by Cindy Huynh
Brittany Kaiser, a Cambridge Analytica senior director supposedly visited Julian Assange in February 2017 to discuss the U.S. election. Kaiser also donated cryptocurrencies to WikiLeaks, an organization that she calls “her favorite charity.”
Assange Denies Cambridge Analytica Meeting
According to The Guardian, the visit and donation is new information being passed to parliamentary inquiries in the U.K. and U.S. Although WikiLeaks and Cambridge Analytica are currently a part of Robert Mueller’s investigation, the new information sparked additional concerns regarding the relationship between both parties.
There was no accord until October 2017. It was discovered then that Cambridge Analytica had been communicating with Assange regarding the distribution and leak of Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 email in July 2016.
However, Assange denied the meeting and mentioned in a statement his refusal of Cambridge Analytica’s offer. The visitor logs from the Ecuador Embassy, however, demonstrated that Kaiser visited Assange on February 17, 2017.
WikiLeaks responded to the situation with a tweet on June 6, 2018:
@carolecadwalla This report is false. WikiLeaks has no knowledge of donations from either party mentioned, did not have a meeting to discuss the US election and was not approached by Murtfeld or anyone connected to him.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 6, 2018
According to information passed to the US’s Senate judiciary committee and the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports (DCMS) committee, Kaiser’s meeting with Assange was apparently “a retrospective to discuss the U.S. election,”
It was also discovered that Kaiser had provided WikiLeaks a donation via cryptocurrency in as “gifts and payments.” While contributions in the form of cryptocurrencies are not illegal, it allows the funds to go unreported.
The Relationship between Cambridge Analytica and WikiLeaks
While it’s uncertain what the connection between the two alliances are, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, initially told the DCMS committee that “[they] have no relationship with WikiLeaks. [they] have never done any business with WikiLeaks. [They] have no relationship with them, period.”
He mentioned that his company discovered the Clinton email leak as it was broadcasted on the news. Afterward, they “reached out to a speaking agency that represents [Assange]” and claimed that it “was the only way we could find to get hold of him.”
Nix’s statement, however, contrasts with Kaiser’s. When Kaiser spoke to the MPs, she stated that there were employees at Cambridge Analytica that did have a connection with lawyers who were also affiliated with Assange.
“If Alexander Nix wanted to reach out to Julian Assange, couldn’t he do it through you,” said Damian Collins, DCMS’ committee chair. Kaiser responded, “that’s what I was wondering when I found that out from the press – he could have asked me to put him in touch with the legal team. But he didn’t.”
Kaiser’s Connection to WikiLeaks and Assange
Kaiser mentioned to the MPs that her connection to Assange and WikiLeaks was through John Jones QC. Jones had represented Assange in the past and became his close and personal friend. Robert Murtfeld, Jones’s legal assistant, worked with Cambridge Analytica in New York as its director of commercial sales.
Jim Walden, Kaiser’s lawyer, mentioned that the latter’s visit in February 2017 was about “a range of topics including what he had been through in recent years.” However, Walden denied discussions concerning the 2016 U.S. presidential election and mentioned that Kaiser had “never solicited payments” to WikiLeaks from a third party organization.
Notably, Assange evangelizes the pioneer cryptocurrency, and “thanked” the U.S Government in December 2017 for blocking services to Wikileaks from significant card providers. As reported by BTCManager, bitcoin swiftly become the primary means of donation for the whistleblowers. Reportedly, Assange and his team started investing in the digital asset in great capacity after acknowledging bitcoin’s global, censorship-resistant, and decentralized ethos.