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Eric Lichtblau vs. Eric Lichtblau: Why is the NYT hiding key information that the FBI knows but claims not to know (and that Lichtblau knows because he played a role in it) about the connection between a Trump organization server and Alpha Server, a huge Russian bank with connections to Putin?

Okay, folks.  Read this entire article, or if you’re short on time, do a word find for “Lichtblau.”  Then read this article in today’s NYT by Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers.

Then ask, rhetorically, why Lichtblau did not mention in the Times article what happened with the Trump server that the FBI claims is receiving only random marketing spam (but only from Alpha Bank), after Lichtblau called Alpha Bank and inquired about why the Trump server was receiving data from Alpha Bank.

Also ask—rhetorically—why the Times article today simply reports the FBI’s stated reason for concluding that this marketing-spam thing is plausible (and that that’s why they haven’t sought a search warrant for the server?), but doesn’t mention what Lichtblau knows: that the scientists Foer and, as I understand it, Lichtblau have received their information concluded a month or two ago that that explanation is virtually impossible.

Nor does it explain what happened with the Trump server after Lichtblau called Alpha Bank and inquired about why the Trump server was receiving data from Alpha Bank.  

Who in the FBI decided to accept that explanation, despite the fact that at least one of the scientists who told Foer that that explanation is highly implausible also works under contract for … the FBI or one of the other agencies working on the matter?

Lotsa rhetorical questions to ask, actually.  Start asking them, folks.  And not just ones for the New York Times.


UPDATE: Gotta say, Comey comes off in this Washington Post article today as dumber than a rock.

Added 11/1 at 1:32 p.m.


SECOND UPDATE: Reader JackD and I just had the following exchange in the Comments thread:

JackD / November 1, 2016 2:26 pm

Dailykos is currently reporting that the FBI is releasing its closed investigative files regarding the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton’s pardon of Mark Rich. Come supervised the latter as it concluded. I suppose it could just be a coincidence. I didn’t know the FBI released its closed files that do not result in criminal action. The timing certainly stinks and could be relevant to a finding of Comey’s intent for Hatch Act purposed.


Me / November 1, 2016 3:16 pm

Hmmm. Who knew that the REAL purpose of the FBI is to use its investigative authority to help the Republican Party regain the WH and hold the Senate and House? Guess Comey did, but I sure didn’t. Until now.

Jack, the Foer revelations ARE now getting some real news media attention, as is the CNBC report from yesterday that Comey argued against release of the report in early Oct. that the Russians clearly are behind the Dem hackings and that the purpose is to influence the election.

I think what Comey’s up to is a preemptive distraction from probable imminent leaks that the FBI buried their own scientists’ conclusions that that Trump server in fact was communicating with Alpha Bank–and that the FBI declined to request a search warrant to confiscate the server. There’s no longer any danger of a breach-of-national-security charge against the leaker for release of classified info. The info about the server is now out there.

But just think about this: Comey knows that a Trump server at a minimum may be, and very likely is, communicating with Alpha Bank very, very secretly, using very elaborate techniques, and has been doing so since last spring. Yet he’s releasing raw investigative info shortly before the election, and during early voting in more than 20 states, in order to help Trump and down-ballot Republicans win election.

This is the FBI Director we’re talking about here.

And he’s not even named Hoover.  Or so he claims.

Added 11/1 at 3:29 p.m.

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Tea Leaves and Alpha Bank – UPDATED 11/1

Read this.  JUST. READ. IT.

The article, by Franklin Foer, published on Slate at 5:36 p.m., is titled “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?”

This is big.  So big you’ll get sick of big.

Believe me.


UPDATE: This is a very long article, and I hadn’t finished it when I posted this.  Now that I’ve finished it, I seems extremely likely to me that this is the information that Harry Reid was referencing in his letter to Comey yesterday.  If so, this is just stunning–that the FBI has withheld this information from the public, yet Comey waited a nanosecond after learning of the emails on Weiner’s computer to announce it to the public even without knowing what they actually were.

Did Comey know last Friday that this news was about to break?  Did that play into his decision to make that information public?

The plot sickens.  In any event, it does seem that the info Reid wanted so badly to become public, now has, as of tonight.  This is the “explosive information” that he was referencing in that letter.  Near the end of the Foer article, he discusses the role that two NYT reporters, Eric Lichtblau an Steven Lee Myers, who also were chasing the story, played in the actual substantive events in September when they made their investigation known to Alpha Bank.  And the Times reporters were in contact with Foer today, right after the Slate article was published. There should be a major story on this in tomorrow’s Times; I would think so, anyway.

But I hope one of these journalists, or another one, asks the computer scientists they’ve been working with if they think there’s a way to determine whether the same crowd that is communicating via the setup described in the article also played  role in the appearance of tens of thousands of Huma Amedin’s personal emails on the hard drive of Weiner’s computer.  And whether that is why Trump suddenly late last summer started claiming that Weiner had access to Abedin’s State Dept. emails.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day.

Added 10/31 at 10:14 p.m.



SECOND UPDATE: Reader Noni Mausa and I just exchanged these comments in the Comments thread this morning:

Noni Mausa / November 1, 2016 10:06 am

I have wondered for some years how long it will be till computer files, images, and emails lose their evidential status, given the expanding abilities of hackers — the digital equivalent of planting drugs or stolen goods in someone’s home is becoming rapidly more plausible.

As for the NYT article, I of course have no firsthand knowledge, (how many of us do? that’s why we have reporters). but the bona fides of the hacker-hunters sound bona fide to me. If messages of some sort were passing between a large Russian bank and Trump’s headquarters, with their frequency responsive to electoral events stateside, at the very least this seems an indication of common interests, whether financial or political. Even if they were “innocently” tied to ordinary financial dealings, this is still of deep concern when the presidency comes into it.

I dare say, since the dedicated mutual traffic on the server on Trump’s end has now gone dark, we will probably not be able to ever know the details of the Trump-Alfa conversation. Stay tuned for another half-dozen conspiracy theories, of which one, the least plausible, will be true, plus at least two major motion pictures.


Me / November 1, 2016 10:26 am

Wow. Noni, you raise a really interesting point about the Trump server. Based on all that stuff reported about retrieving stuff from Clinton’s server, I think the FBI COULD retrieve info from that server.

Soooo … if this is the stuff Reid WAS referring to by “explosive information” that the FBI is sitting on, has the FBI sought a search warrant to confiscate the server? If nor, why not? And if the FBI did NOT know of the server–something that seems unlikely, given that at least one of the scientists who provided the info to Foer, the Slate journalist, apparently works as a contractor for the FBI, and given that these scientists have been trying since last June to attract some media attention to their Reddit posts–will the FBI NOW IMMEDIATELY REQUEST A SEARCH WARRANT TO CONFISCATE THE SERVER? AND WILL THE FBI, UM, ANNOUNCE THAT, BEFORE THE ELECTION?

Harry Reid should hold a press conference on this. TODAY.

Updated 11/1 at 11:05 a.m.

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