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Donald Trump is not the first person from the West linked to sex and spies in the old Eastern Bloc
Joe O'Connor 01.11.2017
During the Cold War, Russian spymasters believed that Westerners were lacking in self-control, and that a pretty face could be even more potent than a loaded pistol.
The U.S. Embassy with its national flag, see behind a monument to the Workers of 1905 Revolution in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016
John Profumo, 1960
Lewis Morley's 1963 portrait of Christine Keeler
In a world of international intrigue and espionage, digging dirt on your opponents for future blackmailing purposes is as ageless as sex itself.
A memo purportedly from a former British spy describes sex videos involving President-elect Donald Trump and prostitutes on a bed in the presidential suite at the Moscow Ritz in 2013.
The allegations have not been confirmed and, according to reports, they may be entirely unverifiable.
However, Trump’s not the first person to be linked to sex and spies in the old Eastern Bloc.
The KGB, forerunner of the FSB, operated spy schools in Russia throughout the Cold War. Female recruits were trained to view their sexuality as a weapon, and to use it in the service of the state. Russian spymasters believed that Westerners were lacking in self-control, and that a pretty face could be even more potent than a loaded pistol.
Below, three dupes whose careers were undone by a brush with a beautiful person.
The Lovesick U.S. Marine
Clayton Lonetree played high school football before becoming a United States Marine. He wasn’t a great player, he was average, at best. But Lonetree was a hard worker and his father, Spencer, imagined that his son would make a good politician, some day, and that serving his country would be a first step to achieving that dream. Lonetree, an American Indian, was assigned to the American Embassy in Moscow as a guard. His Marine Corps instructors warned him about fraternizing with any Russians, including those who worked inside the embassy. But several of Lonetree’s Marine buddies were already dating Soviet women. And Lonetree was lonely. And, then, there she was: Violetta Seina.
Violetta was a translator at the embassy. Violetta was 26-years-old and single. Violetta was tall, with shoulder-length brown hair and gray eyes. Lonetree invited Violetta to the Marine Corps Ball. It didn’t seem all that unusual. Other Americans had Russian dates. Violetta warned Lonetree that the KGB might be watching her. But Lonetree persisted. After three months, the pair became lovers, and, soon after, Violetta’s “Uncle Sasha” entered the picture. Uncle Sasha asked Lonetree innocuous questions about his life, and about being an American Indian. Over time, he began asking deeper questions, about life at the embassy.
Lonetree would later admit that he knew then that Uncle Sasha was a KGB operative. But he was in love, after all, and if he told his superiors what was going on he feared they would bar him from seeing Violetta. Lonetree was eventually transferred to the embassy in Vienna. Uncle Sasha followed him there, bringing a parcel of love letters from his beloved Violetta. Lonetree eventually gave Uncle Sasha a floor plan of the embassy. He began drinking heavily. He was in over his head. In December 1986, Lonetree told the CIA station chief in Vienna what was going on. The disgraced marine would spend nine years in prison. (Violetta sent him messages there.) Lonetree was released in February 1996. Violetta’s whereabouts are unknown.
When the translator met her Romeo
Gabriele Kliem was a translator at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, West Germany. It was 1977. The Cold War was at its deepest freeze. Spies moved from East Germany to West and back, obtaining secrets – and choosing targets to extract them from. Kliem was an easy mark for Frank Dietzel. Dietzel looked like “Robert Redford,” to Gabriele Kliem, who was sitting on a bench near the Rhine when a tall man with blond hair and blue eyes came ambling towards her.
“He looked like my dream man,” she would later recall. “I fell in love the minute he came towards me.” Dietzel was handsome and charming and worked, he told Kliem, as a physicist with an international peace organization. Kliem loved him instantly. She loved him blindly. And when he asked if he could see some documents from her work at the embassy — so that he could pass them on to his peace group and help keep the world safe — she agreed. And she kept agreeing to her lover’s requests for the next seven years. Some of the information Kliem passed along to a man who would turn out to be an East German operative would include training schedules for tanks and guns. Eventually, the relationship fell apart. Gabriele met another man. She got married. In 1991, her betrayal came to light. The former translator was eventually given a two-year suspended sentence and fined. Kliem was last reported to be living in a quiet village in the Netherlands with 11 dogs.
The Naughty British Politician
John Profumo was a veteran of the D-Day landings, a former tank commander, the son of a Baron and a politician of impeccable standing in British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan’s, cabinet in the early 1960s. Profumo, the old soldier, was Secretary of War. He was balding, and trim, with a weak chin. He was a regular at fancy parties. Christine Keeler was a 19-year-old model.
She had been a topless dancer in London, and came from a poor family. The young model and the not-so-young politician met at a party at Cliveden, near London. The home belonged to Lord Astor. Charlie Chaplin had once stayed there. (The Beatles would later film part of the movie, Help, at the home). Profumo and Keeler saw each other near the pool. The attraction was instant. They had an affair, a torrid, two-week-love-turn that, for Profumo, turned out to be not such a good idea after it was revealed that the model was also sleeping with Yevgeny Ivanov, a Russian spy. Profumo had to assume that any pillow talk between he and Keeler — and there is no evidence that he shared any scintillating state secrets with the young model — would later be related to a Russian agent. The scandal hit the British press. Profumo resigned from office in 1963. He joined a foundation and spent the rest of his life working with the poor, an act of penance that would help restore his public reputation. Profumo died in 2006, having never spoken publicly of the affair that destroyed his career.
Everything you need to know about the secret dossier detailing what Russia allegedly has on Trump
National Post Wire Services | January 11, 2017 6:19 PM ET
Late Tuesday news broke of a salacious but completely uncorroborated dossier on Donald Trump, Russian hackers and prostitutes. The president-elect tried to dismiss it as “fake news” at a news conference Wednesday and refused to take questions from CNN because it reported the details. What follows is all you need to know about the damning dossier.
What does the dossier say?
The dossier, comprising a series of memos, alleges secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow about hacking into Democratic accounts. Its most explosive claims describe sex videos involving Donald Trump and prostitutes at a Moscow hotel in 2013. According to the dossier, FSB spies secretly taped Trump watching prostitutes he hired peeing on the Ritz Carlton Hotel bed Barack and Michelle had slept in during an official trip to Russia. Trump was in Moscow at the time to help organize a Miss Universe pageant. The videos were supposedly recorded as “kompromat,” a Russian word used to describe compromising material that can be used to gain leverage.
Who wrote it?
The dossier was compiled mainly by a retired British intelligence operative who received information from Russian informants and others. Christopher Steele, 52, was an MI6 agent posted in Russia in the 1990s. Now the head of a London-based private intelligence gathering firm, he prepared the dossier for a Washington political and corporate research firm during last year’s election campaign. The research was initially funded by Trump’s Republican opponents, and later by Democrats.
Steele is said to have fled his Surrey home on Wednesday after being publicly identified. A source told The Daily Telegraph Steele fears retribution from Moscow and is “terrified for his safety.”
Who has seen it?
A two-page summary of the dossier was submitted in a classified report to Barack Obama and Trump and shown to them in an intelligence briefing on Russian hacking last Friday. Intelligence agencies considered it so potentially explosive that they decided Obama, Trump and congressional leaders needed to be told about it and that the agencies were actively investigating it.
However, details of the 35-page dossier began circulating in the fall and were widely known among journalists and politicians in Washington. Mother Jones first reported on the dossier’s existence on Oct. 31, one week before the election. But the mainstream media did not pick up the story because reporters were unable to confirm the details. On Tuesday evening, CNN reported that Obama and Trump were shown classified documents that said Russian intelligence agents were claiming to have compromising personal and financial information about Trump. Buzzfeed went furthur, repeating the dossier’s unverified and most salacious details.
What does Trump say:
Trump is criticizing U.S. intelligence agencies over the leak of the unsubstantiated report, tweeting Wednesday that “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ’leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
“I think it’s a disgrace that information would be let out. I saw the information, I read the information outside of that meeting,” he said, referring to the classified briefing he received last Friday. “It’s all fake news, it’s phoney stuff, it didn’t happen.”
As to cyberattacks against the Democrats during the U.S. election, for the first time Wednesday Trump said he believes Russia is responsible for hacking. “But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people,” he said.
What do the Russians say?
Russia has denied having any compromising material on Trump, saying on Wednesday the dossier was “pulp fiction” intended to hurt Russian-American relations and undermine Trump’s stated goal of improving ties with the country.
“You have to react to this with a certain humour, but there’s also a sad side to this. Hysteria is being whipped up to maintain a political witch hunt,” Dmitry S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, said at a regular news briefing.
National Post news services
How an unverified dossier became a crisis for Donald Trump
The story began in September 2015 when a Republican donor hired a research firm to compile a dossier about Trump’s past scandals and weaknesses, according to a person familiar with the effort.
The London building where Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd is located. The company was started by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele who won the contract to build a file on Trump’s ties to Russia for a Washington research firm. (Yui Mok / The ASSOCIATED PRESS)
By SCOTT SHANENICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MATTHEW ROSENBERG The New York Times
Wed., Jan. 11, 2017
WASHINGTON — Seven months ago, a respected former British spy named Christopher Steele won a contract to build a file on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. Last week, his lurid account — unsubstantiated accounts of frolics with prostitutes, real estate deals that were intended as bribes and coordination with Russian intelligence of the hacking of Democrats — was summarized for Trump in an appendix to a top-secret intelligence report.
The consequences have been incalculable and will play out long past Inauguration Day. Word of the summary, which was also given to President Barack Obama and to congressional leaders, leaked to CNN on Tuesday, and the rest of the media followed with sensational reports.
Trump denounced the unproven claims Wednesday as a fabrication, a Nazi-style slander concocted by “sick people.” It has further undermined, at least temporarily, his relationship with the intelligence agencies and cast a shadow over the new administration.
Parts of the story remain out of reach — most critically the basic question of how much, if anything, in the dossier is true. But it is possible to piece together a rough narrative of what led to the current crisis, including lingering questions about the ties binding Trump and his team to Russia. The episode also offers a glimpse of the hidden side of presidential campaigns, involving private sleuths-for-hire looking for the worst they can find about the next American leader.
The story began in September 2015, when a wealthy Republican donor who strongly opposed Trump put up the money to hire a Washington research firm run by former journalists, Fusion GPS, to compile a dossier about the real estate magnate’s past scandals and weaknesses, according to a person familiar with the effort. The person described the opposition research work on condition of anonymity, citing the volatile nature of the story and the likelihood of future legal disputes. The identity of the donor who funded the effort is unclear.
Fusion GPS, headed by a former Wall Street Journal journalist known for his dogged reporting, Glenn Simpson, most often works for business clients. But in presidential elections, the firm is sometimes hired by candidates, party organizations or donors to do political “oppo” work — shorthand for opposition research — on the side.
It is routine work and ordinarily involves creating a big, searchable database of public information: past news reports, documents from lawsuits and other relevant data. For months, Fusion GPS gathered the documents and put together the files from Trump’s past in business and entertainment, a rich target.
After Trump emerged as the presumptive Republican nominee in the spring, the Republicans no longer wanted to finance the effort. But Democratic supporters of Hillary Clinton were very interested, and Fusion GPS kept doing the same deep dives into Trump’s record, but on behalf of new clients.
In June, the tenor of the effort suddenly changed. The Washington Post reported that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, apparently by Russian government agents, and a mysterious figure calling himself “Guccifer 2.0” began to publish the stolen documents online.
Simpson hired Steele, a former British intelligence officer with whom he had worked before. Steele, in his early 50s, had served undercover in Moscow in the early 1990s and later was the top expert on Russia at the London headquarters of Britain’s spy service, MI6. When he stepped down in 2009, he started his own commercial intelligence firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.
The former journalist and the former spy, according to people who know them, had a similar dark view of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, a former KGB officer, and the varied tactics he and his intelligence operatives used to smear, blackmail or bribe their targets.
As a former spy who had carried out espionage inside Russia, Steele was in no position to travel to Moscow to study Trump’s connections there. Instead, he hired native Russian speakers to call informants inside Russia and made surreptitious contact with his own connections in the country as well.
Steele wrote up his findings in a series of memos, each a few pages long, that he began to deliver to Fusion GPS in June and continued at least until December. By then, the election was over, and neither Steele nor Simpson had a client to pay them, but they did not stop what they believed to be very important work. (Simpson declined to comment for this article, and Steele did not immediately reply to a request for comment.)
The memos described two different Russian operations. The first was a yearslong effort to find a way to influence Trump, perhaps because he had contacts with Russian oligarchs whom Putin wanted to keep close track of. According to Steele’s memos, it used an array of familiar Russian tactics: the gathering of “kompromat,” compromising material such as alleged tapes of Trump with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel, and proposals for business deals attractive to Trump to win his allegiance.
The goal would probably never have been to make Trump a knowing agent of Russia, but to make him a source who might provide information to friendly Russian contacts. But if Putin and his agents wanted to entangle Trump using business deals, they did not do it very successfully — Trump has said he has no major properties inside Russia.
The second Russian operation described was recent: a series of contacts with Trump’s representatives during the campaign, in part to discuss the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta. According to Steele’s sources, it involved, among other things, a late-summer meeting in Prague between Michael Cohen, a lawyer for Trump, and Oleg Solodukhin, a Russian official who works for Rossotrudnichestvo, an organization that promotes Russia’s interests abroad.
By all accounts, Steele has an excellent reputation with American and British intelligence colleagues and had done work for the FBI on the investigation of bribery at FIFA, soccer’s global governing body. Colleagues say he was acutely aware of the danger he and his associates were being fed Russian disinformation. Russian intelligence had mounted a complex hacking and leaking operation to damage Clinton, after all, and a similar operation against Trump was an obvious possibility.
But much of what he was told, and passed on to Fusion GPS, was very difficult to check. And some of the claims that can be checked seem problematic. Cohen, for instance, said on Twitter on Tuesday night that he has never been in Prague; Solodukhin, his purported Russian contact, denied in a telephone interview that he had ever met Cohen or anyone associated with Trump. The president-elect on Wednesday cited news reports that a different Michael Cohen with no Trump ties may have visited Prague and that the two Cohens might have been mixed up in Steele’s reports.
But word of a dossier had begun to spread through political circles. Rick Wilson, a Republican political operative who was working for a super PAC supporting Marco Rubio, said he heard about it in July, when an investigative reporter for a major news network called him to ask what he knew. Other campaigns and super PACs were also developing more limited opposition research into Trump’s Russia ties.
By early fall, some of Steele’s memos had been given to the FBI and to journalists. An MI6 official, whose job does not permit him to be quoted by name, said that in late summer or early fall, Steele also passed the reports he had prepared on Trump and Russia to British intelligence. Steele was concerned about what he was hearing about Trump, and he thought that the information should not be solely in the hands of people looking to win a political contest.
Now, after the most contentious of elections, Americans are divided and confused about what to believe about the incoming president. And there is no prospect soon for full clarity on the veracity of the claims made against him.
“It is a remarkable moment in history,” said Wilson, the Florida political operative. “What world did I wake up in?”
Christopher Steele: ex-MI6 officer named as author of Trump dossier
Director of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence said to be behind document that describes allegedly compromising material held by Russia
The Grosvenor Gardens address of Orbis Business Intelligence, run by former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
Thursday 12 January 2017 04.17 GMT
Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, has been identified in reports as the author of a dossier that claims Russia collated a file of compromising information on Donald Trump.
Steele, 52, who runs London-based Orbis Business Intelligence, was widely named as having compiled the dossier, which contains unverified allegations that Russian security officials have material on Trump including lurid sex videos that could be used to blackmail him.
Steele, a former MI6 officer, is one of two directors of Orbis, according to UK company records, along with Christopher Burrows, 58.
The Telegraph said Steele left his home on Wednesday morning as it became clear his name would become public and that he feared a backlash from Moscow.
The other director, Burrows, refused to “confirm or deny” that Orbis had produced the report.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Steele repeatedly declined requests for interviews in recent weeks, with an intermediary telling the newspaper the subject was “too hot”.
A neighbour said he was away for a few days, the Wall Street Journal said.
Orbis describes itself as being able to “provide strategic advice, mount intelligence-gathering operations and conduct complex, often cross-border investigations”.
Its website says it was founded in 2009 by former British intelligence professionals and utilises a “global network” of experts and “prominent business figures”.
The firm, based in Grosvenor Gardens, close to London’s upmarket Belgravia area, says it “draws on extensive experience at boardroom level in government, multilateral diplomacy and international business to develop bespoke solutions for clients”.
“Our tailored approach means the directors are closely involved in the execution and detail of every project, supported by an in-house team of experienced investigators and professional intelligence analysts,” it says.
Burrows formerly worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a counsellor, according to his LinedkIn profile, with postings to Brussels and Delhi in the early 2000s.
The dossier has been circulating in Washington for some time as media organisations, uncertain of its credibility, held back from publication. After it finally became public Donald Trump gave a press conference on Wednesday where he hit out over its release and angrily denied the contents.
Reports on Tuesday said the Orbis report was given to US intelligence in 2016 and, after being investigated, formed the basis of a two-page addendum to the US intelligence chiefs’ presentation last Friday to Trump of a classified report on Russian interference in the elections.
The report attributed to Steele says Russia’s intelligence services, directed by President Vladimir Putin, sought to support Trump and hurt his rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election.
It said the Trump campaign maintained regular contact with Russian officials and operatives, and that Moscow held compromising materials on Trump that could be used to pressure him.
None of the content has been substantiated but US intelligence, through its own investigation, has also concluded that Putin ordered a campaign to support Trump against Clinton.
What We Know and Don’t Know About the Trump-Russia Dossier
By SCOTT SHANEJAN. 11, 2017
President-elect Donald J. Trump leaving a meeting in Manhattan last week. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
How did American intelligence officials come to brief President Obama, President-elect Donald J. Trump and lawmakers about supposed Russian plans to try to blackmail Mr. Trump? There are far more questions than answers. But here is a look at the story so far.
How did American intelligence officials come to brief President Obama, President-elect Donald J. Trump and lawmakers about supposed Russian plans to try to blackmail Mr. Trump? There are far more questions than answers. But here is a look at the story so far.
What We Know
• Last year, a Washington political research firm, paid by Mr. Trump’s Republican rivals, hired a retired British intelligence officer to investigate the candidate’s ties to Russia.
• After it became clear that Mr. Trump would be the Republican nominee, Democratic clients began to pay the firm for this same “opposition research,” standard practice in politics.
• The former British spy, who had long experience in Russia and a network of connections there, compiled dozens of reports detailing what he heard from his contacts. The memos he wrote, mostly one to three pages long, are dated from June to December.
• The memos contain unsubstantiated claims that Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail him with sex tapes and bribe him with business deals. They also claim that the Trump campaign met with Russian operatives to discuss the Russians’ hacking and their leaking of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta.
• The Washington firm and the former British spy, not identified here because of a confidential source agreement with The New York Times, gave the memos first to their clients but later to the F.B.I. and multiple journalists at The Times and elsewhere. The memos, totaling about 35 pages, also reached a number of members of Congress.
• Last week, when the F.B.I., C.I.A. and National Security Agency gave a classified report on the Russian hacking and leaking and efforts to influence the presidential election to Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders, they attached a two-page summary of the unverified allegations in the memos.
What We Don’t Know
• Whether any of the claims in the memos are true. American intelligence agencies have not confirmed them, and Mr. Trump has said they are a complete fabrication. In addition, one specific allegation — that Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with a Russian official in Prague in August or September — has been denied by both Mr. Cohen, who says he has never been to Prague, and the Russian, Oleg Solodukhin.
• Who concocted the information in the memos, if it is entirely false or partially so, and with what purpose. Did the British intelligence officer accurately report what he heard? Who gave him the information that, if false, amounts to a very sophisticated fabrication?
• What exactly prompted American intelligence officials to pass on a summary of the unvetted claims to Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and Congress. Officials have said they felt the president-elect should be aware of the memos, which had circulated widely in Washington. But why put the summary in a report going to multiple people in Congress and the executive branch, virtually assuring it would be leaked?
• What will happen now. The F.B.I. has been investigating the claims in the memos, and Democrats are demanding a thorough inquiry into the reports that Trump representatives met with Russian officials during the campaign. But as of Jan. 20, Mr. Trump will be in charge of the bureau and the other intelligence agencies, and he may not approve such an investigation.
Questions You May Be Asking
• Everyone is talking about this document and passing it around online. Why can’t I read it on your website?
Because the 35 pages of memos prepared as opposition research on Mr. Trump contain detailed claims that neither the intelligence agencies nor The Times have been able to verify, the editors decided to briefly summarize the claims and not publish the document.
• Why did The Times and other outlets report extensively on the hacking of Democratic National Committee and Podesta emails before the election, but not this?
The Times did report before the election that the F.B.I. was investigating claims about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia – an article that resulted from an extensive reporting effort. The Democratic National Committee and Podesta emails were public, their authenticity was not in doubt and they contained newsworthy information.
• Why did James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, write two letters about Ms. Clinton’s emails before the election, but not about this?
That is a question Mr. Comey may eventually have to answer. His two public statements about the bureau’s investigation of the Clinton emails were highly unusual and a break with long F.B.I. tradition.
• There are reports that many people in the news media knew about this opposition research on Mr. Trump and Russia for months, but it was never raised during the campaign. Why not?
Many reporters from multiple news organizations tried to verify the claims in the memos but were unsuccessful. That does not mean that none of the claims are true, but most news organizations choose not to publish damaging allegations against a public figure unless they believe them to be true.
• So what changed on Tuesday? Why is this now being reported and discussed by every news media organization?
CNN broke the news that a summary of the memos had been attached to the classified report by the F.B.I., C.I.A. and National Security Agency on the Russian hacking and leaking during the presidential election and that it was given to Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and Congressional leaders last week. That level of official attention prompted news media organizations to decide to inform the public about the memos.
• The president and president-elect were given a two-page report, but there is a much longer document on BuzzFeed. What’s the difference?
BuzzFeed made the controversial decision to publish the opposition research memos in full, despite the fact that their reporters had not confirmed or disproved the claims in them. The two-page document is a summary of the claims in the series of memos.