Criminal Investigation Does Not Say Clinton Campaign Allegedly Paid Tech Company to ‘Infiltrate’ White House Servers

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Correction Notice: This article has been updated to reflect key findings published in a fact-check by Lead Stories. You can read more here.

Special Counsel John Durham filed a motion that makes allegations against former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman.

Sussman has been charged with making a false statement to a federal agent.

He allegedly told then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016, less than two months before the 2016 presidential election, that he was not doing work “for any client.”

He requested and held a meeting in which he presented “purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel” between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.

In the new filing, Sussman allegedly “had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including a technology executive (Tech Executive 1) at a U.S.-based internet company (Internet Company 1) and the Clinton campaign.”

Although Fox News initially claimed that lawyers for the Clinton campaign paid a technology company to “infiltrate” servers belonging to Trump Tower and later the White House, this information was fact-checked by Lead Stories.

In the key part of the filing, the company executive, who is referred to as “Tech Executive 1,” is accused of “exploiting his access to non-public and/or proprietary Internet data,” the filing states. The Washington Post reported the tech executive is Rodney Joffe.

The court filing does not explicitly allege that Joffe “infiltrated White House servers,” as Lead Stories observes.

Instead, the documents show Joffe had another private client with private access to DNS (Domain Name System), which is a private computer server, to the Executive Office of the President.

Lead Stories also notes the court filing does not say he “accessed” or “connected” to the server. However, the filing does state “Tech Executive-1 exploited his access to non-public and/or proprietary Internet data.”

Joffe is not explicitly accused of “infiltrating White House servers,” as the fact-check clarifies, but Joffe is accused of “exploiting his access to DNS of the Executive Office of the President.”

While DNS is often considered sensitive and private computer data, Lead Stories notes that Sussman is accused of using “simple and non-probative DNS data to create the illusion of illicit activity between candidate Trump and Russian bankers.”

Durham said Tech Executive-1 was tasked with investigating the Internet data to establish “an inference” and “narrative” tying then-candidate Trump to Russia.

“Tech Executive-1 also enlisted the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university who were receiving and analyzing large amounts of Internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract,” the filing states.

On behalf of the Clintons, Sussman is accused of working with numerous cyber researchers and employees at multiple internet companies to “assemble the purported data and white papers.”