Russia’s financial authorities are part of their spy agency, the FSB’s Directorate K, and that may be the crucial link between a Russian bank and a Trump Organization web server.
Yet, it would seem seem strange that a bank is so involved in statecraft.
That’s why I believe that a key data point in the Democratic Coalition’s Trump Russia Dossier report may shed light on the way the Russian government works.
The Coalition’s report identifies Putin’s Russian official PR flack, who is alleged to control a kompromat or compromising information dossier on Hillary Clinton, which has been compiled by the FSB’s Directorate K.
Dmitry Peskov (right, center) is one of Russian President Putin’s press agents, is shown in a Getty agency photo Dworkin’s research uncovered, talking with Aras Agarlov, the Russian billionaire who sponsored Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
Peskov is a close aide of Putin’s and would be the obvious point man to coordinate Russia’s media strategy in the 2016 American elections, including this obvious psy-op.
Below that image is part of the original dossier, which names the FSB’s Directorate K as the information gathering agency in charge of shadowing Hillary Clinton.
The FSB’s Directorate K is the spy agency’s Counter-Intelligence in Financial Services bureau, which was unmasked in 2011 by the Financial Times.
Based in the Lubyanka, the imposing Moscow building that once housed its KGB predecessors, the FSB’s Directorate K is one of the most controversial departments of Russia’s new security elite, and figures prominently in some of the biggest scandals facing Russia today.
Its remit translates as “counter intelligence in financial services”. That appears to give it carte blanche to monitor banks and finance companies for espionage, placing their agents in the midst of company employees, according to Andrei Soldatov, author of The New Nobility, a book on Russia’s secret services.
Last year’s state-run oil sales included Bashneft, a company separated from its criminally charged oligarch, which likely would involve an operation by the FSB’s Directorate K, just as they did in the Magnitsky case.
In America, we think of Counter-Intelligence as a strictly defensive activity, such as the FBI’s investigation into the Trump Administration’s copious foreign ties. There is also a theory called Offensive Counterintelligence, which the former Soviet KGB perfected, and is also called Active Measures. Here’s a declassified CIA document discussing America’s past approach to offensive Counter-Intel.
The Democratic Coalition’s report (below) highlights the direct link between the Putin regime’s press operations and the FSB spy agency.
It highlights the original Dossier’s premise that Russia is conducting affairs by using a financial services wing of the FSB – which is akin to what our Department of Treasury houses in the Secret Service, FinCEN and other investigatory agencies.
Housing financial regulators in a spy agency might seem anachronistic, but it’s a bureaucratic vestige of the old Soviet Union, where all matters of finance and technology were tightly controlled behind the Iron Curtain.
For example, the FSB is also in charge of inspecting what we consider routine technology, which was the subject of a relaxation of sanctions by President Trump in early February.
Putin himself was an FSB agent, and has been known to task the agency with special overseas missions outside of the agency’s nominal turf covering the former Soviet Union only. Operationally, this makes sense because Russia’s primary overseas intelligence agencies the GRU and SVR include a great many agents covered as diplomats, who are succeptible to expulsion as we saw President Obama do in December, and too easily monitored.
Last September, Putin took steps to merge the FSB and SVR into a new Ministry of State Security. If that sounds ominous, that’s because Stalin also organized and named the Soviet intelligence organ that way from 1943-1953.
The FSB’s Directorate K’s involvement is plausible reason why there might be a bank from Russia using an unusual, apparently private email server.