Who is Joseph Mifsud: Deep-stater or Russian ‘asset’?

by WorldTribune Staff, October 22, 2019

The name Joseph Mifsud, the reclusive Maltese professor who appears in the Mueller report 87 times, suddenly reappeared last week in the trial of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Sidney Powell, Flynn’s attorney, filed a motion in U.S. District Court disclosing that the federal government has come into possession of two BlackBerrys used by Mifsud.

Joseph Mifsud participates in an Organization of American States (OAS) meeting in Washington on Nov. 12, 2014. / OAS photo by Juan Manuel Herrera

Powell later told The Washington Times that the phones were obtained by U.S. Attorney John Durham in his investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.

“In other words, Durham is trying to determine the real Mifsud,” Rowan Scarborough wrote in an Oct. 20 analysis for The Washington Times.

The FBI, including disgraced former director James Comey, said Mifsud was a Russian spy.

Supporters of President Donald Trump suspect Mifsud is an FBI, CIA or MI6 plant because of his close ties to Western intelligence operatives.

If Mifsud “is a Russian agent, as the FBI contends, then it would add credence to why Trump people were investigated. If he is a Western agent, as Trump people suspect, then the Obama administration may have begun the probe fraudulently, based on planted evidence,” Scarborough wrote.

What is known is that Mifsud was a crucial player in the launching of the Trump-Russia investigation.

In April 2016, Mifsud met with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in London. Mifsud said that, while in Moscow, he had heard the Russians owned “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” When word got back to the FBI via an Australian diplomat, anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok officially opened the investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane.

Mifsud’s links to Western intelligence reveal “a skilled networker far more wedded to the West than the East,” Scarborough wrote.

In May 2017, 10 months into the FBI Russia conspiracy probe, Mifsud spoke in Riyadh at a high-powered terrorism conference. On his panel was counterterrorism expert Michael Hurley, who led CIA officers in Afghanistan in 2001 and served as senior counsel on the 9/11 Commission. Obama-era Defense Secretary Ashton Carter also spoke at the conference.

Photos and news clips, such as those from Riyadh, show Mifsud “hobnobbing with NATO military personnel, retired American and British intelligence officers, French officials at the Elysee Palace and State Department diplomats on Capitol Hill,” Scarborough wrote.

In his analysis, Scarborough noted that Mifsud “made his money by managing and lecturing from operating bases at five European outposts noted for their contacts with Western governments.”

The five outposts are:

⦁ Malta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
⦁ The now-defunct London Academy of Diplomacy, as director of international strategic development working with the British Foreign Office.
⦁ The London Center for International Law Practice (LCILP), where Papadopoulos briefly worked.
⦁ As founding president of Euro Mediterranean University in Slovenia.
⦁ As an instructor at Link Campus University, a for-profit school for government leaders in Rome. Link University is tied to a number of Italian officials.

Chris Blackburn, a British political analyst, has turned up some exclusive photos of Mifsud while helping journalists profile the professor.

“It shouldn’t have taken long for Peter Strzok to build up a profile on LCILP and its directors,” Blackburn told The Washington Times. “It concentrated on counterterrorism. Its directors have previously worked closely with the FBI and claim on their website to have a U.S. State Department contract to teach intelligence to Libyan law enforcement and intelligence chiefs.

“Mifsud seems to be close to the people who put the intelligence into the system in multiple countries, so I’d say it would be doubtful the Russians were running him,” Blackburn said.

Nunes said Mifsud “is a former diplomat with the Malta government. He lived in Italy. He worked and taught FBI, trained FBI officials and worked with FBI officials.”

In October 2012, Mifsud was photographed at Link Campus University in Rome with Claire Smith, a former British diplomat and intelligence official, along with Italian military officers. The FBI has sent agents there for training.

Link University is accredited by the Italian government and partly owned by Zurich lawyer and energy executive Stephan Roh.

Roh is an occasionally mentioned Trump-Russia figure. Married to a Russian fashion designer and a world traveler himself, he has represented Mifsud. He found himself ambushed by FBI agents at a U.S. airport. He says Mifsud is not a Russian agent.

The Daily Caller published a photograph showing Mifsud at his law office in May 2018 signing a power of attorney. After that, the professor apparently vanished.

In an interview in November 2017 with Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper, Mifsud denied everything. He said he never told Papadopoulos about Clinton emails and that he knows very few Russians.

“The Russians didn’t ask me to meet Papadopoulos,” he said. “Mr. Papadopoulos asked me for contacts in several areas. I am not a secret agent. I never got any money from the Russians. My conscience is clear,” Mifsud said.

Mifsud added: “Anyway, I have already talked about it with the FBI, when the State Department invited me to a conference in Capitol Hill.”

Mifsud said he gave the same denial to agents during that visit.

Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said Mifsud is no Russian informant.

Nunes said he has asked the State Department, the FBI and other agencies for information about the professor, who has been out of sight for months.

“It is impossible that Mifsud is a Russian asset,” Nunes told Fox News.

Nunes said he has rejected the Mueller profile of Mifsud.

In a May letter to top officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Nunes requested any informantion they possess on Mifsud.

“If Mifsud has extensive, suspicious contacts among Russian officials as portrayed in the Special Counsel’s report, then an incredibly wide range of Western institutions and individuals may have been compromised by him, including our own State Department,” Nunes wrote.

“Alternatively, if Mifsud is not in fact a counterintelligence threat, then that would cast doubt on the Special Counsel’s fundamental depiction of him and his activities, and raise questions about the veracity of the Special Counsel’s statements and affirmations.”

Mifsud’s appearance in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report “is mostly about his Russian contacts but no Western contacts,” Scarborough noted.

The Mueller report discusses Mifsud’s initial meeting with Papadopoulos and the Trump campaign adviser’s alleged reliance on Mifsud for Russia contacts to set up a Kremlin-Trump campaign meeting. Such a meeting never occurred.

“What the Mueller report was willing to say publicly about Mifsud to make the Russia spy case is scant,” Scarborough wrote.

In London, Mifsud knew a Russian who once worked for the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg operation that conducted Moscow’s social media information warfare against the Clinton campaign. Though the names are blacked out, the report indicates that this London contact was in communication with a certain unidentified unit linked to someone in the Russian Defense Ministry.

One of these two — the Russian or the Internet Research Agency — had overlapping accounts with Facebook pages that promoted D.C. Leaks. D.C. Leaks was a phony domain set up by Russian military intelligence operatives who hacked Democratic Party computers and released stolen documents.

That is the presented evidence. There is no information about what the former Internet Research Agency employee and Mifsud did together. They had unspecified discussions in the winter of 2016, about the time the FBI discovered Russian hacking and later told the Democratic National Committee, which refused help.

Scarborough noted: “It seems there are three possibilities: Mifsud is indeed a Russian agent assigned to gauge a Trump person’s interest in obtaining stolen emails. Or he was a Western asset assigned to plant information inside the Trump sphere and then watch what Papadopoulos did with it. Or he had just returned to London from an eclectic conference in Moscow and discussions with Russian politicians. He happened to pass on some juicy geopolitical gossip to the young ambitious Trump adviser.

“Durham’s ownership of two Mifsud BlackBerrys shows he is trying to end the Mifsud guessing game.”

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