Soros 3 Day Secret Huddle in DC Underway

Full the 3 day agenda is packed full of communists, Marxists and progressives and is found here.

Soros bands with donors to resist Trump, ‘take back power’

Major liberal funders huddle behind closed doors with Pelosi, Warren, Ellison, and union bosses to lick wounds, retrench.

Politico: George Soros and other rich liberals who spent tens of millions of dollars trying to elect Hillary Clinton are gathering in Washington for a three-day, closed door meeting to retool the big-money left to fight back against Donald Trump.

The conference, which kicked off Sunday night at Washington’s pricey Mandarin Oriental hotel, is sponsored by the influential Democracy Alliance donor club, and will include appearances by leaders of most leading unions and liberal groups, as well as darlings of the left such as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Keith Ellison, according to an agenda and other documents obtained by POLITICO.

The meeting is the first major gathering of the institutional left since Trump’s shocking victory over Hillary Clinton in last week’s presidential election, and, if the agenda is any indication, liberals plan full-on trench warfare against Trump from Day One. Some sessions deal with gearing up for 2017 and 2018 elections, while others focus on thwarting President-elect Trump’s 100-day plan, which the agenda calls “a terrifying assault on President Obama’s achievements — and our progressive vision for an equitable and just nation.”

Yet the meeting also comes as many liberals are reassessing their approach to politics — and the role of the Democracy Alliance, or DA, as the club is known in Democratic finance circles. The DA, its donors and beneficiary groups over the last decade have had a major hand in shaping the institutions of the left, including by orienting some of its key organizations around Clinton, and by basing their strategy around the idea that minorities and women constituted a so-called “rising American electorate” that could tip elections to Democrats.

That didn’t happen in the presidential election, where Trump won largely on the strength of his support from working-class whites. Additionally, exit polls suggested that issues like fighting climate change and the role of money in politics — which the DA’s beneficiary groups have used to try to turn out voters — didn’t resonate as much with the voters who carried Trump to victory.

“The DA itself should be called into question,” said one Democratic strategist who has been active in the group and is attending the meeting. “You can make a very good case it’s nothing more than a social club for a handful wealthy white donors and labor union officials to drink wine and read memos, as the Democratic Party burns down around them.”

Another liberal operative who has been active in the DA since its founding rejected the notion that the group — or the left, more generally — needed to completely retool its approach to politics.

“We should not learn the wrong lesson from this election,” said the operative, pointing out that Clinton is on track to win the popular vote and that Trump got fewer votes than the last GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. “We need our people to vote in greater numbers. For that to happen, we need candidates who inspire them to go to the polls on Election Day.”

But Gara LaMarche, the president of the DA, on Sunday evening told donors gathered at the Mandarin for a welcome dinner that some reassessment was in order. According to prepared remarks he provided to POLITICO, he said, “You don’t lose an election you were supposed to win, with so much at stake, without making some big mistakes, in assumptions, strategy and tactics.”

LaMarche added that the reassessment “must take place without recrimination and finger-pointing, whatever frustration and anger some of us feel about our own allies in these efforts,” and he said “It is a process we should not rush, even as we gear up to resist the Trump administration.”

LaMarche emailed the donors last week that the meeting would begin the process of assessing “what steps we will take together to resist the assaults that are coming and take back power, beginning in the states in 2017 and 2018.”

In addition to sessions focusing on protecting Obamacare and other pillars of Obama’s legacy against dismantling by President-elect Trump, the agenda includes panels on rethinking polling and the left’s approach to winning the working-class vote, as well as sessions stressing the importance of channeling cash to state legislative policy battles and races, where Republicans won big victories last week.

Democrats need to invest more in training officials and developing policies in the states, argued Rep. Ellison (D-Minn.) on a Friday afternoon donor conference call, according to someone on the call. The call was organized by a DA-endorsed group called the State Innovation Exchange (or SiX), which Ellison urged the donors to support.

Ellison, who is scheduled to speak on a Monday afternoon panel at the DA meeting on the challenge Democrats face in winning working-class votes, has been a leading liberal voice for a form of economic populism that Trump at times channeled more than Clinton.

As liberals look to rebuild the post-Clinton Democratic Party on a more aggressively liberal bearing, Ellison has emerged as a top candidate to take over the Democratic National Committee, and he figures to be in high demand at the DA meeting. An Ellison spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday evening. Nor did a Trump spokesman.

Raj Goyle, a New York Democratic activist who previously served in the Kansas state legislature and now sits on SiX’s board, argued that many liberal activists and donors are “disconnected from working class voters’ concerns” because they’re cluster in coastal cities. “And that hurt us this election,” said Goyle, who is involved in the DA, and said its donors would do well to steer more cash to groups on the ground in landlocked states. “Progressive donors and organizations need to immediately correct the lack of investment in state and local strategies.”

The Democracy Alliance was launched after the 2004 election by Soros, the late insurance mogul Peter Lewis, and a handful of fellow Democratic mega-donors who had combined to spend tens of millions trying to boost then-Sen. John Kerry’s ultimately unsuccessful challenge to then-President George W. Bush.

The donors’ goal was to seed a set of advocacy groups and think tanks outside the Democratic Party that could push the party and its politicians to the left while also defending them against attack from the right.

The group requires its members — a group that now numbers more than 100 and includes finance titans like Soros, Tom Steyer and Donald Sussman, as well as major labor unions and liberal foundations — to contribute a total of at least $200,000 a year to recommended groups. Members also pay annual dues of $30,000 to fund the DA staff and its meetings, which include catered meals and entertainment (on Sunday, interested donors were treated to a VIP tour of the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture).

Since its inception in 2005, the DA has steered upward of $500 million to a range of groups, including pillars of the political left such as the watchdog group Media Matters, the policy advocacy outfit Center for American Progress and the data firm Catalist — all of which are run by Clinton allies who are expected to send representatives to the DA meeting.

The degree to which those groups will be able to adapt to the post-Clinton Democratic Party is not entirely clear, though some of the key DA donors have given generously to them for years.

That includes Soros, who, after stepping back a bit from campaign-related giving in recent years, had committed or donated $25 million to boosting Clinton and other Democratic candidates and causes in 2016. During the presidential primaries, Soros had argued that Trump and his GOP rival Ted Cruz were “doing the work of ISIS.”

A Soros spokesman declined to comment for this story.

But, given that the billionaire financier only periodically attends DA meetings and is seldom a part of the formal proceedings, his scheduled Tuesday morning appearance as a speaker suggests that he’s committed to investing in opposing President Trump.

The agenda item for a Tuesday morning “conversation with George Soros” invokes Soros’ personal experience living through the Holocaust and Soviet Communism in the context of preparing for a Trump presidency. The agenda notes that the billionaire currency trader, who grew up in Hungary, “has lived through Nazism and Communism, and has devoted his foundations to protecting the kinds of open societies around the world that are now threatened in the United States itself.”

LaMarche, who for years worked for Soros’s Open Society foundations, told POLITICO that the references to Nazism and Communism are “part of his standard bio.”

LaMarche, who is set to moderate the discussion with Soros, said the donor “does not plan to compare whatever we face under Trump to Nazism, I can tell you that.” LaMarche he also said, “I don’t think there is anyone who has looked at Trump, including many respected conservatives, who doesn’t think the experience of authoritarian states would not be important to learn from here. And to the extent that Soros and his foundations have experience with xenophobia in Europe, Brexit, etc., we want to learn from that as well.”

The Soros conversation was added to the agenda after Election Day. It was just one of many changes made on the fly to adjust for last week’s jarring result and the stark new reality facing liberals, who went from discussing ways to push an incoming President Clinton leftward, to instead discussing how to play defense.

A pre-election working draft of the DA’s agenda, obtained by POLITICO, featured a session on Clinton’s first 100 days and another on “moving a progressive national policy agenda in 2017.” Those sessions were rebranded so that the first instead will examine “what happened” on the “cataclysm of Election Day,” while the second will focus on “combating the massive threats from Trump and Congress in 2017.”

A session that before the election had been titled “Can Our Elections Be Hacked,” after the election was renamed “Was the 2016 Election Hacked” — a theory that has percolated without evidence on the left to explain the surprising result.

In his post-election emails to donors and operatives, LaMarche acknowledged the group had to “scrap many of the original plans for the conference,” explaining “while we made no explicit assumptions about the outcome, the conference we planned, and the agenda you have seen, made more sense in the event of a Hillary Clinton victory.”

Trust Even Less on the Internet Thanks to Real Russian Trolls

Daily, I am asked if this is true or that is true….admittedly it is getting harder each day to vet stories for accuracy and to dissect them for what is accurate and other parts being flatly false. That is what trolls do, mix accuracy with falsehoods so the reader assumes it is all factual….ah not so much.

So, what sites to do visit often and have come to rely on them? InfoWars or Zerohedge? Well what about people that are curiously appearing to be friends with you on Facebook or new followers on Twitter? Take caution and read carefully below, you reliance on truth and accuracy just got harder. Even some in the media are being punked.

Related reading: KGB Model: Army of Russia Trolls vs. America

Related reading: Even Russian Diplomats in DC are Trolling Obama Admin

Related reading: Are you Sick of Hearing About Russia? Putin Loves it

Here we go and hat tip to these fellas for taking many months of investigation to sound the warnings.


Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy

Trump isn’t the end of Russia’s information war against America. They are just getting started.

WotR: In spring 2014, a funny story crossed our social media feeds. A petition on called for“sending Alaska back to Russia,” and it quickly amassed tens of thousands of signatures. The media ran a number of amused stories on the event, and it was quickly forgotten.

The petition seemed odd to us, and so we looked at which accounts were promoting it on social media. We discovered that thousands of Russian-language bots had been repetitively tweeting links to the petition for weeks before it caught journalists’ attention.

Those were the days. Now, instead of pranking petitions, Russian influence networks online are interfering with the 2016 U.S. election. Many people, especially Hillary Clinton supporters, believe that Russia is actively trying to put Donald Trump in the White House.

And the evidence is compelling. A range of activities speaks to a Russian connection: the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign officials, hacks surrounding voter rolls and possibly election machines, Putin’s overt praise for Trump, and the curious Kremlin connections of Trump campaign operatives Paul Manafort and Carter Page.

But most observers are missing the point. Russia is helping Trump’s campaign, yes, but it is not doing so solely or even necessarily with the goal of placing him in the Oval Office. Rather, these efforts seek to produce a divided electorate and a president with no clear mandate to govern. The ultimate objective is to diminish and tarnish American democracy. Unfortunately, that effort is going very well indeed.

Russia’s desire to sow distrust in the American system of government is not new. It’s a goal Moscow has pursued since the beginning of the Cold War. Its strategy is not new, either. Soviet-era “active measures” called for using the “force of politics” rather than the “politics of force”to erode American democracy from within.  What is new is the methods Russia uses to achieve these objectives.

We have been tracking Russian online information operations since 2014, when our interest was piqued by strange activity we observed studying online dimensions of jihadism and the Syrian civil war. When experts published content criticizing the Russian-supported Bashar al Assad regime, organized hordes of trolls would appear to attack the authors on Twitter and Facebook. Examining the troll social networks revealed dozens of accounts presenting themselves as attractive young women eager to talk politics with Americans, including some working in the national security sector. These “honeypot” social media accounts were linked to other accounts used by the Syrian Electronic Army hacker operation. All three elements were working together: the trolls to sow doubt, the honeypots to win trust, and the hackers (we believe) to exploit clicks on dubious links sent out by the first two.

Related reading: U.S. charges three suspected Syrian Electronic Army hackers


The Syrian network did not stand alone. Beyond it lurked closely interconnected networks tied to Syria’s allies, Iran and Russia. Many of these networks were aimed at U.S. political dissenters and domestic extremist movements, including militia groups, white nationalists, and anarchists.

Today, that network is still hard at work, running at peak capacity to destroy Americans’ confidence in their system of government. We’ve monitored more than 7,000 social media accounts over the last 30 months and at times engaged directly with them. Trump isn’t the end of Russia’s social media and hacking campaign against America, but merely the beginning.  Here is what we’ve learned.

The Russian Social Media Approach: Soviet Union’s “Active Measures” On Steroids

The United States and its European allies have always placed state-to-state relations at the forefront of their international strategies. The Soviet system’s effort to undermine those relations during the Cold War, updated now by modern Russia, were known as “active measures.”

A June 1992 U.S. Information Agency report on the strategy explained:

It was often very difficult for Westerners to comprehend this fundamentally different Soviet approach to international relations and, as a result, the centrality to the Soviets (now Russians) of active measures operations was gravely underappreciated.

Active measures employ a three-pronged approach that attempts to shape foreign policy by directing influence in the following ways: state-to-people, people-to-people, and state-to-state. More often than not, active measures sidestep traditional diplomacy and normal state-to-state relationships. The Russian government today employs the state-to-people and people-to-people approaches on social media and the internet, directly engaging U.S. and European audiences ripe for an anti-American message, including the alt-right and more traditional right-wing and fascist parties. It also targets left-wing audiences, but currently at a lower tempo.

Until recently, Western governments focused on state-to-state negotiations with Putin’s regime largely missed Russian state-to-people social media approaches. Russia’s social media campaigns seek five complementary objectives to strengthen Russia’s position over Western democracies:

  • Undermine citizen confidence in democratic governance;
  • Foment and exacerbate divisive political fractures;
  • Erode trust between citizens and elected officials and democratic institutions;
  • Popularize Russian policy agendas within foreign populations;
  • Create general distrust or confusion over information sources by blurring the lines between fact and fiction
  • In sum, these influence efforts weaken Russia’s enemies without the use of force. Russian social media propaganda pushes four general themes to advance Moscow’s influence objectives and connect with foreign populations they target.

    Political messages are designed to tarnish democratic leaders or undermine institutions. Examples include allegations of voter fraud, election rigging, and political corruption. Leaders can be specifically targeted, for instance by promoting unsubstantiated claims about Hillary Clinton’s health, or more obviously by leaking hacked emails.

Financial propaganda weakens citizen and investor confidence in foreign markets and posits the failure of capitalist economies. Stoking fears over the national debt, attacking institutions such as the Federal Reserve, and attempts to discredit Western financial experts and business leaders are all part of this arsenal.

In one example from August, Disneyland Paris was the site of a reported bomb scare. Social media accounts on Twitter reported that the park had been evacuated, and several news outlets — including Russian propaganda stations RT and Sputnik — published alarming stories based on the tweets, which escalated in hysteria as the afternoon stretched on. In fact, the park had not been evacuated. But that didn’t stop Disney’s stock from taking a temporary hit. This fluctuation could be exploited by someone who knew the fake scare was coming, but we do not have access to the data that would allow us to know whether this happened.


Social issues currently provide a useful window for Russian messaging. Police brutality, racial tensions, protests, anti-government standoffs, online privacy concerns, and alleged government misconduct are all emphasized to magnify their scale and leveraged to undermine the fabric of society.

Finally, wide-ranging conspiracy theories promote fear of global calamity while questioning the expertise of anyone who might calm those fears. Russian propaganda operations since 2014 have stoked fears of martial law in the United States, for instance, by promoting chemtrails and Jade Helm conspiracy theories. More recently, Moscow turned to stoking fears of nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

For the Kremlin, this is not just focused on the outside world. Russian news organizations bombard Russian citizens with the same combination of content. Steve Rosenberg, a BBC News correspondent in Moscow, filmed the Russian domestic equivalent of this approach on November 1, showing Russian language news headlines inciting fears such as impending nuclear war, a U.S.-Russia confrontation in Syria, and the potential for an assassination of Donald Trump.


The Confluence of Information and Cyberspace

Russian active measures use a blend of overt and covert channels to distribute political, financial, social, and calamitous messages (see above). During the Soviet era, “white” active measures were overt information outlets directly attributable to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Today, RT and Sputnik push Kremlin-approved English-language news on television and the Internet. These outlets broadcast a mix of true information (the vast majority of content), manipulated or skewed stories, and strategically chosen falsehoods. RT’s slogan, “Question More,” aptly fits their reporting style — seeding ideas of conspiracy or wrongdoing without actually proving anything.

This “white” content provides ammunition for “gray” measures, which employ less overt outlets controlled by Russia, as well as so-called useful idiots that regurgitate Russian themes and “facts” without necessarily taking direction from Russia or collaborating in a fully informed manner.

During the Cold War, gray measures used semi-covert Communist parties, friendship societies, and non-governmental organizations to engage in party-to-party and people-to-people campaigns. Today, gray measures on social media include conspiracy websites, data dump websites, and seemingly credible news aggregators that amplify disinformation and misinformation.

Conspiracy sites include outlets such as InfoWars and Zero Hedge, along with a host of lesser-known sites that repeat and repackage the same basic content for both right- and left-wing consumers. Sometimes, these intermediaries will post the same stories on sites with opposite political orientations.

Data dump websites, such as Wikileaks and DC Leaks, overtly claim to be exposing corruption and promoting transparency by uploading private information stolen during hacks. But the timing and targets of their efforts help guide pro-Russian themes and shape messages by publishing compromising information on selected adversaries.

The people who run these sites do not necessarily know they are participants in Russian agitprop, or at least it is very difficult to prove conclusively that they do. Some sites likely receive direct financial or operational backing, while others may be paid only with juicy information.

Sincere conspiracy theorists can get vacuumed up into the social networks that promote this material. In at least one case, a site described by its creator as parody was thoroughly adopted by Russian influence operators online and turned into an unironic component of their promoted content stream, at least as far as the network’s targeted “news” consumers are concerned.

A small army of social media operatives — a mix of Russian-controlled accounts, useful idiots, and innocent bystanders— are deployed to promote all of this material to unknowing audiences. Some of these are real people, others are bots, and some present themselves as innocent news aggregators, providing “breaking news alerts” to happenings worldwide or in specific cities. The latter group is a key tool for moving misinformation and disinformation from primarily Russian-influenced circles into the general social media population. We saw this phenomenon at play in recent reports of a second military coup in Turkey and unsubstantiated reports of an active shooter that led to the shutdown of JFK Airport. Some news aggregators may be directly controlled by Russia, while other aggregators that use algorithmic collection may be the victims of manipulation.

“Black” active measures are now easier to execute than they were for the Soviets. During the Cold War, according to the 1992 USIA report, these included:

… the use of agents of influence, forgeries, covert media placements and controlled media to covertly introduce carefully crafted arguments, information, disinformation, and slogans into the discourse in government, media, religious, business, economic, and public arenas in targeted countries.

Black active measures create both risks and costs. Agents deployed into the West must avoid detection or risk state-to-state consequences. The KGB’s Cold War efforts to keep these operations secret bore significant financial costs while producing little quantifiable benefit. Stories were difficult to place in mainstream media outlets, and the slow process made it challenging to create momentum behind any one theme.

On social media, this process is far easier, more effective, and relatively difficult to attribute. Without stepping foot in America, Russia’s coordinated hackers, honeypots, and hecklers influence Americans through people-to-people engagement.

Hackers provide the fuel for themes and narratives. Initially, hackers concentrated on defacements, denial of service, and misinformation posted on compromised social media accounts. By 2015, the Kremlin’s hacking efforts were much more sophisticated, coalescing into two distinct, competing hacking collectives: Fancy Bear (APT 28), possibly operated by Russian military intelligence (GRU), and Cozy Bear (APT 29), possibly operated by Russia’s foreign intelligence service (FSB).

The most notorious Russian-linked hacker, using the handle Guccifer2.0, targets current and former U.S. government officials, American security experts, and media personalities by seeking access to their private communications and records. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta provide two current examples, but there will be many more to come. Today, Guccifer2.0 posts threats of election meddling this coming Tuesday.

Guccifer 2.0 Warning on Election Posted to Social Media

In addition to phishing and cracking attacks, these hackers are aided by honeypots, a Cold War term of art referring to an espionage operative who sexually seduced or compromised targets. Today’s honeypots may include a component of sexual appeal or attraction, but they just as often appear to be people who share a target’s political views, obscure personal hobbies, or issues related to family history. Through direct messaging or email conversations, honeypots seek to engage the target in conversations seemingly unrelated to national security or political influence.

These honeypots often appear as friends on social media sites, sending direct messages to their targets to lower their defenses through social engineering. After winning trust, honeypots have been observed taking part in a range of behaviors, including sharing content from white and gray active measures websites, attempting to compromise the target with sexual exchanges, and most perilously, inducing targets to click on malicious links or download attachments infected with malware.

One of us directly experienced how social media direct messages from hackers or influencers seek to compromise or sway a target by using social engineering to build a rapport. Operators may engage the target’s friends or acquaintances, drawing them into conversations to encourage trust. Once conversations are started, an agent of influence will be introduced into the group and will subsequently post on Russian themes from grey outlets or introduce malicious links.

When targets click on malicious links, Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear extract personal information from public officials, media personalities, and American experts and selectively dump the content obtained at opportune times. The goal is to increase popular mistrust of political leaders and people with expertise or influence in specific circles of interest to Russia, such as national security. In some cases, experts criticizing Russia have had their computers mysteriously compromised by destructive malware and their research destroyed.

Online hecklers, commonly referred to as trolls, energize Russia’s active measures. Ringleader accounts designed to look like real people push organized harassment — including threats of violence — designed to discredit or silence people who wield influence in targeted realms, such as foreign policy or the Syrian civil war. Once the organized hecklers select a target, a variety of volunteers will join in, often out of simple antisocial tendencies. Sometimes, they join in as a result of the target’s gender, religion, or ethnic background, with anti-Semitic and misogynistic trolling particularly prevalent at the moment. Our family members and colleagues have been targeted and trolled in this manner via Facebook and other social media.

Hecklers and honeypots can also overlap. For instance, we identified hundreds of accounts of ostensibly American anti-government extremists that are actually linked to Russian influence operations. These accounts create noise and fear, but may also draw actual anti-government extremists into compromising situations. Based on our observations, the latter effort has not been widely successful so far among anti-government extremists, who tend to stay in their own social networks and are less likely to interact with Russian influence accounts, but our analysis points to greater overlap with networks involving American white nationalists.

Russia’s honeypots, hecklers, and hackers have run amok for at least two years, achieving unprecedented success in poisoning America’s body politic and creating deep dissent, including a rise in violent extremist activity and visibility. Posting hundreds of times a day on social media, thousands of Russian bots and human influence operators pump massive amounts of disinformation and harassment into public discourse.

This “computational propaganda,” a term coined by Philip Howard, has the cumulative effect of creating Clayton A. Davis at Indiana University calls a“majority illusion, where many people appear to believe something ….which makes that thing more credible.” The net result is an American information environment where citizens and even subject-matter experts are hard-pressed to distinguish fact from fiction. They are unsure who to trust and thus more willing to believe anything that supports their personal biases and preferences.

The United States disbanded the U.S. Information Agency after the Cold War and currently fields no apparatus to detect and mitigate Russia’s social media influence campaign. As seen in America’s disjointed counter narratives against the Islamic State, efforts to create any kind of U.S. information strategy are plagued by disparate and uncoordinated efforts strewn among many military, diplomatic, and intelligence commands. American cyber operations and hacking reside separately with the National Security Agency. Russia, on the other hand, seamlessly integrates the two efforts to devastating effect.

After Election Day: What to do about Russia’s Active Measures?

The most overwhelming element of Russia’s online active measures over the last year relate to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Russian promotion of Trump not only plagues Clinton, but likely helped sideline other GOP candidates in early 2016 with a more traditional anti-Russia view of foreign policy. It is impossible to assess whether Donald Trump is even fully aware of these efforts, let alone complicit. Setting aside that question for a moment, some readers will immediately ask how we are so sure all this activity goes back to Russia?

There are a number of technical indicators, most tellingly the synchronization of messaging and disinformation with “white” outlets such as RT and Sputnik, as well as the shocking consistency of messaging through specific social networks we have identified.

Dmitri Alperovich of the cyber-security firm Crowdstrike first attributed the DNC hacks to Russia. He explained in a recent War on the Rocks podcast:

The important thing about attribution…is that it’s not that much different from the physical world. Just like someone can plan a perfect bank heist and get away with it, you can do that in the cyber-domain, but you can almost never actually execute a series of bank heists over the course of many years and get away with it. In fact, the probability of you not getting caught is miniscule. And the same thing is true in cyber-space because eventually you make mistakes. Eventually you repeat tradecraft. It’s hard to sort of hide the targets you’re going after…

There are other, less subtle indications as well, for instance, a notification from Google: “We believe we detected government backed attackers trying to steal your password. This happens to less than 0.1% of all Gmail users.” When one of us receives these messages, we feel confident we’re on the right trail.

Twitter War Report Describes Spamming the Election Tweets

And Twitter users believed….


Twitter Election Bots Hide Tons of Reply Spam Behind Boring Themed Accounts

Motherboard: A much-discussed research paper out of Oxford this month concluded that millions of tweets about the presidential election are generated by highly automated Twitter accounts. According to the authors’ analysis, about a third of pro-Trump traffic, and one fifth of pro-Clinton tweets, is “driven by bots and highly automated accounts.”

The Oxford study pegged Twitter accounts as highly automated if they posted at least 50 times a day using any one of a group of election hashtags—such as #MAGA, #TrumpTrain, #ImWithHer, and #StrongerTogether—over a three-day period.

The paper conceded that “extremely active” humans might post 50 or more times per day on one of the 52 hashtags they selected, “especially if they are simply retweeting the content they find in their social media feed.”

At the Electome, a project of the Media Lab at MIT, we use complex machine learning algorithms to analyze the election conversation on Twitter. The Oxford paper made us curious about the possibility of spotting bots in the dashboard we recently built for journalists covering the election.

Read more: How Mexican Twitter Bots Shut Down Dissent

Bot detection can be challenging, partly because they come in different varieties. Some are purely automated accounts, while others layer some manual curation on top of automated tweets.

Last week, we noticed a spike while searching our Twitter data on the keyword “rigged.”

In early September, the “rigged” discussion on Twitter, which previously had revolved around a variety of issues including economic inequality and the electoral process, shifted suddenly toward immigration—that is, tweets containing the word “rigged” also used terms connected to immigration.

Digging into the data, we found one verbatim tweet showing up across a dozen or so handles, each of which posted the same message over and over each day: “Immigration Policy is RIGGED against American Workers #Trump2016 #FeelTheBern.”

Beyond using identical phrasing—including idiosyncratic capitalization—the tweets coming from these accounts all linked to the same video, which compares statements by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders about immigration policy. Each video, in turn, linked to the same anti-Clinton Twitter account.

Although the accounts don’t have the telltale bot profile image—the egg—based on their characteristics and activity, including breakneck output of strikingly similar content, these are clearly spam handles, and apparently at least somewhat automated.

Wading in further, we found that each account puts out a stream of photos and GIFs on a given theme, on top of a common rotation of anti-Clinton videos and memes.

The bots follow the same playbook: Publicly they tweet the same innocuous content fitting their theme, while simultaneously flooding the replies of public figures and media outlets—essentially piggybacking on famous tweets to influence users who see those tweets’ replies—with campaign-driven videos and memes.

One apparent bot account has pumped out more than 27,000 tweets since its creation in March, with content that tends to mix videos of Clinton advisor John Podesta with memes from the 1970s film A Clockwork Orange:

          TheTweetest @TheTweetest

you found out…

Hillary killed Osama bin Laden



A zombie-themed account boasts 30,000 tweets since April: Podesta mingled with the undead:

Then there’s the seeming food porn handle that has put out 21,000 tweets since March: Podesta plus photogenic snacks:

In the last few days, these three accounts have tweeted thousands of times, sometimes hundreds of posts in a single hour. Most went entirely dark on October 30, for some reason, then geared up early on October 31 to put out hundreds more by noon.

Other apparently automated accounts pay homage to burgers, the Doge meme, geese, Hydrox cookies, knights, pigs, pulp science fiction, Putin, trains, and Transformers. They vary in frequency of activity, but each circulates the same videos with identical accompanying text.

Spambots like these have been spotted at other points in this election. In April, a conservative activist noticed a few hundred accounts frantically tweeting an identical call to file federal complaints against Ted Cruz for robocalls.

In June, a reporter for New York magazine mined the feeds of three pro-Trump, alt-right accounts, noting that they consistently replied to Trump’s tweets within mere seconds and with memes attached. Like the accounts we’ve identified here, many of their replies lacked any connection to the subject of Trump’s original tweet.

Last week, one of those three accounts circulated a hoax image of immigration officers arresting Hispanic voters, according to ProPublica’s Electionland.

Difficult as it is to track down accounts like these or gauge their prevalence, it’s even harder to discern how they might affect the overall Twitter discussion about the election. Whether or not the Oxford analysis proves accurate, its authors performed a service merely by raising public awareness of election bots.  More here including additional tweets.


Then there was that weird FBI release on Twitter:

FBI to Conduct Internal Probe of Election-Season Tweets

GovernmentExec: Suddenly renewed activity on an FBI Twitter account publicizing Freedom of Information Act releases has prompted an internal bureau review of the propriety of such activity so close to the Nov. 8 election, according to a source involved in the matter.

In emails obtained by Government Executive sent to an ex-investigative reporter who filed complaints, the deputy at the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility on Tuesday revealed that the complaint about possible political favoritism in tweeting has been referred to the FBI’s Inspection Division.

“Upon the completion of its investigation, the matter will be referred to my office for adjudication,” wrote Candice Will, assistant director of the Office of Professional Responsibility to Jonathan Hutson, a former investigative reporter and now a media consultant. He received a similar email from Nancy McNamara, assistant director of the FBI’s Inspection Division, with two more FBI employees copied.

An FBI official told Government Executive that on Oct. 30, electronic patches were sent through the FBI’s content management system to fix the automatic feed of information that goes through the FOIA Twitter account.

First reported on Thursday by the liberal-leaning news service Think Progress, the new probe comes days after questions were raised about the FBI FOIA office’s release on Monday of 129 pages of documents pertaining to the 2001-2005 investigation of President Bill Clinton’s last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose wife was a longtime Clinton donor.

That probe, led for a time by current FBI Director James Comey as a U.S. attorney, ended with no prosecutions, which is why the Hillary Clinton campaign immediately complained that its timing seemed questionable. “Absent a (Freedom of Information Act) deadline, this is odd,” Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted. “Will FBI be posting docs on Trumps’ housing discrimination in ‘70s?”

It also comes less than a week after Comey shook up the presidential race with his letter to lawmakers and FBI staff suggesting that newly uncovered emails in an unrelated probe might be “pertinent” to the bureau’s suspended investigation Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of State Department emails.

The FBI responded to this week’s complaints with a statement outlining its FOIA policies:

“The FBI’s Records Management Division receives thousands of FOIA requests annually which are processed on a first in, first out basis,” it said. “By law, FOIA materials that have been requested three or more times are posted electronically to the FBI’s public reading room shortly after they are processed. Per the standard procedure for FOIA, these materials became available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI’s public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures.”

But critics have now zeroed in on the bureau’s Twitter account at the FBI Records Vault. As noted by ex-investigative reporter Hutson, who first filed a complaint with the Justice Department inspector general, the FBI’s FOIA Twitter account had been silent for the past year.  “For the first few years after its 2011 launch, most of its tweets produced only 10 re-tweets, the most being 122,” Hutson said. “But suddenly, at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30, it roared to life, not for business and not usual.”

The Tweet on Bill Clinton’s Marc Rich pardon, which was part of a probe on the Clinton Foundation, “was highly negative for Hillary Clinton” because it didn’t mention that no charges were brought, while another recent FBI tweet, announcing new documents pertaining to Republican candidate Donald Trump’s father’s past housing industry activities, favored Trump by “calling him a philanthropist,” which in Hutson’s view is “editorial shading.”

Also, Hutson said, “it is significant and telling” that the FBI FOIA people also recently tweeted the FBI’s ethics manual. “That shows they know full well that is it illegal for bureau employees to influence or effect the outcome of an election.” Hutson believes there may be violations of the Hatch Act, Justice Department guidelines and the FBI ethics manual. The FBI vault item on the Clinton Foundation, he pointed out, now has 9,000 re-tweets.

FOIA specialists consulted by Government Executive had mixed evaluations of this turn of events, both for the release of the FOIA documents and the related tweeting. “It’s nothing abnormal,” said Ronald Kessler, an author and longtime investigative journalist who has written on the FBI. “People don’t understand that it would be improper for the FBI to withhold a release of material to try to manipulate media coverage simply because agents happen to finish their work on it late Friday afternoon or just before an election. Like all of us humans, agents try to work extra hard to finish a project that is close to completion before a long weekend.”

Anne Weismann, executive director of the Campaign for Accountability, said after all her years of sending FOIA requests to the FBI, she found it “astonishing” that the FBI is tweeting, saying it “adds to the unprecedented nature” of this fall’s FBI’s intervention in the presidential race. She also found it odd that the FBI released what appears to be a “first round, partial” file of documents in the Marc Rich case, “with no context.” “Unless you knew they were talking about a major, very serious investigation of a former president, you wouldn’t know that the FBI never prosecuted Clinton,” she said. “I’ve pushed the FBI in litigation for release of documents on a rolling basis, and they always say no.”

Alex Howard, a senior analyst at the Sunlight Foundation, said the FBI has some flexibility in releasing documents. “Agencies are mandated to acknowledge a FOIA request in 20 days, although many in practice do not. Unless an agency is under instruction by a judge to release records responsive to a FOIA lawsuit on a specified timeline or by a given deadline, however, agencies can have some discretion in when they disclose records to a requester, unless their FOIA regulations specify otherwise. The “first in, first out” standard is one such rule: some agencies have pending FOIA requests going back over a decade.”

Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress, said, “There’s not enough information to make a judgment, which is why we would welcome an independent investigation, but on its face it is unusual.”

The Hillary Morocco Money Thing was Real with Twists

While there is the matter of Hillary and Bill with the Morocco thing, we cannot dismiss lil miss Michelle Obama and her relationship with the King as noted in the summer of 2016.

King Mohammed VI hosted an iftar meal in honor of the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, on Tuesday night in Marrakech.

King Mohammed VI Hosts Iftar in Honor of US First Lady Michelle Obama

Using vague words, twisting sentences and altering priority of facts is all part of damage control within the Hillary inner circle.

When it comes to the Hillary event with this Morocco King, wow even the press operating on a tip or two gets places on a spinning wheel. The Clinton Foundation and it seems the Hillary inner circle as well as the State Department certainly placed their attention on the King. Why:

King Mohammed VI    King Mohammed VI  More from Forbes



Inside the Clintons’ Moroccan money ‘mess’

Aides publicly downplayed Clinton’s role, while privately doing damage control and working to keep foreign money.

A portrait of Moroccan King Mohamed VI is on display as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Foreign Minister Saad Eddine Othmani in Rabat, Morocco, in 2012 on her whistle-stop diplomatic tour. | AP Photo

Politico: Hillary Clinton’s top advisers downplayed her involvement in arranging a lavish Clinton Foundation conference in Marrakech last year, but behind the scenes they acknowledged her pivotal role and worked to minimize fallout from it.

After media inquiries about the role of Clinton and the king of Morocco in setting the stage for the conference, Clinton confidants, including her husband, Bill, scrambled to craft a new foreign contribution policy that looked tougher but still let them accept the Moroccan cash, according to hacked emails released by WikiLeaks.

The picture that emerges from the emails — as well as from interviews with a half dozen people familiar with the foundation’s inner workings and other contemporary reporting — shows Clintons’ confidants becoming acutely sensitive to criticism of the foundation’s foreign fundraising around the time Clinton was preparing to launch her presidential campaign.

The Moroccan saga also provides a window into the Clinton teams’ internal decision-making process on thorny ethics issues, as well as the occasionally less-than-forthcoming manner in which they deal with scrutiny.

It’s an approach that is familiar to longtime Clinton watchers and one that will be tested immediately if Clinton emerges victorious on Tuesday in her closer-than-expected race against Republican Donald Trump. Congressional Republicans have vowed to launch a series of investigations from Day One of a Clinton presidency, possibly starting even before she’s sworn in, including into whether she accorded special treatment during her time as secretary of state to donors who wrote huge checks to support her family’s foundation, its meetings, operations or endowment.

When it comes to Morocco, there’s no evidence that Clinton provided special treatment to the royal family or companies in which it’s invested as a result of their donations to her family’s foundation.

But there is evidence that Clinton’s aides sought to downplay a long and lucrative relationship between her family and that of Moroccan King Mohammed VI, even as her aides were trying to bring in a huge sum of cash through the monarch. And human rights watchdogs contend that the relationship played a role in the Clinton State Department — and the Clinton Foundation — turning a blind eye toward abuses by authorities in the Moroccan-occupied territory of Western Sahara.

Clinton’s own State Department advisers in 2011 flagged human rights concerns and the Western Sahara push for self-governance as among the “issues of sensitivity with Morocco when it comes to the Western Sahara,” according to an email released this year by the State Department in response to Freedom of Information Act litigation.

The Marrakech meeting of the foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative (or CGI) promised to increase attention on this thorny relationship, given that it was scheduled for early May 2015 — less than a month after Clinton would announce her candidacy. The timing sparked a vigorous debate among Clinton’s aides about whether she should go, which was revealed by emails hacked from the Gmail account of Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta and disseminated starting last month by WikiLeaks.

Clinton’s right-hand aide, Huma Abedin, argued forcefully that her boss was obligated to attend the CGI conference because “her presence was a condition for the Moroccans to proceed so there is no going back on this.”

Buttressing Abedin’s argument, the Morocco meeting was included in a 2014 internal foundation memo released by WikiLeaks about “Secretary Clinton’s Foundation work.”

After a bit of pushback from other aides questioning the wisdom of Clinton’s attendance, Abedin in a January 2015 email made the financial case for Clinton going to Marrakech, suggesting that she had helped arrange a massive contribution for the foundation from the king of Morocco.

Referring to Clinton by her initials “HRC,” Abedin wrote that the meeting “was HRC’s idea, our office approached the Moroccans and they 100 percent believe they are doing this at her request. The King has personally committed approx $12 million both for the endowment and to support the meeting. It will break a lot of china to back out now when we had so many opportunities to do it in the past few months. She created this mess and she knows it.”

On the other side of the debate was Robby Mook, who would go on to become Clinton’s campaign manager. He argued that Clinton needed to back away from her commitment to attend the CGI meeting in Marrakech, as well as other foundation events and paid speeches, while also distancing herself from the foundation, as a whole.

“We really need to shut Morocco and these paid speeches down,” Mook emailed Podesta in February 2015. A few days later, he emailed Podesta and Abedin a Wall Street Journal article about ethical questions arising from an increase in foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. The article did not mention the Morocco meeting or its funding, but Mook, alluding to Clinton’s impending campaign launch, asserted “This is why Morocco would be such a problem — more of this the first week she’s out selling her story.”

The following week, Mook in a memo to Podesta, Abedin and ex-Clinton State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills flagged what he called “Foundation vulnerability points.” While he did not expressly single out the Marrakech CGI meeting, it would seem to have triggered several of the vulnerabilities he listed, including “Money from foreign governments” and “Overseas events with foreign leaders or government,” as well as “lavish/high-end hotels for events” and Clinton “attending Foundation events.”

After the vulnerability memo, the WikiLeaks email trail on the Morocco meeting fell silent.

That changed on April 7 — just five days before Clinton would announce her candidacy. POLITICO, acting on a tip about the role of Clinton and the king in arranging the conference and a $1 million sponsorship from a Moroccan-government-owned phosphate company active in Western Sahara called OCP, emailed a foundation spokesman with a number of questions. Did Clinton plan to follow through on her commitment to attend the conference and would the foundation continue holding overseas conferences during a then-imminent Clinton presidential campaign, POLITICO asked.

The spokesman immediately forwarded the email to top aides to the Clintons. Within minutes, Bill Clinton’s chief of staff Tina Flournoy sent an email with the subject line “Morocco” to Podesta and Mills. “We have press calls on their contributions,” she wrote.

The spokesman responded to POLITICO’s inquiry saying “it’s unlikely that Secretary will attend,” but requesting not to be named in the resulting story revealing OCP’s $1 million sponsorship.

The anonymous spokesman did not answer follow-up questions about the king’s role in arranging the donations.

In fact, the spokesman tried to cast doubt on reporting that Clinton and the king discussed the possibility of a foundation meeting in Morocco, and that Abedin was involved in “subsequent high-level planning conversations.”

Later, when asked to explain the discrepancy between their initial answers and Abedin’s characterization in the WikiLeaks emails, Brian Cookstra, a different foundation spokesman, bristled. “It sounds like you are suggesting we misled you which is a serious accusation, and it’s not accurate,” Cookstra said. “We stand by our original answers on this,” he said, explaining, “we have no record of” Clinton and the king “discussing this personally.”

However, emails released by the State Department suggest a personal relationship between Clinton and the king, showing Clinton and her staff arranging conversations with the king and other Moroccans. But Cookstra said “Discussions handled by her office may have been exploratory — they were before the meeting was set or the location was finalized, and do not constitute the kind ‘high-level planning conversations’ the CGI staff undertake for every meeting.”

The anonymous spokesman in the days before Clinton’s announcement also ignored POLITICO’s questions about whether the foundation would continue accepting foreign donations and holding overseas events during her campaign.

Instead, the WikiLeaks email show that Clintons’ aides began a debate about crafting a new policy that would bar the foundation from holding overseas conferences or accepting foreign donations during Clinton’s presidential campaign — with a couple notable exceptions.

“CGI will no longer conduct CGI-International events nor accept any funding from foreign government hosts of such events after the already-scheduled events in May (CGI-Morocco) and June (CGI-Greece) of 2015,” read a draft of a document containing several “Foundation Policies Adjustments.” The draft, which was emailed to top Clinton aides seven hours after POLITICO’s initial inquiry and was among the documents included in the Podesta Gmail hack, also indicated that Hillary Clinton would resign from the foundation’s board and “will no longer be available to fundraise for the Foundation’s programs and activities.”

Among the first questions about the draft came from CGI chief Bob Harrison, who emailed the group, “What about the Morocco money?”

“Morocco money exception is included in there,” responded foundation executive Maura Pally.

Ultimately, Hillary Clinton did not attend the CGI conference in Marrakech, sending her husband and daughter in her stead.

The king was traveling during the CGI conference and did not attend, but POLITICO revealed that he loaned one of his palaces to Bill and Chelsea Clinton to stay in during their time in Marrakech. The conference included a mix of plenary sessions in which corporations pledged to spend millions on humanitarian causes — including expanding access to clean water access and education in the Middle East and Africa — and an extravagant Moroccan feast with a hookah lounge and a nine-piece band playing traditional Moroccan Gnawa music at a five-star resort on the outskirts of Marrakech.

Cookstra said the king did not donate any money to the foundation and never has, despite once having been listed on a donor roll as having pledged as much as $500,000 to help build Bill Clinton’s presidential library (the foundation says the donation never came through).

Officials at the Moroccan Embassy in Washington did not respond when asked whether the king had originally committed the $12 million referenced in Abedin’s email. They also didn’t answer questions about the role of Clinton or the king in initiating the meeting or whether the king expected Clinton to attend the meeting, and skipped it himself because she did.

The Clinton Foundation did not respond to questions about whether the conference was Hillary Clinton’s idea, whether the king had committed $12 million or why Clinton’s aides weren’t more forthcoming originally when asked about the roles of Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin and the king in initiating the meeting.

“We’ve addressed what you’ve asked,” Cookstra said.

Josh Gerstein contributed to this report.






If Hillary Wins, Who Will be in the White House….

We cant predict who will be part of her cabinet staff, but given those who worked in the White House during Bill Clinton’s administration and now for the Hillary campaign,  you can bet it will be similar chaos and creepy people.

So, given those that are part of Hillary’s public campaign team and her clandestine operations team let us examine some names and the additional histories of these people. Note, how these people are recycled from decades of socialist political beltway occupation.


In April of 2015 a list of people was cultivated by Politico: Hillary Clinton has used her extensive Rolodex and front-runner status to assemble a who’s who of power brokers for her fledgling campaign.

The vast political network contains an important mix — veteran Clinton allies with intimate knowledge of her strengths and weaknesses, and newcomers from President Barack Obama’s orbit well aware of how he was able to triumph over her in 2008.

The campaign is seen as having pulled off a successful launch of her campaign in mid-April, using a digital blitz to re-introduce Clinton as an advocate for Americans trying to improve their economic and social standing.

Now that Clinton is officially a presidential candidate, the core group of dozens of staffers will operate out of two full floors at 1 Pierrepont Plaza in Brooklyn Heights, her new campaign headquarters. The more polished apparatus will help Clinton’s advisers as they cultivate Clinton’s persona as an appealing candidate in tune with middle-class priorities, while trying to contain controversies, including her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state and the foreign money that has flowed to the Clinton Foundation.

Here’s a guide to this cycle’s Clinton power map. Though not a comprehensive list, it’s a look at the most influential players in her 2016 presidential campaign.


• John Podesta, the trusted aide to both Bill Clinton and Obama, is campaign chairman. Podesta has had close ties to the Clintons for years: He was former President Clinton’s chief of staff in the White House and later the founder of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that is home to plenty of Clinton allies, including Neera Tanden, a longtime Hillary Clinton confidante and the president of CAP. Podesta is also well-regarded in Obama’s orbit: He stepped down earlier this year as counselor to Obama and previously led his 2008 transition team. His presence could help integrate longtime Clinton allies and newer former Obama staffers, and he is often described as the “adult in the room.”

• Robby Mook, the Democratic operative who steered close Clinton friend and 2016 booster Terry McAuliffe to victory in the 2013 Virginia governor’s race, is campaign manager. Mook, in his mid-30s, is known for a calm, measured demeanor, an aversion to the spotlight and an interest in data. He worked for Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, helping her win in Nevada, Ohio and Indiana during the Democratic primary, and has also served as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

• Joel Benenson, who was Obama’s pollster — and helped him hone his message against Clinton in 2008 — is on board as Clinton’s chief strategist and pollster.

• John Anzalone and David Binder will work with Benenson as top pollsters; Anzalone may focus on early states. Both are also alums of Obama’s orbit.

• Jim Margolis, who also worked for Obama, serving as a senior adviser to him in 2012, is Clinton’s media adviser. He has also been a consultant for a host of Democratic senators, including outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

• Tony Carrk, formerly of the CAP action fund, is set to direct research.

• Marlon Marshall, an influential Obama White House aide, is expected to be Clinton’s director of state campaigns and political engagement.

• Jennifer Palmieri, formerly the White House communications director, will take on the same role for the Clinton campaign. She also has previous ties to the Clintons: She worked in the Clinton White House and at CAP.

• Charlie Baker, a veteran Democratic strategist, is chief administrative officer and is an influential voice in Clinton’s orbit.

• Marc Elias will be general counsel to the campaign. He chairs the political law practice at the prominent law firm Perkins Coie and also served as general counsel to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.

• Amanda Renteria, a former Democratic candidate for Congress in California and the Senate’s first Latina chief of staff — she worked for Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) — is expected to serve as political director. Brynne Craig, who was McAuliffe’s political director and more recently Clinton’s scheduler, may be tapped as deputy political director.

• Dennis Cheng, who previously served as chief development officer at the Clinton Foundation, is expected to be finance director. Other key players in Clinton’s orbit with ties to the foundation include Craig Minassian, the foundation’s chief communications officer, and Kamyl Bazbaz, daughter Chelsea Clinton’s chief spokesman.

• Garry Gensler, a former Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman, is chief financial officer. Gensler is a former Goldman Sachs executive who has also worked to regulate Wall Street, a balance that may be helpful for Clinton, who enjoys support from many wealthy Wall Street donors, but who is also seeking to strike a populist note on economics.

• Mandy Grunwald, a longtime Clinton ally who worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign as well as for Bill Clinton during both his campaign and administration, will be a senior media consultant.


• Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides, is deeply trusted and highly influential in Clinton’s orbit and is vice chairwoman of the campaign.

• Cheryl Mills has worked for the Clintons for years, from the White House to the State Department to the Clinton Foundation. She was general counsel to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, and regardless of whether there’s ultimately an official title on the campaign, hers will be a key voice.

• Jake Sullivan is a senior policy adviser on the campaign and previously served as a deputy policy director on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. He was also a critical player on her State Department team. He recently gained a higher profile for his role in facilitating the groundwork for a preliminary nuclear deal with Iran. Clinton’s two other senior policy advisers, who along with Sullivan are helping to shape the campaign’s agenda, are Maya Harris, formerly of CAP, who has a specialty in human rights, and Ann O’Leary, who was Clinton’s legislative director when she was in the Senate and has expertise in early childhood education.

It’s unclear what role Bill Clinton will play in his wife’s campaign, but he is clearly a prominent voice, could be a major asset to her and brings with him a cadre of friends and advisers.

Other trusted voices in Clinton’s orbit, who may not have official roles in the campaign, include Philippe Reines, Clinton’s former spokesman and a fiercely loyal aide; Neera Tanden at CAP; Tom Nides, the Morgan Stanley executive who was Clinton’s deputy secretary of state; and Minyon Moore at the Dewey Square Group.


• Kristina Schake, a former top aide to first lady Michelle Obama, will be deputy communications director.

• Brian Fallon is set to be national press secretary after working as a top spokesman at the Department of Justice and for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

• Nick Merrill, who worked with Clinton at the State Department and has been shepherding the Clinton team’s day-to-day press interactions since Clinton left Foggy Bottom, will serve as traveling press secretary. He was most recently working in her private office with a handful of other staffers, including Dan Schwerin, a Clinton speechwriter who played a key role in facilitating Clinton’s most recent memoir, “Hard Choices.”

• Karen Finney, who most recently was an MSNBC host and previously worked for both Clintons, will be a senior spokeswoman and a strategic communications adviser.

• Jesse Ferguson, formerly a spokesman for the DCCC in Washington, will manage daily press interactions and also be a national press secretary. Other D.C. figures, including Tyrone Gayle from the DCCC and Ian Sams and Rebecca Chalif of the Democratic National Committee, are also expected to be involved in communications. Also expected to be involved, likely in a rapid-response capacity, are Josh Schwerin, formerly of the DCCC and the McAuliffe campaign; Jesse Lehrich of American Bridge; and Adrienne Elrod, who previously handled media at the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record. Oren Shur, previously of the Democratic Governors Association, will handle paid media. In the states, Lily Adams will be playing a key role in Iowa communications; Harrell Kirstein will do the same in New Hampshire.


• Teddy Goff, who led Obama’s digital operation, is expected to be a top digital adviser. Like Goff, Andrew Bleeker, another Obama digital alum, may also consult from the outside.

• Stephanie Hannon, a former Google executive, is chief technology officer.

• Katie Dowd, who worked for Clinton at the State Department and Clinton Foundation, is set to be digital director.

• Jenna Lowenstein will be deputy digital director. She was previously vice president of digital engagement at EMILY’s List.


• Adam Parkhomenko, the founder and executive director of Ready for Hillary — the super PAC that spent about two years urging her to enter the race — will be director of grassroots engagement. Look for other Ready for Hillary allies and alums to have roles in the campaign as well. Harold Ickes and Tracy Sefl, longtime Democratic operatives who were involved with Ready for Hillary, are also expected to have ties to the campaign in some capacity.

• Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart, who helped spearhead Obama’s 2012 field and in-state efforts, are expected to advise Clinton as outside consultants.


Leaders of the Clinton effort in the Hawkeye State include Matt Paul, a veteran Iowa Democratic operative who is set to manage her Iowa effort; Michael Halle, who was a top adviser on McAuliffe’s team; Troy Price, who has been brought on to do political work; and Michelle Kleppe, an Obama campaign alum who will run the field operation.


In the Granite State, Mike Vlacich, who led New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s 2014 reelection campaign, will be state director. Kari Thurman, who was Shaheen’s political director, is also expected to be on board, among other hires.


• Emmy Ruiz, who ran general election operations for Obama in Nevada in 2012 and who worked there for Clinton in the 2008 primary, is expected to again play a leading role in Nevada for Clinton in 2016.


• Jim Messina and Buffy Wicks, top former Obama operatives, are running Priorities USA Action, a liberal super PAC that was created to boost Obama in 2012 and is now dedicated to Clinton. Along with Messina, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is also a co-chairman. Jonathan Mantz, a longtime Clinton ally, is the organization’s senior finance adviser. He was Clinton’s 2008 finance director.

• David Brock is the founder of American Bridge, a Democratic super PAC. Within Bridge, Burns Strider runs Correct the Record, the rapid response-focused arm.


Deeper dive on some of her team:

Podesta: Received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1976. Podesta worked as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice’s Honors Program in the Land and Natural Resources Division (1976–77), and as a Special Assistant to the Director of ACTION, the Federal volunteer agency (1978–1979). His political career began in 1972, when he worked for George McGovern’s presidential campaign, which lost in 49 states. Podesta held positions on Capitol Hill, including Counselor to Democratic Leader Senator Thomas Daschle (1995–1996); Chief Counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee (1987–1988); Chief Minority Counsel for the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks; Security and Terrorism; and Regulatory Reform; and Counsel on the Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee (1979–1981). In 1988, he and his brother Tony co-founded Podesta Associates, Inc., a Washington, D.C., “government relations and public affairs” lobbying firm. Now known as the Podesta Group, the firm “has close ties to the Democratic Party and the Obama administration [and] has been retained by some of the biggest corporations in the country, including Wal-Mart, BP and Lockheed Martin. FBI Director James Comey was also the top lawyer of record for Lockheed Martin.

Mook: In 2013, Mook left the DCCC and was named the campaign manager of Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign. That year, Politico named Mook one of their “50 Politicos to Watch.” Mook led McAuliffe’s campaign to victory. In January 2015, Clinton hired Mook and Joel Benenson as strategists

Marshall: He was a White House liaison to the State Department in 2009 before joining the Democrats’ congressional campaign committee, and later the president’s reelection campaign before a return stint at the White House.

Palmieri: Served as the president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and was the White House chief of staff for Leon Panetta.

Cheng: Formerly chief of protocol at the State Department, graduate of the London School of Economics and worked the databases for the Clinton Foundation and the State Department for the richest zip codes for individual and corporate fundraising and donations.

Mills: Founded her own company Black Ivy Group, building business in Africa. She was part of the defense team for Bill Clinton during his impeachment and was the representative for the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.

Tanden: Worked with Hillary on Hillarycare and later for Kathleen Sebelius to pass Obamacare. She is anti Israel and former president of the Center for American Progress.

Bird: Worked for Howard Dean and John Kerry campaigns and served for Obama on his Organizing for America campaign. Jeremy also founded Battleground Texas, an operation to change the political landscape in the State moving it from a red state to a purple or blue state. He also launched V15 the wide and international mission and well funded operation to unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Wicks: Worked with Code Pink, ANSWER and coordinated with United Farm Workers of America teaching Alinsky tactics to campaign workers.

Brock: Founder of Media Matters for America but early in his career he earned the mantle of political assassin for TrooperGate and Anita Hill. He later changed sides and became a paid confidant for Sidney Blumenthal and is a happy recipient of George Soros money. American Democracy Legal Fund, launched by Brock is a funded organization to file constant lawsuits against Republicans on accusatory violations of campaign finance fraud and ethics violations.