Tag Archives: Spying

Microsoft Corporation Legal Documents Show Biden DOJ Spying on Project Veritas Journalists — Hides It From Federal Court Judge

 JD Rucker
 March 22, 2022

One of the reasons the 1st Amendment gives protection to the free press is because they are supposed to be one of the most important checks against a tyrannical government. Independence and protection for journalists can be argued as one of the biggest reasons the United States has flourished for a quarter millenium.

Project Veritas has been targeted by our government on multiple occasions they do not abide by the standing orders given to journalists that they must be supportive of progressive ideologies. While most major news outlets pander to the left willingly, offering cover for corrupt Democrats while seeking dirt on conservatives, Project Veritas has taken a stand for the truth. It’s no secret that they expose leftists more than conservatives, but that’s only because the field is wide open; none of the other investigative journalist groups or “fact-checkers” even attempt to expose corruption from the left.

The latest bombshell report from Project Veritas exposes Joe Biden’s Department of Justice and others colluding to deprive private citizens of their Constitutional rights, including several people with Project Veritas itself. Watch:

According to their press release:

  • Microsoft Corporation legal documents obtained by Project Veritas show that after a U.S. District Court Judge rejected the DOJ’s argument to ignore Project Veritas’ “journalistic privileges,” the DOJ went behind the judge’s back to obtain an extension on two sealed non-disclosure orders from a magistrate judge to conceal the fact they already had unsupervised and unfettered access to privileged emails and contacts of eight Project Veritas journalists.
  • Judge Torres had ruled that prosecutors must operate under the supervision of a Special Master to ensure first amendment protections are upheld for Project Veritas journalists and their source material.
  • These documents reveal that the government not only ignored that order, but also attempted to hide the fact they had obtained emails for time periods far outside the scope of the investigation.

[NEW YORK – Mar. 21, 2022] Bombshell Microsoft Corporation legal documents released by Project Veritas reveal that President Biden’s Department of Justice filed a series of secret warrants, orders, and a subpoena to surreptitiously collect privileged, and constitutionally protected, communications and contacts of eight Project Veritas journalists from Microsoft Corporation.

The Department of Justice then muzzled Microsoft from disclosing these orders via a series of secrecy orders signed by magistrates.

The documents further reveal the DOJ then went behind U.S. District Court Judge, Analisa Torres’, back to obtain extensions on the gag-orders on Microsoft from magistrate judges after Judge Torres ruled Project Veritas was entitled to “journalistic privileges.”

Despite multiple opportunities to do so, the DOJ has not publicly disclosed the orders, warrants, or subpoenas to Judge Torres or Special Master Judge Barbara Jones – who was appointed by Judge Torres to protect Veritas’ “journalistic privileges” from potential DOJ overreach. Judge Torres ruled that the DOJ’s investigation must be overseen by Judge Jones and ordered the DOJ not to review any materials seized from Project Veritas without Judge Jones’ approval.

The DOJ has not sought Judge Jones’ approval to review Project Veritas’ materials seized from Microsoft.

The documents uncover a sixteen-month clandestine campaign against journalists in which the DOJ obtained 7 secret orders, warrants and subpoenas from six magistrates within the Southern District of New York.

Paul Calli, an attorney for Project Veritas, fiercely opposed the actions from the DOJ which he called an act of “violence” to the First Amendment.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Calli argued, “By the time [Project Veritas] filed the Motion to Appoint a Special Master, the government already had the opportunity to review Project Veritas’ journalistic and attorney-client privileged materials.” Based on preliminary research data, the SDNY appears to be in possession of nearly 150K documents they should not have. In addition to the emails, the SDNY obtained over one thousand contacts from journalists that they also failed to disclose to Judge Torres or to the Special Master.

Project Veritas’ Motion seeks to require the SDNY to comply with the Special Master order by stopping their review of the surreptitiously obtained emails and disclose other hidden spying campaigns executed against the non-profit’s journalists.  The SDNY “has launched a retributive campaign that does violence to the First Amendment,” writes Calli.  “While the Special Master litigation proceeded, the government apparently misled the Court by omission, failing to inform it, and failing to inform the aggrieved journalists, that the government had already obtained the contents of privileged emails from Project Veritas’ cloud computing provider.”

The documents reveal a peak into the SDNY’s covert surveillance of American journalists, commenced by Assistant United States Attorney, Robert B. Sobelman.

The surveillance culminated in a search warrant seeking every email sent to or from Project Veritas founder and CEO, James O’Keefe, for a three-month period, along with every contact he had ever saved.  By virtue of these orders, the SDNY gained unsupervised and unfettered access to O’Keefe’s emails – including privileged communications with his attorneys and notes to and from O’Keefe’s confidential sources, among other constitutionally protected communications.

The SDNY also managed to convince a rotating cadre of magistrates to give the SDNY unchecked access to seven other journalists’ emails and contacts.

According to an order the DOJ sought to keep secret, to justify obtaining access to journalists’ emails, the Justice Department appears to have argued “there is probable cause to believe the email account(s), maintained at premises controlled by Microsoft Corporation, USA, contain evidence, fruits, and instrumentalities of crime.”

Each order, warrant and subpoena were accompanied by a Non-Disclosure Orders (NDO) which barred Microsoft from disclosing the SDNY’s surveillance for one year, claiming without evidence, that disclosure could lead to destruction of evidence by Project Veritas.  Multiple NDOs were set to expire in January, 2022.

On December 8, 2021, however, Judge Torres, over the opposition of the SDNY, granted Project Veritas’ request to appoint a Special Master to supervise the SDNY’s review of materials seized from journalists to protect the news organization’s “journalistic privileges,” among other things.

Judge Torres ordered the SDNY to provide the seized “materials to the Special Master” Judge Barbara Jones who, rather than the SDNY, would “conduct an initial review of the extracted materials,” and rule on “objections” raised by Project Veritas “on any grounds – including on grounds related to any First Amendment concerns, journalistic concerns, and attorney-client privileges.”

Although the SDNY began issuing nearly weekly reports to the Special Master only a few days after Judge Torres’ order, the SDNY has never submitted any report disclosing its surveillance of Project Veritas’ emails to the Special Master, let alone provided the seized emails to the Special Master.  The SDNY’s briefings submitted to Judge Torres regarding the Special Master procedure also fail to disclose the SDNY’s covert spying or the voluminous records seized by the SDNY.

When a round of the SDNY’s NDOs requiring the spying to be kept secret began expiring in January 2022, the SDNY, having had their arguments rejected two out of two times by Judge Torres, apparently opted to again keep the surveillance of journalists secret from Judge Torres and instead obtained renewals of those orders from Magistrates who were apparently unaware of Judge Torres’ order.

The SDNY’s final act of secrecy was seeking yet another round of renewals, prompting Microsoft to point out in a scathing un-filed motion that the government’s claims that Project Veritas might destroy evidence if the surveillance were disclosed were unsupportable.

Microsoft pointed out that the DOJ’s investigation was already public and no proof that Project Veritas would destroy evidence had been offered by the SDNY.  As a result of Microsoft’s briefing, the SDNY relented and permitted Microsoft to disclose the surveillance, which Microsoft did within hours.

These revelations come on the heels of a trio of FBI raids of Project Veritas journalists, including O’Keefe, during which the SDNY indiscriminately seized 47 devices (including a device belonging to a journalist’s roommate).

The SDNY’s spying campaign represents the latest example of governmental misconduct in a seemingly politically-motivated investigation by President Biden’s Department of Justice into Project Veritas’ news-gathering activities surrounding allegations against then-candidate, Joe Biden, made by his daughter, Ashley Biden, in her diary.

Though Project Veritas ultimately did not publish the allegations in the diary, it attempted to corroborate the allegations by requesting comment from Mr. Biden and his daughter, whose attorney, Roberta Kaplan, reacted by saying, “We should send [the request for comment] to [the] SDNY.”  The SDNY appears to have been doing Ms. Biden’s bidding ever since with little to no oversight beyond what appear to be judicial rubber-stamps from magistrates not fully briefed on the matter by the SDNY.

Why the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice sought voluminous amounts of journalists’ emails, including confidential sources and attorney-client privileged data from Microsoft despite vowing a year ago to protect press freedom, is one of many questions the Biden Administration will likely have to answer in the coming days.

Hillary Clinton Wasn’t Only Trump Rival to Pay Tech Firm That Spied On Him, Biden Also Hired It for 2020 Campaign

Kyle Becker
February 15th, 2022

FEC records unearthed by the Washington Free Beacon show that the Biden campaign in 2020 paid the same tech firm that Hillary Clinton used to allegedly spy on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

“The Biden campaign paid nearly $20,000 to a cybersecurity firm at the center of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe,” Chuck Ross reported at the Free Beacon.

According to the Federal Election Commission records uncovered by the Free Beacon, the Biden campaign paid Neustar Information Services $18,819 in 2020 for ‘accounting and compliance work.’

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was found to have paid the tech firm that conducted surveillance on then-candidate Donald Trump’s private, campaign, and White House communications. Special Counsel John Durham highlighted these findings in a motion to probe potential conflicts of interest with lawyer Michael Sussmann, who had worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“As set forth in the Indictment, on Sept. 19, 2016 – less than two months before the 2016 U.S. Presidential election – the defendant, a lawyer at a large international law firm (‘Law Firm-1’) that was then serving as counsel to the Clinton Campaign, met with the FBI General Counsel at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C,” the indictment’s factual background states. “The defendant provided the FBI General Counsel with purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and a Russia-based bank (‘Russian Bank-1’).”

This is referring to the debunked smear that Donald Trump had a secret bank wire with a Putin-linked Moscow bank named Alfa Bank. Clinton’s lawyer Michael Sussmann utilized the false accusations to argue that the federal government should conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign. Sussmann even peddled this baseless allegation to the FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency.

“The Indictment alleges that the defendant lied in that meeting, falsely stating to the General Counsel that he was not providing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of any client,” the indictment continues. “In fact, the defendant had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including (i) a technology executive (‘Tech Executive-1’) at a U.S.-based Internet company (‘Internet Company-1’), and (ii) the Clinton Campaign.”

Thus, Sussmann misled the FBI about his work for the Clinton campaign, as well as his ties to a tech executive that has been identified as Rodney Joffe, senior vice president of Neustar.

Joffe had brought the alleged Alfa Bank finding to Sussmann as early as July 2016; both were in communications with former Perkins Coie lawyer and Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias. Sussmann’s allegation that Trump had a secret connection with Alfa Bank was repeated at a September 2016 meeting with former FBI General Counsel James Baker.

The FBI would launch an investigation into the Trump campaign to look into the “odd” Alfa Bank connection. Hillary Clinton even weaponized the political disinformation in an October 2016 tweet.

Hillary Clinton’s pronouncement of the findings via the statement of Jake Sullivan are a tacit admission of guilt: The language about the “covert” server and the “secret hotline,” albeit later debunked, show that she was effectively spying on her campaign opponent, and later, the President of the United States.

Sussman’s attorneys, however, deny that Durham’s statement of facts is accurate and are asking it be struck from the record.

Donald Trump, for his part, exploded at further vindication of his claim that he was spied on.

“The latest pleading from Special Counsel Robert Durham provides indisputable evidence that my campaign and presidency were spied on by operatives paid by the Hillary Clinton Campaign in an effort to develop a completely fabricated connection to Russia,” Donald Trump said in a statement. “This is a scandal far greater in scope and magnitude than Watergate and those who were involved in and knew about this spying operation should be subject to criminal prosecution. In a stronger period of time in our country, this crime would have been punishable by death. In addition, reparations should be paid to those in our country who have been damaged by this.”

It turns out it wasn’t just the Hillary Clinton campaign that had a relationship with the tech firm that spied on Donald Trump when he was a candidate and president. The Biden campaign hired the same firm prior to the 2020 election.

The Biden and Clinton campaigns are the only two presidential committees to have ever paid Neustar, the Free Beacon noted, but the DCCC also hired the firm before the 2018 midterms.

Capitol Police Accused Of Spying on Members Of Congress, Staffers

Cullen McCue  
February 8th, 2022

The inspector general for the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) has opened a formal investigation into whether the law enforcement agency has been inappropriately surveilling elected members of Congress, their staff, and visitors to their offices. USCP Chief J. Thomas Manger confirmed the opening of the inspector general investigation in his response to congressional inquiries about USCP police tactics.

According to an article from Politico, the USCP intelligence unit has been compiling information on individuals who meet with lawmakers. Among those who have been subject to new Capitol Police scrutiny are Congressional staffers, three separate sources told Politico. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.  Most of those surveilled by the UCSP have not committed or been accused of a crime, but the agency argues the measures are necessary, citing the 2021 U.S. Capitol protests, which the UCSP refers to as an “insurrection.”

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) said in an interview that he is unaware of any members who know about the “very, very bad” practice.  “Whatever they think that sounds like for security, it sounds dangerously close — if not already over the line — to spying on members of Congress, their staff, their constituents and their supporters,” said Armstrong. “Anybody involved with implementing this without making it known to the actual members of Congress should resign or be fired immediately,” he added.

Per Politico, analysts in the department’s intelligence division have put together documents called Congressional Event Assessments for years. That process entails the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, Congress’ chambers’ internal logistical and security leaders sharing information with Capitol Police on lawmakers’ plans for meetings and events away from the Capitol. After the Capitol protests, analysts were instructed to look closely at the people meeting privately and publicly with members. The changes were implemented by former Department of Homeland Security official Julie Farnam, who joined the unit in fall of 2020.

Farnam’s new template instructed analysts to scour the social media feeds of individuals who meet with lawmakers or attend their events. It also told Capitol Police analysts to search for information about lawmakers’ opponents and their opponents’ supporters. “List and search all political opponents to see if they or their followers intend to attend or disrupt the event,” reads the template, according to Politico.

The Capitol Police defended their practices in a statement. “The more public information we have, the better we can understand what kind and how much security is necessary.”

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) accused the Capitol Police of entering his office and photographing confidential legislative information. “On November 20th, 2021, Capitol Police entered my office without my knowledge and photographed confidential legislative products protected by the Speech and Debate clause enshrined in the Constitution, Article 1 Section 6,” Nells wrote in a tweet.

According to Nehls, USCP intelligence agents again tried to gain entry to his office two days later while Congress was in recess. “Upon discovering a member of my staff, special agents dressed like construction workers began to question him as to the contents of a photograph taken illegally two days earlier,” Nells wrote in a follow-up tweet. “They had no authority to photograph my office, let alone investigate myself or members of my staff. So, why is the Capitol Police Leadership maliciously investigating me in an attempt to destroy me and my character?”

According to The Federalist, an IG investigation has been opened at the behest of Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger. “The inspector general is independent, so we cannot comment on his behalf,” a USCP spokesman told The Federalist. “But the chief has requested such a review as he is confident the USCP security assessments are legal, appropriate, and strictly limited to gathering basic information about events to ensure the safety of members of Congress.”

UNITED STATES OF CHINA: As Trial of Treasonous Harvard Prof Opens, Biden Faces Pressure to End Trump Program to Catch Chinese Spies

By Aaron Kliegma
December 15th, 2021

As a high-profile Harvard professor stands trial for hiding his ties to the Chinese government, the Biden administration is coming under intense pressure from a loose coalition of lawmakers, nonprofits, and academics to abandon the so-called China Initiative, a Justice Department effort to preserve America’s technological edge by thwarting Chinese spies.

Launched by the Trump administration in 2018 and continued so far by its successor, the China Initiative is designed specifically to identify and prosecute those engaged in hacking, stealing trade secrets, and conducting economic espionage for the Chinese government on U.S. soil. The program has led to several arrests and convictions, including, for example: 

  • Last month, a federal jury convicted Yanjun Xu, deputy division director of China’s Sixth Bureau of the Jiangsu Province Ministry of State Security, for attempting to steal trade secrets and commit economic espionage. 
  • In July, three officers in China’s Ministry of State Security were charged with participating in a global computer intrusion campaign targeting infectious disease research. 
  • In April, a PhD chemist and U.S. citizen from Michigan was convicted of wire fraud, economic espionage, conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, and possession of stolen trade secrets to help set up a new company in China.

Charles Lieber, a renowned nanotechnology professor who chaired Harvard’s Chemistry Department, was arrested and charged nearly two years ago. Federal prosecutors allege he lied about his involvement in China’s Thousand Talents Plan, a Chinese government initiative meant to recruit experts in science and technology, and about becoming a “strategic scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology.

Lieber’s trial, which began Tuesday, may help determine the fate of the China Initiative.

“It may have a real impact on the future of these cases being brought under the China Initiative,” Derek Adams, a partner at the Potomac Law Group, told the Harvard Crimson. “If Lieber ends up being found not guilty on this one, then I think it’s just going to increase the pressure of some folks in Congress to shut down the initiative entirely.”

The Justice Department’s push to shut down Chinese espionage activities seems to have deterred at least some potential spies. More than 1,000 researchers who had hidden their affiliation with the Chinese military fled the United States last summer, according to the department.

However, critics argue any successes are the exception to the rule and part of a witch hunt that’s having a chilling effect on scientific research.

Activists are calling for the Biden administration to end the China Initiative, arguing it targets people of Asian descent with racial profiling. These critics also claim the program is mainly focused on innocent academic researchers and has largely yielded charges of fraud — such as lying about links to Chinese entities or accepting foreign money — as opposed to concrete espionage.

This month, the MIT Technology Review found that nearly 90% of China Initiative defendants are of Chinese origin, only about a quarter of defendants charged under the initiative have been convicted, and the initiative’s focus has shifted from espionage to cases of “research integrity,” often involving researchers failing to disclose ties to China.

Academics at some of America’s most elite universities have made similar complaints. Nearly 100 Yale University professors signed on to a letter castigating the China Initiative as invasive and discriminatory. They also endorsed an earlier open letter signed by 177 Stanford University faculty members to Attorney General Merrick Garland claiming the China Initiative “disproportionately targets researchers of Chinese origin.”

The Stanford professors, who called for Garland to kill the program, didn’t mention that last year federal authorities arrested a Stanford researcher for failing to disclose she was actively working for the Chinese military.

Academics aren’t the only ones targeting the China Initiative. The Committee of 100, a nonprofit promoting closer U.S.-China relations, released a study arguing American prosecutors are more severely punishing and more often falsely accusing Asian and Chinese defendants of espionage than others.

The U.S. Heartland China Association, a pro-China business group that regularly works with organizations tied to the ruling Chinese Communist Party, described the Justice Department program as “McCarthyism,” a reference to the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s crusade against communist influence in the early years of the Cold War. Two of President Biden’s picks for senior roles in his administration — Reta Jo Lewis to run the Export-Import Bank and Mitch Landrieu to serrve as infrastructure czar — are both listed as “strategic advisers” for the association, according to the Washington Examiner.

California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu and 90 other members of Congress made similar accusations, calling on the Justice Department to investigate “the repeated, wrongful targeting of individuals of Asian descent for alleged espionage.”

Supporters of the China Initiative reject accusations of racial profiling, noting that the overwhelming majority of China’s espionage activities are carried out by individuals of Chinese ethnicity and that each individual accused of spying for China gets due process under U.S. law.

One problem with distinguishing between Chinese espionage and legitimate research is that China doesn’t distinguish between the civil and military domains and commercial and military applications. As part of its strategy, Beijing blurs the lines between academia, industry, the private sector, and military research, according to experts.

“While the U.S. government often twists itself into knots determining what is classified or unclassified, the Chinese government often sees little-to-no distinction,” said Craig Singleton, an adjunct China fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Instead, Beijing is focused on collecting and harnessing any and all useful information to power its defense modernization. This includes everything from foundational knowledge taught on U.S. college campuses to cutting edge research, much of which is not technically classified but still has potential military applications.”

The U.S. must also account for China’s “passive collection of information in support of its military aims,” Singleton continued. “The Chinese government has not been transparent about its defense build-up … thereby making it very difficult to determine which kinds of cooperation pose a national security risk … These disciplines vary widely, from specialties such as artificial intelligence and armaments technology to fields not typically associated with the defense industry, including geology.”

Singleton just authored a new report detailing how numerous U.S. universities — and even some K-12 schools — support China’s military-industrial complex.

Whatever the outcome of the Lieber trial, Chinese espionage isn’t going away. In fact, U.S. officials say the threat is only growing.

About 80% of all economic espionage cases brought by the Justice Department allege activities that would benefit the Chinese state, according to recent department figures. Meanwhile, two-thirds of the department’s trade secret theft cases are connected to China.

This surge in known Chinese espionage activity has caught the U.S. intelligence community’s full attention.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified his agency is opening counterintelligence investigations into China “every 12 hours.” 

Chinese espionage costs the U.S. between $200 to $600 billion a year in stolen intellectual property, according to Mike Orlando, the acting director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. This has been happening for some 20 years, putting the total cost well into the trillions of dollars. 

Earlier this year, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines described Beijing as “an unparalleled priority for the intelligence community.”The Justice Department didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mainstream US Reporters Silent about Being Spied on by Apparent CIA Contractor That Targeted Assange

MAX BLUMENTHAL
SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

Despite being spied on and having their privacy invaded by the UC Global firm that targeted Assange, reporters from major US news outlets have said nothing in protest. Meanwhile, new evidence of that firm’s CIA links has emerged.

A Spanish security firm apparently contracted by US intelligence to carry out a campaign of black operations against Julian Assange and his associates spied on several US reporters including Ellen Nakashima, the top national security reporter of the Washington Post, and Lowell Bergman, a New York Times and PBS veteran.

To date, Nakashima and her employers at the Washington Post have said nothing about the flagrant assault on their constitutional rights by UC Global, the security company in charge of Ecuadorian embassy in London, which seemingly operated under the watch of the CIA’s then-director, Mike Pompeo. PBS, the New York Times, and other mainstream US outlets have also remained silent about the US government intrusion into reporters’ personal devices and private records.

The Grayzone has learned that several correspondents from a major US newspaper rebuffed appeals by Wikileaks to report on the illegal spying campaign by UC Global, privately justifying the contractor’s actions on national security grounds.

UC Global spied on numerous journalists with the aim of sending their information to US intelligence through an FTP server placed at the company headquarters and through hand-delivered hard drives.

Nearly all of those reporters have so far ignored or refused invitations to join a criminal complaint to be filed in Spanish court by Stefania Maurizi, an Italian journalist whose devices were invaded and compromised during a visit to Assange.

Proof of UC Global’s illegal spying campaign and the firm’s relationship with the CIA emerged following the September 2019 arrest of the company’s CEO, David Morales. Spanish police had enacted a secret operation called “Operation Tabanco” under a criminal case managed by the same National Court that orchestrated the arrest of former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet years before.

Morales was charged in October 2019 by the Spanish court with violating the privacy of Assange and abusing his attorney-client privileges, as well as money laundering and bribery. A mercenary former Spanish special forces officer, Morales also stood accused of illegal weapons possession after two guns with the serial numbers filed off were found during a search of his property.

The documents and testimony revealed in court have exposed shocking details of UC Global’s campaign against Assange, his lawyers, friends, and reporters. Evidence of crimes ranging from spying to robberies to kidnapping and even a proposed plot to eliminate Assange by poisoning has emerged from the ongoing trial.

In an investigation for The Grayzone this May, this reporter detailed how the Las Vegas Sands corporation of Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson functioned as an apparent liaison between UC Global and Pompeo’s CIA, presumably contracting the former on behalf of the latter. It was the second time Adelson’s company had been identified as a CIA asset. (The first was in 2010, when a private intelligence report sponsored by gambling competitors alleged that his casino in Macau was sending footage of Chinese officials gambling so they could be blackmailed into serving as CIA informants).

The story placed the Trump organization at the center of a global campaign of surveillance and sabotage that ruthlessly targeted journalists, including Assange and virtually every reporter he came into contact with since 2017.

For the past four years, the Washington press corps has howled about Trump’s angry browbeating of the White House press pool, treating his resentful outbursts as a grave threat to press freedom. At the same time, it has reacted with a collective shrug to revelations that a firm that was, by all indications, contracted by the Trump administration’s CIA to destroy Assange had spied on prominent American national security reporters.

More revealingly, some of the reporters who had their personal information and notes stolen by UC Global, the apparent CIA contractor, have not said a word about it.

Maurizi, the Italian reporter who is filing a lawsuit against UC Global and serving as a witness in the current case before the Spanish judge, told this reporter she was stunned by the mainstream US media’s passive attitude. “Imagine if Putin had done anything like this. Just imagine what a scandal this would be,” she remarked to the Grayzone. “It would be a giant scandal all around the world. But instead, [US media] is saying nothing.”

Randy Credico, a comedian, social justice activist, and longtime advocate for Assange’s freedom, also attempted to generate media interest in the spying scandal when he learned that UC Global had snooped on him in the embassy. “I went to everybody, I went to MSNBC, to the Wall Street Journal, CNN, to journalists I knew, and I couldn’t get anyone interested,” Credico complained to The Grayzone.

“The agency of the stars and stripes wants to see us”

In his first public address as CIA director, Mike Pompeo branded Assange’s Wikileaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia” and  outlined a “long term” campaign of counter-measures against the crusading media organization. At the time, Assange was trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and hosting regular visits there from his legal team, friends, and an array of reporters.

Throughout 2017, UC Global’s Morales traveled frequently from Spain to the US to orchestrate the campaign against Assange. At several points, he issued spying directives from inside the Venetian hotel belonging to Adelson’s Sands. He boasted to his employees that he was working for “the dark side,” and referred to the forces that had contracted his services as his “American friends.”

“Sometimes, when I insistently asked him who his ‘American friends’ were, on some occasions David Morales answered that they were ‘the US intelligence,’” a former UC Global business partner testified before the Spanish court.

During a January 2017 visit to Adelson’s Las Vegas-based Venetian hotel, Morales and an employee exchanged several texts on Telegram about an important trial run for UC Global’s new client. “I want you to be alert because according to what they tell me they may be controlling us so that everything that is confidential so make it encrypted,” Morales said.

“Everything is related to the London issue…” he continued, making reference to the Ecuadorian embassy that housed Assange. “Those who control [it] are the friends of the USA.”

In May 2017, Telegram messages by Morales show him making further references to his apparent work for the US government: “I am on a subject in which I foresee that they are going to start monitoring us…” he remarked to an employee. “How are we protected for that?” After his worker outlined UC Global’s systems, Morales replied that he did not expect any problems “for those who want to see us.”

“We can do that if the agency of the stars and stripes wants to see us,” the UC Global CEO continued.

“I imagined I was going to go there,” the employee replied.

That July, Morales was in Miami, on a mission to provide “the agency of the stars and stripes” with a budget for the hidden microphones UC Global planned to place inside the CCTV system at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

In his Telegram chats, Morales responded with Trump badges to several messages from a UC Global employee – a seeming reference to the US administration that had contracted his services.As this reporter revealed in May, Morales not only oversaw the secret installation of microphones in the embassy’s CCTV system and hidden microphones under a fire extinguisher in its conference room, he attempted to establish a feed to a separate, exterior storage server managed from the US, doing his best to keep the operation hidden from Ecuador’s intelligence services. He referred to the entity on the receiving end of the CCTV footage and audio as “the American client.”

In a December 2017 email sent from Adelson’s Venetian hotel, Morales ordered his employees at the embassy to inform him if any visitors “carry mobile phones, pen drives, computers, or any electronic equipment,” and to “make sure the protocol is maintained and they leave their electronics at the entrance.”

By this point, UC Global’s spying dragnet had ensnared practicaly everyone who entered the embassy to visit Assange. Among the most prominent victims was then-US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who was allegedly dispatched by Trump in August 2017 to offer a presidential pardon in exchange for Assange providing concrete evidence the Russian government did not hack the DNC’s email server. Assange, who has never revealed a source, refused the offer.

Pamela Anderson, the Canadian-American actress and close friend of Assange, had her email hacked into by UC Global when a guard took advantage of a moment when she left the room to photograph a Gmail password she had written on a notepad. UC Global not only spied on Assange’s legal team, violating attorney-client privilege, it hounded Stella Morris, a member of the Wikileaks legal team who became Assange’s romantic partner, hatching a failed plot to steal her infant son’s diapers from a trash bin in a bid to obtain his DNA and prove his genetic link to Assange.

In December 2017, UC Global learned that Assange and his legal team were formulating a plan for him to exit the embassy under the protections granted to diplomats under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Morales ordered his employees to act aggressively to sabotage it, demanding copies of all video recordings, presumably for delivery to US intelligence.

Ellen Nakashima, a national security reporter for the Washington Post, visited the Ecuadorian embassy to interview Assange on December 15. According to notes by a UC Global guard named Jose Antonio Torre, Nakashima arrived with Souad Mekhennet, a colleague at the Post who was not allowed inside because she did not have her passport. The two reporters were working on a profile of Andy Müller-Maguhn, a German cyber expert and one of Assange’s closest confidants, who escorted them to London. (UC Global employees photographed the contents of Müller-Maguhn’s backpack and the secret number inside his encrypted phone.)

When Nakashima entered the meeting with Assange, Torre held her voice recorder and cellphone. He recounted in notes to Morales how he removed the battery from the phone, then photographed her device.

Those notes contained a remarkable admission: as Nakashima left the embassy, Torre said, “I tried to keep her tape recorder but the woman remembered it at the exit.”

Notes by UC Global employee “Jose Antonio” detailing Ellen Nakashima’s visit and his attempt to steal the Washington Post reporter’s voice recorder

In her January 17, 2018 report on her visit to the embassy, Nakashima made reference to a warning by Assange about spy cameras and his use of a white noise machine to foil hidden surveillance devices like the hidden microphone that was later revealed under the fire extinguisher in the room. The Washington Post reporter made no mention, however, of the UC Global guard’s attempt to pocket her voice recorder.

Nakashima did not respond to a request for comment sent to her publicly listed Washington Post email by The Grayzone.

She was not the only reporter illegally snooped on by UC Global spies posing as embassy guards. Lowell Bergman, the award-winning investigative reporter and New York Times and PBS veteran, had his phone opened and SIM card removed without his permission by a UC Global employee when he met with Assange on October 6, 2017.

Journalist Lowell Bergman’s phone (above) was opened and photographed by a UC Global employee without his permission.

The Grayzone obtained footage and audio of Bergman’s meeting with Assange that was captured by UC Global’s spy cameras and likely delivered to the CIA.

Left: A UC Global spy pats Lowell Bergman down at the entrance to Ecuador’s embassy in London. Right: Footage secretly recorded by UC Global of Bergman’s meeting with Assange.

Intercept senior correspondent Glenn Greenwald and his husband, David Miranda, were secretly videotaped by UC Global spies, during a September 16, 2017 meeting with Assange.

While Greenwald was in the conference room with Assange, a UC Global employee opened his passport and photographed a visa showing he had visited Russia, a flagrant violation of his privacy carried out under orders from Morales. (The Grayzone has viewed a UC Global photograph taken of Greenwald’s visa that was sent to company headquarters).

UC Global footage of Greenwald and Miranda’s meeting with Assange, who is seen in the upper right-hand corner activating a white noise machine.

Over two years later, when Greenwald learned of the violation of his constitutional rights, he protested on Twitter, “This is the US Government/CIA spying on its own citizens, including our phones, with no warrants.”

Unlike Greenwald, Bergman has said nothing in public about being spied on by an alleged CIA contractor. However, he has agreed to serve as a witness in the trial of UC Global’s Morales, according to a member of Wikileaks’ legal team. He did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

US reporters justify CIA spying on Assange

Throughout 2019 and during the first several months of this year, Wikileaks and its allies worked phone lines and raced across timezones to generate media interest in the CIA spying scandal they had uncovered through the Spanish prosecution of UC Global’s Morales.

Correspondents from a major US newspaper were presented with detailed evidence of UC Global spying on Assange and his associates, and documentation of the firm’s relationship with the CIA and Sheldon Adelson, a Wikileaks source told The Grayzone.

Not only were the reporters initially uninterested in the spying scandal, the Wikileaks source said one correspondent justified the CIA’s surveillance on national security grounds. “He said, well, that’s what an intelligence service is supposed to,” the source recalled, describing the experience as “crazy.”

In December 2019, the New York Times covered the CIA operation against Assange in a single article by Raphael Minder. Framing the case in terms of “conflicting interpretations,” Minder claimed “it remains unclear whether it was the Americans who were behind bugging the embassy.”

Omitted in Minder’s article were all the obvious signs of UC Global’s collaboration with US intelligence, from Morales’ comment that “the agency of the stars and stripes will see us” to witness testimony that explicitly stated the company had been contracted by the CIA.

“The New York Times was basically saying there was no evidence that US intelligence was involved,” Maurizi commented to The Grayzone. “What do they want? A text message from the CIA saying, ‘we did it?’”

One reporter’s lonely fight for justice

Maurizi was among the reporters who produced the most critical coverage of the political persecution of Assange and Wikileaks over the years. While reporting for Italy’s La RepuBblica, Maurizi visited Assange frequently at the Ecuadorian embassy. When she met him there in December 2017, UC Global guards invaded her personal devices after seizing them at the entrance of the diplomatic facility.

“They took my two telephones, one which was encrypted; my iPod, and many USB sticks,” Maurizi told The Grayzone this May. “There was no way to get my backpack back. The guard told me, ‘Don’t worry, everything will be fine, no one will access your materials or open your backpack.’ I was very suspicious. I wasn’t even allowed to bring a pen inside to take notes.”

The reporter learned later that UC Global employees photographed the unique International Mobile Equipment Identity number and the SIM card number inside the her phone. This seemed to be what they needed to hack into the device.

Maurizi later found that calls, emails, and texts from her editors, then at the Italian daily La Repubblica, were failing to go through. “No one could explain this disruption,” Maurizi said. “I wonder if it had anything to do with these espionage activities. To this day I cannot say.”Stefania Maurizi UC Global

UC Global photo of journalist Stefania Maurizi’s mobile phone

Maurizi plans to file a criminal complaint against UC Global in Spain’s National Court this October on behalf of journalists victimized by the security firm. So far, she has been unable to find any reporters willing to sign on to her complaint.

She said she asked the Washington Post’s Nakashima to join, but never received a reply. Bergman, for his part, told her he was not interested in participating.

“I couldn’t get anybody interested” in the CIA spying on US journalists

Like Maurizi, Randy Credico was spied on by UC Global during a visit to Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy. When he learned his meeting had been secretly videotaped, he embarked on a frenetic campaign to generate media coverage of the violation of his constitutional rights by the CIA.

Credico is a comedian, award-winning criminal justice reformer, and advocate for Assange’s freedom who emerged as a player in the Russiagate saga when Robert Mueller’s investigative team called him as a witness.

After being falsely accused of serving as a “backchannel” between Wikileaks and former Trump advisor Roger Stone, Credico made numerous high-profile appearances on MSNBC and CNN, and rubbed shoulders with Beltway media honchos as a guest at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner.

Credico told The Grayzone he attempted to convince his contacts in mainstream media to cover the UC Global-CIA spying scandal. But in every instance, he was met with a cold shoulder.

“I went to everybody,” he recalled. “I went to MSNBC, to the Wall Street Journal, CNN, to journalists I knew, and I couldn’t get anyone interested. I mean, all these reporters hate Trump, and here you had Pompeo and Sheldon Adelson, the guy who finances Trump, breaking the law. You would think this would be a big deal to these lean forward progressives. And they haven’t said shit. It’s appalling that they haven’t come forward and said something about this.”

To be sure, CNN Español published a lengthy December 2019 report on the UC Global spying ring. But it relied heavily on the perspective of the firm’s disgraced former CEO, Morales. “No, I am not a double agent and it is absurd [to say] that I traveled to the US to personally hand over information to the CIA,” Morales claimed to CNN.

The article was co-authored by Arturo Torres, a right-wing Ecuadorian journalist who was hostile to both Assange and his country’s leftist former president, Raphael Correa. His work has been sponsored by Transparency International, a supposed anti-corruption NGO funded by the US State Department and British government.

Months earlier, in June 2019, CNN’s Torres used material illegally gathered by UC Global to publish a malicious attack on Assange asserting that “there was ‘no doubt that there is evidence’ that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies.”

The article provided no such evidence, however, while falsely claiming that UC Global’s surveillance reports were “compiled for the Ecuadorian government” – not the CIA.

In reality, UC Global’s Morales was desperate to elude Ecuador’s SENAIN intelligence agency, instructing his employees in an email from Adelson’s Venetian hotel, “Nobody can know about my trips, mainly my trips to the USA, because SENAIN is onto us.”

Washington Post owners “look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA”

The hysteria triggered by Trump’s victory in 2016 goes a long way toward explaining US mainstream media’s hostility towards Assange. Immediately after conceding defeat, Hillary Clinton blamed “Russian Wikileaks,” deepening the hostility among partisan Democrats toward a dissident journalist then-Vice President Joseph Biden had already branded as a “high-tech terrorist.” Mainstream US media followed in lockstep.

On April 11, 2019, the day Assange was arrested by British police in the Ecuadorian embassy, the New York Times editorial board celebrated with two cheers: “The [Trump] administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime.”

The Washington Post editorial board was more enthused by the publisher’s arrest, proclaiming, “Mr. Assange’s case could conclude as a victory for the rule of law, not the defeat for civil liberties of which his defenders mistakenly warn.” The Post even demanded Assange’s extradition to the US, hoping that he could be coerced into becoming a “cooperating witness” and potentially provide information about “Russian intelligence’s efforts to undermine democracy in the West.”

While the loathing of Assange in Trump-era Washington helps explain mainstream media’s shunning of the jailed journalist, the increasingly cozy relationship papers like the New York Times and Washington Post enjoy with the US intelligence apparatus offers a more substantial basis for understanding the media’s silence on the UC Global scandal.

Throughout the Trump-Russia investigation and the various intrigues that comprised Russiagate, the legacy publications of US media fed audiences with an endless stream of stories based on “high confidence” assessments and often dubious narratives furnished by anonymous US intelligence agents. In the Trump era, the corporate news media became a de facto bulletin board for the intelligence apparatus. The New York Times even admitted it sent a June 2019 story on US cyber-attacks against Russia’s electric grid to the government for approval before publishing.

The Washington Post, where Nakashima covers national security issues, is owned by the big tech corporation, Amazon. In 2014, Amazon signed a $600 million contract with the CIA to host its cloud server. “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA,” Amazon declared in an official statement. Four years later, Amazon was awarded a $10 billion contract from the Pentagon to oversee its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program.

Notably, when Nakashima sought a meeting inside the Ecuadorian embassy in 2017, her request form listed her company not as the Washington Post, but as Amazon.

While Assange’s lawyers fought his extradition in a London courtroom this September 15, Nakashima was live-tweeting coverage of ThreatCon 2020, a conference of top US intelligence officials and private spies gathered on a private island off the coast of Georgia. Her colleague, Washington Post assistant editor David Ignatius, and New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger, participated directly in the exclusive spook-fest. Among the sponsors of the conference was InQTel, the CIA-sponsored research and development firm.

This September, the US Department of Justice issued a letter to the Spanish judge overseeing the UC Global trial that obstructed any possibility of cooperation. Like much of the US media, the government in Washington wants nothing to do with the devastating evidence tumbling out of a courtroom in Madrid.

FBI Crossfire Hurricane Unit Watched Trump the Day he took Oath of Office

 Rowan Scarborough 
– The Washington Times –
Friday, July 17, 2020

FBI Agent Peter Strzok and his FBI Crossfire Hurricane unit were focused on the White House during President Trump’s inauguration celebration, so much so that the “angry” agent complained he was kept out of the loop on a bureau counter-intelligence briefing there.

Mr. Strzok, who would later be fired for his anti-Trump messages to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, erupted the day after Mr. Trump became president, according to newly released emails obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog in Washington.

Mr. Strzok said in an email to his boss, counter-intelligence chief Bill Priestap, he could have folded the FBI briefing into his strategy for investigating Trump associates.

“I heard from [redacted] about the WH CI briefing routed from [redacted],” Mr. Strzok said. “I am angry that Jen [colleague Jennifer Boone] did not at least cc: me, as my branch has pending investigative matters there, this brief may play into our investigative strategy, and I would like the ability to have visibility and provide thoughts/counsel to you in advance of the briefing. This is one of the reasons why I raised the issue of lanes/responsibilities that I did when you asked her to handle WH detailee interaction.”

The afternoon and night before the inauguration, a bevy of heavily redacted emails were exchanged by Mr. Strzok and other high-ranking counter intelligence officials.



“These documents suggest that President Trump was targeted by the [then-director James] Comey FBI as soon as he stepped foot in the Oval Office,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

By inauguration day, the FBI had reversed its decision to close a case on retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. Agents were examining his phone calls during the transition with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Three days later, Mr. Strzok would travel to the White House to interview Mr. Flynn, who would pled guilty in December 2017 to lying. The Trump Justice Department moved in May to drop the case, citing undisclosed FBI files that would have helped Mr. Flynn’s case.

Judicial Watch said the Strzok conversation was among 136 pages of emails–––some heavily redacted––– released by the FBI based on an original December 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) submission for all Strzok-Page messages.

The release contains other Strzok missives.

He disputed a story in January 2017 in the British Independent that said Christopher Steele, author of the influential and ultimately discredited dossier, suspected there was an FBI “cabal” which prioritized the Hillary Clinton email probe over the Trump-Russia matter.

“Of course not accurate (the coverup/cabal nonsense),” Mr. Strzok wrote to agent Michael Kortan, assistant director for public affairs, and Ms. Page. “Is that question gaining traction anywhere else.”

Mr. Strzok headed the probe into Mrs. Clinton’s email abuses, then switched to directing Crossfire