The Real 'Useful Idiots': How Our Intelligence Agencies Helped Putin Weaken America

Authored by John O'Connor, op-ed via The Daily Caller,

Today, no informed American citizen should have any doubt but that the Russian government attempted to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, one clear purpose having been to sow discord in the electorate. Many of these citizens, on both the left and right, have as well questioned President Trump’s rhetorical conflation of the question of Russian meddling, clearly proven, with the issue of Russian collusion, glaringly unproven. But this rhetorical confusion, obvious to all, is of little serious consequence beyond the political sniping it engenders.

However, such resulting kerfuffles, unfortunately, divert focus from a far more critical issue of whether our intelligence agencies, directed by politicized partisans, have analytically conflated this Russian meddling with a Russian bias for Trump, in turn corroborating in their assessment the Russian collusion narrative.

If such conflation has occurred, our intelligence agencies were either shamefully duped, or, worse, were enticed into intentionally framing a disliked political figure. In either case, these agencies would have helped Putin sow discord in America, the very wrongdoing they were sworn to investigate fully and fairly.

While such questions demand, as would be expected, declassification and production of key documents, quite fortunately American citizens are not foreclosed by agency stonewalling from examining the infamous Steele dossier for at least partial and tentative answers. What these documents suggest to any critical thinker is that either because of frank partisan dishonesty or dumbfounding credulity, born of political bias, these former officials have thrown our country into divisive turmoil, weakening it beyond Vladimir Putin’s fondest dreams, as well hurting America’s standing in the eyes of the world.

Before we delve deeply into this subject, let’s examine prefatorily what this Steele dossier is and what it isn’t. Many on the right see the Steele dossier as the flawed beginning of the Russian collusion investigation, just as many on the left had viewed it earlier as both the start and the solid heart of the investigation. Both are in error: the Steele dossier was in fact the Hail Mary pass thrown by American intelligence to get a FISA warrant after seven months of failure to prove an electoral conspiracy.

While now discredited, it figures prominently in Congressional accusations against deposed officials John Brennan, James Comey, Peter Strzok, James Clapper and Bruce Ohr. For the past several months the debate on the Steele dossier has been whether it is, as the anti-Trumpers would have it, merely an “unverified” report which may ultimately be proven, or, as the Congressional majority would argue, a screed manufactured out of whole cloth.

While this is an important argument, to be sure, the more compelling analysis is a deciphering of the meaning of the dossier under the assumption that it is literally true. What we mean by “literally true” is not that Trump and Putin colluded because Putin wanted Trump to win, but rather that it is true that Kremlin sources verified the collusion narrative to Steele researchers. If they did, the implications would be profound.

If Kremlin sources in fact conveyed the Russia-Trump collusion narrative to Steele, the narrative would thereby likely be untrue. This is because Putin’s Kremlin would never easily and voluntarily reveal its true plans to a group affiliated with America political interests and Western intelligence, which the Steele/Nellie Ohr group obviously represented.

In addition to relying on the shadowy Sergei Millian for confirmation of the collusion narrative on behalf of the Trump campaign, the Steele dossier purported to rely on numerous “Kremlin sources” or sources “close to Putin” or other high Russian officials. These supposedly knowledgeable sources lent the Steele dossier its formerly-touted authoritative power. But even though it is now acknowledged that the Steele dossier is a form of rubbish, the degree of stink debated, we should not merely toss it into the trash, because it still has much to tell us.

That is so because we can all agree that any substantive statement issuing from the Kremlin, or officials close to Putin or other top officials, would likely have been approved by Putin himself. Let’s put it another way: if a Kremlin official disclosed a purported strategy of Putin he did not want revealed, would he see his skin curdle, or would his internal organs liquify, as the first symptom he had been poisoned by the SVR?

In any case, let us assume some degree of professional standards practiced by ex-MI6 agent Steele and his main researcher, Nellie Ohr, who previously worked for Open Source Works, the CIA’s in-house open source research shop. We would not reasonably expect that they simply fictionalized their sources, but, rather, actually spoke to individuals who claimed knowledge, even if in fact only hearsay and rumor.

We can further assume that Steele and Ohr had no means of coercing reluctant, and therefore likely true, statements from these sources. Indeed, a cursory reading of the dossier describes a group of highly talkative sources readily volunteering information. It is this eager divulging of information which cause any critical observer to assume that anything offered was Kremlin misdirection.

Given these unassailably logical suppositions, it is very easy to view the Steele dossier as one big piece of Putin/Kremlin disinformation designed to hurt America. The ready connivance of Russian asset Sergei Millian, falsely posing as a Trump insider, only corroborates this assessment. What was said to Steele is important not for its substantive truth, but as a true reflection of falsehoods Putin wants us to confront uncomfortably, which we are now doing. If Putin wanted Clinton and/or her close allies in the partisan CIA and FBI directorships to believe in Trump-Russian collusion, and, inevitably to politicize it, he would have caused the disclosure of exactly what he did disclose to the willfully credulous Steele group.

No intelligent person, however, should conclude from this scenario that Putin wanted Clinton to win, a deduction that goes a bridge too far, much like the simplistic inference that Putin wanted Trump to win. After all, Putin did, we must believe from the Mueller indictment of GRU operatives, hack and release Clinton emails. Indeed, it is reasonable to believe that Putin thought hobbling the sure winner, Clinton, would be more beneficial to Russia than harming the sure loser. That said, the Steele Dossier destroys the claim that Putin’s motive was a Trump win, since such is impossible to square with treasonous and salacious anti-Trump slurs Putin seemingly condoned in those dossier documents.

But we can come to several less extreme, more reasonable assessments. First, we can reasonably believe that Putin’s motives were mainly to sow discord in the electorate and weaken our democracy already riven by partisan discord. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, reading the Steele dossier should tell any critical reader that Trump and Putin could not have been even tentatively colluding. If in fact they were colluding, would Putin have authorized such a confirmatory narrative to be released? Alternatively, if against Putin’s wishes, would Kremlin operatives have risked their lives to reveal the plot? Neither scenario seems credible. From the moment the ink was dry on the phony Steele dossier, John Brennan, James Comey, James Clapper, Peter Strzok and Bruce Ohr should all have known there was no electoral collusion.

Other events, of which these officials knew well, corroborate this collusion. If there was a collusion conspiracy in full flower, would Russian agents have approached George Papadopoulos in April 2016, to tell of hacked emails? If the collusion narrative had an ounce of truth to it, why would anyone think that Papadopoulos needed either recruiting or informing? If American intelligence really thought there was a collusion conspiracy being pursued, why would they think that Peter Stone would be interested in purchasing for Trump from an FBI informant, Henry Greenberg, hacked DNC emails in exchange for payment of $2 million? Wouldn’t the conspiracy already underway have set methods, means and terms of colluding previously agreed upon? Why would American intelligence have Stephan Halper approach Papadopoulos, Carter Page and Stephen Miller, in July 2016, if they believed the plot was already in existence, as the Steele dossier suggested? In short, an intelligence officer has to either be criminally dishonest or frighteningly credulous to have bought the Trump-Putin collusion story. There never should have been an investigation left open after the laughably phony Steele dossier, preceded by seven months of investigative goose eggs. That an investigation did proceed, to the point of a thrice-renewed FISA warrant, followed by the sneaky Comey’s chumming up of the Mueller investigation, could only have gladdened Putin’s heart.

The collusion investigation has roiled the country, dividing it even more stridently into red-blue factionalism. The American president has just met with his Russian counterpart, amid the propitiously-timed indictment by a special counsel of twelve GRU agents. This strife, which includes absurd partisan attacks on an obviously thin-skinned president in Trump, accompanied by shrieks from a herd of shallow journalists, has presented a seriously divided and weakened front to Putin. Trump’s amateurish press conference with Putin provided only icing on this already divided cake.

So clearly these former American intelligence officers have weakened our country, and have wittingly or unwittingly done Putin’s bidding. How much of this is a product of fraud, and how much is simply partisan credulity, should be a serious issue of future studies, hopefully soon to be accelerated with a declassification of pertinent Russiagate-related documents.

If in fact the Russiagate investigation had a sound basis, one would think that, in addition to causing nasty leaks, these officials would be the loudest proponents of the declassification and release of key documents elucidating the grounds for the probe. So their present diffidence should be seen as a big tip-off as to what these documents will show and what they will not show.

Brennan, Comey and the rest likely know that if key documents are to be produced, their current, absurd cries of treason will be their last hurrah. Indeed, logic suggests that they have been either dishonest or, yes, grossly negligent, in the discharge of their duties, in either case growing out of blinding partisanship. So it seems apparent that there have been no more useful idiots, pushing Putin’s malevolent designs, than the recent heads of American intelligence. We hope - without confidence - that they will soon get their just due, and American intelligence will return to an honest, nonpartisan professional enterprise.

*  *  *

John D. O’Connor is the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the co-author of “A G-Man’s Life: The FBI, Being ‘Deep Throat,’ and the Struggle for Honor in Washington” and is a producer of “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” (2017), written and directed by Peter Landesman.


Consuelo Tue, 07/31/2018 - 23:56 Permalink

Hey Mr. Attorney...?

There's a photo missing in the center of your Shady Bunch checkerboard - and ironically enough, She really is the center of all this.   How strange she's missing and spoken of here as more of a sidebar issue rather than the genesis of it.   Hmmm...

ted41776 JSBach1 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:18 Permalink

i really have to hand it to them, to destroy some of the world's most respected institutions in such a short period of time does take some skills. with zero consequences and no accountability for what was done. motherfuckers are out selling books about how they fucked this country's institutions. can't even make this shit up

In reply to by JSBach1

vladiki HowdyDoody Wed, 08/01/2018 - 06:57 Permalink

Empires always fail from within. The USSR a textbook case - Reagan rattled the cage but wasn't its nemesis.  It imploded.  And the US is on the same track.  After a century as top dog, now can't pay its bills, can't take a trick militarily, innumerable fissures opening up internally. MAGA can't mean making it 1950 again.  At best, it'll mean making the US an isolationist success - like it was for its first century. The world needs the US to stop interfering in everything everywhere - and the US needs that too!!  Win-win.

Reality is that great powers ALWAYS HAVE secretly interfered in each others affairs, like poker players scheming to sneak a look at each others cards. It'll never be different. The CIA alwasy has been an "interference organisation". What is different is the current anti-Russian hysteria in some sections of media and Congress.  Inane; totally lacking understanding and insight. The phonies like Schumer aren't the real problem.  It's the idiots who actually believe this stuff that are the danger.  They've gone mad.  Trump and Putin, given half a chance, will achieve good things.  We need them to, and we need to cage and sideline the loonies.

In reply to by HowdyDoody

Buckaroo Banzai JRobby Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:05 Permalink

"Today, no informed American citizen should have any doubt but that the Russian government attempted to meddle in the 2016 presidential election"

Calling what Russia did "meddling in the election" is disingenuous and misleading. A better way to put it is, Russian Intelligence found a way to manipulate the arrogant, venal, and incompetent assclowns who ran the Obama administration, in order to humiliate them, and generally wreak havoc in the US political process.

In reply to by JRobby

popeye HowdyDoody Wed, 08/01/2018 - 07:07 Permalink

Mr O'Connor is an attorney. Curious then this comment: " After all, Putin did, we must believe from the Mueller indictment of GRU operatives, hack and release Clinton emails". Does an indictment equate to guilt, Mr O'Connor?

You, Mr O'Connor, are concerned that Russia has attempted to weaken USA's democracy (such statement presupposing there is a strong democracy to weaken), yet have no qualms announcing guilt on the strength of unsubstantiated assertions.

You speak of conflation, and then conflate an individual, Vladimir Putin, with Russia as a political administration and as a nation.

You assert to be fact that which has not been proven (that the Russian government attempted to influence the US 2016 election result). You then contradict this statement by attempting to argue that Russia was not pro-Trump; a contradiction because the claim of Russian election interference is intimately interwoven with the assertion that Russia wanted Trump to win, that Russia obtained emails from an illegal email server and supplied them to Wikileaks with the intent of swaying American voters against Hillary Clinton - an assertion that also has not been proven and in fact many would say has been disproved.

You fail to mention that it was the Democratic National Committee that attempted successfully to ensure the successful nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democrat Presidential candidate, or that it was Hillary Clintons campaign organisation that paid for the Steele dossier to be compiled (to influence the presidential election).

To summarise, you have for an attorney a disturbing limited understanding of guilt and legal process, and an appreciation of your intellect that appears somewhat at odds with the evidence.

So which are you Mr O'Connor: a credulous fool or a cynical distributor of deceipts?

In reply to by HowdyDoody

OverTheHedge ted41776 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:37 Permalink

Is this the beginning of changing the story? Final acceptance that Russia meddling, per se, is nonsense, so now Russians meddled by causing confusion about meddling. Ever had that feeling when, no matter what you do, you just can't win? Most husbands will know exactly what I mean.

This article smacks of more propaganda, to replace the propaganda about propaganda.

In reply to by ted41776

PT OverTheHedge Wed, 08/01/2018 - 01:09 Permalink

Russia meddling:  becoz US intelligence is a bunch of useless dumb shits that could not stop it from happening but no-one will be fired for incompetence or treason becoz it woz The Russians!!!!TM

Just like no-one could stop the Russian, I mean North Korean, I mean Chinese hackers becoz US hackers are a bunch of dumb shits too.

Never mind, just wait a few months and then it will be Iranian meddlers and Iranian hackers.  Hey!  Maybe we should jump the gun and hire Iranian hackers to spy on The Russians!!!!TM

Maybe the US could hire some Russian defectors on H1-Bs to spy on the rest of The Russians!!!!TM, given that the rest of the US's 300 million population is full of dumb-asses that could never keep up with Superior Russian meddling hacking spy technology.

Awander if they could help protect US Congress computers and DNC servers, better than the last mob could, too.

In reply to by OverTheHedge

I Am Jack's Ma… JSBach1 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 01:33 Permalink

The author provided absolutely no proof of Russian meddling.

Which makes sense as neither has the federal government.

The evidence, such as it is, should be doubted by anyone unwilling to simply accept the word of a dozen analysts from 3 agencies handpicked by clapper relying on a 3rd party with ties to the Clintons.


I mean fuuuuuuuck this guy.

In reply to by JSBach1

MK ULTRA Alpha I Am Jack's Ma… Wed, 08/01/2018 - 08:59 Permalink

Brennan's finger prints are all over this. I wrote before the only reason Brennan and Clapper are screaming and jumping up and down like children is they have to remove Trump so they're not charged with treason and lose their lucrative pensions.

I wrote before, I can't understand why Halper is said to be an FBI informant when he is a CIA asset.

It proves the CIA was in the shadows working with the FBI. Remember it was Brennan who gave false data to Harry Reed a former Senator with a poor record of doing what's right to give political cover for the FBI.

See, all these men are old enough to remember Watergate, nearly 60 Republicans went to prison.

It's real strange the IRS who said they would investigate the Clinton Foundation hasn't released any data. I was expecting the IRS to open the Uranium One fraud wide open. But as we can see, the IRS statement more than a year ago was political cover for the Clintons. After what the IRS did to Republican groups trying to set up political groups, I would say the IRS has proven a level of corruption we've never seen and has no business in our lives.

Remember all during Obama era, the IRS went after people who were considered conservative, Americans lost their businesses, land, farm and ranch. We're only now understanding the extent of the damage done.

It means the entire government is now compromised.

Do these people realize we're at the edge of the abyss? They could careless about what we think and what will happen. There are over 120 million checks coming out of Washington DC each month, if those checks stop coming what do you think these super patriots will do?

These people as well as the Zioniggers don't love America, it's all Israel First over America. If any nation is responsible for manipulating our country and elections, stealing technology it's Israel. I firmly believe because of research into Netanyahu's statements during the time he was out of power and the creation of his institute. And the man later to head the Mossad when Netanyahu returns to power, from his actions and statements as Mossad chief, Netanyahu was the master mind behind 9/11.

It was he and Netanyahu working from Netanyahu's institute. I'm 100% positive Netanyahu was the master mind behind 9/11. Anyone can study this but most have a television mind from a life time of being programmed and conditioned by Jew TV from NYC.

And for all the Zioniggers on here, Israel First over America and the strange mutated form of Christianity, like poster "Aguy" who believes the governments version of 9/11 because the government said nothing about the molten steel, well hundreds of fireman said it and it took three weeks to cool down. The question has always been what melted the steel. No one in the government will answer, however the man the government used, now states he was wrong about everything and didn't know why he did it. Well it was to keep the money flowing, he would have lost his job if he didn't lie to the nation.

"Aguy" actual believes it's because as he said, no one said anything about molten steel, no it's because he's a Zionigger and he will do anything to stay well within the parameters of his brainwashing conditioning of Israel First over America. It's because he doesn't attend church, it's less than 10% now, so to be a good Christian he must give unconditional support for Israel. He follows Zionist Christian doctrine.

It's a mental illness just like we're seeing with USAG Sessions. Another Zionigger from the South who is being led around by the nose by Jews who are not Jews but Khazar gypsies. Even when Trump is being destroyed Sessions will not lift a finger to help him. How low is that?

Anyone can study Roman history, it's real easy to find out these people were called Hebrews and then trace back to where the hoax history comes from, the Khazars when they were given Hebrew books, it spawned a religion and we have been set up from England with the Scofield Bible, a rewrite of the Bible. It's a fabrication but the Zioniggers don't care because their racial hate and being a member of the racial caste system precludes any search for the truth.

The Yoke of Zionism will be removed from the neck of America.

In reply to by I Am Jack's Ma…

Greed is King JSBach1 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 06:24 Permalink

What both amuses and horrifies me is the blatant hypocrisy of it all; if Russia DID meddle in the election where does that differ from America`s meddling in the elections of practically every country on Earth ?, apart from Russia doing it covertly while America does it overtly.

In how many countries have Russia forced a regime change ?, and in how many countries have America forced a regime change ?.

Propaganda rarely if ever has anything to do with truth; and the anti-Russia American election propaganda is fast becoming as much a farce as the Skripal Novichok poisoning is in the UK.

In reply to by JSBach1

lasvegaspersona Consuelo Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:15 Permalink

After listening to about 20 Putin speeches over the past 5 years I really don't think Putin  cares much about the US. We are a potential threat but when he refers to us we are always his "American partners'. I think the rest of the world sees the US as past prime and kind of cranky if not dangerous.

At less the half our size overall what is Russia take over Baltimore...Detroit...DC? This Russia stuff is beyond simple crazy.

In reply to by Consuelo

PT lasvegaspersona Wed, 08/01/2018 - 01:16 Permalink

In the old days, Soviet propaganda consisted of telling lies about the USSR.
But the Russkies learnt their lesson and moved on to more effective techniques.
These days, Russian propaganda consists of telling the truth about the US.

Putin does not have to do anything.  All he has to do is be a nice man.  The US is doing the rest to themselves.
"When your enemy is destroying themselves, stay out of the way." - or however that ancient warrior worded it.

In reply to by lasvegaspersona

JSBach1 07564111 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:07 Permalink

The US never meddles in the Russian elections,...does it?

"who really was behind the plot to blackmail the former head of Russia Boris Yeltsin to stop him from running for reelection in 2000 and hand-pick Boris Abramovich Berezovsky?"
"The demand was to appoint Berezovsky as the new President of Russia and for Yeltsin to step down and not run in 2000. Yeltsin, realizing he was set up, turned to Putin who nobody had heard of. As the story goes, Putin promised to take care of everything if Yeltsin appointed him instead, Yeltsin resigned on December 31,"…

In reply to by 07564111

r0mulus 07564111 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:22 Permalink

Agreed- what a crock of shit that this dumbass author has the nerve to try and pass that for truth.

I see no proof of anything except that some Russian click-bait-farms copied and ran some politically oriented click-bait trying to make a few dimes off of click-bait that had already been produced in, and proven popular in, the US.

It's a damn shame that a sizeable portion of the country treats this false story, a gambit of narrative, as fact.
Its incredible the lengths to which RussiaGate fanatics will go to engage in groupthink and escape the shameful truth of their supported political parties' actions.

In reply to by 07564111

r0mulus WTFUD Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:58 Permalink

Lawyers in general are much less clever than they think they are.
Most build their "legend" on mere rhetorical superiority against citizens of average intelligence or less- people that for purposes of this comparison might as well be unarmed.
The minute they come up against someone armed with real facts and real logic skills, their vain facades crumble into ad hominem bullshit and other fallacies. They are only trained to win arguments, not to search for or evaluate Truth. They would almost always rather win arguments to satisfy their egos rather than be honest and admit defeat. "I'm right because I'm a Lawyer and went to Law School- did you pass the bar?"
Engage such persons with extreme caution!

In reply to by WTFUD

MuffDiver69 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:00 Permalink

This issue polls less then 1%. The article makes the obvious point these clowns who started it would be clamoring for everything to be declassified if only for the reason of proving the naysayers wrong. Thankfully the FBI,DOJ and CIA have taken a killshot along with most of the now Fake News...

Thom Paine Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:02 Permalink

The opening statement is just nonsense and picks up the Clinton soros conspiracy after Trump unexpectedly won.

It should have read...

no ILL-informed American citizen will have any doubt but that the Russian government attempted to meddle in the 2016 presidential election...

Let it Go Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:03 Permalink

The proof of decades of deceit continues to trickle out drip by drip causing us to be dubious of anything we have been told or led to believe. The intelligence apparatus put together to help us win World War II did not disband but merely morphed into a giant fear spreading monster'

The constant flood of bad actors paraded in front of us has revealed the Deep State does exist and is corrupt to its core. These career power brokers inside of government act on behalf of the military-industrial complex as it goes about seeking power and profit. The article below delves into how they influence state policy without regard for democratically elected leadership.

http://The Future Of Americas Deep State May Be In Peril.html

r0mulus Let it Go Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:28 Permalink

It wasn't just world war II, this really goes back to the intense fear and paranoia that capitalists and the upper classes have felt ever since the victory of the Bolshevik Communists during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. In that era, the ruling classes of the West declared covert, but total, ideological war on Marxist economic ideas and the proletariat that might be able to self-identify with and represent them. The intelligence apparatus has never been about "national security" in any other sense than maintaining hegemony for the oligarchy-capitalists that controls it. And therein lies the real rub: even if you aren't a Marxist or a Communist, you still have to deal with a tyrannical panopticon dedicated to quashing any ideals not approved by said oligarchy-capitalists.

In reply to by Let it Go

Thom Paine Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:07 Permalink

Trump won...Holly shit...Russ Ru conspiracy invention.

Clapper Comey McCabe brannon Clinton - sure , the author tries to give crebility to the invention. Either stupid or another never Trumper.

same2u Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:16 Permalink

You could make the case that China and Russia are deliberately turning the MIC into an uncontrolled/paranoid/corrupt state that will drive our nation into bankruptcy...

Let's be honest, only an idiot would buy into the idea that anyone, even with superior weapons could ever invade USA...strategically speaking is impossible for anyone to attack us and win...

Plus way too many of us would unite to destroy anything that could even come close to conquer us, including aliens...