Ishmael Jones: The Trump Dossier

Ishmael Jones writes to revisit the infamous “Trump Dossier.” It is the Rosetta Stone to the “collusion” hysteria and related “fake news” with which we have been inundated since the 2016 election. Mr. Jones is the pseudonymous former CIA officer and author of The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture. He advises that his comments here are based upon his knowledge of how intelligence reports are written and reviewed and adds that they have been approved by the CIA for publication. Mr. Jones writes:

The “Trump Dossier,” also known as the Russia Dossier or the Steele Dossier, is to any intelligence officer a shoddy, unprofessional piece of work. It is a fraud and a fabrication.

I assumed that the Dossier’s obvious fraudulence would cause the story to collapse. Yet it remains the foundation document of the Russia collusion story and it shows a certain genius. As the Mueller investigation continues, the Dossier may prove one of the most effective tools of political assassination in American history.

The Dossier is like a “bump stock.” A bump stock is a device which is attached to a rifle to create automatic fire. A bump stock produces shoddy, inaccurate fire; it is a cheap device that is not used by any military or police department, and would never make it through any institutional purchasing review. It cannot compete with military automatic fire mechanisms. It is no joke, however. It is designed to evade regulations, and as such it proved to be a highly effective device in the Las Vegas murders, the largest mass murder in modern American history.

Like a bump stock, the Dossier would never have made it through professional review. American intelligence officers are not allowed to report on US persons, defined as citizens plus green card holders and organizations formed in the US. Every intelligence officer learns this in initial training and it becomes instinctive.

The Dossier cleverly evades this point by outsourcing; its provenance is ostensibly British. A foreign intelligence officer or contractor can report dirt on an American if he wishes.

Intelligence officers can instinctively detect foreign intelligence fabricators. But at the top of our agencies are lifetime Washington, DC bureaucrats who have never met with an intelligence fabricator in an alleyway in a foreign country and have not developed this instinct.

The Dossier never would have made its way through American intelligence channels. The promoters of the Dossier wisely evaded these channels and took it right to the top, peddling it directly to deep state Trump opponents such as James Comey and John Brennan and political opponents such as John McCain.

These were powerful advocates. They breathed life into the Dossier, which kicked off the Russia collusion story and subsequent attacks upon the Trump Administration.

Both intelligence officers and journalists seek to report the truth. But there’s a clever way around this that the Dossier promoters figured out. The fact that the Moon is made of cheese cannot be reported in journalistic or intelligence channels because it cannot be verified. But if Comey, Brennan, and McCain believe the Moon is made of cheese, it becomes a real story. The underlying fact does not need to be proven because the story is about the beliefs of these powerful people.

From this perspective, Buzzfeed may have done the right thing in reporting on January 11, 2017 that the Dossier was a document being circulated in Washington by powerful players. CNN, by contrast, crossed a line on the same day when it strongly suggested that the Dossier was in fact true.

I owe a professional tip of the hat to Hillary, if indeed she is the financier behind the Dossier. Excellent work. Like the bump stock, the Dossier itself is crude and shoddy, yet it may prove to be one of the most effective tools of political assassination ever devised.


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