New Book: The FBI Considered Joseph Mifsud an Asset

New revelations in George Papadopoulos’s book, Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump, are part of a tantalizing firsthand account that clues us into the real origins of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax: it came from within the FBI itself. 

Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy advisor to the 2016 Trump campaign, also recounts a disturbing effort by notorious FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith to coerce him into falsely accusing the campaign of trafficking in rumors of hacked Russian emails. 

The official story of Operation Crossfire Hurricane provides that the investigation began with an accidental meeting between Papadopoulos and Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat. The story holds that in May 2016, Papadopoulos and Downer had a chance meeting in a London bar during which a “heavy drinking” Papadopoulos revealed the Trump campaign “knew” the Russians possessed thousands of hacked Clinton emails that it intended to release to influence the 2016 election. When Wikileaks did indeed release hacked DNC emails in July 2016, Downer made a beeline to the FBI to report the lead on possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian email dump. 

Papadopoulos tells a different story: 

Media reports—starting with the New York Times—have characterized me as being drunk at this meeting . . . this is completely wrong. I had one drink. A gin and tonic . . . this false account also spun that Downer and I met in a random, chance encounter . . . But that’s false, too . . . this meeting was anything but random. Intelligence operatives engineered it.

Papadopoulos also denied having any memory of a conversation with Downer about Trump and Russia.

In March 2016, Papadopoulos heard the rumor of Russian dirt on Clinton from a mysterious Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud. The Mueller report refers to Mifsud 83 times. It describes Mifsud as a “London-based professor who had connections to Russia and traveled to Moscow in April 2016.”

Papadopoulos identifies five people who, at various times, reported to the FBI about their meetings with him: Mifsud, Downer, academic and CIA asset Stefan Halper, a woman named Azra Turk, and a man named Sergei Millian. Curiously, both Mifsud and Halper showed up to their meetings with Papadopoulos in the company of stunningly attractive and flirtatious female companions. Mifsud claimed his companion was Olga Polonskaya, the niece of Vladamir Putin. Halper brought Azra Turk, a striking beauty who, the New York Times recently confirmed, worked for the FBI. 

According to Papadopoulos, an attorney who frequently worked on cases with the FBI in British courts, Arvinder Sambei, helped engineer the meeting between Mifsud and Papadopoulos. Sambei made the introduction just days after Papadopoulos announced he would be joining the Trump campaign. 

Even more curious is the fact that Papadopoulos’s employer, the London Centre of International Law Practice, would pay for an expensive trip to Rome to facilitate the Mifsud meeting days before Papadopoulos resigned to work for a candidate openly despised by the organization’s leaders. Papadopoulos suspected that the LCILP was actually a front company for something else. 

“I’m not entirely sure how or why it exists,” Papadopoulos writes. “Eventually, I will discover I am not the only one with questions about this organization.” The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland has explored a possible link between the FBI and the LCILP.

Where Did Mifsud Come From?

Was Mifsud himself an FBI informant? Put another way: Was Mifsud and OCONUS lure? 

As Red State has reported, FBI attorney Lisa Page in 2015 wrote to her lover, Crossfire Hurricane FBI agent Peter Strzok, “You get all our oconus lures approved? ;).” OCONUS is an acronym for “outside the continental United States.” The term “lure” might mean an FBI informant authorized to approach a target to tempt him into participating in a criminal action. 

The Mifsud meeting with Papadopoulos first took place in March 2016. Footnote 164 of the recent inspector general’s report on the Carter Page FISA warrant notes Papadopoulos conveyed his suspicions about Mifsud in his October 25, 2018 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. The inspector general followed up by searching the FBI database for informants but did not find Mifsud’s name. 

Does this rule out the possibility that the FBI “borrowed” Mifsud from another intelligence agency or a foreign government? The inspector general describes an ad hoc group of activists within the Justice Department that largely kept their superiors in the dark about many of their early get-Trump activities. Is it possible that FBI agents used Mifsud without creating records of the operation? 

There are two additional signs that the FBI might have considered Mifsud to be an asset. 

First, a passage on page 193 of volume one of the Mueller report mentions an FBI interview with Mifsud in February 2017. Mueller accused Mifsud of providing false answers to the FBI. Yet the FBI never sought charges against Mifsud. This is consistent with the treatment of confirmed FBI informant Christopher Steele, who also lied to the FBI but was never prosecuted. 

Second, when the FBI interviewed Papadopoulos, the FBI interrogators showed very little interest in the source of Mifsud’s information. 

“One of the investigators is an FBI lawyer named Kevin Clinesmith,” Papadopoulos writes. “And he seems to be leading a lot of this inquisition.” Papadopoulos was asked over and over to name anyone in the Trump campaign with whom he may have shared the Mifsud emails story. “I keep waiting for someone to ask me about Mifsud himself. But nobody seems to care about him. I can’t believe these people are not interested in the source of this information.” 

In a later exchange, Papadopoulos is subjected to another round of questioning that becomes so repetitive and suggestive that Papadopoulos asks, “I don’t know if you are trying to implant a memory in my mind, or what. But I cannot sit here and tell you I told [the Trump campaign] about emails when I don’t have a memory of doing that.” 

That didn’t stop the Mueller team. They continued for seven hours, suggesting Papadopoulos had indeed told the Trump campaign about the hacked email rumor that Mifsud fed to him. 

“Unfortunately,” Papadopoulos writes, “the truth was not what they wanted to hear. No matter how much Robert Mueller and his team of FBI agents and prosecutors wished I had told the campaign members about Mifsud’s claim, I hadn’t.” 

Thus, Papadopoulos suspected, the FBI wasn’t investigating Mifsud’s role because the professor was just another informant sent to entice him.

Smelling Rats

Papadopoulos’s account of Clinesmith seeking to plant a false memory should be considered in the context of the fact that Clinesmith is believed to be responsible for altering an email from the CIA in order to deceive the FISA court into approving continued spying on former Trump campaign figure Carter Page. Clinesmith is also the attorney who texted, “Viva la resistance!” shortly after Trump won the November 2016 presidential election.

Papadopoulos paints a picture of an attempt to make him a typhoid Mary of the Mifsud Russian hacking rumor. Once Papadopoulos had the information, he was supposed to infect the entire Trump campaign with a tantalizing promise of Russian dirt on Clinton. But he didn’t take the bait and never passed on the information.

Remember, both the Papadopoulos and Mifsud February 2017 FBI interviews happened after the FBI learned that the original Steele dossier was totally disavowed by Steele’s primary source. Thus, Clinesmith’s efforts to implant a false memory in Papadopoulos raises serious concerns. Papadopoulos’s book also reminds us that we likely know the identity of Steele’s source, Sergei Millian, the same man who also approached Papadopoulos and, according to the book, also worked for the FBI as an informant.

In another incident, a man Papadopoulos believes was cooperating with the FBI gave Papadopoulos $10,000 in cash for an unspecified consulting arrangement. Papadopoulos smelled a rat and left the money in Europe to the great disappointment of federal authorities waiting for him in America who hoped to catch him with the undeclared cash.

Clinesmith resigned approximately two months before the inspector general’s report revealed to the public that he tampered with evidence used to support continued spying on Carter Page. Clinesmith was also revealed as “FBI Attorney 2” whose texts were featured prominently in a previous inspector general report investigating FBI bias leading up to the 2016 election. 

On page 416, Clinesmith responded to this text from an unnamed FBI employee, “You promised me this [Trump winning the election] wouldn’t happen.” Clinesmith jokingly responded, “Okay, that might have been a lie.” Clinesmith also texted, “my god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff.” Clinesmith added, as shown on page 418, “I just can’t imagine the systematic disassembly of the progress we made over the last 8 years. ACA is gone. Who knows if the rhetoric about deporting people, walls, and crap is true. I honestly feel like there is going to be a lot more gun issues, too, the crazies won finally. This is the tea party on steroids. And the GOP is going to be lost, they have to deal with an incumbent in 4 years. We have to fight this again.”

It’s a lot to ask the public to believe politics didn’t motivate Clinesmith’s desperate efforts to keep afloat the Russia collusion investigation that imploded in January 2017. His texts clearly explain his motivation in coercing Papadopoulos and tampering with evidence. The lack of consequences for Clinesmith, Ohr, McCabe, Comey, and so many others demonstrate that the get-Trump forces still hold the real power in the Department of Justice.

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About Adam Mill

Adam Mill is a pen name. He is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. He graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. Mill has contributed to The Federalist, American Greatness, and The Daily Caller.

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