Marcy Wheeler, aka emptywheel, is among the most knowledgeable of intel watchers. She has this to say about Rep. Adam Schiff’s complaint that the National Security Agency has not been entirely forthcoming with records relevant to President Trump’s impeachment trial.
It’s all about Burisma, the Ukrainian firm that hired Hunter Biden to serve on its board of directors. He was paid $50,000 a year from 2014 to 2019 to to do, well, nobody knows exactly what. This is a problem for the Democratic front-runner, and potentially a big one. What if the answer is found in Burisma’s corporate email, now perhaps in the hands of Russia’s GRU?
President Trump charges “corruption,” of which Burisma is surely an example. Joe Biden says there’s no issue, and no, his son will not testify at the president’s impeachment trial.
What’s Going On Here?
By way of background, Burisma Holdings was assembled by Mykola Zlochevsky, the minister of natural resources under Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine. Zlochevsky allegedly doled out extraction licenses to companies he secretly owned. As he rolled up a $400 million conglomerate, he went looking for respectable partners. Specifically, he needed help recouping $23 million in overseas accounts frozen by international corruption investigators.
He persuaded the son of the sitting American vice president to serve on its board with other notables, including Cofer Black, former CIA counterterrorism chief, and Alexander Kwaśniewski, the former president of Poland.
Their expected roles as directors were not hard to discern. Black’s security experience could help the company protect itself. Kwasniweski’s impeccable connections in the capitals of Europe might lubricate high-level meetings. Hunter Biden offered, not legal skills (of which he had few,) but access, or the appearance of it, to Washington’s highest levels.
Biden’s 2020 candidacy depends on the faith–perhaps misplaced–that his son did absolutely nothing on Burisma’s behalf.
Wheeler explains where this is going;
“In his [Schiff’s] stem-winding close last night, he mentioned the alleged Burisma hack in a way that strongly suggests that’s what NSA is withholding. “
As quoted by Wheeler, Schiff said:
“Now we just saw last week a report that Russia tried to hack, or maybe did hack, Burisma. Okay. I don’t know if they got in. I’m trying to find out. My colleagues on the Intel Committee, House and Senate, we’re trying to find out, did the Russians get in? What are the Russian plans and intentions? Well, let’s say they got in.
Schiff was looking ahead to the heat of the 2020 campaign, coming nine months from now. Remember the Hillary email dump of October 2016?
And let’s say they start dumping documents some real things they hacked from Burisma, let’s say they start dumping some fake things they didn’t hack from Burisma, but they want you to believe they did. Let’s say they start blatantly interfering in our election again, to help Donald Trump. Can you have the least bit of confidence that Donald Trump will stand up to them and protect the national interest over his own personal interest? You know you can’t.
Wheeler goes on
Schiff’s speech was a planned show-stopper, climax, thus far, of the impeachment trial. It is highly unlikely Schiff included this mention, with the detail that he and both the Intelligence Committees are trying to figure out whether Burisma really got hacked, without very good reason.
The very good reason, Wheeler concludes is “the power of information war.”
What NSA knows about the Burisma hack and related issues is very closely held within the intelligence community. Schiff is saying if the NSA has documentation of the Burisma hack, the agency needs to share it with the Congress.