Russia’s GRU / Guccifer contacts Alex Jones but fails to reach him

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Sources linked at end of page.


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Russia’s GRU (military intelligence), acting as Guccifer 2.0, contacts Alex Jones via Twitter, apparently to pass along disinformation that would smear the Democratic party and make Paul Manafort a victim.

The GRU knows by now that the Guccifer account is being monitored by law enforcement, but they continue to use it to contact journalists and propagandists like Jones.

Alex Jones doesn’t respond, however. Another InfoWars “reporter” does.

On October 18, for example, as the election campaign was white hot and during the daily onslaught of Podesta leaks, both GRU fronts attempted to reach out to Alex Jones, a then-prominent conspiracy theorist who ran a far-right media organization called Infowars. The fronts contacted two reporters at Infowars, offered exclusive material, and asked to be put in touch with the boss directly. One of the reporters was Mikael Thalen, who then covered computer security. First it was DCleaks that contacted Thalen. Then, the following day, Guccifer 2.0 contacted him in a similar fashion. Thalen, however, saw through the ruse and was determined not to “become a pawn” of the Russian disinformation operation; after all, he worked at Infowars. So Thalen waited until his boss was live on a show and distracted, then proceeded to impersonate Jones vis-à-vis the Russian intelligence fronts.

“Hey, Alex here. What can I do for you?” the faux Alex Jones privately messaged to the faux Guccifer 2.0 on Twitter, later on October 18.

“hi,” the Guccifer 2.0 account responded, “how r u?”

“Good. Just in between breaks on the show,” said the Jones account. “did u see my last twit about taxes?”

Thalen, pretending to be Jones, said he didn’t, and kept responses short. The officers manning the Guccifer 2.0 account, meanwhile, displayed how bad they were at media outreach work, and consequently how much value Julian Assange added to their campaign. “do u remember story about manafort?” they asked Jones in butchered English, referring to Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager. But Thalen no longer responded. “dems prepared to attack him earlier. I found out it from the docs. is it interesting for u?”

Active Measures by Thomas Rid

The same day that the GRU contacted Jones, their Guccifer 2.0 blog published material hacked from DNC servers in May.

The information about Guccifer 2.0 contacting Jones is heavily redacted in the 2020 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Russia report. Because of those redactions, we know almost nothing about the second time that the GRU contacted the Info Wars host.

Less than two years later, Jones obtains a Russian visa.

External Sources

emptywheel (Archived)

SSCI Sept. 2020 Report

Photo: CNN screenshot via KTLA

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