Just as the Biden administration was gearing up to announce the head of its new “Disinformation Governance Board,” Special Counsel John Durham was busily working toward one of many clear conclusions: the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign was central to the spread of harmful disinformation throughout the media.
To truly gauge the level of harm the Clinton disinformation factory caused would be a difficult task, but it did contribute in some ways to locking the FBI up in a costly and lengthy investigation that ultimately found no Trump/Russia conspiracy. It also resulted in a series of corrections and reckonings at media outlets already struggling with national trust.
As it happens, the new head of Biden’s disinfo board – dedicated to tackling misinformation and disinformation as the 2022 midterm elections loom – Nina Jankowicz herself promoted a piece of disinformation Durham recently concluded to be an outright fabrication by Clinton-hired researchers. Jankowicz, a self-styled “globally recognized” expert on disinformation, also propped up former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier that one former CIA Moscow station chief described as likely “a part of a Russian espionage disinformation plot.”
“Listened to this last night — Chris Steele (yes THAT Chris Steele) provides some great historical context about the evolution of disinfo. Worth a listen,” Jankowicz wrote in one 2020 tweet.
Russian-born Igor Danchenko – allegedly Steele’s top source for the dossier, according to the Washington Examiner – was charged in 2021 as part of Durham’s inquiry for “making false statements to the FBI.”
On other occasions, Jankowicz pushed misleading claims surrounding the dossier. In one instance, she claimed that the Republican Party “funded the dossier first.” Her tweet was in response to Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s question of whether there was “collusion between DOJ and Fusion GPS to use Democratic funding dossier for political and legal purposes.”
“You’re probably aware that [the Steele dossier] began as a Republican opposition research project,” Jankowicz wrote in a separate tweet in 2020, according to The Washington Examiner.
Jankowicz talks a lot about "disinformation laundering." Well this is about the best example you could find.
She touted a statement from the Clinton campaign about a since-debunked news story about Carter Page that was planted by Clinton operatives Fusion GPS and Chris Steele pic.twitter.com/CxlLNCKQys
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) May 2, 2022
And this same Jankowicz fawned over disgraced dossier author Christopher Steele and repeatedly pushed the conspiracy theory that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinfo. https://t.co/wrPehE1fCm pic.twitter.com/FJnoxXsYiB
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) April 28, 2022
The conservative Washington Free Beacon, which initially hired Fusion GPS, said in 2017 it “had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier.”
“The Free Beacon had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele,” the Beacon’s editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti and chairman Michael Goldfarb wrote in a statement at the time, according to NPR.
In fact, the Steele dossier came about after he was hired by an opposition firm in 2016. That firm, Fusion GPS, was hired in part by the general counsel for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the Examiner noted.
With Jankowicz prepping to lead the administration’s “disinformation” board, Durham’s court filings have served as insight into another apparent disinformation push.
Durham noted in one April 2022 court filing that the CIA determined data from former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann surrounding Russia-Trump organization links was “user created” and not “technically plausible.”
Sussmann was charged by Durham last year with lying to the FBI during a 2016 meeting.
Durham more recently alleged that Fusion GPS sent hundreds of unverified claims regarding Trump to journalists, The Washington Times reported. The hundreds of emails, according to Durham, resulted in various news articles tying together Trump and Russia.
Individuals tied to Clinton’s presidential campaign have argued that research from Fusion GPS should be protected, citing attorney-client privilege. They’ve also claimed the opposition firm’s work was to supply legal services, The Washington Times reported.
Durham responded in court filings by noting that, if true, Fusion GPS would have taken more care with its unverified allegations prior to spreading them around to journalists.
“If rendering such advice was truly the intended purpose of Fusion GPS’s retention, one would also expect the investigative firm to seek permission and/or guidance from [the Clinton campaign] or its counsel before sharing such derogatory materials with the media or otherwise placing them into the public domain,” Durham wrote, according to The Washington Times.
On Wednesday, Durham saw his latest small win when the judge presiding over Sussmann’s case agreed to do a review of records being withheld by Clintons’ presidential campaign, the Washington Examiner reported.
Senior White House correspondent. Follow Shelby on Twitter
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