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Democrats & Liberals

A multiple-editor weblog dedicated to providing news, opinion and commentary for American politics, particularly from the vantage point of the Democratic Party and liberals.

Last Build Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:19:59 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2017 by the authors

A Legend No-One Knows

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 21:39:55 GMT

I was interested to hear this news, but I can't say I was surprised. I won't claim that he must be an agent, but Carter Page's time before he was mentioned by Trump raises more questions than it answered for me.Enter Carter Page, a 44-year-old Ph.D., and business school graduate who claims an expertise in Russia and energy, yet who, I quickly discovered, was known by neither Russia experts nor energy experts nor Russian energy experts. ("I can poll any number of people involved in energy in Russia about Carter Page and they'll say, 'Carter who? You mean Jimmy Carter?'" says one veteran Western investor in Russian energy.) Page also, as I would be surprised to discover, appears largely unknown to Trump's own campaign. When I heard about the contact between Page and a pair of Russian agents busted in a spy ring in 2013, I wanted to know who Page was. Turns out, rather ironically, many other people, from reporters to the major players in Russian energy, to even Trump's own people, were mystified as to who Carter Page, PhD. was. Reading through the report, it sounded like somebody eager to be a big shot, but who apparently didn't actually do much of anything worth remembering. Yet suddenly he shows up as a major, expert advisor for Donald Trump. Why does somebody present themselves as somebody they are not? I wouldn't be averse to believing that Carter's just an idiot who got in over his head, a professional toady who magnifies himself to pursue his ambitions. I wouldn't be averse to believing that Carter might have unknowingly been working on Russia's behalf, compromised by way of another asset who wormed his or her way into his life. But what leapt out at me with Carter Page off the politico profile was how much it seemed like he was either blending into the wallpaper, or people simply weren't talking about what he did. How does that man become a major policy adviser overnight to the President? We look at Paul Manafort, and he's got a long career of associating with Putin's orbit of sympathizers, among other unsavory characters. I mean, if this didn't scream connection, what would? Tillerson isn't much better. More than just being acquainted, Tillerson got an order of friendship medal from the Russian Government, that friendship largely tied to Russian energy interests, the main economic prop for Putin's power and influence. Too bad Obama's sanctions hit them both where they hurt. But of course, that would be too obvious. Too many people would be looking at them, maybe even keeping tabs. But Carter Page? He's no-one. Or if he's somebody, nobody's talking about him. Either he's being real subtle about being an expert in those markets, or he's doing something people don't talk out loud about. Or maybe he's just the kind of over-ambitious, approval-seeking deceptive little twit who would be willing to trade an upgrade in his stature for doing his handlers favors. Who knows? What we do know at this point, is that he is not who he was said to be. What he was presented as? A fiction. A Legend, as they say in Human Intelligence. For what purpose, we don't yet know. These could be the actions of a con man, or the actions of a foreign intelligence asset. But whoever and whatever he is, the FBI thought he was suspicious enough to get a FISA warrant on, and FISA warrants generally aren't frivolous affairs. Comey's quote said something to the effect of having to go before the judges with stacks of evidence thicker than his wrists. I know what the Republicans would like to believe: The evil Obama spied on the Trump Campaign! They'll suppose quite a bit of what's not in evidence to bring themselves to believe that. But if Obama didn't order any surveillance, if Lorretta Lynch never ordered the FBI to pursue it, what do we have here? Is there a reason why Trump never vetted his people? I mean, I would be flabbergasted if a vetting of Page wouldn't turn up that 2013 investigation. yet what does Carter say? That he wouldn't volunteer that information to the Trump campaign or administration. Carter'[...]