In 2014, Steve Bannon reportedly asked Cambridge Analytica to test messaging:
a) About Putin and Russian aggression ("expansion") into Eastern Europe
b) About how to discourage Democratic voter turnout.
Two years ahead of the election.
Cambridge Analytica's Promotion of Discontent Tied to Bannon
More stories by Billy HouseApril 25, 2018, 4:50 PM CDT
Whistleblower tells Democrats of former Trump adviser’s role
Partial transcript from Wylie released by House Democrats
Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told House Democrats that Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former adviser, was behind much of the company’s early focus on promoting public discontent to influence U.S. elections.
“Cambridge Analytica was set up to be essentially a full-service propaganda machine," Wylie said, according to a partial transcript of Tuesday’s closed-door interview released by House Democrats.
Republicans didn’t participate in the interview of Wylie, conducted by Democrats on the Judiciary and the Oversight and Government Reform committees. Wylie also met on Wednesday with House Intelligence Committee Democrats. Bannon, who served as chief executive officer of Trump’s campaign and later as chief White House strategist, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wylie set off a firestorm last month with his revelation that Cambridge Analytica, a U.K. political research firm hired by Trump’s presidential campaign, accessed tens of millions of Facebook profiles to harvest data of unsuspecting Americans and use it to influence the election.
Wylie’s comments Tuesday related to a time period after Bannon became involved in Cambridge Analytica in 2014 but before he joined the Trump campaign in 2016. Bannon served as vice president and secretary of Cambridge Analytica from June 2014 through August 2016, according to a government disclosure report he filed.
Bannon said he wanted to use Cambridge Analytica to discourage specific groups of people from voting, including those likely to vote for Democrats, Wylie told lawmakers, according to the partial transcript released on Wednesday.
Bannon also directed the company to test messaging later used by the Trump campaign, Wylie told lawmakers. Bannon pushed for research intended to capitalize on discontent within certain populations by using themes such as "drain the swamp" and immigration, Wylie said.
Bannon said he didn’t care if campaign ads created and promoted through Cambridge Analytica promoted incorrect information because he was trying to win a “culture war,” Wylie told the Democrats.
In something that Wylie said he couldn’t fully explain, he also reported that Bannon directed Cambridge Analytica in 2014 to test images and concepts for an American audience relating to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian expansion in Eastern Europe.
“I can’t explain why it was that they picked Vladimir Putin to talk about in focus groups or to do message testing or to do models on, and why that would be useful to Steve Bannon," he told the Democrats.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... pId=google
Bannon turned Cambridge into 'propaganda machine,' whistleblower says
WASHINGTON — Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told Democrats on Capitol Hill that former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon asked the embattled data firm to study voter suppression strategies and to test messaging on Russia.
In a closed-door meeting Tuesday, Wylie told Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that Bannon specifically tasked Cambridge Analytica with looking at ways to depress Democratic turnout with their messaging.
Cambridge Analytica “was set up to be essentially a full service propaganda machine,” Wylie said. He spoke to Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee in separate closed-door meeting Tuesday.
Bannon acknowledged helping to found Cambridge Analytica and coming up with the company’s name at a Financial Times conference in March. “I helped put the company together and gave it that amazing name,” Bannon told the conference.
But, he said he “didn’t even know about the Facebook mining,” referring to the scandal surrounding data on up to 87 million Facebook users that was improperly sold to Cambridge Analytica to help the company develop messaging for Republican candidates in U.S. elections. The company was later hired by Donald Trump’s campaign.
Bannon did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie arrives to meet with Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 25, 2018.Aaron P. Bernstein / Reuters
Wylie also told lawmakers that Bannon asked Cambridge Analytica employees to test messaging for an American audience about Vladimir Putin and Russian expansion in Eastern Europe.
“It was the only foreign issue, or foreign leader, I should say, being tested at the time I was there,” Wylie said. “I can’t explain why it was that they picked Vladimir Putin to talk about in focus groups or to do message testing or to do models on, and why that would be useful to Steve Bannon.”
Wylie said there was very little U.S.-based staff at Cambridge Analytica. The company, he said, was a “shell” company with most of the work done in London by its parent company, SCL.
Lawmakers asked Wylie about Michael Flynn’s advisory role in the company. Flynn did not disclose his relationship with Cambridge Analytica until he filed his third amended financial disclosure form, which listed work for the SCL Group, but stated that he worked for them only from November 2016 to December 2016.
“As far as I know, it was to open doors and look at potential contracts,” Wylie said of the relationship.
Wylie has publicly stated his suspicions about Cambridge Analytica’s work with Russia but the company has denied ever doing any work with any Russian entity.
A spokesman for Cambridge Analytica and SCL did not respond to requests for comment.
In the Financial Times video Bannon defends the company, saying it only works in U.S. elections and is totally separate from its parent company, SCL, that has been criticized for some of its work in elections around the world.
Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s financial backers Rebekah and Robert Mercer got legal advice about the importance of having Cambridge Analytica be a U.S. company with Americans in leadership and decision-making roles if working on U.S. elections.
Cambridge Analytica has called Wylie a disgruntled former contractor who left the company in July 2014 and has no knowledge of the inner workings of the company.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald ... ys-n869126