend a lawsuit filed against Deripaska by a business rival.
Deripaska, who frequently has appeared alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin at high-profile meetings, never really dealt with Steele, but he followed his lawyer’s recommendations and met with Ohr, my sources say. … The 2015 meeting between Ohr, the FBI and Deripaska is captured cryptically in some of Ohr’s handwritten notes, recently turned over to Congress. … Deripaska once had a business relationship with Manafort, but it ended in lawsuits.
Originally published on 2019-06-11