Does The Treasury Department Have A Teensy Russian Spy Problem? We Are Just Asking!

This is another story about the Treasury Department, but don't worry, it's not boring. (Honest! Was the story about the Treasury Department un-sanctioning Paul Manafort's Russian oligarch sugar daddy boring? NOPE.)

This story involves Russia and spies and perhaps a spot of NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION, YOU ARE THE COLLUSION. And as usual, it involves people's clandestine efforts to get their hands on HOT HARD DELICIOUS SWEET 'N' SOUR HILLARY CLINTON DIRTS! Because when the Trump era is over, when we write the book on WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED -- no seriously, we are planning on writing that book, so if you're a big publisher who wants to go ahead and give us an advance, send us an email (NO NUDES) -- it will be about how the entire American political system went apeshit because some people have a mental disorder that compels them to go to any lengths, even betray their country, to get CLINTON SECRETS.

So without further ado, here's some fuckery!

A Totally Normal Story About Treasury Department Officials Hotmailing With Russian Spies About CLINTON SHIT!

Let's just go with BuzzFeed's lede:

US Treasury Department officials used a Gmail back channel with the Russian government as the Kremlin sought sensitive financial information on its enemies in America and across the globe, according to documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News. [...]

Most startlingly, Russia requested sensitive documents on Dirk, Edward, and Daniel Ziff, billionaire investors who had run afoul of the Kremlin. That request was made weeks before a Russian lawyer showed up at Trump Tower offering top campaign aides "dirt" on Hillary Clinton — including her supposed connection to the Ziff brothers.


So BuzzFeed is telling us ... that Russians were sexting with folks at Treasury to get secret financial documents as part of their efforts to hurt Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election? Because indeed, when Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya came to Donald Trump Jr.'s Big Sexxxy Russian Trump Tower Meeting, she came with trumped up dirt on the Ziff brothers -- two of whom are big Democratic donors, and one of whom has donated to the Clinton Global Initiative -- that tied them to the Magnitsky Act (which sanctions the bejesus out of a lot of Russian oligarchs, in America and in other countries that have adopted the law, IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT SANCTIONS).

But we digress!

The Russians were supposedly trying to work together with the Americans on fighting ISIS, but instead the Russians started asking all these other questions. On top of the Ziff stuff, they were reportedly asking for dirt on Putin enemies, and on the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the National Council of Jewish Women. And get this, instead of just telling the Russians to fuck off, apparently Treasury people were Hotmailing and Gmailing with the Russians outside of official channels. Is that bad? Well yes, because obvious reasons, and also because reportedly the Russians liked to send attachments with their Hotmails, full of malware and viruses that can be used to spy or otherwise wreak havoc.

No big deal.

Were the Treasury folks warned that they shouldn't be doing this? Yes, by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is part of Treasury, and keeps track of funny-lookin' financial transactions all over the world. Was FinCEN completely freaked out? Oh my God, yes. Did the Treasury folks in question keep blabbermouthing with the Russians on back channels even once Trump was president? Yes. Has anybody resigned over this as a whistleblower? Yes, bunches of people. Was there ever a real investigation? Ummmmmmm.

One more question: Was the Russian agency these idiots were communicating with a legit, normal government agency, or was it really just a bunch of spies? Ummmmmmm.

They suspected that the Russian agency making the requests, called Rosfinmonitoring, set up by Putin in 2001 to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, was closely tied to Russia's espionage apparatus.

Cool. And who set up the deal between Treasury's Office of Terrorism Financing and Financial Crimes and Rosfinmonitoring? Oh just one of VLADIMIR PUTIN'S KGB SCHOOL CLASSMATES.

According to BuzzFeed, it all started innocently enough, as most high-level espionage does. The Americans and the Russians were legit working together to track ISIS money, but then Russia started using the connection to do spy stuff, oh how shocking, wonder if they ever really wanted to help America find ISIS money in the first place. It might have been a red flag when it turned out that Rosfinmonitoring did very little of the sharing in this arrangement.

Or, you know, not.

AWWW Don't You Feel Sorry For FinCEN, Sitting There All Innocent Like 'OMG YOU GUYS, THERE ARE SPIES IN YOUR UNDERWEAR, TAKE THEM OFF'?

Well you shouldn't, because sounds like FinCEN has its own damn issues that sound like they might also be Russian spy issues. Indeed, BuzzFeed says two FinCEN people have been sent to Treasury's inspector general because maybe they were foreign agents of Not America. For example, this guy:

One analyst was a man with close family ties to Ukraine. He was tracking the finances of corrupt foreign officials in a job that requires a security clearance. Four sources said they were told by security officials at the agency that the analyst turned out not to have one. He had applied for clearance during his previous posting at the State Department, they were told, but was denied it because of suspicious contacts with foreigners. The sources said the man also had unusual contacts with his colleagues both before and after he was fired. Shortly after he was escorted out of FinCEN early last year, he showed up outside a coworker's apartment building late at night and asked questions about investigations and internal Treasury databases. The coworker reported the encounter to supervisors.

It's like that John Cusack movie Say Anything, but for dorks.

The man's uncleared access to sensitive information was considered such a major national security breach that FinCEN was stripped of its authority to grant security clearances for some time, according to these four sources. FinCEN's security chief was later placed on administrative leave.

Oh for fuck's sake.

The other dude got flagged because he had a weird habit of going on foreign trips all the goddamned time without telling his bosses, when that is specifically not allowed at FinCEN, because hello, FinCEN is supposedly the most elite financial crime-investigatin' unit in the entire world. As BuzzFeed notes, they're investigating drug cartels and terrorists and money launderers and every other nasty sort you can imagine. Fuckers gotta be careful, dammit!

Is All This Just The Tip Of The Russian Iceberg?

Maybe! BuzzFeed says it has been looking into these issues at the Treasury Department for two years, and has found more fuckery than you can shake a bottle of Stoli at. To be fair, most of it sounds like juvenile dysfunctional dumbfuck shitshow kinda stuff, but it's not hard to see how vulnerabilities stemming from that stuff might get exploited by Bad Guys.

For example, juvenile dysfunctional dumbfuck shitshow:

[M]ore than a dozen FinCEN officials say that a rivalry with another unit of the Treasury Department cost them several crucial hours of work to track suspects' movements in the immediate aftermath of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack.

And for another example, here's a thing that makes you go THE FUCK?

In July and August 2018, [FinCEN whistleblower Natalie Mayflower Edwards] met ... with staffers of one of the Senate committees investigating Russian interference during the presidential campaign. In those meetings, she told the staffers that FinCEN withheld documents revealing suspicious financial transactions of Trump associates that the committee had requested.

That whistleblower has been arrested and charged with leaking suspicious activity reports (SARs, which are kind of the thing FinCEN is known for) to journalists. We are not familiar with the ins and outs of her case, but the way BuzzFeed tells the story, it at least sounds like she was trying to sound the alarm on FinCEN concealing Trump financial fuckery before she allegedly took matters into her own hands.

Her side of the story goes like this:

Along with a colleague, Edwards wrote a letter last year to six congressional oversight committees. In it, the analysts included documentary evidence and Edwards wrote, "I have brought forward lawful documented evidential disclosures of violations of law, rule, and regulations, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, and substantial and specific danger to public safety and I have NOT been protected against reprisal."

BuzzFeed quotes a current FinCEN official who seems to agree with Edwards's assessment.

"May Edwards took it on herself to try and protect everyone here as well as national security," a senior FinCEN official told BuzzFeed News. "Nobody listened to her or some of the other brave whistleblowers who came forward. They're all now paying a high price."

Hey remember that time SARs on hinky Russian-related Michael Cohen porn payoff shell company transactions were weirdly removed from FinCEN's databases and Ronan Farrow spoke to the whistleblower, who said they were leaking things to journalists because holy shit something is extremely wrong here? Remember how Michael Avenatti strangely also ended up with SARS on Cohen from FinCEN? We don't know if that's the same whistleblower -- prosecutors didn't cite Farrow's article in her indictment and Maggie Haberman is trying to nail it down on Twitter as we speak -- but shit sure does sound related.

Are there still person/s inside FinCEN purposely hiding things from lawmakers and investigators to protect Donald Trump? Are any of them Russian spies or intelligence assets?

We are just asking.

Unbelievably, we have not even scratched the surface of the shitshow BuzzFeed's reporting revealed, so as they say on the internet, we will leave you now to READ THE WHOLE THING.

And then we will see you back here for OPEN THREAD!


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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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