Researcher says he saw holes in Alfa Bank hoax beforehand

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A Georgia Tech researcher said he tried to politely throw cold water on a key part of the Russia collusion hoax before Alfa Bank’s lie was finally sold to the media and government agencies, according to a recently obtained document. The new detail was one of many revealed in a document written by George Tech’s Manos Antonakakis – the man marked ‘Researcher-1’ in Special Counsel John Durham’s indictment against Michael Sussmann for lying to FBI General Counsel James Baker.

As I previously explained, “this indictment alleged that when Sussmann met with Baker on September 19, 2016 to provide FBI counsel with data and ‘white papers’ purporting to establish a secret communication channel between the Trump Organization and Russia-Linked Organization. Alfa Bank, Sussmann falsely claimed he was not acting on behalf of a client, when in fact Sussmann had worked for both the Clinton campaign and an unnamed “American tech industry executive” for confirmed to be Rodney Joffe”.

After Sussmann’s indictment was dropped, Antonakakis emailed his private attorneys and a Georgia Tech attorney and superiors a document titled “errors” that purported to identify several parts of the indictment which he claimed to be false or misleading. Last week, The Federalist reported on several details contained in an abridged version of the “sophisticated” document obtained from Georgia Tech following a right-to-know request.

On Thursday, The Federalist received a fuller version of Antonakakis’ summary two days after Sussmann’s indictment was announced. This version included Antonakakis’ summary of what he told the Durham team about the Alfa Bank hoax.

“This part has been taken out of context,” Antonakakis wrote of the indictment excerpt from an email he sent to Joffe after reviewing a draft white paper outlining the Alfa Bank-Trump theory. This excerpt to Joffe said: “A DNS expert would poke several holes in this assumption (mainly around visibility, which you don’t talk very intelligently about). That being said, I don’t think even the best (non-DNS) security researcher can refute your statements. Pleasant!”

Antonakakis first retorted that he had been asked “to review it as a non-DNS expert and that’s what I did”, before explaining what he had said to the special advocate.

“If my memory serves me right,” Antonakakis wrote, “I was explicit when I told them that I was not the creator or even an editor of this document.” “I told them I said what I said in my review of this document,” Antonakakis continued, “because this IMHO [was] the best and most polite way i can say [Joffe] that this analysis is not brilliant.

Thus, according to Antonakakis, it was the mannerisms that led him to tell Joffe that he “very intelligently” had not discussed the main “hole” in Alfa Bank’s analysis. It was also proper conduct that caused the Georgia Tech pundit to exclaim “Nice!” to the fact that “even the best (non-DNS) security researchers” would be unable to refute Joffe’s claims.

Last week’s cache of documents is not the first to confirm that Antonakakis dismissed the secret Alfa Bank-Trump communications network theory laid out in the white paper that Sussmann later presented to the FBI’s general counsel. In an earlier email obtained from Georgia Tech, Antonakakis wrote that “Researcher 1,” as Antonakakis called himself, “never supported the paper.”

The tone and tenor of these emails mimic those taken from Sussmann’s indictment which also show that Antonakakis found the Alfa Bank theory half-baked. For example, after Antonakakis found no connection between the trump-email.com domain and Russia when he ran a search for the domain, he provided his candid comments that the results “didn’t a lot of sense with the script you have”.

Antonakakis would later tell Joffe, Lorenzen, and Researcher 2, who was his Georgia Tech colleague David Dagon, that they had to band together because their dislike of Trump gave them “tunnel vision” and that their theory wouldn’t hold up. public scrutiny.

While in private and being questioned by a federal prosecutor, Antonakakis offered a weak assessment of the Alfa Bank-Trump theory, an attorney representing the Georgia Tech researcher framed “their hypothesis” as remaining, “to this day.” , “a plausible working theory”. Antonakakis has also remained silent since the indictment was dropped, even as other supposed experts continue to promote the Alfa Bank theory. But why?

The indictment, read in light of numerous documents obtained from Georgia Tech, states that the Alfa Bank data presented to Baker (and later the CIA) came from outside Georgia Tech. It shows Antonakakis saying that “these datasets are apparently from April”, an apparent reference to April Lorenzen, whom the Sussmann indictment called the “Creator”. Georgia Tech “did not pay for or use this data in any of our programs,” Antonakakis will write, which is also consistent with the allegations in Sussmann’s indictment.

Antonakakis also appears to have had no role in compiling the data, conceptualizing Alfa Bank’s theory, writing the report or editing it. Rather, Antonakakis’ involvement appears limited to “interrogating” internet data maintained by Joffe’s internet company on August 19, 2016, leading him to believe that the “scenario” “doesn’t have much direction”, and to review Joffe’s draft report and provide comments to Joffe. , while seemingly encouraging Joffe’s ability to hide the holes in the report.

There is also no indication that Antonakakis knew that Joffe, with the help of Sussmann, intended to present the report to the FBI, CIA and the media. By contrast, Sussmann’s indictment alleged that Dagon, after reviewing Joffe’s draft document, noted that, while questions remained, “in substance and in part, that the document should be shared with the government officials”.

Sussmann’s indictment also alleged that Dagon, identified as Researcher-2 in the indictment, also wrote a white paper apparently related to the Alfa Bank allegations that Sussmann provided to the FBI. Additionally, Sussmann asked Dagon to “speak substantively with members of the media” regarding the Alfa Bank allegation, which Dagon did, according to the indictment.

The special advocate’s office made no similar allegations about Antonakakis. So why isn’t Antonakakis going public with his expert analysis that the Alfa Bank-Trump research was ‘not great’? Why not “poke holes” in the white paper, as it says a DNS expert could easily do?

Is it a misplaced loyalty to his colleagues and a fear that the franchise will create more problems for Joffe, Dagon and Lorenzen? Or is his lawyer, who previously represented Christopher Steele’s main sub-source, Igor Danchenko, behind the “Alfa Bank-Trump theory remains plausible” strategy?

Whatever the answer, we know Alfa Bank’s article was rubbish, and the leading DNS analysis expert knows it too.


Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. She also contributes to National Review Online, The Washington Examiner, Aleteia and Townhall.com, and has been published in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of Notre Dame Law School, where she won the Hoynes Award, the law school’s highest honor. She then served for nearly 25 years as staff law clerk for a federal appeals judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time faculty member at the university and now teaches as an occasional adjunct. As a homeschooled mother of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland writes frequently on cultural issues related to parenting and children with special needs. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed herein are those of Cleveland personally.

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