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Durham Investigates Pentagon Contractors Who Helped Clinton Campaign Plot Russia Hoax

1 102 135
08.10.2021

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 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.

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.

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........

© The Federalist


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