In late 2015, exact date unknown, the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, a unit of the U.S. Treasury Department, makes an agreement with Russia to share information on financial institutions in the Middle East. The agreement, called ISIL project, is intended to investigate how ISIS is being financed.
Instead, Russia pushes Treasury officials into sharing the financial information of their enemies in the U.S. and across the globe, including “at least two dozen dissidents, academics, private investigators, and American citizens.”
Over the next year, Treasury officials send information to Gmail and Hotmail accounts set up by Russia, instead of the secure email server required by protocol for international communications. The information Russia requests and receives focuses on executives from prominent American Jewish groups, billionaire investors they believe have financial ties to Hillary Clinton, and Kremlin opponents living abroad, among others.
The breach of protocol was picked up in 2016 by another unit of the Treasury, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), but despite FinCEN’s warnings, there was never a serious investigation. The backdoor communications and record sharing with Russia continued until at least early 2017.