An article of interest to both techno-geeks and hyper-partisans came out Tuesday in, of all places, Computer Weekly, a UK-based online magazine dedicated to the IT business community. In an investigative piece entitled “Briton ran pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign that helped Trump deny Russian links,” Duncan Campbell outed the man behind the “Adam Carter” identity as Tim Leonard, a British IT manager and former hacker living in Darlington. In addition to running the G2.space site and vigorously pushing the Forensicator theories, he ran defianet, an online gathering place for right wing conspiracists.
Campbell, an investigative journalist and recognized computer forensic expert witness, investigated Leonard for more than six months with the help of fellow journalist Kelly Hayes, programmer Matt Fowler, media network analyst Lawrence Alexander, and former hackers Lauri Love and Mustafa Al Bassam. I don’t think any of these individuals are card carrying Borg operatives.
Campbell covers a lot of territory in his article, but what I find most interesting is his interactions with William Binney and Thomas Drake. Campbell took Binney to the UK to examine the original Forensicator data first hand. Binney’s reaction restored my faith in him as a clear-eyed and sober intelligence analyst. I never doubted his sincerity, honesty or patriotism.
According to former NSA technical manager Tom Drake, “Ray’s [McGovern] determination to publish claims he wanted to believe without checking facts and discarding evidence he didn’t want to hear exactly reproduced the Iraq war intelligence failures which the VIPS group was formed to oppose”. He and other VIPS members refused to sign McGovern’s report.
Trump then told CIA director Mike Pompeo to see Binney to find evidence to support the claims. Pompeo met with Binney on 24 October 2017. Binney said he told the CIA chief that he had no fresh information. But he said he knew where to look – in the surveillance databases of his former intelligence agency, NSA.
As a former top NSA insider, Binney was correct, but not in the way he expected. NSA’s top secret records, disclosed in the DoJ indictment earlier this month, lifted the lid on what the Russians did and how they did it.
A month after visiting CIA headquarters, Binney came to Britain. After re-examining the data in Guccifer 2.0 files thoroughly with the author of this article, Binney changed his mind. He said there was “no evidence to prove where the download/copy was done”. The Guccifer 2.0 files analysed by Leonard’s g-2.space were “manipulated”, he said, and a “fabrication”.
On inspecting the full data analysis, Binney agreed: “It’s clear G2 is messing with the data. Everything G2 says is suspect and needs to be proven by other sources/means. I agree there is no evidence to prove where the download/copy was done.” He added: “The merger of data from 5 July and 1 September ... makes all the G2 crap a fabrication ... we should only say what we can prove with evidence.”
Privately, Binney says his colleague Ray McGovern, who has also pushed the Forensicator theories, accepts that there is no evidence where the files were really copied. “Ray no longer argues that point – except to call it an ‘alleged location’,” said Binney. McGovern has refused to confirm this, or to answer questions about evidence for his claims.
Despite accepting that there was no evidence, Binney and McGovern have not retracted the claims in the 2017 VIPS report at the time of writing.
Another one bites the dust.