Ezra Cohen-Watnick

Former White House National Security Council

Ezra’s Wife, Rebecca Miller, has worked for Ketchum PR “trying to make Russia look better”Schoenblog  

Senior director Ezra Cohen-Watnick out at National Security Council

“A White House official said ezra cohen-watnick, who was hired during the brief tenure of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, “has left the National Security Council [NSC].”

Cohen-Watnick’s departure is the latest in a string of exits from the National Security Council under H.R. McMaster, who has reportedly sought to purge Flynn appointees.

Another Flynn hire, retired Army intelligence officer Derek Harvey, was ousted from the NSC last week. He had been working as a senior Middle East adviser.

Cohen-Watnick’s removal is the second significant personnel change at the White House since Retired Gen. John Kelly took over as chief of staff.

A few hours after Kelly was sworn in on Monday, the White House announced the departure of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.” The Hill


He’s a 30-year-old Jewish, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Iran, Neocon Frank Gaffney fan /intern, trained spy and recruiter, Russian advocate via his Putin PR agent wife, and disliked within the DIA for being a “leaker”. Ret. Gen. Michael T. Flynn brought Ezra Cohen-Watnick to the White House. Flynn was disliked in the DIA, and fired. Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. promoted anti-Clinton conspiracy theories, Benghazi, Pizzagate, Podesta and led the “Lock Her Up!” chants.

Flynn’s replacement after failing to disclose conversations with Sergey Kislyak, H.R. McMaster, tried to fire him first thing, but his appeal to Kushner and Bannon influenced Trump and forced McMaster to work with him –NY Times. This has people asking why, “with apparently only a single, allegedly trouble-filled, junior-level tour of duty with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Afghanistan on his résumé, managed to secure one of the most consequential jobs in the White House: coordinating all of the U.S. intelligence community’s operations with the Oval Office and Congress. In less than a year, Cohen-Watnick had been raised from the equivalent rank of an army captain to a three-star general.” Newsweek  April 13, 2017  

When McMaster replaced Flynn, he tried to fire Ezra, but Kushner and Bannon persuaded Trump to reinstate himNY Times

Ezra Cohen-Watnick: Inside the rise of Trump’s invisible man in the White House  “White House National Security Council official at the center of a bizarre backdoor maneuver to provide House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes with top-secret documents on government surveillance. Cohen-Watnick reportedly retrieved the documents from a classified CIA terminal in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House and gave them to Nunes, a California Republican who had been a member of Trump’s transition team. They were intended to prove that former President Barack Obama was “wire tapping” Trump during the 2016 campaign. The documents did no such thing, other members of the panel concluded after studying them. What they actually showed is that U.S. intelligence agencies did have Trump’s associates on their radar—but only because they were tracking Russian agents.” Newsweek  April 13, 2017   


Russiagate Diversion

2 White House Officials Helped Give Nunes Intelligence Reports  NY Times  March 30, 2017

“A pair of White House officials helped provide Representative Devin Nunes of California, a Republican and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, with the intelligence reports that showed that President Trump and his associates were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.

The revelation on Thursday that White House officials disclosed the reports, which Mr. Nunes then discussed with Mr. Trump, is likely to fuel criticism that the intelligence chairman has been too eager to do the biddingof the Trump administration while his committee is supposed to be conducting an independent investigation of Russia’s meddling in the presidential election.

The officials who detailed the newly disclosed White House role said that this month, shortly after Mr. Trump claimed on Twitter that he was wiretapped during the campaign on the orders of President Barack Obama, Mr. Cohen-Watnick began reviewing highly classified reports detailing the intercepted communications of foreign officials.

There were conflicting accounts of what prompted Mr. Cohen-Watnick to dig into the intelligence. One official with direct knowledge of the events said Mr. Cohen-Watnick began combing through intelligence reports this month in an effort to find evidence that would justify Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts about wiretapping.

But another person who was briefed on the events said Mr. Cohen-Watnick came upon the information as he was reviewing how widely intelligence reports on intercepts were shared within the American spy agencies. He then alerted the N.S.C. general counsel, but the official said Mr. Cohen-Watnick was not the person who showed the reports to Mr. Nunes.

That person and a third official said it was then Mr. Ellis who allowed Mr. Nunes to view the material.”NY Times


“Ezra Cohen-Watnick’s unlikely journey from Chevy Chase’s liberal cocoon to backroom shenanigans in the Trump White House was less a straight shot than a dotted line. It may well have begun with Frank Gaffney, a former Ronald Reagan administration official who has emerged as a leading conspiracy theorist and believes that Muslim militants have infiltrated the U.S. government and even the Republican Party. At Bethesda–Chevy Chase High, Cohen-Watnick was close to Gaffney’s daughter. As the years went by, he gravitated to Gaffney associates, who eventually took him into the White House…In 2007, he helped organize a campus “Terrorism Awareness Week” (originally called “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week”) in concert with David Horowitz, a close Gaffney ally whose crusade against “liberal elites” on campus has been supported by top Trump aides Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. At some point, a close family friend recalls, asking for anonymity in exchange for talking about personal matters, Gaffney offered the budding young hawk internships at his D.C. think tank, the Center for Security Policy. (Gaffney tells Newsweek in a brief telephone interview that he barely recalls Cohen-Watnick from as a high schooler and has had no contact with him since.) …In 2012, he was accepted into a training program with the Defense Clandestine Service, the undercover overseas spying arm of the DIA. It was there that he met a mutual friend of Gaffney, General Michael Flynn…

Cohen-Watnick’s DIA career did not go well, except in one regard: his bond with Flynn.

In 2013, the DIA assigned Cohen-Watnick to “the Farm,” the CIA training facility outside Williamsburg, Virginia, to learn the rudiments of recruiting and managing foreign spies, according to two intelligence sources. During his time there, his reputation among his classmates “was poor,” says a former CIA employee. “He was not a team player and would also ‘leak’ denigrating information about his fellow trainees…(Didn’t want to go to the Middle East, but)…Two sources tell Newsweek he was eventually assigned to Afghanistan, with the rank of GS-12, equivalent to a captain in the army…Flynn was already creating turmoil at the DIA with his impulsive management style and fervid embrace of conspiracy theories, such as his conviction that Iran was behind the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. “Flynn facts,” his aides snickered, according to a profile in The New Yorker. Years earlier, he had co-authored a widely publicized paper excoriating the conduct of U.S. intelligence operations in Afghanistan, and he was particularly critical of the CIA for its support of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s notoriously corrupt brother Ahmed Wali Karzai

In 2014, Obama fired Flynn, and since then administration officials have dumped on him in the press. But the surprise election of Trump in November 2016 gave Flynn a chance for redemption—and revenge. With his rising prominence in the Trump campaign, Flynn’s adversaries recycled stories about his DIA ouster, but now there were also questions about Kremlin-financed trips to Moscow and ties to Turkish lobbyists. And Flynn was swimming in ever deeper conspiracy waters, now with activists who alleged that the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooter did not act alone, and that Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta was involved in a pedophile ring run beneath a Washington, D.C., family restaurant. Cohen-Watnick joined him in the so-called “Pizzagate” fray, tweeting about “Podesta’s obsession with the occult.” In another tweet, he referenced “the disgusting and potentially criminal behavior of the Clinton crime syndicate.”

In January, Cohen-Watnick swept into office with Flynn and other associates from Gaffney’s circle, including Bannon, Conway and Sebastian Gorka, another anti-Muslim hard-liner with ties to a Hungarian Nazi party. Meanwhile, Cohen-Watnick was getting married to a woman who, like Flynn and several other Trump aides, had ties to Russia. Rebecca Miller, four years younger than Cohen-Watnick, had worked on the Russian account in the D.C. office of Ketchum, the global powerhouse lobbying and public relations firm, according to her mother, Victoria Fraser, head of Washington University’s Department of Medicine in St. Louis. During a 2014 event at the State Historical Society of Missouri, Fraser said her daughter’s “big challenges right now are, Ketchum is responsible for providing PR and marketing to try to make Russia look better, which is particularly difficult when they’re invading other countries and when Putin is somewhat out of control.” Ketchum took a public relations blow when ProPublica reported that it had “placed pro-Russia op-eds in American publications by businesspeople and others without disclosing the role of the Russian government.” The following year, it drew flak for placing an op-ed purporting to be written by Russian President Vladimir Putin in The New York Times arguing that Syrian rebels, not President Bashar al-Assad, were responsible for chemical attacks on civilians. According to a Ketchum spokesperson, Miller’s work on the Russia account ended in September 2012. The company severed its ties with the Russian Federation in March 2015.

Cohen-Watnick and his wife have been reluctant to acknowledge anything about their professional lives or their history together. On November 11, 2016, the Ohr Kodesh Congregation, a conservative synagogue in Chevy Chase, held a kiddush, or small social ceremony, in honor of their “upcoming marriage.”…

Cohen-Watnick’s principal credentials seem to be ideological. “He’s a 30-year-old version of Michael Flynn, from an affection for the Russians to hatred of Iran,” a senior former intelligence official who has worked with him asserted. And right from the start, he wore his enmity for the CIA like a badge of honor, the official says.

“There’s no question that during the transition that he was airing his antipathy to the CIA,” the senior former intelligence official who worked with Cohen-Watnick says. “I got the impression he had an ax to grind, and this was an opportunity to demonstrate who was in charge.” He also “was very clear that he was entitled…, that he had access…and a voice in policy meetings.

“He made it very clear,” the former official adds, “that he was speaking on behalf of Flynn.” Adding to his value, says a former high-ranking Defense Department intelligence official: “His parents knew Jared Kushner,” the Trump son-in-law and confidante who was emerging as a major force in the administration. “Flynn saw that as extremely valuable.”

Flynn would soon be gone from the White House, sunk by his undisclosed conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. But his departure failed to end Cohen-Watnick’s tenure. When Flynn’s successor as national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, tried to get rid of him, Cohen-Watnick went straight to Bannon and Kushner, who in turn persuaded Trump to tell McMaster to back off, according to reports.

Since Flynn’s departure, Cohen-Watnick has moved to tame the CIA by taking away its primacy in covert action operations, handing some to the Pentagon, and pulling the decisions on who does what and when inside the NSC. “He was looking to get the military into the space where CIA operated,” says a former intelligence official who worked with Cohen-Watnick during the transition. And taking the fight to Iran—“tightening the pressure points,” as this person puts it—is high on his agenda.

All of which portends trouble, former national security officials say, pointing to calamities that befell previous administrations that politicized the intelligence process. The George W. Bush White House put pressure on the CIA to report that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And it found ideological bedmates in the Pentagon to produce WMD reports to help gin up the case—false, as it turned out—to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Decades earlier, an attempt by officials in the Reagan White House to get around congressionally prohibited aid to anti-communist Contra guerrillas fighting to overthrow the leftist Nicaraguan government ended in disaster.” Newsweek  April 13, 2017    Additionally, there are no public records of their marriage.

“Ezra interned at his think tank…Frank Gaffney was in the Reagan Administration and promoted the Star Wars Program, has worked for and closely associated with the Neocon Project For The New American Century, all of whose founders had prominent roles in the George W. Bush administration and were the architects of the 9/11 Middle East Imperialist spread of Democracy with Zionist ideology.” …More about Frank Gaffney in the Washington Report’s Neocon Superhawk Frank Gaffney Earns His Wings In Port Flap, September 1, 2009

THE BUSH-ERA NEOCONS

Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr., Trump Organization, Trump Campaign Fundraiser

Did Don Jr. Lie at his Senate hearing? Read the warning letter from Senator Coons Business Insider September 7, 2017

Information on Don Jr. and the Trump Organization, Properties he’s managed, including the Tenants that he has rented to, and his Campaign Fundraisingare found on the linked pages.

More on the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower

On June 3, 2016, Donald Trump Jr.,  received an email from Rob Goldstone, the manager for Emin Agalarov, a wannbe pop star son of the Russian version of Trump, real estate tycoon Aras Agalarov. Trump made a music video with Emin in 2013 while at the Moscow Miss USA pageant and mused with his father that it would be great to have an Agalarov Tower next to a Trump Tower. In this June 3 email, Goldstone said “This is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump -helped along by Aras and Emin.”  Trump Jr. suggested a call was set up for the first thing Monday (7th) upon return.  Donald Trump was in Trump Tower on Wednesday, June 9, 2016, stragizing and writing a speech to attack Hillary on Intelligence with the Campaign. Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Campaign Manager Paul Manafort met with Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump tweeted that day about Hillary’s missing 33,000 emails. Trump openly warned shortly thereafter that incriminating information would be released soon. The DNC announced that it got hacked on June 14. June 15 Guccifer 2.0 took credit for the hack. On June 20, longtime Trump loyalist and Russian PR lobbyist Paul Manafort officially replaced Corey Lewandoski as Campaign Manager. July 6, Guccifer 2.0 released DNC hack #2. The speech was delayed because of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre in Orlando.

June 3, 2016 at 10:36 AM From Rob Goldstone  “Good morning Emin just called asked me to contact you with something very interesting. The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russian and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin. What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly? I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.”

June 3, 10:53 AM From Don Jr. To Rob Goldstone  “Thanks Rob I appreciate that. Ia m on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?”

June 6, 12:40 PM From Rob Goldstone To: Don Jr. “Hi Don Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info – you had mentioned early this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day. Best to you and family”

June 6, 2:03PM Form Don Jr. To: Rob Goldstone “Rob could we speak now?”

June 6, 2:38 PM From Don Jr. “My Cell Thanks”

June 6, 3:37 PM From Rob Goldstone To: Don Jr. “Let me track him down in Moscow. What number he could call?”

June 6, 3:38 PM From Don Jr. To Rob Goldstone “Rob thanks for the help.”

June 6, 3:43 From Rob Goldstone To: Don Jr. “Ok he’s on stage in Moscow but should be off within 20 Minutes so I am sure can call Rob”

June 7, 4:20 PM From Rob Goldstone To: Don Jr. “Don Hope all is well. Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday. I believe you are aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3 pm or later on Thursday works for you? I assume it would be at your office.”

June 7, 5:16PM From Don Jr. “How about 3 at our offices” Thanks rob appreciate you helping set it up.”

June 7, 5:19 PM From: Rob Goldstone “Perfect…I won’t sit in on the meeting, but will bring them at 3pm and introduce you etc. I will send the names of the two people meeting with you for security when I have them later today.”

June 7, 6:14 PM From Don Jr. “Great. It will likely be Paul Manafot (campaign boss) my brother in law and me. 725 Fifth Ave 25th floor.”

June 8, 10:34 AM From: Rob Goldstone To: Don Jr. “Good Morning Would it be possible to move tomorrow meeting rto 4pm as the Russian attorney is in court until 3 I was just informed.”

June 8, 11:15 AM From: Don Jr. To: Rob Goldstone “Yes Rob I could do that unless they wanted to do 3 today instead…just let me know and Ill lock it in either way.”

June 8, 11:18 AM  From: Rob Goldstone To: Don Jr.  “They Cant do today as she hasn’t landed yet from Moscow 4pm is great tomorrow.”

June 8, 2016 12:03 PM From Don Jr.   To: Kushner & Manafort  “Meeting got moved to 4 tomorrow at my offices.”

The Secret Correspondence Between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks  The Atlantic  

November 13, 2017 “The transparency organization asked the president’s son for his cooperation—in sharing its work, in contesting the results of the election, and in arranging for Julian Assange to be Australia’s ambassador to the United States.”

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

“Just before the stroke of midnight on September 20, 2016, at the height of last year’s presidential election, the WikiLeaks Twitter account sent a private direct message to Donald Trump Jr., the Republican nominee’s oldest son and campaign surrogate. “A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch,” WikiLeaks wrote. “The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump.’ See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?” (The site, which has since become a joint project with Mother Jones, was founded by Rob Glaser, a tech entrepreneur, and was funded by Progress for USA Political Action Committee.)

The next morning, about 12 hours later, Trump Jr. responded to WikiLeaks. “Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around,” he wrote on September 21, 2016. “Thanks.”

The messages, obtained by The Atlantic, were also turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional investigators. They are part of a long—and largely one-sided—correspondence between WikiLeaks and the president’s son that continued until at least July 2017. The messages show WikiLeaks, a radical transparency organization that the American intelligence community believes was chosen by the Russian government to disseminate the information it had hacked, actively soliciting Trump Jr.’s cooperation. WikiLeaks made a series of increasingly bold requests, including asking for Trump’s tax returns, urging the Trump campaign on Election Day to reject the results of the election as rigged, and requesting that the president-elect tell Australia to appoint Julian Assange ambassador to the United States.

According to a source familiar with the congressional investigations into Russian interference with the 2016 campaign, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, on the same day that Trump Jr. received the first message from WikiLeaks, he emailed other senior officials with the Trump campaign, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, telling them WikiLeaks had made contact. Kushner then forwarded the email to campaign communications staffer Hope Hicks. At no point during the 10-month correspondence does Trump Jr. rebuff WikiLeaks, which had published stolen documents and was already observed to be releasing information that benefited Russian interests.The Atlantic for more 

Trump Jr. corresponded with WikiLeaks ahead of election Axios

Why it matters: It was WikiLeaks that published emails stolen by Russian actors from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. In the messages to Trump Jr., WikiLeaks seems to be offering to help the Trump campaign, while seeking help in countering the perception it was aligned with Russia.” Axios

“It defies logic that Trump wouldn’t attend or be aware of this meeting.”

ABRAMSON CONNECTS THE DOTS: COLLUSION IS CERTAIN, AND TRUMP KNEW Daily Kos  Seth Abramson’s email chain, collated     @SethAbramson   Attorney. Professor (journalism, writing, lit, law).(THREAD) BREAKING: Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails to Rob Goldstone Confirm That President Trump Met With a Kremlin Agent During the 2016 Election pic.twitter.com/YYTZgW2LQx— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) July 11, 2017<<&t; href=”http://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-the-semi-secret-life-of-rob-goldstone-the-playboy-who-could-bring-down-trump” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Inside the Semi-Secret Life of Rob Goldstone, the Playboy Who Could Bring Down Trump

“From the Russian Tea Room to Russia, the music producer who connected the Kremlin and Don Jr. enjoys the high life—and documenting it all on social media.

Before he organized a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-connected attorney, Rob Goldstone was known as a New York City playboy who hosted vodka-soaked parties with younger acquaintances at the Russian Tea Room, a Manhattan restaurant blocks away from Trump Tower.

In June 2016, Goldstone orchestrated a meeting between Donald Jr., President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, TheNew York Times reported Monday. Goldstone emailed Trump Jr., promising “information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.” The info was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump—helped along by Aras and Emin,” Goldstone wrote. Aras and Emin Agalarov are a Russian billionaire and his aspiring popstar son, whose career Goldstone managed.The Agalarovs have long boasted of their close relationship with Trump—they hosted his Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. Emin’s music career—which saw pre-President Trump appear in one of his music videos—also helped bankroll Goldstone’s life in New York’s club scene…

Shortly after Trump’s victory in November, Goldstone posted a picture to his now-private Instagram account depicting him in a T-shirt with the word “RUSSIA” written on it.

Goldstone’s Russian money also apparently fueled his expenses on the New York party circuit.” The Daily Beast   July 11, 2017


Trustee of the Trump Organization with brother Eric. He has been in charge of leasing real estate at the Trump Organization, and to several felons, frauds, and questionable characters. Bloomberg
Son of Ivana, born in 1977, “The Hill” boarding school in Pottstown, PA, B.S. in Economics from Wharton.  Moved to Aspen, CO, then NY to work at the Organization. Married to Jewish-Danish model Vanessa Haydon in 2005. 5 kids.


Don Jr.’s Campaign Fundraising

Donald Trump Jr. and his two billionaire trust fund friends, Tommy Hicks Jr., and Gentry Beach, were the Trump Campaign’s biggest fundraisers, and generated about as many donations from TX as NY and CA combined. Dallas News “How two Dallas young guns helped deliver the White House to Trump” 

MIC.com Reports in “Trump-tied businessmen met NSC officials, Bannon over Venezuela sanctions, sources say“: “Five days before the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a pair of American businessmen (Beach and Habboush) with ties to President Donald Trump‘s family attended a series of previously unreported meetings at the White House with the aim of convincing the United States to lift sanctions against Venezuela, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Mic reviewed documents indicating the businessmen were Gentry Beach, a billionaire Dallas financier, and Wadie Habboush, an international investor. Both men have ties to Donald Trump Jr., but Beach is particularly close: He is a longtime friend of the president’s son and was a major Trump campaign fundraiser.

Government ethics lawyers and policymakers who served in recent Democratic and Republican administrations say meetings between White House national security officials and campaign fundraisers over foreign policy violate NSC protocol and raise serious ethical concerns.

The proposed changes to U.S. policy toward Venezuela have also not come to pass. Several days after the meetings, the U.S. Treasury Department announced a new round of sanctions on Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami for allegedly aiding drug traffickers.

However, that Beach and Habboush obtained access to senior NSC officials — and that Beach was a big-dollar fundraiser for the campaign — raised alarm among lawyers in the White House Counsel’s office over possible conflicts of interest and ethics violations, according to one source with knowledge of the meetings, which another source confirmed.

Of specific concern is a longstanding personal relationship between Beach and the president’s eldest son. Alongside Trump Jr. and fellow Dallas billionaire Tommy Hicks Jr., Beach raised millions of dollars for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He served as a finance vice chair for Trump’s inauguration committee. Beach is also a hunting buddy of Donald Trump Jr. and godfather to one of Trump Jr.’s sons.

Beach’s hedge fund, Vollero Beach Capital Partners, was a multimillion-dollar equity fund focused on energy investments. In late 2016, it was absorbed by Citadel, one of the world’s leading hedge funds. According to publicly available Nasdaq data, close to 50% of Vollero Beach Capital Partners’ investments were in oil and gas companies.

In December, Beach’s relationship to the Trump family came under scrutiny when a nonprofit he co-founded — and where Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump served as directors — was alleged to have solicited donations in exchange for access to the president at an inauguration event.

Habboush, an Iraqi-American businessman, is CEO of the Habboush Group, which specializes in energy and infrastructure investments. Earlier in his career, Habboush worked at Exxon Mobil, a company with a turbulent history in Venezuela, and whose former CEO Rex Tillerson is now secretary of state. Habboush’s father, R.W. Habboush is chairman of the Habboush Group and donated more than $33,000 to the Republican National Committee in January 2017, according to FEC filings.

Habboush and the Trumps are also connected through at least one employee. In February, former Trump family chief of staff Lindsay Santoro began working in business development for the Habboush Group, according to her LinkedIn profile. Santoro previously served as an assistant to Donald Trump Jr. at the Trump Organization, in addition to managing staff for the Trump family during the presidential campaign.”  MIC, read more

He is an exotic and big-game hunter.  On March 12, 2012, TMZ released photos of his Zimbabwe kills including a hanging crocodile from a tree, a dead leopard, and him holding an elephant tail and knife in each hand. This sparked a huge controversy. Photos on TMZ can be see here.

 

Erik Prince

Erik Prince

Notorious Mercinary” Erik Prince founded Blackwater Security and made headlines during the Iraq war with his company’s abuses and “conviction of killing Iraqi citizens, including children, in the notorious 2007 Nisour Square gun battle.” Bloomberg He is brother to Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, the their father, Edgar Prince’s auto parts manufacturing The Prince Corporation sold in 1996 to Johnson Controls for $1.35 billion. They grew up in Holland, MI, and their father “was a major contributor to the Family Research Council, whose mission is to “advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview”.[4]  Critics argue that the organization advocates against LGBT rights, abortion, divorce, embryonic stem-cell research, and pornography.[5][6]” Prince  which joined Trump’s campaign as a major financial backer in August 2016.

He’s under investigation for money laundering and involvement with Chinese intelligence in a Lybian deal with current corporation FSB, which supplies African and conflict-zone aviation, evacuation and paramilitary support. China is heavily invested in Africa for its mining and natural resources. Prince sought to secretly rebuild his private CIA and special operations enterprise by setting up foreign shell companies and offering paramilitary services. He is currently or planning to train the People’s Liberation Army using former US Special Ops trainers, on behalf of the Chinese government in Africa, while Bannon and Trump say the US is heading towards a trade or real war with China.

THE TESTIMONY OF ERIK PRINCE ON NOVEMBER 30, 2017, BEFORE THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

January 11, 2016, The Seychelles Meeting, arranged by the UAE Crown Prince. Afterwards, Erik Prince met with Kirill Dmitriev, per the Testimony.  Note: Prince was invited to testify by Kush Patel, major force behind the “Nunes Memo” The Atlantic.  Patel and Presley went to London in search of Christopher Steele, and in early November before the Prince testimony, Patel circulated an internal memo “urging Nunes to hold top officials at the Justice Department and the FBI in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents related to the Obama administration’s alleged use of the dossier to surveil Trump associates during the transition period, one of the sources told me. That memo was first reported by Fox News in November.” The Atlantic

PODCAST: Privatizing the War in Afghanistan  Recommended Reading:

New York Times: Trump Aides Recruited Businessmen to Devise Options for Afghanistan — “President Trump’s advisers recruited two businessmen who profited from military contracting to devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, reflecting the Trump administration’s struggle to define its strategy for dealing with a war now 16 years old.”

The Atlantic: The ‘Blackwater 2.0’ Plan for Afghanistan — “Here’s a crazy idea floating around Washington these days, outlandish even by today’s outlandish standards: The United States should hire a mercenary army to “fix” Afghanistan, a country where we’ve been at war since 2001, spending billions along the way. The big idea here is that they could extricate U.S. soldiers from this quagmire, and somehow solve it.”

Wall Street Journal: The MacArthur Model for Afghanistan — “Afghanistan is an expensive disaster for America. The Pentagon has already consumed $828 billion on the war, and taxpayers will be liable for trillions more in veterans’ health-care costs for decades to come. More than 2,000 American soldiers have died there, with more than 20,000 wounded in action. For all that effort, Afghanistan is failing. The terrorist cohort consistently gains control of more territory, including key economic arteries. It’s time for President Trump to fix our approach to Afghanistan in five ways.”

FYI: Fellow Mercer associate Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Assistant to the President Christopher Liddell, and Sebastian Gorka, Former Breitbart writer and current Deputy Assistant to Trump and National Security Aide, formed an additional advisory group to potentially supersede the NSC called the Strategic Initiatives Group in January 2017. Reed Cordish also joined the SIG. Per reports, Robert Mercer has the largest private arsenal in the United States. Steve Bannon and other devotees of “The Fourth Turning”, want a huge war as a cleansing process, after which an idealized, structured society emerges (See his film “Generation Zero” on the Steve Bannon page).

ERIK PRINCE IN THE HOT SEAT

Blackwater’s Founder Is Under Investigation for Money Laundering, Ties to Chinese Intel, and Brokering Mercenary Services The Intercept

“He’s a rogue chairman,” said one of Prince’s close associates, who has monitored his attempts to sell mercenary forces in Africa. That source, who has extensive knowledge of Prince’s activities and travel schedule, said that Prince was operating a “secret skunkworks program” while parading around war and crisis zones as FSG’s founder and chairman. “Erik wants to be a real, no-shit mercenary,” said the source. “He’s off the rails exposing many U.S. citizens to criminal liabilities. Erik hides in the shadows … and uses [FSG] for legitimacy….“Erik is always pressing the limits as to what is possible,” said the close associate of Prince’s. In 2010, Prince sold most of his equity in the companies that fell under the Blackwater umbrella. Claiming that left-wing activists, Democratic politicians, and lawsuits had destroyed his companies, he left the United States and became a resident of Abu Dhabi. The remnant of his network was renamed Academi LLC. Federal prosecutors eventually attempted to prosecute Prince’s former companies, culminating in a 2012 deferred prosecution agreement to settle a lengthy list of U.S. legal and regulatory violations committed from 2005 through 2008 when Prince was in charge, including ITAR violations.” ITAR is International Traffic in Arms Regulations, issued by the State Department’s (currently under Rex Tillerson) Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.” The Intercept

Blackwater Founder Said to Have Advised Trump Team  Bloomberg By Keri Geiger and Michael Riley
April 18, 2017 “During the Iraq war, Blackwater landed more than $1 billion worth of government contracts to provide personal protection for visiting officials and assist with military operations and, according to Prince’s memoir, carry out covert operations for the Central Intelligence Agency.  Click here for more on Erik Prince’s work in Iraq”  Bloomberg

NOTORIOUS MERCENARY ERIK PRINCE IS ADVISING TRUMP FROM THE SHADOWS  The Intercept  January 17, 2017  “Prince has long fantasized that he is the rightful heir to the legacy of “Wild Bill” Donovan and his Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA. After 9/11, Prince worked with the CIA on a secret assassination program, in addition to offering former SEALs and other retired special operators to the State Department and other agencies for personal security…The Trump presidency could result in Prince working for both Beijing and the White House. The Blackwater founder has also endorsed some of Trump’s overtures to Russia, saying: “Think about it: If FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, can deal with Stalin to defeat German fascism in World War II, certainly the United States of America could work with Putin to defeat Islamic fascism. We don’t have to agree with the Russians on everything, or even on a lot, but we can at least agree that crushing ISIS in the Middle East is a very good idea.” Prince described Democrats as “anti-Catholic, anti-Evangelical,” saying the DNC hacks and leaks revealed “the disregard, the disdain they have for the average American voter and citizen.” Prince has a close relationship with Breitbart News and Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior counselor and chief strategist. Prince has appeared frequently — and almost exclusively — on Breitbart Radio. Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, is Trump’s nominee for education secretary and she has all but vowed to embark on a crusade to push a privatization and religious agenda in education that mirrors her brother’s in military and CIA affairs. Prince has long been a contributor to the campaign of fellow Christian warrior Mike Pence, and he contributed $100,000 to the pro-Trump Super PAC Make America Number 1. Prince’s mother, Elsa, pitched in another $50,000. That organization, run by Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire hedge funder Robert Mercer, was one of the strongest bankrollers of Trump’s campaign. According to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in December Prince attended the annual “Villains and Heroes” costume ball hosted by Mercer. Dowd wrote that Palantir founder Peter Thiel showed her “a picture on his phone of him posing with Erik Prince, who founded the private military company Blackwater, and Mr. Trump — who had no costume — but joke[d] that it was ‘N.S.F.I.’ (Not Safe for the Internet).” The Intercept

Betsy DeVos’s Brother, The Founder of Blackwater, Is Setting Up A Private Army For China, Sources Say

The controversial Blackwater founder says he is setting up two bases in China, but his company says “this does not involve armed personnel.Aram Roston “In December (2016), Frontier Services Group, of which Prince is chairman, issued a press release that outlined plans to open “a forward operating base in China’s Yunnan province” and another in the troubled Xinjiang region, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority. When Frontier later told its board it was shifting into security services — largely to assist China’s international development policy — the development disgusted two American executives at Prince’s Hong Kong company. Gregg Smith, the former CEO of Frontier, said he was ready to quit last March if Erik Prince was not removed from the company. Then, at a board meeting late that month, he said a company official made clear that Frontier would be providing security services in support of Chinese government objectives. “That was the final straw,” he told BuzzFeed News. Retired US Admiral William Fallon, a Frontier board member, was at the same board meeting. He resigned too when he heard that the firm was providing security services. “That wasn’t what I signed up for,” he said in an interview. Former executives said that Frontier’s “forward operating bases” will be training former People’s Liberation Army soldiers to work as discreet non-uniformed soldiers for hire. The former associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Prince “is making Frontier Services a full-on private military company.” President Donald Trump has talked tough about China. To be sure, he recently reaffirmed that the United States will formally recognize only mainland China and not Taiwan, a crucial point for Beijing. But Trump has installed a sharply anti-China critic as the head of his National Trade Council. Before winning the presidency, Trump called China an “enemy.” Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, who interviewed Prince on Breitbart frequently, predicted last year that the US will be at war with China “in the South China Sea in five to 10 years.” And even if no hot war breaks out, many experts believe Trump is gearing up for a trade war with the country that manufactures much of the world’s goods (including some Trump brand products.) During the campaign, Prince donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory Committee, which supported both Trump’s election bid and the Republican Party. Jeremy Scahill, a journalist who has long covered Prince, recently wrote that the businessman is advising the Trump Administration. Just four days before the election, Prince gave an interview to Breitbart radio, part of the media empire that Bannon used to run, in which Prince pushed an unfounded theory that the NYPD had been about to announce arrest warrants in the Clinton investigation but was blocked by the Justice Department, and that Hillary Clinton had been to a “sex island” with a convicted pedophile “at least six times.” Prince’s bizarre claims were prominently displayed on Breitbart’s website leading up to the election and were widely distributed on right wing websites.” Buzzfeed

New Super-PAC Launches for Donors Who Won’t Back Trump But Loathe Clinton

Supported by former Ted Cruz backer Robert Mercer, a new player enters the fray. Bloomberg By Joshua Green and Zachary Mider 

June 21, 2016: The Robert Mercer-led Super-Pac “Make America Number One” aka “Defeat Crooked Hillary PAC” with Kellyanne Conway, president of Keep the Promise PAC, led by long-time Clinton hater David Bossie, president of Citizens United, made headlines appealing to Republican donors who don’t like Trump after their candidate Cruz dropped out. Bloomberg

INVOLVEMENT WITH TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM

“Blackwater Founder said to Have Advised Trump Team” Bloomberg “In one informal discussion in late November, Prince spoke openly with two members of Trump’s transition team on a train bound from New York to Washington. He boarded the same Acela as Kellyanne Conway and they sat together. Joining the conversation at one point was Kevin Harrington, a longtime associate of Trump adviser Peter Thiel who is now on the National Security Council. They discussed, in broad terms, major changes the incoming administration envisioned for the intelligence community, as recounted by a person on the train who overheard their conversation. A longtime critic of government defense and security policies, Prince advocated a restructuring of security agencies as well as a thorough rethink of costly defense programs, even if it meant canceling existing major contracts in favor of smaller ones, said a person familiar with the matter. Prince is no longer talking to those in the administration, said the person close to him, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were intended to remain private. His influence waned after Flynn was ousted as National Security Adviser in February over concerns about his own disclosures and conversations with the Russian ambassador. And Prince has no relationship with Flynn’s successor, General H. R. McMaster.”

April 3, 2017, The Washington Post “Blackwater founder held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel”   “Prince is best known as the founder of Blackwater, a security firm that became a symbol of U.S. abuses in Iraq after a series of incidents, including one in 2007 in which the company’s guards were accused — and later criminally convicted — of killing civilians in a crowded Iraqi square. Prince sold the firm, which was subsequently re-branded, but has continued building a private paramilitary empire with contracts across the Middle East and Asia. He now heads a Hong Kong-based company known as the Frontier Services Group……The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.  The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions. Though Prince had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition team, he presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking Emiratis involved in setting up his meeting with the Putin confidant, according to the officials, who did not identify the Russian. Prince was an avid supporter of Trump. After the Republican convention, he contributed $250,000 to Trump’s campaign, the national party and a pro-Trump super PAC led by GOP mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, records show. He has ties to people in Trump’s circle, including Stephen K. Bannon, now serving as the president’s chief strategist and senior counselor. Prince’s sister Betsy DeVos serves as education secretary in the Trump administration. And Prince was seen in the Trump transition offices in New York in December.  ” Washington Post Continued

Erik Prince in the Hot Seat  March 24, 2016 “Erik Prince, founder of the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater and current chairman of Frontier Services Group, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies for attempting to broker military services to foreign governments and possible money laundering, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the case. What began as an investigation into Prince’s attempts to sell defense services in Libya and other countries in Africa has widened to a probe of allegations that Prince received assistance from Chinese intelligence to set up an account for his Libya operations through the Bank of China. The Justice Department, which declined to comment for this article, is also seeking to uncover the precise nature of Prince’s relationship with Chinese intelligence. Despite the provenance of FSG’s funding and Prince’s history of bad publicity, Prince was able to recruit an impressive line-up of former U.S. military and intelligence officers to run the company. Key to Prince’s ability to retain such personnel, given FSG’s ties to China, has been the firm’s strictly circumscribed mission, which does not include military-related services. FSG is a publicly traded aviation and logistics firm specializing in shipping in Africa and elsewhere. The company also conducts high-risk evacuations from conflict zones. Prince has described his work with FSG as being “on the side of peace and economic development” and helping Chinese businesses to work safely in Africa. Behind the back of corporate leadership at FSG, Prince was living a double life. Working with a small cadre of loyalists — including a former South African commando, a former Australian air force pilot, and a lawyer with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Israel — Prince sought to secretly rebuild his private CIA and special operations enterprise by setting up foreign shell companies and offering paramilitary services, according to documents reviewed by The Intercept and interviews with several people familiar with Prince’s business proposals. Several of the proposals for private security services in African nations examined by The Intercept contained metadata in the digital files showing Prince and his inner circle editing and revising various drafts. Since 2014, Prince has traveled to at least half a dozen countries to offer various versions of a private military force, secretly meeting with a string of African officials. Among the countries where Prince pitched a plan to deploy paramilitary assets is Libya, which is currently subject to an array of U.S. and United Nations financial and defense restrictions…The Libyan proposal, reviewed by The Intercept, was code-named Operation Lima. It offered the Libyans an array of military equipment and services — including weaponized vehicles, helicopters, boats, and surveillance airplanes — to help stabilize eastern Libya. The ground force, according to a person involved with the plan, would consist of a troop of former Australian special operations commandos...By May 2015, Prince had rebranded himself and claimed a legitimate public reputation as FSG’s chairman. Without the approval of FSG’s management, he returned to Libya offering a freshly repackaged proposal. Prince’s private force would operate in Libya for the stated purpose of stopping the flow of refugees to Europe…One person involved in Prince’s plan said the anti-migration force was seen as a vehicle for Prince to build a “backdoor” for so-called kinetic, or lethal, operations in Libya — a form of mercenary mission-creep. “During the day, you do interdiction of migrants — not kinetic,” said the person involved in the plan. “But those routes are used by weapons smugglers and drug traffickers at night. Insurgents too. Erik’s guys can then be offered to the Libyans to help with their other problems. That’s how you get kinetic.” By then, the U.S. government was already investigating Prince for possible weapons deals in Africa, according to the former senior U.S. intelligence official and the former intelligence official briefed on the matter. In the course of the surveillance operation for that investigation, U.S. intercepts revealed Prince appearing to discuss efforts to open bank accounts in China to help his Libyan associates. “Money laundering for Libyan officials using a Chinese bank — that is the issue that pushed it over the edge” for the Justice Department, said the second former intelligence official. The U.S. spies monitoring Prince soon discovered that he had traveled to the Chinese-controlled peninsula of Macau in an effort to open a bank account, according to two people familiar with the investigation.Later, Prince traveled to Beijing, where he met with Chinese agents from the Ministry of State Security. In January (2016), Prince returned to Macau and opened an account at the Bank of China, according to several sources, including the second former intelligence official and the source with close connections to Macau’s banking community. “It was not a personal account,” said the former U.S. intelligence official briefed on the investigation. “He was doing it for the purpose of what is considered now — in the investigation — money laundering on behalf of the Libyans.” The Intercept