Following the release of the identity of the FBI informant, Justice Department officials in recent days said that informant William Campbell’s prior work won’t shed much light on the U.S. government’s controversial decision in 2010 to approve Russia’s purchase of the Uranium One mining company and its substantial U.S. assets.
However, The Hill's John Solomon has reviewed 1000s of new memos from an FBI informant that clearly show illegal activity surrounding a Russian plot to corner the American uranium market, ranging from corruption inside a U.S. nuclear transport company to Obama administration approvals that let Moscow buy and sell more atomic fuels.
FBI informant Campbell, acting as a consultant trying to help Rosatom overcome political opposition to the Uranium One deal, gathered evidence for six years, and, according to the more than 5,000 pages of documents from the counterintelligence investigation, there are a number of evidenciary links betweeen corrupt Russians, President Obama, and Hillary Clinton...
The Hill's John Solomon details that Campbell documented for his FBI handlers the first illegal activity by Russians nuclear industry officials in fall 2009, nearly a entire year before the Russian state-owned Rosatom nuclear firm won Obama administration approval for the Uranium One deal.
“The attached article is of interest as I believe it highlights the ongoing resolve in Russia to gradually and systematically acquire and control global energy resources,” Rod Fisk, an American contractor colleage working for the Russians, wrote in a June 24, 2010 email to Campbell.
Part of the goal was to make Americans more reliant on Russian uranium before a program that converted former Soviet warheads into U.S. nuclear fuel expired in 2013, according to documents and interviews. Russia's ambitions including building a uranium enrichment facility on U.S. soil, the documents show.
The FBI task force supervising Campbell since 2008 watched as the Obama administration made more than a half dozen decisions favorable to the Russian’s plan, which ranged from approving the sale of Uranium One to removing Rosatom from export restrictions and making it easier for Moscow to win billions in new commercial uranium sales contracts. The favorable decisions occurred during a time when President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were pursuing a public "reset" to improve Moscow relations, a plan that fell apart after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Multiple congressional committees recently got permission from the Justice Department to interview Campbell after The Hill reported last month the existence of his informant work. Lawmakers want to know what the FBI did with the evidence Campbell gathered in real time and whether it warned President Obama and top leaders before they made the Russian-favorable decisions, like the Uranium One deal.
Since Campbell’s identity emerged in recent days, there have been several statements by Justice officials, both on the record and anonymously, casting doubt on the timing and value of his work, and specifically his knowledge about Uranium One. However, as The Hill's John Solomon crucially details, the more than 5,000 pages of documents reviewed by The Hill directly conflict with some of the Justice officials’ accounts.
For instance, both Attorney General Jeff Sessions in testimony last week and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a letter to the Senate last month tried to suggest there was no connection between Uranium One and the nuclear bribery case.
Their argument was that the criminal charges weren’t filed until 2014, while the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approval of the Uranium One sale occurred in October 2010.
“The way I understand that matter is that the case in which Mr. Mikerin was convicted was not connected to the CFIUS problem that occurred two to three years before,” Sessions testified to the House Judiciary Committee last week, echoing Rosenstein’s letter from a few weeks earlier.
But investigative records show FBI counterintelligence recorded the first illicit payments in the bribery/kickback scheme in November 2009, a year before the CFIUS approval.
“There is zero doubt we had evidence of criminal activity before the CFIUS approval, and that Justice knew about it through NSD [the natural security division],” said a source with direct knowledge of the investigation.
This clear conflict has angered a number of Republican congress members (not so many Democrats)...
“Attorney General Sessions seemed to say that the bribery, racketeering and money laundering offenses involving Tenex’s Vadim Mikerin occurred after the approval of the Uranium One deal by the Obama administration. But we know that the FBI’s confidential informant was actively compiling incriminating evidence as far back as 2009,” Rep. Ron DeSantis, (R-Fla.) told The Hill.
“It is hard to fathom how such a transaction could have been approved without the existence of the underlying corruption being disclosed. I hope AG Sessions gets briefed about the CI and gives the Uranium One case the scrutiny it deserves,” added DeSantis, whose House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittees is one of the investigating panels.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a similar rebuke last week to Rosenstein, saying the deputy attorney general’s first response to the committee “largely missed the point” of the congressional investigations.
“The essential question is whether the Obama Justice Department provided notice of the criminal activity of certain officials before the CFIUS approval of the Uranium One deal and other government decisions that enabled the Russians to trade nuclear materials in the U.S,” Grassley scolded.
The Hill documents numerous attempts at misinformation and 'fake news' attempting to downplay or obfuscate documented evidence from Campbell of the timing of events.
Most critically, The Hill points out that Campbell’s debriefing files also show he regularly mentioned to FBI agents in 2010 a Washington entity with close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton that was being paid millions to help expand Tenex’s business in the United States.
The entity began increasing its financial support to a Clinton charitable project after it was hired by the Russians, according to the documents.
Campbell engaged in conversations with his Russian colleagues about the efforts of the Washington entity and others to gain influence with the Clintons and the Obama administration.
He also listened as visiting Russians used racially tinged insults to boast about how easy they found it to win uranium business under Obama, according to a source familiar with Campbell’s planned testimony to Congress.
In recent days, news media including The Washington Post and Fox News anchor Shepard Smith have inaccurately reported another element of the story: that Uranium One never exported its American uranium because the Obama administration did not allow it.
However, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission authorized Uranium One to export through a third party tons of uranium to Canada for enrichment processing, and some of that product ended up in Europe, NRC documents state.
A Uranium One executive acknowledged to The Hill that 25 percent of the uranium it shipped to Canada under the third-party export license ended up with either European or Asian customers through what it known in the nuclear business as “book transfers.”
It is clear by their desperation, that someone is trying to hide something as in leaked stories late last week, Justice officials anonymously questioned Campbell’s credibility pointing to episodes of drinking and reckless driving.
However, The Hill's sources familiar with the full body of Campbell’s work said they expect he can provide significant new information to Congress.
“Will he be able to prove that we knew Russia was engaged in criminal conduct before Uranium One was approved, you bet,” the source said.
“Were the Russians using political influence and pulling political levers to try to win stuff from the U.S. government, you bet.
Was he perfect, no one in this line of work is. But we were focused on much larger issues than just that.”
All of which still leaves us asking - why is the Justice Department downplaying this evidence and not moving forward with the probe? Two immediate scenarioes are possible - first, the rot is so deep and pervasive that the establishmentarians left are forcing the hands of the few; or second, the Deep State has Sessions by the balls.