Israel Hacked Russian Intelligence, Helped Trump Get Elected Israel conveyed to Roger Stone news of Russian hack of Clinton-DNC servers and plans for Wikileaks dump
יחידה 8200 פרצה למחשבי המודיעין הרוסי, ובעקבות זאת ישראל העבירה תכתובות דואר אלקטרוני של קלינטון לטראמפ – ועזרה לו לזכות בנשיאות
James Bamford, one of America’s leading cyber-intelligence experts, published The Trump Campaign’s Collusion With Israel in The Nation, offering a startling expose on the 2016 election and Israel’s role in helping Trump win it. The starting point for his report is a 2018 FBI filing which reveals secret contacts Roger Stone had with one of Bibi Netanyahu’s most trusted aides. This included meetings with Stone, at which the aide brought an IDF general to emphasize the importance of the intelligence the Israelis were offering Trump. For more intelligence-related information, read the Senate Intelligence Committee report.
Netanyahu’s fixer, whom Bamford calls a “secret agent,” was Issac Molho. He is an Israeli private attorney, related to Netanyahu by marriage. In 2017, Molho and his law partner, David Shimron, were accused of accepting a massive bribe for their roles in negotiating a multi-billion deal for German nuclear-armed Dophin submarines. The prime minister assigned his most secret assignments to Molho and trusted him completely. He has negotiated with Yasser Arafat, arranged the prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit, and traveled to Arab countries for similar purposes. Though Ron Dermer was sometimes described as Bibi’s Brain, Molho was something like Bibi’s doppelganger. He performed the critical tasks which Bibi can’t do for reasons of state.
The IDF SIGINT Unit 8200 may have, according to Bamford, hacked Russian intelligence. He offers strong circumstantial evidence that the Israelis knew in real time it had hacked into the e-mail servers of both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The thousands of e-mails Wikileaks eventually released, caused enormous damage to the reputation of the DNC and the resignation of one of Clinton’s closest aides, Tony Podesta. But even more importantly, the scandal offered a fatal blow to the Clinton campaign. Though she seemed to have the momentum a few weeks before the election, once they were released by Wikileaks she never recovered. It’s safe to say (and Clinton has confirmed this) that without this scandal she may, and probably would have won.
Molho and other Israeli figures served as a backchannel to the Trump campaign; to whom they offered information about the Russian hack of the servers. Bamford believes they had direct access to what the Russians were saying or writing about their exploit. Molho repeatedly met or spoke with Stone, conveying much of this to him. Stone in turn relayed it to Trump both directly and via campaign officials like Paul Manafort.
The “Four-Star General”
In order to establish their bona fides, Molho even brought along someone Stone called a “four-star general,” because the Israelis knew that Trump, who attended a private military school, liked generals with shiny epaulets. Israel, Bamford notes, doesn’t have four-star generals. The IDF’s highest rank is three-star general and only one officer has three stars: the chief of staff. Molho would not have brought the then-top officer, Gadi Eisenkot, for obvious reasons. But he likely brought a past one, none other than Benny Gantz who, after retiring, had founded a cyber-intelligence firm.
This is the same Gantz who is leader of the Opposition and a potential future prime minister. The same one who refused to form a government with Palestinian parties and instead chose to throw in his lot with Netanyahu, who treated him like political refuse. The one who led Operation Protective Edge which, in 2014, murdered 2,300 Palestinians in Gaza; for which the International Criminal Court is investigating Israel for war crimes. He is the darling of the pro-democracy movement and seen as the figure who would, if Bibi and his government fell, would return Israel to normalcy. The same Benny Gantz played an important role in making Trump president. Let no Democrat ever forget that.
Israeli intelligence knew about the Clinton-DNC hack before Trump did and before the Democrats, the ultimate victims, did. Then, when the Israelis told the Trump campaign, it knew even before the Clinton campaign did. I can’t emphasize how valuable it is to a campaign to know when a scandal is about to break against a rival. Not to mention knowing all the details of the scandal even before the opponent does. And Trump reaped all the rewards.
The Israeli Quid Pro Quo
The Israelis did not do all this for Trump for nothing. Netanyahu had a hate-hate relationship with then-Pres. Obama, who was pressuring him, along with Secretary of State Kerry, to agree to a deal that would resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu, who made a pretense of negotiating with them and the Palestinians, wanted nothing to do with it. No Israeli prime minister since Camp David has ever signed a peace agreement. It’s accepted wisdom that doing so is a political death knell in this security-obsessed country. Peace, in short, is radioactive.
Netanyahu understood that if Clinton won the presidency, the pressure would continue, and even increase. He also knew that she would largely continue with Obama’s foreign policy agenda. That meant remaining in the JCPOA nuclear agreement and perhaps lifting, partially or in full, strangling sanctions against Iran. The Israeli prime minister had made a hallmark of his 15-year tenure implacable hostility to Iran. His intelligence agencies had sabotaged its nuclear facilities, assassinated its nuclear scientists, and caused a devastating explosion destroying the Revolutionary Guards’ main missile production and launch site. In short, he’d staked his political career on this, and ran his election campaigns hammering home this message with Israeli voters.
If Trump won, Netanyahu knew he would cancel the deal. That, in turn, would redound even more to his credit among Israelis. But there were other goodies the prime minister bargained for. Bamford recounts a meeting between Dermer, then the Israeli ambassador, and Trump at Trump Tower. Though what they spoke about isn’t known explicitly, we know for a fact, because days later Trump announced with great fanfare that if he won he would move the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as Israel’s capital.
This was a bombshell, because presidents and Congresses for decades had refused to do precisely this. They did not want to put their thumb on the scales of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, without it also being shared as the capital of a Palestinian state. Trump was signaling that he was “all in” for Israel. There would be no more pretense of the US being an honest broker. The Palestinians would become, to use an old Jewish phrase, chopped liver.
Mueller refused to prosecute Trump, the Russians, or Israel
What’s especially shocking in all this is that Robert Mueller knew all this. He knew that the Russians had indeed interfered in our election, that the Israelis had played an equally damaging role. He also knew, ironically, that Unit 8200 had precisely the evidence proving Russian intelligence’s role. But that the Israelis wouldn’t give him access to it. Further, Mueller did have clear evidence of Israel’s role. The FBI filing even lays out the various charges which Stone could face (he was eventually convicted and then had his sentence commuted by Trump).
But prosecuting Israel would have been incredibly difficult both legally and politically. Mueller would have had to charge Molho. He would have had to implicate Gantz as well, a former IDF chief of staff. He also would have, by extension, gone after Netanyahu as the architect of the plot. That’s an awfully steep hill to climb. Mueller doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who wanted to fight that fight. To do so, he would have mounted an aggressive campaign against powerful forces, including the Israeli government and its Israel Lobby attack dogs. And he would have had to do it against a backdrop of Donald Trump as president. They would have crucified him. It would take a lawyer tough as nails to be willing to take that sort of case on. And Mueller wasn’t it.
Bamford suggests that Congress needs to hold hearings on this scandal and subpoena witnesses. Two foreign countries conspired with Donald Trump to win the election. But only one has faced scrutiny for its role. The other still lurks in the shadows. Will it ever be held accountable in any US forum?
Finally, there is one thing troubling that no one else has mentioned: why didn’t the NSA know about any of this? It is, if anything, even more technologically-advanced and its hackers even more skilled than Israel’s. So why didn’t it have access to Russian intelligence? Why didn’t it penetrate Unit 8200 to find out what it knew? Why did every intelligence agency except our own know what was happening?
I am attempting to confirm the Israel-related portions of this story via Israeli sources.
10 thoughts on “Israel Hacked Russian Intelligence, Helped Trump Get Elected – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Excellent stuff Richard, thanks.
From early 2017 I used the term IntelliGate instead of “RussiaGate” as the manipulation and propaganda has been clear to me from the get go. Easier to observe and write about this from the old country as I got mostly abuse on a “Progressive” blog in the U.S. Don’t touch HRC and her backers!
The PropOrNot and Hamilton 68 club was led by the military-intelligence crowd that took sides and supported the Democrats ahead of the 2016 election.
Not only Israel, but the UAE and Saudi Arabia threw their support by anyone other than a Democrat due to the JCPOA deal with Iran signed off by Obama. Russia never ceases to antagonize Western nations by disinformation and hacking.
Re: Erik Prince and Abu Dhabi, Steve Bannon/Jared Kushner with Cambridge Analytica came under fire with Facebook scandal, Mark Zuckerberg, Robert Mercer had a stake in company,
Nigel Oakes and Alexander Nix founded the SCL Group in 2005, UK defense contracts, global election interference, Facebook connection. The High Court heard that administrators had deliberately misled a judge during a previous hearing by obfuscating their financial links to Emerdata (Emirates), a company which was set up by Alexander Nix, Rebekah Mercer, and other senior figures who were previously involved with Cambridge Analytica.
The Netherlands as part of Nine Eyes, are part of the cyber warfare attack team of NATO and infiltrated in the Cosy Bear team of hackers as early as December 2014. That intelligence was shared for years with GCHQ, NSA and Mossad (thru Unit 8200?).
“The Dutch were spying on Cozy Bear Hackers as they targeted Democrats”
“Pegasus Incorporated Into NATO Hybrid Warfare”
What is not clear is who ordered 8200 to pass over the intel to Molcho?
If Gantz himself, surely someone from from 8200 would have leaked the story to the press since most 8200 (privileged) soldiers lean left?
Unit 8200 is IDF intelligence. Any intelligence it produces would have been made available to Netanyahu. Especially something as critical as this.
Richard, Your missive today is perfectly timed. After seeing James Bamford on Amy Goodman’s show last week and hearing his new book Spyfail is out, I’m halfway through it and hoping you review it. What shocks me (and I don’t shock easily) is the impunity of Israeli spies and their accomplices in breaking U.S. laws and the protection U.S. politicians give them due to AIPAC’s financial largesse and the willingness of U.S. Jews to support Israel, even when it breaks U.S. laws and endangers American interests. The accusations of “divided loyalties” is extremely dangerous to American Jews. The blowback from this Israeli policy of interfering with internal U.S. politics and breaking U.S. laws could be severe.
[comment deleted: I do not publish comments by Israelis using fake Arabic names.]
“a startling expose”? Well, sort of. Bamford adds a lot of background, detail, and color, but the FBI affidavit he relies on for the basic facts was the subject of an extensive story in the Times of Israel when it was first disclosed in 2020 (“Redacted FBI document hints at Israeli efforts to help Trump in 2016 campaign” – https://www.timesofisrael.com/redacted-fbi-document-hints-at-israeli-efforts-to-help-trump-in-2016-campaign/ ). That triggered follow-up reports on Mondoweiss, IsraelPalestineNews.org, and other “alternative” outlets. There was even an hour-long discussion of the story on a small Marin County radio station.
Of course, the corporate media wouldn’t touch it, just as they still won’t. But Bamford and The Nation deserve some credit for trying again to bring it some attention.
@ Henry Norr: With all due respect, I don’t agree. Bamford is the first one to identify not only who the Israeli “secret agent” was. But also identify Benny Gantz as the likely IDF general who accompanied him. No one ever suggested that Unit 8200 might have Russian intelligence, and that it could have conveyed the Russian plans directly to Trump before Wikileaks published them. Bamford did that. The earlier reports, including one I published here and which I linked to, were not at all comprehensive because the FBI filing was heavily redacted.
Haaretz also reported this story in 2020:
The prime minister assigned his most secret assignments to Molho and trusted him completely. He has negotiated with Yasser Arafat, arranged the prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit,
This is fake!!!
Yaser Arafat was died at this time
From Hebrew Wikipedia. Did you bother to check it before posting your comment? Now who’s the faker. Would be nice if you would apologize for your error.