In an email obtained by reporters on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Defense assigned the same Georgia Tech researcher involved in the Alfa Bank hoax to investigate the “origins” of the DNC hacker. Similarly, prosecutors are concerned about the decision to include the Georgia Tech researcher in the DOD’s investigation, and the special counsel’s office is investigating the investigation into the DNC hack.
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In court filings, the special counsel called this person “Researcher-1.”. His attorney has since confirmed that the person is Manos Antonakakis from Georgia Tech.
After former Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann was indicted by Special Counsel John Durham, Antonakakis gained public attention. The one-count indictment charged Sussmann with lying to FBI General Counsel James Baker by providing him with data and white papers purporting to show a secret communications network between the Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization.
The indictment described how tech executive Rodney Joffe first alerted Sussmann to information allegedly gathered by April Lorenzen suggesting that Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization had backdoor communications systems. Later, Joffe allegedly asked two researchers at Georgia Tech, Antonakakis, and David Dagon—the latter referred to in the indictment as Researcher-2—to analyze internet data for evidence of the Trump-Russia connection.
The indictment claims that Antonakakis searched the internet data held by Joffe’s technology company for email addresses in the mail1.trump-email.com domain. As a result of that search, however, no links were found between the Trump email and Russia, prompting Antonakakis to tell Joffe that the results did “not make sense with the storyline you have.” Joffe nevertheless provided Antonakakis, Dagon, and Lorenzen with a draft “white paper,” in which there is a story of a secret communication channel between Alfa Bank and Trump, and the three reviewed it for Joffe.
Later, Sussmann provided Baker with the Alfa Bank data and white papers, telling Baker that he was not working for any client. Sussmann was actually acting for both the Clinton campaign and Joffe when he delivered that Alfa Bank story to the FBI’s general counsel, according to the indictment.
Sussmann’s indictment was dropped in September 2021, but the Georgia Tech researchers are said to have reviewed Alfa Bank data, one of the white papers he provided to the FBI, and one of the white papers the FBI requested from Sussmann. However, there was no known connection between the government’s investigation into the DNC hack and the Georgia Tech researchers’ review of the Alfa Bank data. There is, however, one email within the cache of papers obtained on March 9 from Georgia Tech in response to a Right-To-Know request that indicates Antonakakis was involved in the investigation into the DNC hack.
Approximately one week after Antonakakis was scheduled to testify before a D.C. grand jury, the Georgia Tech researcher submitted his email to the university’s general counsel and other upper management, he highlighted areas of concern to discuss “after the dust settles.” In that email, Antonakakis launched a soliloquy that perfectly embodied the anti-Trump conspiracy theories and the plot by deep state intelligence and law enforcement agencies to bring down the president of the United States.
However, Antonakakis believed the special counsel appointed to investigate this scandal was the bad guy, and he considered himself as the victim: “From where I stand, and for the first time in my life I felt that I am being investigated by law enforcement because of my ideas and the work I have done for the [U.S. government/Department of Defense],” Antonakakis penned.
In a revealing anecdote, Antonakakis continued: “I was asked point blank by Mr. DeFilippis, ‘Do you believe that DARPA should be instructing you to investigate the origins of a hacker (Guccifer_2.0) that hacked a political entity (DNC)?’”
He told his colleagues his reply was “a question for DARPA’s director”—an apparent confirmation that DARPA had, as the special counsel’s question implied, instructed Antonakakis to investigate who was behind the DNC hack, but it is unclear whether Antonakakis was charged with investigating “Guccifer,” or whether the question of who hacked the DNC more broadly.
According to Antonakakis, the special counsel’s office had no right to inquire into the question, as if the inquiry served as an indictment against Assistant Special Prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis.
“Let that sync for a moment, folks,” Antonakakis wrote, before becoming furious: “Someone hacked a political party (DNC, in this case), in the middle of an election year (2016), and the lead investigator of [the Department of Justice’s] special counsel would question whether U.S. researchers working for DARPA should conduct investigations in this matter is ‘acceptable’!”
Antonakakis added: “Please, try to imagine a ‘United States of America’ where investigations and prosecutions are determined by ideas and political believes [sic].”
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Last but not least, Antonakakis declared that his research and innovation were essential “to preserve our democracy.” For what reason? “For a single yet fundamental reason: data driven scientific attribution is unbiased politically. Data belongs to no political party,” Antonakakis argued.
The white paper Antonakakis reviewed was one Hillary Clinton’s lawyer allegedly gave to the FBI in an effort to implicate Donald Trump in a Russian plot. Antonakakis asserts that data-driven scientific attribution is scientifically objective-despite the fact that he believes “a DNS expert would poke several holes” in the hypothesis underlying the government-commissioned white paper.