A nonprofit group linked to Fusion GPS and partially funded by George Soros worked in recent months with a technology company implicated in a scheme to use fake Russian bots during Alabama’s special Senate election.
The groups, the Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP) and New Knowledge, partnered before the 2018 midterms to track alleged Russian disinformation networks, a website the organizations collaboratively run shows.
Both organizations have links to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), which is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as well as possible Trump campaign collusion.
SSCI provided New Knowledge with data from various social media companies as part of an investigation into Russian disinformation networks, according to a report New Knowledge released Dec. 17. Two days later, news broke that New Knowledge’s chief executive was involved in a self-described “false flag” operation in the special election for a Senate seat in Alabama, as was another staffer who was the lead author on the Senate report.
TDIP is also linked to the Senate Intelligence panel. Its founder, Daniel J. Jones, was previously a staffer for Democrats on SSCI. He was also in contact in early 2017 with Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the Democratic vice chairman of SSCI. As part of TDIP’s own Trump-Russia investigation, the group hired Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier.
The extent of Warner’s contacts with Jones remain unclear.
The collaboration between TDIP and New Knowledge, which has not been previously reported, involved a dashboard set up at the site, Disinfo2018.com, which tracked “social media disinformation networks — to include suspected foreign state-actors — conducting information warfare against the American public prior to the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.”
The project appears similar to Hamilton 68, a dashboard operated by the Alliance for Security Democracy. Jonathon Morgan, the founder of New Knowledge, helped create Hamilton 68 and has appeared frequently in the media to discuss Russia’s disinformation efforts.
In an interview with BBC, Morgan claimed Russians were behind #ReleaseTheMemo, the hashtag used to call for the release of a memo from House Intel Republicans that questioned the FBI’s reliance on the unverified Steele dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
But New Knowledge and Morgan are now known for their tactics during the December 2017 Alabama special election.
The New York Times published a damning exposé Dec. 19, 2018, showing New Knowledge operatives targeted conservative Alabamans with fake Facebook pages intended to sow doubt about Roy Moore, the controversial Republican candidate.
The operatives also created thousands of fake Russian Twitter accounts set to follow Moore. The effect was that numerous news outlets reported Moore was being supported by a Russian disinformation network.
New Knowledge has come under heavy criticism following the report, largely because the firm’s tactics in Alabama so closely mirrored the Russian efforts they say they oppose. Morgan, a former State Department adviser, said the Alabama project was merely an experiment that had no impact on the special election, which was won by Democrat Doug Jones.
The Washington Post reported New Knowledge authored a document describing the Alabama false flag operation, but Morgan has denied that claim and said he was unaware of most of the activities detailed in it.
New Knowledge’s Senate report on Russian disinformation networks makes clear its investigation was undertaken at the request of SSCI. But an SSCI official told TheDCNF the committee did not pay New Knowledge and TDIP has never been hired for any work. The official also noted SSCI does not necessarily endorse New Knowledge’s findings.
TDIP has maintained a lower profile than New Knowledge. Most of what’s known about the group has been revealed only through Adam Waldman, an attorney who had contact with the organization in 2017. Information that Jones, the TDIP founder, provided to the FBI was also released in an April 27, 2018, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report.
Sigh… yet another tentacle of the conspiracy begins to unravel. And, who would have ever suspected Georgie Boy would be involved?