US President Donald Trump was reluctant of expelling Russian diplomats after the alleged Novichok chemical attack of Russian ex-spy Sergey Skripal, the NYT reported. The POTUS reportedly discarded the alleged poisoning as “part of legitimate spy games.”
British officials in March 2018 requested a strong response from Trump to the alleged use of nerve agents, but he was initially skeptical.
The NYT actually attempted to present CIA Director Gina Haspel in a positive light, trying to provide a sympathetic look in the CIA’s difficult position having to deal with Donald Trump. What it did, however, by citing the anonymous sources is that it provided a glimpse in how Haspel manipulated the US President and lied to achieve the CIA’s goals. Thus, the article falls a bit short of presenting Gina Haspel’s persuasion skills as a virtue.
“Last March, top national security officials gathered inside the White House to discuss with Mr. Trump how to respond to the nerve agent attack in Britain on Sergei V. Skripal, the former Russian intelligence agent.
London was pushing for the White House to expel dozens of suspected Russian operatives, but Mr. Trump was skeptical.
During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats.
To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack.
Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.
Ms Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option,” NYT reported.
In this storyline the Skripals, before visiting a restaurant, fed bread to ducks at a pond in the Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury. They also gave duck-bread to three children to do the same. However, the children were examined and their blood was tested. No poison was found and none of them fell ill. No duck died.
This forced decision made 2018 a continuation of worsening US-Russia ties, which apparently was the goal of Haspel and others. They managed to achieve their goal by lying to Trump.
“Some officials said they thought that Mr. Trump, who has frequently criticized ‘rats’ and other turncoats, had some sympathy for the Russian government’s going after someone viewed as a traitor,” the New York Times report said.
Of the 60 Russians expelled by the US, 48 were from the Russian embassy in Washington and 12 were based at the United Nations in New York. The US also ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.
The POTUS was reportedly furious when he found out that the European Union in total expelled less than 60 suspected Russian spies.
The Official Skripal Story is a Dead Duck – One of the striking things about the official Skripal story is the way its more wildly improbable aspects have been released to the mainstream media over a long period, so as to manage their impact. So, for https://t.co/LVNoRKdKhK
— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) April 17, 2019
CIA chief Gina Haspel ’used images supplied by UK govt of #Skripal Novichok poisoned children and ducks to persuade Trump to take hard line on Russia’https://t.co/McjtogSRaU
NB There were no Skripal poisoned children or ducks. So if story true, who lied: Haspel, UK govt or both?
— Charles Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeC) April 16, 2019
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