Obama Intel Officials Used ‘Russia Blackmail’ Claims to Warn Israel About Trusting Trump
TEL AVIV – U.S. intelligence officials warned their Israeli counterparts not to trust President-elect Donald Trump with intelligence secrets, citing alleged fears that Russia held blackmail information over Trump, according to a report today in Israel’s respected Yediot Ahronot daily newspaper.
The alleged blackmail information that U.S. officials reportedly warned Israel about seems to be in part referencing details contained in a debunked document of mysterious origin purporting to be an intelligence report alleging that Russia collected compromising videos and information on Trump.
In the report, investigative journalist Ronen Bergman writes of a meeting that took place “recently between Israeli and American intelligence officials (the date of the meeting is not mentioned to protect the sources of the report).”
During the meeting, according to the Israelis who participated in it, their American colleagues voiced despair over Trump’s election, as he often lashes out at the American intelligence community. The American officials also told the Israelis that the National Security Agency (NSA) had “highly credible information” that Russia’s intelligence agencies, the FSB and GRU, were responsible for hacking the Democratic Party (DNC) servers during the elections and leaking sensitive information to WikiLeaks, which hurt Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The American officials further added that they believed Russian President Vladimir Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump – but did not elaborate. They were apparently referring to what was published Wednesday about embarrassing information collected by the Russian intelligence in a bid to blackmail the president-elect.
The Americans implied that their Israeli colleagues should “be careful” as of January 20, Trump’s inauguration date, when transferring intelligence information to the White House and to the National Security Council (NSC), which is subject to the president. According to the Israelis who were present in the meeting, the Americans recommended that until it is made clear that Trump is not inappropriately connected to Russia and is not being extorted – Israel should avoid revealing sensitive sources to administration officials for fear the information would reach the Iranians.
BuzzFeed on Tuesday published the un-redacted document claiming Russia had collected blackmail information on Trump, including videos of the president-elect in compromising positions.
“The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors,” a BuzzFeed sub-headline cautioned.
Contacted by Breitbart Jerusalem, Bergman said that according to his sources, the meeting between U.S. and Israeli officials took place before the publication of the dossier on Tuesday and that the dossier wasn’t specifically mentioned to the Israelis, only the charge that Russian President Vladimir Putin has some sort of unspecified “leverage” over Trump.
Bergman said that after the dossier was published, he contacted his sources again and they told him that they themselves were speculating that the “leverage” claim could have in part referred to the dossier. Bergman is the author of a forthcoming book on the history of the Mossad set to be published later this year by Random House.
BuzzFeed’s publication of the document prompted a flurry of news media reports drawing attention to the salacious and unproven details. CNN fanned the flames by reporting that “classified documents” presented to President Obama and Trump included “allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information” on Trump, the news network claimed, citing “multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings.”
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported the author of the dossier was Christopher Steele, who serves as a director at the London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., which has refused to comment on the reports of the document’s origin.
In October, Mother Jones reported on the contents of the dossier, writing the information was produced by a former Western intelligence officer who was assigned to the task for the purpose of an “opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement yesterday that he had called Trump that day to tell him that the intelligence community “has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Asman: Something political is going on with intel agencies
John Bolton: Friends Experienced in Diplomacy, Military, and Intelligence ‘Laughed At’ BuzzFeed’s Trump Dossier
Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam asked former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton a blunt question about the “dodgy dossier” of opposition research on Donald Trump that has dominated the news this week: “Is this real?”
Bolton replied that “anybody who’s looked at the classified information that the intelligence community has” believes the Russians were behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s server.
“Now, this separate thing written, apparently, by a former British intelligence agent, filled with all kinds of scurrilous material about the President-elect and his family and his business – really something else entirely separate,” he continued. “I think where the linkage takes place is the unaccountable use of this second, separate set of allegations to brief both President Obama and President-elect Trump, and then to see it leaked to the press, where it eventually found its way into BuzzFeed. One of the things I think that the President-elect did yesterday was, through tweets and other things, attack the intelligence community for allowing it to leak.”
“It must have leaked out of somewhere,” Bolton pointed out. “Maybe it was the Obama White House. What a surprise that would be, right? But this was somebody’s effort, I think, to impugn Trump’s character. I think he’s saved, in part, because it’s so outrageous that even many of Trump’s critics couldn’t believe it was accurate.”
Kassam asked if Bolton had ever heard of the man revealed as the creator of the dossier, former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele. “Could it be the case that somebody has just paid this guy to write these things, so this leak came out?” Kassam asked.
“Well, actually, that thought occurred to me because it’s so bad. I haven’t found anybody, including friends who are experienced in both diplomacy and military and intelligence affairs, who haven’t just laughed at most of it,” Bolton replied.
“It’s filled with anonymous sources, single-source information and whatnot. If I were a corporate customer, and I wanted, in effect, a private investigator – I think that’s what this firm basically is – and I got something back like this, I would refuse to pay. You or I could sit down at a computer right now and type out these 35 pages, just let our imaginations run wild, and if somebody would pay for it, I suppose it’s nice work if you can get it,” he said.
“But where it takes on a life of its own and gets published by whatever you want to call BuzzFeed – a source of electrons somewhere – and then it’s used to attack people’s character, it’s just completely out of control,” Bolton declared.
As to whether the detonation of its dossier story would inflict lasting damage on BuzzFeed or CNN, Bolton said, “It’s hard to hurt somebody who has no reputation to protect.”
“In that sense, if you ask what’s the downside for BuzzFeed or CNN, you’d have to say the answer is ‘not much,’” he judged. “If it were a magazine that occasionally published fiction articles, and they had labeled it as fiction, that would be one thing. But to put it out in a way that says, ‘We can’t verify any of this, but we’re going to put it out there anyway’ is just an invitation for a creative writing contest.”
“I think it’s a demonstration that there’s no – this idea that the press is somehow a sacred profession, separate from mere money-grubbing businesses, and that sort of thing. The press is anything that calls itself a ‘press,’ and indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that the constitutional protection of freedom of the press extends even to the humblest leaflet,” Bolton noted. “So it’s not a priesthood, and it should get criticized just like any other business when it does something outrageous. I would put this right close to the top of the list.”
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