Israeli hackers accessed the private email accounts of two heads of state and offered information to the data analytics team that worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
The British data firm Cambridge Analytica, which has used information pulled from Facebook users to consult on political campaigns around the world, was working on the reelection campaign of Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 when employees met with Israeli contractors and were offered a USB stick with information on his opponent Muhammadu Buhari, who would go on to win. Cambridge Analytica employees believed that the USB stick contained hacked emails.
Company leaders urged staff to search through the data for incriminating information.
“It made everyone feel really uncomfortable,” one source told the Guardian. “They wanted people to load it into their email programs.”
Employees who spoke to the Guardian believed that the material included medical records. “I’m 99% sure of that,” a source said. “Or if they didn’t have his medical records they at least had emails that referred to what was going on.”
That same Israeli team also reportedly obtained information on the opposition leader of the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris, who is now prime minister.
The CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, told undercover reporters for Britain’s Channel 4 that they “use some Israeli companies” who are “very effective in intelligence gathering.”
Cambridge Analytica’s parent company denies taking or using stolen personal information. The company is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Israeli Hackers Offered Emails To Cambridge Analytica