Dead Drop: December 20

A “CIRCUS BEAR” IS BORN: Remember way back on November 1 when The Dead Drop mentioned that recently released (unregistered) Russian agent Maria Butina said she would not be following in Russian spy Anna Chapman’s footsteps?  By that she meant she would not seek a high profile upon returning to the Motherland because, as she put it, she is “not a circus bear.”  Well, according to Reuters, Butina has now been hired to host a program on state-funded RT television.  She promo’d the show by appearing on TV wearing a t-shirt labeled “foreign agent.” The show is called “Wonderful Russia Bu Bu Bu.” The odd name is said to mock a slogan by a Kremlin critic who talks about “Wonderful Russia of the Future” (i.e. after Putin leaves.)  The “Bu Bu Bu” part roughly translates to “blah, blah, blah.”

WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE – FOR THE MOMENT: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo keeps the world informed of his Foggy Bottom thoughts through the Twitter feed @SecPompeo. But the McClatchy News Service reports that Pompeo has also launched a personal Twitter account @mikepompeo. Sources tell McClatchy that Pompeo needs the new account “for future plans.” Hmm.  That sounds suspiciously like the Secretary is getting closer to deciding to get the hell out of Dodge (or is it, back to Dodge?) to run for the about-to-open Senate seat.  President Trump has said that he would be supportive of Pompeo going home if the Republicans looked to be in danger of losing the seat now held by retiring Senator Pat Roberts. So, assuming Pompeo does punch out – for that, or any other political reason – who is in line to replace him at State? Rudy Giuliani has reportedly been performing some of the functions of SECSTATE for a while – but getting confirmed by the Senate might be a bit problematic. Another name we have heard is Ambassador Rick Grenell, the current U.S. Ambassador to Germany.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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