Actually, there are a lot of reasons for the delay, and the number one reason is the sheer complexity of the Russia Hoax--the number of moving parts, if you will. As I've remarked in the past, we're used to thinking of the Russia Hoax largely from a US-centric perspective, with our focus on the CIA and FBI, with a somewhat lower awareness of what was going on at DoJ and the Department of State. Coordination of the Russia Hoax at the White House, as it seems to me, comes in last place.
That isn't to say that those of us who have been following the unraveling of the Russia Hoax haven't given a thought to the foreign angle. We know about Christopher Steele's important role--although we usually think of that in terms of his interactions with US players: Bruce Ohr, Glenn Simpson, and other US government functionaries and media figures. We know, too, about George Papadopoulos' escapades with UK based figures, such as Stefan Halper, Joseph Mifsud and the Aussie "diplomat" Alexander Downer. Carter Page? For the most part he figures in the phrases "the Carter Page FISA application," rather than his interaction with Halper and other UK figures.
Nevertheless, as we attempted to show a bit over a month ago in The Shape Of The Coup Plot: Obama And The Brits, that overseas connection looms increasingly large in the Russia Hoax investigation. One sign of that is the announcement of the agreement by the UK government to allow Christopher Steele to be interviewed by US government investigators. Well, officially, that was Christopher Steele who said he was willing to be interviewed, but in the real world we all know that that doesn't happen without UK government approval--if you need to have that explained, follow the first link in this paragraph. The point is that without a thorough understanding the foreign angle--and especially the UK angle--Barr will never truly "get his arms around" the real scope of the Russia Hoax. And that will take time--time to identify the players, time to do thorough background investigations not only on known players but also their connections, time to develop investigative and interview strategies.
Lately I've been ploughing through the archives of J. E. Dyer's articles on the Russia Hoax. Her article It’s down to the ‘big one’ no one is looking at does an admirable job assembling the voluminous information regarding the UK connections. In does do she draws heavily on the previous work of Elizabeth Vos (All Russiagate Roads Lead To London As Evidence Emerges Of Joseph Mifsud’s Links To UK Intelligence) and Michael Tapscott (Meet Hillary Clinton’s Other, Much More Powerful and Shadowy Oppo Research Firm), but she adds plenty of value on her own.
The amount of information contained in those articles is far too great to summarize here, but it may be useful to at least give some indication of the connectedness between the London pole and the Washington, DC, pole. That connectedness extends far beyond what most people imagine and helps to explain why Barr and Durham will need to proceed in a very methodical way if they are to uncover the true nature and extent of what happened in the Russia Hoax.
We can begin with Elizabeth Vos' work. Vos focuses on five strands of the Russia Hoax narrative that show important UK involvement. Here are those five strands, most of which should be familiar:
1. [Joseph] Mifsud allegedly discussed that Russia has ‘dirt’ on Clinton in the form of ‘thousands of emails’ with George Papadopoulos in London in April 2016.
2. The following month, Papadopoulos spoke with Alexander Downer, Australia’s ambassador to the UK, about the alleged Russian dirt on Clinton while they were drinking at a swanky Kensington bar, according to The Times. In late July 2016, Downer shared his tip with Australian intelligence officials who forwarded it to the FBI.
3. Robert Goldstone, a key figure in the ‘Trump Tower’ part of the RussiaGate narrative, sent Donald Trump Jr. an email claiming Russia wanted to help the Trump campaign. He is a British music promoter.
4. Christopher Steele, ex-MI6, who worked as an MI6 agent in Moscow until 1993 and ran the Russia desk at MI6 HQ in London between 2006 and 2009. He produced the totally unsubstantiated ‘Steele Dossier’ of Trump-Russia allegations, with funding from the Clinton campaign and the DNC.
5. Robert Hannigan, the head of British spy agency GCHQ, flew to Washington DC to share ‘director-to-director’ level intelligence with then-CIA Chief John Brennan.
Vos' conclusion from her examination of these five strands is that
Each of these strands of UK-tied elements of the Russiagate narrative can be substantially dismantled on close inspection. This untangling process leads to the surprising conclusion that UK intelligence services fabricated evidence of collusion in order to create the appearance of a Trump-Russia connection.
This new evidence culminates in the ground-breaking conclusion that the UK and its intelligence apparatus may be responsible for the invention of key pillars of the Trump-Russia scandal. If true, this would essentially turn the entire RussiaGate debacle on its head.
Vos arrives at this conclusion by examining the connections among the persons who appear in each of the five strands as well as their actions.
For example, while we've all been pretty much convinced that Joseph Mifsud--far from being a Russian agent as Mueller still claims--was in fact a highly valued MI6 source. Vos points, among other details, to two telling facts:
Mifsud's close connections for years to Claire Smith. Claire Smith was, under David Cameron's Tories, a major figure in the upper echelons of British intelligence and a member of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). As Vos explains:
The JIC is part of the Cabinet Office and reports directly to the Prime Minister. The Committee also sets the collection and analysis priorities for all of the agencies it supervises. Claire Smith also served as a member of the UK’s Cabinet Office.
Those are some connections for MIfsud to have, given that he was tasked to rub elbows with George Papadopoulos. Someone very high up in the UK establishment must have considered the Russia Hoax to be pretty darned important to direct Mifsud to cooperate with the FBI/CIA in that caper.
Another telling detail that Vos points to is the fact that Joseph Mifsud was photographed in company with Boris Johnson--the soon to be UK Prime Minister--in October 2017. That was, of course, "nearly a full year after the US Presidential election and nine months after Mifsud’s name appeared in newspaper headlines worldwide as allegedly involved in Russian meddling in that election." At the time the photo was taken Johnson was the UK's Foreign Secretary. Surely, this is a strong indication not only that Mifsud was a highly valued UK intel source as well as an indication that his connections ran right to the top of the UK establishment.
Vos deals with the other strands in similar fashion. Of note, however, is her reference to Alexander Downer's connections. We're all aware that Downer had an intel background with the Australian government and that he had significant financial contacts with the Clintons. Vos points out--with a nod to Tapscott's article--that Downer
... is also a member of the advisory board of London-based Hakluyt & Co, an opposition research and intelligence firm set up in 1995 by three former UK intelligence officials and described as “a retirement home for ex-MI6 officers, but it now also recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking”. Whereas opposition research group Fusion GPS has received all the media attention so far, [Tapscott] states that Hakluyt is “a second, even more powerful and mysterious opposition research and intelligence firm … with significant political and financial links to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign”.
That Hakluyt connection may be more important than has hitherto appeared. It provides what Dyer calls "a nexus of transatlantic involvement at which few, if any, have been looking so far. We need to at least consider that it may be the “big one” no one has been looking at." And so Dyer starts pulling on that loose end.
Mark Tapscott, in his Lifezette article, lists several Americans who contributed to the Hillary campaign, and who are also "affiliated in some way with the firm Hakluyt & Co.: Jonathan Selib of Brooklyn, Holly Evans (also of New York), and Andrew Exum." Exum served as a U.S. Army infantry officer and as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Defense Department under Obama from 2015 - 2016. Exum parachuted out of DoD and landed at Hakluyt in 2017, just a few months after his departure from DOD. He has also been a contributing editor of Atlantic magazine.
The loose thread that Dyer starts pulling on is Jonathan Selib. Selib was chief of staff for the very important senator from Montana, Democrat Max Baucus--working for Baucus until the end of 2012. But what Dyer points out is that Selib was preceded as CoS to Baucus by Jim Messina, and was regarded on Capitol Hill as a "sidekick" to Messina. Dyer focuses on Messina.
Jim Messina was highly effective as Senate staffer. So much so that Obama tabbed him to be his 2012 campaign manager--he had previously been "a key player in [Obama's] 2008 campaign." How effective had Messina been? This effective:
Jim Messina has been a rising star and consistently high-profile presence in the Democratic constellation since he made a name as a Hill enforcer for Baucus in the 1990s and 2000s. Baucus was the longest-serving Senate Democrat for much of that time, and after the 2006 election became chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a powerful portfolio.
Baucus was key to getting Obamacare punched through in 2010, and Selib and Messina – who had worked together on Baucus’ staff until Messina joined the Obama campaign in 2008, and then collaborated on Obamacare when Messina moved to the White House as a deputy chief of staff to Obama – performed as an “enforcement” team.
As post-mortems of Baucus’ last years in office were written (he left the Senate to become ambassador to China in 2014), passages like this were common:
Former Baucus staff members such as Russ Sullivan, Jim Messina, and Jonathan Selib were respectfully feared for their ability to cut deals and potentially deliver retribution, leaving members more inclined to cooperate with Baucus.
Messina, from all appearances, focused on getting things done for Obama, rather than on being a “deep thinker” policy strategist. The UK Independent profiled Messina as “The most powerful person in Washington you’ve never heard of” just before the 2012 election, for which Messina was Obama’s campaign manager.
What happened with Messina after Obama's triumphant reelection? Ah, well, he took his act overseas--to London. In 2013 the David Cameron and the UK Conservative Party brought on this Democrat talent to manage their campaign. And he's been involved with the governing Tories for the past 5 years, while still being involved in US politics. For example, Messina was chairman of Organizing for America, "the follow-on to Obama for America that seamlessly took over the campaign’s money and staff the day after the 2012 election." And in 2014, even as he was working for Cameron's UK Conservative Party, he remained a force in Democrat politics:
Messina jumped in for Hillary with both feet in 2014. That’s when he took over the Priorities USA Action PAC, which was understood to be laying the groundwork for her 2016 run.
Priorities USA Action PAC was "the biggest-dollar PAC behind the Hillary Clinton campaign." Money. Follow the money is always a smart thought. Maybe Priority USA money helped pay for ... Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele and his "dossier"? Says Dyer:
What Messina’s role does is highlight, through its centrality and the connections he rolls back a curtain on, how much we need questions answered on what the Brits were doing.
It's all worth thinking about, or at least I think so. If I were running the Russian Hoax investigation, I'd certainly want to explore these areas.
And Dyer suggests that it may not end in 2016. There's an election coming up in 2020, and the losers may want payback.
In going over the five strands of the Russia Hoax narrative you may have noticed that I skipped over Robert Hannigan, the former head of the UK's GCHQ--their NSA. Recall that, the last we heard of him he had been jetting to Washington to hobnob with John Brennan in July, 2016, but then resigned within three days of Trump's inauguration in January, 2017--for mysterious "never explained personal reasons." Not to worry! Those personal problems were resolved and Hannigan landed on his feet. Notice in this account of the founding of a "new managed security services and cyber threat intelligence" firm how how the new firm draws for personnel in a global fashion, nicely blending ex-spooks from a number of interesting organizations:
Robert Hannigan, former head of Britain’s GCHQ, the electronic-surveillance counterpart to America’s NSA, came on in August 2017 with an exceptionally high-powered new U.S. corporate security and intelligence firm, BlueteamGlobal.
And who is BlueteamGlobal? It’s a U.S. firm launched by veterans of Morgan Stanley, which is probably where most of its $125 million in expansion funding is coming from. ... BlueteamGlobal has as officials, among others, Daniel Ennis, former director of NSA’s Threat Operations Center; Ron Feler, former deputy commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ elite cyber squad Unit 8200; and former FBI cyber officials Austin Berglas and Milan Patel (who have been go-to media commentators on all the best-known political cyber kerfuffles over the past three years, including Hillary’s emails and the DNC intrusion).
The former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, will chair the BlueteamGlobal advisory board. Jules Kroll, mentioned above as the founder of his own, industry-defining business intelligence company, will sit on the board of directors.
In case it’s not obvious, these are some of the biggest names you can get. This is a super-platinum company being put together. (Perhaps it may be premature to see it as someone’s lifeboat. But it would make a sensible person’s antenna twitch.)
And in case this isn't obvious: These folks are very unlikely to be friends of The Donald.
So, I understand that Barr and Durham can't spend forever trying to unravel this ball of yarn. Most of these names probably can't be tied to the Russia Hoax. Nevertheless, they would be seriously remiss if they didn't probe into all these Transatlantic connections. This is the biggest scandal--so far--in US history, and it isn't simple. Rosenstein and Mueller have bought the Dems time. Barr and Durham do have to show results, and yet they need to be thorough. One positive aspect is that results need not necessarily be measured in indictments--desirable as that may be. The biggest result by which success can be measured is Trump's reelection. From that standpoint there may be a proxy for actual convictions, although I remain optimistic. That proxy, of course, is declass.
Nobody ever said that getting a leash on the Deep State was gonna be easy. Just look at some of Roberts' opinions this week.