Report: Cambridge Analytica Director Had Post-Election Visit With Assange

Ecuadorian embassy as people wait for Julian Assange to come out and make a statement, in London, on May 19, 2017. (Photo by Jay Shaw Baker/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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June 6, 2018 12:34 p.m.

Brittany Kaiser, then a director at the data firm Cambridge Analytica, is said to have met with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to discuss the results of the 2016 election, the Guardian reported Wednesday.

Kaiser also reportedly claimed to have funneled cryptocurrency to Wikileaks.

The paper reported that the information had been passed along to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the United Kingdom. Former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix was testifying before the latter committee at the time this post was published Wednesday. “I wasn’t aware of that,” he told the committee of Kaiser’s reported meeting. “She certainly wasn’t there representing Cambridge Analytica and SCL.”

Lucy Dargahi, a spokesperson for the British committee, pointed TPM to Kaiser and Nix’s previous testimony before the panel, but neither confirmed nor denied the Guardian’s reporting that the committee had been given information about a post-election meeting or cryptocurrency payments. Spokespeople for Senate Judiciary Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Guardian cited Ecuadorian Embassy visitor logs that it and the Ecuadorian publication Focus Ecuador had obtained showing Kaiser’s visit on Feb. 17 of last year. “Information passed on” to the British and American committees, the paper reported, “states that the meeting was ‘a retrospective to discuss the US election.’”

Citing “reports passed to investigators,” the Guardian also reported that Kaiser said she’d funneled cryptocurrency “gifts and payments” from third parties to Wikileaks, which she reportedly called her “favourite charity.”

Cambridge Analytica’s CEO reached out to Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign offering to help sort through emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but both Nix and Assange have said that Assange didn’t take him up on the offer.

The Guardian noted Wednesday that in testimony before the British committee in April, Kaiser said she’d wondered why Nix would have attempted to reach Wikileaks through an email address associated with a speaking agency representing the group, given her existing relationship with a friend and lawyer of Assange’s, the late John Jones.

“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,” she said. “But he didn’t.”

“I knew she had a relationship with John Jones,” Nix told the committee Wednesday.

Again citing “information passed to the US and UK committees,” the Guardian reported that a former legal assistant to Jones, Robert Murtfeld, subsequently worked for Cambridge Analytica and arranged Kaiser’s February 2017 meeting with Assange.

Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Elections, ceased operations last month following intense scrutiny over its use of Facebook user data. But a new firm, Emerdata, shares an address with the former company, as well as several senior employees.

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