I Asked William of Occam about “George Santos.” He Told Me to Ask Putin.

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Thursday January 19, 2023 · 11:39 AM PST

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So many stories of the fellow we’ve come to know as “George Santos.” Who is he really?

I’ve a hypothesis which, I promise, is at least as plausible of any claim of his.

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Last summer, Vladimir Putin attended a ceremony in Moscow honoring the 100th anniversary of the “illegal intelligence division” (Division S) of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). This sub-service, which has existed in both Soviet and Russian Federation forms, is responsible for running intelligence assets living overseas as non-Russian nationals.

One of the best-known operations of the Division was the group of 10 sleeper agents associated with Anna Chapman, born Anna Vasilyevna Kushchenko, which was infiltrated by the FBI. The Division gained further fame with the FX Network show “The Americans,” which debuted in 2013 and portrayed the activities of a US-based sleeper couple and their children.

Building a sleeper identity is a long-term project. Often, sleepers will move from one country, where assembling a false persona is relatively easy, to the target country, where security may be tighter. This was the case with Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, who spent twelve years in Brazil becoming “Viktor Muller Ferreira,” a Brazilian researcher who attempted to enter the Netherlands last year to infiltrate the International Criminal Court.

Cherkasov’s case is quite similar to that of Mikhail Mikushin, an accused Russian sleeper who built the identity of José Assis Giammaria, a Brazilian academic who joined a research group at the University of Tromsø, and was later arrested for taking drone videos of restricted areas.

Brazil isn’t unique in acting as a “farm” for sleeper identities. Russian intelligence is rather well known for trying countless small, cheap operations and developing many potential assets in the hope that one or two pay off. And one manager can juggle lots of potential assets.

Say you had a US asset you’d been grooming for years who had an unlikely but non-zero chance of becoming president. The same people you used to support his campaign could be used for similar political operations with other assets.

People like Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, whose cousin Andrew Intrater, who supported Donald Trump’s campaign and dropped $250,000 into Trump’s notoriously corrupt Inaugural slush fund.

And happened to be a major supporter in both of George Santos’ congressional campaigns, as well as an investor in Harbor City Capital, the company where Santos worked deemed by the SEC to be a massive Ponzi scheme. That investment, Intrater claims, was made at Santos’ request.

Now we come to the mysterious $705,000 loan, ostensibly from Santos’ company, to his 2022 congressional campaign. As outlined in a complaint filed by End Citizens United to the FEC, Santos could used his own company as a pass through  or shell for campaign funds. Santos refuses to reveal the source of the money, not even to as sympathetic questioner as Matt Gaetz, guest-hosting on Steve Bannon’s podcast. 

That’s because, as I here surmise, Santos’ political campaigns, in fact his whole dual-citizen-with-unrevealed-birth-certificate identity, is nothing more than another piece of Division S spaghetti thrown against the West’s walls to see what sticks.

Far from being a run-of-the-mill pathological liar dressed up like Marco Rubio’s stunt double, the fellow we know as George Santos is a long-cultivated Russian asset, part of Vladimir Putin’s very long-range plan to corrupt Western democratic institutions from within.

Or maybe I’m just making it all up. Like “George Santos.”

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