In an attempt to rehabilitate his image as special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation intensifies, Felix Sater is touting the years he spent serving as a source for U.S. intelligence officials, according to a Buzzfeed News report published Monday.
Buzzfeed News’ report on Sater (pictured above on the right), one of President Donald Trump’s former business partners and a figure in the Russia probe, details the years he spent as an intelligence asset for the U.S. government. During that time, according to the report, Sater provided information on several foreign adversaries, including al Qaeda and Russian criminals.
Buzzfeed News spoke to Sater in Los Angeles and reviewed congressional testimony and court documents from the U.S. government about Sater’s work to confirm that:
- He obtained five of the personal satellite telephone numbers for Osama bin Laden before 9/11 and he helped flip the personal secretary to Mullah Omar, then the head of the Taliban and an ally of bin Laden, into a source who provided the location of al-Qaeda training camps and weapons caches.
- In 2004, he persuaded a source in Russia’s foreign military intelligence to hand over the name and photographs of a North Korean military operative who was purchasing equipment to build the country’s nuclear arsenal.
- Sater provided US intelligence with details about possible assassination threats against former president George W. Bush and secretary of state Colin Powell. Sater reported that jihadists were hiding in a hut outside Bagram Air Base and planned to shoot down Powell’s plane during a January 2002 visit. He later told his handlers that two female al-Qaeda members were trying to recruit an Afghan woman working in the Senate barbershop to poison President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.
- He went undercover in Cyprus and Istanbul to catch Russian and Ukrainian cybercriminals around 2005. After the FBI set him up with a fake name and background, Sater posed as a money launderer to help nab the suspects for washing funds stolen from US financial institutions.
Sater in 1998 was convicted for stock fraud. He later went on to work for the Trump Organization, where he helped secure funding for Trump Soho and tried to broker a deal for a Trump building in Moscow.
In 2017, as Sater was working on a deal to sell energy abroad from Ukrainian power plants, he and Andrii Artemenko, then a Ukrainian parliamentarian, approached longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen about a “peace plan” between Russia and Ukraine. Cohen delivered the plan, a Russia-friendly policy that would have led to the easing of sanctions, to the White House after Trump took office.
Read Buzzfeed News’ entire report here.