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Former UN Weapons Inspector and Marine Intelligence Officer Scott Ritter looks at the leak-driven Kremlin mole story, and suggests Oleg Smolenkov may have been a double agent who sold fake "Russian meddling" info to top CIA brass.Ritter published a detailed analysis of known information, and added his informed speculation in this article published at ConsortiumNews on September 14.
Ritter thinks there probably was a spy in the Kremlin, but says everything else in this narrative is "a mischaracterization of fact or an outright fabrication designed to hide one of the greatest intelligence failures in US history".
Ritter offers rich detail about Oleg Smolenkov, who was recruited by the CIA in around 2007-08 while he worked at the embassy in Washington. When he returned to Russia, he was working for his former boss at the Kremlin.
Ritter believes that CIA Director John Brennan was personally involved in handling Smolenkov, who was the likely source of the report that was so sensitive that Brennan personally delivered it to the White House: that Putin had personally ordered the "meddling" in the 2016 election.
Ritter builds a strong case that Smolenkov was a double agent, and was controlled by Russian intelligence when he fed info to his CIA contacts, and that Brennan, Obama and others were duped into believing the Russian spy. This would explain why Putin fired him, and let him leave Russia to take up residence in an almost-million-dollar home, with the deed in his real name, in a Washington suburb.
Ritter explains how HUMINT--human intelligence--is managed and evaluated, and says that Smolenkov's reports were not vetted and rigorously evaluated, because Brennan bypassed the normal channels. He also argues that CIA's Moscow Station was otherwise in very bad shape at the time, with US agents and the top CIA officer exposed and ejected from Russia as they clumsily tried to recruit Russians.
There's much more in this interview!