Dead Drop: September 2

FALL PLAY?  D.C. police have said they have no reason to suspect foul play in the case of Dan Rapoport who fell to his death from a luxury apartment building in D.C. last month. Others are not so sure.  Rapoport was born in Latvia and later became a U.S. citizen. Politico says he made a fortune in Moscow until running afoul of Russian officials.  So, he moved back to the States a decade ago and was apparently living pretty well, eventually selling his $5.5 million house in DC to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.  Rapoport was also an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a supporter of Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny. DC officials think he killed himself, but don’t blame us for that being a little hard to swallow.  Putin’s critics have a propensity to be propelled from open windows. Shortly after Rapoport’s death, a Russian Telegram channel was peddling a story about his dog being found nearby with a suicide note and cash attached…a detail that Rapoport’s wife says is not true. So, why are Russian media sites spreading such stories?  Maybe there’s a little more here to be investigated.

DER WILKOMMEN MAT:  The German publication Der Spiegel recently uncovered details of a frequent visitor to their country – someone who seems to have failed to attract much attention from their government.  It seems a Russian woman named Katerina Tikhonova has made more than 20 visits to Germany in recent years accompanied by armed bodyguards.  While her name may not be familiar, her father’s is: Vladimir Putin. One of the striking aspects of the story is that German government officials are said to have been unaware of the visits. One official told the magazine that he would have liked to have had a heads up. Spiegel quotes former CIA officer (and Cipher Brief expert) John Sipher noting that “the policy of the (German) government as it relates to Russia has been: ‘No waves.’ No one in power seemingly wanted to find out things about Russia because it might cause an unwanted confrontation. So, why should anyone scrutinize Putin’s daughter?” The apparent reason that Katerina was traveling was to be with her long-time main squeeze (and possible baby-daddy) Igor Zelensky. We’ve mentioned the gent whose last name probably gives Vlad the willies, before.  But we didn’t know about all the frequent flyer miles Katerina was racking up.

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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