September 17, 2022

Via the Daily Beast, this story has layers upon layers:

A former FBI agent who once investigated then President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia is now under investigation for his own relationship with a Russian oligarch, Insider reports. Court documents allege investigators are looking into ties between Oleg Deripaska and Charles McGonigal, who once led counterintelligence at the FBI’s New York City field office.

Deripaska is a billionaire oligarch and Kremlin aide who was at the center of allegations in 2016 that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign. The investigation appears to center around McGonigal’s work with a shady consulting firm owned by Deripaska, Spectrum Risk Solutions, which he did not disclose. Failing to disclose it may land McGonigal in hot water with the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Even if cleared of any violations, however, a witness subpoena says prosecutors are also looking into whether McGonigal had ties to the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and whether he may have received “payments or gifts” from the governments of Kosovo, Montenegro, and Albania.

(Irony alert: Before McGonigal retired from the FBI in 2018, he had busted Bill Clinton's national security advisor Sandy Berger "for removing classified material from a National Archives reading room.")

Just as a point of interest, James Comey claimed he was forced to go public with Hillary Clinton's email story after pressure from the NYC FBI field office (which was known to be infested with right-wing cowboys). Was McGonigal one of them?

Let me be clear. McGonigal, who was chief of the NYC office's counterintelligence division, is only under investigation for making money from the Russians. Well, he made money from several countries. That doesn't prove he's a spy. The lack of disclosure makes him unethical. (So far.)

But the Russians famously throw business in the direction of people they want to compromise. Let's put it this way: It's possible that a former FBI counterintelligence agent got under the covers with known Russian "malign influence" agent Oleg Deripaska and remained a virgin.

It just doesn't seem likely.

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