A thrilling spy story in the news, mostly lies

Summary: To govern America, we need to clearly see the world. Here Matt Taibbi documents how the news media has become a tool in the intermural battles between factions of our ruling elites, manipulating us for their ends.

“Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State.”
— Attributed to James Angleton, one of America’s greatest intel officers, ever.

Truth paid for in blood - Dreamstime_24169126
ID 24169126 © Photowitch | Dreamstime.

The past few years have seen the amazing decay of the major news media, driven by their politicization and shift to infotainment (a deadly combination). Perhaps driven by this vacuum, new sources of information have arisen. Matt Taibbi is one such new source. In this article, he examines the corruption of the news, the increased power of the Deep State, and the effect of this combination on America.

Excerpts from “Latest Russian spy story
looks like another elaborate media deception

By Matt Taibbi at his website, 13 September 2019. Images added.
“The tale of Oleg Smolenkov is just the latest load of high-level BS dumped on us by intelligence agencies.”

“The {news networks} increasingly act like house organs of the government, and in particular the intelligence agencies. An episode this week involving a tale of a would-be American spy ‘exfiltrated’ from Russia solidifies this impression. Seldom has a news story been more transparently fraudulent.

“The story was broken by CNN Monday, September 9th, under the headline, ‘Exclusive: US extracted top spy from inside Russia in 2017‘ (emphasis mine)::

‘In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN. …

‘The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel.

‘The disclosure to the Russians by the President, though not about the Russian spy specifically, prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk of exposure …’

‘The source was considered the highest-level source for the US inside the Kremlin, high up in the national security infrastructure, according to the source familiar with the matter and a former senior intelligence official.’

Truth, not Pravda, Will Make You Free

“It’s a characteristic of third world countries to have the intelligence world and the media be intertwined enough that it’s not always clear whether the reporters and the reported-about are the same people. When you turn on the TV in Banana Republics, you’re never sure which group is talking to you.

“We’re now in that same paradigm in America. {List of former intel officials working for major news media.} …

“On Tuesday, September 10th, the Russian newspaper Kommersant disclosed the name of the spy. They identified him as a mid-level Foreign Ministry official named Oleg Smolenkov. …

“Disappear, however, Smolenkov did not. He went from Russia to Montenegro in 2017, then ended up in Virginia, where he and his family bought a house in Stafford, Virginia in January of 2019, in his own name! This is the same person about whom the Times this past Monday wrote:

‘The person’s life remains in danger, current and former officials said, pointing to Moscow’s attempts last year to assassinate Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian intelligence official who moved to Britain as part of a high-profile spy exchange in 2010…’

“Smolenkov was so afraid for his safety, he put his family in a house the FSB could see by clicking on Realtor.com! That’s “tradecraft” for you.

“{CNN claiming that} it could not find ‘any related reference’ to a secret source in media reports, is laughable. Unnamed ‘senior intelligence officials’ spent much of the early months of the Trump administration bragging their faces off about their supposed penetration of the Kremlin. Many of their leaks were designed to throw shade on the new pompadour-in-chief, casting him as a Putin puppet.

“A January 5, 2017 piece in the Washington Post is a classic example …Intelligence agencies can’t reveal classified details out of fear of disclosing ‘sources and methods,’ but this story revealed a very specific capability. …

“A more revealing Washington Post piece came in June, 2017. It was called ‘Obama’s Secret Struggle to Punish Russia for Putin’s Election Assault.’ In that article, we’re told at length about how Brennan secured a ‘feat of espionage,’ obtaining sourcing ‘deep within the Russian government’ that provided him, Brennan, with insights into Russian’s electoral interference campaign. Brennan, the Post said, considered the source’s intel so valuable that he reportedly hand-delivered its “eyes only” bombshell contents directly to Barack Obama in summer of 2016. This was before the story was told to the whole world less than a year later. …

“What is this all really about? We have an idea only because Brennan and Clapper aren’t the only ex-spooks pipelining info to friendlies in the media. As noted by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and others, Attorney General William Barr earlier this year directed the Justice Department and former Connecticut Attorney General John Durham to investigate the intelligence agencies. In June, the New York Times wrote {about it}.

‘Mr. Barr has been interested in how the C.I.A. drew its conclusions about Russia’s election sabotage, particularly the judgment that Mr. Putin ordered that operatives help Mr. Trump by discrediting his opponent, Hillary Clinton, according to current and former American officials. …

‘While the Justice Department review is not a criminal inquiry, it has provoked anxiety in the ranks of the C.I.A., according to former officials. Senior agency officials have questioned why the C.I.A.’s analytical work should be subjected to a federal prosecutor’s scrutiny.’

“We know, because it was bragged about at length in hagiographic portrayals in papers like the Washington Post, that John Brennan was the source of the conclusion that Putin directed the interference. …Now, suddenly, we’re treated to a series of stories that try to assert that the mole was removed either completely or in part because of Trump. …

“This story wasn’t leaked to tell the public an important story about a lost source in the Kremlin, but more likely as damage control, to work the refs as investigators examine the origins of the election interference tale. …

“A situation where the newspapers and airwaves are not for relaying facts but for firing sorties in an internecine power struggle really is unsustainable. It won’t be long before audiences realize they’re not reading true news stories but what the Russians call versii, or “versions.” Whether it’s the pro-Trump wasteland of Fox or the Brennan-Clapper government-in-exile we see on MSNBC and CNN and in the Washington Post, the news has become two different nations, both intensely self-interested, neither honest. …”

Read it in full to appreciate the full breadth of the story, its importance, and Taibbi’s research that documents it.



When reading about the Deep State, remember these words from James Angleton’s favorite poem: “Gerontion” by T. S. Eliot.

“These with a thousand small deliberations
Protract the profit of their chilled delirium,
Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,
With pungent sauces, multiply variety
In a wilderness of mirrors.”

About his website

I recommend subscribing to posts from Taibbi’s website. He publishes a wide range of writings there. This post is a chapter in his forthcoming book, Untitledgate – an investigation into the origins of Russiagate – which he is publishing in serial installments. I have been reading it, and the book will be pretty awesome.

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About Matt Taibbi

Taibbi is an author of novels and one of America’s top investigative journalists. From Wikipedia, here are snippets from his long complex career.

Taibbi lived Mongolia in the mid-1990s, where he played professional basketball in the Mongolian Basketball Assn., which, he says, is the only other basketball league that uses the same rules as the NBA. He was known as “The Mongolian Rodman” and also hosted a radio show while there.

Taibbi worked in Russia for over six years. He and Mark Ames in 1997 co-edited the English-language newspaper, The eXile. Since then he was written for many periodicals and appeared on news shows.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Campaign 2016, about ways to reform America’s politics, about Matt Taibbi, about RussiaGate, about intel agencies, and especially these…

Taibbi’s books are essential reading…

…for those wishing to understand modern America.

Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History (2010).

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap (2014).

Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus (2017).

Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another (2019).

Available at Amazon.
"The Divide" by Matt Taibbi.
Available at Amazon.

9 thoughts on “A thrilling spy story in the news, mostly lies”

  1. Pingback: A thrilling spy story in the news, mostly lies | PublicFigure-Media

  2. The Man Who Laughs

    Mostly lies comes close to being an understatement. About the only thing we know to be factual from the report is that there’s a Russian guy in Virginia, but we’re not sure how he got there or what he did before.

    One striking quote:

    “If the mole was even that important, which I’m not convinced of – as McGovern told me this week, “They make stuff up all the time” – it seems more than possible we lost this “asset” because our intelligence chiefs felt it necessary to spend late 2016 and early 2017 spilling details about our capabilities in the news media. ”

    If paranoia struck deep enough I might wonder if they yanked this guy out to backstop the the story of having had a Russian intelligence source on Trump if that ever mattered. But speculation is cheap. I’m sure there’s been some fairly serious intelligence malpractice here, and I can understand that some people in the CIA would have flop sweats, but I’m not sure that anyone is in actual legal jeopardy.

  3. “This is an example. It examines the corruption of the news, the increased power of the Deep State, and”

    Incomplete sentence, FM? Towards the top of the article. Matt Taibbi is one of the best we still have left.

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