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The war between Trump and the CIA

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  • I'm surprised he isn't wearing a hat that says "I don't give a shit about the USA" which is far more accurate.

    AT what point would one consider Trump to be a traitor to the country?


    • The Denial is a part of The Hack.
      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
      Mark Twain


      • Off the rails: Inside Trump’s aborted plan to control the CIA

        In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

        The plan stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

        The ploy to rattle Haspel and perhaps intentionally trigger her resignation unfolded in a lurching and incompetent way, like a bad Monty Python skit, on one chaotic day in early December.

        White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was ordered to fire — and then immediately unfire — the CIA's Deputy Director Vaughn Bishop.

        In his place, Trump planned to install Kash Patel — a former top Intelligence Committee staffer to Nunes who had served on Trump's National Security Council but had no agency experience. In Trump's mind, this could potentially lead to Patel running the agency without needing to get Senate confirmation.

        Trump had spent his last year in office ruminating over Haspel. Some of Trump's hardcore allies, including Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, had been publicly raising doubts in his mind about her. He grew to distrust her and instead wanted a loyal ally at the top of the CIA.

        She wasn't the only national security official the president wanted out.

        Six days after the election, he had fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. He replaced Esper with counterterrorism chief Chris Miller — and then stunned long-time national security hands by installing Patel as Miller's chief of staff. Patel had no military experience and was widely seen as a political mercenary bent on punishing the president's perceived "deep state" foes.

        But Trump told confidants he had bigger plans for Patel: He'd replace long-time CIA veteran Bishop with Patel, and if Haspel quit in protest, then Patel or another loyalist could lead the CIA.

        Patel had found favor with Trump when he played a central role in Republican efforts to counterprogram special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Patel was the key author of a memo in which Nunes accused the Justice Department and the FBI of abusing surveillance laws as part of a politically motivated effort to take down Trump. An inspector general later validated some of the Republican criticisms of the DOJ's process.

        Trump had also become convinced that there were still all kinds of classified documents lying around, inside the CIA, that would harm his enemies — former President Obama, Hillary Clinton, former CIA Director John Brennan and others. He regarded Patel as somebody he could trust to do whatever he asked without challenging, slow-walking, questioning his judgment, or asking too many annoying questions.

        Patel pushed back on this reporting in a text message to Axios in which he said such a view of him is a "total lie about how I behave with the president" and "completely" mischaracterizes his "ability." He declined to comment on the president’s early December plan.

        Trump had quickly brought Patel into his inner circle, trusting him with sensitive assignments, which included dispatching him to Damascus last year for secret hostage talks with the Assad regime.

        Patel was traveling in Asia with acting Defense Secretary Miller when Trump abruptly summoned him back to Washington on Dec. 8. The Pentagon declined at the time to answer questions on why Patel was called back.

        Given the tensions running through the building after Trump had replaced top officials with loyalists, it set off feverish speculation among senior Pentagon staff.

        Patel had to link through multiple commercial flights to get back in a hurry. Meanwhile, Trump instructed Meadows to tell CIA Director Haspel he was firing Deputy Director Bishop and replacing him with Patel. Trump planned to name Patel deputy director of the CIA on Dec. 11. By that day, a Friday, the paperwork had already been drafted to formalize Patel's appointment.

        As soon as Cipollone learned of this, he spoke with the president and argued against installing Patel in that powerful position.

        That same day, Haspel decided for the first time in weeks to attend the president's daily intelligence briefing. Reports she was on the ropes had been swirling for weeks and she'd been steering clear of the West Wing — a COVID-19 hot zone. During the briefing that day, Haspel deftly reminded Trump of what had initially impressed him about her: As Trump often put it, she was tough and good at killing terrorists.

        After the briefing ended and Haspel had left the room, Trump asked a small group of his senior aides what they thought about her.

        Pence delivered a full-throated defense of Haspel, calling the CIA director a patriot, praising her job performance, and trying to reassure Trump that she had his back. Cipollone had also repeatedly defended Haspel to the president.

        Trump abruptly switched course, deciding to call off the plan to install Patel. But there was one glitch: Just down the hall in the chief of staff's office, Meadows had already told Haspel that Patel would be taking Bishop's job.

        Haspel responded with the flinty aggression she was renowned for. She said she wouldn't stand for it, and that she would resign before allowing Patel to assume a position as her deputy. Meadows had presented it as a fait accompli, but this was not a decision Haspel would take lying down. Now that Trump had changed his mind, Meadows had to swallow his pride and reverse the order.

        Had Pence and Cipollone not gone to bat for Haspel with such vigor — and had Haspel skipped the daily briefing that day — Patel likely would have become the CIA's deputy director or chief.

        Instead, Trump awarded loyalist Nunes the Medal of Freedom — the nation's highest civilian honor and the same recognition President Reagan once bestowed on Mother Teresa.

        Meanwhile, Michael Ellis, another loyalist and former Nunes aide who'd worked on the National Security Council, was placed in a powerful post with just days left in Trump's presidency: general counsel of the National Security Agency. Its civil service designation, the New York Times noted, means that while the incoming Biden administration could exile him, it could be more difficult to remove him altogether.

        Even after Pence and Cipollone killed the "Kash Patel for CIA" dream, it lived on among outside allies of the president, including Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow and a prominent election-overturning conspiracy theorist. Patel told Axios: “I do want to say on the record that I have never met, spoken to, seen, texted, or communicated with Mike Lindell."

        On Jan. 15, Trump's final Friday at the White House, Lindell visited Trump in the Oval Office.

        Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford caught a picture of Lindell’s notes before he entered the West Wing. Among the pillow entrepreneur's prescriptions for the president was this eye-catching line: "Move Kash Patel to CIA Acting."
        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


        • What better gift could one give Putin, and other assorted pieces of sh!t, than sabotage the CIA. How many other governmental sabotage bullets are lurking in the background or have they all been exposed so far?

          I'm not confident.


          • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
            What better gift could one give Putin, and other assorted pieces of sh!t, than sabotage the CIA. How many other governmental sabotage bullets are lurking in the background or have they all been exposed so far?

            I'm not confident.
            Why do I have a foreboding feeling that Trump's kicking and screaming will result in an intelligence breakdown, leading to a major terrorist attack/international incident that will immediately be blamed on the Biden Administration?

            Nah, I must be trippin.
            "Draft beer, not people."


            • The WSJ sees Durhams latest indictment as a cracking open of the Russiagate fraud and conspiracy, personally I see it, along with the previous, as a shifting the blame from the CIA and FBI to private individuals: still, at least it now partially goes on record.

              John Durham on Thursday indicted a Clinton campaign lawyer from 2016 for lying to the FBI, but this is no ho-hum case of deception. The special counsel’s 27-page indictment is full of new, and damning, details that underscore how the Russia collusion tale was concocted and peddled by the Clinton campaign.

              Mr. Durham charged Michael Sussmann, an attorney at the Perkins Coie law firm that represented the Clinton campaign. Mr. Sussmann is accused of making false statements to then-FBI general counsel James Baker in a Sept. 19, 2016 meeting when he presented documents purporting to show secret internet communications between the Trump Organization and Russia-based Alfa bank.
              In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.



              • Over the weekend, I spoke with a senior Trump administration official with access to intelligence regarding the significance of the Sussmann indictment. He pointed to House Intelligence Committee transcripts declassified in a fight between the White House and Adam Schiff last year. Pay attention to those transcripts, the former official advised, because those made it clear that the FBI knew the Alfa Bank theory was nonsense — but used it to push forward nonetheless on the Russia-collusion theory. That was one reason Schiff tried to stop declassification of the transcripts, and those are the reason that Durham could get the grand jury indictment on Sussmann at all. Some of the agents that worked with Sussmann remain in the bureau, he also said, and that will go to McCarthy’s larger point about the “deep state” and the effort to push Trump out of office. There may also be a broader scope involving former officials in the Obama administration regarding politicization of intelligence, a few of whom have returned in the Biden administration — notably in the State Department. Stay tuned.

                Clearly, more is happening than a mop-up for Durham. It seems highly unlikely that Durham would have bothered with this 18 USC 1001 violation if it only amounted to a “coda.” That doesn’t mean that Durham will be able to secure any more indictments, nor does it mean that Durham can get Sussmann to flip on his former clients, but Durham almost certainly has a bigger story to tell. When he does, will the media exert anywhere near the same energy to highlight it as they put into the Russia-collusion hoax in the first place? You don’t need to stay tuned to know the answer to that question … but stay tuned as well for that anyway.
                In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.



                • Originally posted by Parihaka View Post
                  The WSJ sees Durhams latest indictment as a cracking open of the Russiagate fraud and conspiracy, personally I see it, along with the previous, as a shifting the blame from the CIA and FBI to private individuals: still, at least it now partially goes on record.

                  Indictments for a single-count process crime such as making a false statement normally run a page or two. But Durham’s filing charging Sussmann spans 27 pages and is packed with detail. FBI veterans say the 40-year prosecutor used the indictment to outline a broader conspiracy case he’s building that invokes several other federal statutes.

                  "That is what we call a 'speaking indictment,' meaning it is far more detailed than is required for a simple indictment under [federal statute] 1001,” which outlaws making false statements and representations to federal investigators, former assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker said in an interview with RealClearInvestigations.

                  "It is damning,” he added. “And I see it as a placeholder for additional indictments, such as government grant and contract fraud, computer intrusion, the Privacy Act and other laws against dissemination of personally identifiable information, and mail fraud and wire fraud – not to mention conspiracy to commit those offenses."
                  I've changed my opinion of Durham: his final report will never see the light of day, or be so heavily redacted as to be pointless, and he knows this. Instead he's going after the peripheral players, those hired to create and disseminate the Clinton/Dem disinformation. By doing so he gets to include vast incidentally related detail as public court records that ties the civil service players into the fraud, without direct indictments.
                  He'll never get to go after the main players, he will be able to tar them with open historical record.
                  In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.



                  • Originally posted by Parihaka View Post
                    I've changed my opinion of Durham: his final report will never see the light of day, or be so heavily redacted as to be pointless, and he knows this. Instead he's going after the peripheral players, those hired to create and disseminate the Clinton/Dem disinformation. By doing so he gets to include vast incidentally related detail as public court records that ties the civil service players into the fraud, without direct indictments.
                    He'll never get to go after the main players, he will be able to tar them with open historical record.
                    Well no, it was never likely that he ever would. Once you reach a certain level, you're pretty much untouchable, for one reason or another.
                    Hell, just look at Ford's blanket pardon of Nixon. Ol Tricky Dick got a free ride on, not just Watergate, but literally anything he did while President (like his tax fraud) and things that hadn't even been uncovered.

                    It's always been easier to go after the little fish anyway, just look at the IRS. But adding to the public record is a decent, if not entirely satisfying, consolation prize.
                    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                    • Trump Server Mystery Produces Fresh Conflict

                      WASHINGTON — The charge was narrow: John Durham, the special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to scour the Russia investigation, indicted a cybersecurity lawyer this month on a single count of lying to the FBI.

                      But Durham used a 27-page indictment to lay out a far more expansive tale, one in which four computer scientists who were not charged in the case “exploited” their access to internet data to develop an explosive theory about cyberconnections in 2016 between Donald Trump’s company and a Kremlin-linked bank — a theory, he insinuated, they did not really believe.

                      Durham’s version of events set off reverberations beyond the courtroom. Trump supporters seized on the indictment, saying it shows that suspicions about possible covert communications between Russia’s Alfa Bank and Trump’s company were a deliberate hoax by supporters of Hillary Clinton and portraying it as evidence that the entire Russia investigation was unwarranted.

                      Emails obtained by The New York Times and interviews with people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss issues being investigated by federal authorities, provide a fuller and more complex account of how a group of cyberexperts discovered the odd internet data and developed their hypothesis about what could explain it.

                      At the same time, defense lawyers for the scientists say it is Durham’s indictment that is misleading. Their clients, they say, believed their hypothesis was a plausible explanation for the odd data they had uncovered — and still do.

                      The Alfa Bank results “have been validated and are reproducible. The findings of the researchers were true then and remain true today; reports that these findings were innocuous or a hoax are simply wrong,” said Jody Westby and Mark Rasch, lawyers for David Dagon, a Georgia Institute of Technology data scientist and one of the researchers whom the indictment discussed but did not name.

                      Steven Tyrrell, a lawyer for Rodney Joffe, an internet entrepreneur and another of the four data experts, said his client had a duty to share the information with the FBI and that the indictment “gratuitously presents an incomplete and misleading picture” of his role.

                      A spokesperson for Durham declined to comment. It is unclear whether he has finished his investigation into the Alfa Bank issue.

                      Durham’s indictment provided evidence that two participants in the matter — Joffe and Michael Sussmann, the cybersecurity lawyer accused of falsely saying he had no client when he brought the findings of the researchers to the FBI — interacted with the Clinton campaign as they worked to bring their suspicions to journalists and federal agents.

                      Durham uncovered law firm billing records showing that Sussmann, who represented the Democratic National Committee on issues related to Russia’s hacking of its servers, had logged his time on the Alfa Bank matter as work for the Clinton campaign. Sussmann has denied lying to the FBI about whom he was representing in coming forward with the Alfa Bank data, while saying he was representing only Joffe and not the campaign.

                      Durham also found that Joffe had met with one of Sussmann’s law firm partners, Marc Elias, who was then the Clinton campaign’s general counsel, and researchers from Fusion GPS, an investigative firm Elias had commissioned to scrutinize Trump’s purported ties to Russia. Fusion GPS drafted a paper on Alfa Bank’s ties to the Kremlin that Sussmann also provided to the FBI.

                      In the heat of the presidential race, Democrats quickly sought to capitalize on the research. On Sept. 15, four days before Sussmann met with the FBI about the findings, Elias sent an email to the Clinton campaign manager, Robbie Mook; its communications director, Jennifer Palmieri; and its national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, whose subject line referred to an Alfa Bank article, the indictment said.

                      Six weeks later, after Slate ran a lengthy article about the Alfa Bank suspicions, the Clinton campaign pounced. Clinton’s Twitter feed linked to the article and ran an image stating the suspicions as fact, declaring, “It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia.”

                      The FBI, which had already started its Trump-Russia investigation before it heard about the possible Trump-Alfa connections, quickly dismissed the suspicions, apparently concluding the interactions were probably caused by marketing emails sent by an outside firm using a domain registered to the Trump Organization. The report by the Russia special counsel, Robert Mueller, ignored the issue.

                      The data remains a mystery. A 2018 analysis commissioned by the Senate, made public this month, detailed technical reasons to doubt that marketing emails were the cause. A Senate report last year accepted the FBI’s assessment that it was unlikely to have been a covert communications channel but also said it had no good explanation for “the unusual activity.”

                      Whatever caused the odd data, at issue in the wake of the indictment is whether Joffe and the other three computer scientists considered their own theory dubious and yet cynically went forward anyway, as Durham suggests, or whether they truly believed the data was alarming and put forward their hypothesis in good faith.

                      Earlier articles on Alfa Bank, including in Slate and The New Yorker, did not name the researchers and used pseudonyms like “Max” and “Tea Leaves” for two of them. Durham’s indictment did not name them, either.

                      But three of their names have appeared among a list of data experts in a lawsuit brought by Alfa Bank, and Trump supporters have speculated online about their identities. The Times has confirmed them, and their lawyers provided statements defending their actions.

                      The indictment’s “Originator-1” is April Lorenzen, chief data scientist at the information services firm Zetalytics. Her lawyer, Michael Connolly, said she has “dedicated her life to the critical work of thwarting dangerous cyberattacks on our country,” adding, “Any suggestion that she engaged in wrongdoing is unequivocally false.”

                      The indictment’s “Researcher-1” is another computer scientist at Georgia Tech, Manos Antonakakis. “Researcher-2” is Dagon. And “Tech Executive-1” is Joffe, who in 2013 received the FBI Director’s Award for helping crack a cybercrime case and retired this month from Neustar, another information services company.

                      In addition, the Alfa Bank suspicions were only half of what the researchers sought to bring to the government’s attention, according to several people familiar with the matter.

                      Their other set of concerns centered on data suggesting that a YotaPhone — a Russian-made smartphone rarely seen in the United States — had been used from networks serving the White House, Trump Tower and Spectrum Health, a Michigan hospital company whose server had also interacted with the Trump server.

                      Sussmann relayed their YotaPhone findings to counterintelligence officials at the CIA in February 2017, the people said. It is not clear whether the government ever investigated them.

                      The involvement of the researchers traces back to spring 2016. Darpa, the Pentagon’s research funding agency, wanted to commission data scientists to develop the use of so-called DNS logs, records of when servers have prepared to communicate with other servers over the internet, as a tool for hacking investigations.

                      Darpa identified Georgia Tech as a potential recipient of funding and encouraged researchers there to develop examples. Antonakakis and Dagon reached out to Joffe to gain access to Neustar’s repository of DNS logs, people familiar with the matter said, and began sifting them.

                      Separately, when the news broke in June 2016 that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee’s servers, Dagon and Lorenzen began talking at a conference about whether such data might uncover other election-related hacking.

                      Lorenzen eventually noticed an odd pattern: a server called appeared to be communicating almost exclusively with servers at Alfa Bank and Spectrum Health. She shared her findings with Dagon, the people said, and they both discussed it with Joffe.

                      “Half the time I stop myself and wonder: am I really seeing evidence of espionage on behalf of a presidential candidate?” Dagon wrote in an email to Joffe on July 29, after WikiLeaks made public stolen Democratic emails timed to disrupt the party’s convention and Trump urged Russia to hack Clinton.

                      By early August, the researchers had combined forces and were increasingly focusing on the Alfa Bank data, the people said. Joffe reached out to his lawyer, Sussmann, who would take the researchers’ data and hypothesis to the FBI on Sept. 19, 2016.

                      Defense lawyers contend the indictment presented a skewed portrait of their clients’ thinking by selectively quoting from their emails.

                      The indictment quotes August emails from Lorenzen and Antonakakis worrying that they might not know if someone had faked the DNS data. But people familiar with the matter said the indictment omitted later discussion of reasons to doubt any attempt to spoof the overall pattern could go undetected.

                      The indictment says Joffe sent an email Aug. 21 urging more research about Trump, which he stated could “give the base of a very useful narrative,” while also expressing a belief that the Trump server at issue was “a red herring” and they should ignore it because it had been used by the mass-marketing company.

                      The full email provides context: Trump had claimed he had no dealings in Russia, and yet many links appeared to exist, Joffe noted, citing an article that discussed aspirations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Despite the “red herring” line, the same email also showed that Joffe nevertheless remained suspicious about Alfa Bank, proposing a deeper hunt in the data “for the anomalies that we believe exist.”

                      He wrote, “If we can show possible email communication between” any Trump server and an Alfa Bank server “that has occurred in the last few weeks, we have the beginning of a narrative,” adding that such communications with any “Russian or Ukrainian financial institutions would give the base of a very useful narrative.”

                      Tyrrell, his lawyer, said that research in the weeks that followed, omitted by the indictment, had yielded evidence that the specific subsidiary server in apparent contact with Alfa Bank had not been used to send bulk marketing emails. That further discussion, he said, changed his client’s mind about whether it was a red herring.

                      “The quotation of the ‘red herring’ email is deeply misleading,” he said. “The research process is iterative, and this is exactly how it should work. Their efforts culminated in the well-supported conclusions that were ultimately delivered to the FBI.”

                      The indictment also quoted from emails in mid-September, when the researchers were discussing a paper on their suspicions that Sussmann would soon take to the FBI. It says Joffe asked if the paper’s hypothesis would strike security experts as a “plausible explanation.”

                      The paper’s conclusion was somewhat qualified, an email shows, saying “there were other possible explanations,” but the only “plausible” one was that Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization had taken steps “to obfuscate their communications.”

                      The indictment suggested Lorenzen’s reaction to the paper was guarded, describing an email from her as “stating, in part, that it was ‘plausible’ in the ‘narrow scope’ defined by” Joffe. But the text of her email displays enthusiasm.

                      “In the narrow scope of what you have defined above, I agree wholeheartedly that it is plausible,” she wrote. “If the white paper intends to say that there are communications between at least Alfa and Trump, which are being intentionally hidden by Alfa and Trump I absolutely believe that is the case,” her email said.

                      The indictment cited emails by Antonakakis in August, in which he flagged holes and noted they disliked Trump; and in September, in which he approvingly noted that the paper did not get into a technical issue that specialists would raise.

                      Antonakakis’ lawyer, Mark Schamel, said his client had provided “feedback on an early draft of data that was cause for additional investigation.” And, he said, their hypothesis, “to this day, remains a plausible working theory.”

                      The indictment also suggests Dagon’s support for the paper’s hypothesis was qualified, describing his email response as “acknowledging that questions remained, but stating, in substance and in part, that the paper should be shared with government officials.”

                      The text of that email shows Dagon was forcefully supportive. He proposed editing the paper to declare as “fact” that it was clear “that there are hidden communications between Trump and Alfa Bank” and said he believed the findings met the probable cause standard to open a criminal investigation.

                      “Hopefully the intended audience are officials with subpoena powers, who can investigate the purpose” of the apparent Alfa Bank connection, Dagon wrote.

                      In the end, Durham came to investigate them.
                      Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                      • Lawyer charged in Durham probe demands more info about case

                        WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorneys for a cybersecurity lawyer charged last month in a special counsel’s probe into the Trump-Russia investigation asked federal prosecutors Wednesday to provide more information about the indictment, calling the allegations vague, ill-defined and confusing.

                        The motion by attorneys for Michael Sussmann previews the lines of attack they intend to use in defending him on a charge of making a false statement to the FBI five years ago.

                        The case was brought by John Durham, the prosecutor tasked with examining the U.S. government’s investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers have attacked the case as driven by politics rather than facts.

                        Sussmann is accused of lying to the FBI during a September 2016 conversation in which he relayed concerns about potentially suspicious activity between a Trump Organization server and the server of a Russian bank. The indictment alleges Sussmann told the FBI’s then-general counsel, James Baker, that he was not bringing the concerns to the FBI on behalf of any particular client when he was actually representing the Hillary Clinton campaign and a technology executive.

                        In a motion filed Wednesday, Sussmann’s lawyers note that the alleged false statement was unrecorded and that there are no contemporaneous notes about it. Baker, the sole witness, has “already disclaimed memory of the statement” and has testified in ways that support rather than cut against Sussmann’s account, according to Sussmann’s lawyers.

                        Sussmann, they say, has consistently maintained that he met with the FBI on behalf of a cyber expert client and that he was trying to alert the FBI to a forthcoming news media report about potential cyber contacts between the Trump server and the Russian bank. The FBI ultimately examined the matter, but found no evidence of a communications backchannel.

                        The motion for what’s known under the law as a “bill of particulars” seeks additional information about the allegations, including the precise words of Sussmann’s alleged false statement and the context in which it was made.

                        “While the Indictment in this matter is 27 pages long, the majority of the allegations are not relevant to the crime the Special Counsel has chosen to charge,” says the motion from Sussmann’s lawyers.

                        “And on that charge, a single alleged false statement, the Indictment plainly fails to provide Mr. Sussmann with the detail and clarity that the law requires and that is essential in enabling Mr. Sussmann to prepare his defense.”

                        Spokespeople for Durham and the Justice Department did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

                        Durham, a longtime federal prosecutor who served for years as the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, was appointed in 2019 by Attorney General William Barr to examine any potential misconduct in the federal investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. Barr appointed him a special counsel last year as a way to help ensure that he could complete his work without being fired in a new administration.

                        The case against Sussmann is only the second criminal prosecution Durham has brought in two and a half years of work. Last year, he secured a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, on a charge that he altered a government email. Clinesmith was sentenced to probation.
                        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                        • SOURCE

                          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.

                          Michael Sussmann, Clinton campaign lawyer: John Durham's indictment against him cites eight who allegedly conspired with him.

                          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 campaign plot was outlined by Durham last month in a 27-page indictment charging former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann with making a false report to the FBI. The document cites eight individuals who allegedly conspired with Sussmann, but does not identify them by name.

                          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.

                          John Durham: The prosecutor said the contractors' project was driven not by data but by “bias against Trump.”

                          The Sussmann grand jury indictment states that the federal contractors, who mined private Internet records to help "conduct opposition research" in coordination with the Clinton campaign, were driven not by data but by “bias against Trump.”

                          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.
                          This is why Durham is making his indictments so broad.

                          Joffe advised President Obama on security matters and was positioning himself for a top cybersecurity post in an anticipated Clinton administration.
                          Messaging Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group

                          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.

                          South African-born Joffe left his job at Neustar last month, after hiring a top fraud attorney in Washington several months earlier, when Durham first began presenting his case to the grand jury. Tyrrell declined to comment when asked by RCI about his client’s cooperation with the federal grand jury hearing Durham’s broadening case. Tyrrell also had "no comment” when asked whether the Special Counsel’s Office has notified him that his client is a target of the ongoing investigation. However, Tyrrell defended Joffe in a public statement, asserting that the special counsel and the grand jury presented a “misleading picture of his actions” in the so-called “speaking indictment," which the sources said is a prelude to additional indictments that could culminate in conspiracy charges.

                          Steve Tyrrell: Durham presented a “misleading picture" of Joffe's actions, the lawyer says.

                          That indictment, which details a conspiracy involving widespread deception, was followed by a flurry of fresh subpoenas aimed at Perkins Coie itself, rocking the Democratic political machine in Washington. Millions of dollars secretly flowed through Perkins to the Clinton campaign’s opposition-research projects against Trump, leaving an extensive money trail for Durham’s investigators to trace and check for possible Federal Election Commission and other violations, the sources say.

                          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.

                          Maggie Goodlander: Jake Sullivan's wife worked for Attorney General Merrick Garland as a law clerk when he was a federal judge. That could create a conflict for Garland, who controls the purse strings to Durham’s investigation.

                          Joffe has started a number of small Internet companies. One of them, Packet Forensics, reportedly landed a recent Pentagon contract to manage a large chunk of Internet domains owned by the military. The bid was awarded the day Biden was inaugurated president. His company also sells federal law enforcement wiretapping equipment that allows authorities to spy on private web-browsing through fake Internet security certificates, instead of real ones that websites employ to verify secure connections. Joffe has worked on cybersecurity cases with federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies for 15 years.

                          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.

                          April Lorenzen, aka "Tea Leaves": Emails Durham uncovered reveal that she actually discussed “faking” Internet traffic.

                          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.”

                          The 59-year-old Lorenzen helped found two tech firms operating out of Rhode Island where she lives — Dissect Cyber Inc. and Zetalytics LLC. Her companies have contracted with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity division and other agencies. In that role, she oversees one of the world’s largest and most diverse systems of “passive,” or stored, DNS records, which can be searched to uncover potential security incidents. The year before the 2016 presidential campaign, she boasted, “Massive passive DNS data is what I comb daily, providing the most interesting IPs and domains, real time.”

                          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.

                          L. Jean Camp, computer science professor: Helped propagate the Trump-Alfa Bank conspiracy theory in the media.

                          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.

                          Camp did not return a request for comment.

                          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.
                          Faked Evidence?

                          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.”

                          Manos Antonakakis: One of two Georgia Tech researchers cited by Durham in his indictment.

                          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.
                          In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.



                          • As I've said previously, they're going for the private enterprise guys to absolve the FBI/CIA, but at least each indictment puts their actions, and those actions of the civil servants on the public record.
                            In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.



                            • Frankly, I am at a loss what all this tap dancing is all about.

                              We've got Donal Trump directly asking the Russians for Clinton's emails and that was not enough to convict him. Than, what is this rest bullshit all about? Why do we need more evidence for a blatant televised confession?

                              Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 09 Oct 21,, 09:09.


                              • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                                Frankly, I am at a loss what all this tap dancing is all about.

                                We've got Donal Trump directly asking the Russians for Clinton's emails and that was not enough to convict him. Than, what is this rest bullshit all about? Why do we need more evidence for a blatant televised confession?

                                Wasn't a confession, he is talking past tense, the emails were wiped with Bleach Bit sometime before August of 2015. Any hack of them had to have occurred before that. The whole email investigation was already over. That statement by Trump was probably 2 years past Hillary wiping her server. That whole Trump asked Russia to hack Hillary is a fake media charade to distract from the fact that the FBI screwed the pooch when investigating her. If you or I deleted 30K emails under subpoena we would be under the jail.