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WSJ: GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails from Russian Hackers, Implied Flynn Connection

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posted on Jun, 29 2017 @ 11:48 PM
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This is actually the second WSJ article about a GOP operative who sought data stolen from foreign hackers to use against the Hillary Clinton/the DNC — actual collusion between American citizens and foreign hackers, intended to influence elections. As with the first story, names are named and the guilty party spoke on the record with the WSJ reporter.

There are some important differences here. In this case, the efforts to obtain the stolen data were not successful. Also, though a Trump associate, Roger Stone, was tangentially involved in the incidents from earlier story in that the "hacker" (or front for the hackers?) also shared the data with him, in this case, another Trump associate was repeatedly named as part of a cadre seeking the stolen data.

It appears that like the first story, this one is also behind a pay wall. Fortunately, dear reader, I was compelled to sign up for a trial subscription at WSJ and it's not yet expired so I'll excerpt the important bits.

GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn


Mr. Smith said he worked independently and wasn’t part of the Trump campaign.

His project began over Labor Day weekend 2016 when Mr. Smith, a private-equity executive from Chicago active in Republican politics, said he assembled a group of technology experts, lawyers and a Russian-speaking investigator based in Europe to acquire emails the group theorized might have been stolen from the private server Mrs. Clinton used as secretary of state.

Mr. Smith’s focus was some 33,000 emails Mrs. Clinton said were deleted because they were deemed personal. Mr. Smith said he believed that the emails might have been obtained by hackers and that they actually concerned official matters Mrs. Clinton wanted to conceal—two notions for which he offered no evidence. Mrs. Clinton gave the State Department tens of thousands of emails related to official business.

In the interview with the Journal, Mr. Smith said he and his colleagues found five groups of hackers who claimed to possess Mrs. Clinton’s deleted emails, including two groups he determined were Russians.

“We knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government,” Mr. Smith said.


The upshot here is that this Mr. Smith and his cohorts went looking for hackers who they believed could possibly have hacked the Clinton email server and exfiltrated emails. They contracted security experts to locate these theorized hackers:


“He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this—if you find anything, can you let me know?’” said Eric York, a computer-security expert from Atlanta who searched hacker forums on Mr. Smith’s behalf for people who might have access to the emails.


Some of the parties claiming to have Clinton server emails provided batches but the group was apparently woefully unprepared to vet their authenticity.


Mr. Smith said after vetting batches of emails offered to him by hacker groups last fall, he couldn’t be sure enough of their authenticity to leak them himself. “We told all the groups to give them to WikiLeaks,” he said. WikiLeaks has never published those emails or claimed to have them.


Smith also told the reporter that he had no intention of actually purchasing emails from the hackers because if they turned out not to be genuine, there would be claims that they were fabricated by the group. In my opinion, that doesn't sound entirely reasonable. Why go searching for something you're not prepared to handle once you've obtained it?

Either way, according to Smith, none of the would be deals progressed beyond this point. So how does Flynn figure into this? It's not entirely clear to what extent Flynn and his son were involved:


Mr. Smith and one of his associates said they had a line of communication with Mr. Flynn and his consulting company.

In one Smith email reviewed by the Journal, intended to entice outside experts to join his work, he offered to make introductions to Mr. Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked as chief of staff in his father’s company. Mr. Smith’s email mentioned the son among a small number of other people he said were helping.

Michael G. Flynn didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In another recruiting email seen by the Journal, Jonathan Safron, a law student Mr. Smith described as a close colleague, included links to the websites and LinkedIn profiles of people purportedly working with the Smith team. At the top of the list was the name and website of Flynn Intel, which Mr. Flynn set up after his 2014 firing as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Mr. Safron declined to comment on his email or Mr. Smith’s project.

In phone conversations, Mr. Smith told a computer expert he was in direct contact with Mr. Flynn and his son, according to this expert. The person said an anti-Clinton research document prepared by Mr. Smith’s group identified the younger Mr. Flynn as someone associated with the effort. The expert said that based on his conversations with Mr. Smith, he understood the elder Mr. Flynn to be coordinating with Mr. Smith’s group in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser.


So we have multiple people, including a named source, who said that Mr. Smith told them that he was working with Flynn. Emails viewed by the WSJ also implied that both the elder and younger Flynn were involved in the project. The article states that Mr. Smith never stated that Flynn was directly involved.

As with the younger Flynn, the disgraced former National Security Advisor did not respond to WSJ requests for comment. The White House declined comment and a representative of the Trump campaign had this to say:


A Trump campaign official said that Mr. Smith didn’t work for the campaign, and that if Mr. Flynn coordinated with him in any way, it would have been in his capacity as a private individual.


So what's the takeaway? Mr. Smith and his associates may have simply been name dropping the Flynns and had no contact with either. Then again, the Flynns very well may have been involved in some capacity. In either case, I will emphasize, that the article does not allege, nor do I, that this is in any way proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian hackers. Nothing presented indicates a direct link to the campaign and if Flynn was involved, it's entirely possible that he was doing so as a private individual and not in his capacity as a Trump campaign advisor.

That said, if Flynn was indeed involved, the obvious implication here is that he was far from adverse to colluding with agents of the Russian government to obtain stolen data that he felt would be damaging to Clinton.
edit on 2017-6-29 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 29 2017 @ 11:48 PM
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Some final notes:

It's a good thing for Flynn and friends that this isn't a Clinton story. Mr. Smith, who was 81 years of age, died on May 14th, 10 days after the interview with the WSJ reporter.

Be honest folks, if this was "the other team" then the first 10 posts in this thread would be about how the Clintons, master assassins, had offed Mr. Smith. Hell, that might be the result anyway.

Not to add fuel to that fire but in the interest of relaying as much information as possible, I'll also note that Mr. Smith had some history with trying to dig up dirt to use against the Clintons as mentioned in the article:


In the early 1990s, Mr. Smith helped publicize Arkansas state troopers’ claims that then-Gov. Bill Clinton had enlisted them to arrange trysts with women, an unproven allegation denied by the Clinton White House.


My take? Hard to say anything definitively about the Flynn involvement. The article also mentions that the events described by Mr. Smith closely match scarce details of an effort of this sort that is/was part of the FBI investigation. It does show a second GOP operative more than willing to work with foreign hackers, including those in the employ of a foreign government — the Russians — to affect the outcome of the US presidential election. Speaking of which, here's the link to the thread about the first story which to me was jaw dropping:

Has WSJ Proven GOP Collusion With Foreign Hacker?
edit on 2017-6-29 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 29 2017 @ 11:52 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

I guess Seth Rich was killed before the emails could be obtained.



posted on Jun, 29 2017 @ 11:53 PM
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originally posted by: Metallicus
a reply to: theantediluvian

I guess Seth Rich was killed before the emails could be obtained.


What?



posted on Jun, 29 2017 @ 11:58 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian



...if Flynn was indeed involved, the obvious implication here is that he was far from adverse to colluding with agents of the Russian government to obtain stolen data that he felt would be damaging to Clinton.


In otherwords, if true, Flynn may have actually encouraged or even been directly involved in trying to gain access to and disseminate information illegally obtained on from the Clinton servers. This could be interesting...



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 12:08 AM
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Thats a wall o nothing to say someone acting on their own tried to get Hillary's hacked emails. Wish I had em.
You need to relax a while . Over-exertion



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 12:13 AM
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This was debunked by Zero Hedge at 7PM this evening.

MORE FAKE NEWS



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 12:16 AM
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This is why the "collusion isn't illegal" talking point has been repeated almost verbatim by all the conservative talking heads for the last week.

And while everyone is arguing over a stupid tweet, this quietly was published to little fanfare.

Various outlets have been sitting on this, waiting for the "green light" and go-ahead to publish. That means that the White House likely also knew this story was about to drop.

Hell, the WSJ reached out to the White House for comment, so I know with 100% certainty they knew ahead of publication.

Even before Trump ran for POTUS we used to see this same type of strategy. Look over here instead of over there!!
edit on 30-6-2017 by Kettu because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 12:23 AM
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Hillary Clinton and her cronies probably did Donald Trump a favor wiping her server...Lot's of people probably got hacked.

The suits in Washington are going about everyday business as if nothing happened because well...something likely happened. Why Hillary was careless with classified information but not prosecuted...She covered a lot of butts in DC....and nobody needs to catch a whiff.



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 12:40 AM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
actual collusion between American citizens and foreign hackers, intended to influence elections.


what?


if you find anything, can you let me know?said Eric York, a computer-security expert from Atlanta who searched hacker forums on Mr. Smith’s behalf for people who might have access to the emails.


So, someone in Trumps campaign asking people to keep an eye out on Internet Forums for Hillary's ''lost emails'' is collusion between Americans and Russians/Hackers?

This actual exonerates them in my mind, it shows they were not communicating with Russians, they were looking through internet forums to find information - which is no different to what the DNC did.

add to that


Mr. Smith said he knew Mr. Flynn, but he never stated that Mr. Flynn was involved.


Here's a question for you

The leaked DNC emails - was that

a) Russia hacking DNC and Trump colluding with Russia to release them?
b) An angry DNC employee stealing the emails and leaking them?
c) Random Hackers, hacking the DNC and releasing them to the media?



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 12:51 AM
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a reply to: FamCore

Indeed it would be but Mr. Smith seems to have been... quite a character... so unless there's evidence of communication, I certainly wouldn't rule out any possibilities including wanton name dropping. Another possibility that seems plausible given what I know of Flynn's son is that the younger Flynn was in communication with these folks and they were using the elder's reputation.



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 12:51 AM
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I thought Seth Rich was killed for blowing the whistle on the DNC? So much to keep track of this year.



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 12:55 AM
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originally posted by: flatbush71
This was debunked by Zero Hedge at 7PM this evening.

MORE FAKE NEWS


Debunked? I read the blog post from the anonymous Kremlin-loving ZH and I'm not impressed. It's certainly not a "debunking" as it doesn't actually debunk anything. It points out exactly what is in the WSJ article and what I mentioned right in the OP:

The efforts were apparently not successful and Flynn's actual involvement is unclear.

So does that make your post "fake new" or just should we leave it at "desperate deflection?"



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 12:58 AM
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a reply to: Kettu

Yeah, there does seem to be a correlation between some of these unhinged tweets and otherwise breaking news and it's even something I've seen a number of Trump supporters comment on adoringly.



Then again, it's hard to tell against the constant background of w-t-f-did-he-just-say?



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 01:00 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian


As with the first story, names are named and the guilty party spoke on the record with the WSJ reporter.


The guilty party leaked to WSJ of an alleged crime?

That doesn't sound suspicious to you?



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 01:04 AM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
a reply to: Kettu

Yeah, there does seem to be a correlation between some of these unhinged tweets and otherwise breaking news and it's even something I've seen a number of Trump supporters comment on adoringly.



Then again, it's hard to tell against the constant background of w-t-f-did-he-just-say?


I am reminded of this...




posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 01:07 AM
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Didn't someone assisting the reporters die, adding to the murkiness?



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 01:11 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian
How convenient that his source, Peter Smith, 81-year old man died a week and a half after their interview.
www.vox.com...
This is just a new DNC spin on using dead voters.
Pffff, more fake news.

Mods, HOAX bin please.



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 01:18 AM
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a reply to: Agit8dChop


So, someone in Trumps campaign asking people to keep an eye out on Internet Forums for Hillary's ''lost emails'' is collusion between Americans and Russians/Hackers?


Uh, no? Then again, that's not what was happening is it? They were in communication with 5 parties claiming to be hackers who were willing to sell them what they claimed to be stolen emails from the Clinton server.

According to Smith, who took the step of hiring a Russian to liasson/interpret/whatever, he even suspected the Russian hackers of being in the employ of the Russian government.

That's not "keep an eye out for lost emails" like they're just posted on forums waiting to be stumbled upon. How about less intellectual dishonesty?


This actual exonerates them in my mind, it shows they were not communicating with Russians, they were looking through internet forums to find information - which is no different to what the DNC did.


Of course it does. Who is "them" again? The entire Trump campaign? So what you're essentially saying here is that if one person was involved in any sort of collusion, everyone was involved? That's a really bad argument I'd think for a Trump supporter.

Again, not what they were doing — they were looking for hackers from which to obtain emails.


Here's a question for you

The leaked DNC emails - was that

a) Russia hacking DNC and Trump colluding with Russia to release them?
b) An angry DNC employee stealing the emails and leaking them?
c) Random Hackers, hacking the DNC and releasing them to the media?


By definition, emails obtained from a hack are not "leaked emails." I assume you're asking my opinion? None of those. My opinion is that the emails were hacked by hackers in the employ of the Russian government but I don't believe that Trump personally colluded with them.

If anyone from the campaign colluded in relation to the DNC emails, I would put my money on Manafort. That's just my opinion though.

The emails weren't the only thing that was stolen and the DNC wasn't the only hack. You should check out the other thread about the earlier WSJ article. In that case, the recipient flat out admits to having asked for and received stolen data which he shared. Roger Stone also flat out admits to having been given access to the same data. Another named individual, also quite freely admitted to having obtained the stolen data and used it as part of his work for a GOP congressman's campaign.

Check it out. Everyone is named, everyone is quoted, no anonymous sources, no "officials with knowledge."



posted on Jun, 30 2017 @ 01:25 AM
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a reply to: ColdWisdom

Did you happen to see the first thread about the earlier WSJ article? If not, you sould take a look. As I said in another post, even Roger Stone admitted quite freely to having been given access to the data stolen during the DCCC hack. Nobody even tried to hide it.

In fact, there's a very large push going on (as Kettu mentioned) to shift the "narrative" (ugh, it's painful even typing the word at this point) to "collusion isn't illegal."




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