Saturday, May 9, 2020

Michael Sussman Should Probably Be Concerned

Michael Sussman is getting what I'm sure is, for him, unwanted attention in the wake of the release of transcripts of House interviews of persons connected to the Russia Hoax investigation. I've mentioned Sussman before--many times. Pay particular attention to James Baker And Michael Sussman Revisited, and recall that James Baker is now said to be cooperating with John Durham's investigation. Here's a brief intro to Sussman, which should leave no doubt as to why he's important for the Russia Hoax investigation:

Michael Sussmann, formerly with the U.S. Department of Justice, is a nationally-recognized privacy, cybersecurity and national security attorney. He is engaged on some of the most sophisticated, high-stakes matters today, such as his representation of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in their responses to Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential election.

However, Sussman's involvement goes far, far, beyond that. It was Sussman who connected Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS with the Clinton campaign--laundering that connection through his Perkins Coie law firm (a possible election law violation). Anyone who thinks Sussman wouldn't have vetted Simpson hires for the Russia Hoax--such as Nellie Ohr and Chris Steele--should immediately reconsider. In fact, we now know from Steele's London testimony that Steele did meet with Sussman personally.

It was also Sussman who personally went to FBIHQ to meet with his friend James Baker and peddle the fake Alfa Bank story. And the FBI did, in fact, open an investigation into that hoax, with Baker fully aware of Sussman's deep connectins to the Clinton campaign. Here's how Kim Strassel characterized that meeting (Who Is Michael Sussman?):

... James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel from 2014-17, met “weeks before the 2016 election” with a lawyer from Perkins Coie. That’s the firm that hired Fusion GPS to compile the dossier on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. 
My sources confirm that the Perkins partner who bent Mr. Baker’s ear and handed over documents was Michael Sussmann, point man for the firm’s DNC and Clinton campaign accounts. They also confirm the subject of the meeting was Russian interference in the election, including hacking and supposed ties to Donald Trump. Much of this comes from an interview House investigators conducted last week with Mr. Baker. 
The significance of this revelation is enormous for everything from FBI investigatory malpractice, to its dishonesty, to its current fight with the White House over document disclosure. That the FBI’s general counsel was even meeting with a top lawyer for the Clinton campaign shortly before the election is proof of that the bureau strayed beyond obvious guardrails. 
It’s alarming enough that the FBI felt free to open a counterintelligence investigation into an active presidential campaign. That it also felt free to gather information for that probe from the opposing campaign is mind-boggling. Team Clinton had the most powerful position on earth to gain from Mr. Trump’s downfall. No conflict there, right?

Now we learn two more tantalizing bits of information about Sussman's activities in connection with the 2016 elections.

The first comes via John Solomon: Why was DNC connected lawyer shopping Trump-Russia dirt to CIA? Yes, it turns out that Sussman was in touch with the CIA in February, 2017, on behalf of "a client" whose identity he refused to divulge:

But perhaps the biggest piece of previously unreported news came from Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for the Perkins Coie law firm that represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016. It was that law firm that contracted with Fusion GPS to hire Steele to develop the anti-Trump dossier that was shared with the FBI. 
Sussmann acknowledged under questioning by Republican staff that in February 2017 he shared dirt he had gotten on the Trump organization's possible ties to Russia with the CIA. The agency's name was redacted from the transcript but confirmed to Just the News by multiple U.S. officials. 
What was your contact [redacted] about?" a lawyer asked Sussmann.  
"So the contact was about reporting to them information that was reported to me about possible contacts, covert or at least nonpublic, between Russian entities and various entities in the United States associated with the — or potentially associated with the Trump Organization," Sussmann answered. 
The lawyer followed up: "And when did that contact occur, month and year?"
"February 2017," Sussmann answered. 
"Where did you get that information from to relay to [redacted]?" he was asked.
"From a client of mine," he answered, declining to be more specific.

TGP summarizes the other interesting development involving Sussman: Either Comey or DNC Attorney Sussmann Lied Under Oath about Access to DNC Servers.

It turns out that Sussman testified to the House that he gave the FBI full access to the DNC servers after the supposed (but unproven) Russian "hack." I'm a bit sketchy on procedures in cyber investigations--how to conduct proper forensic examinations to preserve the evidence and prevent it from being contaminated--but I checked out Sussman's testimony and that appears to be a fair summary of what he said: that the FBI was provided all the access it could have wished for.

Of course, we've all read numerous seemingly well sourced articles quoting people like disgraced former FBI Director James Comey, all of them saying that the FBI was refused access to the DNC servers--or, at a minimum, the type of access they would have needed to conduct an effective forensic examination/investigation.

Q: So my question is, did the FBl, as the Nation's law enforcement agency, have direct access to all of DNC's servers if they wished?
A: They would have -- they would have if they wanted it. I don't know -- I don't know what specific requests or I can't recall all the specific Requests that were made, but I don't know of a request that the FBI made that was rejected. I don't believe -- I don't believe -- and that's the kind of request that would have come to me.
So I don't know -- I don't know all of the requests that were made. I just
know that at the early meeting which I mentioned, we said, you two - you can


work directly with CrowdStrike. You don't need to come through us. Anything they have you can get. Do you want to come on premises for any reason? No, we don't need to come on premises. Here's a list we have of 18, 1g different items and things that we want. Great. CrowdStrike took that directly. We said, great, hope you'll get all these things. 
O: Right. I understand that the FBI had access to everything CrowdStrike had access to. I understand that relationship. But my question is, did the FBl, to your knowledge, have access to all of the DNC servers, and did they ever request that access?
A: So they could have had access to all of them. I don't know if they
requested access.
I don't know what all the requests were. As I said, I wasn't involved in'the day-to-day can we see this and can we see that. So - 
O: Right. When you said they could have had access, is that you saying
it today? I'm trying to go back in time at the time that you are meeting and talking with the FBl. Are you aware whether or not the FBI had access to the entire DNC server network? 
A: Sure. They did, because, as I said -- and I apologize, maybe I should
be more clear -- when I asked them if they wanted to come on premises, it was for the -- there may be other reasons, but it was for the purpose of imaging anything they wanted to image.
O: Okay. 
A: So they were free to come on premises. And, frankly, that could have
been a cost savings if the Bureau wanted to come on premises and do some imaging, and they would share their images with us. There's a way that, you know, that could have saved money for the client. But it wasn't something that


they were interested in at the time, at that time.

Something's not adding up, here. Fortunately--or not, depending on who you are--this is easily resolved. The FBI opened a case on the DNC "hack". If they were refused access to physical evidence that they needed, that would be documented in the case file. Simple.

With all those connections in play--FBI, CIA, Fusion GPS, peddling hoax "facts" to government agencies and media outlets--if I were John Durham I'd be focusing on Michael Sussman like a laser.

If this is any indication of what other revelations await us from those transcripts, I can't wait to learn more.


  1. Wow on the FBI had access. I would not be surprised if Comey told the truth technically, but not in the spirit. The Transcripts Grenell forced Schiff to release are game changers.

    And what of Weiner’s laptop?

  2. Sussman needs to go back to liar's school. He's an embarrassment to the institution.

    1. "I don't know. And they didn't ask me." Clear?

      Sussman has no direct knowledge to offer. He has many, many opinions to offer, nonetheless.

      Sussman is the dog that didn't bark because he wasn't in the stable when the horse was stolen.

  3. Mark, I hope Durham reads your blog! LOL

  4. Michael Sussman, a Partner at the Perkins Coie law firm, engaged Shawn Henry, the President of CrowdStrike Services, on April 30, 2016, to study the alleged hacking of the DNC server.

    Later, on December 5, 2017, Henry testified to the House Permanent Select Committee. The transcript of Henry's testimony became available a few days ago. I am reading and trying to understand Henry's testimony,

    Sussman and Henry became acquainted with each other in DOJ/FBI. Sussman worked as a lawyer in the DOJ Computer Crime Section, while Henry worked in the FBI Cyber Division. Eventually both men left DOJ/FBI. Sussman went to Perkins Coie, and Henry went to CrowdStrike.

    Sussman and Henry re-connected and met for lunch in January or February 2016. Based on that relationship, Sussman engaged Henry on April 30, 2016, to study the hacking of the DNC server.

    In their first discussions about the hacking, Sussman told Henry that several months previously the FBI had had contacted the DNC's Informtion Technology manager, Yared Tamine, to inform him that a Russian state actor had hacked the DNC server. Tamine was not a DNC employee, rather he was an independent contractor hired by the DNC.

    Tamine had been contacted by the FBI in September and again in October and yet again in November 2015. Henry seems to have the impression that the FBI informed only Tamine (spelled also also Tamene in the transcript), not anyone at the DNC itself.

    Subsequently, Henry's CrowdStrike team found that suspicious activity had begun in the DNC computer in September 2015 -- about the same time when the FBI first contacted Tamine.

    How did the FBI know in September 2015 that Russia was hacking the DNC computer? This is not explained, as far as I know.

    1. Thanks for the summary, Mike. One suspects a pretty unholy alliance. That the FBI should also use Crowdstrike as a trusted contractor is remarkable as well.