Fusion GPS-Linked Group Funded by Soros Worked with Tech Firm Behind Russian False Flag Against Roy Moore
"New Knowledge," the Texas-based cybersecurity firm behind "Project Birmingham," the deceptive social media campaign that used Russian disinformation methods against Alabama Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 Senate special election, has ties to a Soros-funded non-profit with links to former British spy Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS, the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross reported Thursday.
New Knowledge partnered with the sketchy non-profit Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP) before the 2018 midterms ostensibly to track alleged Russian disinformation networks on a website the organizations collaboratively ran.
Both organizations have links to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), which is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as well as possible Trump campaign collusion.
SSCI provided New Knowledge with data from various social media companies as part of an investigation into Russian disinformation networks, according to a report New Knowledge released Dec. 17. Two days later, news broke that New Knowledge’s chief executive was involved in a self-described “false flag” operation in the special election for a Senate seat in Alabama, as was another staffer who was the lead author on the Senate report.
TDIP is also linked to the Senate Intelligence panel. Its founder, Daniel J. Jones, was previously a staffer for Democrats on SSCI. He was also in contact in early 2017 with Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the Democratic vice chairman of SSCI. As part of TDIP’s own Trump-Russia investigation, the group hired Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier.
Republican staff members on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson about his anti-Trump work in August of 2017.
“So you didn’t do any work on the Trump matter after the election date, that was the end of your work?” Republican staff asked.
Simpson answered: “I had no client after the election.”
In a recent missive to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) pointed out that according to the FBI and others, Fusion GPS did continue their anti-Trump dossier work after the 2016 election for its new client Dan Jones.
As part of the public release of the House Intelligence Committee’s majority report on its Russia investigation, the executive branch declassified some previously classified information from an FBI document. That information detailed a March 2017 meeting between Daniel Jones and the FBI.
Mr. Jones stated that he was leading a research and investigatory advisory organization called the Penn Quarter Group, which “had secured the services Steele, his associate [redacted], and Fusion GPS to continue exposing Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.” Mr. Jones further told the FBI that the Penn Quarter Group “was being funded by 7 to 10 wealthy donors located primarily in New York and California, who provided approximately $50 million.”
The report noted that Mr. Jones stated he planned to push the information he obtained from Fusion and Steele to policymakers on Capitol Hill, the press, and the FBI. As with statements to the Committee, statements to the FBI, like Mr. Jones’, are subject to 18 U.S.C. § 1001. So, despite the fact Mr. Simpson said he had no client after the election, he in fact did, and that client revealed himself to the FBI.
Dan Jones is a former staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who currently serves as the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Together, TDIP and New Knowledge ran a dashboard at disinfo2018.com, purportedly to track “social media disinformation networks — to include suspected foreign state-actors — conducting information warfare against the American public prior to the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.”
According to TheDCNF, the project was similar to Hamilton 68, another notorious dashboard, this one operated by the Alliance For Securing Democracy.
Jonathon Morgan, a former State Department adviser and founder of New Knowledge, also helped create Hamilton 68 and has appeared frequently in the media to hyperventilate about Russia’s disinformation efforts.
In an interview with BBC, Morgan claimed Russians were behind #ReleaseTheMemo, the hashtag used to call for the release of a memo from House Intel Republicans that questioned the FBI’s reliance on the unverified Steele dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
New Knowledge recently produced a report on Russian disinformation networks for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, allegedly at SSCI's request. However, an SSCI official told TheDCNF that the committee did not pay New Knowledge for the work and that the SSCI does not necessarily endorse the firm's findings.
But now, thanks to the New York Times' damning Dec. 19, 2018, exposé implicating his firm in the false-flag operation against Moore, Morgan's reputation is in tatters.
“We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” New Knowledge said in its internal report about the effort obtained by the New York Times.
Numerous news outlets jumped on the false narrative and reported that Moore was being supported by a Russian disinformation network.
In other words, Morgan, a cybersecurity expert who supposedly advises the Senate on Russian disinformation networks, spread disinformation on social media alleging that Moore's campaign was being assisted by Russian disinformation networks.
Want an even bigger laugh? Morgan last summer was the keynote speaker at a Microsoft media conference. The topic he was there to discuss (as he is clearly one of the country's leading authorities on the subject): "Defending Against Disinformation and Social Media Manipulation."
In fairness, Morgan claims that he was paid by American Engagement Technologies "to experiment on a small scale with disinformation tactics, including creating a Facebook page that sought to appeal to Republicans who might not support Moore."
And he insists that his firm deployed the Russian botnet false flag not to influence the election, but merely to study how the tactics worked.
“The research project was intended to help us understand how these kinds of campaigns operated,” Morgan said. “We thought it was useful to work in the context of a real election but design it to have almost no impact.”
But virtually no one believes him. The left's hypocrisy, however appalling, is not in the least surprising. Nor are the tangled webs of left-wing networks they are constantly weaving.
Silicon Valley billionaire and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman gave $750,000 to American Engagement Technologies (AET), the group that hired New Knowledge to run the campaign.
AET is run by Mikey Dickerson, a former Google engineer and Obama appointee who is also the executive director of the New Data Project, a nonprofit that developed the invasive "Vote with Me" app used in the 2018 midterm elections to pressure millennials into voting for Democrats.
AET is also behind a recently discovered disinformation campaign that posted misleading ads on Facebook pages in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections.
A couple of weeks ago, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that he would be looking into the operation to see if it affected the closely fought Senate race.
“The information is concerning,” Marshall, a Republican, said. “The impact it had on the election is something that’s significant for us to explore, and we’ll go from there.”
Dan Jones' TDIP "has maintained a lower profile than New Knowledge," TheDCNF maintains.
Most of what’s known about the group has been revealed only through Adam Waldman, an attorney who had contact with the organization in 2017. Information that Jones, the TDIP founder, provided to the FBI was also released in an April 27, 2018, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report.
Jones, who registered TDIP on Jan. 31, 2017, told the FBI in late March 2017 his organization had hired Fusion GPS and Steele, a former MI6 officer, to continue investigations into Russian meddling in the U.S. elections that began with funding from the DNC and Clinton campaign. Jones also told the FBI the project had received $50 million in funding from between seven and 10 wealthy liberal donors.
IRS records suggest TDIP did not receive all of that funding at once. Information from the nonprofit’s tax filings show the group received $9 million in 2017.
Around the same time as his meeting with the FBI, Jones reached out to Waldman, an attorney with a myriad of links to players in the Russia saga. Waldman represented Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and has apparent links to Steele.
Waldman told TheDCNF Jones told him that Fusion GPS was involved with TDIP. He also said Jones claimed Soros had provided funding for TDIP’s anti-Trump operation.
Waldman showed TheDCNF text messages from March 17, 2017, in which Jones said TDIP helped plant anti-Trump news stories.
“Our team helped with this,” Jones wrote to Waldman, linking to a Reuters article about Russian investment in Florida properties owned by President Donald Trump.
Waldman also exchanged text messages with Warner throughout the spring of 2017. In one text to the lobbyist, the senator expressed a desire to "not have a paper trail" of his messages. He suggested in another text that he did not want Burr or any other senator included in the discussions. In another text, he suggested the Warner was in close contact with Jones.
“Dan Jones is coming to see you,” Waldman wrote in an April 25, 2017, text message to Warner.
It is not clear whether Jones has worked with any other congressional investigations into Fusion GPS’s involvement in the 2016 election.