A Close Rudy Giuliani Associate Alerted FBI’s Assistant Director to Charles McGonigal’s Alleged Albanian Graft

I know of two journalists who had reported on parts of the charges against former FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles McGonigal before he was indicted: In December 2021, Scott Stedman (with an assist from Wendy Siegelman) reported on the relationship between McGonigal, Oleg Deripaska, Sergey Shestakov, and Yevgenyi Fokin that was disclosed in a November 29, 2021 FARA filing.

And in September 2022, Mattathias Schwartz reported on a subpoena that (this was made more clear later) had been served ten months earlier, in November 2021. In the story, Schwartz claimed the documents he had in hand showed that McGonigal was under investigation for his Deripaska ties, which he only substantiated with a link to the FARA filing. The story itself pertained entirely to the Albanian side of the investigation, based off that subpoena, part of which he published.

Schwartz published that story a month after he won a lot of attention for getting Paul Manafort to confirm on the record the cover story someone had fed a NYT team including Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel in February 2019: that Manafort had shared (just) campaign data with Konstantin Kilimnik. When first published in 2019, that cover story successfully distracted attention from outlines of a more substantive exchange pitched by Deripaska associate Kilimnik at an August 2, 2016 cigar bar meeting (and, indeed, from Deripaska’s involvement generally).

Manafort’s calendar showed that before he went to that meeting on August 2, 2016, he met with Trump and Rudy Giuliani. And while Manafort was serving his abbreviated prison term, Rudy reportedly consulted with him about his efforts to dig up dirt helpful to Trump.

In the wake of McGonigal’s indictments, Schwartz wrote a story about the person that he all but confirms was the one who received the subpoena: Allison Guerriero, who had a year-plus long affair with McGonigal that started sometime before October 2017 and lasted until late 2018, past the time McGonigal retired from the FBI in September 2018. According to the story, their relationship covered the most important period of the corruption described in the two indictments against McGonigal (meetings with Albania in the the DC indictment start in August 2017 and end in August 2018; favors for a Deripaska agent described in the SDNY indictment start in spring 2018; the favors continued through 2021, at which point the investigation into Deripaska had become overt).

In fact, Schwartz suggests that Guerriero may have tipped off FBI’s Assistant Director William Sweeney to McGonigal’s corruption in a drunken act of revenge after the affair ended.

In late 2018, McGonigal and Guerriero broke up. She remembers receiving an anonymous and hostile note in the mail. Soon after, McGonigal told her he was still married and had no plans to divorce his wife. “I was shocked,” she said. “I was very much in love with him, and I was so hurt.” She started drinking heavily to cope. A few months later, Guerriero, after a bout of drinking, dashed off an angry email to William Sweeney, who was in charge of the FBI’s New York City bureau, and who, she recalls, had first introduced her to McGonigal. She remembers telling Sweeney in the email that he should look into their extramarital affair, and also McGonigal’s dealings in Albania. McGonigal had already befriended Albania’s prime minister and traveled to the country extensively, dealings that would appear later in one of his indictments. Guerriero told Insider that she had deleted the email.

As Schwartz describes it, Guerriero told Sweeney he should look at not just McGonigal’s ties to Albania but also their affair, which is a nutty thing to say to an FBI official.

It’s a weird claim, because elsewhere, the story implies that Guerriero believed McGonigal’s stories about why he had bags of cash lying around, including a bag of cash that (Schwartz convincingly argues) is likely the one McGonigal is accused of receiving in a parked car on October 5, 2017.

That day in October wasn’t the only time that Guerriero remembers McGonigal carrying large amounts of cash. After he brushed her curiosity aside, she tempered her suspicions. She told herself it was probably “buy money” for a sting operation, or a payoff for one of McGonigal’s informants.

The story never describes that Guerriero learned of McGonigal’s ties to Albania, much less how or when she learned about them. And yet one takeaway from the story is that she might be the source of the entire investigation into her former boyfriend.

If she did send that email, it’s virtually certain an Assistant Director of the FBI would not delete it.

Schwartz describes Guerriero as,

a former substitute kindergarten teacher who volunteered for law-enforcement causes and was working as a contractor for a security company while living at home with her father.

The Facebook page for the charity for which she works shows the kind of NY law enforcement people she networks with.

Which partly explains the really remarkable detail about Guerriero. She’s close enough with Rudy Giuliani — who was himself being cultivated by Russian assets during the same period that McGonigal was — that the by-then discredited mayor put her up in his guest room after she suffered a burn injury in 2021.

Guerriero’s troubles worsened in early 2021, when she was badly burned during a fire at her father’s house. She asked friends for help through a GoFundMe. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York City, whom she knew from law-enforcement circles, let her stay in a guest bedroom. Since then, Guerriero has been a frequent on-air caller for Giuliani’s radio shows. She maintains that the 2020 election was marred by widespread voter fraud, a belief pushed by Giuliani that has been repeatedly debunked. “Whatever Giuliani says about the 2020 election is what I believe,” she said.

What a small world, that the woman who may have triggered the investigation into McGonigal was staying with Rudy as the investigation developed? Presumably, for example, some of Guerriero’s communications with Rudy would have been found on his phones after they were seized in April 2021 (though the investigation into McGonigal was already very advanced by the time the FBI actually started getting any communications from Rudy’s phones in November 2021, and emails with Guerriero would be out of scope of any known or suspected warrant targeting Rudy).

Schwartz doesn’t pursue the fact that McGonigal has such close ties to Rudy, though the connection would be even more interesting if McGonigal’s role in the Trump Russian investigation were as central as Schwartz presented it (he’s not alone in overstating McGonigal’s known role).

But there are two additional reasons the detail is particularly interesting.

First, as noted, Schwartz published part of the subpoena that, this second story clarifies, Guerriero received in November 2021.

Regardless, by November 2021, the FBI was looking into McGonigal. Two agents showed up at Guerriero’s door, she says, showed her a picture of McGonigal with the Albanian prime minister, and interviewed her about their interactions. She also received a grand-jury subpoena requesting all of her communications with McGonigal as well as information about any “payments or gifts” he may have given her.

It tracks the DC indictment closely (and was sent by the LA-based team investigating it). Four bullets ask for information about the Albanians that are the central focus of the indictment. Bullet f references McGonigal’s ties to Kosovo, which show up in ¶28 of the indictment. Bullet h and i ask for information on the Bosnians who appear in ¶¶45, 46 and 48 of the indictment; bullet j asks for information about the alleged access peddling to the UN described in ¶¶50-52 of the indictment.

But the subpoena — bullet g — asks about another country, Montenegro, where much of Deripaska and Manafort’s long history began and where Deripaska was still allegedly interfering as late as 2016. If Montenegro shows up in the indictment at all, it’s only as one of the other locations in Europe to which McGonigal was traveling with his Albanian contact (for example, a spring 2018 trip described in ¶44). That may simply reflect Montenegro’s relative import in McGonigal’s paid travel, the quality of evidence, or maybe DOJ didn’t want to include it for some other reason. But if Montenegro were a key part of McGonigal’s Balkans travels — on which, ¶22 of the indictment makes clear, he worked to persuade Albania not to sign oil contracts with Russian front companies — it would put him in a country where Deripaska likely still has a rich network of sources.

In any case, the only other thing that doesn’t map directly from the subpoena to the indictment are any payments or gifts McGonigal gave to Guerriero. The DC indictment never explained why, “no later than August 2017,” McGonigal allegedly asked his Albanian contact if he could provide him money, but Schwartz’ story reveals that the indicted former SAC was giving Guerriero gifts of cash and taking her to high-end restaurants during their affair, which started at least by October 2017 (her subpoena asked for records going back to April 2017). The indictment never mentions her, but the affair with her may explain part of McGonigal’s urgent need for cash in September 2017, something that would make McGonigal ripe to compromise by anyone who learned of it.

As I noted earlier, there’s one more remarkable player in this little network that includes Rudy Giuliani: Seth DuCharme, who spent much of the last year of the Trump Administration implementing Bill Barr’s bureaucratic efforts to ensure that Rudy Giuliani would not be prosecuted for his efforts to obtain benefit for Trump — including, but not limited to, dirt on Hunter Biden — from people that included several suspected Russian agents. DuCharme, who works at Rudy’s former firm, Bracewell, is part of the team representing McGonigal.

And to the extent that Guerriero is one of the witnesses from whom DOJ learned the specifics about how much cash McGonigal received in bags in parked cars (though, again, Schwartz’ story is inconsistent about whether she knew none of that or whether she knew enough to tip off William Sweeney) it would be part of DuCharme’s job to discredit Rudy’s former houseguest as a witness. He would do so, presumably, by pointing to all the things Guerriero told Schwartz she regrets, including harassment of McGonigal’s family that was serious enough to merit restraining orders in two states.

By her own account, Guerriero contacted one of McGonigal’s children despite being prohibited from doing so by a court order, an incident that led to her spending the night in a New Jersey jail. The court order stemmed from a 2019 police report, obtained by Insider, that McGonigal’s wife, Pamela, filed with the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland. The report states that McGonigal and Guerriero “had a relationship” and that Guerriero had repeatedly harassed her with unwelcome emails and phone calls — including 20 calls in one day — despite her asking Guerriero to stop.

Guerriero confirmed that her contact with the McGonigal family led to a separate restraining order issued in New Jersey. “I am ashamed and embarrassed and sorry for my actions during the time that I was drinking,” she said.

In Schwartz’ story, Guerriero doesn’t say she regrets that email to Sweeney, which could well have sparked this entire investigation. She regrets the harassment of McGonigal’s family, which might come out if she were called as a witness.

All of which may provide insight into why the DC case against McGongial is charged as it is. Among the overt acts of which McGonigal is accused in DC are:

  • Networking with representatives of the government of Albania in late 2017 and early 2018 during the period when he used information from them to launch an investigation against the US citizen lobbyist for their rival.
  • Proposing that his prime Albanian contact be paid $500,000 (which may have been meant as repayment of money the Albanian gave McGonigal in 2017) to set up a high level UN meeting for some Bosnians.

Both of these overt acts could be charged under FARA and the Albanian tie, at least, could well have been charged under 18 USC 951. But McGonigal would likely offer the same kind of defense that Tom Barrack did in his EDNY trial: when McGonigal counseled the Albanian Prime Minister not to sign oil contracts with Russian on September 9, 2017, he could easily argue, he did so because he was genuinely opposed to Russian influence and not because he was seeking a benefit for his key Albanian contact.

Instead, DOJ charged him with inadequate disclosure to the FBI on forms FD-772b and OGE-278, with each inadequate disclosure charged as a false statement under either 18 USC 1001 or 1519 (though I don’t understand why McGonigal would not immediately challenge the three of the charges tied to filings submitted more than five years ago, especially if FBI had notice of all this in 2018). The 1001 charges would normally only get a few months sentence, though with a sentencing enhancement for abusing his official position, and by treating each inadequate disclosure as a separate crime, potential exposure could easily add up to years, or, with a plea deal, it could be pitched as “process crimes” meriting just months of prison time.

Charging it that way not only gives DC USAO more flexibility in plea discussions.

It would also make it a “paper case,” something that depends largely on documentation rather than the credibility of a witness like McGonigal’s primary Albanian contact (who seems to have told FBI that the cash payments were loans, not payments) or Guerriero. For each false form McGonigal submitted, DOJ will only have to show where he traveled, how his travel was paid, and that he didn’t properly disclose it. It would rely on travel records and bank statements and not the testimony of a witness who harassed McGonigal’s family out of jealousy.

I don’t want to make too much of Schwartz’ revelation that a key witness against McGonigal was staying in Rudy’s guest room as the investigation developed. Drunken jealousy is all the motive you need to explain her actions (though not, perhaps, inconsistencies about how much of the Albanian graft she knew about).

But once you throw Rudy and Montenegro into the mix, the trajectory on which McGonigal traveled, from arguing against Russian oil contracts in September 2017 to thinking he could manage ties to Deripaska in spring of 2018, gets a lot more interesting.

85 replies
  1. ken m abbott says:

    sounds like attempted murder to quiet the source.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. SECOND REQUEST: Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your third user name; you have previously posted as “ken abbott” as well as “dufus.” Even slight changes like adding a middle initial constitute a new identity — please don’t continue to change your username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  2. harpie says:

    I don’t know why I think this Jason Leopold tweet Marcy retweeted on 1/24 might be of interest here, [and I apologize if it’s not] but I wrote about it in this comment on that day because the dates fall within my TL work: https://www.emptywheel.net/2023/01/24/no-charles-mcgonigal-likely-isnt-responsible-for-that-part-of-the-russian-investigation-you-hate/#comment-979468
    The Leopold tweet:

    NEW via my #FOIA to FBI about Trump’s tweets
    This is a Nov 24, 2017 email between an unnamed FBI agent & Charles McGonigal, the special agent in charge of the CI Division in NY
    I’ve learned that the SDNY “case” referenced here that Erdogan would raise w/Trump is Halkbank [screenshot of email] [link to NYT article]

    • emptywheel says:

      I don’t think that is anything more than people unpacking what they can confirm about McGonigal. We know at the time that Trump was beginning his very long effort to prevent DOJ from charging Halkbank. It’s interesting primarily bc Rudy’s partners were involved in representing one of the key witnesses.

  3. PieIsDamnGood says:

    Letting the other woman see bags of cash is something small time drug dealers manage to avoid! How is someone with such a fancy title at the FBI this sloppy?

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      The article indicates both of them were drinking during that period–another detail that surprised me, since sloppy drinking is not desirable in an FBI SA, let alone an SAC.

      • BobBobCon says:

        It’s one of the most likely things to get picked up on a security clearance review.

        Neighbors getting interviewed may not pick up on a lot of stuff, but issues related to heavy drinking draw attention. When I’ve had neighbors getting screened, it’s what I remember interviewers focusing on.

        I’m awfully curious if he had a major patron pushing him up through the ranks.

      • PieIsDamnGood says:

        If someone’s drinking got to be a problem only after they were high up in a law enforcement organization, it would be utterly unsurprising that the organization covered for them. Gotta protect the organizations reputation after all!

    • emptywheel says:

      I’ll second what others say, really good question.

      Answering it might help to explain why she knew enough to tell Sweeney to check into his Albanian ties.

      • PieIsDamnGood says:

        Thanks for seconding, I assume bmaz is always being sarcastic.

        After re-reading the post, I’m guessing you suspect she was closer to a co-conspirator than just an affair partner?

    • Peterr says:

      What first came to mind to me is that the FBI Guy believes that his Fancy Title makes him untouchable and wanted to brag/show off a bit.

      You know, like everyone else in Trumpworld seems to think and do.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Or compromise her with guilty knowledge she did nothing about, the sort of anticipatory defense common to certain predators.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Peterr, what makes you think McGonigal was or is part of Trumpworld? I’m not challenging it; Will Bunch apparently thinks so too, but I’m paywalled out of the Inquirer.

        Are you too seeing a connection between him and the now-infamous NYT story in October 2016 claiming the FBI saw no Trump-Russia link?

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Sorry! I *can* access The Inquirer, and so can you. The Will Bunch piece makes a much more nuanced argument in print than he did on-air with Joy Reid last night. I’m still dubious about the idea of McGonigal seeding that Times FBI-Russia article, but Bunch has much more to say, especially about the New York Times and its as-yet-unfulfilled responsibility in regards to its coverage.


        • DevonPMaroon says:

          I think you can subscribe for free to Will Bunch’s newsletter which is basically just his column, (with lots of encouragement to subscribe).

          [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. Please make sure to use it exactly as it appears here each time you comment. /~Rayne]

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          The column I linked to above is excellent, like all his work I’ve read in the past. Bunch is not a made-for-TV journalist, very much to his credit.

          Can’t stress enough how highly I recommend his column–so much I overcame my paranoia around linking, which I’m always afraid I’ll screw up some way. But the link works! I tested it myself.

    • I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

      I am familiar with “bags of cash” stories that I wish I could tell but can’t. the facts of those stories are more bizarre than the facts being discussed here. My experience is that people who have their wires crossed do some very strange things. McGonigal is definitely in the “crossed wires” category.

  4. Ginevra diBenci says:

    Schwartz’s Insider article certainly paints a tawdry picture of Guerriero, whose current motivation seems obscure. It also makes McGonigal out to be a heel–first cheating on his wife and then ditching the mistress who says he had misrepresented his actual marital status.

    But I can’t help wondering about Sweeney, who seems to have been closer to Giuliani than any houseguest and whose FBI office did all it could to help Trump in 2016 and after. McGonigal, as a Russia expert, looks suspiciously like Peter Strzok; as a Russia expert involved at the outset of Crossfire Hurricane, his discrediting would serve the purposes of those (like Sweeney) with close ties to Giuliani, and through him Barr and later Durham.

    • emptywheel says:

      Bill Barr made great efforts to keep parts of the Rudy investigation from Sweeney, who was only appointed to the AD position in July 2016. In fact, at a time when all the prosecutors were opposed to arrested Lev Parnas in October 2019 before he flew to Vienna, Sweeney backed the decision.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Good point. I have personal reasons for not trusting Sweeney, but I fully realize they don’t make him a Barr/Durham co-conspirator. Something about the McGonigal case just feels hinky, and I’m trying to suss out what it is. I should probably back off pinning it on Sweeney.

        • Mary Helen says:

          Go look her up on Twitter. Seems she really hates Sweeney for personal reasons as well. How did Sweeney make an enemy out of her is my question.

        • Mary Helen says:

          I doubt she thinks that because of the time lapse. The FBI opened their investigation over two years later. And if she was drinking then than Sweeney certainly would not have taken anything she said seriously. Nobody would.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        I can’t figure out why Guerriero, with her known loyalties to Giuliani, is making her own self-described worst behavior so public. It seems as if she is trying to neutralize some potential argument, but since she wasn’t charged (or named), I wonder if she’s taking the heat for someone else.

        • Mary Helen says:

          Doubtful. I think that because she was close to so many people in New York in politics and federal law enforcement something must have happened that made her want to tell her side before Page Six did. Her social media clearly demonstrates her connections in that world. As far as Rudy goes her “best friend” is Ken Kurson, Rudy’s co-author for the book “Leadership”. Look him up. Chances are she and Rudy were close for many years long before McGonigal ever moved to Brooklyn. If she is an alcoholic I do hope she stays sober through this which could explain her silence. I know other alcoholics and sobriety is always their number one priority. Aside from McGonigal she clearly has had it rough. I found her mother’s obituary which could explain why she was living with her father because online her address is on 84th Street or 75th Street (that’s unclear). Also with the medical conditions she probably needed some assistance. Did you look at her Twitter? That’s the key. And post-McGonigal after her father’s house burned she posted photographs of her injuries and progress which are no doubt very serious third degree burns and it can take years to fully recover from that.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          I have plenty of sympathy for Guerriero, Mary Helen. It seems as if she’s suffered enormously. And your Page Six argument makes sense. I’m just wondering if someone else might be using her as a sort of pawn in their publicity game around the McGonigal case. If so, it would seem to fit a pattern, and mean yet more pain for a clearly wounded soul.

  5. freebird says:

    Trump now is conflating McDonigal with Comey to make himself the victim. Trump knows that Comey’s announcements shifted the tracking polls. The Washington Post/ABC poll shifted from a Clinton landslide at 50% to 38%, to Trump edging her at 46% to 45% in the next poll. Comey tried to pre-empt the leak from the office where McDonigal had a high rank.

    This whole story is anfractuous, a word that I thought I would never use, because McDonigal sold himself out for what is considered chump change to the likes of Deripaska. Deripaska has billions and controls many businesses, so what does he get? Then add Albania, which you can hardly make out on a world map. There are better shakedown targets. It is difficult to find out how the bribers benefit.

    The woman, was less than a courtesan as she allowed herself to be passed around by the NYC FBI brass like some groupie after a rock concert. However, they let the groupie in all of their secrets and payoffs. They must have thought she was too infatuated or too dumb to know.

    You know what they say, there is nothing like a women scorned.

  6. RyanEvans says:

    Guerriero’s twitter was taken private last week but went public again by Saturday evening. It may have been scrubbed in the interim. But her extant tweets at Giuliani are mostly in 2021.

    My hunch would be that she wrote her angry email to Sweeney much closer to the time of the breakup in late 2018. So potentially a long time passes before any evidence of an investigation of McGonigal. Did Sweeney pocket it (charitably to him, he could have believed she had motives to discredit McG, and he had reasons to be talking to Albanians that she wouldn’t understand).

    As of early Dec., 2018, she was apparently still with McGonigal, tweeting that his sweet new gig at Brookfield is much better than working for the FBI.

    If I understand how twitter followers appear in the listing, Doug Mastriano and Marsha Blackburn both followed her quite some time ago. That surprised me. Nothing else really stood out there, though recent followers were also interesting.

    While I’m sure carrying on an affair would be expensive, I don’t get the sense that she was a high-budget person. I’m sure McGonigal loved spending lavishly on her, but my hunch is that he had other expenses.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      “I don’t get the sense that she was a high-budget person.”

      Same here. She is (was?) an adult child living with her father.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          McGonigal’s affair with Guerriero came before her medical calamity. Schwartz reports her saying that McGonigal’s cash gifts to her were in the 500.00-1000.00 range. By tri-state standards, that really isn’t very high-budget: enough to impress, maybe, but not overwhelm.

  7. Inwoods says:

    > That day in October wasn’t the only time that Guerriero remembers McGonigal carrying large amounts of cash

    This sentence is repeated below the snip, so something went wrong here.

  8. earthworm says:

    Guerriero: “a former substitute kindergarten teacher who volunteered for law-enforcement causes and was working as a contractor for a security company while living at home with her father.”
    the description of this woman makes me speculate, with pathos, that she may have sensed she was at an old-maid dead end, approaching the end of her desirability as a female, and had become a sort of police/law enforcement groupie, in a vain bid to feel vital and alluring. Malleable and easily duped, the way many unfortunate women are, by men they are conditioned to see as potent alpha males, major players in a power hierarchy.
    she would have been suggestible, under this scenario.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      An “old-maid dead end”? earthworm, I can’t tell if this is your perception of Guerriero or how you think others perceive(d) her. It makes a big difference.

      I am more interested in what “contractor for a security company” means in context of her life and contacts, especially given the information RyanEvans brings to light above.

      • RyanEvans says:

        She worked for a firm that made traffic barriers that could be used for crowd control, and later volunteered or worked (or maybe transitioned from volunteering to working) for the “Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation.” Her twitter seems to suggest closest work relationships were with ATF.

        These are security-related organizations, but not in the sense that I suspect you were thinking of. She makes clear she was never employed in law enforcement, just in these ancillary positions.

        Earthworm, I don’t think disparaging psychological speculation is very useful here. It’s unlikely to be on target. She was dating a man roughly her age who she believed was going through a divorce. He lived in a different city than his family for quite a while, and not going back very often, which must have made the story pretty believable. Divorced men would be a significant part of the dating pool for a woman in her 40’s. His job did necessarily involve some mystery, which offered believable excuses for some other aspects of his story. That he was lying doesn’t have to mean she was a likely victim easily duped because of some special vulnerability. It’s possible, of course.

        I’ve come to think her loyalty to Giuliani came after the denunciation. Among other things, if you believe McGonigal was acting in Trump’s or Rudy’s interest at some point, it seems counterproductive to put him under an FBI microscope. Certainly McGonigal’s post-FBI employment suggests a connection to Trump interests – a Kushner ally, a Trump Tower tenant, and Deripaska. I think she acted rashly out of anger when she denounced him, and that Giuliani would have urged her not to if he’d known.

        • Mary Helen says:

          I just looked at her Linked In and she made a recent post about ATF. She said her cousin’s undercover partner was killed in 1982 and the killer was up for parole last week. It seems they all banded together on this and sent in a letter campaign objecting to the parole. That would be how she got in with ATF. Their headquarters is named after the dead agent in DC, Ariel Rios. She seems secretive about her profession but that is not uncommon amongst security contractors so I don’t read too much into that. It’s typical. She is very open about her Catholic Faith, volunteer work, support of the military and law enforcement, and her cancer and burn injuries. The burn injury appears to have been catastrophic and the photos of her injury are gruesome to put it mildly.

          I still think she was tipped off that this story would run in the tabloids and that’s why she did the interview. She has to have known nobody was going to keep that secret of the affair or her drinking and arrest. If that’s the case it was a smart idea on Guerriero’s part to air her own dirty laundry before the tabloids. She has not made any reference to the article or McGonigal on social media. I wonder why she spoke to that particular reporter though? Seems like she knows others in the media too.

        • RyanEvans says:

          >She has not made any reference to the article or McGonigal on social media.

          Not to this article, or to McGonigal recently. But she congratulated Schwartz on Twitter for the subpoena article in Sept., 2022. And she mentions Charlie’s new job with Brookfield way back in Dec., 2018, also on Twitter.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          If Ken Kurson is her friend (as you said was mentioned on twitter,) he would have media connections. So would Rudy. Maybe they gave her some advice or recommendations.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Ken Kurson (a friend of Jared Kushner,) was granted a full pardon by President Trump on January 19, 2021. So, maybe Kurson provided an assist to Allison Guerriero as some kind of twisted omertà. Maybe Ken felt like he was returning a favor.

    • Mary Helen says:

      I looked at her Twitter and now her Linked in. She doesn’t give off the impression she’s feeling like an old maid. Her friendship Rudy seems to have begun before she met McGonigal based on who her mutual contacts with him are.

    • Rayne says:

      old-maid dead end, approaching the end of her desirability as a female

      No. Knock off this misogynistic thinking. This is a really good example of internalized oppression because as a woman you should know better. Far too many assumptions are being made about her living with her father; she might be providing him assistance because he can’t afford assisted living, for example. I know women of the same age who are perfectly happy with guys you’re labeling “potent alpha males” when it may be they are simply willing sexual partners whose egos won’t let them pass up a roll in the hay.

      We simply don’t have enough evidence so far to explain these characters; we only have filtered words of unreliable narrators and two indictments consisting of 13 total counts.

      • earthworm says:

        instructive responses, thanks all.
        was undoubtedly guilty of stereotypical thinking. figures like paula broadwell, marjorie taylor green, bonnie of bonnie & clyde — just a couple that come to mind immediately — lead to making conclusions that are wrong, inept, or unfair to women in general, and may have nothing to do with this particular woman.

  9. Mary Helen says:

    I know why she agreed to the interview. It was going to leak. This way she told the writer from Insider before it was printed elsewhere. She may be an alcoholic or may just drinking during that period but it seems obvious she just wanted it out under her terms.

      • RyanEvans says:

        It’s interesting to me that Guerriero tweets at Schwartz after his Sept., 2021 article comes out. “Great article”. As someone who has leaked (though certainly not about national security), I wouldn’t have wanted my name anywhere near the article.

        I get what you’re saying about Insider, bmaz. But is she leaking to Insider, or to Schwartz. He has an interesting accumulation of pieces, not just the Manafort profile, but a relatively friendly Pompeo profile for the NY Times, and pieces sympathetic to the Hunter Biden corruption storyline, while stressing Hunter is not at Trump altitudes of corruption. A liberal journalist with crossover appeal, you might say. His “exclusive” piece about Manifort and Kilimnik comes out the day AFTER his long profile which already mentioned the pass of data, implying he didn’t expect that tidbit to blow up. The Manafort piece was in the works for a while, since there’s a post-Memorial Day reference that wouldn’t have been topical for more than a few days.

        When did Guerriero give Schwartz the subpoena? Why Schwartz? Does she go to him (B/c Rudy or some geopolitical reason? Because she still hates McGonigal?) Or does he find her (following a thread from his Manafort research to sources close to Deripaska)?

        A really intriguing question — How does Schwartz have this detail?:
        >According to an email reviewed by Insider, McGonigal used his official FBI email account to try to arrange a meeting between Rama and an American firm the prime minister was thinking about hiring for an anti-corruption initiative.

        Who had that email? I doubt he got it from the FBI. Was Guerriero on the email? Then maybe she is tied in pretty closely. But reviewing her Twitter just doesn’t give me the sense that she stepped into those leagues. Did she hack McGonigal’s account in her bitter jilted days? Or does Schwartz have another inside source? Maybe someone close to Deripaska? Why would they want to leak? Maybe to try to define McGonigal as anti-Russian before the indictment makes him seem pro-Russian?

        I’m not saying I’m answering these questions right. But the issue of where Schwartz got the Edi Rama email seems like a pretty important question.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Ryan Evans, I would call Schwartz a cross-over journalist with a liberal appeal–to respectfully amend your phrase. Having read him for some time, I think he’s in the Devlin Barrett mode, which puts access first.

          This article, and EW’s post with all our commentary, provides proof of concept for that approach. I still wouldn’t trust him with my cats.

  10. Zinsky123 says:

    Fascinating. Lots of details – I am going to have to re-read this several times. Oleg Deripaska was and is a busy and well-connected man! Reporting from 2016 indicated Deripaska had Paul Manafort over a barrel and on a fishhook for several million dollars for Manafort’s bad Cyprus investments. No wonder Manafort offered his services to Trump as his campaign manager for no fee, if you will recall. I look forward to more pieces being assembled in this Byzantine puzzle. Thanks again!

  11. Savage Librarian says:

    Vladimir Potanin may be the rival oligarch:

    “Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska May Have Probed Vladimir Potanin Using Ex-FBI Agent Who Was Thorn In Trump’s Side” – Giacomo Tognini, 1/30/23

    “The indictment alleges that Deripaska retained a former FBI agent and a former Russian diplomat to investigate the assets of a rival oligarch, which Forbes found likely refers to Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s second-richest person.”


    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Thank you, Savage Librarian. This is fascinating, including Forbes’ insistence that I respond to a user quiz before reading my first of four free articles. I rated everything “excellent” just hoping Forbes would allow me ingress.

      Forbes reiterates what seems to have become the “opposite perspective” on McGonigal, that his early (pre-Crossfire Hurricane’s inception) contributions to the Russia investigation made him a Trump enemy. This makes more sense to me than the Will Bunch argument that within days of arriving in the NYC field office, McGonigal conspired to give the Times its Russia disinformation, which we all know it blithely disseminated.

      The fact that Trump is crowing over McGonigal’s arrest makes that hard to imagine.

  12. RyanEvans says:

    I may have gone over wordcount, or made some other misstep that sent a comment into moderation. I’ll make the point more succinctly here:

    Mattathias Schwartz’s September piece based on the subpoean seems to have had another inside source beyond McGonigal’s ex-girlfriend:

    >According to an email reviewed by Insider, McGonigal used his official FBI email account to try to arrange a meeting between Rama and an American firm the prime minister was thinking about hiring for an anti-corruption initiative.

    I guess it’s possible Guerriero had that email, but my read of her makes it seem unlikely. But who else would have given that to Schwartz, and why?

    • viget says:

      Occam’s razor would posit that Gurreiro was either the recipient of this email or cc’d on it. I’d guess the latter.

      Remember, she worked for an unnamed US Security firm….

        • viget says:

          Do you know what firm? It’s possible someone else from that firm did security consulting, and she was cc’d as part of the intro.

        • Mary Helen says:

          Her LinkedIn says she worked for Mifram Security and SRN, Inc. SRN seems to sell to local PD’s. But the Mifram job is interesting. Those are big money contracts with every branch of the military and some US sales also. She was their US Vice President for a long time. The Mifram website doesn’t name her as working for them any longer and LinkedIn says she ended her employment with the company in 2015. She has LinkedIn endorsements up the wazoo from some people high up in the military and law enforcement. My suspicion is she’s well respected professionally and successful.

        • Rayne says:

          Please treat Guerriero as an unreliable narrator. The content she’s posting can easily be seen as fluffing to ensure access. It could be legitimate, but she’s already admitted doing questionable things in an altered state.

  13. Savage Librarian says:

    There’s this too:

    “Ex-FBI official Charles McGonigal worked for more than one Russian billionaire” – Lisa Fickenscher, 1/26/23

    “Aman Resorts, a five-star hotel chain owned by Vladislav Doronin – a martial-arts-trained property magnate who has been branded “Russia’s answer to Donald Trump” – hired McGonigal in the spring of 2022 for a high-dollar job as director of security for Aman’s 34 locations around the world, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.”

    “Indeed, sources speculated that when McGonigal was arrested at JFK Airport on Saturday he was returning from a business trip in Sri Lanka, where Aman operates a pair of swanky hotels.”


  14. viget says:

    Maybe I’m just looking for connections that aren’t there, but I find it interesting that LAFO were the lead investigators on this, yet charges were brought in SDNY and DC.

    I can see keeping NYFO out of it, but why not run this from WFO or even HQ?

    I’d also note that the subpoena goes back to April 2017… one month later, Comey is fired. We know from McCabe there was A LOT going on during early-mid May. Was one of those things that Comey caught wind of a potential mole in CI at NYFO?

    Comey *was* in LA at the time of his firing. Probably just a coincidence.

  15. CA4zen says:

    In 2014, Mr. McGonigal was promoted agent in charge of counterespionage,
    (Read he became a useful tool)
    October 4, 2016 appointment announced, but by early August consideration for this appointment was well underway
    This 2016 promotion would have put him in New York too late to be a key 2016 leaker
    Not so, see 2014 and 2016 timelines explained.
    The men, McGonigal and Shestakov a former Soviet and Russian diplomat, apparently knew each other,
    The question is why Comey chose McGonigal? Who sponsored McGonigal?

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    • bmaz says:

      (Read he became a useful tool)

      Where did you come from to decide who and when a “useful tool” was formed?

      [Also, too, this is the second version of your purported name you have used, and neither are compliant with our, by now, crystal clear rules on names]

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Are you suggesting Comey planted McGonigal in the NYC office to keep an eye on the other agents there? By “useful tool,” do you mean “mole”?

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Sorry, bmaz. I get excited whenever it seems like someone has perspective on that NYC office. Over my skis without any snow.

        • bmaz says:

          No worries. Am not sure the real facts of that are ever going to be known at this point. And, short of Marcy, not sure I would trust anybody to report on such. Any real report would start with Kallstrom and Rudy, but the SOL is done, so it will never really happen.

  16. Tim L says:

    The FBI always gets their man, as long as an accomplice to the criminal grabs them by the neck, drags them to the crime scene, and shoves their face in the evidence.

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