Election hackers, believed to be Russian, stole “thousands” private, personal information on “thousands” of Americans by infiltrating voter databases — and Congress is now investigating whether that stolen data was shared with members of the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign, according to a bombshell new report Thursday by Time Magazine.
Stolen data could have been used by the Trump campaign to target individual voters in key swing states, an operation which may have swung the election to Trump, who won three such states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — by fewer than 80,000 votes combined. Without Trump wins in those states, Democrat Hillary Clinton, winner of the popular vote by nearly 3 million, would have also won the Electoral College and the presidency.
Read the entire, startling Time Magazine report by visiting this link.
Political experts have credited the Trump campaign’s data operation for engineering his improbable Electoral College victory that resulted in Trump assuming the presidency. A Trump-connected data firm, Cambridge Analytica — a company whose principal owner is hedge-fund billionaire and Trump backer Robert Mercer — has boasted that its data provided the “secret sauce” that propelled Trump to his election victory.
Controversial Trump confidant Steve Bannon, who left his post running the “alt-right” site Breitbart to take over the Trump campaign last summer, sat on the board of Cambridge Analytica.
Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner oversaw the campaign’s data operation and said last year in an interview with Forbes Magazine that he contracted with Cambridge Analytica to provide detailed information that could directly influence voters through Facebook and other digital media, helping Trump win in swing states where Clinton appeared to hold an edge.
The Time investigation found that not only did hackers believed to be from Russia infiltrate voter databases stealing massive troves of data, in at least one proven case they actually altered voter information. But did the Russians share their stolen data with the Trump campaign or any associated organizations, such as Cambridge Analytica? That is the question Congress is now taking up.
“If any campaign, Trump or otherwise, used inappropriate data the questions are, How did they get it? From whom? And with what level of knowledge?” Michael Bahar, former top House Intelligence Committee staff member told Time. “That is a crux of the investigation.”
The House Intelligence Committee has now said that it plans to call as a witness Brad Parscale, a 41-year-old software developer who served as digital operations director for the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. The Committee, according to media reports last week, hopes to question Parscale about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian hackers over the use of data to target voters with “bots” and “fake news” via social media sites such as Facebook at Twitter.
The new report that Congress will investigate the possible use of voter data stolen by Russian hackers as part of the Trump campaign digital voter targeting operation echoes an earlier report, in March, by controversial British journalist Louise Mensch, who speculated that a computer server directly connecting Trump Tower to the Russian Alfa Bank may have been used to “launder” stolen data between Russian intelligence agents and members of the Trump campaign.
Read the previous Inquisitr report on the alleged Alfa Bank “data laundering” operation by accessing this link.
In a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security official Jeanette Manfra confirmed that DHS had evidence that Russian hackers had directly attacked “election-related systems” in 21 states. A report by Bloomberg News last week said that investigators had evidence of Russian hacking attacks on 39 states, with the hackers stealing election data and even altering voter information.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]