The Released Trump Dossier Is Not the Complete Dossier

Update: Also note that these reports are not done in the same typeface, with variations between sans serif and serif fonts, changes to margins, and at least one report changing font size mid-report. I’ve marked those below as well, and will continue to work on margin size. I’ve been informed that this is a way the Brits track leakers, which means this copy should be identifiable to a particular leaker. 

I want to return to a point I made here about the dossier — billed as an oppo research project — on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

This is not the complete dossier. It was selectively released.

The gaps are immediately identifiable from the report numbering, which (as released) goes like this:

  • 080: June 20, 2016, serif
  • 086: July 26, 2015 (citing events in 2016), serif
  • 095: not dated, serif
  • 94: July 19, 2016, serif
  • 097: July 30, 2016, sans, justified
  • 100: August 5, 2016, serif, note typeface size change
  • 101: August 10, 2016, sans
  • 102: August 10, 2016, sans
  • 136: October 20, 2016, serif, wider margins
  • 105: August 22, 2016, serif
  • 111: September 14, 2016, serif
  • 112: September 14, 2016, serif
  • 113: September 14, 2016, serif
  • 130: October 12, 2016, larger sans
  • 134: October 18, 2016, smaller serif
  • 135: October 19, 2016, serif
  • 166: December 13, 2016, serif

You might think some of this is just about pages being out of order but someone — perhaps Buzzfeed? — wrote in page numbers by hand on the lower right.

So the reporting was frequent, sometimes more than daily. It must have started sometime in April, if not before (which explains how a project started by a Republican challenger to Trump ends up with a June 2016 report; we just don’t have the first 79 reports); it’s even possible the earlier reporting included more details on Hillary. Over that time, the reporting protocol changed (no longer identifying each source with a letter). And the reports continue into December, well past the election, and well past the time a Hillary supporter — ostensibly the funder for this project — might want to influence the election.

Reports 94 and 095 are especially weird, as it appears that the temporal sequences is broken. 095 reports on the general scope of the campaign against Hillary. 94 reports on meetings between Carter Page and Igor Sechin.

None of this explains why those gaps exist or what the oddness in reports 94 and 095 stem from. But it is a real reason to question the provenance of the copy BuzzFeed got.

Update: I’ve been informed that these kinds of typeface changes are a way the Brits use to track leakers.

So they may know who the leaker is here.

Here are two screen shots showing the justification and typeface change that happens at report 097.

Here’s page one of report 100. The last line seems to extend beyond the right margin.

The next page of report 100 has noticeably smaller typeface and an apparently different left margin.

Report 101 is back to right justified sans typeface, but much smaller than the one used in report 097. These screen caps are both 100X100 pixels.

 

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

13 replies
  1. Henry says:

    isn’t this a likely outcome of a compilation by [name here], who cut and pasted the most [Damning? Reliable? Convenient?] items. It wouldn’t necessarily have been compiled specifically to be leaked, more like an offering to, say, an FBI agent.

  2. scribe says:

    Nice work, EW, but what does it really matter?

    I find it hard to believe that there is much of any importance about Trump which is not already known, if not in the public press than widely among the movers and shakers who move and shake things. That, and the apparent fact that the man has no shame tells me he is pretty much un-blackmailable. (Oh, yeah. And as president under existing precedent he can have just about anyone whacked if they annoy him too much. Like by having the gall to try to blackmail him.) Oh, there will be pearl-clutching sanctimony, often from people who are already living in glass houses and shouldn’t be raging on about much of anything.

    And, according to what I hear, the ex-MI6 guy who supposedly wrote the report you’re skillfully dissecting has disappeared, with his family but without his cats.
    Supposedly.
    Allegedly.
    FWIW.

  3. Les says:

    Yes.  The BBC is reporting there’s a second dossier and more sex tapes.   There appears to be involvement/contribution to it by spy agencies from US, UK, Ukraine, a Baltic state, and an E. European government.

    • John Casper says:

      Thanks.

      Is this the BBC reporting you’re referring to? “Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?”  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427

      Has anyone in the MSM picked it up?

  4. Charles says:

    Emptywheel says,

    Update: Also note that these reports are not done in the same typeface, with variations between sans serif and serif fonts, changes to margins, and at least one report changing font size mid-report. I’ve marked those below as well, and will continue to work on margin size. I’ve been informed that this is a way the Brits track leakers, which means this copy should be identifiable to a particular leaker. “

    Wouldn’t any sophisticated leaker launder the document, simply changing font types? Granted, someone who didn’t think this might be a way to track leaks could just make copies.

  5. bevin says:

    “The BBC is reporting there’s a second dossier and more sex tapes. ”
    The report is that, in addition to the alleged tapes allegedly held by the Kremlin, there is another set of tapes according to ‘an eastern european’ intelligence agency.
    It has to be borne in mind that there is not a shred of evidence that any tapes containing any content of the sort alleged actually exist.
    The key, obviously, is for Mr Steele to explain how he reached the conclusions that he has provided to the Democratic National Committee- famous for its integrity- and who told him about the ‘tapes’. Perhaps the media could ask him- there was a time when it would have felt it necessary to do so before publication.
    My own guess is that this is a product of the Ukrainian fascists who are among Hillary’s most fervent supporters- which rather undermines the notion that Trump represents a fascist threat.

  6. John Casper says:

    bevin,

    You wrote: “…which rather undermines the notion that Trump represents a fascist threat.”

    No.

    “Historically, fascist politics involved organized mass movements, armed militia and paramilitary groups who assaulted political opponents and violently censored critical speech and suppressed the right to assemble. Fascists scapegoated minorities, especially gypsies and Jews, and burned trade unions and leftist headquarters, assassinating their leaders and beating their members. Programmatically, they attacked pacifists and defended overseas wars and empires in the name of ‘living space’.”

    https://off-guardian.org/2016/04/21/trump-the-fascist-backdoor-backing-of-a-political-psychopath-named-hillary-clinton/

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    For some years now, printers print a micro-code on each page, identifying the make, model and serial number, as do photocopiers.  I don’t know whether the code survives scanning.  If it did, the code would identify the machine, user, and often, its location.  An early version of the photocopier code existed in the time period for the Media, Pennsylvania, case, but it came to no avail.  I imagine the traceability has been dramatically enhanced since the early 1970s.

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