In 2010, shortly after Hillary Clinton assumed her position as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, the FBI broke up a deep-cover Russian spy ring that had been operating in the U.S. for decades. The operation, code named “Ghost Stories,” was a huge bust for the FBI that handed the U.S. intelligence community 10 highly trained, deep-cover, Russian spies presumably with immensely valuable insights into Russia’s covert operations in the homeland. All of which is why its so confounding that Hillary, as Secretary of State, “worked so feverishly” to retun them all to Moscow posthaste rather than exploit their intelligence value to the fullest extent possible.
As the Daily Caller points out today, the FBI’s bust couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Clintons as it came literally the day before Bill Clinton delivered a $500,000 speech in Moscow on behalf of a Russian bank with an interest in securing approval of the controversial Uranium One deal…oh the tangled webs…
For a decade, the FBI ran an operation called Ghost Stories to monitor and rip apart a deep-cover Russian agent network. Ghost Stories tracked a ring Russian spies who lived between Boston and Washington, D.C., under false identities. It was one of the FBI’s most elaborate and successful counterintelligence operations in history.
Under the code name Operation Ghost Stories, the FBI had been working the ring for a decade. Its targets had burrowed in along the Acela Corridor between Boston, New York, and Washington DC. They lived normal daily lives as Americans to attend universities, run businesses, marry, and conceive and raise children to infiltrate society and subvert government institutions. One of the SVR agents had stolen the identity of a six week-old Canadian baby who had died in 1963. That prompted the Ghost Stories code name. The ring inspired the FX network’s television series, “The Americans.”
After the FBI arrested 10 of the spies in June, 2010, Secretary of State Clinton worked feverishly to return the Russian agents to Moscow in a hastily arranged, lopsided deal with Putin.
It all happened as the uranium deal was in play: An arrangement to provide Moscow’s state Rosatom nuclear agency with 20 percent of American uranium capacity, with $145,000,000 to pour into the Clinton Family Foundation and its projects.
For the Clintons, the FBI’s biggest counterintelligence bust in history couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The day the FBI arrested the Russian agents, on June 28, 2010, the day before the secretary of state’s husband, Bill Clinton, was to give a speech in Moscow. A Kremlin-connected investment bank, Renaissance Capital, paid the former president $500,000 for the hour-long appearance.
Making Clinton’s decision to expel the captured spies even more confounding, was evidence that Hillary was perhaps one of the biggest targets of the Russian spy operation as agent Lidiya Guryeva, or Cynthia Murphy as she was known in her fake American life, tracked her daily movements and even moved to Washington D.C. along with Hillary in 2009.
From New York, SVR agent Lidiya Guryeva had Clinton in her sights. Guryeva had a real-life job, under the assumed name Cynthia Murphy, as vice president of a high-end tax services company in lower Manhattan. Guryeva’s prime targets, FBI evidence and later news reports show, were Clinton and no fewer than five members of her inner circle.
Guryeva was far more important than a fellow agent would become the most famous member of the spy ring. The publicity would go to Anna Vasilyevna Kushchenko, who after her arrest would be become a glamourous spy princess under her married name, Anna Chapman.
While the FBI’s unclassified information is vague, it is clear that Guryeva’s target was an early Obama administration member from New York who handled foreign policy after having run for high-level public office. Clinton is the only person fitting that description.
Clinton became secretary of state on January 21, 2009. Two weeks later, on February 3, Guryeva sent an encrypted message to the SVR’s Moscow Center. The agent reported “several work-related meetings” with a New York-based “financier” who was “prominent in politics,” an “active fundraiser” for a major political party whose name the FBI redacted, and “a personal friend” of an Obama cabinet official whom the FBI did not publicly identify. Guryeva told her bosses that she would seek to use that personal friend to “provide” inside information on American foreign policy and the White House, and invite her to major political events.
Guryeva and her husband would sell their New Jersey house and follow Clinton to the nation’s capital. There, she could get a job with a Washington, DC-based company or policy shop. A tasking message dated October 18, 2009, from Moscow Center sought agents to seek out information “unknown publicly but revealed in private by sources close to State Department, Government, major think tanks.”
As the FBI told the court, “the SVR requested information on the U.S. position with respect to a new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, Afghanistan, and Iran’s nuclear program.” Moscow Center specifically asked Guryeva for intelligence concerning “approaches and ideas” of what the FBI called “four names of sub-cabinet United States foreign policy officials, omitted,” meaning that all four were deputies to Secretary Clinton whose identities had been redacted.
Hillary Clinton was mining Kremlin cash for her personal benefit while secretary of state, at the exact time Putin’s SVR spies were targeting her and penetrating her inner circle. She had every personal motivation to make the spy problem disappear and deny that she had been a target.
Of course, given that the Clintons were on the verge of securing a windfall of donations for their “Clinton Foundation,” which came shortly after the Uranium One deal was completed just a few months later, among other Russian-based schemes to enrich her friends and family (described below), it seems Hillary was forced to choose between exploiting an intelligence treasure chest of information for the benefit of the country at large or covering up yet another scandal that would potentially disrupt her family’s personal self-enrichment schemes…
Clinton pledged at Foggy Bottom to “reset” relations with the Putin-controlled regime. She blamed the former George W. Bush administration for the bad feelings. To the Kremlin’s relief, she opposed what would become the Magnitsky Act to sanction Russian criminal oligarchs and regime figures. Weeks into her tenure as secretary, she told Russian television, “our goal is to help strengthen Russia.”
She immediately used her position as America’s top diplomat to pour Russia-related money into her family foundation. One of her earliest acts as secretary of state was personally to authorize the State Department to arrange for 28 American tech CEOs and venture capitalists – 17 of them Clinton Foundation donors – to visit a Russian high-tech hub called Skolkovo. With Skolkovo, the SVR doesn’t need to steal when it can arrange legal purchases. The US military calls Skolkovo “an overt alternative to clandestine industrial espionage.” The Skolkovo visit, which reportedly began as a Clinton Foundation initiative, occurred in May, 2010, a month before the arrests.
Four days before the FBI would break up the ring, on June 24, Obama personally met with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, to coordinate billions of dollars in deals with Kremlin-affiliated businesses. Putin held power behind the scenes as prime minister, between his terms as president.
…guess which path she chose…
Clinton didn’t want leverage. She wanted the issue to go away. She toiled feverishly to get the 10 Ghost Stories spies back to Moscow as quickly as possible. She accepted whatever Putin would give her to pass off as a face-saving swap.
She folded America’s strong hand of cards. The US had ten relatively young, highly trained Russian spies in custody with immense, fresh knowledge of SVR statecraft. A normal secretary of state would bide her time and get the best deal.
The State Department coordinated quickly with the Kremlin to return the spies in a lopsided swap over a busy Fourth of July weekend, when few in Washington were paying attention.
In return, the US accepted an SVR officer who had been an American double agent, an open-source researcher whom Amnesty International considered a political prisoner, a Russian military intelligence colonel who spied for the British, and an elderly ex-KGB man from Soviet times whom not even a Communist court convicted of treason.
All of which, as the Daily Caller notes, raises several questions: Precisely what did the FBI know about Russia’s spy service targeting Hillary Clinton and her inner circle? Why did Clinton deny through spokespersons that she had been a Russian target? Why did she work so feverishly to get the spies out of the United States and back to Russia? Why has the FBI leadership not been more vocal in touting one of its greatest counterintelligence successes ever? And why did nobody in the FBI leadership raise this issue during the 2016 Russian election meddling controversy?