Last night Rachel Maddow was all over this pointing at the latest guilty plea accomplished through the Special Counsel Mueller of political consultant Samual Patten for his foreign lobbying efforts on behalf of the Putin Friendly Opposition Bloc party of Ukraine links him to Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and their GRU trained associate Konstantin Kilimnick, setting up a U.S. straw purchaser to launder Ukraining money into the Trump Inauguration fund, as well as the efforts by Cambridge Analytica parent company SCL’s efforts to use Israeli hackers and active measures to impact the re-election of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon.
There’s long been an open question about whether their were any links between the efforts of Cambridge Analytica and those of the Russian hackers who infiltrated the DNC, DCCC and John Podesta’s emails and also the Russian Internet Research Agency which weaponized the stolen emails and materials using social media, trolls and strategic leaks with partisan media to influence the 2016 campaign. The two efforts always seemed eerily similar, but now we know that there were at least three links between Russian intelligence and Cambridge, any one of which could explain how techniques pioneered and practiced by CA in 2014 became a major part of the Russian playbook in 2016.
Although Rudy Giuliani has responded to this conviction by asking “What has this plea have to do with Trump?” he’s clearly missing the forest fire for the trees in the set of links this fills in between members of the Trump campaign such as Manafort and Gates, their data operation Cambridge Analytica and various Russian Intelligence operations.
The highlights are as follows:
- An associate of Russia GRU operative Konstantin Kilimnick, Samuel Patten, 47, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by lobbying for the Ukrainian Opposition Bloc between 2014 and 2018 in collaboration with Victor Yanakovych’s former Chief of Staff Sergei Lovochkin without disclosing the work to the U.S. government. Patten agreed to cooperate in response to the charges which were referred by Mueller to the US Attorney for DC and the National Security Division. Also the Senate Intel committee had made a criminal referral against Patten after he was interviewed by their staff that had both lied to them and destroyed relevant documents.
- in 2014 Patten had worked with Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL while they were aiding the campaign of Ted Cruz and played a central role in the SCL Group’s work in Nigeria in early 2015, when the Cambridge Analytica parent company reportedly hired Israeli hackers to steal emails and dig compromising information on the candidate challenging incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan. Similar methods were used by the Russian hackers in 2016 against Hillary Clinton’s campaign which might literally have been the result collusion between Cambridge and the GRU possibly thru Kilimnick which might explain the remote access to Prof. Alexandr Kogan’s core voter data files which came from Russia.
- CNN reports that Patten also found a straw purchaser for a Ukrainian oligarch who used him to funnel $50,000 into the Trump Inaugural fund using an account in the bank of Cyprus
Despite what Giuliani claims that this plea deal has “nothing to do with Trump” this case is the first that directly links illegal foreign money going into the pockets of the Trump campaign’s inauguration fund. That’s on top of the fact that Victor Vekselberg and several other Russian oligarch billionaires managed to find similar methods to attend the inauguration and after parties.
Why exactly where there so many Russians all around Trump all the time?
Cambridge whistle-blower Christopher Wylie has specifically pointed out that the hacking and active measures effort used by SCL in 2014 to test U.S. voters favorability to Vladimir Putin, which happened to be the same year the Russia invaded Crimea and international sanctions where issued against them for that aggressive act, was led by Sam Patten.
BREAKING: Ex-Cambridge Analytica contractor Sam Patten just charged by FBI after Mueller referral. This guy was responsible for CA operations in the US that involved covertly testing US voter attitudes on Putin's leadership… I know there's more to come…https://t.co/h6rfH3K0gS
— Christopher Wylie ????️???? (@chrisinsilico) August 31, 2018
In the second section of her show Maddow talked to the Atlantic’s Natasha Bertrand who had previously done an article on Sam Patten discussing his links to “Russian spy” Konstantin Kiliminick prior to his being apparently targeted by Mueller.
We now have three potential avenues for the micro-targeting data and methods that had been developed by Prof. Kogan to have reached Russia.
The first link is the fact that the entire micro-targeting efforts was funded by a Russian oil company — Lukoil — who for questionable reasons seemed interested in impacting U.S. Voters.
Energy firm Lukoil, which is now on the US sanctions list and has been used as a vehicle of government influence, saw a presentation on the firm’s work in 2014. It began with a focus on voter suppression in Nigeria, and Cambridge Analytica also discussed “micro-targeting” individuals on social media during elections.
Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil company, discussed with Cambridge Analytica the data company’s powerful social media marketing system, which was already being deployed for Republican Ted Cruz in the US presidential primaries and was later used to back Brexit and Trump.
Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, emailed colleagues after initial contacts to say that Lukoil wanted a clearer explanation of “how our services are going to apply to the petroleum business”.
“They understand behavioural micro-targeting in the context of elections (as per your excellent document/white paper) but they are failing to make the connection between voters and their consumers,” he wrote in an email seen by the Observer.
A slide presentation prepared for the Lukoil pitch focuses first on election disruption strategies used by Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL, in Nigeria. They are presented under the heading “Election: Inoculation”, a military term used in “psychological operations” and disinformation campaigns. Other SCL documents show that the material shared with Lukoil included posters and videos apparently aimed at alarming or demoralising voters, including warnings of violence and fraud.
So was this package of methods developed and paid for by Lukoil ever delivered the Russian intelligence and then repeated by them during the 2016 election? Well, maybe, particular since Lukoil happens to have a cooperative agreement with the FSB.
First Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation – Head of the FSB Border Guard Service Vladimir Kulishov and President of LUKOIL Vagit Alekperov signed an agreement on cooperation, in Moscow today.
The agreement provides for increased efficiency of coordinated measures taken to ensure security at border areas, guard territorial waters, exclusive economic zones and continental shelf areas of the Russian Federation in regions where LUKOIL Group operates. The agreement also establishes a framework required to counter acts of terror.
That’s one method where information could flow from SCL/Cambrige to Lukoi and then to Russian Intelligence. The second link is the fact that Prof. Kogan’s core data on U.S. voter micro-targeting was mysteriously accessed from Russia using methods he can’t fully explain.
Damian Collins, the Conservative MP leading a British parliamentary investigation into online disinformation, told CNN that a British investigation found evidence that the data, collected by Professor Aleksandr Kogan on behalf of Cambridge Analytica, had been accessed from Russia and other countries. The discovery was made by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Britain’s data protection authority, Collins said.
“I think what we want to know now is who were those people and what access did they have, and were they actually able to take some of that data themselves and use it for whatever things they wanted,” Collins said.
Kogan, a psychology professor at Cambridge University, started working with Cambridge Analytica in 2014, building a personality app on Facebook that gathered data from its users, and all the users’ friends as well. Data on tens of millions of Americans was gathered.
And now we have a third link — or a third pathway of collusion, if you will — between the SCL/Cambridge Sata operation that powered the Trump campaign with Steven Bannon and Jared Kushner at the helm, and Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnick through his unregistered business partner Sam Patten who had previously used the exact same hasking/active measure techniques in Nigeria, and had headed the project to influence U.S. voters to be more favorable to Putin and Russia.
There is practically no way that all of this is just an “unlucky coincidence.”
All of this would explain why and how Russia implemented an influence campaign in 2016 that exactly mirrored what SCL/Cambridge had been developing and testing out during previous years. Russia had paid for it, and had ample links between those who worked on the project and Russian intelligence who could have easily fed all this data right into the St. Petersburg troll farm.
Absolute proof of that these links were used for this purpose hasn’t yet been presented, but it’s becoming more and more likely that this is exactly the case, and more and more colluders are getting caught.
The second trial of Manafort which begins in two weeks happens to involve his own links to Kilimnick who was his primary assistant in his efforts to aid Putin friendly politicians in Ukraine and it’s possible that this plea was reached now to allow Patten to be a witness in that case just as Rick Gates was a witness in his first case where he was convicted on 8 counts, so we may not remain in suspense on this issue for very much longer.