On Saturday, the disgraced FBI arrested one of its own. Charles McGonigal, who used to head counterintel for the Bureau in New York and investigated Trump over Russiagate, was busted at JFK Airport and has been charged with violating the sanctions placed on Oleg Deripaska.
Deripaska, a Russian oligarch allied with Putin, has his name scrawled on parts of Russiagate. Before Christopher Steele was brought on board to produce the infamous dossier aimed at Trump, the British ex-agent had been working on a project for Deripaska to go after Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, who would also prove to be an FBI target.
In the tangled relationship that is an apt metaphor for Russiagate, the Russian billionaire appeared at times to be an FBI asset and at other times employed FBI personnel.
McGonigal is reportedly one of a number of ex-FBI agents who became freelance consultants, like American versions of Steele, under investigation. And connections between ex-FBI officials and the Russians have gone even higher than McGonigal. Louis Freeh, Bill 'Slick Willy' Clinton’s former FBI director, represented a number of Russian oligarchs and his deceased predecessor, Director William Sessions worked for a top Russian mafia figure linked to Putin.
We may very well find that the retired FBI officials who haven’t gotten contracts as commentators for cable news have gone to work for the Russians. And McGonigal may be the first of a number of FBI figures who were tasked with fighting Russian influence who instead learned enough to go to work for the Russians.
If McGonigal is guilty, it’s because he was following in the footsteps of retired FBI directors and top elected officials. Deripaska had previously managed to purchase the services of former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to “persuade U.S. officials his client isn’t a criminal” and of a firm linked to Hillary’s communications director and Bill 'Slick Willy' Clinton’s deputy press secretary. When you can buy both sides of the 1996 presidential election, why quibble at a mere FBI official? Russia may be a mafia state, but unfortunately we’ve become one too.
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Author: Ruth King
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