Special counsel Robert Mueller almost certainly learned about top Trump campaign officials meeting up with Russians overseas using the same tools the Kremlin used to wage cyber warfare against the U.S. during the 2016 campaign.
An accidentally unredacted court filing shows former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort gave polling data to a Ukrainian associate with Russian military intelligence ties, and Mueller most likely gained that information through a program run by the National Security Agency, according to former NSA analyst John Schindler.
The court filing shows Mueller has evidence that Manafort traveled to Madrid to meet with longtime associate Konstantin Kilimnik, and that he gave polling data to the alleged Russian agent and discussed a Ukraine peace plan.
Mueller has seized Manafort's electronic communication records, and Schindler says the special counsel learned about his early 2017 trip to Madrid through the travel tracking program revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
“Mueller really does know everything,” one former intelligence senior official told Schindler. “The (intelligence community) gave the Special Counsel everything we had that might be of relevance to their investigation, most of it came from NSA.”
Travel tracking allows the NSA and its Five Eyes partners to learn the identity of anyone traveling by air, and when, anywhere in the world, and those intelligence services can also peek into wi-fi and mobile phones in flight, according to documents stolen by Snowden.
That also means that Mueller already knows whether Michael Cohen traveled to Prague in summer 2016 to meet with Kremlin agents while working as Trump's attorney, Schindler said.
Schindler noted with some irony that Snowden's documents were dumped online by WikiLeaks, which U.S. intelligence says the Kremlin used to promote active measures against Hillary Clinton to help Trump win the election.