In April 2016, the Democrats and Hillary were the natural preference for Putin. Remember the trampoline joke by Dmitry Rogozin? Hillary Clinton delivered on her promise “to help strengthen Russia”, including the act of making the United States entirely dependent on Russia for human space flight. The list of her feats is long and includes Skolkovo, Uranium One, and anti-fracking/anti-pipeline activism. Add to that list Hillary’s reset with Russia.
Given such relations between Hillary Clinton and Putin, the idea of Russian election interference purposed with aiding Trump seems unlikely. How did the DNC and Obama administration try to sabotage the Trump campaign with such a hoax?
The following is an educated guess about the likely course of events:
On April 28, some in the DNC leadership attempted to link the breaches of its network to the Trump campaign. They intended to let hackers download certain documents with mildly concerning information related to Hillary before having witnesses state that the documents were stolen by Russia. Then, they planned to feed those documents to the Trump campaign through other means and to accuse Trump of collusion with Russia.
CrowdStrike, tightly connected to both the DNC and the FBI, was hired to control the hacking and to serve as the witness. Fusion GPS was hired to feed those documents to the Trump campaign and to develop other aspects of the story. Fusion GPS hired Steele and Nellie of the Bruce & Nellie Ohr couple. From the FBI and CIA to the National Security Council, the Obama administration became involved, with little knowledge of what was going on. The formidable Democratic PR machine worked with the compliant press, spreading pictures of Trump and Putin kissing each other and invoking images of the Watergate scandal. All pieces were in place by early June 2016.
But the perpetrators forgot to watch their backs. A disgruntled Sanders supporter copied internal emails that showed that the DNC rigged the primaries for Hillary, and the supporter began transferring them to WikiLeaks. On the weekend of June 11-12, Assange announced that WikiLeaks obtained these emails and was going to publish them, but the original plan misfired. During the same weekend, CrowdStrike wiped out all DNC servers and computers to destroy all evidence, contradicting the story that it had given or would give the evidence to the FBI. On June 14, the DNC and CrowdStrike publicly announced that the DNC was hacked, and they blamed Russia. Losing the chance to feed those documents to the Trump campaign, the DNC switched to Plan B, which included the Guccifer 2.0 persona, without telling their accomplices in the DOJ, FBI, and/or CIA. This miscoordination was clear in the lack of evidence, in fabrications like the “Steele dossier” and “CrowdStrike report,” and behind allegations that the WikiLeaks dump came from the DNC hacking. The leaked emails showed that the DNC conspired with Hillary against Bernie, and this revelation caused a huge scandal at the Democratic Convention on July 25. In response, Hillary’s PR escalated accusations against Russia and made new claims of Trump-Putin collusion. Even pro-Hillary media was skeptical. Later, the Obama administration orchestrated military provocations to support Hillary’s claims of Russian hostility. But even before that, on July 31, Comey’s FBI made sabotage of the Trump campaign official by launching Operation Crossfire Hurricane.
This description of events is speculative and sounds exaggerated, but it is one that is factually supported. Some DNC personnel have even come close to confessing to a similar plan.
The Initial State of Affairs (mid-April 2016)
- Donald Trump is most likely the Republican presidential candidate.
- Hillary Clinton is endorsed by Obama and is virtually guaranteed the Democratic presidential nomination, despite an underwhelming performance against Bernie Sanders.
- FBI Director James Comey has promoted the pro-Hillary troika Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page, as well as Bill Priestap, to the top of the FBI. The Hillary exoneration operation, called the Mid-Year Exam (“MYE”), is already at full steam. The same FBI people tasked with exonerating Hillary Clinton will investigate Trump.
- Due to the rapid expansion of digital technology, the Obama administration had an opportunity to create new agencies, divisions, and committees devoted to cyber security and other digital technologies. But they are staffed with partisans. Examples include the head of the U.S. Digital Service Mikey Dickerson, who ran false-flag Facebook operations against the Alabama Republican Senate candidate in 2017, and fake Republican groups on Facebook, intended to discourage the Republican vote in 2018. State Department intelligence advisors Jonathon Morgan and Renée DiResta have collaborated with him and set up a company called New Knowledge, which advised Congress on the alleged Russian social media operations. Of course, they gave false advice in support of the Russian hoax.
- The FBI Cyber Division (CyD) became dysfunctional, as acknowledged by Peter Strzok in some of his infamous texts. Because the CyD was involved in the investigation of Hillary’s server, James Comey probably did to the CyD the same thing that he did to counterintelligence: replaced competent and honest professionals with Democratic partisans.
- The DNC has engaged with the Ukrainian government to produce dirt on Paul Manafort. He was the former adviser to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and supported by Putin.
April 2016. The DNC law firm Perkins Coie hires Fusion GPS after the former had already done opposition research against Trump and found nothing strong enough to prevent Trump from becoming the leading candidate. This time, Fusion GPS is not hired for ordinary opposition research, but for the performance of “active measures” against the Trump campaign. That includes fabrication, dissemination, forgeries, and entrapment attempts — activities for which Fusion GPS already has a reputation.
April 2016. The FBI notifies the DNC that it has been hacked, potentially associated with Russia. From the FBI Response to the Senate Intelligence Committee (May 22, 2017): “FBI notified DNC again in April 2016 about a second set of FancyBear spear-phishing targets and identified users who clicked malicious links. FBI requested and received log files from DNC in April 2016. … In April 2016, FBI hosted a tabletop training exercise modeled on the actual CozyBear campaign from July 2015, which DNC attended.” The FBI warns the DNC more than thirty times.
Thus, the FBI knows that the DNC’s story about its network breaches being discovered by CrowdStrike is fake. And so do Mueller and the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The names FancyBear and CozyBear are attached to the intrusions influenced by CrowdStrike.
April 18, 2016. Obama appoints CrowdStrike’s general counsel Steven Chabinsky to the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, a very high-level appointment for an executive in a small third-tier company. This follows a small job that CrowdStrike completed: arbitration between Hillary and Bernie’s campaign regarding NGP VAN access in December 2015, which CrowdStrike decided in favor of Hillary. Essentially, CrowdStrike is accepted into the Democratic nomenklatura.
April 22 – 25, 2016. Obama visits Europe and imports the conspiracy theory that covert Russian influence campaigns on the internet are behind the European far-right parties, the anti-Merkel protests in Germany, and the Brexit initiative in the UK.
The Timeline of April 28 – July 31, 2016
April 28, 2016 – DNC Allegedly Discovers Security Breach of Its Network
In response to the security breach, the DNC calls its law firm Perkins Coie. A few people in the DNC leadership know that their network was hacked, and the FBI associates the hackers with the Russian government. Some in the DNC think that hacking was performed by somebody acting on behalf of Trump — with Watergate in the back of many minds, and Trump in the role of Nixon. The DNC wants to exploit the breach, rather than remediate it, so Perkins Coie decides to hire CrowdStrike.
May 6, 2016 – CrowdStrike Misattributes DNC Hacking to Russian Government
CrowdStrike “discovers” intrusions, which the FBI already found and showed to the DNC. In addition, it falsely attributes them to imaginary Russian intelligence hacker units called Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear. False attribution of network breaches to Russian, Chinese, and other foreign governments is CrowdStrike’s specialty. Details are technical. CrowdStrike could get away with it because it has employed Shawn Henry, hired from his position as the FBI assistant director of the Cyber Division for then-Director Robert Mueller. Misattributing the electronic break-ins to the Russian government around the time that the DNC expected a break-in by the Trump campaign could have convinced any DNC official of a Trump-Putin connection.
The DNC refuses to allow the FBI to access its computers, even though it has been accessed by Russian intelligence. Director Comey consents to be subordinated to the Russian intelligence in this matter.
Later, CrowdStrike provides the FBI some data, which is incomplete and possibly manufactured, but information received from a DNC contractor is not evidence. Imagine a similar situation without the DNC or Hillary: the police arrive at a house after hearing a shot in it. The residents say that one of them is injured, but refuse to let the police in. A few weeks later, they send pictures of the injury and the bullet, as well as the description of the shooter. Would police file these items as forensic evidence taken by police on the scene of the crime? No. The police would not trust it, and they would investigate the residents, rather than the person whom the residents want to be investigated.
But under Loretta Lynch and James Comey, the FBI declares the CrowdStrike data and theory to be forensic evidence, and builds the case around a redacted draft of a CrowdStrike report. Then, the FBI shares the CrowdStrike product with intelligence agencies as true forensic evidence, most likely the way it did with a two-page summary of the “Steele dossier”.
CrowdStrike and the DNC do not remediate the network breaches until June 10, or so they claim. Later, the DNC acknowledges that it had no problem sharing information, likely including U.S. military and intelligence classified data, with Russian intelligence.
May 13. German secret police BfV incorrectly attributes a 2015 Bundestag hack to an imaginary Russian government hacking group APT28, allegedly equivalent to CrowdStrike’s Cozy Bear. It is not a coincidence that some part of the Democratic family shares attribution with its German counterparts. BfV blames Russia for an incident in April 2015, when France’s TV5Monde network was shut down with Daesh (ISIS) propaganda placed on its website and social media.
May 25, 2016 – Revealing DNC Emails Are Locally Copied and Exfiltrated
A DNC insider, possibly a disgruntled Bernie supporter, copies emails from top DNC officials. This fact is not known at that time and is vigorously denied later. Podesta emails have been taken earlier by unknown hackers, using ordinary spear-phishing. These emails will later be transferred to WikiLeaks and published by it.
May 31. Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft sign a Code of Conduct on illegal online hate speech with the European Commission, essentially committing to enforce the EU speech regulations on the American soil.
“By Summer” 2016 – The Russian Hoax Reaches NSC
Brennan and/or Comey have been spying on Trump “informally”. By summer, the Russian hoax is already formed and has escalated to the National Security Council. This is according to the House Intelligence Committee’s Report on Russian Active Measures, which mentions John Brennan and “specific Russian efforts to influence the election.” Loretta Lynch testifies that she learned about “the constellation of things that have come to be known as the Russia investigation” from Comey and McCabe in the late spring of 2016. “Russia investigation” is a euphemism for Trump investigation. Notice that when Brennan or Comey brought that before the NSC principals, it escalated from spying to defamation and sabotage of the Trump campaign. NSC principals include the White House chief of staff, U.N. ambassador, secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, etc. These are top officials who do not participate in investigations but are likely to interpret this briefing as an administrative decision of who will become the next president of the United States.
Early June 2016 – Fusion GPS Hires Steele
Fusion GPS hires Christopher Steele and/or his firm Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. Fusion GPS already employs the better half of the Ohr couple and is quite capable of fabricating a dossier on its own. Steele is needed only to market it to the FBI. Orbis is not a business intelligence company, but a sleazy shop like Fusion GPS. Steele was called an “intelligence charlatan” by his colleague, British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, and has been known by some in the State Department for his partial accuracy (“His stuff was 75 to 80 percent accurate,” said Victoria Nuland). He worked in Russia for three years in the early 1990s under diplomatic cover.
Steele’s assistance in the FIFA case has been limited to passing information from the British MI5/MI6 to the FBI. The British government had an interest in the outcome of the case, so it used Steele as a cutout. Steele’s media reputation as a superspy and trustworthy person is later created by his own contractors, such as former British Ambassador to Russia Sir Andrew Wood and Guardian reporter Luke Harding, in 2017.
June 9. Entrapment of Don Jr. by Fusion GPS culminates in a meeting with Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower. Before this meeting, British music publicist Rob Goldstone, as probably instructed by Fusion GPS or Orbis, sends Don Jr. provocative emails, falsely alleging Russian government’s support for Donald Trump.
June 10-12, 2016 – Assange Announces Upcoming Leaks in Relation to Hillary Clinton; DNC/CrowdStrike Wipe Out Computers in the DNC Office
On June 12, in an interview on British ITV, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks announces: “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton . . . We have emails pending publication.”Over the weekend of June 11-12, CrowdStrike wipes out all personal computers in the DNC office and reimages them, as it later admits. Its explanation that it was intended “to expel the intruder” is unlikely. That operation looks more like the destruction of evidence. The DNC may have learned that Assange received its leaked emails a day or two before the announcement, but that may be a coincidence.
June 14, 2016 – The DNC Announces the Network Breach Through a WaPo Article
The DNC announces its network breach through a WaPo reporter Ellen Nakashima, and within an hour, CrowdStrike publishes alleged technical details on its website. Both blame the Russian government. The DNC suggests that only a few documents have been compromised, including opposition research on Trump. In hindsight, that announcement has two purposes: a) to advertise the dirt on Trump and b) to allow an online persona connected to the DNC to identify himself as the actual hacker. The WaPo headline “Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump” sounds unbelievable.
June 15. Appearing under the name Guccifer 2.0, the online persona claims responsibility for the DNC hack and posts the opposition research on Trump, as promised. Guccifer 2.0 also publishes several other harmless internal DNC documents, and these documents are modified and saved in Russian on a computer with the username Феликс Эдмундович. Феликс Эдмундович refers to Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926), the founder of the Cheka, which is the predecessor to the KGB. This, and some later actions by Guccifer 2.0, convince skeptics that the DNC has been hacked and that its internal documents have been leaked by Russians.
June 23. Brexit: the people of the United Kingdom have voted to Leave the European Union.
Late June. DOJ applies for a FISA warrant, brazenly naming Trump. The FISA court denies the application. Later, applications to spy on the Trump campaign, but without naming Trump, are approved.
June 29, 2016 – The FBI signs MoU with NABU
Following intensive collaboration between the DNC and the regime of Dmitro Poroshenko in Ukraine, the FBI signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. The scope of this agreement, the words of the FBI officials, and following events leave little doubt that the aim of the collaboration is to make accusations against Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign manager at the time.
July 5, 2016 – Comey Exonerates Hillary for Leaking Secret Data from her Illegal Home Server
Later, the FBI and Robert Mueller assert that knowledge of Hillary’s email-related wrongdoing is evidence of collusion with Russia — first against George Papadopoulos, then against Donald Trump. Hillary ran the business of the Secretary of State on her unsecure home server, with full knowledge of other top officials. Coincidentally, on the same date, the FBI starts receiving the “Steele reports” through Michael Gaeta, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome who flew to London to meet Steele. Later, Fusion GPS injects “Steele reports” into the FBI process through other means and personnel, including Bruce and Nellie Ohr.
July 14, 2016, or earlier – WikiLeaks Receives DNC Documents
WikiLeaks receives DNC documents that were leaked by a DNC insider. Neither Russia nor Guccifer 2.0 is involved. By July 16, it is known that WikiLeaks intends to release a large trove of DNC documents that are very damaging for Hillary.
July 18, 2016 – Hillary/DNC Launch Trump-Putin Conspiracy Theory
In anticipation of the WikiLeaks release, the DNC launches the media hoax that Trump weakened the GOP platform on the Ukraine aid and colluded with Putin.
July 19. A perfectly-timed Steele report claims that Putin is behind the dump of DNC files on WikiLeaks. Even if the first few Steele reports were invented by Cody Shearer, Steele is providing close support to the DNC narrative at this point in time through December 2016.
July 22, 2016 – WikiLeaks Dump
The WikiLeaks dump reveals that the DNC has sided with Hillary against Bernie in the primaries.
July 25. The Democratic National Convention starts with a huge scandal. The revelation of the apparent collusion between the Hillary campaign and the Democratic National Committee against Bernie rocks the Democratic National Convention. Hillary blames Russia and Putin; the MSM echoes. They claim that Russian intelligence has hacked the DNC and has given the hacked emails to WikiLeaks to hurt her and support Trump.
These claims are false even then. Even if the Russian intelligence had hacked into the DNC network and Podesta account and had stolen DNC emails, it would not have dumped them in bulk on WikiLeaks. Victoria Nuland is in the best position to know that because Russia was recording her conversations with the ambassador to Ukraine. Following the 2014 Crimea invasion, it posted their single conversation directly to YouTube. Giving bulk documents containing political dirt to a third party is risky; the third party may not use them to maximum effect or may even ignore them. In this particular case, the third party has been pigeonholed in the embassy of Ecuador in the UK, both ruled by pro-Hillary governments. Any of them could cut off his communications with the external world at any time. The Ecuadorian embassy does that on October 17, 2016. Thus, the DNC emails and other documents are leaked, but not by Russia.
Later in December 2016, Ambassador Murray explains how the USB drive has been given to WikiLeaks by a DNC insider, and shows the location on the map. Julian Assange confirms it and offers to provide proof that the documents haven’t come from Russia. There is computer-based evidence that the most damaging emails were likely obtained by a knowledgeable insider and copied to a USB drive.
July 28-30. After binge-watching the Democratic National Convention, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page read the NY Times, Talking Points Memo, and Lawfareblog. Lawfareblog is co-published with Brookings Institute, headed by Strobe Talbott, who is close to Hillary and Fusion GPS principals. Lawfareblog openly calls upon the FBI: Jim Comey, We need you to intervene in the 2016 election again …
July 31, 2016 – Comey intervenes. FBI launches operation Crossfire Hurricane.
After months of spying on the Trump campaign and defaming Trump in the National Security Council, Brennan, Clapper, and the FBI counterintelligence start using the power and trust of their offices. Using this power and trust to support the Democratic elections stratagems, they sow conflict among Republican congressional leaders, and between them and Trump.
The DNC was the single domestic source of the Russian interference “evidence.” In hindsight, it seems that the Obama administration became an arm of the Democratic party, and they attempted to create a one-party totalitarian system.