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'US Person 2' in Russian Spy Case Is Revealed to Be Conservative Columnist George O’Neill

July 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Mark Sumner, Daily Kos

He's been a known advocate of closer ties between Republicans and Russia.


The Wall Street Journal has identified the contact known only as “US Person 2” in the charges against accused Russian spy Maria Butina as conservative columnist, and heir to the Rockefeller fortune, George O’Neill. The contact listed as “US Person 1” had already been identified as South Dakota conservative Paul Erickson. Between the two men, Butina had access to a broad range of Republican organizations, contributors, and power brokers across the country. And it appears that O’Neill worked with Butina in attempting to set up a back channel between Russia and the Republican Party.

O’Neill has been an advocate of closer ties between Republicans and Russia, arguing that Russia could be a “good partner” for the United States and painting himself as a member of the “non-interventionist right.” In a 2017 article, O’Neill complained about the “Russophobia” and “Neo-McCarthyism” behind media articles on ties between the right and the Kremlin. At the same time, O’Neill was exchanging notes with Butina with the apparent goal of making more ties between the right and Russia.

These ties included such meetings around the National Prayer Breakfast, where according to Bloomberg, O’Neill hosted a Russian delegation. That dinner also appears in the charges against Butina, as an event where she acted as a Russian agent to advance Kremlin objectives.

With Erickson helping secure Butina’s connections with the NRA, and O’Neill working with her to bring Russians in contact with Republican leadership and strategists, the accused spy had direct access to a broad swath of the GOP. O’Neill described the dinner as one between the Russian delegation and “American intellectuals” and denied that his conservative guests were either “useful idiots” or “Putin stooges.”

He also maintained that “any clear thinking person” would see the benefits of a close relationship with Russia, though the did admit that Putin’s actions, “can sometimes be problematic.” Though if that problematic action includes removing any rights for gays, shooting journalists, or simply killing off his opposition was not clear. In any case, there was someone who did appreciate everything O’Neill …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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