John Podesta

March 23, 2017 – Crowdstrike co-founder and donor to the Clinton Foundation, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with openly anti-Russian sentiments

Dmitri Alperovitch (Credit: Sebastian Gabriel/picture alliance)

“The cyber security firm outsourced by the Democratic National Committee, CrowdStrike, reportedly misread data, falsely attributing a hacking in Ukraine to the Russians in December 2016. Voice of America, a US Government funded media outlet, reported, “the CrowdStrike report, released in December, asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists. But the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report.

(…) The investigation methods used to come to the conclusion that the Russian Government led the hacks of the DNCClinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, and the DCCC were further called into question by a recent BuzzFeed report by Jason Leopold, who has developed a notable reputation from leading several non-partisan Freedom of Information Act lawsuits for investigative journalism purposes. On March 15 that the Department of Homeland Security released just two heavily redacted pages of unclassified information in response to an FOIA request for definitive evidence of Russian election interference allegations. Leopold wrote, “what the agency turned over to us and Ryan Shapiro, a PhD candidate at MIT and a research affiliate at Harvard University, is truly bizarre: a two-page intelligence assessment of the incident, dated Aug. 22, 2016, that contains information DHS culled from the internet. It’s all unclassified — yet DHS covered nearly everything in wide swaths of black ink. Why? Not because it would threaten national security, but because it would reveal the methods DHS uses to gather intelligence, methods that may amount to little more than using Google.”

Hillary Clinton accepts the Atlantic Council’s 2013 Distinguished International Leadership Award. (Credit: YouTube)

In lieu of substantive evidence provided to the public that the alleged hacks which led to Wikileaks releases of DNC and Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta’s emails were orchestrated by the Russian Government, CrowdStrike’s bias has been cited as undependable in its own assessment, in addition to its skeptical methods and conclusions. The firm’s CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with openly anti-Russian sentiments that is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, who also happened to donate at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation.

In 2013, the Atlantic Council awarded Hillary Clinton it’s Distinguished International Leadership Award. In 2014, the Atlantic Council hosted one of several events with former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who took over after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in early 2014, who now lives in exile in Russia.” (Read more: CounterPunch, 3/23/2017)

September 26, 2018 – The former number two guy at the NSA, Rick Ledgett, joins the board of Hakluyt Cyber, a British corporate intelligence firm that helped Brennan spy on Trump

Richard H. Ledgett (Credit: public domain)

“Rick Ledgett recently joined the new advisory board of Halkuyt [sic] Cyber, the specialist subsidiary of the upscale British corporate intelligence firm Hakluyt. The unit, which opened discreetly in 2015, is headed by Nicholas ‘Nick’ Bidmead. A member of the US Chamber of Commerce, Ledgett will help develop Hakluyt Cyber’s business in the US and Canada.

In June this year, Ledgett also became an advisor to the cybersecurity giant Palo Alto Networks. After retiring from the NSA in 2017, he joined the board of M&T Bank. He is also an advisor to Polaris Alpha, Peter Cannito’s firm, which was acquired in May by the infrastructure protection giant Parsons, and to QiO Technologies, a cloud security and data mining company.

Ledgett is also a member of the Alliance for Securing Democracies (ASD), a pressure group founded in response to the hacking of the Democratic Party in 2016. Both Republican and Democratic iconic senior officials including Michael Chertoff and John Podesta, who was targeted by hackers in 2016, are members of the pressure group.

At Hakluyt Cyber, which employs a number of former interceptions staff of Five Eyes alliance member states (IOL 789), Ledgett will work with two British technical interceptions heavyweights, Iain Lobban, who headed GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, from 2008 to 2014, and his former number two, Andrew France. Lobban and France are also in high demand in the cyber sector. Iain Lobban is an advisor to C5 Capital, the fund established by Andre Pienaar, as well as to the cryptology start-up SQR System and Standard Chartered Bank (IOL 757), while Andy France advises Darktrace, Deep Secure, Prevalent AI, RedQ and Telstra (IOL 807, IOL 767). (Intelligence Online, 9/26/2018)  (Archive)

July 13, 2018 – Mueller’s indictment of Russian intelligence officers, contradicts evidence in the public domain

“On July 13th, 2018, an indictment was filed by Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III.

This author is responding to the indictment because it features claims about Guccifer 2.0 that are inconsistent with what has been discovered about the persona, including the following:

Evidence was found over 500 days ago relating to the Guccifer 2.0 persona that showed they had deliberately manipulated files to have Russian metadata. We know the process used to construct the documents was not due to accidental mistakes during the creation process.

The original template document that Guccifer 2.0 used has been identified. It is also the source of the presence of Warren Flood’s name and can be found attached to one of Podesta’s emails (it has RSIDs matching with Guccifer 2.0’s first couple of documents).

The Trump opposition research, which CrowdStrike claimed was targeted at the DNC, apparently in late April 2016, isn’t what Guccifer 2.0 actually presented to reporters. It also didn’t come from the DNC but was an attached file on one of John Podesta’s emails – not the DNC’s. This specific copy appears to have been edited by Tony Carrk shortly before it was sent to Podesta. The fact that Guccifer 2.0’s initial releases were Podesta email attachments was even conceded by a former DNC official.

It appears that Guccifer 2.0 fabricated evidence on June 15, 2016, that coincidentally dovetailed with multiple claims made by CrowdStrike executives that had been published the previous day.

Guccifer 2.0 went to considerable effort to make sure Russian error messages appeared in copies of files given to the press.

Evidence – which Guccifer 2.0 couldn’t manipulate due to being logged by third parties – suggests he was operating in the US.

Additional evidence, which Guccifer 2.0 would have been unlikely to realize “he” was leaving, indicated that the persona was archiving files in US time zones before release, with email headers giving him away early on.

Virtually everything that has been claimed to indicate Guccifer 2.0 was Russian was based on something he chose to do.

Considering that Guccifer 2.0 had access to Podesta’s emails, yet never leaked anything truly damaging to the Clinton campaign even though he would have had access to it, is highly suspicious. In fact, Guccifer 2.0 never referenced any of the scandals that would later explode when the DNC emails and Podesta email collections were published by WikiLeaks.” (Read more: Adam Carter, Disobedient Media, 7/15/2018)

June 21, 2018 – DOJ official Peter Kadzik, who tipped off Podesta, is unlikely to face legal consequences

Peter Kadzik (Credit: Venable LLP)

“Former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik is unlikely to face any legal consequences for tipping off Clinton campaign manager John Podesta to a release of Hillary’s emails, experts tell the Daily Caller.

Kadzik’s conduct in the DOJ was described by Michael Horowitz’s IG report as constituting “poor judgment.” According to last week’s IG report, Peter Kadzik was trying to get his son hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign while Kadzik himself was part of the investigation into Clinton’s private server.

He also emailed Clinton’s 2016 campaign chair, John Podesta, with a “heads up” on when the some of her emails would be released publicly.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 6/21/2018)

October 24, 2017 – Former Podesta Group executive says Mueller team is focusing primarily on Russian access to the Obama administration, the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One deal

“Tucker Carlson gave an explosive monologue last night after a former executive of the Podesta Group contacted the Fox host with “direct personal knowledge” of a report that former FBI director Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel is investigating the Washington Lobbying firm founded by John and Tony Podesta.

The former executive who has been “extensively” interviewed by Mueller’s team, said the FBI probe is now focusing on people in Washington who have worked as de-facto operatives on behalf of Russian government and business. To that end, Carlson’s source made several shocking claims about Paul Manafort and the Podesta Group peddling Russian influence throughout Washington D.C. – focusing primarily on access to the Obama administration, and heavily involved with the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One deal.”

(…)  Details: 

  • Lobbyist and temporary Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is at the center of the Russia probe – however the scope of the investigation has broadened to include his activities prior to the 2016 election.
  • Manafort worked with the Podesta Group since at least 2011 on behalf of Russian interests, and was at the Podesta Group offices “all the time, at least once a month,” peddling Russian influence through a shell group called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU).
  • Manafort brought a “parade” of Russian oligarchs to congress for meetings with members and their staffs, however, the Russia’s “central effort” was the Obama Administration.
  • In 2013, John Podesta recommended that Tony hire David Adams, Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser at the State Department, giving them a “direct liaison” between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
  • In late 2013 or early 2014, Tony Podesta and a representative for the Clinton Foundation met to discuss how to help Uranium One – the Russian owned company that controls 20 percent of American Uranium Production – and whose board members gave over $100 million to the Clinton Foundation.
  • “Tony Podesta was basically part of the Clinton Foundation.”
  • Believing she would win the 2016 election, Russia considered the Podesta Group’s connection to Hillary highly valuable.
  • Podesta Group is a nebulous organization with no board oversight and all financial decisions made by Tony Podesta. Carlson’s source said payments and kickbacks could be hard for investigators to trace, describing it as a “highly secret treasure trove.” One employee’s only official job was to manage Tony Podesta’s art collection, which could be used to conceal financial transactions.

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 10/25/2017)

February 18, 2017 – Opinion: No one mentions that the Russian trail leads to Democratic lobbyists

(…) “The media’s focus on Trump’s Russian connections ignores the much more extensive and lucrative business relationships of top Democrats with Kremlin-associated oligarchs and companies. Thanks to the Panama Papers, we know that the Podesta Group (founded by John Podesta’s brother, Tony) lobbied for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. “Sberbank is the Kremlin, they don’t do anything major without Putin’s go-ahead, and they don’t tell him ‘no’ either,” explained a retired senior U.S. intelligence official. According to a Reuters report, Tony Podesta was “among the high-profile lobbyists registered to represent organizations backing Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.” Among these was the European Center, which paid Podesta $900,000 for his lobbying.

That’s not all: The busy Podesta Group also represented Uranium One, a uranium company acquired by the Russian government which received approval from Hillary Clinton’s State Department to mine for uranium in the U.S. and gave Russia twenty percent control of US uranium. The New York Times reported Uranium One’s chairman, Frank Guistra, made significant donations to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for one speech from a Russian investment bank that has “links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.” Notably, Frank Giustra, the Clinton Foundation’s largest and most controversial donor, does not appear anywhere in Clinton’s “non-private” emails. It is possible that the emails of such key donors were automatically scrubbed to protect the Clinton Foundation.

Let’s not leave out fugitive Ukrainian oligarch, Dymtro Firtash. He is represented by Democratic heavyweight lawyer, Lanny Davis, who accused Trump of “inviting Putin to commit espionage” (Trump’s quip: If Putin has Hillary’s emails, release them) but denies all wrongdoing by Hillary.

(…) Lobbying for Russia is a bi-partisan activity. Gazprombank GPB, a subsidiary of Russia’s third largest bank, Gazprombank, is represented by former Sen. John Breaux, (D., La.), and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R., Miss.), as main lobbyists on “banking laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions.” The Breaux-Lott client is currently in the Treasury Department list of Russian firms prohibited from debt financing with U.S. banks.” (Read more: Forbes, 2/18/2017)

January 31, 2017 – John Podesta sets up fundraising meetings for Fusion GPS after Trump’s election victory

(Credit: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

“Former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was one of Fusion GPS’s “most helpful” resources in an effort to raise money after the 2016 election to continue investigating President Donald Trump, the co-founders of the opposition research firm revealed in a book released on Nov. 26.

Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the co-founders of Fusion GPS, wrote in “Crime in Progress” that Podesta provided welcome support in early 2017 for an effort to raise money to fund The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), a nonprofit group former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer Daniel Jones created on Jan. 31, 2017.

Podesta agreed during a meeting with Simpson in early 2017 to contact potential donors to help arrange meetings with Fusion GPS and Jones, according to the book.

“In mid-February [2017] and then again in early March, Jones — supported by Fritsch and Simpson — took prospecting trips in the West. They didn’t know the tech community well, so before heading out, they sought some door openers and validators from the world they knew best,” the authors wrote.

“One of the most helpful” resources turned out to be Podesta, according to Simpson and Fritsch.

“Podesta agreed to contact some friends out west on Jones’s behalf and told him to drop his name in talks with other potential supporters,” they said. “It was a brave gesture: He could have easily chosen to stay out of it altogether, given the fact that he had served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 12/02/2019)  (Archive)

January, 2017 to Present: Former top staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein may be directing the post-election efforts of Fusion GPS

Daniel J. Jones (Credit: The Guardian)

“New evidence suggests that a former top staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) may be directing the post-election efforts of Fusion GPS, a Democrat-linked political opposition research firm, to vindicate a series of memos alleging illegal collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Congressional documents and recently leaked texts between Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and a registered foreign agent for a Russian aluminum oligarch indicate that Daniel J. Jones is intimately involved with ongoing efforts to retroactively validate a series of salacious and unverified memos produced by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent, and Fusion GPS. The dossier, which declassified documents show was used as a basis for securing secret wiretaps on Trump campaign affiliates, was reportedly jointly funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

(…) “The former Feinstein staffer’s participation in ongoing efforts to retroactively validate the dossier was first publicly hinted at in January in several inquiry letters from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to various Democratic party leaders who were likely responsible for funding Fusion GPS’s 2016 dossier work, including John Podesta, Donna Brazile, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“Understanding the extent of the DNC’s knowledge of, and interactions with, Mr. Steele and others involved in Fusion GPS’s work is essential to this inquiry,” the two senators wrote.

“In light of this, by February 8, 2018, please answer the following questions and provide the following requested documents.” The twelfth item the lawmakers requested, which appears to be the first time Jones’s name was publicly mentioned in connection with the dossier, was all communications between the letters’ recipients and a host of characters involved with the dossier and its financing, creation, and dissemination:

“For the period from March 2016 through January 2017, please provide all communications to, from, copying, or relating to: Fusion GPS; Bean LLC; Glenn Simpson; Mary Jacoby; Peter Fritsch; Tom Catan; Jason Felch; Neil King; David Michaels; Taylor Sears; Patrick Corcoran; Laura Sego; Jay Bagwell; Erica Castro; Nellie Ohr; Rinat Akhmetshin; Ed Lieberman; Edward Baumgartner; Orbis Business Intelligence Limited; Orbis Business International Limited.; Walsingham Training Limited; Walsingham Partners Limited; Christopher Steele; Christopher Burrows; Sir Andrew Wood, Paul Hauser;4 Oleg Deripaska; Cody Shearer; Sidney Blumenthal; Jon Winer; Kathleen Kavalec; Victoria Nuland; Daniel Jones; Bruce Ohr; Peter Strzok; Andrew McCabe; James Baker; Sally Yates; Loretta Lynch; John Brennan.”

The grouping of the names is a story in itself: the first 15 names (through Nellie Ohr) are those of Fusion GPS’s principals and key staff in 2016; the next 12 (through Deripaska) are connected to Steele and a Russian oligarch sanctioned by the United States, the next two (Shearer and Blumenthal) are longtime Clinton hangers-on who reportedly wrote and disseminated their own dossier of unverified allegations; the next three are key Obama-era State Department officials who likely spread allegations about the Trump campaign throughout the government; then Jones; the next six are top Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who used the dossier to secure secret wiretaps on Trump affiliates; and the final name belongs to Obama’s CIA director.” (Read more: The Federalist, 2/20/2018)

November 4, 2016 – The Clinton Foundation confirms Qatar’s $1 million gift for Bill’s 65th birthday, while Hillary was at State Dept

“The Clinton Foundation has confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state without informing the State Department, even though she had promised to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments.

(Credit: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband and sought to meet the former U.S. president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from a foundation official to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The email, among thousands hacked from Podesta’s account, was published last month by WikiLeaks.

(…) Clinton Foundation officials last month declined to confirm the Qatar donation. In response to additional questions, a foundation spokesman, Brian Cookstra, this week said that it accepted the $1 million gift from Qatar, but this did not amount to a “material increase” in the Gulf country’s support for the charity. Cookstra declined to say whether Qatari officials received their requested meeting with Bill Clinton.

(…) Foundation officials told Reuters last year that they did not always comply with central provisions of the agreement with President Barack Obama’s administration, blaming oversights in some cases.

At least eight other countries besides Qatar gave new or increased funding to the foundation, in most cases to fund its health project, without the State Department being informed, according to foundation and agency records. They include Algeria, which gave for the first time in 2010, and the United Kingdom, which nearly tripled its support for the foundation’s health project to $11.2 million between 2009 and 2012.

Foundation officials have said some of those donations, including Algeria, were oversights and should have been flagged, while others, such as the UK increase, did not qualify as material increases.” (Read more: Reuters, 11/04/2016)  (Archive)