On January 23, 2023 the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued two press releases about the charging and subsequent arrest of Charles F. McGonigal, the former FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the New York Counterintelligence Division, as well as the the charging and arrest of a former Russian diplomat, Sergey Shestakov who allegedly colluded with the former FBI SAC to provide illegal assistance to a Russian oligarch, Oleg Daripaska who had been sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2018.
McGonigal (pictured above) and Shestakov are alleged to have launched an investigation into another Russian oligarch and rival of Daripaska by launching an investigation into that oligarch identified in the indictment as “Oligarch-2” in exchange for concealed payments even while McGonigal was still employed by the FBI prior to his retirement in 2018.
The Criminal Indictment lays out the allegations and charges that have been brought against both defendants, Charles McGonical and Sergey Shestakov.
Before we get to the two DOJ press releases, it is important to know that McGonical has another “claim to fame” inasmuch as he was involved in the initiation of the infamous and discredited FBI investigation, code-named “Operation Crossfire Hurricane” which targeted former President Trump’s campaign team because of allegations that they colluded with Russia to enable Trump to win the 2016 election.
While McGonigal involvement in Operation Crossfire Hurricane is neither part of the DOJ press releases nor the Criminal indictment, it was, however, the focus of a Newsweek news report, Charles McGonigal’s Role in Trump-Russia Investigation
That was published on January 24, 2023, the day after the DOJ press releases were published. Here is how the Newsweek report began:
Charles McGonigal, 54, the former head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York office, is accused of secretly working with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, including attempting to have him removed from the U.S. sanctions list in 2019. McGonigal, along with Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a U.S. citizen and a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices, has also been charged with allegedly being paid by Deripaska to investigate a rival oligarch, and then attempting to conceal the payments.
During his time in the FBI, McGonigal participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska.
He was also one of the key figures who helped trigger special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into allegations that Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia to help the former president win the 2016 election.
Here are the links to the two DOJ press releases:
Retired FBI Executive Charged with Concealing $225,000 in Cash Received from Former Intelligence Officer: Charles F. McGonical Arrested in New York
The latter press release began with the following excerpt:
A former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI New York Counterintelligence Division and a former Soviet and Russian diplomat were arrested Saturday on criminal charges related to their alleged violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and conspiring to commit money laundering and money laundering.
According to court documents, Charles F. McGonigal, 54, of New York City, and Sergey Shestakov, 69, of Morris, Connecticut, are charged in a five-count indictment unsealed today in the Southern District of New York with violating and conspiring to violate the IEEPA, and with conspiring to commit money laundering and money laundering.
According to court documents, on April 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Oleg Deripaska as a Specially Designated National (SDN) in connection with its finding that the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security and foreign policy. According to the U.S. Treasury, Deripaska was sanctioned for having acted or purported to act on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation and for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy.
McGonigal is a former Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York who retired in 2018. While working at the FBI, McGonigal supervised and participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska. Sergey Shestakov is a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a U.S. citizen and a Russian interpreter for courts and government.
Given the extremely serious and over-arching nature of the crimes alleged in the criminal indictment should compel the FBI to immediately launch a comprehensive investigation into all cases that were handled by McGonigal to make certain that there are no irregularities indicative of malfeasance or possible corruption.
My concern is that McGonigal’s malfeasance may not have been a one and only situation but that he may have committed other illegal acts involving other cases in which he leveraged his high position at the FBI.
(Certainly his involvement in Operation Crossfire Hurricane raises additional suspicions.)
As the SAC for Counter-intelligence McGonical dealt with threats posed by America’s adversaries to the national security of the United States and efforts to secure intelligence about those adversaries and access to highly sensitive classified information with extreme national security implications.
In that position he would have worked in close coordination with high-ranking members of other ale enforcement and intelligence agencies and could have influenced the way that they operated particularly in cases that were of mutual interest.
Now we must turn to Sergey Shestakov, presumably a naturalized United States citizen who was formerly a Soviet/Russian diplomat and translator for the Russian government who, according to the indictment served as a translator and as a diplomat for the Ministry of Foreign affairs of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation from 1979 until his retirement in 1993, often in New York. The indictment went on to noted that Shestakov continued to work in New York City and maintained a residence in Connecticut and that among other employment he worked as an interpreter for the federal courts and the United States attorneys’ offices in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
While so much attention about immigration has been focused virtually exclusively on the disastrous southern border of the united States, there are many other elements of the immigration system that are almost never reported on by the media or discussed by the politicians of either party. The failure to address the many other elements of the crumbling immigration system predicated my article, Crisis On The Southern Border: Only The Tip of Biden’s Immigration Iceberg.
Immigration fraud is a major issue and was identified by the 9/11 Commission as a key method of entry and embedding by numerous terrorists even before the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
An important question that must be asked is how thoroughly was Shestakov’s application for lawful immigrant status and then United States citizenship vetted.
Indeed, his immigration file should be carefully reviewed and scrutinized to make certain that he did not commit fraud in that application or, perhaps, received inappropriate assistance from anyone inside the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or inside United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which replaced the INS when the Department o Homeland Security (DHS) was created.
It is worrying that Alejandro Mayorkas has stated that he hd no desire to go after aliens who commit fraud in their applications for U.S. citizenship, even though such fraud constitutes a felony under 18 U.S. Code § 1425 – Procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully.
This crime, according to the statute, carries the following penalties:
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 25 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism (as defined in section 2331 of this title)), 20 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (as defined in section 929(a) of this title)), 10 years (in the case of the first or second such offense, if the offense was not committed to facilitate such an act of international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime), or 15 years (in the case of any other offense), or both.
I wrote about Mayorkas’ attitude about this serious crime inane earlier article: Biden Administration Plans To Protect Immigration Fraudsters.
Finally the fact that a former career diplomat of the Soviet Union / Russian Federation would be employed in an extremely sensitive position by the federal government gives me serious cause for pause. His application for employment by the federal government must now also come under extreme scrutiny.
Translators are in the position to do grave harm to America because they have access to sensitive documents, federal officials, criminal defendants, cooperating witnesses and confidential informants.
In fact, just a couple of months ago I wrote an article about a contract translator who is alleged to have ties to ISIS, Former DOD Contract Translator Arrested for Alleged Ties to ISIS.
Finally, the indictment makes note of another disturbing effort undertaken by Sergey Shestakov as he sought to exploit his relationship with McGonigal as laid out in Item 13 under the heading:
SHESTAKOV Connects McGONICAL to Agent-1, Deripaska’s Agent
In or about the Spring and Summer of 2018, Shestakov asked McGonigal to help Agent-1 obtain an internship with the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) for Agent-1’s daughter in the fields of counterterrorism, intelligence gathering, and “international liaising.” McGonical agreed to help and he requested assistance from a contact in the NYPD, telling the contact, “I have an interest in her father for a number of reason.” McGonical lso informed an FBI supervisor who worked for McGonical that McGonical wanted to recruit Agent-1, who was, according to McGonical, a Russian intelligence officer. Through McGonigal’s efforts, Agent-1’s daughter received VIP treatment from the NYPD. An NYPD Sergeant assigned to brief Agent-1’s daughter subsequently reports the event to the NYPD and FBI, because among other reasons, Agent-1’s daughter claimed to have n unusually close relationship to “an FBI agent” who had given her access to confidential FBI files, and it was unusual for a college student to receive such special treatment from the NYPD and FBI.
This was an apparent effort by the Russians to infiltrate one of the most sensitive divisions of the NYPD.
Could it be that Shestakov’s supposed retirement from the Russian government was a ploy to provide him with a cover to give him the opportunity to seek employment by the U.S. government to create a variety of problems for the United States?
This, of course brings us back to McGonigal and Operation Crossfire Hurricane.
Back in college a took a couple of political science classes. One lesson has somehow stayed with me. Our professor said that when government loses legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens, revolution would be the likely outcome. Could it be that the goal of undermining the Trump Presidency was to not only cripple President Tump’s administration, but to undermine the credibility of the elections as well as his presidency and hence the legitimacy of our government to foment upheaval in the United States?
You may find my earlier article, Radical Democrats Have Become ‘Adversaries of Freedom’ helpful to put this all in appropriate context.
The “last words” will go to former President Ronald Reagan:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.