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Two recent reports in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal corroborate a common feature of powerful secret intelligence agencies at work: the collaboration of former spies and private security firms.

U.S. special prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating this nexus–and Israeli social media expert Joel Zamel–as part of his investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Dueling Deep States?

The latest reports lay bare the covert machinations that shaped the media discourse around the 2016 election.

While top U.S. intelligence officials, led by former CIA directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, became deeply concerned about the possibility of a Trump presidency, Russia and Israeli intelligence officials seem to have viewed it as an opportunity.

Whether Zemal’s firm, the Psy-Group, acted as a free agent or at the behest of the Israeli government is not clear to me. But they clearly acted like secret intelligence officers.

As Ha’aretz, the most independent news outlet in Israel, reports:

Several people linked to the firm are veteran Israeli intelligence officials, with experience in areas that include psychological operations. According to the firm’s marketing materials reviewed by the Journal, Psy-Group offered clients an array of services—including “honey traps,” a term used by spy agencies for an intelligence-gathering tactic using romantic or sexual relationships to extract information.

Source: Who is Joel Zamel, the Australian-Israeli linked to Mueller’s Trump Probe? – Israel News – Haaretz.com