Trump Goes Silent After ‘Daily Beast’ Uncovers Secret Foreign Connect & $2M Payout

-

Donald Trump, Jr. and other top Donald Trump campaign members held a meeting with the secretive company, Wikistrat, at Trump Tower just three months before the 2016 presidential election. The owner, Joel Zamel, apparently pitched the president’s eldest son on a “social-media manipulation strategy to help his father win the election.”

Donald Trump Jr., Zamel, and George Nadar representing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came to the meeting. The company claimed it did crowdsourcing, but in actuality, it performed analysis and intelligence collection.

The company’s chief security officer and director of analytics, Shay Hershkovitz, was a former “major in (an) elite Israeli intelligence-analysis unit (and Schaffer was a former)  counterterrorism officer for Israeli intelligence”:

‘Elad was involved in a very elite, select group of individuals performing a very important mission… dealing with the height of the global war on terrorism. He did some collaborative work with U.S. special-operations counterparts who were working in the Middle East to deal with threats coming from al Qaeda. Elad kept a very low profile.’

Former senior analyst for Wikistrat, James Kadtke, told The Daily Beast:

‘It was clear to me that both of these guys had intelligence backgrounds, intelligence professionals, not academics or analysts. They were using their experts for tacit information going on in various parts of the world. I got the impression they were doing things outside of Wikistrat. It seemed mysterious.’

Then, “after Trump was elected, Nader is said to have paid the company’s owner, Joel Zamel, a large sum of money—as much as $2 million” The Daily Beast wrote in an exclusive report:

‘The company boasted incredible access to top U.S. military and intelligence officials. The firm’s advisory council lists former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser James L. Jones, former deputy director of the National Security Council Elliott Abrams, and former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency David Shedd, among others.’

Zamel has Israeli citizenship and graduated from one of the country’s elite colleges. In addition to working with the UAE, Wikistrat was tightly linked to Israel.

Graphic From The Daily Beast Exclusive.

Zamel owned 86 percent of Wikistrat.  A former Wikistrat employee said three Israelis led the company, which was headquartered in Tel Aviv with a D.C. satellite office for “sales and business development.” Those people were:

‘Daniel Green, the CTO, Elad Schaffer, formerly the COO and now the CEO, and Zamel, the founder and, until this year, its CEO.’

Employees said:

‘“Those people were very close, and it wasn’t just professional. He knew a whole lot of people there (in Israel). One of his connections was the former head of the (Israeli) intelligence directorate, Amos Yadlin.’

One of the employees added:

‘I had an initial conversation with Joel where I said, “One of the issues you’re going to run into, if you want to be focused on (U.S.) government work, you’re going to run into problems every day because of the Israeli connection.” He said, “Well, why is that? They’re amazing allies?” There were many conversations internally (about this)… Israel is one of the top counterintelligence concerns for the U.S.’

One former top staffer said:

‘Joel ran a very compartmentalized organization.’

Another senior employee told The Daily Beast that Zamel left the room should anyone bring out a camera:

‘I felt like I had no real visibility into what the company was really doing. He was very secretive, everything was highly compartmentalized… It was clear that he kept the entire company in the dark. Even [company executives] didn’t have the whole picture. He never allowed anyone to get near his phone, his laptop, stuff like that.’

Graphic From The Daily Beast Exclusive.

The former employee continued:

‘I suspected he was involved in other stuff simply because a man without secrets doesn’t need to be secretive. If he had nothing to hide, he would’ve been much more open. I thought he was involved in other operations.’

One former Wikistrat employee said:

‘It was never clear to me how much Joel was actually paying out of pocket (sic) to subsidize the company vs. what was brought in. Clients paid decently but not enough to sustain the company. So Joel was either substantially funding the company or we were getting money from somewhere else. That naturally leads you to focus on non-U.S. sources of income.’

Kadtke said Wikistrat’s ordinary operations (i.e., war games and analysis) went “way down” after the U.S. presidential election. He said:

‘Around the beginning of 2017, the three people I knew there left very abruptly… The last study on the website was January 2017 (they used to do a lot). They seemed to have ceased operations. It was very strange to me that they just sort of collapsed. It was probably a three-month period after which everyone I knew there left.’

Graphic From The Daily Beast Exclusive.

Featured Image via Getty Images/Spencer Platt.

%d bloggers like this: