While President Trump sat in the historic chair of Winston Churchill at the official residence of British prime ministers in a London suburb, the special prosecutor Mueller indicted twelve spy officers of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (i.e., Military Intelligence, commonly abbreviated as GRU).
I listened with horror to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s press conference, and with no less horror, I read the indictment. Well, Friday the 13th usually does not bode well.
The enormity of the situation is that Mueller violated the unwritten rules of counter-espionage, which were forged through many trials and errors over thousands of years. One of these unwritten rules says the detected spy no longer poses a threat. It is not necessary to arrest, or indict, or imprison him. You can try to convert him into a double agent, but the probability of success cannot be predicted.
A much more effective method of working with an unmasked spy is to use the spy as a channel for disinformation. Keep him in the dark. Use the spy so he does not even know about it, and that his reputation among his colleagues and his leadership remained untainted.
Mueller’s indictment publicly disclosed the names of a dozen GRU officers engaged in computer espionage. What will the GRU leadership do? Of course, they will begin to treat their work with a certain degree of disbelief, knowing that they are all potential targets. In other words, Mueller slammed the door in front of the FBI counterintelligence officers. The FBI will not be able to flip these Russians, nor provide them with disinformation.
This is only a small part of the subversive activities of Mueller’s team. Much more significant damage to America could be from the trial itself.
Mueller expects that this will not happen – Russia will never extradite GRU officers. However, Mueller’s action may trigger an unusual response from the Russians. They can send one of the indicted officers to America on a crucial provocative mission. GRU may choose, for example, the prettiest guy with excellent English; hire an expensive and prestigious American law firm; provide money; and put him on a plane. He is facing just a few years in comfortable federal prison. Per Russian espionage tradition, one year in jail will be counted as five, and he will return to his homeland a hero.
To put him in prison, Mueller will have to present evidence to the court. In this lies the problem.
Intentionally or unintentionally, Mueller revealed in the indictment information no one should ever have known. Mueller made it clear that the counterintelligence of the United States had obtained access to the GRU computer network, from which practically all the data for the indictment were taken.
Lawyers for an impudently smiling Russian officer will demand (on legal grounds) all the details of how information about their client was obtained.
This is the most sacred triad in intelligence: means, methods, and sources. To protect them, all intelligence services of the world spend more money and effort than on espionage itself. Now Mueller, instead of utilizing these Russians in accordance with unwritten rules, has accused Russian officers publicly and will have to present evidence of their guilt in not a closed, but an open trial.
Leftists in America are dissatisfied with the fact that Mueller time and again has found no evidence that Trump is Putin’s puppet. The right-wingers in America are unhappy with the fact that Mueller recruited a team of prosecutors exclusively from Hillary’s ardent admirers.
Professional counterintelligence agents from the FBI resent this theater of the absurd. From a national security point of view, it does not matter why Mueller did it the day after the Democrats’ disgraceful behavior during Agent Strzok’s hearings in the House of Representatives, or why Mueller did it almost on the eve of the meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki.
From a national security point of view, the much more important question is why he did it. Mueller’s move was not judicial, but political, at the potential expense of national security.
[Originally published at American Thinker]