Was Former Ukrainian Diplomat Andriy Telizhenko a Whistleblower or a Russian Spy?
Andriy Telizhenko. Remember that name? If you do a cursory search of the internet he supposedly is a discredited conspiracy theorist. But in light of recent revelations that the FBI played an active role in accusing innocent people of being Russian puppets or lying about the Hunter Biden laptop (e.g., FBI told Facebook, per Mark Zuckerberg, that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation), the FBI was busy telling members of Congress the same lie about Andriy Telizhenko.
Why was the FBI trying to discredit Mr. Telizhenko? Let me suggest it was because he was telling the truth about Hunter Biden and how the Ukrainian Government helped the DNC push the Russiagate fable. (See Gateway Pundit article from 2019).
Here is how CNN describes Telizhenko:
The US State Department revoked the visa of a former Ukrainian diplomat who has worked with Republicans to spread baseless conspiracy theories about the Biden family and foreign meddling in 2016, American and Ukrainian officials told CNN on Monday.
A US official said there are also conversations within the US government about potentially sanctioning that individual – Andrii Telizhenko – and identifying him as a Russian agent. Democrats have accused Telizhenko of intentionally spreading Russian disinformation.
Got that? Information about the Biden family’s activities in Ukraine was baseless. Just ignore the fact that Hunter Biden had a lucrative contract with Burisma and other Ukrainian firms. Just ignore the fact that Joe Biden, while Vice President, used his position to force Ukraine to ditch an investigation that would have exposed his son’s nefarious activities. Repeat after me—CONSPIRACY THEORY.
How could Democrats know Telizhenko was a Russian agent? Either they made it up or someone in the U.S. Government, such as FBI or CIA, told them. If Telizhenko really was a Russian agent he should have been targeted and investigated by FBI counter intelligence officials. Hmm, who had those duties at the FBI. Oh yeah, some guy named Peter Strzok.
So if you are Peter Strzok and you learn that this guy, Telizhenko, is a Russian agent, what should you do? How about identifying his network without tipping him off? Maybe try entrap him? Or here is a wild thought, try to recruit him, flip him, and put him to work spying for the United States. That is what a professional counterintelligence agent would do. But Strzok apparently did not do any of that. The only thing we know is that the FBI told at least one member of Congress that Telizhenko could not be trusted. Why?
Well, let us take another look at the story he was telling. The following is an unpublished article written in 2020 that lays out some of the critical facts:
Shortly before Democrats began impugning his reputation and the State Department revoked his visa, an ex-Ukrainian government official dropped a bombshell revelation on Senate investigators: his government had assembled a dossier on Carter Page months before the FBI began investigating the Trump adviser’s ties to Russia in 2016.
“Page worked at the Pentagon, in particular, directly in the field of arms control, and later was a visiting researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where he specialized in research in the field of energy and economic development in the Caspian Sea region,” the May 2016 profile written by Andrii Telizhenko to a senior colleague in the Ukrainian embassy in Washington DC read.
“During his career, Page has developed his relationships with business and political leaders in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union. According to the politician Bloomberg: ‘Page is a reliable defender of Russia’s intentions, and holds American politicians as those whose minds are stuck during the Cold War.’”
Telizhenko, who had extensive contacts in 2014-16 with Obama-Biden administration officials, provided to Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee investigators last spring a copy of his May 2016 memo on Page and offered to provide formal testimony on how he provided the information to an Obama White House official closely tied to then-Vice President Joe Biden.
Telizhenko’s dossier on Page was sent from his personal email account to both the personal and embassy work accounts of his supervisor. Senate investigators found corroborating evidence to back up parts of Telizhenko’s story, including records confirming he had contacts with Obama administration officials on the days he claimed.
But Telizhenko’s formal interview was canceled when Democrats on the committee began a campaign attacking him as a Russian sympathizer and two Republican senators on the committee refused to back a subpoena authorizing his deposition as Chairman Ron Johnson had requested.
In an interview with (media source), Johnson said the Telizhenko interview was one of several investigative leads his investigators were precluded from following by the Democrats’ antics, which initially included the creation of a document by Democratic staff falsely claiming the FBI believed Telizhenko was tied to Russian intelligence. Johnson subsequently debunked the staff memo.
“Regarding reports that I received an FBI briefing warning me that I was a target of Russian disinformation, I can confirm I received such a briefing in August of 2020,” Johnson told the Post in a written statement.“
A spokeswoman for the Ukraine embassy in Washington said the officials who would have worked on the Page dossier no longer work in Washington. Natalie Solyeva said if the dossier was created it was done by workers on their private time and not in their official capacity as embassy employees. “The embassy didn’t create any dossier,” she said. “In case if Mr. Telizhenko did it on his own and sent it to someone, this is his individual responsibility and not the Embassy.”
Telizhenko said in an interview with (media source) that he was specifically instructed by his embassy superior to create the dossier, and did so by talking with Ukrainian security officials back home as well as open source contacts in both countries.
Telizhenko, a former aide to Ukrainian prosecutors in Kiev and a former political officer in his country’s embassy in America, emerged as a figure in the U.S. media in January 2017 when he was quoted in an article published by Politico alleging that the Ukrainian embassy in Washington had contacts with a Democratic National Committee operative who was seeking dirt on Trump and his ties to Russia. At the time, the FBI’s focus on Carter Page as part of the Russia collusion narrative was not yet public.
Telizhenko subsequently became a fixture in U.S. and Ukraine news media over the ensuing years, including assisting Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine. Johnson’s staff began informally interviewing him in 2019 and 2020, before Democrats angered by Telizhenko’s suggestions of Biden wrongdoing in Ukraine, turned on the former government official who had provided extensive assistance to the Obama-Biden White House.
Over the summer, the Democrats accused Telizhenko of parroting some of the same storylines as Russian-friendly figures accused of trying to influence the 2020 U.S. election, including Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian Ukrainian who was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for spreading allegations about Joe Biden.
While Telizhenko had some limited contact with Derkach, including a late 2019 meeting with Giuliani, he was mostly considered a rival to the Ukrainian lawmaker competing for media attention on major U.S. stories like the election, the Russia collusion scandal and the Bidens. Despite his extensive assistance to the Obama administration, the State Department revoked Telizhenko’s U.S. visa in September, ending his ability to travel to America, after the Derkach sanctions.
Multiple U.S. intelligence officials told (media source) that while Derkach is assessed to have ties to Russia and its intelligence services, Telizhenko is not believed to be affiliated with Moscow or part of any Russian disinformation effort. “He has the remarkable disadvantage of simply having some of the same story lines as Derkach,” one official explained.
Long before the Derkach brouhaha, however, Telizhenko produced a copy of the Carter Page dossier he created at the instructions of his bosses in the Ukrainian embassy. He told Senate investigators he was asked by a top ranking official in the embassy to produce the dossier in March 2016 after an American official wrote the embassy’s deputy chief of mission with a list of stories criticizing the then-Trump campaign’s foreign policy team.
Telizhenko told (media source) in an interview he was first asked to focus on George Papadopolous, another Trump adviser who ended up figuring prominently in the disproven Russia collusion probe, and delivered a memo to his bosses on Papadopoulos in April 2016. He said he finished the Carter Page dossier in May and was instructed to give it to an official on the Obama White House’s National Security Council who was close to Vice President Joe Biden.
Telizshenko’s supervisor inside the Ukraine embassy “pointed on the screen of her computer to the name of George Papadopoulos and said we have to look into him and that I should prepare through my contacts in US and Ukraine a short report. Later on she told me to look into Carter Page and his Russia background,” Telizhenko said.
“At that time, I understood that there was something going on but when the outcome happened that Mr. Papadopoulos and Mr. Page were targeted in the FBI probe I could not believe that it was done also with the help of Ukrainian Embassy,” he added.
When Senate investigators first learned of Telizhenko’s account, they were dubious. But through records request from the Obama presidential archives and other witnesses, they were able to find proof that Telizhenko had met with the Obama NSC official on the days he claimed he delivered the dossiers and also located an email from an American official to the Ukraine embassy in March 2016 that forwarded the critical articles about the Trump foreign policy advisers, including Page and Papadopolous.
But Johnson’s investigators were ultimately blocked from formally interviewing Telizhenko by Democrats on the committee, ending the line of inquiry for the time being.
Telizhenko’s testimony adds to a growing body of evidence that individual Ukrainian government officials took steps in 2016 to influence the U.S. election against Trump, including Telizhenko’s former boss, Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly, who wrote an OpEd in The Hill newspaper in August 2016 slamming Trump’s policies on Russia. Likewise, a Ukrainian court ruled in December 2018 that a senior law enforcement and a Parliamentary member in Ukraine wrongly took steps to influence the U.S. election by leaking evidence in summer 2016 against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
U.S. intelligence officials told (media source) there is no evidence the Ukrainian government ordered a top-down intrusion on the 2016 election but that some individual officials who supported Hillary Clinton appeared to have taken action they hoped might impact the election, or outright criticize Trump.
Their assessment mirrors that of former National Security Council Russia expert Fiona Hill, who testified during impeachment proceedings in November 2019 that some Ukrainian officials “bet on Hillary Clinton winning the election. And so they were trying to carry favor with the Clinton campaign” but there wasn’t a top-down effort by Ukraine’s government.
“What I have seen is ill-advised Ukrainian officials, Ambassador Chaly’s been removed as being the ambassador from here, made some pretty, you know, unpleasant statements or ill-advised op-eds,” she testified.
Contacted by (media source), Page said he did not know about the Ukrainian dossier and found it “disappointing but not suprising.” He said he had interactions with Ambassador at the Republican National Convention in 2016 and found the Ukrainian diplomat to be dismissive of his expertise and Trump in general/
“We spent some time chatting. We talked a few times. I think what I explained was what a great perspective candidate Trump had in terms of U.S. relations with former Soviet republicans and countering Russia. And I could tell he was skeptical,” Page said.
To make matters more interesting, Telizhenko told a friend that he regularly met with Alexandra Chalupa, a DNC operator of Ukrainian heritage. Yaacov Apelbaum has provided an excellent visual image of Ukrainian Embassy officials mingling with Chalupa and other DC political luminaries:
Note that Okasan Shulyar is identified as the handler of Chalupa and Telizhenko reported to Shulyar. Shulyar is alleged to be an officer in Ukraine’s intelligence service.
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