Cambridge Analytica and the Hillary Emails

Update: I made an error in this post: WSJ has made it clear the emails in question were the DNC emails, not the Hillary ones. I’ve deleted the parts that are inaccurate accordingly.

For some time, I have been interested in the many pieces of evidence that, partly as a result of late GOP ratfucker Peter Smith’s efforts, Julian Assange ended up with something approximating Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails. We know Smith alleged Mike Flynn was involved in the effort. Weev and Chuck Johnson were involved. There are reasons to believe Roger Stone was involved in the effort. And there are reasons to believe Guccifer 2.0 was involved in the effort.

Plus, everyone from Stone to Attorney General Sessions (who “did not recall” whether he had spoken to Russians about email in his SJC testimony) seems to be ignoring that part of the scandal in their denials of colluding with Russians.

And now, Cambridge Analytica — the data firm paid for by far right wing oligarch Bob Mercer that played a big role in getting Trump elected — is involved in it.

The DailyBeast reports that Congressional investigators have found an email from CA head Alexander Nix to some unnamed person (Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale was interviewed by HPSCI yesterday) saying he offered to help Assange with the project.

Nix, who heads Cambridge Analytica, told a third party that he reached out to Assange about his firm somehow helping the WikiLeaks editor release Clinton’s missing emails, according to two sources familiar with a congressional investigation into interactions between Trump associates and the Kremlin. Those sources also relayed that, according to Nix’s email, Assange told the Cambridge Analytica CEO that he didn’t want his help, and preferred to do the work on his own.

Assange, who insists he never says anything to compromise sources, released his own statement saying he rejected the help.

After publication, Assange provided this statement to The Daily Beast: ”We can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.”

Remember, Stone told the Russian hackers he was soliciting that, allegedly because he couldn’t verify the authenticity of any emails obtained from hackers, they should turn them over to Assange. And both the Nix email and the Assange denial seem to admit that WikiLeaks did, indeed, receive at least one set of those emails. Which would explain why Roger Stone was so certain WikiLeaks was going to drop Clinton Foundation emails — not the Podesta ones that Stone showed no interest in — in October of last year. And it would seem to explain why Guccifer 2.0 had the same belief.

That is, there are a whole bunch of dots suggesting WikiLeaks got something approximating Clinton’s emails, and either because they couldn’t be verified, or because his source was too obviously Russian, or some other unknown reason, he decided not to publish.

If that’s right, all these non-denial denials about the operation seem to point to a confluence of interest around this effort that touched pretty much everyone. And involved Russians, their agents, and GOP ratfuckers willfully working together.

Update: The Trump campaign just did some amazing bus under-throwing of CA. Compare that to this November 10 piece attributing their win to CA.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

22 replies
  1. Avattoir says:

    Recognizing I’m probably just ‘putin’ my naivete in this on display, I not sure I get the idea of Wikileaks, or Rus intel, ever having acquired the supposedly “missing” HRC emails, given the FBI (with, presumably, unfettered access to any & all resources available to the most tech-savvy in the U.S. intel community) did not find any evidence of interception out of the Clintons’ private server.

    So … if the integrity of the Clintons’ server wasn’t breached, the alternative to ‘gathering’ HRC emails sent from or received at the private server would be by hacking into the accounts of folks who sent messages to or received them from her private server address.

    And if that’s the case, AND the Clintons’ legal team that vetted the server’s content before ‘reporting’ traffic & content to State or the court in the FOIA case did as they claimed, in removing only unarguably personal private definitely-not-work-related HRC emails, that would make it

    a. very likely that the ones excised were ever intercepted,

    b. both unlikely & tremendously cumbersome to acquire those from the other end,  and

    c. as Ms. Wheeler says, even if intercepted at other ends, then difficult at best, conceivably impossible in many instances, maybe all, to verify as having been sent to or received from HRC’s private server account,

    plus IAE not worth the candle if the communications were all in the vein of ‘how’s the baby’ ‘the baby’s doing fine, I’m retaining water’ ‘oh you should see Dr. X about that’.

    • greengiant says:

      Clinton’s emails could have been hacked/leaked from cloud backups, 3rd party server backups,Weiner’s laptop,  etc without showing up in hacks of Clinton servers.   I read somewhere there were 5 different versions,  2 of which associated with “Russian” black hats.  Who knows what modifications whomever made to them.

      Trumpian narrative is that DOJ gave immunity to a number of Clinton staffers and yet came up crickets.  Why did DOJ give them immunity? Also the Clinton server cutout err 3rd party server provider made back ups in the cloud (and hard drives?) and then when the “retain all evidence” order went out supposedly asked on reddit how to modify email addressees.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/09/20/hillary-clintons-it-guy-asked-reddit-for-help-altering-emails-a-twitter-sleuth-claims/

      Most information comes straight from these public personas so not that they are hiding anything ,  @goppollanalyst or u/katica and now u/goppollanalyst has connections to two other dots,  wikileaks and operatives such as ex breitbart @stranahan err now sputnik who dm’ed Gucifer 2.0 August 2  per Stranahan and Adam Carter. http://g-2.space/dms/stranahan.html  Stranahan claims seeding Roger Stone’s article about Gucifer 2.0  August 5th 2016 article http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/08/05/dear-hillary-dnc-hack-solved-so-now-stop-blaming-russia/

      To look at the mire leave the domain of multiple source reporting. The mud claim was that Clinton’s people would take photos of SCIF room screens and then email the photos to Clinton so she could read them. Then the dust cloud about not classified or classified after the fact.  Other claims were one,  Clinton would ask her immigrant maid to print her documents and two, destruction of evidence.

      As EW alludes,  Gucifer 2.0 was already being “used in early August” to “stop blaming Russia”,  perhaps a little too conveniently.

    • orionATL says:

      avattoir –

      see e. w. ‘s update above for some resolution of your concerns.

      your questions were good ones and echoed ones i had but didn’t raise.

  2. J-Mann says:

    So, again, Assange didn’t accept this offer. He didn’t publish the supposed emails – per your digby link:

    “Nobody has published the 33,000 emails that were deleted from the personal email server Hillary Clinton used while she was secretary of State.”

    Will Dems stop frantically trying to link Assange to Trump or Putin? Probably not, they’ve got little else.

    • orionATL says:

      oh aren’t you the sophisticated observer.

      do you know for a fact that reporter becky woodruff is a dem? is that your charge?

      the issue isn’t what dems do or do not want. the issue, in general, is who did what to whom in 2016, when and for how much :))

      and just for your information, the linking that counts will be done by intelligence/prosecutors, not “democrats”.

      • lefty665 says:

        “who did what to whom in 2016, when and for how much :))”

        As in Hillary and Debbie paying Russians for phony dirt on Trump. Collusion with Russians, bribery and turpitude all in one package. Funny Hillary did not mention it in “What Happened”.

            • orionATL says:

              opinion and truth are not at all the same. sometimes they overlap, sometimes they dont.

              your comments are usually highly charged, angry opinions. some of those opinions may also happen to represent truth. most often though they merely represent another angry opinion.

              • lefty665 says:

                Thanks. It was indeed Give ’em hell Harry. Glad to see someone is paying attention.

                Orion displaces his own anger onto me as well as the failure of his opinions to often even reside in the same neighborhood as truth. Poor boy can’t help himself.

  3. Arbed says:

    “[T]he Assange denial seem to admit that WikiLeaks did, indeed, receive at least one set of those emails”

    That’s a stretch. The denial admits to receiving precisely one email – the one from Nix and rejecting the offer of help. Also, there’s this tweet by Assange:

    Julian Assange: “We have confirmed the approach and rejection only. Not the subject.”

     

     

    Keith OlbermannVerified account @KeithOlbermann
    You read about Assange confirming the head of Cambridge Analytica asked him for Hillary’s emails? That’s treason, Ari. Jump, find a new ship https://twitter.com/arifleischer/status/923212131323076609 …

    and this one:

    Julian Assange: “Here’s the execrable Spanish press (EFE) translating the ‘Wikileaks rejected Cambridge Analytica request for information’ story into ‘Trump campaign contacted Wikileaks to hack the private email account of Hillary Clinton’ ”

    which seems to indicate that the Cambridge Analytica guy emailed Wikileaks asking for information, not to offer help.

     

      • bmaz says:

        Welp, that is a universal response. If I had a dollar for every time somebody got the legal import of “treason” wrong, even on  this blog, I would be on a wine barge sampling the product in France.

    • Arbed says:

      Greetings Ben,

      As Marcy’s update and deletions at the top of the post make clear, according to a piece in the WSJ what Nix’s email to Assange was about – and which was rejected – was an offer of Cambridge Analytica’s help organising the Podesta emails database/releases to make it more easily searchable:

      “In an email sent in late July 2016 and recently reviewed by the person, Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix told other employees at the firm and Rebekah Mercer, a top Republican donor, that he had recently reached out to Mr. Assange to offer help better indexing the messages WikiLeaks was releasing to make them more easily searchable. Those emails included a trove of messages stolen from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta’s account and from the Democratic National Committee.”

      I’m not surprised Assange turned it down with a flat “No thanks”. He’s boasted in the past that WikiLeaks search interface is faster than Google’s. And, of course, he went on to organise the Podesta release using his own algorithm (he called it the Stochastic Terminator) where the daily batches were selected based in part on an analysis of the previous day’s news cycle. No wonder he didn’t feel he needed any help. :)

       

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