The opaqueness of the Soviet Union’s government led leading intelligence services around the world, including the Central Intelligence Agency, to invest millions of dollars into a discipline known as “Kremlinology.” Experts were hired to “read between the lines” of Soviet press statements, newspapers, and magazines and listen closely to Radio Moscow to gain some insight into the inner workings of the Kremlin, particularly after deaths or purges within the Soviet leadership. Photographs of the celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution were closely examined to see what Politburo members were not present during the traditional military parade through Red Square.
Today, it is a combination of opaqueness and constant bedlam within the Donald Trump White House that has led foreign intelligence services to employ American political experts, “Trumpologists,” to ascertain, at any given moment, American foreign and economic policy intentions.
Political uncertainty in Washington has led to a booming business for private intelligence companies in landing lucrative contracts with foreign governments to provide inside information on activities within the Trump administration. Part of the tasking for these firms is to ascertain whether there is any difference between Trump’s constant Twitter barrage and actual policy changes, especially relative to tariffs and U.S. military deployments.
This “new business” goes far beyond traditional lobbying and employs tradecraft normally reserved for intelligence services, including telecommunications interception. Many start-up intelligence firms have located their offices in tony Georgetown office buildings, close enough to the White House to be effective but far enough away to conduct their business in relative obscurity. Some intelligence firms maintain offices in Manhattan. Trump’s failure to completely disengage from the business operations of the Trump Organization, headquartered in the Trump Tower at 725 Fifth Avenue, has provided intelligence companies with a windfall of useful information collected from communications between the Trump Organization and the White House.
Trump is actually aiding foreign intelligence agencies and their contractors in collecting information on his personal communications. Trump rejected strong suggestions from his national security advisers and the White House Communications Agency to ditch his two personal smart phones—a Samsung Galaxy III and an iPhone 5—for more secure devices. Trump uses one phone for hammering out tweets and the other for placing and receiving phone calls. Trump said using a secure device would be “too inconvenient.”
One of the reasons why transcripts of Trump’s personal conversations with foreign leaders have appeared in the press is that he gave his personal phone number to scores of world leaders, including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto, and France’s Emmanuel Macron.
It is not White House “leakers” who are providing details of Trump’s phone calls to the media but foreign governments having a vested interest in exposing Trump’s duplicitous and erratic policies. Private phone calls between Trump and foreign leaders are not recorded in official White House logs that later become archived pursuant to the Presidential Records Act. However, they are carefully recorded by foreign intelligence agencies. It turns out that Trump is his own worst “leaker.”
There has been a recent increase in the use of cell phone intercept devices, known as IMSI catchers or Stingrays, near the White House-Treasury-Old Executive Office Building “campus,” the State Department, the Pentagon, and other government facilities. These devices mimic cell phone relay towers and capture voice, text, and data streams and act as “secret snoopers.” It is believed that these devices, available commercially, are being used by large and small intelligence services—including those of China, Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Israel—as well as supranational actors like the United Nations and the European Union, to gain an insight into Trump’s and his closest advisers’ policies and intentions.
Some private intelligence companies are integrating artificial intelligence (AI) technology into smart phone surveillance systems, providing the end-user with near real-time transcripts of phone conversations, email, and text messages.
Trump’s bombast and unpredictability on the world stage has led some countries, long adversaries, to begin to patch up their differences amid what they see as global instability caused by Washington. South and North Korea are involved in direct talks. Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to put an end to their long border stalemate. Egypt and Sudan have formed a working alliance. South Sudan and Sudan, once bitter foes, have agreed to permit Sudan to facilitate the transport of South Sudanese oil through Sudanese pipelines. Macedonia and Greece have agreed to end a long dispute over Macedonia’s use of that particular name, seen as an infringement on Greek territory. And even nuclear rivals India and Pakistan are now talking to one another, even on counter-terrorism issues, as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The rise of Adolf Hitler saw European nations similarly patch up longstanding quarrels and unite in the face of the Nazi threat. The same scenario is now playing out on a more global scale.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2018 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).