Western news media is reporting a possible Russian intelligence purge and mole hunt by Vladimir Putin in December, as a response to the “golden showers” blackmail dossier CNN and Buzzfeed reported in January. According to USA Today, Putin has also black bagged and arrested three other high-ranking Russian intelligence officials, as well as the head of the top cybersecurity firm in Russia.
The Telegraph reports that ex-KGB general Oleg Erovinkin was found dead in his Lexus on December 26th. Following his career in the secret police, Erovinkin was a top aide to Igor Sechin, an oligarch who runs Russia’s state-owned Rosneft oil company and is widely considered to be Vladimir Putin’s right-hand man.
This story is part of the continued fallout from Buzzfeed’s release of the “golden showers” raw intelligence dossier. The Daily Mail reports:
The Kremlin may have covered up the murder of a former KGB chief accused of helping ex-MI6 spy Christopher Steele to pull together the notorious dossier on Donald Trump. Oleg Erovinkin served as a general in the KGB and was found dead on Boxing Day in the back of his car in Moscow.
It has been claimed he died of a heart attack, but an expert on Russian security threats believes he was murdered for his role in the explosive dossier. The suspected murder victim was close to former deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who is named throughout the leaked memo, according to the Telegraph.
Christo Grozev, an expert on Russia-related security threats, believes Erovinkin is the key source to whom Mr Steele refers in his dossier. Mr Grozev, of Risk Management Lab, a think tank in Bulgaria, said on his blog: “Insiders have described Erovinkin to me alternately as ‘Sechin’s treasurer’ and ‘the go-between between Putin and Sechin’. One thing that everyone seems to agree – both in public and private sources – is that Erovinkin was Sechin’s closest associate.I have no doubt that at the time Erovinkin died, Mr Putin had Mr Steele’s Trump dossier on his desk. He would – arguably – have known whether the alleged… story is based on fact or fiction. Whichever is true, he would have had a motive to seek – and find the mole… He would have had to conclude that Erovinkin was at least a person of interest.”
News analysis suggests the following; that America’s intelligence agencies may have used the dossier as a canary trap, testing the Trump administration’s ability to keep a national security matter secret by handing him a version or several of the classified document and observing the real world responses of those discussed in the trap’s documents.
CNN reported the dossier’s existence first on January 10th, though knowledge of its existence has been floating around intelligence communities since last summer. If Putin reacted to the dossier’s revelation of leaks in his inner circle, and if America’s intelligence agencies did brief Donald Trump in early December, then likely would have shared word with his National Security Advisor Gen. Matt Flynn about the infamous dossier.
The revelations of Putin’s possible retaliation against his inner circle are a key sign in the ongoing war of spies between Russia and the United States, which might indirectly validate the contents of the “golden showers” dossier, and could give further clues as to the true nature and depth of Donald Trump’s extensive ties to the Russian regime.
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Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.