aside General Flynn May Have Been Aware Of Republican Led Hacking Schemes (Fake News)

Image result for photo of the wsj buildingThere has been a story published in the Wall Street Journal that could very well be fake news. I read it. The story is unsourced with the exception of Mr. Smith who just  happens to be deceased.

I am very hesitant to accept this story at face value despite the highly esteemed reputation of WSJ. I base this on the author’s character as referred to in this report, “Mr. Smith helped publicize Arkansas state troopers’ claims that then-Gov. Bill Clinton had enlisted them to arrange trysts with women, an unproven allegation.” (This refers to “Troopergate.” The reporter, David Brock who broke this story, later apologized to Mrs. Clinton for having been responsible for it, as he came to have serious doubts about the veracity of the allegations.)

The source for this story seems to have a reputation that is suspect. This story just does not ring true because he refers to the collection of the 33.000 Hillary Clinton’s lost emails which were never leaked. There is just no way that if the Russians had possession of this data, that they wouldn’t have leaked it.Image result for photos of michael isikoff

I am writing on this news because throughout the evening of 6/29/17, several of the cable news pundits were spending a lot of time discussing it.  There was guest journalist, Michael Isikoff  who recommended caution with this narrative while he was talking to Chris Hayes.

AND OF COURSE, IF THIS STORY IS TRUE, IT IS A GAME CHANGER.

Here’s the rest of the story...

Image result for photos of Peter W. Smith
Peter W. Smith

On June 29, 2017, Shane Harris of the Wall Street Journal penned the following report, “GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn.” (Peter W. Smith portrayed the former general as an ally in an effort, independent of the Trump campaign, to find personal emails deleted by Hillary Clinton.)

Excerpts:

“Before the 2016 presidential election, a longtime Republican opposition researcher mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers.

In conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, the GOP operative, Peter W. Smith, implied he was working with Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.

“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.”

” Emails written by Mr. Smith and one of his associates show that his small group considered Mr. Flynn and his consulting company, Flynn Intel Group, to be allies in their quest.”

“What role, if any, Mr. Flynn may have played in Mr. Smith’s project is unclear. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Smith said he knew Mr. Flynn, but he never stated that Mr. Flynn was involved.”

“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.”

Image result for photos of robert mueller“Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian attempts to sway the U.S. election and whether there was collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign. President Trump has denied any collusion and called the investigation a “witch hunt.” The Russian government has denied it interfered in the election.”

“Mr. Smith died at age 81 on May 14, which was about 10 days after the Journal interviewed him. His account of the email search is believed to be his only public comment on it.”

“The operation Mr. Smith described is consistent with information that has been examined by U.S. investigators probing Russian interference in the elections.”

“Those investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the intelligence.”

“It isn’t clear who that intermediary might have been or whether Mr. Smith’s operation was the one allegedly under discussion by the Russian hackers. The reports were compiled during the same period when Mr. Smith’s group was operating, according to the officials.”

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

Image result for photos of Peter W. Smith
FLYNN

“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.”

COMEY/ MUELLER

“Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said in July 2016 there was no evidence the private server had been hacked but held out the possibility it could have been.” (It wasn’t. If the server had been hacked Mrs. Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails would have been leaked.)

“In the interview with the Journal, Mr. Smith said he and his colleagues found 5 groups of hackers who claimed to possess Mrs. Clinton’s deleted emails, including two groups he determined were Russians.”

“U.S. intelligence agencies have accused the Russians of stealing emails from the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, and providing them to WikiLeaks last summer as part of a multifaceted operation to interfere with the election and help Mr. Trump’s campaign. Mr. Trump on July 27 publicly encouraged Russia to go further and find the Clinton “emails that are missing.”

“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.”

“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 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.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF FLYNNIn another recruiting email seen by the Journal, Jonathan Safron, a law student Mr. Smith 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.”

“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.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF FLYNN

“The senior Mr. Flynn was fired as national-security adviser in February after misleading administration officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador concerning sanctions.”

“Mr. Smith said in the interview he supported Mr. Flynn’s efforts during the presidential transition to establish relations with Russian officials.”

“Mr. Smith said he didn’t intend to pay for any (hacked) emails found.”

“He said he understood the risk in publishing the emails himself. If, under public scrutiny, they proved not to be genuine, “people would say we made them up,” he said, and the whole project would be dismissed as a Republican hit.” 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.” 

“Mr. Smith’s views on Russian hacking were complex. While he said he believed Russians were likely among those who tried to steal Mrs. Clinton’s emails, he dismissed intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia’s government meddled in the election to discredit Mrs. Clinton and to help Mr. Trump.”

This blog was updated on 7/1/17.

The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians – Lawfare 6/30/17

8 comments

  1. Dear Mz. Gronda,
    I saw this earlier today and like you, I discounted it mainly because there seems to be too much lack of factual sourcing given by the author. Unlike you, I place very little faith in anything political that comes from WSJ. However if in the event that some truth is to be found in the article then it needed to be added to the library of articles involving the “Russian Connection to the tRump”.
    After the CNN “fake” story, I have become more adverse to simply accepting that the source has much credibility. I suspect that it would not be beyond the realm of possibility that Bannon and his minions could mount an attack on the MSM by planting false stories to discredit the media in general! It seems that this sort of news along with the attack earlier today aimed at female members of the news media has accomplished taking the eyes of the nation off his Russian gate problems…

    • Dear Crustyolemothman,

      I’ve noticed the news pundits using more cautionary words when reporting on this story. If true, this would be a heck of a story, but it bears further scrutiny.

      It would not surprise me if Mr. Bannon wouldn’t plant a story to embarrass the press.

      Hugs, Gronda

  2. Speaking of fake news, this came out a few days ago:
    3 CNN journalists resign after retracting Trump-Russia ties story

    (Yellow) Journalists lie all the time, sensationalism sells so they twist the facts to sell the story. This happens more often than the public expects, esp recently with highly charged politics involving Trump.

    • Dear 1EarthUnited,

      And when the story was uncovered as fake news, CNN fired 3 reporters who wrote it up and publicly took the hit. Mr. Zucker has made it abundantly clear that there is 0 tolerance for invented news stories.

      Hugs, Gronda

  3. Read. Absorb. Reflect. Reach your own conclusions.
    Reading histories helps just to gain of sense of how the Human predilection for making ‘statements or claims’ works.
    (Just an example: A young Union Officer during the Civil War said they ‘had problems with Confederate prisoners’, basically because you were never sure if they were just bragging about the size of their army, had volunteered to be captured and spread mis-information, or were just simply repeating tall-tales they had heard’)

    • Dear Roger,

      This smells like the big fish story? The tell for me is the reference to Mrs. Clinton’s missing personal 33,000 emails. If any hacker had possession of them, they would have been leaked.

      Hugs, Gronda

  4. Gronda, thanks for caveating this story as potentially untrue. The press must get these stories correct. As Ben Bradlee, the editor of The Washington Post told Woodward and Bernstein “We are about to say the President of the United States is a crook. We better be right.”

    What is lost on the current incumbent is the three CNN reporters were fired and the story retracted last week that he leapt upon. Fake News agencies don’t tend to retract stories and this President rarely admits he got it wrong – it is typically someone else’s fault. We should remember this as the Russia investigation unfolds.

    Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      Overall, I have noticed the major news outlets being more careful with their work product, and this is a good thing.

      The author of this piece on Peter W. Smith has been a guest on just about every TV news show but his work product would not pass my standard for what I would be willing to publish.

      This story may be fleshed out and proven in the future, but for now I am skeptical.

      Hugs, Gronda

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