The New York Times Exposes and Cuts Ties With Fusion GPS

May 21, 2021 Updated: May 23, 2021

Commentary 

On Saturday, The New York Times published an article adapted from a forthcoming book by investigative journalist Barry Meier.

The excerpt from the book titled “Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube, and the Rise of Private Spies,” contains some damning and explosive revelations for people who’ve followed the twists and turns of the Spygate scandal for five years now.

As the title of the book reveals, Meier digs deep into the machinations of the private intelligence firm Fusion GPS and the large role it played in creating the Steele dossier and then shopping it to the news media prior to the 2016 election.

Fusion’s founders, former Wall Street Journal reporters Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, were intimately involved in Spygate from the very beginning. No one can look into the Trump/Russia collusion story without encountering their fingerprints on just about everything. Therefore, what Meier has done in writing this book might be old news to those who have followed this story for years, but for most of the American public, this book is going to be an explosive read.

In the Shadows No More

For many years, the symbiotic relationship between the corporate media and political intelligence firms like Fusion was kept behind the curtains, out of sight. Most of the public had no idea about the hidden forces shaping the news that was being presented to them. This sordid “pay-for-publish” industry thrives in darkness—and it’s a subject I’ve written about several times.

But the Spygate scandal forced this foul symbiotic relationship out into the open.

And now it appears the NY Times just terminated this relationship with Fusion by publishing this article. I don’t see how they could retreat or take it back at this point.

What the NY Times has done here in helping to expose Fusion GPS’s role in several recent slimy media campaigns doesn’t make any sense—unless they know that Fusion is about to become so toxic they need to distance themselves now.

Unless something big is about to drop, it’s just not in the NY Times’ interest to suddenly volunteer this admission and essentially throw away Fusion GPS and any future association with firms like it.

What could possibly be motivating them into doing this? We’ll have to wait and see.

Simpson and Fritsch have got to be extremely concerned about this stunning new development. An exposé like this facilitated by a former media ally is the last thing they need to keep their machinations safely out of the public’s sight.

Fusion and other firms like it can only operate in the shadows if they can continue shopping stories to numerous media outlets while being cagey about who’s paying them to “reach out” to reporters.

Simpson might be getting paid six figures from wealthy and powerful clients to shop manufactured narratives to the NY Times, but the editors of the NY Times are supposedly being paid to report the news.

There’s a real conflict here, and its rearing its head was inevitable.

Given what we now know about the massive influence Fusion GPS had on the 2016 election, and subsequently on the Trump administration, who else is wondering just how much influence Fusion and other surreptitious intelligence firms had on the 2020 election?

Just Take Their Word for It Since You Can’t Verify It Anyway

In his book, Meier details how Fusion hyped Christopher Steele’s resume to get reporters to accept his claims without any real skepticism:

“Mr. Steele was described to journalists as having played a pivotal role in breaking huge cases, including the 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former K.G.B. agent, and the F.B.I.’s investigation into bribery at FIFA, soccer’s governing body. And when speaking about Mr. Trump and Russia, he came across as calm, understated and confident, according to reporters who attended the meetings.”

Only later did anybody get around to doing any due diligence and checking these claims. Guess what they found?

“The best friend of Mr. Litvinenko, the murdered ex-K.G.B. agent, said neither he nor Mr. Litvinenko’s wife had heard of Mr. Steele. Neither had a former Times reporter, Alan Cowell, who wrote a book about the Litvinenko case. Ken Bensinger, a BuzzFeed reporter who wrote a book about the FIFA scandal, said that after speaking with Mr. Steele, he concluded that Mr. Steele really didn’t know much about it.”

Because the reporters can’t really check anything that is being claimed, they end up becoming stenographers to the well-paid intelligence operative who’s selling them a story for a client. Whatever that practice is, it’s not called journalism.

Svetlana Lokhova, a lecturer and author at Cambridge who became a victim of false stories planted in the news media—as I have documented in several columns—is going to howl with laughter when she reads how Meier’s book excerpt ends.

“In a recent book, Luke Harding, an investigative reporter at The Guardian, described how Mr. Steele had dispatched his ‘collector’ to surreptitiously approach a real estate broker, Sergei Millian, who was a peripheral figure in the Trump/Russia saga. ‘Millian spoke at length and privately to this person, believing him or her to be trustworthy—a kindred soul,’ Mr. Harding wrote.

But the trouble for Mr. Harding, who is close to both Mr. Steele and Mr. Simpson, was that he wrote those lines before the release of the F.B.I. interview of Mr. Danchenko.

In the interview, the collector said that he and Mr. Millian might have spoken briefly over the phone, but that the two had never met.

Mr. Harding did not respond to requests for comment.”

I bet he didn’t.

Brian Cates is a writer based in South Texas and author of “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!” He can be reached on Telegram at t.me/drawandstrikechannel.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.