Friday, 16 November, 2018

Trump adviser sought Israeli intelligence firm for dirty tricks

New York Times: Top Trump campaign official requested online manipulation plans from Israeli company Trump Campaign Aide Rick Gates Reportedly Sought Proposals on Online ‘Manipulation’ from Israeli Intel Firm in 2016
Ellis Copeland | 12 October, 2018, 04:27

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.

One of President Donald Trump's campaign aides, Rick Gates, asked an Israeli firm to make fake identities online and use social media to manipulate and gather intelligence in order to beat other Republican candidates and Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reported on Sunday. The third and final proposal sought to use social media to amplify divisions within rival campaigns, while amplifying those division using fake social media accounts.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., addresses the delegates during the third day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Trump campaign went forward with any of the Psy-Group proposals and a source with knowledge of the discussions claims that Mr Gates was unimpressed by the company's work. Ted Cruz of Texas, Trump's main opponent at the time.

Psy-Group, made up of former Israeli intelligence officers, was approached by Rick Gates, a Trump political adviser.

The Trump campaign's interest in the work began as Russians were escalating their effort to aid Trump.

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Clinton's response was referring to Trump's comments at a July 2016 news conference in which he asked Russian Federation to hack Clinton's emails from her time as secretary of State and make them public.

The Israeli company, Psy-Group, "is staffed by former Israeli intelligence operatives", The Times says.

However, Psy-Group's owner Joel Zamel met with Donald Trump Jr.in August 2016, along with George Nader, an emissary from the Emirati government, and Erik Prince, the founder of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater. "Another proposal describes opposition research and "complementary intelligence activities" about Mrs. Clinton and people close to her".

Gates pleaded guilty this year, and is cooperating with the investigation.

Though it appears that Trump campaign officials declined to accept any of the proposals, Zamel pitched the company's services in at least general terms during a meeting on August 3, 2016, at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr.

The Psy-Group proposals would have cost over $3.4 million, according to the documents obtained by The Times.

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