Friday, July 14, 2017

Grassley knoll

Excerpts of Senator Chuck Grassley's letter regarding Rinat Akhmetshin found on DailyKos:

Dear Secretary Kelly:

I write to obtain information regarding Mr. Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian immigrant to the United States who has been accused of acting as an unregistered agent for Russian interests and apparently has ties to Russian intelligence.
In July of 2016, Mr. William Browder, the CEOof Hermitage Capital Management, filed a formal complaint with the Justice Department alleging that Mr. Akhmetshin, among others, has failed to register under the Foreign AgentsRegistration Act (“FARA”) despite undertaking a lobbying campaign on behalf of Russian interests.
1 The Committee is looking into the circumstances surrounding this lobbying effort and the potential FARA violations involved.
2 It is important for the Committee to gather additional information on Mr. Akhmetshin as part of this process. Mr. Akhmetshin is a Russian immigrant to the U.S. who has admitted having been a “Soviet counterintelligence officer.”
3 In fact, it has been reported that he worked for the GRU and allegedly specializes in “active measures campaigns,” i.e., subversive political influence operations often involving disinformation and propaganda.
4 According to press accounts, Mr.Akhmetshin “is known in foreign policy circles as a key pro-Russian operator,”
5 and Radio FreeEurope described him as a “Russian ‘gun-for-hire’ [who] lurks in the shadows of Washington’s lobbying world.”
6 Mr. Akhmetshin reportedly entered the U.S. in the 1990s and became a U.S.citizen in 2009, while also retaining his Russian citizenship.
7 Despite all of this information, and despite Mr. Akhmetshin’s admission to the press that he had been a Russian intelligence officer, in response to a different press inquiry, “Akhmetshin denied that he ever worked for Soviet military intelligence, something he would have had to declare when he applied for U.S. citizenship.”
8 The circumstances of Mr. Akhmetshin’s immigration into the U.S. and his eventual U.S. citizenship are relevant to the Committee given his alleged ties to Russian intelligence and actions as an unregistered agent of Russian interests.This information is also relevant because he was reportedly working with Fusion GPS, the company that oversaw the creation of the controversial dossier alleging a conspiracy between President Trump and the Russian government, on the pro-Russian lobbying effort at the same time the dossier was being created.

Full letter

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