RUSH: Not only was there surveillance of the Trump campaign, not only was there surveillance by the Obama administration on the Trump transition, the media knew about it and was using the information they were being given from this surveillance in order to embarrass, humiliate, rip, criticize, Trump and his upcoming administration.
The media was in on this! The media view is that Obama is pure. Obama is savior-like. Obama is godlike. Obama’s incapable of making mistakes. He’s incapable of doing anything wrong; he’s incapable of doing anything damaging. So if Obama was surveilling Trump and his team, there had to be a damn good reason, because Trump is dangerous! Trump poses an existential threat. All of those stories back in November and December and January in the New York Times and at CNN and at the Washington Post where the word “wiretap” appeared and “intercepted communications” is proof the media knew!
The media was being fed whatever this surveillance was revealing. The key to understanding it all is that what was being surveilled were foreign agents on purpose. The key to this really is remember the day that we learned — and it wasn’t that long ago — that Obama late in his administration signed an order allowing the NSA to share everything they were learning with 16 additional intelligence agencies and countries. And once that happened, then the media had countless sources for whatever was being learned, because Obama had authorized the NSA to share it.
So there isn’t any question that the Trump team was being surveilled indirectly. It was other people — foreign spies, like that fat Russian ambassador and so forth — being surveilled, knowing that Trump people had to be talking to them. It was done specifically to pick up on Trump people while not targeting them. This is where the whole masking and unmasking aspect of this comes out and enters the scene. But there isn’t any question. And every effort to talk about how Trump was colluding with the Russians is nothing more than an effort to throw smoke over all this and to hide what happened.
And my instinct… By the way, my instinct I think is being proved correct and will be that much more established as time goes on. The salvo that Trump accused Obama of “tapping his wires”? You remember how everybody in the media went batty over that and they still are? They went literally nuts over it. Now, we’re told the reason they went nuts is, “Because nobody dares insult our Obama that way! Our Obama is clean and pure! Our Obama would never do that. Our Obama is unassailable. How dare Trump?” But that’s not why they can’t drop it and let it go. This whole business of Russian collusion is all a manufactured issue to explain why Hillary lost the election. If you go back to before the election, they thought they were gonna win, folks! They thought they were gonna win in a landslide! There was no complaint about the Russians whatsoever before the election. Zip, zero, nada. That was manufactured afterwards.
Oh, yeah, there was an investigation of the Russians and the DNC, and they were talking about the potential involvement with Trump. But that was a defamation operation. The fact is they thought they were gonna win the election. They didn’t think any of that was gonna have one negative impact on Hillary’s election or her victory. And it was only after she lost that they came up and needed an excuse. Anyway, Trump throws that allegation of Obama out, and they start having kittens.
And the reason they did is not because they were insulted that their boy, Obama, could be so insulted — that their lovable president, their unassailable figure, their great, great like-minded individual — could be attacked. It was because Trump was changing the definition of the game. He was changing the rules of the game — and he was, in the process, very, very close to exposing what has been going on.
RUSH: James Rosen at Fox reported yesterday that just groundbreaking news was going to reveal itself today from the NSA that would indicate Trump and his people were, in fact, surveilled. I got the impression that there’s a whistleblower at the NSA or at least somebody who’s made the evidence available.
I, frankly, think we’ve already got the evidence and it’s been published in the New York Times and Washington Post. I don’t… I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Obama administration was surveilling the Trump campaign and then the Trump transition. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. The proof is the fact that the fruits of that surveillance has been published for months in the New York Times and the Washington Post! We know that it was happening. What we don’t know is was it direct surveillance or was it incidental? I’ve told you what I think it is.
I think the Obama administration was purposely and legally surveilling people like the Russian ambassador and other foreign actors. But when I read that Obama signed an order allowing our intelligence agencies to share everything they were learning with 16 additional intelligence agencies in other countries, I said, “Whoa.” And this was in November-December, after the election. I said, “What is this?” And then Flynn is unmasked. He was not targeted, but yet they got rid of him.
So what I think has been going on is that the Obama administration has been surveilling these foreign actors, picking up those foreign actors’ conversations with Americans, Trump people as well, and I think they’ve been unmasking them. I think that’s what they’ve been leaking to the media. And I think they have been violating the law. You’re not supposed to reveal the names of Americans who your foreign targets are caught talking to.
If they’re not the target, you don’t have a warrant for ’em, then they’re referred to as American number 1, American number 2, however many Americans are in the transcript of the phone call, say, that you have intercepted. I think what’s happened here is these Americans have been identified, and I think what they’ve said has been leaked, unlawfully, to the media. And I think the media has unwittingly, by running that stuff in November and December and January, the media has unwittingly itself unmasked what was a surveillance operation of Trump people and maybe Trump himself.
But it was never direct. Therefore, it never required a warrant, it never needed a FISA warrant because — well, not for Trump. Just get a warrant to surveil the Russian ambassador or anybody from Iran or Iraq who happens to be here or at home or what have you. You know, during a transition, the Trump transition team is gonna be talking to all kinds of people from foreign countries, you surveil ’em, you pick up what the Trump people are saying, and then you leak that there’s collusion going on.
You give that to the media; the media reports collusion, always saying somewhere in the story, “no evidence has been found,” but the story, the rest of it, the way it’s written is designed to make you think that there’s all kinds of collusion going on, and it’s so obvious that you don’t need evidence, and I think this is one of the — if this were ever proven, this is so much bigger than Watergate ever even attempted to be.
And what’s got everybody running around now like stuck pigs is Trump accusing them of it. He went specific in saying Trump Tower was surveilled, but that threw the ball right back at ’em. So everything here, every time this little pencil neck guy from California, Schiff, goes out there, it’s designed to throw smoke over everything. The Democrats, whenever they speak about this, whenever they start talking about collusion between the Russians and Trump to screw the election, that’s all a smoke screen to divert you from what was really happening.
And what was really happening was Trump people were being surveilled, incidentally and then being unmasked. And even if they we weren’t unmasked, these people were leaking to the media and the media was reporting what they were leaked. And they amplified it, made it sound like all kinds of illegal collusion was going on.
They’d already laid the foundation that Trump worked with Putin to steal the election from Hillary. They add this stuff on top of it. I don’t think we need to whatever the NSA’s gonna give James Rosen. It’s already been in the New York Times. It’s already been in the Washington Post. And it’s been all over CNN.
RUSH: Now, on to this surveillance business. Now, I’ve already given many indications here on my overall opinion of this. But because of Devin Nunes and his announcement on Wednesday that he’s come across incidental intelligence sufficiently important that he thought the president had to know. So he takes it up there. This has led to shock and anger and outcries of malfeasance from that pencil neck on the Democrat side of that committee — Adam Schiff — and the media, and they’ve been going nuts saying that Nunes needs to resign from the committee!
That’s what the Democrats say about everything going on they don’t like, “You need to resign. You have committed a crime. You have validated our systems and our principles and you need to go, you are unfit.” That’s how they get rid of. They clear the decks, they don’t like level playing field, they don’t want anybody else on it. Nunes explained why he did it (paraphrasing), “The president’s under assault, I found some evidence here the president should know.” Nunes has now taken another step.
There was another House Intelligence Committee meeting that was scheduled for next week, and the Republican chairman has canceled that meeting. It was a further investigation into the activities of the Russians and our elections, and instead what has been scheduled in place of it is a private session, not public. It’s called closed, a closed session with Comey! Nunes wants Comey to come up and answer some questions about things that Nunes has just recently learned.
So he’s canceled the public hearing and its probe of allegations of Russian interference, saying the panel needed to hear from directors of the FBI and the NSA in a closed session instead. And pencil neck is having a cow over this. He went out and had his own press conference to talk about what a bad guy Trump is, what a guilty guy Trump is, how unfortunate all this is, and how Nunes is behaving unlike any chairman he’s ever known. Here’s a little bit about pencil neck. Grab sound bite 33 and maybe 34. After Nunes did his presser this morning, then pencil neck went out and did his, and this is just a portion of it.
SCHIFF: I assume, without knowing any better, that what the chairman is talking about is he’s looked at communications that were incidentally collected, that is, not targeted at the president. So no defense for the president, not a full validation or vindication of the president, not a partial validation of the president, a zero validation of the president, even if you accept what the chairman has said.
RUSH: And then one more, sound bite 33.
SCHIFF: The chairman in what appears to be a dead-of-night excursion obtains or reviews some documents that he has not shared with his own committee. And it’s not just that he hasn’t shared them with Democrats on the committee; he hasn’t shared them with Republicans on the committee. All of us are essentially in the dark. But what was most concerning about that whole incident is taking that information to the White House.
RUSH: Right. The reason that’s disconcerting is ’cause that’s not fair, that’s not fair. You shouldn’t be taking things up that exonerate the president. You shouldn’t be taking things up that are exculpatory up before we get a chance to see it and distort it. Now, here is what I think, just to restate this, has gone on. And much of this we know. Much of this we already know. Much of this has already been reported. What I’m gonna do is put it in a context of sorts.
In the waning days of his presidency in November and in December and early January, President Barack Hussein O changed the rules regarding raw intelligence. He made an 11th-hour rule change allowing the National Security Agency to share certain raw information with 16 other intelligence agencies, many of them foreign countries. Why? Why do this on your way out the door?
Raw intelligence is simply the result of things with mass telephone surveillance, things like Echelon, which is the massive computer hoover that the NSA has, sweeping up everything. And then there are the specific investigations of foreign actors, many of whom the Trump transition team would be communicating with as part of the transition. So you target the foreign actors, and in the process you overhear who they’re speaking to. That is raw intelligence, and now Obama signed a rule change allowing 16 others to get it, 16 other intelligence agencies, many of them foreign countries, such as the European Union.
The rule change was put into effect after the raw data was gathered about the Trump team, not before. The rule change was after the Obama embeds realized what they had. Now, was the rule changed in a desperate attempt to provide legal cover for what was already legally shared? Because by the time that Obama signed the rule to share this data, it had already appeared in the New York Times. It had already appeared in the Washington Post.
All of those stories in November after the election, all the way through December and up to Inauguration Day that had unnamed intelligence community sources reporting on very bad things that they had seen, that indicated it was possible that there might have been a slight possibility that there might have been some collusion. It could have happened between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Read on and read on and read on and you find a paragraph where they say no hard evidence has yet been accumulated, but the investigation is ongoing. Well, the rule was changed I think in an attempt to provide legal cover for what had already been shared. I think Obama shared the stuff — remember, now, Hillary Clinton was gonna win. In their minds, Hillary was gonna win, and win in a landslide, and even on election night they thought so.Now, when information about team Trump was, we’re told, illegally gathered, the assumption would have been that any illegal activity would never be discovered, and they certainly wouldn’t need to use it because Trump wasn’t gonna win. Loretta Lynch would still be the AG, in any event. If Hillary had won and they had all this raw data, Loretta Lynch would still be the AG, Obama would be president through January 20th, and Hillary would take over, and whoever she put in to replace Loretta Lynch and whoever she replaced, if anybody, Comey with, the Democrats and the left would remain in firm control of all of this information.
All that incriminating information, if they had to, could be destroyed. They can bury it. They can forget it. All of that illegal information, or maybe illegal on the fringes. It may have been legally collected. It might have been illegally disseminated because the Americans overheard should have been masked and not part of leaks. That’s where the potential criminality is.
The information gathered about Trump and his team may not be subject to normal wiretapping laws, but that doesn’t mean rules don’t exist. Warrantless surveillance is legally collected if it involves people abroad and those here at home. Once it’s collected, that’s when the rules apply. Innocent people’s identity must be protected. But Trump’s and his team identity were not. The media found out and reported whatever the intel agencies wanted to share of that raw data.
RUSH: That’s exactly right. The rule was changed. Obama changed the rule, began sharing all this raw data with 16 other intelligence agencies. That was on January 3rd. That was two days after New Year’s Day, when people were still hung over. So he changes the rule on January 3rd, and the Flynn leaks occur after that.
They’d collected the data on Flynn all during December. They were surveilling the Russian ambassador and who knows who else. Flynn was unmasked and should never have been. There’s a real crime that has occurred, and not just with Flynn, but all these others that were captured the way Flynn was.
And then here came the innuendo. Just because Flynn was talking to the Russian ambassador proved, in quotes, in the New York Times, and the Washington Post, and CNN, that there had to be illicit discussions going on. They had laid the foundation that Trump and Putin worked together to steal election from Hillary beginning the day after the election, not before, when they thought they were gonna win, but the day after.
Flynn was scooped up, he was hoovered up in an incidental bit of surveillance with the Russian ambassador and who knows who else. That’s where the real crime is in all it is. The real crime has occurred in the Obama intelligence agencies, Justice Department, you name it. You want to start talking about Watergate style stuff, that’s where it happened. And everything since then is designed to cover this up.
RUSH: Now, folks, it is with ontological certitude that we know the Obama administration intelligence agencies — operatives, spies, whoever — listened in on conversations involving Trump aides, campaign advisers, transition officials. We know it. How do we know it? Because their identities have been leaked! How do you know the name Roger Stone is involved in this? Why do you know the name Carter Page? Why do you know the name Paul Manafort? Those names are thrown out there like, “Well, everybody knows Manafort was double dealing.
“Everybody knows Manafort got deals under the table with Ukraine and the Russians! Everybody knows that Roger Stone’s doing dirty tricks with Russia, and everybody knows that Carter Page…” How does “everybody” know? Everybody knows because they’ve been unmasked! The only reason the Drive-Bys know any of this stuff is because Obama intelligence operatives leaked the data, the information that was obtained incidentally, overhearing their conversations with targeted surveillance aimed at others.
When that happens… In the normal flow of things, if you’re surveilling Bad Guy A and Bad Guy A is a terrorist sympathizer in the U.K. So you’re surveilling Bad Guy A; Bad Guy A just happens to be well connected in the British government, and he happens to be make a call to the Trump transition ’cause this guy’s trying to ingratiate himself. One of the people he calls (pick a name) is Paul Manafort. So Manafort’s on the call they’re surveilling of Bad Guy A. Here’s Manafort talking to him. When that happens, Manafort gets redacted. What he says gets redacted for the record, and he’s referred to as American No. 1.
The only thing as a matter of law that the intel agencies can look at, examine, and pass on is what Bad Guy A is saying. What happened here is the Obama embeds did not redact Manafort, and they didn’t refer to him as American No. 1. They called the New York Times or the Washington Post or CNN, and they alluded… They might have even shared transcripts. I don’t know. But they certainly told sympathetic reporters, “Hey, we’ve got Manafort talking to Bad Guy A!” “Really?” “Yep.” “Can you tell us what they are discussing?” “I can’t tell you that but they’re talking Russia. They’re talking Trump transition!” “Really?”
Here comes a story: “Intelligence Officials Have Revealed…” and the New York Times builds it up, and they even might admit that the information was obtained from wiretapped information or intercepted communications. And then as this thing goes on, Manafort’s name suddenly appears in one of these stories. Ditto, Carter Page. They may have nothing to do with anything nefarious, but that doesn’t matter, either. The New York Times and the Washington Post and the Obama intelligence embeds will take care of that. It’s very easy to create an illusion of malfeasance taking place, and the stories keep coming.
There were lots of ’em in December, November; lots of ’em in January, the day of, the day before Trump’s inauguration. By now, everybody knows the New York Times had that headline in the print version that used “wiretaps” in a headline story above the fold. Every one of these stories also contained a very small paragraph, unusually buried way down toward the end: “Officials have yet to find any conclusive evidence of” whatever the subject of the story is. Collusion, quid pro quo. There’s never been any quid pro quo found.
Meaning all of this talk about these Trump people dealing with the Russians, there hasn’t been one payback for the Russians yet. The Russians haven’t had one thing accrue to them as a benefit of Trump winning the presidency. So, folks, we know this happened, and we know it because the media told us. This is why Nunes has canceled the public hearing on Tuesday and rescheduled it as a closed session to bring Comey and the NSA guy back. Because Nunes, I’m sure what he saw on Wednesday was evidence of what I just told you.
That’s why he called it “legal,” because the surveillance was the foreign bad guys, and he called it “incidental” because it was incidental that Trump people were caught up in it. They were not targets, so the media and everybody can say, “It’s silly! Trump wasn’t targeted. He’s insane. Obama would never do that.” Wrong. You don’t have to target Trump to overhear him in a phone conversion. You just have to know who he’s talking to and target them. Same thing with anybody in his transition team. Just know who they’re talking to, and even if you need to get a FISA warrant, who knows?
But as we also know, Obama was famous for warrantless wiretaps. Just go surveil ’em. In the waning days of the Regime, change the rule and allow 16 other agencies… That allows the information to get out. If you share your raw intel with 16 other intelligence agencies, you’re guaranteeing somebody’s gonna leak it. You might not even have to. You might not have to have your embeds leak it. They’ll give it to some foreign country that hates Trump. Give it to some intelligence individual who hates Trump. You can target who gets it; you can make sure the people that get the raw intel you’re sharing hate Trump.
The media doesn’t care. They’ll take it. They hate Trump! Whoever gives it to ’em has automatic credibility, because the narrative’s already written: “Trump cheated, stole the election from Hillary, worked with Putin to do it,” starting the night of the election. It’s really important to remember that the day of the election, before the election — all those days before — there was never one allusion to the Russians tampering with this to screw Hillary, ’cause they were gonna win! Remember, they were going to win in a landslide. It was gonna be the greatest election! It was gonna be so celebratory. They were so happy!
They weren’t talking about the election being stolen. To the extent they were talking about being stolen, they were talking about Trump doing it because he was refusing to accept the election results. Remember, they were so certain that they were gonna win, that they were on Trump’s case for not admitting in a debate that he would accept the election results. They weren’t talking to anybody about themselves getting screwed.
But shortly after 9 p.m. election night when the first indications that a major heart attack was to happen to the American left’s body began to be indicated, first indications started to show up, that’s when they began to set the narrative, “Our elections have been tampered with, our democratic elections.”
Never forget that every one of these people — Comey, to the admiral at the NSA, everybody — “Is there any evidence the Russians tampered with the vote?” No. “Any evidence the Russians tampered with the counting of votes?” No! “Is there any evidence the Russians have tampered with voting?” No! “Is there any evidence the Russians had lawyers –” No! “Is there any evidence whatsoever that the Russians knew what voting –” No! “Is there any evidence whatsoever that the Russians helped count the elections in certain states, Wisconsin and –” No!
There is no evidence whatsoever that the vote, which is what an election is, was tampered with. So, therefore, what did these guys do? What was all this collusion with the Russians aimed at? Well, they told us to steal the election, but that couldn’t happen. And I’m telling you when Shifty — that’s my new name for Adam Schiff — when Pencil Neck Shifty goes out there, starts wringing his hands about how bad a guy Devin Nunes is and all that, everything that you’re seeing reported about this story now is designed to deflect attention from where the real criminality might have occurred here, and that is in the collection of incidental intelligence on Americans and unmasking them, and that happened in the waning days of the Obama administration.
And so therefore everything the media is doing, every Democrat that speaks up about this, is designed to deflect your attention away from that. And they’re using Trump’s tweet about Obama tapping his wires at Trump Tower as a main attraction. “What an idiot, that’s absurd. Obama would never. He’s too classy. He’s too perfect. Obama’s too sophisticated. Obama couldn’t care less.”
See, that is to throw ridiculous suspicion on the whole premise. Everything they’re saying about it is a smoke screen and a deflection operation. But we know it happened. And we know it happened because the media told us it happened because the media reported on it happening. No investigation’s needed to find out what happened. The investigation needs to focus on who did it, who authorized it, who authorized the unmasking of these Americans who were not surveilled. Who gave the order to surveil people so that these Americans could be surveilled? Who did all that?
That’s where this investigation needs to go. And that, I predict, is where it will end up going. And even Bob Woodward of Watergate fame said that if that investigation starts, it’s gonna look bad for Obama administration people, and it is going to obliterate whatever Watergate was.
As usual, the rabbit hole gets much deeper the more you look.
In yesterday’s post, Credibility of Cyber Firm that Claimed Russia Hacked the DNC Comes Under Serious Question, I examined how CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC to look into its hacking breach, had been exposed as being completely wrong about a separate attack it claimed originated from the same group it claimed broke into DNC systems, and supposedly works for Russia’s military intelligence unit, GRU. Here’s some of what we learned:
An influential British think tank and Ukraine’s military are disputing a report that the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has used to buttress its claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election.
But the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened.
The challenges to CrowdStrike’s credibility are significant because the firm was the first to link last year’s hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors, and because CrowdStrike co-founder Dimiti Alperovitch has trumpeted its Ukraine report as more evidence of Russian election tampering.
Yaroslav Sherstyuk, maker of the Ukrainian military app in question, called the company’s report “delusional” in a Facebook post. CrowdStrike never contacted him before or after its report was published, he told VOA.
VOA first contacted IISS in February to verify the alleged artillery losses. Officials there initially were unaware of the CrowdStrike assertions. After investigating, they determined that CrowdStrike misinterpreted their data and hadn’t reached out beforehand for comment or clarification.
CrowdStrike declined to answer VOA’s written questions about the Ukraine report, and Alperovitch canceled a March 15 interview on the topic. In a December statement to VOA’s Ukrainian Service, spokeswoman Ilina Dimitrova defended the company’s conclusions.
Seems like pretty extraordinary incompetence. Either that, or something else was potentially at play; namely, a desire to push the narrative that Russia hacked the DNC, irrespective of the facts.
The whole things gets even more disturbing the more you look.
For example, Counterpunch put out a very important article earlier today on the topic, adding several crucial nuggets of information.
First there’s this:
The investigation methods used to come to the conclusion that the Russian Government led the hacks of the DNC, Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, and the DCCC were further called into question by a recent BuzzFeed report by Jason Leopold, who has developed a notable reputation from leading several non-partisan Freedom of Information Act lawsuits for investigative journalism purposes. On March 15 that the Department of Homeland Security released just two heavily redacted pages of unclassified information in response to an FOIA request for definitive evidence of Russian election interference allegations. Leopold wrote, “what the agency turned over to us and Ryan Shapiro, a PhD candidate at MIT and a research affiliate at Harvard University, is truly bizarre: a two-page intelligence assessment of the incident, dated Aug. 22, 2016, that contains information DHS culled from the internet. It’s all unclassified — yet DHS covered nearly everything in wide swaths of black ink. Why? Not because it would threaten national security, but because it would reveal the methods DHS uses to gather intelligence, methods that may amount to little more than using Google.”
That’s weird enough, but it gets far stranger. For example:
In lieu of substantive evidence provided to the public that the alleged hacks which led to Wikileaks releases of DNC and Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta’s emails were orchestrated by the Russian Government, CrowdStrike’s bias has been cited as undependable in its own assessment, in addition to its skeptical methods and conclusions. The firm’s CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with openly anti-Russian sentiments that is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, who also happened to donate at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation.
In 2013, the Atlantic Council awarded Hillary Clinton it’s Distinguished International Leadership Award. In 2014, the Atlantic Council hosted one of several events with former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who took over after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in early 2014, who now lives in exile in Russia.
Recall that the FBI was denied access to the DNC servers by the DNC itself, and simply agreed to rely on the results provided by CrowdStrike, which as you can see has ties to all sorts of anti-Russia organizations and individuals. I find it absolutely remarkable that James Comey head of the FBI outsourced his job to CrowdStrike.
There remains zero evidence that Russia hacked the DNC. I repeat, there remains zero evidence that Russia hacked the DNC.
As cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Carr noted:
Jeffrey Carr called the FBI/Department of Homeland Security Report, the only alleged evidence released by intelligence officials, released in late December 2016 a “fatally flawed effort” that provided no evidence to substantiate the claims that the Russian government conducted the hacks, though that’s what it was purported to do.
Absolutely remarkable, but there’s more. As TechCrunch reported back in 2015:
If you need proof that security is a red hot market these days, how about this morning’s announcement that cybersecurity company CrowdStrike landed a $100 million Series C investment round?
The round was led by Google Capital with Rackspace, which happens to be one of the company’s customers also investing. Existing investors Accel and Warburg Pincus also participated. Today’s investment brings the total to-date to $156 million.
An under-the-radar startup funded by billionaire Eric Schmidt has become a major technology vendor for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, underscoring the bonds between Silicon Valley and Democratic politics.
The Groundwork, according to Democratic campaign operatives and technologists, is part of efforts by Schmidt—the executive chairman of Google parent-company Alphabet—to ensure that Clinton has the engineering talent needed to win the election. And it is one of a series of quiet investments by Schmidt that recognize how modern political campaigns are run, with data analytics and digital outreach as vital ingredients that allow candidates to find, court, and turn out critical voter blocs.
There is also another gap in play: The shrinking distance between Google and the Democratic Party. Former Google executive Stephanie Hannon is the Clinton campaign’s chief technology officer, and a host of ex-Googlers are currently employed as high-ranking technical staff at the Obama White House. Schmidt, for his part, is one of the most powerful donors in the Democratic Party—and his influence does not stem only from his wealth, estimated by Forbes at more than $10 billion.
According to campaign finance disclosures, Clinton’s campaign is the Groundwork’s only political client. Its employees are mostly back-end software developers with experience at blue-chip tech firms like Netflix, Dreamhost, and Google.
Since Democrats seem so obsessed with the saying these days, “where there’s smoke there’s fire,” and there’s plenty of smoke here.