Monday, February 27, 2006

See no evil about GRU

The press continues to ignore very quotable concerns from the individual who warned colleagues of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff of a possible connection with Russian military intelligence.

Recently in the Boston Globe, this blogger was quoted as having been asked to help the Abramoff team in 1997 to organize congressional delegations to Russia. The fine article by correspondent Michael Kranish reads:

Abramoff's work on Russian affairs began in the mid-1990s, according to J. Michael Waller, the former editor of a Washington-based newsletter, Russia Reform Monitor. Waller said he was contacted by two Abramoff associates in 1997, and was asked to help organize Abramoff's trip with DeLay to Russia.

"I was told by two of Abramoff's colleagues that he wanted to represent the Russian government," Waller said. He said Abramoff's colleagues explained that Abramoff was working for Naftasib, the Russian energy company, and that "if he performed well on Naftasib then the Russian government would retain him."

That made Waller uncomfortable, he added, because he had read Russian documents that said Naftasib supplied oil to the Russian military, so he declined to help Abramoff plan the trip.

"I was concerned that Abramoff was going to become an agent of influence for the Russian government and that he would mask that relationship," Waller said.

While I praised Kranish for his coverage, I must state that the article - as with others in recent months - omitted my biggest on-the-record concern, which was Abramoff's alleged GRU connection.


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