UPDATE: Since initially posting the set-up for the July, 2017, FBI sting operation against George Papadopoulos a few more important research details have surfaced. Charles Tawil, the guy who reached out to Papadopoulos in Greece; and who ultimately gave Papadopoulos $10,000 in cash; was a previous intelligence asset of the CIA and FBI. SEE WIKILEAKS Cables (circa 2006): Paragraph #8, note:
“These undisclosed sources told Zuma that American citizens (not connected with the U.S. Government) were involved. This in part, coincides with another Embassy contact, Charles Tawil (protect), who told our Economic Counselor on November 29 that Zuma had received information from the mother of the King of Swaziland about CIA attempts to kill Zuma using poisoned clothes from the FBI” (link)
Who was the FBI Director in 2006? Why, Robert Mueller of course.
On page #9 of the recent Sentencing Memo from Special Counsel Robert Mueller there’s an interesting paragraph about a $10,000 payment made to George Papadopoulos.
[…] The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned that a man named Charles Tawil gave Papadopoulos $10,000 during a meeting in an Israeli hotel room in July 2017.
Sources familiar with the matter told TheDCNF Tawil flew to the Greek island of Mykonos to meet Papadopoulos and his now-wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos. Tawil invited the pair to Israel, but Mangiante Papadopoulos stayed behind.
Papadopoulos gave the money to an attorney in Greece before traveling back to the U.S., a source told TheDCNF on the condition of anonymity. Papadopoulos was arrested at Dulles International Airport on a return trip from overseas on July 27, 2017. (read more)
Do you see what they did there?
The $10k payment to Papadopoulos was almost guaranteed to be a sting operation; a set-up.
Federal agents were waiting for Papadopoulos at the airport upon his arrival and re-entry into the U.S. If Mr. Papadopoulos had carried that $10k into the U.S. without declaring a U.S. treasury filing, the FBI/DOJ would have nailed him on a treasury violation.
Bringing $10,000 (or more) cash into the U.S., without reporting, is major trouble; add into that aspect the likelihood the set-up included use of an intelligence asset, and the issue can be compounded into laundering money. That’s just the type of leverage Robert Mueller was looking for:
[…] Stanley said Papadopoulos arrived on a Lufthansa flight from Munich that touched down at about 7 p.m. on July 27, and the FBI intercepted him as soon as he got off the plane.
“He was arrested before he got to Customs and he was then held at the airport before being brought to a law enforcement office,” Stanley recalled. (link)
The Mueller directed federal agents were waiting for him; but P-dop left the cash in Greece. I suspect Papadopoulos likely sensed something was askew. The absence of the cash foiled the FBI’s initial plan and that’s likely why they kept him for questioning.
Jail records obtained by POLITICO show that Papadopoulos was booked at the city detention center in Alexandria, Virginia, at 1:45 a.m. the next day. (link)
It was a classic set-up; a classic entrapment sting operation.
Back to the Daily Caller:
[…] Papadopoulos and Tawil met through an Israeli political strategist named David Ha’ivri.
Ha’ivri told TheDCNF said that he introduced the pair “at my own initiative” to facilitate a business deal involving an oil and gas project in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
Ha’ivri said that Tawil “is a part time consultant for companies that operate in Africa and Middle East.” He believed when he introduced Tawil to Papadopoulos that the former Trump aide had “good connections” in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.
[…] Mysterious encounters have become a theme for Papadopoulos, a 30-year-old energy consultant who joined the Trump campaign in early March 2016 after a stint on the Ben Carson campaign.
Papadopoulos, who lives in Chicago, has met with several key players in the Russia investigation.
In an interview in June with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Mangiante Papadopoulos described several “shady characters,” who she said approached her husband during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.
Without naming Tawil, she mentioned “someone we met in Mykonos, an Israeli person who flew to Mykonos to discuss business.” (read more)
Summary: George Papadopoulos and his wife Mangiane Papadopoulos were approached in Greece by a known CIA/FBI operative, Charles Tawil. Mr. Tawil enlists George as a business consultant, under the auspices of energy development interests, and hands him $10,000 in cash to take back to the U.S. Upon arrival at the Dulles airport Robert Mueller had FBI agents waiting. Papadopoulos was stopped and searched; however, he never had the cash because he smartly left it in Greece with his lawyer. Further:
[W]hen he was arrested at Dulles Airport on July 27 after coming off a flight from Munich, prosecutors had no warrant for him and no indictment or criminal complaint. The complaint would be filed the following morning and approved by Howell in Washington.
And when prosecutors filed the complaint the next day they got a spoken order from Howell to seal it, but followed up with a written request that they could take to the magistrate in Alexandria, where they showed up almost an hour later than she expected.
All of it suggests something of a scramble, rather than a carefully prepared plan to take Papadopoulos into custody. (more)