Levinson link in Matt Gaetz drama turns up cast of Russiagate/Spygate characters

Levinson link in Matt Gaetz drama turns up cast of Russiagate/Spygate characters
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). NBC News video

[Note:  I wrote this article on Tuesday before most sites had picked up on the connection to Robert Levinson in Matt Gaetz’s allegation about a Florida attorney.  Some of it still reads as it did on Tuesday night.  I couldn’t post it then due to severe browser problems, and with a window now for posting, I want to get it up rather than massage the wording further.  The browser problems continue, so if I have failed to take into account what others have written about the subject, that’s why.  We have yet to see where this all goes, but my principal sense at the moment is that there’s something very peculiar going on here.  It might seem that both the original New York Times article and the Washington Post article referenced in the text have been published to deflect and obfuscate the issue of Justice Department leaks.  The articles’ story premises don’t parse very well, and are short on substance.  The WaPo article, in fact, make no sense at all.  But the disclosures from it are so specific about the supposed extortioners who allegedly approached Gaetz’s father that it almost seems as if the purpose is to expose as many names as possible. – J.E.]

In an astonishing turn of events, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) responded to an allegation levied against in him in the New York Times on Tuesday by claiming that he is being extorted for $25 million by a Florida lawyer who is a former Justice Department official.

The allegation against Gaetz is that he flew an underage (17-year-old) girl across state lines, in what would amount to sex-trafficking under federal law.  Feel free to dwell on that point; it’s not the one that needs making in this article.

Gaetz’s counter-claim is that, first, he has done no such thing (he has paid travel expenses for girlfriends, but denies flying a 17-year-old anywhere), and second, he is being extorted on the basis of that allegation, by what he apparently thinks is the Florida attorney and a group of people working with him.  Gaetz said his father, Don Gaetz, was approached by the attorney on 16 March, and was threatened if Gaetz did not pay $25 million in hush money.

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Gaetz says he contacted the FBI about this, and that his father in fact wore a wire to speak further with the Florida lawyer.

Here are video clips of the interview Gaetz did with Tucker Carlson on Tuesday 30 March.

We’re pressed for time tonight, so I’ll cut to the chase.  There is nothing in the lawyer’s known history that would give color to Gaetz’s claim, but if it Gaetz is lying his own life is over.  The lawyer named by Gaetz is David McGee, who was a DOJ official in the 1980s and 1990s.  He left government for the firm of Beggs and Lane in Pensacola in 1996, and has practiced with them ever since.  (The Tampa Times article is posted with a date in 2005, but that appears to be when it was posted in the site’s archives.  The original URL has a date in 1996, and McGee’s LinkedIn profile confirms he left DOJ that year and began practicing with Beggs and Lane.)

Obviously, Gaetz’s allegation about McGee is unproven, as is any allegation about Gaetz.

McGee represents an extraordinary wedge into the crisis-of-government nightmare of the last five years, however – not through any evident involvement of his own, but through the characters in the Russiagate/Spygate saga whom McGee had direct or indirect connections with because of his link to the Levinson search.

Other sites have already reported that McGee represented the family of Robert Levinson, the CIA contractor who was kidnapped in Iran in 2007 and died there, according to a U.S. announcement last year, sometime prior to March of 2020.

What has not been mentioned yet [as of Tuesday night – J.E.] is that the most notorious attempt to get Levinson released from Iran was brokered through Oleg Deripaska, the Spygate figure with links to Christopher Steele and Paul Manafort, among others.  Deripaska’s legal team had Orbis Business Intelligence, Steele’s firm, under contract for investigative work at the same time Steele was working for the DNC and Hillary Clinton (via the offices of law firm Perkins Coie).

In 2009, the Obama Justice Department basically got Deripaska to do them a favor and try to arrange for Levinson’s release.  David McGee, in practice with Beggs and Lane for over a decade at that point, was a long-time friend of Levinson’s, and it was also in 2009 that he took on Levinson’s family as his clients in an effort to get more action out of the U.S. government.  McGee and his staff are credited with getting the CIA to acknowledge that Levinson was working for them at the time he was seized by the Iranians, apparently on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf.

There is also this information to increase the interest of the Iran factor.  One purpose Levinson reportedly had in Iran was connecting with a U.S. expat there, a convert to Islam who had assassinated an Iranian dissident for the regime after the 1979 revolution.  Who at the CIA was bringing in Levinson to work something like that – during the Bush years – is a very good question.

Now, however, the Washington Post has come out with yet another take on the Levinson/Iran aspect of the scenario.  The WaPo article on 31 March claims that two men who were somehow aware of an ongoing DOJ investigation of Matt Gaetz contacted his father in mid-March 2021 and tried to get him to hand over $20 million to fund a continuing search for Levinson.  They allegedly suggested that this cooperation could make the investigation of Matt Gaetz go away.

The WaPo story makes no sense.  There would not appear to be a purpose for continuing a search for Levinson.  Third parties seeking to spend $20 million of private money on it — even someone else’s money — after Levinson’s death has been officially accepted, is irrational.  It’s hardly a convincing gambit for a shakedown plot of any kind.  And no possible motive is suggested for the two men to approach Gaetz’s father about it.  Why would they regard him as a mark?  (Even if they did, because of the investigation of Matt Gaetz, requesting money for the purpose of searching for Robert Levinson would be the weirdest of pretexts.  There’s no information that the senior Mr. Gaetz ever had anything to do with Levinson.  The only thing that brings Levinson into this is the connection with David McGee.)

Back in 2009-2010, Deripaska reportedly spent about $25 million (interesting number) of his own money trying to set up Levinson’s release.  But according to the U.S. agent who was handling the case, each time Deripaska seemed to have things aligned for success, the State Department nixed points of progress on a deal at the last minute.  (Deripaska also said the State Department rejected the deal.)

According to the official (Hill link, above):  “We tried to turn over every stone we could to rescue Bob, but every time we started to get close, the State Department seemed to always get in the way. I kept Director Mueller and Deputy Director [John] Pistole informed of the various efforts and operations, and they offered to intervene with State, if necessary.”

Yes, Robert Mueller was the FBI director at the time.  Andrew McCabe was also involved in the case (Deripaska says it was McCabe who approached him asking for cooperation).

Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State.

And who was the agent working the case, the one who said afterward that the State Department “seemed to always get in the way”?

Special Agent Robyn Gritz: the official whom Michael Flynn angered the DOJ/FBI hierarchy by supporting in her EEOC sex-discrimination case in 2014.  Gritz had been the liaison to the Defense Intelligence Agency, where then-Lieutenant General Flynn was the director, and in an unusual move, he stepped in across agencies to back her up.

In retrospect, it now looks a lot more interesting to my eye that Robert Levinson was in Iran working under contract for the CIA, that Hillary Clinton’s State Department seemed to thwart efforts made by Deripaska to get Levinson released, and that Robyn Gritz was working Levinson’s case when Mueller and McCabe were in the chain of command for it.

I don’t think Levinson was playing small-ball for his CIA handlers when he went to Iran.

It’s worth mentioning again the long-known fact that in 2015, Hillary crony Terry McAuliffe shoveled Democratic funds at McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, in her campaign for state office in Virginia (American Thinker link, above).  The money began flowing just as Hillary’s email woes intensified.  McCabe was in a position to mitigate those woes; as to whether he did so, history yet to be written will be the judge.

McGee, a former DOJ official representing the Levinsons from 2009 on, would have known all these personalities: the agent working the Levinson case, the FBI higher-ups, the working-level contacts at the State Department.  He would probably have known that Deripaska was involved (at least up through the ultimately failed offer from Iran in 2010, after which Deripaska dropped off the radar).  Every one of those personalities made an appearance in Russiagate and Spygate.  Hillary Clinton and Michael Flynn were principals in it.

Again, we have no way of knowing what the truth is about the current situation with Gaetz.  But what a very curious development, for Gaetz to name McGee of all the lawyers in North America (or just call it Florida) as allegedly being used to front an extortion plot.

In the later part of his interview with Carlson (the third clip from Twitter), Gaetz hints strongly that he thinks figures at DOJ are behind this.  I’d be inclined to assume McGee himself is not behind it, and if he is playing any role at all, it’s merely being in front of it, as an avenue of approach to Gaetz, for others with the motive.

But nothing is proven.  We’ll see shortly if Gaetz can pry a public acknowledgment out of the people he says he’s been working with at DOJ and FBI.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.

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