A former executive from the data-mining dark operator Cambridge Analytica 'visited Julian Assange in February last year and told friends it was to discuss what happened during the US election,' the Guardian reported today.
Brittany Kaiser worked as a director there until not long ago, and is reported "to have channelled cryptocurrency payments and donations to WikiLeaks."
Assange issued a statement saying that he had turned down the Cambridge Analytica offer. Alexander Nix, the company's chief executive, told Westminster MPs the same in February, during an appearance at the Commons digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee. Nix said he found a contact for WikiLeaks' speaking agency on the internet and sent Assange an email.
But visitor logs from the Ecuador embassy obtained by the Guardian and Focus Ecuador appear to show that Brittany Kaiser, a senior executive at Cambridge Analytica until earlier this year, visited Assange on 17 February 2017. Information passed to the DCMS committee in the UK and the Senate judiciary committee in the US states that the meeting was "a retrospective to discuss the US election".
Kaiser is also alleged to have said that she had funnelled money to WikiLeaks in the form of cryptocurrency. She called the organisation her "favourite charity". The reports passed to investigators say that money was given to her by third parties in the form of "gifts and payments".
After the afore-quoted story was published, there was all-new news in London today.
Alexander Nix appeared as scheduled before the DCMS committee for the second time at 3pm on Wednesday (today), where he was questioned by lawmakers on Cambridge Analytica's relationship with WikiLeaks and the disinformation campaign by Russia to elect Donald Trump.
At his earlier appearance, Nix denied any connection. He previously said to the committee:
"We have no relationship with WikiLeaks. We have never spoken to anyone at WikiLeaks. We have never done any business with WikiLeaks. We have no relationship with them, period."
Turns out that's not true.
Excerpt from Reuters:
The former head of Cambridge Analytica admitted on Wednesday his firm had received data from the researcher at the center of a scandal over Facebook users' personal details, contradicting previous testimony to lawmakers.
(….) Asked about a Guardian report that a Cambridge Analytica employee visited Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2017, he said he had been unaware of the meeting.