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Report: Special Counsel John Durham investigating Pentagon cybersecurity contractors in Russiagate origins probe

Bob MacDonnell/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

According to a report from RealClearInvestigations, special counsel John Durham has shifted the focus of his investigation into the origins of the Russiagate conspiracy to Pentagon cybersecurity contractors who may have misused their government security clearances to provide Democratic operatives with damaging (albeit false) information about former president Donald Trump.

Last month, Durham indicted former Hillary Clinton attorney Michael Sussman for allegedly giving false information to the FBI during a meeting in which he tried to connect the former president to the Kremlin-connected Alfa Bank. Now, according to RCI, Durham is investigating whether certain cybersecurity experts who held "lucrative government contracts" misused their security clearances to unearth information on Trump in order to pass it on to Sussman.

According to RCI, multiple sources have confirmed that the probe centers cybersecurity consulting firm Neustar, Inc., and its former chief technology officer Rodney L. Joffe, who has "regularly advised the Biden White House on cybersecurity." Joffe's lawyer confirmed to RCI that he was the unidentified "Tech Executive-1" who was referenced in Sussman's indictment. According to the Sussman indictment, Joffe "exploited his access to nonpublic data at multiple Internet companies to conduct opposition research concerning Trump... In furtherance of these efforts, [Joffe] had enlisted, and was continuing to enlist, the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university [Georgia Tech] who were receiving and analyzing Internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract."

Specifically, Joffe is alleged to have asked a group of cybersecurity experts at Georgia Tech to find information on Trump in order to keep Democratic "VIPs happy," which they did when they alleged that Trump had kept open a back channel of communication to the Kremlin through the servers of Alfa bank, an allegation that was subsequently determined by special counsel Robert Mueller to be false.

In a statement provided to RCI, Neustar noted that Joffe no longer works with the company, and all his prior blog posts on the company website have been deleted.

Joffe's attorney, Steven Tyrell, has insisted that Durham has presented a "misleading picture" of Joffe's actions, and has insisted that his client had no idea that Sussman was working on behalf of Democratic operatives. Tyrell has insisted that Joffe believed the information to be true and that he shared it with the FBI out of a "patriotic duty."

Although the Alfa Bank rumor was ultimately determined to be false, it was widely pushed by members of the global media, some of whom continue to insist that the false allegation might yet be proven true.

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