Category: National Security

Sources: Boris Epshteyn Paid Russian Hackers For Both Team Trump and FSB

Exclusive: Sources linked to the intelligence community say it is believed that a Russian hacker of the election, Pyotr Levashov, was paid directly by Boris Epshteyn on behalf of both Trump and the FSB.

boros

Sources say the indictment on April 20th of Levashov in the US district court in Connecticut (where an FBI counterintelligence division is based) represents the first concrete move in court that openly leads towards the impeachment of Donald Trump and the prosecution of dozens of members of his team – because this hacker, the sources suggest, was compensated by Team Trump and the FSB jointly, and Team Trump, sources say, know it.

Mr. Epshteyn’s lawyers have denied to me in writing that he was ever an agent of Russia, and have said that neither he nor his parents were ever agents of the Russian state. However, I stand by my prior and current reporting on this public figure, who, until recently, was a member of the US Government as staff at the White House, as well as maintaining a constant public presence as a surrogate of Mr. Trump’s during the campaign, and on television for the White House after it.

Multiple sources with links to the intelligence community report that:

Trump Tower was a “command and control” center for the Kehlios botnet, dismantled by the FBI;

That the “Trump server” with a Trump Tower IP address, that was communicating with servers owned by Alfa Bank in Russia, and with Spectrum Health, had the data packets it sent opened on the hour by human members of Trump’s data team, located near to Trump Tower;

As I have previously reported here at patribotics, the server was ‘washing’ the DNC’s stolen, hacked ‘Vertica” database with voter registration databases – but new sources report further information that images were also sent from or to Russia, and opened by members of Trump’s own team on an hourly basis

That “Pyotr Levashov'” or “Peter Severa”, indicted by the FBI for running the Kehlios botnet, was recruited for the hacking effort by Mr. Epshteyn, who, sources say, was working for both the FSB and team Trump;

That in 2015, Trump Hotels was fined a pittance of $50,000 for malware and credit card fraud after it failed to correct an earlier “breach”, but that this was deliberate, as the credit card malware would later be repurposed to be used in the election;

Kcmc.jpeg

That human accounts pushing out fake memes authorized by Russia were paid, via the Kelhios botnet being operated from Trump HQ, using bitcoin and a spam payments system previously used for pornography;

And that Pyotr Levashov, aka Peter Severa, is also connected to one Dante Jimenez, another top spammer who himself connects back to Hostkey – the Russian company controlled by Vladimir Putin, with servers in the Russian academy of sciences, that hosts Wikileaks

Sources further attest that the FBI intercepted the traffic between the Alfa Bank server and Mr. Trump’s server, and know exactly what was transmitted

Sources further report that there were at least two other “mother servers”, other than the one with the Trump Tower IP address, and the Spectrum Health server that simultaneously pinged Alfa Bank. Sources indicate that one of these two servers was at Spectrum Health, and transferred messages to Russia via a method called “iodine xfer transfer”, but that the US intelligence community intercepted all such messages

Sources close to the intelligence community indicate that the indictment of Pyotr Levashov in Connecticut this week represents the FBI ‘making its move’ to begin proceedings against Trump and his team, as, these sources say, Trump and many of those working for his campaign are well aware that they are tied by data to the criminal activities of Mr. Levashov

Multiple, other sources with links to the intelligence communities of more than one country, who were not the original sources on my exclusive story that Carter Page took a recording of Donald Trump to Moscow, confirm that this story is true.

There will be extensive further reporting on this exclusive story; please check back for updates.

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Carter Page Went to Moscow With a Tape of Donald Trump Offering Treason For Hacking

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UPDATED: Boris Epshteyn has denied some parts of this story, which I report within the text. 

Sources with links to the intelligence community say it is believed that Carter Page went to Moscow in early July carrying with him a pre-recorded tape of Donald Trump offering to change American policy if he were to be elected, to make it more favorable to Putin. In exchange, Page was authorized directly by Trump to request the help of the Russian government in hacking the election.

On November 7th I reported that the FBI had been granted a FISA warrant to investigate the activities of two Russian banks, Alfa Bank and Silicoln Valley Bank. I also reported that an earlier attempt to obtain a FISA warrant, in June, had failed in the court because it named Donald Trump himself and three of his associates. In an exclusive at Patribotics, I reported that these named associates were Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Boris Epshteyn.

Sources close to the intelligence community now report that this application was made because a recording exists of all three men discussing the possibility of Page taking the tape of Trump to Moscow as an earnest of good faith. (Update: Mr. Epshteyn has denied he is on any such recording, but I am not sure if he is denying the conversation took place and have asked his lawyers to clarify). There is a minor dispute over whether Trump himself is also on that tape, as well as the tape that was delivered to Moscow by Carter Page of Trump making this promise. A separate source with links to the intelligence community reported to me several months ago that Boris Epshteyn, alone of the four men named in the first FISA application, is an actual FSB agent (he has strenuously denied this). Paul Manafort is registering as an agent of a foreign power [update: he has yet to do so]; Carter Page has admitted, from public reporting, to have met with Russian intelligence agents.

It may therefore be surmised that Page, Manafort and Epshteyn, in this conversation wherein they discussed taking the Trump tape to Moscow, were all acting in concert as agents of the Russian state first and foremost, and Trump staffers second. Because the provision of such a tape to Putin would clearly be the ultimate in kompromat on a future American President (far worse than any sexual blackmail tape).

The FISC judge, as I reported, rejected that application, made in June. Director Comey likely proved to the satisfaction of the court that Page, Manafort and Epshteyn were acting as Russian agents. But he may have felt that Trump, by now the nominee, was just a very stupid patsy. And the planned trip had not taken place.

Director Comey redrew this request and presented FISC with a new warrant application. The Washington Post says that there is a FISA warrant on Page, but it does not say that there is NOT a FISA warrant on the other two men named in the June application. I will therefore assume from now on that the July FISA warrant granted targets Page, Manafort and Epshteyn.

Page had always seemed weirdly confident about his relationship with Trump. He had the tape of Mr. Trump offering to change policy. Sources say that this tape was played in meetings with Russian intelligence officers in Moscow, and that several Western intelligence sources have recordings of the meetings and the tape which they supplied to US intelligence.

The Washington Post does not name the date in July when Director Comey obtained his warrant. It seems likely however that it would not have been before July 5-8, when Page was in Russia. Furthermore, my own story on the separate FISA warrant granted on the two Russian banks states that Director Comey specifically sought permission to examine existing transcripts and intercepts on US persons as they related to this inquiry into money laundering into the Trump campaign.

My November 7th report directly connects the granting of the banking warrant to election hacking of the DNC. It is fair to say that, at the time of writing, I did not understand precisely how these two matters were connected. I now know and have reported that the server was washing databases of DNC hacked materials with voter registration materials. It is clear that, if my sources were correct, Director Comey would not have been able to listen to the recording of Mr. Trump played by Mr. Page in the offices of Russian intelligence in Moscow until he obtained that warrant, in October; his July warrant on Page came too late to affect a trip on July 5-7th.

When Carter Page returned to the RNC in Cleveland, he and Jeff Sessions, who recruited him to Team Trump via the Alfa Bank lobbyist Richard Burt, both met with the Russian spymaster Sergei Kislyak. From public reporting, we know that they not only changed the RNC platform on Ukraine at the behest of Russia, but also discussed lifting sanctions, a violation of the Logan Act.

Mr. Epshteyn was probably also present at that meeting. [Update – Mr. Epshteyn has issued a denial that he is an FSB agent, and has denied “meeting with Russian spymaster” Sergei Kislyak, as I have described the Ambassador. It is unclear to me from the wording of the letter whether he is denying that he ever met with Mr. Kislyak, or that Mr. Kislyak is a spymaster; I am seeking clarification]. The reason I say this is that I can personally report that Mr. Epshteyn, whom I had met several times in the green room at Fox News, and I, had a bet on – I bet him $100 that the Republican Party would not actually nominate the racist and sexist Donald Trump.

I lost that bet and made a point of texting Mr. Epshteyn at the conference to pay up. He was charming. I handed over the $100. He went back to Mr. Trump’s private suite.

I now realize that I was probably giving money directly to an agent of Russia (at Mr. Epshteyn’s request, I have changed this from “an FSB agent”. Mr. Epshteyn has not yet  clarified for me if he is an agent of Russia under FARA, so I am altering the text pending his answer). But if I could not hear what Mr. Page, Mr. Manafort, and Mr. Kislyak were discussing with the Russian Ambassador behind the door of Donald Trump’s suite, the FBI most certainly could.

I will produce a short timeline of the Trump-Russia story on this blog tomorrow. For now, the point is that intelligence sources say that Page, Manafort and Epshteyn, possibly also with Trump, are on tape discussing how Page should carry a recording of Donald Trump to Moscow, offering his bona fides in exchange for Russia’s help hacking the election (something that Epshteyn denies, specifically, he denies that he is on tape doing so – I have sought clarification as to whether the conversation happened, and will amend the text when I receive an answer); and that the said tape of Trump was played by Page to Russian intelligence, possibly including Mr. Diveykin, the Russian official in charge of hacking the election; and that multiple foreign intelligence services, among them the UK, Germany and Ukraine, have a tape of this; and that finally, in October, the FBI was able to listen to that tape.

So God bless America, and God Save the Queen.

 

 

 

 

Putin’s Hacker, Wikileaks Host Pyotr Chayanov, Hacked America’s Vote System And the DNC

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TL/DR: Server King, Hostkey, and Mir Telemakti are one and the same – fronts for the Russian govt.

On October 7th the DHS and the Intelligence Community released a statement on Russian hacking of the election.

They stated that:

“The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

Let us translate: the USIC confirms that Guccifer 2 hacked the DNC emails and was directed by Vladimir Putin to do so.

Next, we move on to state voter registration databases:

Some states have also recently seen scanning and probing of their election-related systems, which in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company. However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government.

However, happily, I believe I am in a position to do so. Because I can report that sources say that the Russian company which hacked voter registration databases was Hostkey – the host of Wikileaks. King Servers is in fact the same Russian front as Hostkey – both ultimately resolving to, and owned by, the Russian state’s Mir Telemakti.

server king 2

Regular readers of Patribotics will note that we broke two big stories featuring Hostkey, and its owner, a Russian hacker and troll called Pyotr Chayanov.

The first is that Wikileaks, one week before their release of the DNC hack emails, acquired two servers in Russia on which to store all their data. The owner of these massive servers was the hacker Pyotr (Peter) Chayanov, head of Hostkey.

Upon our publishing that epic exclusive by Laurelai Bailey, @Stuxnetsource on Twitter, Mr. Chayanov deleted his entire account, but not before I screenshot all of it.

The second story, even more grave than the first, was that Wikileaks had not merely bought or acquired Russian servers, they had given Chayanov and Hostkey their SSL keys. That in turn meant that Vladimir Putin, Chayanov’s boss, can see the IP of everybody reading anything on Wikileaks and indeed, can see the IP address of anybody who ever donated to Wikileaks.

But because Laurelai discovered that Hostkey/Chayanov had the Wikileaks servers, she inadvertently also proved that it was Russia who hacked US voter databases.

Because it is the same company and the same server.

Furthermore, our most recent exclusive story reported that intelligence sources say the Alfa Bank server was passing voter database info to and from the Russian state, and then handing this info to SCL and Cambridge Analytica (ultimately owned by Alfa Bank) for targeting by the Trump campaign with propaganda.

The DNC hack, hosted by Hostkey and Chayanov, would have had access to Vertica, the DNC’s voter registration server. This server had all the DNC’s information on all their voters and where they lived, voting records and so forth. Vertica had the DNC’s voter addresses, campaign modeling and so forth. It was the goldmine. It was everything.

“An analytics data program maintained by the DNC, and used by our campaign and a number of other entities, was accessed as part of the DNC hack,” said Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill.

 

It is abundantly clear then that Mr. Chayanov’s Hostkey hackers are Guccifer2; that since Hostkey published the Wikileaks stuff and also hacked US voter state databases, the Alfa server was probably comparing the state rolls with the DNC information; and that this was passed back to the Trump campaign through the Trump server.

If the USIC is confident that Guccifer2 was directed by Russia and Putin, then they now know state database hacking was also directed by him, for Hostkey is the same exact company that performed both attacks and then hosted the results.

Some sources report that there was also “IP targeting”  for the “dark Facebook posts” shown on users’ feeds (they used VPNs, and saw messages relevant to those VPNs). That could have come about because anybody who read anything on Wikileaks had now handed over their IP address to Vladimir Putin, because his agent, Julian Assange, had given Chayanov the Wikileaks SSL keys.

A future post will look at just how SCL (owned ultimately by Alfa Bank) created dark posts to target to Democratic voters and how this is tied right back to Trump.

And, ladies and gentlemen, that is the story of how Russian hackers Hostkey, working for Vladimir Putin, in partnership with Donald Trump and his team of traitors, attacked a US election and helped Donald Trump cheat his way into America’s house.

Was it good for you?

 

Alfa Bank, Trump Tower and a Social Media Impeachment

UPDATE: Sources with links to the intelligence community have now confirmed that this theory is accurate, and I am therefore upgrading this story from my theory to a factual report.

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Once I announced on Twitter and elsewhere that this theory was validated by sources, data scientists who had been examining the server data began to re-examine it in the light of this statement. @TeaPainUSA on Twitter, who knows his data science, collaborated with some other patriot data scientists on Twitter and off to produce this crucial report explaining how Alfa’s server laundered the data.

Original:

Here is my theory of how Donald Trump will be impeached, and scores of people around him jailed.

It wasn’t just money laundering – it was “data laundering”.

My theory is based on public reporting, to which I will link in the text. Here it is:

Alfa Bank is a front for Russian intelligence. Along with Dimitry Firtash, a Russian agent of influence, it owns Cambridge Analytica, the data targeting company used by Trump’s campaign. It also owns SCL, the propaganda company responsible for what has been termed “fake news” but was actually real propaganda co-ordinated by Russian intelligence.

Cambridge Analytica and SCL use Facebook data they had no right to acquire, illegally stolen by a Russian spy working at Cambridge, to build an unbeatable target database of propaganda.

In the closing days of the election, the Russian state hacked into the voter rolls of the United States. Russian intelligence did this in order that they could provide this information to Alfa Bank in order to use Cambridge Analytica’s targeting, and SCL’s propaganda, in order precisely to target voters and tip them to Trump.

voter rollscamb.jpeg

Paul Manafort, who had always worked for and with the Trump campaign and who never left the campaign, relayed messages to Trump based on this stolen voter database information married to Cambridge Analytica and SCL targeting.

Both Manafort and Trump knew that this targeting information was based on stolen voter databases. 

The Alfa Bank server in Trump Tower provided fresh evidence for the granting of the FISA warrant, I reported. (this is a fact). However, the warrant was broader than merely looking at the server metadata. It explicitly covered US persons caught up in the inquiry and explicitly covered the right for the FBI to read intercepts and hear tapes and other materials on US persons, related to this inquiry, already existing and provided by intelligence from a Baltic state ally, which report was Estonia. [Editor – this is a correction from my earlier wrong report of Lithuania].

I believe the Alfa Bank server was sending back to Russia information on the hacked voter databases and how they could be micro-targeted.

Just before the election, Manafort, who worked with Firtash and Alfa Bank, told Trump to go and campaign in Michigan. Public polling showed that Trump had no chance in Michigan.

I believe, in summary:

A Russian spy stole the Facebook data of hundreds of millions of Americans

From that data, Russia crafted propaganda messages via SCL and targeted them by Cambridge Analytica

Both of these were owned by Alfa Bank and Firtash, Russian agent and boss of Manafort;

In order to perfect the social media targeting Russia hacked the electoral voter databases of various key American states:

This information was fed back to Manafort and Cambridge Analytica / SCL via the means of the bank server in Trump Tower;

Manafort and Trump used terrifyingly accurate micro-targeting obtained firstly by Facebook theft but secondly by Russia obtaining the exact demographic profiles of voters through hacks of US state databases and passing it back to Cambridge Analytica.

This theory, if true, would directly connect the Russian state with the Trump campaign and mean that Trump colluded with Russian spies who were hacking America. He will be impeached for it.

There is much more Trump has done, but the Russian voter database hacks —>  to Cambridge Analytica —> to SCL “fake news” to target the election —-> with Trump’s knowledge via Manafort –  is the single most direct proof of Trump’s collusion with America’s enemies.

Furthermore and as a coda,

I believe, although to what Chris Steele might call a ‘low confidence’ level, that Roger Stone was communicating with Guccifer2 who hacked the DNC and Podesta, and that these releases had not worked. I believe that whoever Stone’s “go-between” to Wikileaks was, that person worked for or with Cambridge Analytica/SCL / Alfa Bank , and that person passed on the message that precise targeting and propaganda would be needed to win the election, hence the hacking of the voter databases and the messaging that went back into them.

I have a pretty strong idea who this person and his backers are, and I shall be passing it to UK intelligence.

Lastly, following our exclusive reporting that Wikileaks is a Russian front who, days before the DNC hack, not only bought Russian servers, but gave their SSL keys to a Russian hacker Peter Chayanov, meaning he could see – and the FSB could see – everything on the Wikileaks site, including the IP address of any foolish Americans “whistleblowing” to Wikileaks (like Chelsea Manning), meaning Putin could blackmail them, I will assume that Chayanov is Guccifer2; that he was collaborating with Stone and Manafort both directly and indirectly; and that he worked with Russian state hackers to attack US voter databases.

And, to quote Jim Carrey in ‘Liar, Liar,’ “That’s the game!”

 

Now I will list the reporting on which this theory is based. I will address “Moscow Mike Misha Flynn” and the Cambridge University spy ring in another post – I have learned the hard way that too much information just shuts people down (when they don’t have ADHD). But as a snippet, I will say that I believe Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn were both caught talking to Russian spies who worked with Sberbank, the parent company of SVB Bank – the OTHER bank that was a named target of the FISA warrant.

camb

So, if you like, Alfa Bank – which owned Cambridge Analytica and passed info to and from Russia on hacked voter databases, for electoral gain, is the SIGINT part of this theory (Signals intelligence) – and SVB Bank, which funded “startups” through Russian intel front Sberbank, is the HUMINT part of this theory – think Kushner, Mike Flynn and Epshteyn.

Again, Alfa Bank and SVB Bank are the two NAMED TARGETS of the FISA warrant granted on October 15th – one week after US intelligence put out a statement on voter database hacking, on October 7th.

I believe this is why.  There was money laundering from these banks – but there was data laundering, too.

Reports:

FISA warrant granted on these banks (me, HeatStreet, Nov 7th 2016).

FISA warrant granted on these banks October 15th – Paul Wood, BBC

US IC is correlating the voter database hack to targeting, with collusion – Paul Wood, BBC

Alfa Bank and Firtash, who hired Manafort, actually own SCL and Cambridge Analytica – Ann Marlowe, the Tablet

There is a secret server belonging to Alfa Bank passing information back to Russia – Franklin Foer, Slate and David Corn, Mother Jones

Alex Kogan of GSR, later SCL, illegally scraped, without permission, the data of millions of Facebook users – the Guardian

Kogan fled to Singapore and renamed himself Alex Spectre – Motherboard

General Flynn was in touch with a Russian spy ring at Cambridge University – the Financial Times

Dimitry Firtash donated to Cambridge University  – Ann Marlowe, the Tablet

Voter databases were hacked by Russia – US Intelligence

Wikileaks and Gruccifer2 are Russian fronts – US intelligence

Wikileaks bought Russian servers in advance of the release of the DNC hacks – Laurelai Bailey, for Patribotics

Wikileaks handed its SSL keys to Putin’s Hacker Pytor Chayonov – me, for Patribotics

 

 

 

Kushner and Trump: Taped At Secret Trump Tower Meetings With Russians?

On March 3rd, Donald Trump made a series of tweets. Three were about a wiretap at Trump Tower. Two, however, were about Jeff Sessions meeting the Russian ambassador. Those tweets got lost in the resulting storm.

Over the past week, Devin Nunes obstructed justice on TV, both announcing that one White House staffer was under investigation and that “a transition team member” was recorded in a FISA intercept.

Editor’s Note:

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As we exclusively reported, that staffer was almost certainly Boris Epshteyn, named by Comey in his first failed FISA application in June.

Also as we exclusively reported, Michael Ellis is suspected of having leaked this material to Nunes.

But what would be so bad that it would cause Nunes to rush to the White House to illegally receive top-secret FISA evidence?

I believe that Jared Kushner is on tape talking to a Russian spy. Worse, I believe that as part of entirely legal and admissible FISA evidence, Donald Trump is also on tape talking to a Russian spy about money laundering.

Here is my reasoning. First,the facts. I reported that two Russian banks, SVB Bank and Alfa Bank, were the subjects, the named targets, of the FISA warrant looking at Russian money being laundered into the Trump campaign. This was a world exclusive on November 7th.

SB2

Permission was granted for the FBI to look at intercepts that involved US persons as they related to this campaign / money laundering.

Boris Epshteyn was named in an earlier version of this case to the court, and the warrant was then denied. But it is not a different case; rather, minimization was applied by the FBI before the warrant was granted.

Those are the facts of the matter on the warrant. It is also factually true that Jeff Sessions met with Kislyak, a spy recruiter, and perjured himself over it. It is further factually true that Jared Kushner snuck Kislyak into Trump Tower. Lastly, it is factually true that Jared Kushner met Gorkov, an FSB spy, at the request of Kislyak,

Second, informed speculation.

I believe that on March 3rd, Michael Ellis, newly placed in the White House, gave Donald Trump some very bad news (illegally). First he told him that Kislayak’s phone calls had been intercepted and his meetings taped – as is normal. Hence Jeff Sessions’ conversations with the spy-master were on tape. Worse, Ellis told Trump, members of Donald Trump’s own family had been taped talking to that same Russian ambassador. Lastly, he, Donald Trump, was also recorded – his phone was recorded – in Trump Tower – talking to Kislyak.

Trump would have blustered and demanded to know how this was legal. Ellis would have told him about the FISA warrant. My world exclusive stated this was granted in October, hence Trump’s squeals that “Obama” had him “tapped” “right before the victory”.

I believe that here Trump referred to the granting of the warrant as described by Ellis. Ellis may have said, for example, that the Justice Department had to authorize the application to FISC. Trump garbled this because he is galactically stupid.

I believe that the references to Trump Tower are because Jared Kushner’s meeting with Gorkov  and Kislyak was indeed taped because SVB Bank is a direct target of the warrant. Epshteyn led an ‘invest in Moscow’ trip in 2014, Gorkov’s bank and SVB had signed a memo to “invest in US startups”. The latter bit is mentioned in the Steele Dossier.

As a named target, SVB Bank is legitimate – and US persons caught up in this are legitimate. Jared talking to Gorkov was fair game. SVB

Kushner had snuck the Russian ambassador secretly into – Trump Tower. And Trump said “MY phones were tapped.” That means – I believe – that legal FISA intercepts involve not only Jared Kushner talking to Russian spies but also, because Trump called in to this secret meeting or meetings within Trump Tower, Donald J. Trump.

Michael Ellis probably called Nunes in with urgency because he saw Trump and Kushner named in intercepts. This explains why the equally galactically stupid and treacherous Nunes said that he read top secret FISA evidence ‘not to do with Russia’ and ‘Russia was never mentioned’. When you are looking at money-laundering and RICO offenses – as I report the FISA warrant was – you do not need to NAME Russia. You discuss dates, amounts of money and deals.

But (at the risk of repeating myself) this was indeed a FISA warrant, and was both a national security and criminal case. It was, as I reported in November, not about common or garden oligarch corruption or the Russian mob – it was about Russian money being funneled into the Trump campaign, as Paul Wood of the BBC makes clear in his exclusive report of January 12th.

When Ellis saw the actual intercepts involving Trump and Kushner, I postulate, he panicked and rang Nunes for a quiet midnight stroll in the White House grounds – because Trump needed some way to attack the legal and incidental evidence collected under FISA, and “fruit of the poisoned tree” is, quite literally, all these people have left.

But the tree is not poisoned, and the fruit is legally top notch.

How do you like them apples, Mr. Putin?

IMG_0994

Did Nunes Leak FISA Warrant Info via White House Lawyer Michael Ellis?

Following our exclusive report that Devin Nunes leaked information about transition team member, White House staffer and named subject of a failed FISA court application, Boris Epshteyn, I can exclusively report that sources with links to Congress state that staffers working on the Russia investigations believe that lawyers connected to the White House are illegally sharing information with Nunes – and illegally pressing him to leak it.

Editor’s Note: Donations and Whistleblowing

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While sources are not yet definite as to which lawyer or lawyers they suspect of repeatedly breaking the law on leaks and obstruction of justice, several have named Michael Ellis, of the White House General Counsel’s office for National Security, as one they suspect.

Mr. Ellis previous job was the General Counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, working for Mr. Nunes directly. Sources indicate that Nunes recommended Ellis for the White House national security post.

Yesterday it was reported that Nunes’ friend Mr. Ellis, described as his “close aide”, only started working for the White House this month, when leaks started.

If indeed Mr. Ellis did pass on information about the FISA evidence on money laundering, possibly involving Epshteyn, to Nunes, asking him to leak it to the press or allowing him to do so, it would be highly illegal conduct.

Mr. Nunes and Mr. Ellis should immediately answer to the rest of the Committee, as to whether anything of the sort occurred, and Mr. Nunes should be hauled before the FBI for the crimes he is committing in plain sight.

 

 

 

Boris Epshteyn Named in July FISA Application; Did Nunes Obstruct Justice?

On November 7th, I reported at Heat Street that the FBI had obtained a FISA warrant covering the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

I reported that the FISA warrant had been granted after an earlier, failed application to the court in the summer named Trump and “at least three other men, who have either formed part of his campaign or acted as his media surrogates“.

Those names, sources said, were Donald Trump, with Paul Manafort and Carter Page (two men that had formed part of Trump’s campaign) and Boris Epshteyn, who at the time I reported, the eve of the election itself, had only acted as Mr. Trump’s media surrogate.

Since that time, Mr. Epshteyn has become a part of government as a Transition Team official and now at the White House and I feel able to be explicit as to the names sources gave me as forming part of the summer application to the court.

It is important to note that the application to FISC made by the FBI in July was denied. The FBI must, by definition, have represented to the FISA court that they believed Trump, Page, Manafort and Epshteyn were either actual Russian agents, or Russian “agents of influence”, which can be unwitting, as Brad C Moss, a national security lawyer, pointed out in my report for Heat Street.

The application that was successful, in October, named two Russian banks – rather than US persons suspected by the FBI to be agents of influence for a foreign power – as it targets- and was drawn more tightly under the ‘minimization’ doctrine around money laundering and financial offenses, I reported. But, the FISA warrant explicitly granted the FBI permission to examine the communications of U.S. persons as they related to this money laundering inquiry. I did not report any “wiretapping” of Trump tower, nor any surveillance; rather, my reporting faithfully reflected the views of my sources that a warrant was granted.

Indeed, rather than any concept of new surveillance, I reported that the FBI had sought permission to examine already existing evidence, provided to the CIA or NSA by allied intelligence services, that related to this inquiry – specifically, to the money laundering inquiry. They previously had been unable to listen to this evidence, or to read these intercepts, because they involved “U.S. persons”. Contrary to the Trump-Bannon bleating about “deep state”, sources indicated that Director Comey was most concerned to follow the law very precisely; “in order that the chain of evidence have a clear basis in a warrant”, as I said at the time.

Two months later Paul Wood of the BBC published a seminal report on the entire Russian war on American democracy, which included further exclusive details on the FISA warrant, which added to my own reporting and made the picture much clearer.

The existing evidence, he reported, was a tape made by a Baltic state’s intelligence service, of Russian money going into the Trump campaign. It was made in April, and involved a US person or persons. Wood exclusively reported a six-agency task force including the US treasury was set up to investigate this. (He also reported a second failed application to FISC in August, something I did not learn from my sources at the time, but which sources have since confirmed to be accurate). Therefore, ‘money laundering’ it may be, but ‘from Russia into the Trump campaign’ is the second part of that puzzle, and explains, we may postulate, why Comey described to Congress his national security investigation as including any criminal aspects. It is why the warrant against the Russian banks was sought in a FISC and not an ordinary court. As had I exclusively reported on November 7th, the case was both criminal and a top-level national security case.

Exposing new and unreported evidence in such a case as (I believe) both Trump and Nunes have done is itself a crime.

Wood did not specify, but I believe it to be a fair inference, that one of those US persons was Paul Manafort, who took over the Trump campaign in March, just before the tape was made in April. Carter Page wrote to the FBI demanding they stop investigating him; leaving only Mr. Epshteyn as the unreported name in the failed applications.

I cannot confirm whether Mr. Epshteyn is, as has been speculated about, ‘Source E’ in the Steele dossier, but he fits the description given of that source. What I can report is that sources stated Epshteyn was named to the FISA court in July as a target, but – and I re-emphasize this point – that application was denied by the court.

Knowing the above, his departure from the White House after two epic failures by Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is not, I believe, a coincidence. Mr. Epshteyn has not been indicted (as far as I know) still less convicted of any crime. But it seems fairly obvious to me that Nunes is obstructing justice in plain sight –  and should be arrested.

When Nunes said:

I do not believe that was a slip of the tongue. I believe he referred to Mr. Epshteyn and tipped him off on live television.

Further, Mr. Nunes’ rants about FISA warrants (plural – I have only reported one, more, clearly, may exist) ought not to be assumed to be fact free. Instead, they should be assumed to be a completely illegal and garbled recitation of classified information illegally acquired and distributed by Nunes. When he says what he read “did not relate to Russia” he means he read details of a money-laundering investigation under FISA (but it did relate to Russia). When Nunes says he “did not hear the word Russia” nor would he need to if he were illegally reading transcripts of conversations involving money laundering, names and amounts. And when he refers to a member “of the Presidential transition team” on which he himself sat, I believe he is referring to Boris Epshteyn.

Mr. Epshteyn has, again, not even been indicted, far less convicted in any court. But IF he is indeed under a top secret investigation and his buddy and Trump lackey Nunes has just discussed both the evidence against him and the fact that he is under investigation, then it is Representative Nunes who needs to be arrested. The House Intelligence Committee should do more than demand that Speaker Ryan remove Devin Nunes as chairman of the Russian hacking inquiry. It should call Nunes as a witness, under oath. Having sat myself on a Select Committee, I know very well that politicians become friends with their opposite numbers. It is hard indeed to turn on a colleague with whom one is friendly. But the Committee must steel themselves to their manifest duty. Removal of Mr. Nunes from the House Intelligence Committee is now a matter of the national security of the United States at the highest level.