At the heart of the effort to bring down President Trump were two affairs. Unlike the bizarre lies about Moscow hotel rooms and prostitutes in the Steele dossier that was used by the Clinton campaign and its allies to smear President Trump and generate an investigation against him, these affairs truly took place.
And they didn’t just expose the malfeasance of four people, but of a corrupt political culture.
The affairs between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in the FBI, and between Senate Intelligence Committee security director James Wolfe and New York Times reporter Ali Watkins, did more than betray the spouses of Strzok, Page and Wolfe. They also betrayed the duties of the two men and two women.
The affairs were not private matters. The two illicit sexual relationships were also illicit political arrangements. As the Inspector General’s report noted, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Clinton ally who has since been fired, used Page as his liaison with Strzok to circumvent the chain of command on the investigation. McCabe used Page as his conduit and Watkins’ media employers used the young reporter as a conduit to her older married lover and the leaked information he allegedly provided her.
BuzzFeed, Politico, the Huffington Post and the New York Times were aware of the Watkins affair. As the Times piece on Watkins coolly put it, “Their relationship played out in the insular world of Washington, where young, ambitious journalists compete for scoops while navigating relationships with powerful, often older, sources.” Usually it’s enemy governments that employ young women having an affair with older married government officials to extract information on Intelligence Committee proceedings.
But here some of the biggest names in the media were caught using the same tactics as the Russians.
How significant was the Ali Watkins and James Wolfe affair? Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson, in her furious defense of Watkins, noted, “most crucially, the value of her journalism (her Carter Page scoop in BuzzFeed actually helped lead to appt of Mueller).” Strzok was forced to leave the Mueller investigation due to the exposure of his texts with Lisa Page. Watkins’ affair with Wolfe has been credited by a key media figure with helping create the monster that is the Mueller investigation.
At the rotten heart of the campaign against Trump lay the betrayal of private and public fidelities.
But the Strzok-Page and Watkins-Wolfe affairs were also crucial in bypassing formal lines of communication. Illicit affairs are popular espionage tradecraft not just because they provide blackmail material against influential officials, but because their very informality makes it easy to create covert networks within organizations as personal intimacy is used to maintain political intimacy.
McCabe allegedly used Page to create such a connection between him and Strzok. The media appeared to have used Watkins to create a link into the Senate Intelligence Committee. It’s unknown if anyone on Wolfe’s end was aware of the affair and using it to feed information to the media. But it would not be too surprising if the open secret of the affair was just as open on his end as it was on the media’s end.
It’s easier to piggyback one illicit secret on another. There were two layers of secret affairs here, one layer of intimacy between two couples, and another layer of illicit intimacy between organizations. The organizational affairs cover three key players in the campaign against President Trump: elements in the FBI, the media and the Senate Intelligence Committee who had adulterated their responsibilities.
When we talk about the deep state, what we really mean are these illicit networks within the government that have their own rogue agenda. These networks exist in every part of the government. Some are just corrupt, trading favors, cash and access. Others are political. Like enemy spy cells, their members coordinate privately to suborn organizations the way that these men and women did.
The arrest of the occasional spy ring gives us an insight into how they operate. The exposure of Strzok, Page and McCabe, of Watkins, Wolfe and the media, gives us an insight into how the deep state runs.
Read the full story from Front Page Mag
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