“Newly released CIA memoranda suggest the tech gurus behind the Alfa Bank hoax also tracked Donald Trump’s movements to devise another collusion conspiracy theory. While smaller in scale than other aspects of Spygate, the Yotaphone hoax represents an equally serious scandal because it involved both the mining of proprietary information and sensitive data from the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and the apparent surveillance of Trump’s physical movements.
( ) …two months ago, as part of the government’s “Motion to Inquire Into Potential Conflicts of Interest,” Durham’s team revealed for the first time that when Sussmann met with the CIA in early 2017, he provided agents with internet data beyond the Alfa Bank conspiracy theory. This data, Sussmann claimed, “demonstrated that Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations.”
The “supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones” were “Yotaphones.” Following Durham’s filing of the conflicts of interest motion, it appeared Sussmann bore responsibility for peddling a second conspiracy theory to the CIA. But the details contained in the government’s motion proved insufficient to understand the Yotaphone angle to Spygate. That all changed on Friday, when the special counsel filed two CIA memoranda memorializing what Sussmann said about the Yotaphones and the data Joffe and his tech experts had compiled.
The first memorandum, dated January 31, 2017, summarized what Sussmann told a former CIA employee in hopes of scoring a meeting with the CIA. Sussmann said his client “had some interesting information about the presence and activity of a unique Russian-made phone around President Trump.” Sussmann claimed the activity started in April 2016 when Trump was working out of the Trump Tower on its Wi-Fi network. That phone was also used on the “Wi-Fi at Trump’s apartment at Grand Central Park West,” according to Sussmann.
The memorandum then noted that “when Trump traveled to Michigan to interview a cabinet secretary, the phone appeared with Trump in Michigan.” The unnamed cabinet secretary apparently refers to Trump’s education secretary Betsy DeVos, whose husband Richard DeVos was chairman of the Michigan-based Spectrum Health in 2016.
According to the notes, Sussmann also told his contact that “the phone was never noticed in two places at once” and was seen “only around the President’s movement.” The memo noted that once, when Trump was not in Trump Tower, the phone was active on the Trump Tower WiFi network. Then, “in December 2016, the phone disappeared from Trump Tower Wi Fi network and surfaced on [the Executive Office Building] network,” the memorandum said, with Sussmann claiming it was the same Yotaphone and that it “surfaced” at the Executive Office Building after Trump moved to the White House.
The Yotaphone is rare, Sussmann told his contact, with only about a dozen or so present in the United States, and Russian government officials often receive a high-end version of the phone as a gift. According to Sussmann, the Yotaphone connected to Trump made a number of WiFi calls to Moscow and St. Petersburg from April 2016 until February 2017.
(…) During Sussmann’s February 9, 2017 meeting with the CIA, the memorandum notes that Sussmann provided the agency thumb drives with separate data files for the Yotaphone by the location of the “domain name system” or DNS lookups, including one for Trump’s Central Park apartment, one for the EOP, one for Spectrum Health Care, and one for the Trump Tower. That data, Sussmann told the CIA agents, related to DNS information, “indicat[ed] that a Russian-made Yota-phone had been seen by [Sussmann’s contacts] connecting to the WiFi from the Trump Tower in New York, as well as a from a location in Michigan, at the same time that then-candidate Trump was believed to be at these locations.”
(…) The data included in those files, however, reflected but a segment of the DNS lookups by the Yotaphones. The special counsel discovered that fact when it obtained more complete DNS data from a company that assisted Joffe in assembling the Yotaphone allegations. For instance, the more complete data assembled by Joffe and his associates showed the DNS lookups involving the EOP began at least as early as 2014, but Sussmann omitted that detail when providing the material to the CIA.
That Joffe and his associates had assembled more complete DNS data related to the Yotaphones than that provided to the CIA—data that disproves the Trump-Russia collusion theory—is a huge scandal: Those allegations indicate an intent to deceive by omission.” (Read more: The Federalist, 4/20/2022) (Archive)