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“Who was for Uncle Vlad’s Atomic sausage?”

With apologies to the anonymous genius who thought this one up.

You might almost start to feel sorry for Christopher Steele, it’s not really been a good time for him lately.  What with Robert Mueller, cries for him to appear in USA to answer to his accusers,  and ongoing libel cases making him backpedal on everything he said in the dossier, and now revelations are coming out that one of his contacts for building his daft dossier was ex-Russian spook Sergei Skripal.  You will recall Sergei and his daughter were found earlier this week collapsed and fitting in a public street in Salisbury, victims of a nerve agent attack.

Sergei was a double agent working for British Intelligence who got caught and imprisoned in Russia.  He was released in 2010 in a spy exchange.

The usual protocol for such agents is that on their swap they are retired.  They go off and live quietly somewhere far away from the centre of things and keep out of trouble. If they do that the quid pro quo is that they will not be bumped off by the aggrieved party.

So, what happened to Sergei?  We are being invited to believe that Mad Vlad is now so power crazy and out of control that he will wreak vengeance on any person he thinks is a traitor; thus fulfilling the Daily Mail’s wet dreams of Vlad as the archetypical Bond villain.  Sadly, this does not fit what we know of Putin or the possibilities.  Putin, for all his faults, is hardly “uncontrolled”.  A colder more calculating mind is hard to imagine.  If Putin had wanted this traitor dead, then Sergei would never have seen his second week in prison far less being left to swan round Salisbury acting the grand old man of espionage.  And are we really being expected to believe that after all this time Putin would endanger his hosting of the World Cup to bump off a superannuated old spook right now?  Not for crimes now almost two decades cold.  No, that is not credible.

It must be something more current.

We might more usefully ask what old Sergei was doing with his time since he came to Britain.  Was the call of the profession too strong to resist?  Was he back on the circuit again?  Did he need the cash?  If he was, we cannot imagine that he was working for the official British Secret Service who could not touch him, nor is it likely for all his cosy chats with old pals that he would be working for Putin.

No, he must have gone off-piste.  Working for someone connected with the trade but at one remove.  Perhaps an old spook he knew from the old days now gone (as they all seem to do nowadays) into the consultancy business.

Someone like, oh let’s say Christopher Steele, and Orbis Business Solutions.

Christopher Steele and his company had been approached by people in America to dig up dirt on Trump’s connections with Russia and Russian interference in the upcoming election.  Quite why Americans felt the need to approach an ex-British Security Wallah rather than one of their own beats me but that’s for another post.

Christopher, who is disconnected from the day to day news in MI5 and MI6, needs to turn to some of his old contacts from way back when he ran the Russia desk.  Well over twenty years ago.  Grief he hadn’t even visited in decades.  (See why I think he was such an odd choice?)

Enter Sergei who likes to feel important, and could do with a spot of dosh, waving who knows what in the way of gossip and contacts, and the dossier follows.  A trusted contact who had worked well in the past.

The dossier, as everyone save Robert Mueller will admit, is a crock of dung.  No use to anyone and politically expensive to boot.

Someone was going to have to pay.  Looks like it was Sergei.

So, the next question is who dun it?

Not Putin.  The timing is against it being him.

More likely someone who paid for the dossier and relied on it, only to be disappointed.  The Dossier was commissioned by Fusion GPS and funded by 2016 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign and the Democratic National Committee.  Steele and his merry men were subcontacted.

Which leaves a couple of possibilities?  Could it be angered Republicans bent on revenge for their boy’s good name?  Hmm I sort of doubt that as they haven’t lost money over the deal.  Equally, could it be the friends of Hillary, incensed that this expensive operation failed to deliver the goods?  (And if you can stick it on the Russians all to the good.)

Copyright David Macadam 2018