With the entire memo-gate controversy riding on Republican accusations that the FBI improperly approved the surveillance of an American citizen based on opposition research funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign, the news revealed today by The Daily Beast that President Trump’s reelection campaign spent more than five grand on “research consulting” last month is somewhat ironic, especially given the nature of the company that was hired for the opposition research.
According to the recently filed financial report from Donald J. Trump For President, Inc., Trump paid $5,000 to Confidential Global Investigations, a company described on their website as a “licensed, professional private forensic investigations firm based in Manhattan, NYC with international offices and reach.” Their list of services includes background checks, surveillance, covert intelligence gathering, and deep web due diligence.
That international reach comes from their employment of a network of former spies from intelligence agencies around the world, including the Mossad in Israel and the K.G.B. in Russia, according to a 2016 profile of the company’s founder Robert W. Seiden, a former Manhattan prosecutor.
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They also brag of employing the former head of INTERPOL, the former deputy head of New York State Homeland Security, staff of the NYPD counter-terrorism team, former FBI, CIA, and IRS agents as well as numerous experts from the private sector in service of their frequent work investigating financial fraud by Chinese companies that have swindled investors.
This doesn’t sound very different from the process that Fusion GPS, the commercial research and strategic intelligence firm that hired former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to compile the opposition research on Donald Trump that became know as the “Steele dossier,” used to create the research that Republicans are claiming was unverified and not worthy of basing surveillance decisions upon.
The biggest difference in circumstances is that Steele formerly worked for the intelligence agency associated with one of our closest allies (at least they were before President Trump started alienating every other country in the world), while Trump is hiring former KGB agents to do his dirty work! As Vladimir Putin himself demonstrates, once a KGB agent, always a KGB agent.
Let’s see what Rep. Devin Nunes and his Republican cronies on the House Intelligence Committee have to say about that. Given the suspicions that Committee Chairman Nunes Nunes is already compromised by the Russians as the only explanation of his bizarre behavior, it’s not likely that they’ll even look into it.