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Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:22 PM

Seth Abramson on the Giuliani "sting" (WAY beyond a laughing matter)

This is a copy of Twitter thread you can click through to here:




Seth Abramson
@SethAbramson
Major U.S. media is now picking up on the subject of my recent thread. This is going to get very big very fast—*if* American journalists work through the dire, wide-ranging implications of what this story means. It's import goes *way* beyond a single comedy film.

*Way* beyond.

Ken Dilanian
@KenDilanianNBC

Rudy Giuliani caught in compromising position in new 'Borat' film https://nbcnews.com/pop-culture/movies/rudy-giuliani-caught-compromising-position-new-borat-film-n1244187
via @nbcnews


Seth Abramson
@SethAbramson

PS/ So far I'm not optimistic, with NBC reporting the video as merely a "prank" multiple times in its first article on the subject—and exculpating Giuliani from any knowledge that the actress he thought was a journalist was in the context of the movie playing an underage girl.

PS2/ The problems with this are legion. The intention of the filmmaker was to establish that top Trump agents would readily fall into sexually compromising "bribe" situations with people they believed to be agents of former Soviet Republics. This wasn't set up to be a mere prank.

PS3/ NBC is reporting on the "underage" component of this sting beyond its capacity to be journalistically responsible. It doesn't know what Giuliani was told about Bakalova's character before he went into the room with her. He can't be inculpated or exculpated on that score yet.

PS4/ So in the first U.S. report on this story, we have U.S. journalists playing cover for Team Trump in a way that we don't find in the British coverage from equally reputable media outlets. NBC has this as a prank that Giuliani definitely didn't think involved an underage girl.

PS5/ In fact, from a journalistic standpoint, it's unknown (maybe irrelevant) what the intent of the filmmaker was—and so the word "prank" is non-journalistic. The news content of this story relates to what Rudy Giuliani believed was going on at the time. That's all that matters.

PS6/ What Giuliani believed was going on at the time is a function of what was caught on tape *and* info he was given off-camera. So NBC News reporting what was said on-camera as the only information Giuliani had at the time is thoroughly irresponsible as a matter of journalism.

PS7/ This was a *bribery sting* that happened to be orchestrated by a filmmaker. Top Trump agent and lawyer Giuliani believed he was being bribed by a former Soviet republic—and went along with it. The open question is whether he was told off-camera his interviewer was underage.

PS8/ There's clearly a danger that US journalists will also leave out the context in which this bribery sting occurred: Giuliani acting as Trump's chief agent/intermediary with Kremlin agents, and facing a federal investigation for bribery—but also the prospect of a Trump pardon.

PS9/ The bribe component is present no matter what age Rudy Giuliani thought Bakalova was, or even if he never thought about it at all. He was being pumped for privileged access and info by a foreign national and appeared to believe there was a sexual component to the exchange.

PS10/ Rudy Giuliani is the President's lawyer—and Kremlin intermediary. He has access to the most sensitive info in the world. He can't go to a room and engage in sexual conduct with a foreign journalist he has just met who is pumping him for information. It simply cannot happen.

PS11/ That Giuliani's apparent sexual quid pro quo can be suddenly interrupted by a "father" informing him that the foreign national from a former Soviet republic he's engaged in a compromising scene with is "underage" is exactly what makes the situation so dangerous for America.

PS12/ Had the "father" in this scene been a Russian intelligence operative rather than a filmmaker, he would have *maintained* the lie that Bakalova was underage, and used the recording of the scene—which Giuliani didn't know about—as *blackmail* over the president's lawyer. See?

PS13/ So when NBC covers this as a prank—as though Giuliani knew that at the time when of course he didn't, and when in fact it was a bribery sting rather than a prank anyway—and when NBC reports without definitive knowledge what Giuliani believed about Bakalova, it's misleading.

PS14/ Never forget that this occurred at a time when Rudy Giuliani had been *thoroughly* briefed on the Russian intelligence threat, and had seen Russian intelligence previously use a "honey pot" maneuver (with Maria Butina) to try to seduce top Republicans in the United States.

PS15/ This is a terrifying security breach. Any journalist worth their salt would report it as such, but there's a real danger that what we'll get instead are reports that situate this as a prank in a comedy film rather than the national security-implicating bribery sting it was.

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Seth Abramson on the Giuliani "sting" (WAY beyond a laughing matter) (Original post)
Denzil_DC Oct 21 OP
dalton99a Oct 21 #1
crickets Oct 21 #9
TwilightZone Oct 21 #2
Denzil_DC Oct 21 #4
TwilightZone Oct 21 #5
Denzil_DC Oct 21 #6
Aviation Pro Oct 21 #3
Warpy Oct 21 #7
crickets Oct 21 #8
Denzil_DC Oct 21 #10
JDC Oct 21 #11
Ferrets are Cool Oct 21 #12

Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:25 PM

1. The idiot is clearly a security risk

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:53 PM

9. No doubt. I don't buy his silly excuse.

Regardless of what Rudy thought about the young woman's age, tucking in his pants is no excuse for his behavior. I don't think he was actually masturbating, but no sensible, well-behaved man lies down on a bed and sticks his hands down his pants for any reason with a strange woman in the room and expects to have that behavior to be seen as innocent.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:25 PM

2. Abramson might have been too quick to equate rumors to fact.

Along with a zillion other people. Things are apparently not what they appear to be.

https://democraticunderground.com/100214332257

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Response to TwilightZone (Reply #2)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:29 PM

4. Abramson's thread is about bribery and Giuliani's readiness

to put himself in a compromising position. What he was doing in his pants is up for debate. The rest is much less so.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:32 PM

5. Yes, but he relates it to the rumors of Giuliani's role in the film.

It's a bit ironic that he repeatedly talks about journalistic integrity while basing almost the entire piece on rumors that might very well turn out to be false.

Abramson is usually top-notch. This is not one of those times.

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Response to TwilightZone (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:34 PM

6. I think this is already being thrashed out in the responses to the thread you linked. n/t

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:28 PM

3. Here's another point

Nosferatu appeared so comfortable with the arrangement, one has to wonder how many times he's been compromised by professionals.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)


Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:50 PM

8. Food for thought: Ken Dilanian / NBC Reporter




https://www.huffpost.com/entry/la-times-disowns-reporter_b_5770388

L.A. Times Disowns Reporter Outed as a CIA Collaborator - SEP 2014

Recently released emails indicate that prominent national security reporter Ken Dilanian — formerly with the Los Angeles Times, currently with the Associated Press (and from 1997-2007 the Philadelphia Inquirer) — shared stories prior to publication with CIA press office seeking their approval, according to a story up on The Intercept. Now, it is not uncommon for national security reporters to vet facts with government functionaries, but the emails indicate Dilanian went much further than that, not only sharing stories prior to publication (a big no-no in almost every newsroom) but he also entered into discussions about how the CIA could bend public opinion of drone strikes their way.

On at least one occasion he re-wrote a lede as per their dictates. He also reported as fact, in the pages of the Los Angeles Times, a CIA claim that there was no collateral murder in a 2012 drone strike on Al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi. An Amnesty International report disputes that sanitized version of events, citing eyewitnesses that claim upwards of 15 people, including Afghan tribesmen unaffiliated with Al Qaeda, were killed in the drone strike. Obviously, a drone strike that only kills the bad guys is much more palatable to the American people than a drone strike that kills 15. But that’s not journalism, that’s propaganda.

There’s no telling how much of his national security reporting was compromised by the CIA press office, or for how long, because the emails only cover a few months in 2012. The emails were released by the CIA as per a FOIA request by The Intercept for Agency email exchanges with journalists. Dilanian acknowledges sending stories to the CIA prior to publication and now says it was wrong. It was also in violation of the L.A. Times’ ethical guidelines. Perhaps that explains why the L.A. Times misleadingly refers to Dilanian as a “Tribune reporter” in its reporting on the scandal (SEE ABOVE). Tribune Publishing is the L.A. Times’ parent company. However, Dilanian’s Linkedin page clearly says he was a Los Angeles Times reporter (SEE BELOW). Shameful all around. This is not a good day for journalism.


Any time you read an article written by this man, perhaps ask yourself: Did he run it by the CIA first? Did they give him feedback or help him write it? Who knows?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird

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Response to crickets (Reply #8)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:57 PM

10. Interesting indeed.

I'm not clear whether you mean that the CIA (or at least a faction of it) has turned on Giuliani. If so, I guess it's plausible.

Dilanian is far from the only journalist writing about this on Twitter and elsewhere anyway, and Abramson quotes others in earlier tweet threads about the "sting".

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 07:58 PM

11. In my book "Tucking and Jiving" I detail the drunken escapades

of post 9/11 Rudy Giuliani rise and fall......


-S.A.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 08:08 PM

12. Gigantic K & R

This needs to be considered the biggest story of the week...maybe the year.

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