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World & Current Events > The plot thickens: 2 top Russian cybersecurity officials arrested on treason

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message 1: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Possibly related to the US intelligence claims of Russian hacking of the US elections. Definitely worthy of an espionage thriller story!

"Sergei Mikhailov was deputy head of the FSB security agency’s Centre for Information Security. His arrest was reported in a series of leaks over the past week, along with that of his deputy and several civilians, but Tuesday’s news went much further.

“Sergei Mikhailov and his deputy, Dmitry Dokuchayev, are accused of betraying their oath and working with the CIA,” Interfax said, quoting a source familiar with the investigation."
(https://www.theguardian.com/world/201...)



message 2: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13804 comments Nothing conclusive, but interesting -:)


message 3: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments The plot thickens: Indeed. They should arrest Trump for colluding with them. Isn't that treason?


message 4: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) It is indeed. And its so painfully obvious there was collusion. The only problem is proving it.


message 5: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Matthew wrote: "It is indeed. And its so painfully obvious there was collusion. The only problem is proving it."

I agree. But CIA can do anything if they keep at it.


message 6: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Mehreen wrote: "Matthew wrote: "It is indeed. And its so painfully obvious there was collusion. The only problem is proving it."

I agree. But CIA can do anything if they keep at it."


Here's hoping. I am wondering, with all the NSA surveillance going on, couldn't they simply tap his phone? Putin claimed they were in contact with each other during the campaign. Surely there were some phone calls with Moscow???


message 7: by Mehreen (last edited Jan 31, 2017 08:36PM) (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Matthew wrote: "Mehreen wrote: "Matthew wrote: "It is indeed. And its so painfully obvious there was collusion. The only problem is proving it."

I agree. But CIA can do anything if they keep at it."

Here's hopin..."


Exactly, how hard is that? One could easily write a book on espionage as Alex suggested, "Impeaching a president" or something of the sort.


message 8: by Mike (new)

Mike | 181 comments they'd better impeach him soon. i'm starting to wonder how much longer there will even be the chance to do so.


message 9: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Oh its getting worse for him. With every executive order he's passed, the resistance and chaos has spread. And it's clear at this point that those GOP who are behind him see him as a "useful idiot' whom they intend to exploit until he's no longer tenable.


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9782 comments I don't see how Trump could be accused of treason. On the evidence all the information came from Russia to the CIA - that would make Trump working for America, assuming he was even connected.


message 11: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Ian wrote: "I don't see how Trump could be accused of treason. On the evidence all the information came from Russia to the CIA - that would make Trump working for America, assuming he was even connected."

I'm not sure what you're trying to say, so I will attempt to clarify where the treason charge comes from (apologies if you already know all this). The intelligence investigation involves Russia tampering with the election by hacking the DNC and releasing the information they obtained in order to influence voters. If Trump colluded with them during this time - which is what is being alleged by some - in order to secure the election, then he is guilty of treason.


message 12: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9782 comments If Trump colluded with them during that time, certainly he would be guilty of something, but in my opinion, not treason. Treason is when you sell out your country; in my view he would be buying power, which is something else, if in fact he did it. But I guess here we are arguing over legal definitions.


message 13: by Matthew (last edited Feb 02, 2017 06:54PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Ian wrote: "If Trump colluded with them during that time, certainly he would be guilty of something, but in my opinion, not treason. Treason is when you sell out your country; in my view he would be buying pow..."

A foreign government tampering with a US election in order to effect an outcome that would advance their own agenda globally is a hostile act. Any American citizen colluding with them is therefore giving aid to an enemy against their own state, which is the very definition of treason.

But of course, you're right. This is all semantics and legalese. And the main thing is proving that collusion actually took place. So far, it doesn't seem anyone can.


message 14: by Mike (new)

Mike | 181 comments Well, it's now been established that Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador while Obama was still president. I find it extremely difficult to believe that Flynn did this on his own. He seems like the sacrificial lamb here- not that I feel bad for him.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/ryan-li...

"Almost immediately after Obama made his sanctions announcement, on December 29th, expelling thirty-five Russian diplomats and closing down two Russian compounds, the Russian government made clear that Putin would retaliate in kind.

'We, of course, cannot leave unanswered the insults of the kind, reciprocity is the law of diplomacy and foreign relations', Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, said during televised remarks in Russia. 'Thus, the Russian Foreign Ministry and officials of other authorities have suggested the Russian President to announce thirty-one personnel of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the Consulate General in St. Petersburg persona non grata.' Lavrov also said that he had recommended the closure of two U.S. facilities used by American diplomats...

And then: nothing.

On Friday, December 30th, early in the morning in the United States (the afternoon in Moscow), an official statement from Putin was posted on the Kremlin’s Web site. 'Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration,' the statement said. 'We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone.'

A few hours later, Trump celebrated the decision. 'Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!' he tweeted.

What happened between Obama’s statement on Thursday and Putin’s statement on Friday to change the Russian government’s response? This is the period when Flynn and the Russian Ambassador exchanged a flurry of communications, including, we now know with certainty, discussions about the Obama Administration’s sanctions..."


message 15: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Mike wrote: "Well, it's now been established that Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador while Obama was still president. I find it extremely difficult to believe that Flynn did this on his own. ..."

Heard about this. And does this confirm what Putin said months ago? It looks like Trump's presidency is really starting to become unraveled.


message 16: by Mike (new)

Mike | 181 comments That the Trump people were in contact with the Russians during the campaign, you mean? Not precisely. But hopefully this will spark further investigation. I just read that a Republican not named McCain or Graham- Roy Blunt, a Senator from Missouri- has called for one. That's encouraging. Most of them seem to be authoritarian personalities, which means that when a certain number of their colleagues agree to something, the rest will follow.

Lots of unanswered questions here. Are we really supposed to believe that Flynn didn't have the OK from someone higher up (and there aren't many higher up than he was) to tell the Russians not to worry about those pesky sanctions?


message 17: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Mike wrote: "That the Trump people were in contact with the Russians during the campaign, you mean? Not precisely. But hopefully this will spark further investigation. I just read that a Republican not named Mc..."

it could turn out like Iran-Contra with Ollie North and then President Reagan: Flynn will take the full wrap.


message 18: by Mike (last edited Feb 14, 2017 04:23PM) (new)

Mike | 181 comments I'm sure that's the way the administration would like it to go. Then they can publicly pat themselves on the back for rooting out 'that one bad apple...'

The NYT is now reporting, from no less an authority than Sean Spicer, that Trump knew Flynn had lied for weeks. Meanwhile, Flynn continued to sit in on intelligence briefings.


message 19: by Alex (last edited Feb 14, 2017 04:32PM) (new)

Alex (asato) ah.

(clarification: sorry, it was more like Poindexter and McFarlane as the heads of the NSA during Iran-Contra that would be positionally like Flynn.)


message 20: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Mike wrote: "I'm sure that's the way the administration would like it to go. Then they can publicly pat themselves on the back for rooting out 'that one bad apple...'

The NYT is now reporting, from no less an ..."


Nope, he resigned, although that was just yesterday. Seems that the Kremlin is not alone in wanting to cover its tracks :)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-cana...


message 21: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Looks like Flynn is the smoking gun. And since his buddies threw him under the bus, he's going to spill the beans.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/mike-fly...


message 22: by M.L. (new)

M.L. I just saw that, he's asking for immunity! The plot thickens . . . kind of like the mud pots at Yellowstone!


message 23: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) I can't wait to hear what he has to say!


message 24: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9782 comments First, of course Flynn wants immunity. What did he do? The best interpretation for him is that having been appointed to a job, he sort of got off to a flying start but that is apparently illegal. If that were all there was to it, then frankly I think that's great. He didn't actually do anything, in thats scenario, but merely got himself "up to speed" so to speak.

That Putin did nothing almost certainly has very little or nothing to do with Flynn - the speed is a bit of a give-away. Bureaucracy does not work that fast. Another interpretation is that Putin simply thought he would be better off to do nothing and let the US Congress feast on Trump, and hence start the process of making the US government fall into disarray. And just think, he can do that by doing nothing. The ROI is stunning!


message 25: by Matthew (last edited Mar 30, 2017 09:14PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Ian wrote: "First, of course Flynn wants immunity. What did he do? The best interpretation for him is that having been appointed to a job, he sort of got off to a flying start but that is apparently illegal. I..."

No, he spoke to Russian contacts and (allegedly) promising to lift the sanctions put in place by the Obama administration BEFORE Trump was even president. That isn't "getting up to speed", its undermining the Obama presidency and colluding with a hostile foreign power, at best. At worst, its treason.

And need I bring up that this took place at a time when the Russians were the suspected party behind the DNC hack, a move which originated in Russia and was clearly designed to influence the election in Trump's favor? Is it not obvious why there are concerns over treason here?


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9782 comments If the facts are true and complete. We don't know who said what, and right now, I am not sure I can trust anything that comes out of Washington


message 27: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Yes, they are the den of crooks of liars. But normally, there are limits and certain understandings. The Trump administration promised to throw out the rule book and change everything. But actively collaborating with Russia was not something anyone expected them to actually do.


message 28: by Nik (last edited Mar 31, 2017 08:18AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 13804 comments Matthew wrote: "No, he spoke to Russian contacts and (allegedly) promising to lift the sanctions put in place by the Obama administration BEFORE Trump was even president. That isn't "getting up to speed", its undermining the Obama presidency and colluding with a hostile foreign power, at best. At worst, its treason...."

Reminiscing back to December, I think the entire month was full of reports of Trump speaking with foreign leaders congratulating him on his win and probably discussing his prospective sharp difference in policies with Obama. Remember some scandal with China because he spoke with head of Taiwan government, convincing corporations to stay in the US and so on.
Trump was also public on so many issues, seemingly undermining Obama's presidency and making a campaign out of it.
The sanctions are there because of certain policy and conditions. Not sure there is anything wrong discussing lifting of the sanctions and the conditions for this.
Obama was claimed to do things, undermining Trump's prospective presidency too in his last days in the office -:)

Having said that, it'll be interesting to hear what Flynn's got to say.

And another more global question is - what's really in American best interests in relations with Russia?


message 29: by M.L. (new)

M.L. I would narrow the focus about not trusting what comes out of Washington: I don't trust what comes out of the white house.


message 30: by M.L. (new)

M.L. I hope they don't give Flynn immunity. Prosecute to the fullest!


message 31: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Funny how things can switch 180 degrees when the shoe's on the other foot.
In September, he said in a TV interview that it was unacceptable that some of the Democratic candidate's aides had been granted immunity from prosecution.
"When you get given immunity that means you've probably committed a crime," he told NBC News.
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-ca... )



message 32: by Mike (new)

Mike | 181 comments From what I've read, the reason for giving Flynn immunity would be because they have bigger fish to fry; and there are not many bigger than the former national security advisor...the guy is despicable, but if granting him immunity is what it takes to get to the heart of the matter, so be it.

That being said, it sounds like the feds haven't taken him up on his offer yet...


message 33: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9782 comments Yes, but we don't know what he did. Also, you must remember that the top people in most of the many security services are political appointees, so we have to examine what they say as well for motive. Evidence is what we need. Facts. Not this persistent battery of unsubstantiated allegations. So Flynn talked to the Russian ambassador. If he said something like, when I am in the position to do something, which will be in x weeks, my policy will be this. How does thats trike you? Even if he is opposing Obama, that is NOT treason; it is merely giving forewarning. If that is illegal, then Flynn should ask for immunity, or stay the hell away from the witch hunt. The fact of the matter is, at any congressional hearing, someone will be out for blood, so if you are more or less innocent, it makes no sense to go there without immunity. Such enquiries are not judicial, despite what they might say - they are political.

The problem here is that in the US for some reason there is an almost 2 month so-called "lame duck" season. In my country, for example, once the election results are in, the prime minister simply refuses to initiate anything new and tenders his resignation at the first convenient time. If you have 2 months warning of being in a position of serious power, why wouldn't you try and get the feel of things?


message 34: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy There are lots of substantiated allegations, Ian. I don't know where you are getting your information from, but here's an example. Flynn worked for Turkey. He received at least half a million dollars. He never registered as a foreign agent until later when he was found out. Yet he was hired by Trump team as the head of national security.


message 35: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9782 comments True, I only get a limited amount of information, and the Turkey issue sinew to me, but just taking that as an example, is working for Turkey, a NATO ally, a crime? If not, is getting paid for whatever a crime? Given the way lawyers charge, my guess is Flynn was not excessively paid if he did a reasonable job. Further, if the Turks paid him, it was hardly a crime in the sense he didn't steal it. OK, he didn't register as a foreign agent. Maybe (a) he forgot, or (b) he did not consider himself a foreign agent? I assume registering had to be done in the US, and I assume he did nothing to damage the US interests. Fort all I know at this stage, he could have been advising Turkey on what US military equipment to purchase, in which case he was positively enhancing US exports. I don't know - but this is why I say we need more explicit facts, detailed facts, and not generalised allegations. They may be correct, but totally misleading. I recently wrote a blog post with an example of how everyone hearing a generalised allegation would jump to the totally wrong conclusion.


message 36: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy He was chosen to be the National Security Adviser to the President of the USA. That's about as high as you can get.

Here's one story:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/us...

Your speculations don't accomplish anything in this discussion. If you want information, do some research.


message 37: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Jimmy wrote: "He was chosen to be the National Security Adviser to the President of the USA. That's about as high as you can get.

Here's one story:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/us......"


solid article. culpability is denied through indirection: people hiding behind this or that company. that's the name of the game.


message 38: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9782 comments I may not be accomplishing much in this discussion, true, but the point I have been trying to make is that when an accusation is made that somebody has been criminal, exactly what went wrong and why it was a crime should be made clear. The onus is on the accuser to validate the accusation, and not waste everyone else's time going off on trying to puzzle out what happened.

My reading of the NY Times article is that Flynn operated a company, somebody hired him to investigate Gulem, Flynn did that (although how well is another matter) and got paid for it. This was while he was a private citizen, doing work that was not illegal.

Apparently, he was supposed to register as a foreign agent, although he was working for someone in America. That legal requirement is the responsibility of his lawyer, although legally Flynn is ultimately responsible. However, it is not unreasonable that Flynn overlooked some clause in the regulations. (Before you get too excite about that, are you absolutely sure you have not overlooked some IRS clause? They are opaque.)

I have said before either here or in another stream, of course Flynn should have been fired , but that was for lying to Mike Pence. So he has paid the price for that. Somewhere along the line, I have seen accusations of treason fired at him, so people who want to accuse him of treason, put up! It is not my job to do research to prove he did not do something.


message 39: by Matthew (last edited Apr 01, 2017 12:27AM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "Matthew wrote: "No, he spoke to Russian contacts and (allegedly) promising to lift the sanctions put in place by the Obama administration BEFORE Trump was even president. That isn't "getting up to ..."

Once again, Trump didn't talk to the Russians as a matter of public record. Members of his team met with Russian officials clandestinely, and lied about it repeatedly during and after. And this was happening at a time when the Russian government was trying to influence the election through FSB directed hackers and a campaign of misinformation.

As for any conversations Trump had with Russian officials, that remains to be seen. The point is, it absolutely IS against the law for him or any member of his team to have promised the Russians that sanctions would be lifted before he even took office - especially if it was in return for favors they did in influencing the election. Russia was and is a belligerent power and promising them favors is tantamount to offering aid and comfort to an enemy nation - i.e. treason.

As for Obama undermining Trump, that's certainly what Trump claimed. The ridiculousness of this statement has to do with the fact that he took measures to ensure that the proof of Trump's possible collusion with Russia was preserved so Trump's people wouldn't be able to destroy it - in other words, he was making sure evidence of Trump's crime couldn't be buried. He also took steps to ensure Trump wouldn't be able to undo key bits of legislation his administration passed.

The difference being, none of what Obama did in his last weeks was illegal or even immoral. What Trump did (allegedly) was entirely criminal.


message 40: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Alex G wrote: "Funny how things can switch 180 degrees when the shoe's on the other foot.In September, he said in a TV interview that it was unacceptable that some of the Democratic candidate's aides had been gra..."

Nobody said these guys weren't the biggest hypocrites in the world. After all, Trump criticized Obama for playing golf. Yet that's all he does every single weekend, after flying to Florida on the taxpayer's dime.


message 41: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13804 comments What I understand from the article is that he worked for a company owned by Turkish-American businessman and at least 3 lawyers weren't sure whether he needed to register. Finally he did - for the sake of doubt.
Suppose he had to register and failed to do so on time. Is not registering a criminal offense in the US? I simply don't know and asking whether someone knows to cast some light..
The White house denies Trump knew.
So far looks like Mr. Flynn wasn't sufficiently forthcoming with info both towards Pence and elsewhere and lost his job after less than a month.
Scandalous? Yes. But at this stage - hardly more than that. It's still ongoing so maybe we'll hear more...


message 42: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9782 comments I suppose there is the argument, what goes around comes around. Trump is on record or arguing he was going to have Hillary thrown into jail, so I guess you can't blame the Dems for looking for ammunition to fire back. Trump was also keen on the birther issue, and Trump is probably the biggest shooter from the hip with no evidence so far to back him up. The problem I see in all this is that if this keeps on going, America is going to be effectively not governed, and I can't see this as being good for anyone


message 43: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13804 comments Maybe that's a new political culture ... After some years of politically correct, maybe it's time to be politically incorrect.

Also, and maybe to stress the difference - I wouldn't be surprised, for example, if gentlemen without evidence ended up in jail in one country, while those with evidence towards their guilt, received immunity and remained free in another -:)


message 44: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2151 comments Ian wrote: "I suppose there is the argument, what goes around comes around. ..."

And this is something that is only fueling the divide that's been growing politically. It would be refreshing if one of the parties would try to be the "bigger man" and not resort to the "well they did, so I'm going to do it back," game.

The issue over judges and the Supreme Court is a perfect example. It was wrong how the Republicans handle the Garland nomination, for the Democrats to come out and say they might block Gorsuch's appointment because their noses are bent out of shape is petty and pathetic. Likewise it was wrong of the Dem's to lower the vote threshold for the lower appointments in order to shut out the republicans and fast-track Obama's appointments, but it's similarly as petty of the Republicans to do the same for Supreme Court "just because the Democrats did it."

Pundits are beginning to suggest we might see the end of the filibuster soon, but that's the only tool the minority party has to keep the majority party from steamrolling them.


message 45: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Flynn is a retired general and as such is not allowed to work for a foreign government. He did not register either until after the fact. So he broke two laws. A bit rich that he should then be singing, "Lock her up." Same hymn book but now it's a different refrain, "Lock *him* up." :)


message 46: by Matthew (last edited Apr 01, 2017 10:51AM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "Maybe that's a new political culture ... After some years of politically correct, maybe it's time to be politically incorrect.

Also, and maybe to stress the difference - I wouldn't be surprised, f..."


I've heard this rational made for the Trump administration, and I am wondering when exactly the time when we were "politically correct" actually happened.

Was it the years during which unarmed black men and women were killed by police, and white Americans became outraged that anyone would raise the issue of racism? Was it the years that Red Socks fans vocally condemned people saying the name was "insensitive" and claimed that such talk was an attack on them? Was it the years we were told Obama was a secret Muslim and Kenyan, and he had to do what no other president ever has and release his short form and long form birth certificate?

Was it the years in which ACORN and Planned Parenthood were vilified because they were set up by phony journalists who shot and released edited video to create the illusion of crimes being committed? Was it the years that Republicans blocked everything and anything the Obama administration proposed and made impeachment and their sole purpose, even going as far as to declare that the reason for it was TBD? Or was it the years in which they eventually settled for Clinton and kept fanning the flames of conspiracy and wrongdoing because she deleted emails?

Funny how people would use this to justify the existence of a criminally corrupt and openly racist and misogynistic government, as if that even makes sense.


message 47: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) I've noticed from some of the comments that people are not entirely aware of what has been going on here, and what the Trump's camp ties to Russia entail. Here's a good source that lays it all out. In addition to several members of the Trump camp having been in contact with Russian officials during the campaign (something they all denied), several of his people have long-standing business ties to Putin associates and businesses that have ties to him personally.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphi...


message 48: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy Matthew wrote: "I've noticed from some of the comments that people are not entirely aware of what has been going on here, and what the Trump's camp ties to Russia entail. Here's a good source that lays it all out...."

That's why I try to stay out of the discussions here. People need to read a few newspapers daily and listen to Rachel Maddow each night to keep track of this roller coaster we are on.


message 49: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Jimmy wrote: "Matthew wrote: "I've noticed from some of the comments that people are not entirely aware of what has been going on here, and what the Trump's camp ties to Russia entail. Here's a good source that ..."

Or they just could what I do. Watch Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee ;)


message 50: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9782 comments Since I am not in America, my news sources are different, and it is interesting to see a variety of such sources. One problem for news is the editorial policy often selects news and opinions (and we have to know the difference between fact and opinion) to fit with the assumed reader base. So no, I only occasionally see items from the NYT, but then again, what I read is from sources with no skin in the game, so the biases are hopefully less. My problem with much of the news comments I see is it is difficult to know how many of the generalizations are fact-based and simplified for convenience, and how much is shaded by prejudice, one way or the other. Since I have no skin in the game either, I simply want to know what is true, and it is not easy


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