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Kimberley A. Strassel: Who Are Those ‘Techies’ Who Spied on Trump?

The Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel has posted an excellent and much-needed article explaining that the players in the online spying and attacks on candidate and later President

Donald Trump were not, as some establishment media have disingenuously claimed, a ‘benevolent posse’ but hardcore partisans for Hillary Clinton.


If their defense of the Clinton-paid operation feels tired, says Ms. Strassel, it’s because we’ve been through it before. It’s Christopher Steele all over again. You can read the entire article through this link, but the crucial bits are these:


Special counsel John Durham destroyed the last shreds of Mr. Steele’s credibility last year, proving that the paid-for-hire spook had relied on fabrications for the infamous dossier the Federal Bureau of Investigation used in its Trump probe. The special counsel is now dismantling that other big claim of Trump-Russia “collusion”—the Alfa Bank narrative. The wonder is that the press and others are stepping up for another humiliation—when the disturbing actions of the creators of the Alfa narrative are already so easy to document, and in their own words.


Ms. Strassel reminds us that the Alfa story came to life in October 2016, when Franklin Foer of Slate was gulled into writing that a largely anonymous “benevolent posse” of “computer scientists,” “spurred by a sense of shared idealism,” had discovered data showing secret communications between the Trump Organization and Russia-based Alfa Bank. Cybersecurity professionals instantly ridiculed the data as nonsense, and the FBI dismissed it, but the liberal media kept it alive. In October 2018, the New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins devoted a 7,600-word panegyric to the “self-appointed guardians of the Internet” who continued to flog the claims.


These “guardians of the internet” were in fact nothing but paid shills for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.


Using the Steele Dossier playbook, Ms. Strassel documents how they worked with Democratic lawyers at Perkins Coie and opposition-research firm Fusion GPS, with the goal of dredging up “derogatory” information on Mr. Trump that would please “VIPs” in the Clinton campaign. The techies did so, the Durham indictment says, in part by mining protected internet data that had been supplied to a government contractor—allowing them to snoop on the White House as well as Trump Tower and Mr. Trump’s Manhattan apartment.


The press initially tried to ignore the story, then resorted to parsing the definition of “spying,” justifying the accused, and trashing Mr. Durham, observed Ms. Strassel.


The problem for the establishment media is that the techies they seek to defend have already put too much on the record that suggests their real concern was a President Trump, not national security.


Ms. Strassel documents that the “apolitical” Mr. Joffe included in the project (who is also referenced in the Sussmann indictment) one Paul Vixie, whose Twitter feed sports a long record of liberal, anti-Trump sentiments. Another member of the circle—who took on the job of publishing the Joffe data—is L. Jean Camp, an Indiana University computer-science professor and Clinton supporter who called on Americans to join the “resistance” against Mr. Trump. So much for the media’s description of a gang of politically innocent nerds, says Ms. Strassel.


Having read the Durham filing that got the establishment media frantically spinning about the definition of “spying” and claiming that Durham was trying to inflame or taint a potential jury poll against Sussman we found Ms. Strassel’s argument compelling, mostly because it adds bits from the Alpha Bank depositions and the New Yorker interview with Joffe that we either hadn’t seen or had forgotten about.


A long time ago a very smart lawyer told us, “Never admit anything.” This is the tack that Sussman, his former Perkins Coie colleague Marc Elias and the other lawyers, such as Hillary Clinton, now under Special Counsel Durham’s scrutiny are taking. However, as Ms. Strassel points out, it’s too late for Joffe and his co-conspirators to adopt that strategy, because they’ve already told all to the New York Times and various others.


The establishment media, especially The Washington Post and The New York Times are going to continue to furiously spin that Sussman, Joffe, et al did nothing wrong and that the “rightwing media” like us, got it all wrong, but we will stick with Kimberley Strassel’s conclusion: There’s plenty to show an ugly tale already—and Mr. Durham will likely have plenty more to come.


  • Steele dossier

  • Hillary Clinton campaign

  • Alfa Bank

  • FBI

  • Perkins Coie

  • Fusion GPS

  • John Durham

  • Spying

  • Marc Elias

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