12:10 PM 1/10/2018 – U.S. media infiltration by Russian Intelligence | Trump dossier

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Russian trolls went on attack during key election moments

<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>Dec 20, 2017
Thousands of Russian trolls targeted national events during the 2016 U.S. presidential election to infiltrate the online conversations of millions of Americans, …. but we knew there were underground networks to spread content that would undermine Hillary,” said Emmy Bengtson, former deputy social media …

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Bess: From Russia with love … sort of

Bolivar Herald-Free Press42 minutes ago
Putin and his disciples have infiltrated numerous public and private institutions and made off with information sensitive to both our government and its citizens. They have exploited our free press, spread disinformation through social media, and have created online propaganda networks and websites.

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What does Trump think Mueller will find?

Washington PostJan 4, 2018
Trump and his top advisers were distributors of the Russian social media propaganda, retweeting and distributing it widely. And much of this happened after Trump was briefed in July by top U.S. professional counterintelligence officers who warned him of a Russian effort to infiltrate the 2016 campaign.

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American Elections Remain Unprotected

The AtlanticDec 28, 2017
Two weeks before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the U.S. intelligence community released a declassified version of its report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. It detailed the activities of a network of hackers who infiltrated voting systems and stole documents from the Democrati
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Twitter misses Senate deadline on Russian meddling

CNNMoney15 hours ago
Twitter missed a Senate Intelligence Committee deadline to answer questions about Russian meddling in the 2016 election and its platform, Senator Mark … testified before the committee in November on how a Russian troll army had set up accounts posing as American in an effort to influence U.S. politics.

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Russian trolls went on attack during key election moments

<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>Dec 20, 2017
Thousands of Russian trolls targeted national events during the 2016 U.S. presidential election to infiltratethe online conversations of millions of …. we knew there were underground networks to spread content that would undermine Hillary,” said Emmy Bengtson, former deputy social media director for the …

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American Elections Remain Unprotected

The AtlanticDec 28, 2017
Two weeks before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the U.S. intelligence community released a declassified version of its report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. It detailed the activities of a network of hackers who infiltrated voting systems and stole documents from the Democratic …
Grim dossier claim spurs speculation about possible Russian rubout
 

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A bombshell revelation made public Tuesday that “somebody’s already been killed” as a result of the publication of an unconfirmed anti-Trump dossier has sparked speculation that it was a reference to an ex-KGB agent mysteriously found dead in his car a year ago in Moscow.

The attorney for Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson told Senate investigators in a 300-page deposition released Tuesday that a murder had been carried out as a result of the publication of an unverified and salacious dossier about Donald Trump.

“Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier and no harm should come to anybody related to this honest work,” said Joshua Levy in the deposition, which was taken Aug. 22, but released by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier and no harm should come to anybody related to this honest work.”

– Joshua Levy, attorney for Glenn Simpson

The cryptic reference spurred a guessing game about who the unlucky person was. The best guess, at least for now, seems to be former KGB general, Oleg Erovinkin, who was found dead in the back of his car on a Moscow street in December 2016.

Oleg Erovinkin1

According to a January 2017 report in British newspaper The Telegraph, Erovinkin was a top aide to Igor Sechin, a former deputy prime minister who was named repeatedly throughout the dossier. The KGB chief was also suspected at the time of helping former MI6 spy Christopher Steele compile info on Trump for the dossier.

Erovinkin and details of his death were published in the book, “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump win.” It alleges that the street his body was found on in Moscow was desolate with no cafes or other businesses and not much pedestrian traffic, making it an ideal spot to carry out an assassination.

“The vehicle had halted in Kitaigorodsky Proyezd – a street devoid of pedestrians and home to government buildings and an unfinished office block,” reads a line from the book detailing where Erovinkin’s body and the car were found. “It was three weeks after [Center for Information Security head Sergei] Mikhailov’s arrest, Monday, December 26. At number 9 there is a military academy named after Peter the Great. Guards turn back any errant drivers who try to enter the courtyard.”

Local media reports suggested at the time of his death that foul play was involved, but it was later claimed that his death was a result of a heart attack.

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2017, file photo, Glenn R. Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for a scheduled appearance before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has released a transcript from an interview with Simpson, the firm that commissioned a dossier of allegations about President Donald Trump's ties to Russia. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion, which commissioned the dossier, was deposed in August  (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

In the aftermath of his death, media reports speculated that Erovinkin was an unnamed informant for the dossier and Christo Grozev of Risk Management Lab, a think-tank based in Bulgaria claimed in a January 2017 Haaretz article eluded to the former KGB general being the main source of information for the dossier.

“Insiders have described Erovinkin to me alternately as ‘Sechin’s treasurer’ and ‘the go-between between Putin and Sechin,’” Grozev said to the newspaper. “One thing that everyone seems to agree – both in public and private sources – is that Erovinkin was Sechin’s closest associate.”

“I have no doubt that at the time Erovinkin died, Mr. Putin had Mr. Steele’s Trump dossier on his desk. He would – arguably – have known whether the alleged… story is based on fact or fiction,” Grozev also said. “Whichever is true, he would have had a motive to seek and find the mole… He would have had to conclude that Erovinkin was at least a person of interest.”

Levy did not immediately return messages requesting information about who he was referring to.

Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for <a href=”http://FoxNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>FoxNews.com</a>. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych

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BuzzFeed editor ‘proud’ to have published Trump dossier

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Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies suffer big declines

USA TODAYJan 8, 2018
The unpredictable cryptocurrency market continued its wild ride to start the week, with all of the 10 most-valuable digital currencies, including Bitcoin, suffering steep declines. None of the largest digital currencies ranked by market value were spared, according to data from <a href=”http://coinmarketcap.com” rel=”nofollow”>coinmarketcap.com</a>. Bitcoin …

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Five predictions for digital currencies in 2018 — including stomach …

CNBCJan 5, 2018
One reason some analysts say bitcoin will ultimately rise further is that investors will bet on a payout from more splits in the digital currency. When some bitcoin developers decide to implement their own upgrade of the bitcoin network, bitcoin investors at the time of the split receive equal amounts of the …
The Early Edition: January 10, 2018
 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

The transcript of the Glenn R. Simpsons interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee was unilaterally made public by the top Democrat on the panel, Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Simpson is the co-founder of the opposition research firm Fusion G.P.S. and the transcript provides details about the commissioning of a dossier which alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia compiled by former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele. In an op-ed for the New York Times last week, Simpson and his co-founder Peter Fritsch called on the Judiciary Committee to release the transcript, but this was met with a pushback from Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). Nicholas Fandos, Matthew Rosenberg and Sharon LaFraniere report at the New York Times.

The transcript of Simpsons testimony is available at Just Security.

Steele sat down for a full debriefing with the F.B.I. in September 2016 over his concerns about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and that Trump could have been blackmailed over an alleged sexual escapade at a hotel in Moscow in 2013. Ken Dilanian and Mike Memoli report at NBC News.

An internal Trump campaign source reported his or her concerns about Trump-Russia connections to the F.B.I., Simpson said in the testimony, also saying that Steele severed his relationship with the F.B.I. as he was concerned based on an article that was published by the New York Times in October 2016 that agents were being manipulated by Trump insiders. Alan Yuhas, Julian Borger and Stephanie Kirchgaessner report at the Guardian.

Its political rhetoric to call the dossier phony. We can argue about whats prudent and whats not, but its not a fabrication, Simpson said in the interview, adding that Fusion G.P.S. were mostly concerned with Trumps business dealings until Steele brought back something very different. Katie Bo Williams and KJonathan Easley report at the Hill.

Somebodys already been killed as a result of the publication of the Steele dossier, Simpsons testimony claimed, declining to reveal further details because, Simpsons lawyer claimed, he wanted to be very careful to protect his sources. Brandon Carter reports at the Hill.

Feinstein said that she decided to release the transcript because the American people deserve the opportunity to see what he [Simpson] said and judge for themselves, a spokesperson for Grassley said that Feinstein made the transcript public with no agreement from committee Republicans and accused her of undermining the integrity of the committees oversight work. Kyle Cheney reports at POLITICO.

Speculation over the New York Times article published in October 2016 has increased following the release of Simpsons testimony, Erik Wemple explains at the Washington Post.

The key points from Simpsons interview are provided by Amber Phillips at the Washington Post.

Trumps personal lawyer Michael Cohen has filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the Steele dossier, Cohen said that allegations against him in the dossier are provably false, including claims that Cohens wife is Russian and that her father is a leading property developer in Russia. Alex Johnson reports at NBC News.

The editor in chief of BuzzFeed News has defended his websites decision to publish the Steele dossier in an op-ed at the Washington Post, saying that a year of government inquiries and blockbuster journalism has made clear the dossier is unquestionably real news.

Twitter has failed to meet a deadline to provide lawmakers with further information on Russian interference in the 2016 election, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner (Va.) yesterday expressed disappointment with the social media company. Ali Breland reports at the Hill.

U.S.-Russia relations would be done if Russia attempts to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections, the U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said yesterday in a closed-door session with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Andrew Desiderio reports at The Daily Beast.

NORTH KOREA

North Korea has agreed to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month but the issue of North Koreas nuclear weapons program was not mentioned in the joint statement released after yesterdays inter-Korean talks, which were the first official face-to-face talks in over two years, with North Koreas chief delegate saying that the nuclear weapons were strictly aimed at the U.S. and it would be ridiculous to discuss the program. Andrew Jeong reports at the Wall Street Journal.

I am giving a lot of credit to President Trump, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a press conference today, recognizing Trumps contribution to forcing North Korea to engage in discussions, but adding that relations between the two Koreas were ultimately dependent on Pyongyangs willingness to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Choe Sang-Hun reports at the New York Times.

While Moon praised Trump, he also warned that pressure on North Korea could raise tensions and bring about unintentional clashes, James Griffiths reports at CNN.

South Korea presented North Koreas agreement to send athletes to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as a significant breakthrough in bilateral relations, however it is unclear whether North Korea would engage sincerely with South Korea to further improve relations. Anna Fifield reports at the Washington Post.

The talks between North and South Korea were a good first step in the process to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, Steve Goldstein, said yesterday in response to the North and South Korea joint statement. Christine Kim and David Brunnstrom report at Reuters.

President Moon said today that he was willing to meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un under certain conditions, saying that a summit must be committed to resolving the nuclear issue and not just for the sake of holding a summit. Bryan Harris and Katrina Manson report at the Financial Times.

The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the progress made at the inter-Korean talks and welcomed North Koreas decision to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics. The U.N. News Centrereports.

North Korea stepped up its criticism of the U.S. and Trump as the talks with South Korea took place, putting forward a message that calls on the U.S. to steer clear of the crisis and let Koreans solve the issue, however such a message would be hard for South Koreans to accept due to Seouls close relationship with Washington. Eric Talmadge provides an analysis at the AP.

The State Department has proposed a military sale of more than $133m worth of missiles and equipment to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, the State Department told Congress yesterday. Ellen Mitchell reports at the Hill.

A profile of President Moon, and a discussion of whether he has the ability to resolve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, is provided by Paula Hancocks and James Griffiths at CNN.

The inter-Korean talks offered Kim a propaganda victory and drove a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea, President Moon faces huge obstacles in achieving reconciliation and the presence of the a U.S. military aircraft off the coast of Korea during the Olympics offers a more reliable guarantor of peace than the gestures of a young dictator who pretends to want peace even as he threatens war. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

Moon and Kim are well-placed to resolve the crisis due to their respective abilities to leverage political capital, they must now use this political capital to promote the possibility for peace. S. Nathan Park writes at Foreign Policy.

IRAN

[Trump] must realize that these extreme and psychotic episodes wont be left without a response, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday, blaming the U.S. for fomenting the recent unrest in Iran. Thomas Erdbrink reports at the New York Times.

Iran foiled the U.S., Britain and others in their attempts to overthrow the Islamic Republic, Khamenei also said, making the comments as the protests in Iran have started to wind down. Babak Dehghanpisheh reports at Reuters.

Around 3,700 people have been arrested during the demonstrations in Iran, according to an Iranian member of parliament. Al Jazeera reports.

Withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal could make it difficult to make an agreement with North Korea in the future, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) warned yesterday, making the comments ahead of a series of deadlines that Trump faces regarding the deal and whether to continue to waive sanctions on Iran. Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

The decision to whether to waive or re-impose sanctions on Iran is expected to be made Friday, the State Department said yesterday, Reuters reporting.

Trump should waive sanctions on Iran and play the long game, with the aim of fixing the nuclear deal. Michael Doran writes at the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley faces a difficult task when it comes to Iran and the nuclear deal, if she aspires to be president, she would be wise to avoid trouble with Iran that could easily backfire. Richard Gowan writes at POLITICO Magazine.

SYRIA

The Syrian army has started to advance on the rebel-held Idlib province, leading to around 70,000 civilians to flee the area. Kareem Shaheen reports at the Guardian.

Turkey today urged Russia and Iran to pressure Syria to respect the de-escalation zone in Idlib and to stop the Syrian military advance. Tuvan Gumrukcu reports at Reuters.

A spate of attacks on the Russian Hmeimim air base in Syria has raised numerous questions, it is unclear who is responsible and it appears to be part of a concerted assault. Liz Sly reports at the Washington Post.

Russia appeared to suggest that the U.S. were behind the attacks in a statement yesterday, the APreports.

Russias ambassador to the U.N. yesterday expressed hope that a new round of U.N.-led peace talks in Geneva would be more fruitful and contribute to the peace initiative being held in the Russian city of Sochi. The AP reports.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 58 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq between December 29, 2017 and January 4, 2018. [Central Command]

CUBA EMBASSY INCIDENTS

The U.S. are exploring a range of theories in relation to the symptoms experienced by employees at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba in 2016, the State Department said yesterday, 24 U.S. personnel and family members experienced mysterious illnesses in Havana and there have been speculation that they were subjected to some sort of acoustic or sonic attack. Matt Spetalnick reports at Reuters.

The State Department did not follow the law in failing to set up a review board months ago to establish what happened in Havana, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said at a hearing yesterday. Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

An Israeli man was killed by a suspected Palestinian gunman yesterday, according to Israeli military and medical officials, the man was a resident of a West Bank settlement near the Palestinian city of Nablus. Reuters reports.

The Israeli military has conducted raids near Nablus following the shooting, Al Jazeera reports.

The Swedish ambassador to the U.N. yesterday expressed concern about the Trump administrations plan to review funding for the U.N.R.W.A. aid agency for Palestinian refugees, saying that such action would have negative humanitarian implications and would be destabilizing for the region. Reutersreports.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The Trump administrations nuclear posture review plans to loosen constraints on the use of nuclear weapons, according to what is believed to be the final draft of the review. Julian Borger reports at the Guardian.

Ecuador has been exploring ways for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave its embassy in London, the Ecuadorean foreign relations minister said, who was quoted as saying that it was unsustainable for Assange to remain at the embassy indefinitely and that the solution would require international cooperation and the cooperation of the U.K., Ryan Dube reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump has signed a memorandum calling on the Director of National Intelligence to establish a new policy on unmasking Americans in intelligence reports, Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

Senior National Security Council official Kevin Harrington proposed withdrawing some U.S. troops from Eastern Europe to please the Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to two former administration officials. Spencer Ackerman reveals at The Daily Beast.

Trump and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are playing the same game, both are embroiled in domestic issues that involve their sons and both are pursuing illiberal agendas. Ishaan Tharoor writes at the Washington Post.

Foreign spies are watching and probably targeting Fox News Channel
 

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Doctor Charged With Having Wife Killed to Protect Drug Ring – U.S. News & World Report
 

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U.S. News & World Report
Doctor Charged With Having Wife Killed to Protect Drug Ring
U.S. News & World Report
Authorities say a New Jersey doctor running an illegal prescription drug ring with a motorcycle gang hired one of the members to kill his wife after she threatened to expose the scheme. Jan. 9, 2018, at 7:32 p.m.. Doctor Charged With Having Wife Killedand more »

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NSA and GCHQ activities appear illegal, says EU parliamentary …

The GuardianJan 9, 2014
The inquiry by the European parliament’s civil liberties committee says the activities of America’s National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart, GCHQ, appear to be illegal … The former allows the NSA to conduct mass surveillance on EU citizens through the servers of US internet companies.

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NSA created ‘European bazaar’ to spy on EU citizens, Snowden tells …

PCWorldMar 7, 2014
The European Parliament had invited Snowden to provide testimony for an inquiry into the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens. That surveillance, often instigated by the NSA but carried out with help of EU member states, is quite extensive, he wrote. The NSA has been pressuring EU member states …

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‘Extreme surveillance‘ becomes UK law with barely a whimper

The GuardianNov 19, 2016
Even in Germany, with East Germany’s history of mass surveillance by the Stasi and where Snowden’s revelations produced the most outcry, the Bundestag recently passed legislation giving the intelligence agencies more surveillance powers. The US passed a modest bill last year curtailing bulk phone …

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EU counter-terrorism laws “stripping rights”, says Amnesty

EUobserverJan 17, 2017
Executive power grabs and counter-terrorism laws are rolling back freedoms across the EU, according to a report by Amnesty International. … Germany, Poland, and the UK, among others, have recently passed laws described by London-based Privacy International as “a new era of mass surveillance” in …
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The Boston Globe

Europe’s Courts Decide: Does US Spying Violate Europe’s Privacy?

EFFOct 3, 2017
The decision confirms the suspicion of Ireland’s privacy regulators (and EFF) that Facebook’s business practices are not the only matters under the microscope in Europe: the EU courts also care about the American mass surveillance of ordinary innocent Europeans. The judge in the matter, Justice Caroline …
High Court asks ECJ to examine Facebook case
InternationalIrish TimesOct 3, 2017
High Court asks European Court of Justice to examine Facebook …
InternationalIndependent.ieOct 3, 2017
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Devin Nunes Messed With NSA’s Most Cherished Surveillance Power

Daily BeastJan 9, 2018
It’s the NSA’s most cherished masssurveillance law, albeit one civil libertarians consider dubiously constitutional. … include in the bill an unrelated a provision on so-called unmasking, the process that intelligence agencies use to reveal the names of U.S. persons who may be involved in crimes like spying.

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Snowden hosts Reddit AMA over Congress’ mass surveillance plan

RTDec 20, 2017
As early as tonight, Congress plans to sneak an expansion of mass surveillance into law. Only your call, right now, can stop them. The @ACLU and I are here to help, doing a live Q&A on @reddit in a half hour (<a href=”https://t.co/qlo4REMoFl” rel=”nofollow”>https://t.co/qlo4REMoFl</a> @ 2PM EST). Ask usanything! (SuddenlySnowden) pic.twitter.com/ …

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Federal Agencies May Be Regularly Hiding Surveillance Methods in …

Reason (blog)22 hours ago
A DEA training slide on parallel constructionAlthough mass surveillance is usually identified with the war on terror and the National Security Agency, a subsequent USA Today investigation found the DEA and Justice Department had been collecting logs of billions of phone calls originating from the U.S. in a …

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Welcome to Law Enforcement’s “Dark Side”: Secret Evidence, Illegal …

The Intercept20 hours ago
Federal agents at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration speak in veiled terms about the secret DEA unit that shares intelligence from the National Security … The Special Operations Division receives raw intelligence from the NSA’s surveillance programs, including from the mass surveillance programs …

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The tech generation should reject mass surveillance

Washington ExaminerDec 20, 2017
Last week, the two gave a joint talk at George Washington University about the implication of mass surveillance and the eroding of the Fourth … This lessens their confidence in the U.S. economy and can lead to fewer jobs for millennials, who will be shouldering the brunt of expenses when it comes to …
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Congress Is Debating Warrantless Surveillance in the Dark

WIREDDec 23, 2017
For the first time, the American people learned that the NSA was collecting millions of their phone calls and electronic communications—emails, Facebook … Hanging in the balance is the legal framework the government largely relies on to conduct mass surveillance of foreigners, and Americans who …

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Urgent: We Only Have Hours Left to Stop the NSA Expansion Bill

EFFDec 19, 2017
According to reports published Tuesday evening by Politico, a group of surveillance hawks in the House of Representatives is trying to ram through a bill that would extend mass surveillance by the National Security Agency. We expect a vote to happen on the House floor as early as tomorrow, which means …

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Court Challenges to NSA Surveillance: 2017 in Review

EFFDec 28, 2017
“[T]he volume of documents and electronic data that the government defendants must review for potentially responsive information is massive,” the … “We have long advocated for reining in NSA mass surveillance, and the ‘incidental’ collection of Americans’ private communications under Section 702 …

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America No Safer Under Mass Surveillance

NewsmaxDec 12, 2017
Just in time for Christmas, the deep state wants to give America the gift that keeps on giving — never-ending mass surveillance. … second of every day, the American people are being spied on by the U.S. government’s vast network of digital peeping Toms, electronic eavesdroppers and robotic snoops.
How the Government Hides Secret Surveillance Programs
 

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In 2013, 18-year-old Tadrae McKenzie robbed a marijuana dealer for $130 worth of pot at a local Taco Bell in Tallahassee, Florida. He and two friends had used BB guns to carry out the crime, which under Florida law constituted robbery with a deadly weapon. McKenzie braced himself to serve the minimum four years in prison.

But in the end, a state judge offered McKenzie a startlingly lenient plea deal: He was ordered to serve only six months’ probation, after pleading guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor. The remarkable deal was related to evidence McKenzie’s defense team uncovered before the trial: Law enforcement had used a secret surveillance tool often called Stingray to investigate his case.

Stingrays are devices that behave like fake cellphone towers, tricking phones into believing they’re pinging genuine towers nearby. By using the device, cops can determine a suspect’s precise location, outgoing and incoming calls, and even listen-in on a call or see the content of a text message.

Many people may have been convicted using techniques that violated their rights.

McKenzie’s lawyers suspected cops had used a Stingray because they knew exactly where his house was, and knew he left his home at 6 a.m. the day he was arrested. The cops had obtained a court order from a judge to authorize Verizon to hand over data about the location of Mckenzie’s phone. But cell tower data isn’t precise enough to place a device at a specific house.

The cops also said they used a database that lets law enforcement agencies locate individuals by linking them with their phone numbers. But the phone McKenzie was using was a burner, and not associated with his name. Law enforcement couldn’t adequately explain their extraordinary knowledge of his whereabouts.

The state judge in the case ordered police to show the Stingray and its data to McKenzie’s attorneys. They refused, because of a non-disclosure agreement with the FBI. The state then offered McKenzie, as well as the two other defendants, plea deals designed to make the case go away.

The cops in McKenzie’s case had ultimately failed to successfully carry out a troubling technique called “parallel construction.”

First described in government documents obtained by Reuters in 2013, parallel construction is when law enforcement originally obtains evidence through a secret surveillance program, then tries to seek it out again, via normal procedure. In essence, law enforcement creates a parallel, alternative story for how it found information. That way, it can hide surveillance techniques from public scrutiny and would-be criminals.

A new report released by Human Rights Watch Tuesday, based in part on 95 relevant cases, indicates that law enforcement is using parallel construction regularly, though it’s impossible to calculate exactly how often. It’s extremely difficult for defendants to discern when evidence has been obtained via the practice, according to the report.

“When attorneys try to find out if there’s some kind of undisclosed method that’s been used, the prosecution will basically stonewall and try not to provide a definitive yes or no answer,” says Sarah St. Vincent, the author of the report and a national security and surveillance researcher at Human Rights Watch.

In investigation reports, law enforcement will describe evidence obtained via secret surveillance programs in inscrutable terms. “We’ve seen plenty of examples where the police officers in those reports write ‘we located the suspect based on information from a confidential source;’ they use intentionally vague language,” says Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney at the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology project. “It sounds like a human informant or something else, not like a sophisticated surveillance device.”

Sometimes, when a savvy defense attorney pushes, an unbelievable plea deal is offered, or the the case is dropped entirely. If a powerful, secret surveillance program is at stake, a single case is often deemed unimportant to the government.

“Parallel construction means you never know that a case could actually be the result of some constitutionally problematic practice,” says St. Vincent. For example, the constitutionality of using a Stingray device without a warrant is still up for debate, according to the Human Rights Watch report. Some courts have ruled that the devices do violate the Fourth Amendment.

Hemisphere, a massive telephone-call gathering operation revealed by The New York Times in 2013, is one of the most well-documented surveillance programs that government officials attempt to hide when they use parallel construction. The largely secret program provides police with access to a vast database containing call records going back to 1987. Billions of calls are added daily.

In order to create the program, the government forged a lucrative partnership with AT&T, which owns three-quarters of the US’s landline switches and much of its wireless infrastructure. Even if you change your number, Hemisphere’s sophisticated algorithms can connect you to your new line by examining calling patterns. The program also allows law enforcement to have temporary access to the location where you placed or received a call.

The Justice Department billed Hemisphere as a counter-narcotics tool, but the program has been used for everything from Medicaid fraud to murder investigations, according to documentation obtained in 2016 by The Daily Beast.

“What Hemisphere’s capabilities allow it to do is to identify relationships and associations, and to build people’s social webs,” says Aaron Mackey, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). “It’s highly likely that innocent people who are doing completely innocent things are getting swept up into this database.”

The EFF filed Freedom of Information Act and Public Records Act requests in 2014 seeking info about Hemisphere, but the government only provided heavily redacted files. So the EFF filed a lawsuit in 2015. It’s currently waiting for a California judge to decide whether more information can be made public without impeding law enforcement’s work.

“[The government] is obscuring what we believe to be warrantless or otherwise unconstitutional surveillance techniques, and they’re also jeopardizing a defendant’s ability to obtain all the evidence that’s relevant,” says Mackey.

Parallel construction can also involve a simple event like a traffic stop. In these instances, local law enforcement follows a suspect and then pulls them over for a mundane reason, like failing to use a turn signal. While the stop is meant to look random, cops are often working on a tip they received from a federal agency like the DEA.

“Sometimes when tips come through, the federal authorities don’t even tell the local authorities what they’re looking for,” says St. Vincent. The tip could be as simple as to watch out for a car at a specific place and time.

These stops are referred to as “wall off” or “whisper” stops, according to the Human Rights Watch report. In these instances, local law enforcement has to find probable cause for pulling the suspect over to avoid disclosing the tip. The tip is then never mentioned in court, and instead the beginning of the investigation is said to be the “random” stop.

The Human Rights Watch report concludes that Congress should pass legislation forbidding the use of parallel construction because it impedes on the right to a fair trial. Some representatives, like Republican Senator Rand Paul, have also called for banning the practice.

Opponents of parallel construction believe it should be outlawed because it prevents judges from doing their jobs. “It really gives a lot of power to the executive branch,” says St. Vincent. “It cuts judges out of the role of deciding whether something was legally obtained.”

One of the most concerning aspects of the practice is it shields government surveillance technology from public scrutiny. Stingrays, the cellphone-tracking device used in the Florida robbery case, have existed for years, but they’ve only recently been disclosed to the public. Lawyers and legal scholars haven’t yet conclusively decided whether their use without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment, in part because so little is known about them. That means many people may have been convicted using techniques that violated their rights.

In the future, if the government hides new surveillance technology like facial recognition, the public will be unable to discern if it’s biased or faulty. Unless judges and citizens understand how surveillance techniques are used, we also can’t evaluate their constitutionality.

The public needs to determine if hiding surveillance programs is something it’s comfortable with at all. On one hand, keeping certain techniques secret likely helps authorities apprehend criminals. But if we don’t know how at least the basic contours of how a program works, it’s hard to have any discussion at all.

How the Government Hides Secret Surveillance Programs – WIRED
 

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How the Government Hides Secret Surveillance Programs
WIRED
In investigation reports, law enforcement will describe evidence obtained via secret surveillance programs in inscrutable terms. We’ve seen plenty of examples where the police officers in those reports write ‘we located the suspect based on  

9:16 PM 1/9/2018 FBI was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people, Simpson said FBI knew of possible Trump-Russia collusion, according to Glenn Simpsons Senate testimony Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks
 

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“Steele broke off contact with the FBI sometime between Oct. 31, 2016, and the election on Nov. 8, Simpson said, because Steele concluded that the information he had given to the FBI was not elevated to the highest levels of the bureau and was not being vigorously pursued. A front-page New York Times article on Oct. 31 … Continue reading“9:16 PM 1/9/2018 – “FBI was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people”, Simpson said” – FBI knew of possible Trump-Russia collusion, according to Glenn Simpson’s Senate testimony – Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks”

Pakistan halts intelligence cooperation with US, but US embassy denies knowledge
 

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Pakistan said on Tuesday that it had suspended military and intelligence cooperation with the United States in the wake of Washingtons decision to stop security assistance to Pakistan. But the US embassy in Islamabad said it had no information about Khans announcement.

Democratic Senator Releases Transcript of Interview with Dossier Firm
 

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“The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves,” she said. “The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice. The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public.”

For Ms. Feinstein and Mr. Grassley, two senior senators who worked closely last summer to initiate a joint Russia investigation, the breach was striking. But it reflects the growing divide between the two parties.

Republicans have repeatedly and vocally raised concerns that the dossier — a set of reports paid for by Democrats — could have been mishandled by the F.B.I. as it was opening its own investigation into the Russian effort and the Trump campaign. Democrats say scrutiny of the dossier’s provenance is a distraction from the central question: Did the Trump campaign knowingly seek aid from Russia?

The Fusion GPS founder appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Aug. 2017 to answer questions about the dossier on President Trump that the research company compiled with the assistance of Christopher Steele, a former British spy.

OPEN Document

Democrats were still seething on Tuesday at the decision by Mr. Grassley and another Republican on the panel, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, to issue a criminal referral last week for Mr. Steele. The senators said they had reason to believe Mr. Steele had lied to federal authorities about his contacts with the media and urged the Justice Department to investigate.

A spokesman for Mr. Grassley said Ms. Feinstein’s decision was “totally confounding.”

“Her action undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony,” the spokesman, Taylor Foy, said.

Mr. Simpson said he hired Mr. Steele in the late spring of 2016, and the former spy grew alarmed soon after getting to work. With Mr. Simpson’s blessing, he reached out to an old contact at the F.B.I. in early July.

“To me, it was like, you know, you’re driving to work and you see something happen, and you call 911,” Mr. Simpson said.

Current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the investigation say that the federal inquiry did not start with Mr. Steele’s dossier, early parts of which did not reach counterintelligence investigators at the F.B.I. until August, after the bureau’s inquiry had already begun. But the officials have said that the dossier added material and buttressed what American law enforcement and spy agencies were gleaning from other sources.

According to Mr. Simpson, it was not until late September, nearly two months after the F.B.I. investigation had begun, that the F.B.I. reached out to Mr. Steele. He then met with agents in Rome to brief them on his work.

At that meeting, Mr. Steele learned that his information was considered credible by the F.B.I. “because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization,” Mr. Simpson testified.

Mr. Simpson did not disclose the identity of the human source in his August testimony. But people familiar with the matter said that Mr. Steele, after being questioned by the F.B.I., came to believe that the bureau’s human source was George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign adviser.

In fact, the source was an Australian diplomat who had spent a night drinking in London with Mr. Papadopoulos in the spring, and then shared with American officials what he had learned from the Trump aide.

Mr. Simpson said Fusion played no role in deciding what to include in the memos that would eventually be compiled into the dossier.

But Mr. Simpson said that Mr. Steele “broke off” his connections with the F.B.I. after The New York Times ran an article on Oct. 31 that said the bureau had found no conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.

Citing law enforcement officials, the Times article said that “none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”

Since then, investigators and journalists have developed extensive evidence linking Mr. Trump’s associates to Russian government and intelligence operatives, but as yet there is still no public evidence of a direct link between President Trump himself and the Kremlin.

At the time, many in the F.B.I. did not believe Russia was aiming to explicitly help Mr. Trump. That consensus did not emerge fully until January 2017 when American intelligence agencies released a report saying that the Kremlin’s intentions were twofold: to “undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process” and to “help President-elect Trump’s election chances.”

Mr. Simpson, in his testimony, called the Times article “a real Halloween special.”

“There was a concern that the F.B.I. was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people and that we didn’t really understand what was going on,” Mr. Simpson said. “So he stopped dealing with them.”

The concerns prompted Mr. Steele to share his work with a former British diplomat, who passed the information to Senator John McCain after the election.

Mr. McCain is believed to have then met with James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director, to discuss the dossier. In January, weeks before the inauguration, the dossier became public after news broke that Mr. Comey had briefed President Barack Obama and Mr. Trump on Mr. Steele’s work.

The release of the transcript broke what had more or less been a prevailing rule of secrecy around Congress’s various investigations into Russia’s efforts and the Trump campaign. Though pieces of information from witness interviews in the House and the Senate have leaked to the news media, only two complete transcripts — from House Intelligence Committee interviews with Carter Page and Erik Prince — had been publicly released among hundreds.

In a brief interview, Ms. Feinstein left open the possibility of releasing other transcripts from the committee’s investigation.

Continue reading the main story

FBI knew of possible Trump-Russia collusion, according to Glenn Simpson’s Senate testimony
 

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WASHINGTON — By the time the FBI sat down in September 2016 for a full interview with the ex-British spy who had been researching Donald Trump’s Russia connections, the bureau had already received information raising concerns about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to a transcript made public Tuesday.

Glenn Simpson, a former newspaper reporter and the founder of a research firm called Fusion GPS, spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than 10 hours in August about his research into Trump, and on Tuesday more than 300 pages of his testimony were released by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California.

Feinstein releases Fusion GPS testimony on Trump dossier 3:14

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Simpson told the committee that his associate, the former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele, sat down for a “full debriefing” with an FBI contact in Rome in September 2016. During the debriefing, Steele shared information from his Russian sources, who said Trump had been coordinating with the Russian election-interference campaign of hacking and leaking.

For the FBI, it wasn’t entirely new information, Simpson testified.

“They believed Chris might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing,” Simpson said. “One of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization.” He added that the FBI had a “walk-in” whistleblower who was someone in Trump’s orbit.

‘People are entitled to know’: Sen. Feinstein responds to releasing transcripts on possible Trump-Russia collusion 1:14

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However, two sources close to Fusion GPS told NBC News that Simpson’s testimony inaccurately conflated what he had been told, and that the human source was actually George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign aide who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.

By the time Steele sat down with the FBI in September, an Australian diplomat had passed to U.S. officials details of his conversation with Papadopoulos, who seemed to know that the Russians possessed hacked Democratic emails.

Steele first reached out to the FBI in early July 2016, because he was alarmed by the information he collected in June and felt obligated to step forward, Simpson said.

“He said he was professionally obligated to do it,” Simpson testified. “Like if you’re a lawyer and, you know, you find out about a crime, in a lot of countries you must report that.”

Steele was concerned that Trump could be blackmailed by the Russians over an alleged 2013 sexual escapade Steele believed had been recorded at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Moscow, Simpson testified.

The FBI responded to Steele “by September,” Simpson said, and Steele then met in mid- or late September with an FBI legal attaché in Rome.

Steele broke off contact with the FBI sometime between Oct. 31, 2016, and the election on Nov. 8, Simpson said, because Steele concluded that the information he had given to the FBI was not elevated to the highest levels of the bureau and was not being vigorously pursued.

front-page New York Times article on Oct. 31 about the Trump-Russia investigation said the FBI had found no conclusive link between Trump and Russia.

After the article was published, Simpson said, Steele severed his relationship with the FBI. “There was a concern that the FBI was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people and that we didn’t really understand what was going on,” Simpson said.

It has since emerged that there was an active FBI counterintelligence investigation, which began in July 2016 but which the bureau kept secret.

Simpson said a dossier, which contained unverified allegations that Russia had been cultivating Trump for years and had gathered compromising information on Trump, contained all the memos Steele had produced for Fusion GPS, and that neither Fusion nor Simpson selected the content or edited the memos. The dossier was published by Buzzfeed.

Simpson said when he began his research into Trump, he was struck by Trump’s many connections to people linked to Russian organized crime, including Felix Sater, who pleaded guilty in 1998 to a mafia stock swindle and later helped Trump develop the Trump Soho hotel.

Simpson said he found Steele’s reports that the Russians were coordinating with the Trump campaign credible.

During the Senate hearing, he was asked to respond to a comment from a White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that his was a “Democrat-linked firm” that “took money from the Russian government” and “created the phony dossier that’s been the basis for all of the Russia scandal fake news.”

“It’s a false allegation,” he said. “It’s political rhetoric to call the dossier phony. The memos are field reports of real interviews that Chris’s network conducted and there’s nothing phony about it. We can argue about what’s prudent and what’s not, but it’s not a fabrication.”

Simpson acknowledged that at the time he was working with Steele he was also working with a law firm that was defending a Russian oligarch in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Attorney in New York. But he testified that the two cases were entirely separate, and did not influence one another.

Two of the people working on the New York case with Simpson were Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin, both of whom attended a now-notorious June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that had been billed as an attempt by Russian officials to give negative information about Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign. Simpson said he was unaware of that meeting at the time it occurred.

Simpson said he concluded from his research that Trump was not as rich as he has claimed, and that he had a lot of questionable business entanglements that bear further scrutiny.

“There were various allegations of fraudulent business practices or dishonest business practices or connections with organized crime figures,” Simpson said. “It was a long history of associations with people accused of involvement in criminal activity.”

Democratic Senator Releases Transcript of Interview with Dossier Firm – New York Times
 

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New York Times
Democratic Senator Releases Transcript of Interview with Dossier Firm
New York Times
In his testimony, Mr. Simpson sought to portray himself as an astute researcher well versed in the Russian government and that country’s organized crime. And he said Mr. Steele, the former British spy he hired to investigate the campaign’s ties to 
Senate Democrats just released full testimony on the Trump dossierCNBC
Top Dem releases testimony from Steele employerCBS News
FBI knew of possible Trump-Russia collusion, according to Glenn Simpson’s Senate testimonyNBCNews.com
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Trump-Russia dossier transcripts expose Donald Trumps ties to organized crime
 

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The worst kept secret in the entire Trump-Russia scandal is that Donald Trump has decades of business relationships with organized crime figures, and those deals are likely a big part of how the Russian government took control of Trump financially ahead of his entry into politics. Today’s release of Trump-Russia transcripts reveals that organized crime is indeed at the heart of the Trump-Russia scandal.

Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the company behind the Trump-Russia dossier, testified privately before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the summer of 2017. Democratic ranking member Dianne Feinstein released the transcripts of that testimony today over the objections of Trump’s Republican apologists on the committee. The transcripts reveal what was behind the effort to assemble the dossier: “It was, broadly speaking, a kind of holistic examination of Donald Trump’s business record and his associations, his bankruptcies, his suppliers, you know, offshore or third-world suppliers of products that he was selling. You know, it evolved somewhat quickly into issues of his relationships to organized crime figures but, you know, really the gamut of Donald Trump.”

In fact the three hundred-plus page transcript references “organized crime” fourteen different times. While the testimony does not give away the specifics of how Trump is tied to organized crime, it’s a given that Fusion GPS has already provided these details to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Some of Trump’s ties to organized crime, and more specifically Russian organized crime, have already been publicly documented.

For instance, the Trump Organization has done several major real estate deals in New York City with a guy named Felix Sater, who has done prison time in relation to laundering money for the Russian mafia. In addition, the U.S. Treasury Department hit the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City with a hefty fine for years of facilitating money launderers, which included the period of time in which Donald Trump still owned a commanding stake in the property.

The post Trump-Russia dossier transcripts expose Donald Trump’s ties to organized crime appeared first on Palmer Report.

trump kazakhstan – Google Search
 

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Trump will meet with Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev at White House on …

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Story image for trump kazakhstan from Raw Story

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During his testimony, Simpson detailed ways that money had been stolen from a bank in Kazakhstan, then laundered throughout multiple countries — before possibly being funneled in part to the TrumpSoho hotel project. At the center of the ordeal appears to be Felix Sater, a Trump-linked Russian-born …

Story image for trump kazakhstan from Bloomberg

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BloombergDec 10, 2017
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Story image for trump kazakhstan from New York Daily News

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New York Daily NewsJan 4, 2018
Numerous wealthy Russians have bought into Trump apartments, and Kushner’s meeting with the head of a sanctioned Russian bank in December 2016 had raised questions about whether he was trying to receive financing for his family’s projects. Kazakhstan has also featured in the Russia probe, with …
Trump Kazakh connection – Google Search
 

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Was Trump SoHo Used to Hide Part of a Kazakh Bank’s Missing …

BloombergDec 10, 2017
The Trump Organization hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing in connection with the BTA Bank litigation. The company’s chief legal officer, Alan Garten, said it “had nothing to do with the sale of units in Trump SoHo,” which were handled by Bayrock, and had never done any business in Kazakhstan or …

Letter: We must face that Trump is a crook

Times RecordDec 23, 2017
They would use shell companies in all sorts of countries to move and launder the money so the Russian mafia connection was hidden. Trump and family turned a blind … More details in “Was Trump SoHo Used To Hide Part Of Kazakh Bank’s Missing Billions” (Forbes Magazine, Dec. 10, 2017). The Kazakh …

Story image for Trump Kazakh connection from The Diplomat

Felix Sater and Trump’s Strange Kazakh Connections

The DiplomatJul 11, 2017
As previously reported, Khrapunov’s family allegedly used multiple shell companies to purchase a trio of Trump SoHo properties. The total expenditures on these properties ran $3.1 million. Continued FT, “It is unclear how much money has flowed from the alleged Kazakh laundering scheme to Mr. Trump.”.
Trump – Russia Affair – Google Search
 

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NYT: Fusion GPS Still Investigating TrumpRussia Ties, But No One …

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GRU Russian Military Intelligence – Google Search
 

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WikiLeaks tweeted, deleted, and then reposted a link to the full text …

Business InsiderJan 8, 2018
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bellingcatDec 26, 2017
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