This subject is going to take more than one story to explore in a meaningful way. So let’s set things up by introducing the players, and the nature of the game that might be underway.
Yesterday there was reporting that the Durham investigation has taken an interest in some activities — not yet completely understood — of a former Capitol Hill political operative named Daniel Jones.
This is a curious development that COULD portend an interesting turn in the path Durham is pursuing.
The revelations over the past week about the existence of a “plan” hatched in July 2016 within the Clinton Campaign to “vilify” the Trump Campaign by linking Trump to Russian election interference efforts exposed the existence of something that has long been suspected or assumed — that the entire Trump-Russia hoax narrative was an “inside-outside” operation run against Candidate Donald Trump initially, and against President Donald Trump after he won the election.
The “outside” operation was the campaign of leaks from Clinton-friendly intelligence sources in the Obama Administration to the complicit press corps, who then published the allegations of Trump and Trump campaign associations with Russian interests and the Russian government. The headline and front-page stories beginning in the summer of 2016 and running past the 2016 election were the “ether in the carburetor” of the FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation that was otherwise coming up empty. We know that now because the public can see how the FBI can be driven by press stories to chase “allegations” that otherwise have no substance that the FBI can find.
Recall that one of the earliest claims of evidence of complicity was the information about “contacts” between a computer server run by the Russian financial institution “Alfa Bank,” and a marketing business inside Trump Tower which had done business on behalf of Trump Inc. in the past.
The “Inside” operation is the official one — the three-year-long effort by the FBI/DOJ/Special Counsel to tie down the Trump Administration through legal processes and threats of legal jeopardy for anyone who might seek to put a halt to the “Ahab-like” quest to bring down Pres. Trump.
But with the passing of the election, the “outside” operation being run by the Clinton campaign disbanded. Without something to step into those same shoes, the ability to cycle intelligence community rumors, innuendo, and disinformation to drive the press narrative — and protect the “inside” operation from interference — was lost. There needed to be a substitute to take over the role of conduit and messenger to feed the NYT, WaPo, and other media outlets the diet of leaks for their Democrat partisan writers and pundits to push out into the public domain.
Enter Daniel Jones.
Jones spent nine years as an investigator with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, starting in 2007, and became the key Committee staff member for Chairperson Diane Feinstein. She made him responsible for the Committee’s inquiry into the use of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” by the CIA during the Iraq War by the Bush Administration, and he led the drafting of the Committee’s “Torture Report,” the classified version of which runs 6,0800 pages. He also worked on the Committee’s investigation of the CIA’s destruction of interrogation videotapes.
Since leaving the Senate, he has formed three outside businesses with noble sounding names and stated business purposes, but what they are in reality are left-wing Democrat Party political “hit squads.”
The Penn Quarter Group is simply an opposition research outfit that works for Democrat party candidates to dig up dirt on opponents. Jones has told Senator Charles Grassley that PQG has been funded by 7-10 wealthy individuals located primarily in New York and California (Schumer and Feinstein), in an amount of approximately $50 million.
In 2017 Jones formed a new company, The Democracy Integrity Project, a nonprofit company — which paid Jones $380,000 in 2017 to be its CEO — which is an advocacy group that purports to investigate interference in American and international elections by hostile foreign powers. TDIP has been linked in its business operations with FusionGPS and Christopher Steele.
The third company is set up as a charity in 2018 — Advance Democracy, Inc., to do similar work as TDIP, but without the notorious relationships.
Starting in 2017, the real role of Daniel Jones was to replace the Clinton Campaign as the “outside” operation. I think we are eventually going to learn that the campaign of leaks from the intelligence community to the media in 2017 and 2018 was engineered and run through Jones and his confederates in the same way Clinton Campaign members and surrogates had taken information from friendly IC sources and given them to the media back in the summer and fall of 2016.
The leaks kept the allegations of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax front and center in the media, justifying the continuing efforts of the FBI in 2017, and later the SCO from 2017 to 2019, to pursue every nonsensical allegation of Trump-Russia collusion down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, until William Barr arrived on the scene in January 2019 and put a halt to it all.
So why has this now come to the forefront?
Yesterday the New Yorker Magazine published a story by Dexter Filkins which reports that John Durham’s investigation has now focused on activities that may have involved Daniel Jones — something not previously reported.
Durham has taken an interest in the subject of the online communications between the marketing company with ties to the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank. The nature of the communications between the servers was never fully understood, and there have been various explanations offered for what the online traffic represents.
A group of computer scientists assisted Filkins in an earlier story he wrote trying to report on the meaning of the online traffic between the two servers. Many of those scientists are now being involved in efforts by Alfa Bank lawyers to prove in a lawsuit that the traffic was actually maliciously fabricated to create the impression of a connection which did not actually exist. The allegations made by Alfa Bank in litigation, and their efforts in discovery, now seem to track a new area of interest for John Durham’s investigation that has recently begun. Filkins’ new story states:
In recent weeks, scientists and others quoted in my story have been summoned to testify to a grand jury impanelled by John Durham, the U.S. attorney appointed by Attorney General William Barr to investigate potential criminal conduct in the Russia probe. It is unclear whether lawyers for the Justice Department and Alfa Bank are working together, but they share an interest in pursuing people who have investigated Trump’s ties to Russia. “There’s a unity of purpose,” one lawyer involved in the litigation told me.
The discovery sought in the civil cases, as well as the inquiries made by Durham, go one step beyond the work of the scientists — it goes to the issue of who paid the scientists for what they did. Enter Daniel Jones.
Two scientists who helped Filkins in his earlier reporting were identified in his story as “Max” and “Tea Leaves”. Alfa Bank’s attorneys are seeking to uncover the identities of “Max” and “Tea Leaves”, suspecting them to have been involved in the malicious activity which targeted Alfa Bank.
To uncover the identities of Max and Tea Leaves, the lawyers have served subpoenas on many of the scientists who reviewed D.N.S. records for The New Yorker… Alfa Bank’s lawyers have indicated in court documents that they also intend to subpoena the records of the Democracy Integrity Project, a nonprofit run by Daniel Jones, a former investigator for the Senate Intelligence Committee who helped decipher the D.N.S. records.
Later in the story Filkins writes:
The Alfa Bank case has also become an object of interest for federal agents working for John Durham, the prosecutor appointed by Barr. Durham’s agents have summoned some of the same computer scientists to testify before a grand jury, and are asking for the same material that Alfa Bank is seeking. (They’ve asked Jones, the investigator, to testify as well.)….
There is no clear evidence that the Justice Department and Alfa Bank are working together, but some people involved in the case noted a striking alignment of purpose. “There’s a heck of a lot of mutual interest,” William Taylor, an attorney for Jones, told me.
The suggestion seems to be that Jones company, the Democracy Integrity Project, paid “Max” and “Tea Leaves” for something. If it is established that “Max” and “Tea Leaves” were actually participants in a malicious scheme to create the computer traffic between the two servers in order to then “discover” and publish the existence of a “relationship” — and they were paid to do so by Jones — well you have another juicy story to chase.
An investigation of Jones and his organization will certainly lead to exposure of Jones’ communications, and all the financial transactions between Jones and his clients and partners.
THAT could go anywhere — including back to Democrat Senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee.