The Washington Post is out with another explosive story that cites an internal whistleblower as stating that Steven Bannon personally oversaw the collection of personal user-data stolen from Facebook.
Conservative strategist Stephen K. Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analytica’s early efforts to collect troves of Facebook data as part of an ambitious program to build detailed profiles of millions of American voters, a former employee of the data-science firm said Tuesday.
The 2014 effort was part of a high-tech form of voter persuasion touted by the company, which under Bannon identified and tested the power of anti-establishment messages that later would emerge as central themes in President Trump’s campaign speeches, according to Chris Wylie, who left the company at the end of that year.
Among the messages tested were “drain the swamp” and “deep state,” he said.
The activity began three years before Bannon served as Trump’s chief political strategist when he helped found Cambridge Analytica, backed by the wealthy and Alt-Right funding Mercer family. Bannon started the company as part of a broader effort to create a populist power base.
According to an inside source; “We had to get Bannon to approve everything at this point. Bannon was Alexander Nix’s boss,” said Wylie, who was Cambridge Analytica’s research director. “Alexander Nix didn’t have the authority to spend that much money without approval.”
Of course, Cambridge Analytica suspended Alexander Nix earlier today over the release of video showing him bragging about blackmailing politicians by sending “girls” to have sex with them, or make them offers “too good to turn down” and get the matter on tape.
Ultimately, if Bob Mueller is going to prove real collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, it will likely come in the form of Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn – all with known ties to Cambridge Analytica, taking the “deep data” stolen from Facebook profiles, and given to the Russians for use in crafting “fake news stories” to be delivered to the micro-targeted, psychological profiled, intended Facebook users. Certainly, it’s possible that other forms of collusion occurred, it’s also possible that no Cambridge data ever made its way to the Russians by way of the Trump campaign. But, the most plausible scenario for real Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government is that outlined above. And another key piece just fell into place, as we learn that Bannon was right in the middle of gathering that evidence long before he worked for Trump.