Is Donald Trump a Russian agent?

John Sipher is a deeply experienced ex-USA intelligence agent who writes about intelligence and security.

Today, I found his current JustSecurity article on the question of Trump’s Russian connections, “Is Donald Trump a Russian Agent?: Explaining terms of art and examining the facts.”

I thoroughly enjoy this stuff, given my long-time fascination with spies and intelligence, both factual and — I admit it — fictional.

After Mr. Sipher explains those terms, he diagnoses the possibility that Trump is, one way or the other, working with the Russian Federation.

He pretty well slams down the idea that Trump is an actual agent, by describing Trump’s character. I’ll bet you find this as amusing as I did. It is also pluperfect character analysis. I’ve excerpted to keep the point of Sipher’s weapon trained on Trump himself but read the entire article for the whole story. Of course, I know you’ll keep in your head the realization that this character is right now sitting in the White House:

Based on the U.S. definition of an agent, it is unlikely that President Trump is a recruited and controlled source of the Russian intelligence services. To a professional he is nightmare. Yes, he is a cauldron of potentially exploitable vulnerabilities. He is greedy, has lax morals and shame, isn’t particularly patriotic, has a difficult time with right and wrong and is easy to manipulate. He would be easy to exploit and entice into stepping over the line into a conspiratorial relationship. However, he would be essentially impossible to control. His narcissism, poor memory and ego would make it all but impossible for him to follow directions and keep a secret. He would be a nightmare to debrief. He blathers about things he doesn’t understand, never admits that he is not an expert, is loathe to admit mistakes, lies constantly and is barely intelligible. Nor would he be willing to provide intimate details of his life. A recruited source cannot hide important personal details from his handler. Surprises don’t mix well with the need to keep a relationship wholly secret.

Perhaps more importantly, Trump thrives on public praise (however inauthentic). He is not the type of person who would be satisfied with secret knowledge of success…A narcissist who craves public fawning and constant flattery while rejecting constructive feedback would make a terrible agent.

Then Sipher shows specifically why he believes Trump is an asset to Russia, which does not require the sort of control over their assets that the CIA does. He then continues:

As noted above, the Russian services are not as stuck on the issue of control as are the American services. They are more comfortable managing an stable of controlled assets, witting collaborators, useful idiots and loosely-connected people who can promote Russian narratives and propaganda. In this sense. Trump’s dishonesty and disloyalty to American interests would have served the Russians well even if he couldn’t be counted on to show up on time on a dark street corner.

Great article. Sipher dissects the way Putin’s Russia works and ventures to suggest that although Trump is too much of a mess to be a controlled agent, some people around him could be.

Yeah, read the whole thing.

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