Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA intelligence officer who is now a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, has written a lengthy analysis of why Russian intelligence agents would have seen President Donald Trump as the perfect target for their operations.
Writing in Just Security, Mowatt-Larssen says that Trump possesses all of “the classical vulnerabilities that intelligence officers seek to identify and exploit including sexual indiscretions, greed, corruption, revenge, and most of all, ego.”
While assessing Trump’s fitness to be an asset, Russian officials would begin slowly by “initiating mutually beneficial activity to test receptiveness to a deepening relationship” — such as, say, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow.
Mowatt-Larssen then explains how Trump’s announced presidential run must have proven irresistible for Russian agents — and he says that any work trying to reach out to the Trump campaign would have been done gradually and slowly, rather than simply diving in with a plan to collude.
“In carrying out the election operation, it is possible Russian intelligence may never have felt the need to confront Trump directly with any compromising material (Kompromat) they had collected, particularly if they assessed that it was not sufficiently serious to serve as the basis of meaningful control over him,” he writes. “Trump’s potentially greatest vulnerability to compromise is that he is a natural autocrat. He admires Putin because the Russian strong man is a role model for Trump. It is no surprise that the number of the Russian overtures to the Trump campaign included dangling the carrot of a meeting with Putin—they knew that was a prize Trump coveted.”
The entire piece is worth reading and can be found at this link.