CIA spies operating within the Kremlin have suddenly "gone to ground" according to the New York Times, citing American officials clearly abusing their security clearances.
The officials do not think their sources have been compromised or killed - rather, they've been spooked into silence amid "more aggressive counterintelligence by Moscow, including efforts to kill spies," according to the Times, pointing to the still-unsolved March poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal in the UK.
Curiously, the Times immediately suggests that the lack of intelligence is "leaving the CIA and other spy agencies in the dark about precisely what Mr. Putin's intentions are for November's midterm elections."
But American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin’s intentions: He could be trying to tilt the midterm elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process. -NYT
There it is. Of course, buried towards the end of the article is this admission:
But officials said there has been no concrete intelligence pointing to Mr. Putin ordering his own intelligence units to wade into the election to push for a certain outcome, beyond a broad chaos campaign to undermine faith in American democracy.
Meanwhile, "current and former officials" tell the Times that the outing of FBI spy Stefan Halper, who infiltrated the Trump campaign, had a "chilling effect on intelligence collection."
In other words; the Daily Caller's March report and subsequent confirmations by the New York Times and the Washington Post of the FBI's so-called mole within the Trump campaign were harmful to national security, according to the Times - offering zero evidence of this except mysterious finger-wagging government sources.
That said, the United States "continues to intercept Russian communication, and the flow of that intelligence remains strong," according to the current and former officials, while Russian informants are still able to meet their CIA handlers outside of Russia.
The Times spends the rest of the article discussing Russian meddling, citing testimony by former CIA director John Brennan, who testified to Congress that he was "convinced in the summer [of 2016] that the Russians were trying to interfere in the election. And they were very aggressive."
Not aggressive enough for then-President Obama to do anything about it, but then again nobody thought Trump would win.
US intelligence officials, meanwhile, continue to warn of Russian threats.
Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned that Russians are intent on subverting American democratic institutions.
This year, Mr. Coats issued a series of warnings saying the Russian government, and Mr. Putin in particular, is intent on undermining American democratic systems.
At an appearance this month at the White House, Mr. Coats said intelligence agencies “continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try and weaken and divide the United States.” He added that those efforts “cover issues relevant to the elections.”
But officials said there has been no concrete intelligence pointing to Mr. Putin ordering his own intelligence units to wade into the election to push for a certain outcome, beyond a broad chaos campaign to undermine faith in American democracy. -NYT
The Times notes that informants close to Putin are "very rare," according to their sources - as the United States has had "only a few" in recent years, and "at times been reliant on only one or two for the most important insights on Mr. Putin."
We wonder if these are the same high level "Kremlin officials" cited as major sources in the largely unverified Steele Dossier paid for in part by Hillary Clinton before the DOJ/FBI used it to spy on a member of the Trump campaign?
Former Obama administration official and Russia expert, Michael Carpenter, pointed to "fake social media accounts created as part of Russian intelligence operations" that have "drummed up support for white nationalists and the Black Lives Matter movement," and are now supporting "far right, far left and pro-Russian candidates in the United States and Europe."
“Clearly Russia is playing both sides of controversial issues precisely to sow chaos. But that said it is not just chaos, there are certain candidates Russia prefers to see in office,” said Carpenter, now at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. “The Russians are trying to support anti-establishment and pro-Russian candidates, not just in the U.S. but everywhere.”
On the other hand, Facebook VP of advertising, Rob Goldman, admitted in February that "the majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election," and "I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal."
Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election. We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election. https://t.co/2dL8Kh0hof— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
Goldman was forced to recant his opinions, despite the fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein admitting that Russian efforts did not affect the outcome of the 2016 election.
That said - while fierce debate exists over Russian election meddling, there is no question that Russia - at least in the 1980's - had an active campaign to subvert the west.
In a 1985 interview with ex-KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov, who defected to the West in 1970, Bezmenov very clearly outlines that the KGB's primary goal is not covert intelligence; it's a long-term campaign of ideological subversion, or "active measures."
In summary; the KGB, for decades, has had a goal of altering the average American's perception of reality in order to confuse and divide the US population, while reducing men of fighting age to feminized soy boys.
There are four basic stages:
1) Demoralization: This will take 15-20 years (which would bring us to around 2000-2005), which is enough time to educate a generation of students and indoctrinate them into a Marxist-Leninist ideology as "useful idiots." The result of this stage of subversion is that the "useful idiots" will be "contaminated" through ideological and irreversible brainwashing. According to Bezmenov, the demoralized person is unable to assess fact-based information. You can shower him with documents, facts and other solid evidence, and he will refuse to believe it until kicked in his "fat bottom" by troops."
Bezmenov said (in 1985), that the demoralization campaign had been active for 25 years.
2) Destabilization: Once the population has been programmed and "contaminated," the subverter does not care about your ideas, the patterns of your consumption, whether you eat junk food and get fat and flabby. It doesn’t matter anymore. This time, and it only takes from two to five years to destabilize a nation, what matters is essentials, economy, foreign relations, defense systems.
3) Crisis: Once destabilization has occurred, "It may take only six weeks to bring a country to the verge of crisis. You see it in Central America now."
4) Normalization: "And after crisis, with a violent change in power, structure, and economy, you have the period of so-called normalization will last indefinitely. Normalization is a cynical expression borrowed from Soviet propaganda"
Perhaps it's dangerous to conflate Russia's goal of slowly subverting Western culture into self-destruction with unlitigated claims of election meddling?