Congressman wants US intelligence to release documents on Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud

Republican congressman suggests Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud may not have been Russian counter-intelligence threat

Professor Joseph Mifsud
Professor Joseph Mifsud

A United States senate committee is demanding to learn more about the mysterious Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, by calling on the National Security Agency to release any documents it has on him. 

House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes wrote a letter (pdf) to the heads of the FBI, CIA, the State Department, and the NSA requesting all documents related to Mifsud. 

Mifsud has been portrayed as a Russian asset by special counsel Robert Mueller in his indictment against Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who was told by Mifsud of “Russian dirt” on the Clinton campaign before the election that saw Donald Trump become US president. 

In the letter, Nunes points to evidence of Mifsud’s extensive ties to Western governments and intelligence, including the U.S. Department of State and the FBI.

Nunes argues that Mifsud’s true allegiance should be ascertained. “If Mifsud has extensive, suspicious contacts among Russian officials as portrayed in the Special Counsel’s report, then an incredibly wide range of Western institutions and individuals may have been compromised by him, including our own State Department,” Nunes wrote. 

“Alternately, if Mifsud is not, in fact, a counterintelligence threat, then that would cast doubt on the Special Counsel’s fundamental depiction of him and his activities, and raise questions about the veracity of the Special Counsel’s statements and affirmations.”

In April 2016, Mifsud told Papadopoulos that Russia had dirt on rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. Weeks later, Papadopoulos repeated that claim to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who then passed the information to American authorities. The FBI used this conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos as the reason to start the Russia investigation, according to the final report (pdf) by the special counsel. 

Mueller however concluded that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, or that Papadopoulos informed the campaign about what he learned from Mifsud. 

Mueller interviewed Mifsud in February 2017, six months after starting the investigation. Mueller’s report alleges that Mifsud lied to the investigators during that interview. 

And while Papadopoulos served time in prison for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Mifsud, Mueller has never charged Mifsud with a crime for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Papadopoulos. Nunes suggests that the FBI could have been aware of the Clinton campaign emails not from information on the Mifsud-Papadopoulos meeting, but from other sources.

More in World