The Russian Spy Who Wasn't
The New Republic
How the U.S. found the perfect scapegoat for interference in the 2016 election.
My latest in TNR, an exclusive look at the Maria Butina spy case with interviews before and after her arrest. This is clearly a case that should never have been brought. Gross prosecutorial misconduct.
Everyone read this story to understand not only the extent of the Russia mania infecting our security services but the lawlessness of the FBI. There’s an American languishing in a Russian prison b/c we have our own Siloviki
"The government’s case against Butina is extremely flimsy and appears to have been driven largely by a desire for publicity. In fact, federal prosecutors were forced to retract the most attention-grabbing allegation in the case"
One subtle conflation in this Butina story--which I have seen made elsewhere--is the difference between a "spy" and an "agent" (in Butina's case, an "agent of influence"). We need to talk about this distinction. Here goes.
What can I say about this piece, which defends Butina? It suffers from the same naivete & shallowness as fear-mongering stories about Russia that meddles in everything. She is not an “idealist”, neither is Torshin, of Spanish investigation fame.
Garrett M. Graff
This is an incredibly strange piece. Either James Bamford got played, which I find unlikely, or the USG's case on Butina is a sham, which also seems unlikely.
"I wake up periodically at night and think this case is taking place in some alternative reality. A 'spy' who uses no tradecraft and posts her every move on social media; a 'handler' who travels with and communicates openly with his charge."
Russiagate is hokum wrapped in bunk inside a big burrito of bullshit | “I wake up periodically at night and think this case is taking place in some alternative reality.... A ‘spy’ who uses no tradecraft and posts her every move on social media...."
Excellent, definitive piece on the despicable smearing of Maria Butina, for which the journalists and law enforcement officials involved should be eternally ashamed
Elizabeth Nolan Brown
really interesting profile of Maria Butina from