Dan Bongino says we’re only focusing on “the pull…” But the real question is how was the email information about the Russian dirt fed to the campaign? It was fed to the campaign by a professor who has now disappeared.
Painting a full picture of Mifsud is difficult because after the 58-year-old professor was first identified by name in a Washington Post article in the weeks following Papadopoulos’ confession, he gave a few interviews to the international press, and then disappeared.
In the shifting narratives of the Trump-Russia probe, a Maltese academic named Joseph Mifsud has remained a linchpin regarding claims of collusion. He is the professor who allegedly told Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that the Russians had emails related to the Clinton campaign. The FBI says it opened its investigation in late July 2016 after Papadopoulos relayed that information to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, and the Australians tipped off U.S. authorities.
While some news accounts describe Mifsud as an accomplice to Russian clandestine operations or a “cut-out” (intermediary), others contend he is a full-fledged Russian spy.
In an official report, Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence asserted that “in their approach to Papadopoulos, the Russians used common tradecraft and employed a cut-out,” a “Kremlin-linked…Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud.”
No one in the American intelligence community has publicly challenged this description.
But there is one major problem with this story: No evidence has been presented to support the claim. Although Mifsud has traveled many times to Russia and has contacts with Russian academics, his closest public ties are to Western governments, politicians, and institutions, including the CIA, FBI and British intelligence services. One of Mifsud’s jobs has been to train diplomats, police officers, and intelligence officers at schools in London and Rome, where he lived and worked over the last dozen years.
The house-of-mirrors nature of the claim that Mifsud is a spy is reflected in the guilty plea Papadopoulos signed on Oct. 5, 2017 for making several material false statements to the FBI. It reads, in part: “Defendant PAPADOPOULOS further told the investigating agents that the professor was ‘a nothing’ and ‘just a guy talk[ing] up connections or something.’ In truth and in fact, however, defendant PAPADOPOULOS understood that the professor had substantial connections to Russian government officials (and had met with some of those officials in Moscow immediately prior to telling defendant PAPADOPOULOS about the ‘thousands of emails’) and, over a period of months, defendant PAPADOPOULOS repeatedly sought to use the professor’s Russian connections in an effort to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and Russian government officials.”
If Mifsud truly is a Russian agent – which is key to the collusion narrative – he could prove to be one of the most promiscuous spies in modern history. Western intelligence agencies and European politicians would have to spend the next few decades repairing the damage he did to global security by infiltrating key institutions and personnel. As of yet, however, there is no indication that any intelligence service has begun the embarrassing, but highly important, assessment of how it was penetrated and how it can re-fortify the vulnerabilities that Mifsud may have exposed. There has been no public effort to arrest him.