Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak’s phone was both hacked and turned into a ‘hot mike’ for recording conversations by a Five Eyes intelligence agency,
Sources with links to Western intelligence report that a similar ‘SS7’ exploit as that used by consent on the phones of James Comey, and other FBI agents, by the FBI and Justice Department, was placed on the phone of Sergei Kislyak – most certainly without consent – and that the Russian Ambassador to the US not only had his phone bugged, but that his phone was being used as a microphone to record those with whom he was speaking.
Sources do not say when the exploit was placed on Kislyak’s phone. One source speculated that Ambassador Kislyak had only survived in his position in America ‘because of optics’.
The Five Eyes intelligence agreement prevents members of the world’s premier intelligence alliance – America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom – from spying on each other’s territories and citizens. However, crucially, embassies, such as those of Ecuador in London and Russia in Washington DC, are regarded as sovereign territory of their native countries. The NSA is free to spy within the Ecuadorean embassy in London, and GCHQ, its British equivalent, is free to spy within Russia’s embassy in DC. The Five Eyes alliance is the closest intelligence partnership in the world. Recently Canada assisted DGSE, France’s CIA, in spying on Rebel Media on behalf of M. Macron, the then French Presidential candidate. Sources report that both the FBI, NSA and Britain’s GCHQ assisted Canada in this operation, because of the involvement of the Trump-Russia partisan Jack Posobiec.
In his testimony to the Senate today, Jeff Sessions, who as Patribotics reported in February, was a suspect in the Trump Russia hack, suddenly changed his tune, admitting that he “might have” had a conversation with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel.
As I reported exclusively earlier this year, Page, Manafort, Epshteyn and Kislyak, along possibly with Donald Trump himself, were recorded by US intelligence discussing the tape promising a policy shift in exchange for help with the elections, at the Mayflower. If Sessions was there, he was recorded too. Sources with links to the U.S. intelligence community now report that the group of men played the tape that was to be played in Moscow by Page and then, literally, had a discussion about trading it for hacking help, a discussion which is in the possession of US intelligence. It is not known however if this tape was recorded via a Five Eyes SS7 exploit placed on Mr. Kislyak’s phone, or by normal surveillance of any Russian Ambassador on US soil that is always carried out by the American authorities.
Sources with links to Western intelligence would not give any details of when the exploit was placed or how long it had lasted.
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Sources with links to US intelligence confirmed, as I exclusively reported on Patribotics, that Speaker Paul Ryan was taped speaking to Sergei Kislyak at the GOP Convention, as was Reince Priebus, agreeing to accept laundered or ‘dark’ Russian funds for the GOP. Sources with links to the Justice Department earlier confirmed that a RICO case is being prepared against the entire Republican party on the basis of Russian money and intelligence, in the form of Wikileaks stories, being given to it as a body. Director Comey, who consensually allowed the SS7 exploit on his phone, testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Jeff Sessions would always have had to recuse himself on the Russia inquiry because serious concerns were known to him, Comey, about Sessions’ conduct with Russia.
Mr. Sessions has always been a prime suspect in the Trump Russia inquiry, long before he was nominated as Attorney General, as I reported in February on the day of his confirmation. He will now be wondering – along with the Russians – just how much intelligence Five Eyes has managed to gather, and for how long, from Mr. Kislyak’s phone.
Western intelligence sources said that their motives for speaking on background on this matter were to warn Mr. Trump and his associates that further covering up or attacks on the U.S. intelligence community, particularly on Director Comey’s integrity, would not be tolerated. Laws governing intelligence ‘leaks’ or whistleblowing do not apply to the sovereign allies of the United States, many of whom, both inside and outside Five Eyes, have hard signals intelligence on Donald Trump and his family. DGSE, who as a NATO ally outside Five Eyes are not prevented from spying on Americans by treaties, have recordings of Donald Trump Jr speaking to Russian intelligence in France, as one example.
Multiple, separate sources with links to the intelligence communities of more than one nation, used the phrase ‘gloves off’ when describing the situation with Russia and Trump. Vladimir Putin has attempted to intervene in Brexit, in the French election and in elections all over Europe, and has personally exposed all of Russia, and that nation’s economy, to the intense rage of the far richer and more powerful Western world. Understanding the principle of ‘deniabilty,’ intelligence sources inside and outside the US intelligence community have suggested that leaks of information by allied nations may serve US intelligence by freeing them from blowing the whistle themselves. Sources linked to one specific Five Eyes intelligence partner noted that ‘deniability’ is designed to allow witnesses to tell the truth on the stand. If, theoretically, British intelligence sources were to disclose information on Mike Flynn – as retired MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove did to the Financial Times – US intelligence would not be consulted, even through a back channel, these sources said.
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Sources reported that Director Comey was regarded with affection throughout allied intelligence, and that Donald Trump’s scornful attitude towards NATO – since Trump is perceived as a mere proxy of Russia, without thought or direction of his own, by the west – has enraged allied intelligence services, who are more than prepared to judiciously release intelligence at strategic times (such as Mr. Sessions’ testimony) to make it clear that Russia and Trump standing in the way of the FBI and Director Mueller’s inquiry will not be tolerated.