Rick Gates Solicited Proposal For Online Disinformation Campaign to Help Trump

10 October, 2018, 05:25 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Richard Gates leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington DC after a hearing

An Israeli private intelligence firm produced three separate proposals to manipulate social media in the U.S. and spread misinformation for the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential elections, according to a new report.

According to the report, Psy-Group, which employed former Israeli intelligence officers before undergoing liquidation, offered to engineer campaigns in support of Trump using social media manipulation against both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and Republican Senator Ted Cruz, whom the campaign feared could attempt to push an insurgent nomination effort at the Republican Convention in Cleveland. The Times reports there's no evidence Gates acted on Psy-Group's proposals. Ted Cruz (R-TX), then Trump's main Republican opponent, away from him and toward Trump.

A separate proposal related to opposition research and "complementary intelligence activities" about Clinton and people close to her, according to copies of the proposals obtained Times and interviews with four people involved in creating the documents.

That same month, Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three companies in connection with a wide-ranging, multimillion-dollar enterprise to interfere with and "sow discord" in the American political system using social media.

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However, Psy-Group's owner Joel Zamel met with Donald Trump Jr.in August 2016, along with George Nader, an emissary from the Emirati government, and Erik Prince, the founder of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater.

Zamel's lawyer tells the Times that the Trump Tower meeting was cursory.

Even if the Psy-Group's plans were ultimately discarded, Gates's solicitation of the company shows the Trump campaign's willingness to play dirty online.

Psy-Group claimed that it would provide "all services in accordance with the laws and regulations of the country/ies in which they are conducted". The third and final proposal sought to use social media to amplify divisions within rival campaigns, while amplifying those division using fake social media accounts.

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