Our friend Edward Jay Epstein is the author, most recently, of How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft and the City Journal column “A question of motive.” Ed’s long career has centered on issues of intelligence and counterintelligence with respect to which the late CIA head of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton, turned out to be a mentor to Ed as he navigated his path in that world.
I asked Ed if he would comment on “Disinformation, Democrat style” (citing the testimony of Glenn Simpson) and the related Wall Street Journal column by Daniel Hoffman, “The Steele dossier fits the Kremlin playbook” (behind the Journal paywall). Ed writes:
I have read Simpson’s testimony. I’ve also done research into Christopher Steele, who I believe has his own agenda. Steele’s dossier Sources A and B have to be assumed to be supplying curated information. Any former Russian intelligence officer, especially one still active in the Kremlin, would understand that supplying secret information to an intermediary for a former British intelligence officer would be the essence of espionage. That is how espionage is conducted through access agents or intermediaries. They would not be putting their lives at stake to pass this information on.
A safer assumption is that they cleared the information with the FSB. If so, and I see no other alternative, it is curated information. Why would Russia be supplying curated information to the Clinton campaign? The simple answer is they expected Clinton to win and this would give them compromising Leverage over the new president. After all, it is also against American law to pay foreign officials to act corruptly. So if she won Hillary could be accused of the same thing that Trump is now accused of. It also adds to the bad image of American elections. So I believe the Russians were feeding both sides with slime, or trying to.
And through the Clinton presidential campaign they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.