May 25, 2022 – Sussmann trial: Day 8 – The cross-examination of former FBI agent Grasso

In Email/Dossier Investigations by Katie Weddington

“We’ll start with some important questions posed by Special Counsel DeFilippis on Joffe’s background.

Tom Grasso (Credit: public domain)

Q. And so Mr. Joffe worked on a number of investigations involving foreign cyber threats; is that right?

Grasso: I would say all a matter of cyber threats, yes.

Q. Okay. So does that include nation state threats? Would he be, you know, working with the Bureau on nation state threats?

Grasso: I believe so, yes.

Q. And so that includes some of the big cyber threat countries, like Russia?

Grasso: Yes. At the time Russia was one of our top threats in the FBI for cyber crime.

Q: And so Mr. Joffe would work on Russian-related cyber matters?

Grasso: I believe so. He — I don’t think he was specifically tasked with doing that, but I’m sure the work that he did touched on matters having to do with Russia due to the prevalence of cyber crime activity that comes out of Russia.

There’s our confirmation that Joffe worked on “Russian-related cyber matters.” This line of questioning suggests (but doesn’t outright prove) that Joffe may have had some type of involvement in the biggest cyber security matter of 2016: the “Russian” hack of the DNC.

Of course, these questions could have been the Special Counsel trying to discredit Joffe’s claim (see below) that he wanted to remain anonymous because he was relaying risky information.

Anyway, assuming Joffe was involved in the Trump/Russia investigation, then we are presented with some important questions. Did Joffe inform the FBI’s understanding of the DNC/DCCC hacks? If so, what did Joffe contribute?

Then there’s Joffe’s close relationship with Sussmann and his support for the Clinton Campaign. Ask whether the Alfa Bank hoax was the first time Joffe colluded with Michael Sussmann. After all, it was Sussmann who “scrubbed” the CrowdStrike report that attributed the DNC hack to Russia. As Aaron Mate explained in this crucial article:

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.” (Emphasis ours.)

The DOJ and FBI essentially allowed Sussmann “to decide what it could and could not see in CrowdStrike’s reports on Russian hacking.” Did Joffe have a role in that?

Consider something else. What if Crowdstrike was a patsy, there to unknowingly reach false conclusions of a “Russian hack” based on information provided to them, in part, by Rodney Joffe?

Back to Agent Grasso’s testimony. Here he explains Joffe’s demands that Grasso not disclose his identity:

Q. In the case of the Alfa-Bank-related information that you just described, Mr. Joffe specifically asked you not to disclose his identity to other people in the Bureau; is that right?

A. That is correct, yes.

Q. He didn’t want you to tell even the people at the FBI you were talking to that this was coming from Rodney Joffe, right?

A. Yes, that is correct. He wanted his identity protected, yes.

Grasso paraphrased (on redirect) Joffe’s reasoning to stay anonymous: “This is very sensitive information. People’s safety could be at risk.”

And here is Grasso testifying to the significance of Joffe’s motivations in reaching out:

Grasso explained that these omissions were material because the motivation of a source’s political agenda is relevant to the type of cases they “can open.” (Read more: Techno Fog, 5/25/2022)  (Archive)