Just who is this CrowdStrike that President Trump mentioned in his phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zenlensky? From Julie Kelly at amgreatness.com:
Trump foes dismiss any scrutiny of CrowdStrike as part of a “conspiracy theory.” But the tangled web between CrowdStrike, Democratic operatives, the Trump-hating media and the Obama Justice Department isn’t a theory, it is fact.
Days before the Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh last year, a former FBI assistant director appeared on MSNBC to suggest the Supreme Court nominee had a major credibility problem. “This is not…an investigation about the sexual allegations, I think it really has moved toward credibility,” Shawn Henry, an NBC News analyst, told Nicolle Wallace on October 1, 2018. “At this point now, there are very clear allegations, and subsequent to the judge’s testimony, people have come out who appear to be credible who…appear to be contradicting his testimony sworn before the United States Senate.”
Henry, clearly reciting Democratic talking points to imply Kavanaugh perjured himself before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his September showdown with Christine Blasey Ford, also referred to Ford as a “victim” and claimed that the FBI’s investigation into Kavanaugh’s testimony had “fallen short.”
The president, according to a transcript released by the White House, mentioned CrowdStrike during a phone call with the new Ukranian president over the summer. Now, the California-based company is facing renewed scrutiny both about the handling of the DNC email hack and the firm’s political affiliations. Last month, in response to questions about the firm’s clear connections to Democrats, CrowdStrike rejected accusations of bias in an FAQ posted on its website:
“CrowdStrike is not affiliated with any political party. We are a public cybersecurity company, and are non-partisan. We have done cybersecurity work for, and currently protect, both Republican and Democratic political organizations at the state, local, and federal level.”
That may be true in the most technical sense, but there are plenty of reasons to suspect that CrowdStrike is far from a disinterested player in the impeachment drama engulfing official Washington and gaslighting the American public. And since CrowdStrike produced the single piece of evidence used in the endless feedback loop to convince Americans that the Russians breached the DNC’s email system—the party refused to surrender its email devices to the FBI—reassessing the firm’s credibility in light of new information is warranted; in fact, it’s vital.
In March 2017, Henry—who worked for Robert Mueller’s FBI during Barack Obama’s first term—participated in a post-inauguration forum to discuss the implications of Russia’s “hacking” the 2016 presidential election. The panel also featured former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and Marc Elias, the general partner at Perkins Coie, a politically-influential law firm based in D.C..
It was a symbolic trio. Perkins Coie hired CrowdStrike in the spring of 2016 on behalf of the DNC. Instead of going directly to the FBI or other law enforcement agency about the breach, Democratic party leaders, working through Perkins Coie, retained CrowdStrike to find the culprits. Very cozy.
And while CrowdStrike was working for the DNC in 2016, the firm also collaborated with key officials in the Obama Justice Department as it was ramping up its investigation into Trump’s presidential campaign. During a technology conference in March 2016, CrowdStrike hosted a cyber “war game” with Obama administration officials: “Four teams of ten people met for two hours to play the game,” according to an October 2016 profile in Esquire. “[National Security Division chief] John Carlin; Chris Painter…at the State Department; and Chris Inglis, the former deputy director of the NSA, were all part of the government team. A former member of GCHQ, the British intelligence organization, was on the international team. Ash Carter, the defense secretary, arrived halfway through and asked to play, but the game was already under way.”
Before Obama’s intelligence officials released a statement on October 7 that blamed the Russians for the DNC email breach, according to the Esquire article, Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder, was given a heads-up. “Alperovitch got a phone call from a senior government official alerting him that a statement identifying Russia as the sponsor of the DNC attack would soon be released. Once again, Alperovitch was thanked for pushing the government along.” The statement, issued by Obama’s Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper one month before Election Day, lifted some of the wording from CrowdStrike’s report on the DNC breach. (Again, it’s important to note that no federal agency was allowed access to the DNC email servers; all evidence of Russian hacking came directly from CrowdStrike.)
Further, according to reporting by Michael Tracey, CrowdStrike had a contract with the FBI for $150,000 between July 2015 and July 2016 for unknown services.