Thursday, February 16, 2017

America's Allies Conduct Intelligence Operations Against Trump


While many Trump voters continue to make apologies and grasp at anything to avoid admitting that they made a grievous mistake in voting for Der Trumpenf├╝hrer, many of America's allies recognize that not only is the man unfit for office but a danger to world stability.  Trump apologists are whining about "leaks" rather than what the leaks are revealing about possible illegal actions at least and treason in the worse case.  And then there are the Congressional Republicans who for the most part are trying to stifle any independent investigation of potential law breaking and/or treason.  As a result, America's allies meanwhile are running their own intelligence operations and as Newsweek reports are corroborating the illicit communications.  So, no, this is not a plot by Obama hold overs in USA intelligence offices.  Here are highlights from the Newsweek piece:
As part of intelligence operations being conducted against the United States for the last seven months, at least one Western European ally intercepted a series of communications before the inauguration between advisers associated with President Donald Trump and Russian government officials, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
The sources said the intercepted communications are not just limited to telephone calls: The foreign agency is also gathering electronic and human source information on Trump’s overseas business partners, at least some of whom the intelligence services now consider to be agents of their respective governments. These operations are being conducted out of concerns that Russia is seeking to manipulate its relationships with Trump administration officials as part of a long-term plan to destabilize the NATO alliance.
Moreover, a Baltic nation is gathering intelligence on officials in the Trump White House and executives with the president’s company, the Trump Organization, out of concern that an American policy shift toward Russia could endanger its sovereignty, according to a third person with direct ties to that nation’s government.
These sources spoke on condition that they not be identified because they were not formally authorized to disclose the information. While Newsweek was told which allied nations intercepted the communications and are gathering intelligence on Trump associates, the sources did so on condition that the countries not be identified out of concern those governments would incur the president’s wrath.
The Western European intelligence operations began in August, after the British government obtained information that people acting on behalf of Russia were in contact with members of the Trump campaign. Those details from the British were widely shared among the NATO allies in Europe. The Baltic nation has been gathering intelligence for at least that long, and has conducted surveillance of executives from the Trump Organization who were traveling in Europe.
These operations reflect a serious breakdown in the long-standing faith in the direction of American policy by some of the country’s most important allies. Worse, the United States is now in a situation that may be unprecedented—where European governments know more about what is going on in the executive branch than any elected American official. To date, the Republican-controlled Congress has declined to conduct hearings to investigate the links between Trump’s overseas business partners and foreign governments, or the activities between Russia and officials in the Trump campaign and administration—the very areas being examined by the intelligence services of at least two American allies.
Some details about Trump’s business partners were passed to the American government months ago. For example, long before the president’s inauguration, German electronic surveillance determined that the father of Trump’s Azerbaijani business partner is a government official who laundered money for the Iranian military; that information was shared with the CIA, according to a European source with direct knowledge of the situation.
Of equal concern to our allies is Trump’s business partner in the Philippines, who is also the special representative to Washington of that country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte. This government official, Jose E.B. Antonio, is the head of Century Properties, which in turn is a partner with the president’s business in the construction of Trump Tower at Century City in Makati, Philippines. According to people with direct knowledge of the situation, a European intelligence service has obtained the contracts and other legal documents in the deal between the Trump Organization and Antonio. That deal has already resulted in large payments to Trump’s business, with millions of dollars more on the way—all coming from an agent of the Philippine president.
These intelligence operations against the United States come as a result of allied concern about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s designs to damage NATO and whether Trump intends to follow a policy path that would embolden Russia. In addition, they are apprehensive about whether a newly strengthened Moscow would use its energy weapon—Western Europe obtains almost 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia—to push aggressive policies with little objection from the Trump White House.
[T]he Baltic nation also launched an investigation by its intelligence service into the relationship between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his longtime personal friend, Igor Sechin, the head of the Kremlin-controlled oil company Rosneft. Sechin and Rosneft are on the blacklist of people and entities designated for sanctions following Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. He was Tillerson’s main business partner when he worked as the chief executive of Exxon Mobil and is a powerful figure in Russia who is both a former member of the FSB (the federal security service that is the primary successor to the Soviet Union’s KGB) and the former head of presidential administration in charge of the security services. 

It is beyond disturbing that our allies are doing what Congressional Republicans are refusing to do: determine if we have traitors in the White House.   

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