Email Timeline Post-Election 2016
February 25, 2021 - Once-secret Stefan Halper reports reveal a wider-ranging operation to spy on Trump campaign
“The goal was to find “anyone” inside GOP campaign tied to Russia who could get dirt “damaging” to Clinton, newly declassified memos reveal.
Once-secret reports show the FBI effort to spy on the Trump campaign was far wider than previously disclosed, as agents directed an undercover informant to make secret recordings, pressed for intelligence on numerous GOP figures, and sought to find “anyone in the Trump campaign” with ties to Russia who could acquire dirt “damaging to Hillary Clinton.”
The now-declassified operational handling reports for FBI confidential human source Stefan Halper — codenamed “Mitch” — provide an unprecedented window both into the tactics used by the bureau to probe the Trump campaign and the wide dragnet that was cast to target numerous high-level officials inside the GOP campaign just weeks before Americans chose their next president in the November 2016 election.
Among the revelations, the memos make clear that:
Almost immediately after the FBI opened a Russia collusion probe on July 31, 2016 narrowly focused on the foreign lobbying of a single Trump campaign aide named George Papadopoulos, agents pressed Halper for information on more than a half dozen other figures, including future Attorney General Jeff Sessions, foreign policy adviser Sam Clovis, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, economic adviser Peter Navarro, future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and campaign adviser Carter Page.
Halper provided significant exculpatory evidence to the FBI — including transcripts of conversations he recorded of targeted Trump advisers providing statements of innocence — that was never disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that approved a year of surveillance targeting the Trump campaign, and specifically Page.
While current FBI Director Chris Wray has insisted the bureau did not engage in spying on the Trump campaign, Halper’s taskings include many of the tradecraft tactics of espionage, including the creation of a fake cover story (he wanted a job at the Trump campaign), secret recordings, providing background on targets, suggested questions to ask and even contact information for potential targets.
But the memos’ most explosive revelations are the sheer breadth of the FBI’s insufficiently predicated dragnet targeting the Trump campaign, and the agents’ clearly stated purpose of thwarting any Trump campaign effort to get dirt from Russia that could hurt his Democratic rival.
“The Crossfire Hurricane investigative team is attempting to determine if anyone in the Trump campaign is in a position to have received information either directly or indirectly from the Russian Federation regarding the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton,” one of the early FBI electronic communications (ECs) from Halper’s undercover work stated.
You can read the memos here:
Halper Source Documents_final.pdf
February 25, 2021 - Russian student, Svetlana Lokhova, accuses the FBI of “a cover-up” by withholding the Halper memos
(…) The source for the allegation about Flynn and Svetlana Lokhova, the Russian student, had been a longstanding mystery.
The claim first popped up in news reports from The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian in March 2017. The innuendo-laden stories said that U.S. and British intelligence officers had suspicions about Flynn’s interactions with Lokhova during his visit to the University of Cambridge in February 2014, when he served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Lokhova, who studied Soviet-era history at Cambridge, has emphatically denied having any improper contact with Flynn, or leaving with him from the Cambridge event. She has told The Daily Caller News Foundation that she left the event with her husband, David North. North has also told the DCNF that he picked Lokhova up from the event.
Lokhova has waged a legal battle to find out how the rumor about she and Flynn made its way to press. She has sued The Wall Street Journal and Halper to get to the bottom of the story.
In a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation, Lokhova accused the FBI of “a cover up” by withholding the Halper memos.
“These documents should have been released four years ago,” Lokhova said in a phone interview.
Lokhova also said that the documents confirmed her suspicions that Halper, who she referred to as “this man who lied about me,” was the source who provided dirt about her to the FBI.
She said that the FBI, members of Congress and journalists knew the truth about Halper’s allegations, but “sat on this and concealed it from the public.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 2/25/2021) (Archive)
June 16, 2021 - Clevenger files FOIA, FBI response suggests it will take decades to release all Seth Rich and Awan documents
“Attorney Ty Clevenger has been trying for years to get to the bottom of Seth Rich’s death and the Deep State FBI’s actions in response to it. Yesterday the FBI responded to his recent FOIA request and Clevenger believes based on the response it will be decades until all the requested records are released.
(…) This week Clevenger received a response from the FBI to his latest request. In his request, Clevenger expanded his scope to include emails with the Awan brothers who may have worked with Seth Rich, emails relating to the supposed hack of the DNC in 2016, and then emails related to the FBI surveilling his client Ed Butowski. (Butowski claimed Seth Rich was murdered by the Deep State and didn’t die from a robbery.)
The FBI’s response to Clevenger’s request is here:
Clevenger believes that according to FBI Section Chief Michael Seidel, the FBI wants to take 26 months in the Texas (Butowski) case to produce records (about Imran Awan and family) that it is already obligated to produce to Judicial Watch in a separate case in D.C. Clevenger says:
After the 26 months is over, it appears that the FBI wants to begin producing 495,862 pages about the hacking of DNC emails. If they’re intending to do that at the standard rate of 500 pages per month, that will take almost 83 years. Maybe they’re saying they could whittle down the 496k records first, then start producing them at 500 pages per month, but we’re still talking about decades.
If I’m understanding the affidavit correctly, the FBI will then produce 3 pages of records about surveillance of Ed Butowsky and Matt Couch (hmm, I wonder why they want to wait decades to produce those 3 pages?). The FBI’s latest response is worse than its 2017 response to my request for records about Hillary Clinton’s secret email server, i.e., when they told me her secret email server was “not a matter of public interest.”
September 16, 2021 - Jake Sullivan figures prominently in Durham's investigation re an alleged 2016 campaign scheme to use FBI and CIA against Trump
“White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan figures prominently in a grand jury investigation run by Special Counsel John Durham into an alleged 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign scheme to use both the FBI and CIA to tar Donald Trump as a colluder with Russia, according to people familiar with the criminal probe, which they say has broadened into a conspiracy case.
Sullivan is facing scrutiny, sources say, over potentially false statements he made about his involvement in the effort. As a senior foreign policy adviser to Clinton, Sullivan spearheaded what was known inside her campaign as a “confidential project” to link Trump to the Kremlin through dubious email-server records provided to the agencies, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Last week, Michael A. Sussmann, a partner in Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of making false statements to the FBI about his clients and their motives behind planting the rumor, at the highest levels of the FBI, of a secret Trump-Russia server.
The grand jury indicated in its lengthy indictment that several people were involved in the alleged conspiracy to mislead the FBI and trigger an investigation of the Republican presidential candidate — including Sullivan, who was described by his campaign position but not identified by name.
The Clinton campaign project, these sources say, also involved compiling a “digital dossier” on several Trump campaign officials – including Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Page. This effort exploited highly sensitive, nonpublic Internet data related to their personal email communications and web-browsing, known as Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses.
To mine the data, the Clinton campaign enlisted a team of Beltway computer contractors as well a university researchers with security clearance who often collaborate with the FBI and the intelligence community. They worked from a five-page campaign document called the “Trump Associates List.”
The tech group also pulled logs purportedly from servers for a Russian bank and Trump Tower, and the campaign provided the data to the FBI on two thumb drives, along with three “white papers” that claimed the data indicated the Trump campaign was secretly communicating with Moscow through a server in Trump Tower and the Alfa Bank in Russia. Based on the material, the FBI opened at least one investigation, adding to several others it had already initiated targeting the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016.
One of those campaign agents was Sullivan, according to emails Durham obtained. On Sept. 15, 2016 – just four days before Sussmann handed off the materials to the FBI – Marc Elias, his law partner and fellow Democratic Party operative, “exchanged emails with the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy adviser concerning the Russian bank allegations,” as well as with other top campaign officials, the indictment states.
The sources close to the case confirmed the “foreign policy adviser” referenced by title is Sullivan. They say he was briefed on the development of the opposition-research materials tying Trump to Alfa Bank, and was aware of the participants in the project. These included the Washington opposition-research group Fusion GPS, which worked for the Clinton campaign as a paid agent and helped gather dirt on Alfa Bank and draft the materials Elias discussed with Sullivan, the materials Sussmann would later submit to the FBI. Fusion researchers were in regular contact with both Sussmann and Elias about the project in the summer and fall of 2016. Sullivan also personally met with Elias, who briefed him on Fusion’s opposition research, according to the sources.
Sullivan maintained in congressional testimony in December 2017 that he didn’t know of Fusion’s involvement in the Alfa Bank opposition research. In the same closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, he also denied knowing anything about Fusion in 2016 or who was conducting the opposition research for the campaign.
“Marc [Elias] … would occasionally give us updates on the opposition research they were conducting, but I didn’t know what the nature of that effort was – inside effort, outside effort, who was funding it, who was doing it, anything like that,” Sullivan stated under oath.
Sullivan also testified he didn’t know that Perkins Coie, the law firm where Elias and Sussmann were partners, was working for the Clinton campaign until October 2017, when it was reported in the media as part of stories revealing the campaign’s contract with Fusion, which also produced the so-called Steele dossier. Sullivan maintained he didn’t even know that the politically prominent Elias worked for Perkins Coie, a well-known Democratic law firm. Major media stories from 2016 routinely identified Elias as “general counsel for the Clinton campaign” and a “partner at Perkins Coie.”
“To be honest with you, Marc wears a tremendous number of hats, so I wasn’t sure who he was representing,” Sullivan testified. “I sort of thought he was, you know, just talking to us as, you know, a fellow traveler in this — in this campaign effort.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 9/23/2021) (Archive)
September 16, 2021 - Durham includes a teasing excerpt from Sussmann's December 2017 Congressional testimony regarding "the client"...who is it?
“…The entire exchange raises the question: Who, very precisely, is the “client” that Sussmann refers to? His billing for the described activities—which include his meeting with the FBI’s Baker—went to the Clinton Campaign. But the Clinton Campaign can’t engage in conversations with Sussmann. So who was the person he spoke with? Was it Marc Elias, the General Counsel for the Clinton Campaign? But Elias would not strictly speaking have been his “client”. He would have been his client’s lawyer. Which leads to the question, When Sussmann refers to his “client”, is he referring to Hillary Clinton in person?
Notice that at the beginning Sussmann openly states that his meeting with Baker was at the direction of his “client”. Later he tries to qualify that, but only in the sense that he and his “client” are on the same page so “direction” wasn’t really necessary.
Q: When you decided to engage the two principals, one [the FBI’s Baker] in September,  and the general counsel of “Agency-2” in December, you were doing that on your own volition, based on information another client provided you. Is that correct?
A: No. [ He was not simply acting on his own.]
Q: So what was — so did your client direct you to have those conversations?
A: Yes. [He was acting at the explicit direction of his client in contacting Baker.]
Q: Okay. And your client also was witting of you going to [Agency-2] in February to disclose the information that individual had provided you?
A: Yes. [In February, 2017, with Trump in the WH, Sussmann is still working the Alfa Bank hoax at the direction of this client.]
Q: Okay. I want to ask you, so you mentioned that your client directed you to have these engagements with the FBI and [redacted] and to disseminate the information that client provided you. Is that correct?
A: Well, I apologize for the double negative. It isn’t not correct, but when you say my client directed me, we had a conversation, as lawyers do with their clients, about client needs and objectives and the best course to take for a client. And so it may have been a decision that we came to together. I mean, I don’t want to imply that I was sort of directed to do something against my better judgment or that we were in any sort of conflict, but this was — I think it’s most accurate to say it was done on behalf of my client.
Unfortunately, Durham only presents this tantalizing exchange as evidence that Sussmann directly contradicted—to Congress—what he had said to Baker.” (Read more: Meaning In History, 9/16/2021) (Archive)
September 16, 2021 - Opinion: Sussman's indictment demonstrates how Hillary Clinton is the most systemically manipulative politician of our lifetime
“The Indictment of Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman for allegedly lying to the FBI has a lot of people grumbling about how long it took prosecutor John Durham to finally come up with an indictment of someone with regard to the Russia collusion hoax. And even then, while Sussman was an important lawyer at an important Democrat operative law firm, his indictment has a “that’s it?” feel to it.
But, the 27-page Indictment is a wealth of information, and hopefully a roadmap to wider and more substantial prosecutions (you can’t take my hope away!). What the indictment demonstrates is that the Russia collusion claim leveled against Donald Trump and the Trump campaign was a fabrication of Hillary Clinton operatives who peddled the fraud to the media and FBI, allowing Clinton to use the media reports in the campaign against Trump.
Much like the fabricated Steele Dossier, also paid for and arranged by Clinton operatives, Hillary Clinton and Clintonworld perpetrated a massive fraud on the American public which not only manipulated the election process but also froze the Trump presidency and nearly paralyzed the nation politically for years.
We have had some pretty terrible politicians in our lifetime, and it’s always dangerous to say “the worst” — but the Russia collusion hoax fabricated by Hillary Clinton operatives proves beyond little doubt that Hillary Clinton is the most systemically manipulative politician of our lifetime. (Read more: Legal Insurrection, 9/16/2021) (Archive)
September 16, 2021 - A look at Tech Executive 1 mentioned in Durham's indictment of Michael Sussmann
(…) the indictment alleges, Sussmann was working for the Clinton campaign and another client — an unidentified cyber expert and executive (Tech Executive-1) — who was expecting to get an important government cybersecurity job if Clinton was elected. (The executive made clear that he — the indictment describes a he — had no interest in working for Trump.)
What Durham describes in the indictment will confirm many people in their most cynical perceptions of a sinister Washington deep state. Tech Executive-1 owned Internet companies that offered Domain Name Service “resolution services.” The indictment explains that these involve the lucrative business of translating recognizable Internet domain names (e.g., http://www.google.com) to numerical IP addresses (e.g. 123.456.7.89.). These private companies have arrangements with the government that provide them with access to a great deal of nonpublic information about Internet traffic.
The government provides this privileged access because the companies are supposed to help with cybersecurity. But Tech Executive-1 and Perkins Coie are said to have exploited this access for political purposes.
Tech Executive-1 was having contact with Sussmann and another Perkins Coie lawyer (who is not identified in the indictment, but appears to be Marc Elias, who was the main lawyer at the firm for Clinton and the DNC), and with what is identified as a “U.S. investigative firm.” That firm appears to be Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson’s oppo-research outfit that was retained by Perkins Coie, on behalf of the Clinton campaign, to conduct opposition research on Donald Trump — the exercise that resulted in the farcical “Steele Dossier,” generated principally by Christopher Steele, the former British spy recruited by Simpson for that purpose.
In a nutshell, then, people closely connected to the Clinton campaign use privileged access to nonpublic information for political purposes. They concoct it into a political narrative that they know is baseless but can be convincingly spun to suggest Trump is in cahoots with Putin. They then simultaneously peddle that story line to the media and the FBI — the latter of which opens an investigation of Trump because the Clinton team, in this instance Sussmann, misrepresents its intentions. Sussmann was supposedly bringing this alarming “evidence” to the FBI not for political purposes but because he and his associates were well-meaning citizens concerned about national security. Naturally in this cozy world, Sussmann is a former Department of Justice cybersecurity official who traded on his long-standing professional relationship with Baker, the Bureau’s lawyer.
The indictment details that researchers at Tech Executive-1’s companies were very uncomfortable being tasked to run extensive queries about Trump and his campaign in their databases, but they did it because Tech Executive-1 was a powerful person. The researchers also highlighted significant weaknesses in the Trump–Russia narrative that they were being asked to weave, to the point that even Tech Executive-1 acknowledged it was a “red herring.” But because the objective was to craft a political theme that would damage Trump, rather than to prove an actual national-security peril, this information was kept from the government.” (Read more: The National Review, 9/16/2021) (Archive)
Researcher @FOOL_NELSON tweets compelling information that suggest who Tech Executive 1 could be:
NEW: McCain’s committee enlisted Dan Jones to examine the Trump-Alfa server connection… Furthermore, on August 18, 2021 Alfa deposed Jones and he is now trying to seek a declaratory judgement that exhibits for the deposition are confidential. (H/t @walkafyre and @joyofsiam2) https://t.co/eflgMMNU9G pic.twitter.com/LfHsSpCteT
— FOOL NELSON (@FOOL_NELSON) September 15, 2021
3/ Given “Max/@michaelsuss‘s client” was a “John McCain Republican”, Joffe is a good candidate given he donated to a Republican while living in Arizona and his company @Neustar has been represented by Perkins Coie. https://t.co/CfvZA1tgdi https://t.co/mGc8GqYXAc pic.twitter.com/AtJvkbwobL
— FOOL NELSON (@FOOL_NELSON) September 15, 2021
— FOOL NELSON (@FOOL_NELSON) September 16, 2021
7/ Rodney Joffe is hypothetically Tech executive-1 in the #Durham indictment.
— FOOL NELSON (@FOOL_NELSON) September 17, 2021
— FOOL NELSON (@FOOL_NELSON) September 17, 2021
— FOOL NELSON (@FOOL_NELSON) September 17, 2021
— FOOL NELSON (@FOOL_NELSON) September 17, 2021
September 16, 2021 - Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for coordinating and communicating Alfa Bank allegations
On pages 6 and 7 of the Sussmann indictment, “Tech Executive-1” is most likely Rodney Joffe of Neustar and is now a target of the investigation. “Campaign Lawyer-1” is Marc Elias who until recently was a partner with Perkins Coie. The “U.S. Investigative Firm” is probably Fusion GPS.
September 16, 2021 - Sussmann's indictment names members of the Clinton campaign staff involved in Alfa Bank allegations
From the Sussmann indictment, pages 16 and 17 (paragraph e in particular), Hillary’s campaign manager was Robby Mook. Jennifer Palmieri was Hillary’s communications director, and Jake Sullivan was Hillary’s foreign policy advisor.
September 16, 2021 - The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer allegedly identified as “Reporter-2” in the Sussmann indictment
“I have a column today in the Hill on the indictment of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann by Special Counsel John Durham. The indictment fills in a great number of gaps on one of the Russian collusion allegations pushed by the Clinton campaign: Alpha bank. Sussman and others reportedly pushed the implausible claim that the Russian bank served as a conduit for communications between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The indictment removes the identity of key actors like a “Tech Executive” who used his connections with an Internet company to help the Clinton campaign (and said he was promised a top cyber security position in the widely anticipated Clinton Administration). One of those figures however may have been identified: “Reporter-2.” Atlantic staff writer Franklin Foer wrote an article for Slate that seems to track the account of the indictment and, as such, raises questions over his role as a conduit for the Clinton campaign’s effort to spread the false story.
The indictment discusses how Fusion GPS pushed for the publication of the story, telling Foer that it was “time to hurry” on the story.:
“The Investigative Firm Employee’s email stated, ‘time to hurry’ suggesting that Reporter-2 should hurry to publish an article regarding the Russian Bank-1 allegations. In response, Reporter-2 emailed to the Investigative Firm Employee a draft article regarding the Russian Bank-1 allegations, along with the cover message: ‘Here’s the first 2500 words.’”
The indictment states Reporter-2 published the article “on or about the following day, October, 31, 2016.” That is when Slate published a piece written by Foer headlined, “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?” The story then was pushed by the Clinton campaign.
Foer has not addressed this close coordination with Fusion, including the showing of an advanced copy of his article. He later stated the following in the Atlantic:
“Every article is an exercise in cost-benefit analysis; each act of publication entails a risk of getting it wrong, and sometimes events force journalists to assume greater risk than they would in other circumstances. Before I published the server story, I asked myself a fairly corny question: How would I sleep the next week if Donald Trump were elected president, knowing that I had sat on a potentially important piece of information? In the end, Trump was elected president, and I still slept badly.”
September 16, 2021 - Sussmann indictment states he repeated his false statement to another government agency outside of DC
We won’t speculate who the other government agency is but will note this sentence in the Sussmann indictment:
“Sussmann met with two “Agency-2” employees (“Employee-1” and “Employee-2″) at a location outside the District of Columbia.” …and he again falsely claimed that, “he was not representing a particular client.”
Cybersecurity experts who held lucrative Pentagon and homeland security contracts and high-level security clearances are under investigation for potentially abusing their government privileges to aid a 2016 Clinton campaign plot to falsely link Donald Trump to Russia and trigger an FBI investigation of him and his campaign, according to several sources familiar with the work of Special Counsel John Durham.
Durham is investigating whether they were involved in a scheme to misuse sensitive, nonpublic Internet data, which they had access to through their government contracts, to dredge up derogatory information on Trump on behalf of the Clinton campaign in 2016 and again in 2017, sources say — political dirt that sent FBI investigators on a wild goose chase. Prosecutors are also investigating whether some of the data presented to the FBI was faked or forged.
These sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive law enforcement matter, said Durham’s investigators have subpoenaed the contractors to turn over documents and testify before a federal grand jury hearing the case. The investigators are exploring potential criminal charges including giving false information to federal agents and defrauding the government, the sources said.
(…) The sources familiar with the probe have confirmed that the leader of the team of contractors was Rodney L. Joffe, who has regularly advised the Biden White House on cybersecurity and infrastructure policies. Until last month he was the chief cybersecurity officer at Washington tech contractor Neustar Inc., which federal civil court records show was a longtime client of Sussmann at Perkins Coie, a prominent Democratic law firm recently subpoenaed by Durham. Joffe, 66, has not been charged with a crime.
Neustar has removed Joffe’s blog posts from its website. “He no longer works for us,” a spokeswoman said.
A powerful and influential player in the tech world, Joffe tasked a group of computer contractors connected to the Georgia Institute of Technology with finding “anything” in Internet data that would link Trump to Russia and make Democratic “VIPs happy,” according to an August 2016 email Joffe sent to the researchers. The next month, the group accused Trump of maintaining secret backchannel communications to the Kremlin through the email servers of Russia-based Alfa Bank. Those accusations were later determined to be false by the FBI, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Justice Department inspector general and a Senate intelligence panel.
Joffe’s lawyer has described his client as “apolitical.” He said Joffe brought Sussmann information about Trump he believed to be true out of concern for the nation.
Steven Tyrrell, a white-collar criminal defense attorney specializing in fraud cases, has confirmed that his client Joffe is the person referred to as “Tech Executive-1” throughout the Sussmann indictment. “Tech Executive-1 exploited his access to nonpublic data at multiple Internet companies to conduct opposition research concerning Trump,” Durham’s grand jury stated. “In furtherance of these efforts, [Joffe] had enlisted, and was continuing to enlist, the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university [Georgia Tech] who were receiving and analyzing Internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract.”
The indictment also alleges that the computer scientists knew the Internet data they compiled was innocuous but sent it to the FBI anyway, sending agents down a dead end: “Sussmann, [Joffe] and [Perkins Coie] had coordinated, and were continuing to coordinate, with representatives and agents of the Clinton campaign with regard to the data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media.”
One of the campaign representatives with whom Joffe coordinated was Jake Sullivan, who was acting as Clinton’s foreign policy adviser, as RealClearInvestigations first reported. Now serving in the White House as President Biden’s national security adviser, Sullivan is under scrutiny for statements he made under oath to Congress about his knowledge of the Trump-Alfa research project. In a potential conflict of interest, Attorney General Merrick Garland employed Sullivan’s wife Maggie as a law clerk when he was a federal judge. Garland controls the purse strings to Durham’s investigation and whether his final report will be released to the public.
At the time, Joffe was advising President Obama on security matters and positioning himself for a top cybersecurity post in an anticipated Clinton administration. “I was tentatively offered the top [cybersecurity] job by the Democrats when it looked like they’d win,” he revealed in a November 2016 email obtained by prosecutors.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Tech researchers were vying for a $17 million Pentagon contract to research cybersecurity, which they landed in November 2016, federal documents show.
Government funding in hand, they continued mining nonpublic data on Trump after he took office in 2017 — as Sussmann, Sullivan and other former Clinton campaign officials renewed their effort to connect Trump to Alfa Bank. This time, they enlisted former FBI analyst-turned-Democratic-operative, Dan Jones, to re-engage the FBI, while Sussmann attempted to get the CIA interested in the Internet data, as RCI first reported. Investigators have also subpoenaed Jones, who did not respond to requests for comment.
(…) Tyrrell insisted that Joffe had “no idea [Sussmann’s] firm represented the Clinton campaign,” even though he worked closely with Sussmann and another well-known campaign lawyer, Marc Elias — as well as with Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, an opposition-research firm hired by the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on Trump in 2016. He added that his client “felt it was his patriotic duty to share [the report on Trump] with the FBI.”
However, Durham’s investigation uncovered emails revealing that Joffe knew the narrative they were creating about Trump having a secret hotline to Russian President Vladimir Putin was tenuous at best. In fact, Joffe himself called the data used to back up the narrative a “red herring.” In another email, Joffe said he had been promised a high post if Clinton were elected, suggesting he may have had a personal motivation to make a sinister connection between Russia and Trump. He added that he had no interest working for Trump: “I definitely would not take the job under Trump.”
“Joffe was doing what he was doing to get that plum job,” former FBI counterintelligence official Mark Wauck said in an interview. “And Sussmann was working with Joffe because Joffe was needed for the Clinton campaign’s ‘confidential project,’ ” which was the term Sussman used to describe their data research in billing records.
At the time, Joffe was a volunteer cybersecurity adviser to Obama and visited the White House several times during his administration, Secret Service entrance logs show. In 2013, then-FBI Director James Comey gave him an award recognizing his work helping agents investigate a major cybersecurity case.
Joffe is the “Max” quoted in media articles promoting the secret cyber plot targeting Trump, a code name likely given him by Simpson, who has a son named Max. The stories described “Max” as a “John McCain Republican.” In 2017, Joffe, who spent much of his career in the late McCain’s home state of Arizona before moving to Washington, helped rekindle the Trump-Alfa tale by plumbing more data and helping feed the information to the Senate Armed Services Committee, which McCain chaired.
Joffe’s boss during the 2016 campaign was then-Neustar President Lisa Hook, a major Democratic Party donor who publicly endorsed Clinton and contributed to her campaigns. Records show her contributions to Democrats, including Joe Biden and Obama, total more than $249,000. In 2011, Obama appointed Hook to his National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.
(…) Joffe worked closely with another top computer scientist assigned to the Alfa project, who has used the pseudonym “Tea Leaves,” as well as masculine pronouns, in media stories to disguise her identity. The operative has been identified by her attorney as April D. Lorenzen, who supplied so-called Domain Name System (or DNS) logs from proprietary holdings — the foundation for the whole conspiracy charge — and helped compile them for the spurious report that was fed to the FBI, according to the indictment.
A registered Democrat, Lorenzen was tasked by Joffe with making a Trump connection from the data along with the researchers from Georgia Tech, where she has worked as a guest researcher since 2007.
Identified as “Originator-1” in the Durham indictment, she, like her colleague Joffe, is a key subject of the investigation and faces a host of legal issues, the sources close to the case said. Emails the investigators uncovered reveal that Lorenzen discussed “faking” Internet traffic with the Georgia Tech researchers, although the context of her remarks are unclear.
Prosecutors suggested Lorenzen was trying to create an “inference” of Trump-Russia communications from DNS data that wasn’t there.
The DNS system acts as the phonebook of the Internet, translating domain names for emails and websites into IP (Internet Protocol) addresses in order for Web browsers to easily interact. The traffic leaves a record known as DNS “lookups,” which is basically the pinging back and forth between computer servers.
Lorenzen has retained white-collar criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Connolly of Boston, who said in a statement that Lorenzen was acting in the interest of national security, not politics, and “any suggestion that she engaged in wrongdoing is unequivocally false.”
She specializes in identifying “spoofed domains” used for email phishing scams.
In her bio, Lorenzen also said she currently serves “as the principal investigator for a critical infrastructure supply-chain cybersecurity notification research project.” She did not provide further details about the project. However, she regularly trains and briefs federal law enforcement agencies about cybersecurity issues.
A colleague of Lorenzen who features prominently in the project to link Trump to the Russian bank, but who is not referenced in the indictment, is L. Jean Camp, an Indiana University computer science professor who posted the dodgy data on her website and helped propagate the conspiracy theory in the media. “This person has technical authority and access to data,” she said of “Tea Leaves,” the originator of the data, vouching for her friend Lorenzen while hiding her identity.
Camp is a Democratic activist and major Hillary Clinton booster and donor. Federal campaign records show she contributed at least $5,910 to Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 campaigns, including thousands of dollars in donations around the time she and the Clinton campaign were peddling the Trump-Alfa conspiracy theory.
Camp called for a full-blown FBI investigation into the data she pushed in the media. When the FBI dropped the case in February 2017, Camp lashed out at the bureau for closing the Trump email probe after reopening the Clinton email case. In a March 2017 tweet, she fumed, “Why did FBI kill this story before election to focus on Her Emails?” She also called for people to “join the resistance” against Trump.
Another “computer scientist” tied to the project was Paul Vixie, a colleague of Joffe who, like Joffe, gave $250 in 2000 to Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico, who was close to the late Sen. John McCain, who feuded with Trump, federal campaign records show. Vixie, who reviewed the DNS logs and suggested in the media that Trump and Alfa Bank were engaged in a “criminal syndicate,” supported Clinton’s run for president and bashed Trump on Twitter.
“Hillary presented herself as an experienced politician who is prepared to assume the presidency,” he tweeted in 2016. He called Trump a “fake Republican” who “will finish out his life in prison,” he asserted in a 2020 tweet.
The sources familiar with the investigation note that Durham is also using the grand jury to probe whether some of the Internet data files the Clinton campaign shopped to the FBI were forged or fabricated to create the appearance of suspicious Internet communications between the Russian bank and Trump.
Providing the FBI false evidence is a crime. Former assistant FBI director Chris Swecker told RCI that statutes enforcing mail and wire fraud may be invoked as part of the “criminal conspiracy case” Durham is building.
The materials Sussmann provided bureau headquarters in September 2016, in the heat of the presidential race, included two thumb drives containing DNS logs that Sussmann and Joffe claimed showed patterns of covert email communications between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, according to the indictment.
The authenticity of the DNS lookup records Sussmann presented to the FBI in the electronic files, along with three “white papers” portraying innocuous marketing pinging between Alfa and Trump servers as a nefarious Russian backchannel, has been called into question by several sources.
Alfa Bank, which also operates in the U.S., commissioned two studies that found the DNS data compiled by Joffe and his computer operatives were formatted differently than the bank server’s DNS logs, and one study posited that the DNS activity may have been “artificially created.”
Also, independent cyber forensics experts found that the emails released by researchers bore timestamps that did not match up with actual activity on the servers, suggesting they may have been altered. The Florida-based marketing firm Cendyn, which administered the alleged Trump server (which was owned by a third-party tech firm and housed in Pennsylvania, not New York), reported its device sent its last marketing email in March 2016, but the DNS logs provided by computer researchers claimed to show a May-September window of high-volume traffic.
Experts have also noted that the DNS logs Sussmann and his group presented as evidence to the FBI had been pasted into a text file, where they could have been edited.
In the Sussmann indictment, the grand jury described the DNS logs as appearing to be real, but not necessarily so. For instance, it noted that one of the computer researchers — cited as “Tea Leaves,” or Lorenzen — had “assembled purported DNS data reflecting apparent DNS lookups between [the] Russian bank and [a Trump] email domain.” The caveats “purported” and “apparent” indicate Durham and his investigators may be skeptical the data are real.
Also, the indictment stated that Joffe “shared certain results of these data searches and analysis” with Sussmann for the FBI to investigate, suggesting he may have cherry-picked the data to fit a preconceived “narrative,” – or “storyline,” as the computer researchers also referred to it in emails obtained by Durham.
Emails the independent prosecutor uncovered reveal that Joffe and the research team he recruited actually discussed “faking” Internet traffic.
“It would be possible to ‘fill out a sales form on two websites, faking the other company’s email address in each form,’ and thereby cause them ‘to appear to communicate with each other in DNS,’ ” Lorenzen suggested.
One Georgia Tech researcher warned Joffe in mid-2016, in the middle of their fishing expedition, of the lack of evidence: “We cannot technically make any claims that would fly public scrutiny. The only thing that drives us at this point is that we just do not like [Trump].”
Tyrrell asserted that his client Joffe “stands behind the rigorous research and analysis that was conducted, culminating in the report he felt was his patriotic duty to share with the FBI.”
Using nonpublic data from a federal research contract to bait the FBI into investigating Trump could constitute a breach of contract and nondisclosure agreements. Swecker, who has worked with Durham on past white-collar criminal cases, said the special prosecutor may be seeking further indictments on government grant and contract fraud charges.
Washington agencies provide such tech contractors privileged access to massive caches of sensitive, nonpublic information about Internet traffic to help combat cyber-crimes.
On Nov. 17, 2016, the Pentagon awarded Georgia Tech a cybersecurity research contract worth more than $17 million. The project, dubbed “Rhamnousia,” would allow researchers to “sift through existing and new data sets” to find “bad actors” on the Internet. The indictment said the researchers had been provided “early access to Internet data in order to establish a ‘proof of concept’ for work under the contract.” Of course, the government did not pay the researchers to look for dirt on Trump in the sensitive DNS databases.
“The primary purpose of the contract,” the indictment noted, “was for researchers to receive and analyze large quantities of DNS data in order to identify the perpetrators of malicious cyber-attacks and protect U.S. national security.”
Instead, the scientists took the political fishing expedition. According to the indictment, Joffe directed Lorenzen and the two university researchers to “search broadly through Internet data for any information about Trump’s potential ties to Russia.”
The Georgia Tech researchers named as “investigators” on the project included David Dagon and Manos Antonakakis, who the sources confirmed are the two university researchers cited by Durham in his indictment. Antonakakis is the “Researcher-1” referenced in the indictment whom the grand jury said remarked in an email that “the only thing that drives us is that we just do not like [Trump.].”
The original $17 million Rhamnousia contract was approved for five years, federal contracting records show. But the program was recently renewed and has grown into a more than $25 million Defense Department contract — led by the same Georgia Tech research team.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 10/07/2021) (Archive)
(…) According to the sources, Durham also has found evidence Sussmann misled the CIA, another front in the scandal being reported here for the first time. In December 2016, the sources say Sussmann phoned the general counsel at the agency and told her the same story about the supposed secret server – at the same time the CIA was compiling a national intelligence report that accused Putin of meddling in the election to help Trump win.
Sussmann told Caroline Krass, then the agency’s top attorney, that he had information that may help her with a review President Obama had ordered of all intelligence related to the election and Russia, known as the Intelligence Community Assessment. The review ended up including an annex with several unfounded and since-debunked allegations against Trump developed by the Clinton campaign.
It’s not clear if the two-page annex, which claimed the allegations were “consistent with the judgments in this assessment,” included the Alfa Bank canard. Before it was made public, several sections had been redacted. But after Sussmann conveyed the information to Krass, an Obama appointee, she told him she would consider it for the intelligence review of Russian interference, which tracks with Sussmann’s 2017 closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. (Krass’ name is blacked out in the declassified transcript, but sources familiar with Sussmann’s testimony confirmed that he identified her as his CIA contact.)
“We’re interested,” said Krass, who left the agency several months later. “We’re doing this review and I’ll speak to someone here.”
It’s not known if Sussmann failed to inform the top CIA lawyer that he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, as he’s alleged to have done at the FBI. Attempts to reach Krass, who now serves as Biden’s top lawyer at the Pentagon, were unsuccessful.
But in his return trip to the CIA after the election, Sussmann “stated falsely – as he previously had stated to the FBI general counsel – that he was ‘not representing a particular client,’ ” according to the Durham indictment, which cites a contemporaneous memo drafted by two agency officials with whom Sussmann met that memorializes their meeting. (The document refers to the CIA by the pseudonym “Agency-2.” Sources confirm Agency-2 is the CIA.)
Remarkably, the CIA did not ask for the source of Sussmann’s walk-in tip, including where he got several data files he gave the agency. The FBI exhibited a similar lack of curiosity when Sussmann told it about the false Trump/Alfa Bank connection. (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 9/23/2021) (Archive)
September 23, 2021 - Sussmann indictment reveals Huber's investigation of NSA data mining is connected to Durham's investigation of Clinton campaign
Revelations from the #SussmanIndictment led me to info that exposes a much bigger conspiracy!
I’ve found information that connects the Huber investigation into theft of @NSA data to Durham’s investigation of the Clinton Campaign!
It’s worse than we thought!
Yesterday @musescry mentioned my 1st thread on Twitter in May 2018, where I laid out the case that from at least 2015, Hillary Clinton & her oppo research team (Cody Shearer & Sid Blumenthal) were under investigation for having illegal access to NSA data.
1) It seemed obvious from the start that the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was being played to lose. What if there was a second investigation designed to approach it from the bottom up? pic.twitter.com/bcQLhlFf0F
— DawsonSField (@DawsonSField) May 23, 2018
To sum up, Blumenthal was emailing HRC NSA intercepted data & reports until he got hacked by Guccifer.
State Dept released 1 of these emails publicly, not knowing it was NSA reporting. NSA & FBI began an investigation into how Hillary was getting NSA intercepts in private emails.
That investigation led to the FBI’s WFO where it was discovered that contractors had been given illegal access to raw NSA data. Triggering an NSA investigation of all “About Queries” on NSA data.
Same day this was discovered, McCabe & Page were trying to ‘fix’ this issue!
That access was closed on 04/18/16 so another method of spying had to be conducted. While the hunt was on for the “About Query” spies…
Much of this was exposed with the declassification of this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order!
On 10/21/16, the day @carterwpage’s FISA was signed, NSA notified the FIS Court that DOJ National Security Division had failed to mention the contractor access in their annual report of minimization violations filed in Sept. 2016 to renew FISA access for 2017.
My theory is that Page joined the Trump campaign as bait for Spygate to catch those conducting the About Queries. He joined soon after the access was discovered & 3 weeks before it was closed. This stolen intel was then laundered into the Steele Dossier & used to get the FISA.
Now we get back to the current story, Sussmann’s indictment details that the data spying on Trump was run from 05/04/16 – 7/29/16.
So Tea Leaves was spying 2 weeks after that contractor access to about queries was ended. There were likely multiple unauthorized accesses though.
I have a very detailed thread on the indictment. One error though, I thought FBI was Agency 1. It looks like it was Department of Defense, specifically the National Security Agency. This is the new info in this thread.
Perkins Coie lawyer who billed Hillary Clinton’s campaign for creating fake report framing Trump for Russian Collusion is indicted by a federal grand jury under Special Counsel John Durham.#ButNothingsHappening https://t.co/bn2UcdDCB4
— DawsonSField (@DawsonSField) September 16, 2021
Sussman enlisted his client at Neustar to help the DNC & HRC portray Trump as a Russian agent to influence the 2016 election.
TE-1 likely Rodney Joffe participated in that effort days after his company lost a $453M FCC contract, did he hope to get it back?
Regaining a $453M a year contract would be a powerful motive
7/22/16 Neustar loses FCC contract
Late July TE-1 tells Sussmann about the data
7/26/16 HRC approves the plan
7/29/16 PC, FGPS, & Hillary’s staff meet
7/29/16 Sussmann briefs Steele on Alfa
7/29/16 Last date in the data pic.twitter.com/EosJ97j8qg
— DawsonSField (@DawsonSField) September 19, 2021
TE-1 ordered employees of one of his companies to illegally search data that Neustar held as part of a sensitive relationship with NSA.
#Spygate was not FBI spying on Trump, it is an NSA contractor offered a job by the Clinton Campaign spying upon Trump & his associates!
Since 1977, Neustar has had access to the metadata of almost every mobile phone call & text in the US & Canada. They also provided law enforcement with subpoenaed phone records, XXX million times a year. Letting them know who every detective & agent in America was investigating…
That is the contract they were officially notified that they were losing! Half of their revenue & part of their ability to spy on law enforcement…
Seems like a motive to hope a friendly regime would cancel that deal before it was implemented in 2018.
What other business was Neustar doing? Providing data & services for the NSA & their surveillance programs.
Access that was given to university researchers to query information about Trump & his associates.
A great thread on Neustar & their connections:
Who is Tech Executive-1?
Feb 2015 (aprox.)
TE-1 retains Sussmann for assistance with a USG agency
Internet Company-1 used Sussmann as outside council and was a significant source of income for [Perkins Coie]
— Fisher Ames (@nimkef) September 18, 2021
Neustar was hiring a wide variety of Swampy players to lobby the FCC & lawmakers to block the contract change to Ericsson. Approaching both sides of the Swamp in hiring Chertoff & Sussmann.
Neustar focused it’s opposition to Ericsson’s bid on the grounds that they were a foreign company & a threat to US cybersecurity with access to that data.
Intelligence & cyber officials started their Swampy campaign in favor of Neustar keeping the contract https://t.co/dHrHTvAyzE
— DawsonSField (@DawsonSField) September 18, 2021
Neustar was billed as the most powerful company that you have never heard of!
In fact, Shane Harris a reporter rumored to have Fusion GPS contacts, was pushing a Joffe sourced story in 2014 lobbying for Neustar to be given control of ALL of NSA’s phone data so they could claim the govt didn’t possess it. To violate FISA.
An investigation of illegal about queries almost certainly lead to the NSA’s data center in Utah, where federal crimes are investigated by US Attorney John Huber. Huber’s work in early 2017 was considered important, he was an Obama USA’s reappointed by Trump to continue his work.
Huber was assigned the investigation into spying upon the Trump campaign because NSA’s data center was built in Camp Williams, Utah from 2011-2013.
Guess who was NSA’s contractor for that data center? Neustar!
In Nuestar’s 2011 SEC report submitted in early 2012, they report that they now lease 8000 sqft of office space in Utah. It was not in their previous year’s report so it is opened in 2011.
But where in Utah?
I found them in a technology park in Orem, Utah!
Located about 7 miles from the NSA’s Data Center, I won’t share the address. Again that doxing thing.
I also found employees on networking sites who went to work for Neustar in Nov. of 2011 as the data center was being constructed!
In July 2017, Neustar withdrew all of it’s stock offerings as part of a merger & removed the requirement to file public data with SEC so the report from early 2016 shows the office still on their books. Searches show that they may still rent that office today.
So USA Huber was investigating the leaks of data from NSA’s Utah center where TE-1 was giving access to researchsers spying on Trump.
In 2018, USA Durham was investigating FBI personnel for leaks to reporters of classified information about NSA & Yahoo!
This leak investigation exonerated Baker of the leak accusations but left an ‘inference’ that he was a leaker about NSA programs.
Durham was then tasked with investigating Baker for Russian Collusion leaks of NSA data.
Baker knew it was unusual for an attorney to bring him evidence for a case. Yet that is what Sussmann did in Sept of 2016 while he was trying to falsely accuse Trump of being a Russian agent & get the press to cover FBI involvement.
Then Republicans get news they did not expect, that Baker was being investigated by Durham.
Since he has not been charged with this second leak either, it is unlikely that he is guilty & I’ll explain why!
So who is Baker accused of leaking NSA information to? Reporters who claimed they got information from a senior FBI official. BUT who actually got the info from Perkins Coie, Fusion GPS, & Chris Steele!
So Baker was accused of leaks the HRC frame-up team coordinated!
It’s obvious this info was given to Baker instead of CH agents, because Baker was authorized to speak to the press.
Then when provided with the documents by HRC’s team, they called Baker in a planned effort to claim he was the source! All to conceal that Fusion GPS was the source.
This is one of the reporters @Jim_Jordan asked Baker about.
Now imagine if the FBI was running a reporter’s phone records & Neustar is the company providing them to FBI & warning their co-conspirators!
Imagine when Durham realized that the NSA data used to set up the Russian Collusion narrative, was provided to the reporters by Rodney Joffe of Neustar the suspects in Huber’s investigation of providing researchers access to NSA data & ordering them to illegally spy on Trump!
Other researchers including @walkafyre, @FOOL_NELSON, @ClimateAudit, & @codyave, did great work identify many of the players in this case from Alfa Bank court documents & other sources of evidence.
There is solid attribution that the Univesity involved is Georgia Tech!
Individual researchers have been questioned by Alfa Bank in their lawsuit. But I want to connect a few dots from higher in the thread.
IC-1Neustar, gave Uni-1 Georgia Tech, access to Agency-1s data that it had access to due to a sensitive relationship with the US government.
Originator 1 (Tea Leaves) & Researchers 1 & 2 accessed NSA’s data being provided to them by Neustar to spy on Trump & his associates from July 2016 until February 2017.
Durham claims that had FBI known Sussmann was working for Hillary’s campaign to frame Trump, they would have more quickly identified that these researchers were using NSA data to spy on Trump, even AFTER he became President!
Georgia Tech was in the process of finalizing a contract with NSA to access their data to help identify & attribute cyberattacks against the United States.
I missed this in my first read-through. Tea Leaves was planning to sell this data to Georgia Tech to complete the NSA contract.
But Neustar & & Joffe actually got the contract to sell NSA’s data to Georgia Tech. Giving them early access in exchange for spying upon Trump.
Here is the connecting detail. NSA did not sign the contract with Georgia Tech to perform the work until November 2016.
In 11/29/16, Georgia Tech announced that they had received the contract from NSA, an agency of the Department of Defense.
Details from the announcement. $17M to fund the very program described in the indictment. A program used as an excuse & cover to spy not only upon a Presidential campaign, but upon the President of the United States.
I suspect we will find these same researchers & PR specialists leaked President Trump’s phone calls with the leaders of Mexico & Australia in early 2017, damaging our relations with those nations!
Comey even wrote a memo in February 2017 to document that there was illegal spying against the President. Though this NSA revelation probably means that there was no FISA on Flynn, just researchers spying on the National Security Advisor to the President!
In this memo, Comey discusses a FISA on @GenFlynn with Priebus. Then discusses leaks of classified secure phone calls with President of Mexico & PM of Australia. Leaks that probably occurred because of spying upon the White House using the FISA on Page or one on Flynn. pic.twitter.com/kk50MxWd2P
— DawsonSField (@DawsonSField) August 29, 2019
President Trump even took the opportunity to inform Time Magazine in May 2017 that the White House had been spied upon. And did it the night before Comey was fired to make sure it was on the record!
What if I told you the White House was bugged? What if @realDonaldTrump publicized it 15 months ago? What if Mueller is investigating those who bugged the White House? Why are people still ignoring it! #Spygate #MuellerInvestigation pic.twitter.com/vci3oFNCV3
— DawsonSField (@DawsonSField) August 24, 2018
There were likely surveillance devices in the White House too!
Trump took time to point out the secure phone system where the foreign calls were intercepted from.
He also made a big deal about his TiVo & TV, a common compromised spy tool!
19) The President then starts a tour of the private residence portion of the White House. The key feature he shows off? A supposedly encrypted secure telephone! Wonder why that features on a tour where he keeps talking about wiretapping? pic.twitter.com/lBRSSCsi6b
— DawsonSField (@DawsonSField) August 24, 2018
(Republished with permission.)
September 24, 2021 - The Armed Services Cmte. tries to quash a subpoena seeking records of contacts with Dan Jones and his group that promoted the Russiagate narrative
“Armed Services panel secretly fought court battle this summer to quash subpoena seeking records of contacts with ex-FBI official Daniel Jones and liberal-funded The Democracy Integrity Project nonprofit.
The efforts to disseminate a now-discredited theory that the Trump campaign had secret computer communications with the Kremlin extended beyond the FBI, CIA, and State Department to the U.S. Senate.
Under the late Sen. John McCain, the Armed Services Committee engaged a former FBI official and his progressive-funded nonprofit to produce a report on the matter, according to court records obtained by Just the News.
The Senate committee, now under Democrats’ control, successfully waged a secret federal court battle this summer to quash a subpoena that would have forced one of its staffers, Thomas Kirk McConnell, to turn over documents and testify about his dealings with former FBI analyst Dan Jones and his nonprofit, The Democracy Integrity Project, the records show.
A spokesman for George Soros confirms the progressive megadonor was one of the financial backers of The Democracy Integrity Project. Tax records show the group raised more than $7 million in donations in 2017 and hired Fusion GPS — the same firm that produced the debunked Steele dossier for Hillary Clinton’s campaign — to pursue allegations of foreign interference in elections.
The episode, recounted in hundreds of pages of federal and D.C. Superior court records, provides extraordinary insight into how current and former government officials in multiple branches of government were able to sustain a Russia collusion theory on artificial life support for years after the FBI first dispelled it.
The legal skirmish with the Senate also provides new context to allegations filed last week by Special Counsel John Durham, who indicted a former DOJ lawyer named Michael Sussmann for lying to the FBI during his efforts to peddle the same debunked story about the Trump campaign, a computer server at the Alfa Bank in Moscow and the Kremlin. Sussmann was being paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign when he pitched the allegations to the bureau, court records show. He has pleaded not guilty.” (Read much more: JustTheNews, 9/24/2021) (Archive)
Former Pentagon chief of staff Kash Patel discusses the Durham investigation with Maria Bartiromo.
Retired FBI, Mark Wauck, is kind enough to create a partial rough transcript of what Patel said and then shares a few thoughts:
“Below is a transcript of Patel’s statements to Maria Bartiromo this morning. I’ve paraphrased Maria’s questions, but this is as exact a transcript as I can manage of what Patel had to say about the Russia Hoax and where Durham is headed. I’ll add some of my own remarks, but let’s start with Patel:
MB: When do you think the FBI figured out this was the Clinton Campaign trying to take down Trump?
KP: I think they knew right away, and the documents we put out in the Nunes investigation and the Nunes memo and the HPSCI report on Russian active measures show that the FBI knew right away, because the FISA abuse process, now that declassification is complete. And your viewers can read it, that the FBI knew the evidence was fraudulent, they knew the credibility problems with Christopher Steele and they knew the DNC through Fusion GPS and Perkins Coie were piping in tens of millions of dollars into the machine so that they could get up a FISA warrant into President Trump. I think they knew right away which is why I think the individuals at the FBI need to be held accountable.
MB: Will John Durham reel in any big fish?
KP: I believe so. Let me just put this in perspective. When I was running large scale conspiracy and fraud investigations, they took me three, four, five years to prosecute. John Durham is in only his second year of the most political scandal in US history. So I believe in the next 6 months look out for indictments against the folks like Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson for helping to perpetuate this fraud. And look out for individuals like Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. I believe they’re already helping John Durham and they’re cooperating with him to get the bigger fish, like Andy McCabe who is the biggest fraudster next to James Comey. I think you’re gonna see these indictments come out on these individuals at the top. It’s just gonna take a few more months, but I remind your viewers that it takes a little time to work these matters.
MB: No surprise the MSM gave them all jobs.
In a sense this isn’t big news, because we saw the shape of this in Durham’s indictment of Michael Sussmann. In particular the references in the indictment to Fusion GPS (“investigative firm”) and Perkins Coie left no doubt that Durham saw Fusion GPS as key to the actual implementation of the Russia Hoax conspiracy. However, Patel says two things openly that are of bombshell quality.
First, while we knew that the money for the Fusion GPS operation was laundered through Perkins Coie, Patel openly states that the amounts ran to “tens of millions of dollars”. That’s real money in US political campaigns, even in these days. It’s also real money in the world of major law firms, so you can see why Durham has been so focused on Perkins Coie as well as why Perkins Coie is experiencing real difficulty in persuading Durham that they didn’t know what was going on—remember, this money laundering op was almost certainly a violation of campaign finance laws. Who believes nobody at a major law firm noticed the flow of that amount of money through their accounts? Not me and, it seems, not Durham. If Perkins Coie wants to somehow get through this without indictments they’ll need to be very cooperative with Durham.
Fusion GPS, of course, is no more than an organizational euphemism for Glenn Simpson and, most likely, Nellie Ohr. Nellie has, quite likely, been cooperating with regard to Simpson. Simpson, in his turn, will have a lot to offer Durham with regard to the Clinton legal operatives—Sussmann and Elias. Both. This is another reason why I want to wait before jumping to any conclusions about Sussmann cooperating against Elias. Both of these guys are very major players, and Durham won’t be over quick to offer them deals unless he has to.
Second, I was gratified to see Patel confirm my assessment, which I offered quite recently. I stated that, while Page and Strzok may have been big fish within the FBI, in the big scheme of this conspiracy they weren’t truly major players. At the FBI the major players—people who controlled the switches—were: Comey (Director), McCabe (Deputy Director), and James Baker (General Counsel). We’re pretty certain that Baker is cooperating. I doubt that Durham has even sought cooperation from Comey and McCabe. I think they’re major targets—they either go down or they get away with what they did, but their responsibility was too great for them to get a plea deal. Page and Strzok may be able to get some sort of a deal, but in my view they’ll also have to pay a price.
Now, extrapolating a bit from what Patel said …
October 19, 2021 - Aaron Maté hones in on the Perkins Coie contracts with Sussmann-Crowdstrike-Henry and Elias-Fusion GPS-Simpson
“The indictment of Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann for allegedly lying to the FBI sheds new light on the pivotal role of Democratic operatives in the Russiagate affair. The emerging picture shows Sussmann and his Perkins Coie colleague Marc Elias, the chief counsel for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, proceeding on parallel, coordinated tracks to solicit and spread disinformation tying Donald Trump to the Kremlin.
In a detailed charging document last month, Special Counsel John Durham accused Sussmann of concealing his work for the Clinton campaign while trying to sell the FBI on the false claim of a secret Trump backchannel to Russia’s Alfa Bank. But Sussmann’s alleged false statement to the FBI in September 2016 wasn’t all. Just months before, he helped generate an even more consequential Russia allegation that he also brought to the FBI. In April of that year, Sussmann hired CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that publicly triggered the Russiagate saga by lodging the still unproven claim that Russia was behind the hack of Democratic National Committee emails released by WikiLeaks.
At the time, CrowdStrike was not the only Clinton campaign contractor focusing on Russia. Just days before Sussmann hired CrowdStrike in April, his partner Elias retained the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump and the Kremlin.
These two Clinton campaign contractors, working directly for two Clinton campaign attorneys, would go on to play highly consequential roles in the ensuing multi-year Russia investigation.
Working secretly for the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS planted Trump-Russia conspiracy theories in the FBI and US media via its subcontractor, former British spy Christopher Steele. The FBI used the Fusion GPS’s now-debunked “Steele dossier” for investigative leads and multiple surveillance applications putatively targeting Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
CrowdStrike, reporting to Sussmann, also proved critical to the FBI’s work. Rather than examine the DNC servers for itself, the FBI relied on CrowdStrike’s forensics as mediated by Sussmann.
The FBI’s odd relationship with the two Democratic Party contractors gave Sussmann and Elias unprecedented influence over a high-stakes national security scandal that upended U.S. politics and ensnared their political opponents. By hiring CrowdStrike and Fusion GPS, the Perkins Coie lawyers helped define the Trump-Russia narrative and impact the flow of information to the highest reaches of U.S. intelligence agencies.
The established Trump-Russia timeline and the public record, including overlooked sworn testimony, congressional and Justice Department reports, as well as news accounts from the principal recipients of government leaks in the affair, the Washington Post and the New York Times, help to fill in the picture.
‘We Need to Tell the American Public’
In late April 2016, after being informed by Graham Wilson, a Perkins Coie colleague, that the DNC server had been breached, Michael Sussmann immediately turned to CrowdStrike. As Sussmann recalled in December 2017 testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the cyber firm was hired based on his “recommendation.”
Although it is widely believed that CrowdStrike worked for the DNC, the firm in fact was retained by Sussmann and his Clinton campaign law firm. As CrowdStrike CEO Shawn Henry told the House committee, his contract was not with the DNC, but instead “with Michael Sussmann from Perkins Coie.”
And it was Sussmann who controlled what the FBI was allowed to see. After bringing CrowdStrike on board, Sussmann pushed aggressively to publicize the firm’s conclusion that Russian government hackers had attacked the DNC server, according to a December 2016 account in the New York Times.
“Within a day, CrowdStrike confirmed that the intrusion had originated in Russia,” the Times reported, citing Sussmann’s recollection. Sussmann and DNC executives had their first formal meeting with senior FBI officials in June 2016, where they encouraged the bureau to publicly endorse CrowdStrike’s findings:
Among the early requests at that meeting, according to participants: that the federal government make a quick “attribution” formally blaming actors with ties to Russian government for the attack to make clear that it was not routine hacking but foreign espionage.
“You have a presidential election underway here and you know that the Russians have hacked into the D.N.C.,” Mr. Sussmann said, recalling the message to the F.B.I. “We need to tell the American public that. And soon.”
But the FBI was not ready to point the finger at Russia. As the Senate Intelligence Committee later reported, “CrowdStrike still had not provided the FBI with forensic images nor an unredacted copy of their [CrowdStrike’s] report.”
Instead of waiting for the FBI, the DNC went public with the Russian hacking allegation on its own. On June 14, 2016, the Washington Post broke the news that CrowdStrike was accusing Russian hackers of infiltrating the DNC’s computer network and stealing data. Sussmann and Henry were quoted as sources. According to the Times’ account, the DNC approached the Post “on Mr. Sussmann’s advice.”
‘We Just Don’t Have the Evidence’
The Washington Post’s June 2016 story, generated by Sussmann, was the opening public salvo in the Russiagate saga.
But it was not until nearly four years later that the public learned that CrowdStrike was not as confident about the Russian hacking allegation that it had publicly lodged. In December 2017 testimony that was declassified only in May 2020, Henry admitted that his firm was akin to a bank examiner who believes the vault has been robbed – but has no proof of how. CrowdStrike, Henry disclosed, “did not have concrete evidence” that alleged Russian hackers removed any data from the DNC servers.
“There’s circumstantial evidence, but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated,” Henry told the House Intelligence Committee. “There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.”
Read in retrospect, public statements from U.S. intelligence officials indicate that they knew of this crucial gap early on, and used qualified language to gloss it over.
A joint FBI-DHS report in December 2016 – the first time the US government attempted to present evidence that Russia hacked the DNC – describes the alleged Russian hacking effort as “likely leading to the exfiltration of information” from Democratic Party networks. (Emphasis added.)
The report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller of April 2019, which found no Trump-Russia collusion, likewise stated that Russian intelligence “appears to have compressed and exfiltrated over 70 gigabytes of data” and “appear to have stolen thousands of emails and attachments” from Democratic Party servers. (Emphasis added.)
These qualifiers – “likely” and “appear” – signaled that U.S. intelligence officials lacked concrete evidence for their Russian hacking claims, a major evidentiary hole confirmed by Henry’s buried testimony.
CrowdStrike’s admission that it lacked evidence of exfiltration was not its first such embarrassment. Just months after it accused Russia of hacking the DNC in June 2016, CrowdStrike was forced to retract a similar accusation that Russia had hacked the Ukrainian military. The firm’s debunked Ukrainian allegation was based on it claiming to have identified the same malware in Ukraine that it had found inside the DNC server.
Conflicting Accounts on DNC Server Access
The FBI relied on CrowdStrike’s forensics of the DNC servers, but both sides have given conflicting accounts as to why. The FBI claims that the DNC denied it direct access to its computer network, while the DNC claims that the FBI never sought such access. Once again, Sussmann was in the middle of this, and his sworn testimony is at odds with other accounts.
In their December 2017 testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, both Sussmann and CrowdStrike’s Henry claimed that the FBI did not try to conduct its own independent investigation of the DNC servers.
“I recall offering, or asking or offering to the FBI to come on premises, and they were not interested in coming on premises at the time,” Sussmann said. Instead, he recalled, “we told them they could have access to everything that CrowdStrike was developing in the course of its investigation.” Asked directly if the FBI sought access to the DNC servers, Sussmann replied: “No, they did not.” He then added: “Excuse me, not to my knowledge.”
Henry also told the committee that he was “not aware” of the FBI ever asking for access to the server or being denied it.
In 2017 congressional testimony, however, then-FBI Director James Comey recalled that the FBI made “multiple requests at different levels,” to access the DNC servers, but was denied. Asked why FBI access was rejected, Comey replied: “I don’t know for sure.” According to Comey, the FBI would have preferred direct access to the server, but “ultimately it was agreed to… [CrowdStrike] would share with us what they saw.”
And while Sussmann testified that Perkins Coie offered the FBI “access to everything that CrowdStrike was developing,” FBI officials and federal prosecutors tell a different story.
According to the Senate Intelligence Committee, CrowdStrike delivered a draft report to the FBI on Aug. 31, 2016 that an unidentified FBI official described as “heavily redacted.” James Trainor, then-assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, told the committee that he was “frustrated” with the CrowdStrike report and “doubted its completeness” because “outside counsel” – i.e. Sussmann – “had reviewed it.” According to Trainor, the DNC’s cooperation was “moderate” overall and “slow and laborious in many respects.” Trainor singled out the fact that Perkins Coie – and specifically, Sussmann – “scrubbed” the CrowdStrike information before it was delivered to the FBI, resulting in a “stripped-down version” that was “not optimal.”
In court filings during the prosecution of Trump associate Roger Stone, the Justice Department revealed that Sussmann, as the DNC’s attorney, submitted three CrowdStrike reports to the FBI in draft, redacted form. According to prosecutor Jessie Liu, the government “does not possess” CrowdStrike’s unredacted reports. It instead relied on Sussmann’s assurances “that the redacted material concerned steps taken to remediate the attack and to harden the DNC and DCCC systems against future attack,” and that “no redacted information concerned the attribution of the attack to Russian actors.”
In short, the FBI failed to conduct its own examination of the DNC server, and instead relied on CrowdStrike’s forensics. It also allowed Sussmann – now indicted for lying as part of an effort to spread the Russiagate conspiracy theory – to decide what it could and could not see in CrowdStrike’s reports on Russian hacking. The government also took Sussmann’s word that the redacted information did not concern “the attribution of the attack to Russian actors.”
CrowdStrike’s reports on the DNC server breach have never been publicly released. RealClearInvestigations has sought to obtain them under the Freedom of Information Act, but that request remains pending.
One source, who was able to review some of the redacted CrowdStrike reports and requested anonymity because this person is not authorized to publicly discuss them, said that they were unconvincing. “My impression was that CrowdStrike was trying very, very hard to make a case that this was Russia,” the source told RCI. “Their case, to me, was weak.”
Although Special Counsel Durham has recently subpoenaed Perkins Coie for documents, there are no indications that CrowdStrike’s work for the firm is a focus of his inquiry. A CrowdStrike spokesperson told RealClearInvestigations that the company has not heard from Durham’s office.
In response to questions about CrowdStrike, an attorney for Sussmann told RealClearInvestigations: “Mr. Sussmann is not answering questions at this time.”
Henry Struggles, Perkins Coie Intervenes
In addition to revealing a major evidentiary gap regarding alleged Russian hacking, Henry’s December 2017 testimony revealed that Sussmann’s law firm exerted significant influence over the flow of information in CrowdStrike’s handling of it.
Joining Henry at the deposition was Sussmann’s Perkins Coie partner, Graham Wilson, who represented the DNC, and David Lashway, who represented CrowdStrike.
Henry’s acknowledgment that CrowdStrike did not have “concrete evidence” of exfiltration came only after he was interrupted and prodded by his attorneys to correct an initial answer. After claiming that he knew when Russian hackers exfiltrated data from the DNC, Henry offered a sharp correction: “Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated. We do not have concrete evidence that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have indicators that it was exfiltrated.”
In another exchange, Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah pressed Henry to explain why the FBI relied on CrowdStrike. “I don’t understand why the FBI wouldn’t lead or at least have some role in investigating the evidence,” Stewart said. “…Could they [the FBI] conduct their own investigation in a thorough fashion without access to the actual hardware?”
Henry struggled to respond to Stewart’s queries, before finally answering: “You’re asking me to speculate. I don’t know the answer.”
At this point, Stewart noted that Henry had been actively consulting with his Perkins Coie attorney. “By the way, you need to pay him [Henry’s attorney] well, because he’s obviously serving you well today as you guys have your conversations back and forth together,” Stewart quipped.
Shortly after that exchange, the attorney present for CrowdStrike, Lashway, stressed that Henry’s testimony was subject to Perkins Coie’s discretion. Henry was discussing “work that was performed at the behest of counsel, Perkins Coie, Mr. Sussmann’s law firm,” Lashway said. Accordingly, he added, “we would turn to Perkins Coie, as counsel to the DNC, to ensure that Mr. Henry can actually answer some of these questions.”
An ‘Extraordinary Coincidence’
The CrowdStrike-Perkins Coie contract, signed in early May 2016, ensured that Sussmann and his firm would oversee the cyber firm’s work product, and subject it to the secrecy of attorney-client privilege.
The Perkins Coie-CrowdStrike contract is similar to the arrangement between the firm and another contractor pivotal to the Trump-Russia investigation, Fusion GPS. In their 2019 book, Fusion GPS founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch wrote that Sussmann’s colleague Elias “wanted it that way for legal reasons: If Fusion’s communications were with a lawyer, they could be considered privileged and kept confidential.”
After being hired in the same month of April, the two firms also lodged their respective Russia-related allegations within days of each other two months later in June. Just six days after CrowdStrike went public with the allegation that Russia had hacked the DNC on June 14, Christopher Steele produced the first report in what came to be known as the Steele dossier.
Over the ensuing months, the two firms and their Democratic clients actively spread their claims to the FBI and media. Steele and Fusion GPS, backed by their Perkins Coie client Elias, shared the fabricated dossier claims with eager FBI agents and credulous journalists, all while hiding that the Clinton campaign and DNC were footing the bill. “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,” the New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman commented when Elias’ secret payments to Fusion GPS were revealed in October 2017.
After going public with its Russian hacking allegation in June, CrowdStrike had contact with the FBI “over a hundred times in the course of many months,” CEO Henry recalled. This included sharing with the FBI its redacted reports, and providing it with “a couple of actual digital images” of DNC hard drives, out of a total number of “in excess of 10, I think,” Henry testified. When Wikileaks released stolen DNC emails on the eve of the Democratic convention in July, senior Clinton campaign officials doggedly promoted CrowdStrike’s claim that Russia had hacked them.
In congressional testimony, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson said that it was an “extraordinary coincidence” that the Russian hacking allegation (by fellow Clinton/Perkins Coie contractor CrowdStrike) overlapped with his firm’s Trump-Russia collusion hunt (while working for Clinton/Perkins Coie).
Coincidence is one possibility. Another is that the roles of Sussman and Elias behind CrowdStrike and Fusion GPS’s highly consequential claims about Russia and the 2016 election could be pillars of the same deception.
Whatever additional scrutiny they may face, it will no longer be as partners at Perkins Coie. Elias, who was also the Democrats’ leading election law attorney opposing Trump challenges to the 2020 vote, resigned in August to launch a new firm, taking 13 colleagues with him. Upon his indictment by Durham three weeks later, Sussmann stepped down as well to focus, he said, on his legal defense. (Aaron Maté/RealClearInvestigations, 10/19/2021) (Archive)
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November 2, 2021 - Steele's primary dossier source, Igor "Iggy" Danchenko, is indicted by Durham grand jury
Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested Igor “Iggy” Danchenko, a Russian national who was the primary researcher for the so-called Steele Dossier – a compendium of opposition research funded by the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and used to smear Donald Trump as a Russian operative. It was also used as justification for an FBI wiretap application targeting former Trump adviser Carter Page.
According to the New York Times, the arrest of Danchenko is part of John Durham’s special counsel investigation into wrongdoing connected to the Obama administration’s Russia investigation.
Christopher Steele primary subsource Igor Danchenko indictment:
He “fabricated” the allegation that he was given info by @SergeiMillian via phone.
He lied about sources – one being a Democrat party operative/PR exec. pic.twitter.com/GZjqi3y2tj
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) November 4, 2021
Some claims from the Steele dossier made their way into an F.B.I. wiretap application targeting a former Trump campaign adviser in October 2016. Other portions of it — particularly a salacious claim about a purported sex tape — caused a political and media firestorm when Buzzfeed published the materials in January 2017, shortly before Mr. Trump was sworn in.
But most of the important claims in the dossier — which was written by Mr. Danchenko’s employer, Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent — have not been proven, and some have been refuted. F.B.I. agents interviewed Mr. Danchenko in 2017 when they were seeking to run down the claims in the dossier. –NYT
“Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was convicted of fraud on Monday, only after she managed to convince figures from across the political spectrum that her company would revolutionize blood testing.
Holmes, who claimed that her biotechnology firm would create cheaper tests that used less blood, was convicted of four counts of fraud. The jury deadlocked on three counts, and Holmes was found not guilty of four others. She had denied all charges, with her lawyers arguing that her “mistakes are not crimes.”
In addition to lying to investors, Holmes impressed upon many political luminaries, including then-Vice President Joe Biden, the virtues of Theranos.
“This is inspiration. It is amazing to me, Elizabeth, what you’ve been able to do. What’s most impressive to me is you’re not only making these lab tests more accessible … empowering people whether they live in the barrio or a mansion, putting them in a position to help take control of their own health,” Biden told Holmes at a 2015 meeting at Theranos’ headquarters when he was vice president.
She also convinced Gen. James Mattis and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to sit on Theranos’ board of directors. Mattis intervened on Theranos’ behalf with the Department of Defense after a DOD official requested an investigation into the company’s potentially illegal distribution of medical technology.” (Read more: The Daily Caller/1/03/2022) (Archive)
“The Federal Election Commission has fined the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for lying about the funding of the infamous, and discredited, Russian “dossier” used in a smear attempt against Donald Trump weeks before he shocked the world with his 2016 presidential victory.
The election agency said that Clinton and the DNC violated strict rules on describing expenditures of payments funneled to the opposition research firm Fusion GPS through their law firm.
A combined $1,024,407.97 was paid by the treasurers of the DNC and Clinton campaign to law firm Perkins Coie for Fusion GPS’s information, and the party and campaign hid the reason, claiming it was for legal services, not opposition research.
Instead, the DNC’s $849,407.97 and the Clinton campaign’s $175,000 covered Fusion GPS’s opposition research on the dossier, a basis for the so-called “Russia hoax” that dogged Trump’s first term.
The memo said that the Clinton campaign and DNC argued that they were correct in describing their payment as for “legal advice and services” because it was Perkins Coie that hired Fusion GPS. But the agency said the law is clear and was violated.
It added that neither the campaign nor the party conceded to lying but won’t contest the finding. “Solely for the purpose of settling this matter expeditiously and to avoid further legal costs, respondent[s] does not concede, but will not further contest the commission’s finding of probable cause to proceed” with the probe, said the FEC.
The FEC, in a memo to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, which filed its complaint over three years ago, said it fined Clinton’s treasurer $8,000 and the DNC’s treasurer $105,000.
The memo, shared with Secrets, is to be made public in a month.
Dan Backer, who brought the complaint on behalf of the foundation, which focuses on free speech and the First Amendment, told Secrets, “This may well be the first time that Hillary Clinton — one of the most evidently corrupt politicians in American history — has actually been held legally accountable, and I’m proud to have forced the FEC to do their job for once. The Coolidge Reagan Foundation proved that with pluck and grit, Americans who stand with integrity can stand up to the Clinton machine and other corrupt political elites.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 3/30/2022) (Archive)