This is an excellent investigative article by CNN, granting us unprecedented insight into the meetings between RT, Wikileaks, Russian hackers, Guccifer 2.0, and DCLeaks. We do not know the relationship between Assange and these Russias and their proxies.
It is implied but not proven that visitors to the Ecuadorian Embassy, where Assange stayed for years, carried information in to Assange on thumb drives – but not the massive data dumps. We never learn how the massive data dumps were conveyed to Assange.
What is missing is how Russian intelligence was directed to do work on behalf of and provide stolen information to Assange, and, therefore, Wikileaks. We do not know who made that decision or who was overall in charge of the releasing Russian intelligence-information provided to Assange.
We do not know the relationship between Prigozhin’s Internet Research Agency and any of the players in this article, yet they are indicted by Mueller but not mentioned in this article.
We do not know the relationship between any of the players in this article and Vladisilov Surkov, widely assumed to be overall in charge of Russia’s Information Warfare efforts.
What is not mentioned in the article is why. All three of the following are possible. To Russia, only #3 carries any weight.
- Prevent the election of Hillary Clinton
- Promote the election of Donald Trump
- Undermine the democratic process in the United States (which increase Russia’s Throw Weight)
We can assume that Russian President Putin approved of the overall operation and received periodic updates, Russian assets were working on his behalf to pull off the biggest operation in history to undermine the US.
We have heard the GRU was involved in this operation, but we have not heard anything of the involvement of the FSB or the SVR. The FSB was involved in other Information Warfare activities during this time period, we have proof from various former FSB intelligence officers resume’s saying such. Any operation outside Russia is usually conducted by the SVR, therefore at a minimum coordination between the SVR and at least the GRU would have been conducted for virtually infiltrating the DNC in Washington DC.
We do not know who reviewed the purloined material from the DNC. We do not know how or who reviewed and released the material from the DNC for release to Wikileaks. We do not who did the same for John Podesta’s emails.
Various Western news media have stated Russian efforts were in support of Donald Trump. Others have stated that the efforts were only to stop the election of Hillary Clinton. What is not said in the United States is that the operation might have been to merely weaken the United States and the West. In most of the rest of the world, Russian information warfare efforts are directed at “The West”. In most of the rest of the world, Russian Information Warfare is designed to increase Russian relative standing.
Exclusive: Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling
Updated 1931 GMT (0331 HKT) July 15, 2019
An Ecuadorian intelligence official told CNN that the surveillance reports are authentic.
The security logs noted that Assange personally managed some of the releases “directly from the embassy” where he lived for nearly seven years. After the election, the private security company prepared an assessment of Assange’s allegiances. That report, which included open-source information, concluded there was “no doubt that there is evidence” that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies.
UC Global did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Initially the diplomats hoped to take Assange swiftly to Ecuador. But that plan stalled amid British refusals to allow Assange safe passage outside the embassy. So he settled in for a protracted stay.
Though confined to a few rooms inside the embassy, Assange was able to wield enormous authority over his situation. From the outset he demanded (and was granted) high-speed internet connectivity, phone service and regular access to professional visitors and personal guests. This arrangement enabled him to keep WikiLeaks active, the documents said.
CNN reached out to the four ambassadors who overlapped with Assange’s time at the embassy. Only Falconí would comment, saying the Ecuadorian government had never pressured him to give Assange special treatment and that he had established rules for Assange to follow.
Several current and former Ecuadorian government officials, including Correa and Patiño, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. While Correa was in office, he responded to criticism over harboring Assange by doubling down on the asylum offer and holding Assange up as a symbol of Ecuador’s commitment to freedom of the press.
Referring to Assange, Correa pointed out that “the icon of freedom of expression chooses to take refuge in the embassy of Ecuador,” in a 2012 interview with RT en Español, a Spanish-language network controlled by the Kremlin. The Russian government operates television networks around the world to spread propaganda, and it reaches American audiences on its flagship English-language station, RT.
Despite the years of strife, Assange was allowed to stay and prepared to wield his power when the moment was right. That moment came in summer 2016, a pivotal time in the US presidential campaign.
Russia comes knocking
Assange took at least seven meetings that month with Russians and others with Kremlin ties, according to the visitor logs.
Two encounters were with a Russian national named Yana Maximova, who could not be reached for comment. Almost nothing is known about Maximova, making it difficult to discern why she visited the embassy at key moments in June 2016. During her two visits that month, she met with Assange in the middle of the day in the embassy’s conference room.
Assange also had five meetings that month with senior staffers from RT, the Kremlin-controlled news organization.
US intelligence agencies have concluded that RT had “actively collaborated with WikiLeaks” in the past and played a significant role in Russia’s effort to influence the 2016 election and help Trump win. For several months in 2012, Assange hosted a television show on RT.
In June 2016, RT’s London bureau chief, Nikolay Bogachikhin, visited Assange twice, and gave him a USB drive on one occasion, according to the surveillance reports. That five-minute visit was hastily arranged and required last-minute approval from the Ecuadorian ambassador.