February 12, 2018

FACTS AREN'T LIBEL:

Former Senior FBI Official Is Leading BuzzFeed's Effort to Verify Trump Dossier : Anthony Ferrante coordinated the U.S. government's response to Russian election interference. Now he's helping a news site defend itself from a Russian billionaire's lawsuit. (JANA WINTER, FEBRUARY 12, 2018, Foreign Policy)

Ferrante, a former top FBI official who previously served as director for cyber incident response at the U.S. National Security Council during the Barack Obama administration, is now at FTI Consulting, where he is leading the effort. 

Ferrante joined the FBI as a special agent in 2005, and he was assigned to the bureau's New York field office, where he worked on cyber threats to national security. In 2006, he was selected as a member of the FBI's Cyber Action Team, a group of experts who deploy globally to respond to critical cyber incidents.

As a top FBI cybersecurity official tasked to the White House, Ferrante was in charge of coordinating the U.S. government response to Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, among other responsibilities. Prior to joining the NSC in 2015, Ferrante was chief of staff for the FBI's cyber division at headquarters under then-Director James Comey. Ferrante, still working for the FBI but at the White House, stayed in his position as director for cyber incident response at the NSC through the Trump administration, until April 2017, when he left to join FTI.

At FTI, Ferrante launched what's now been a months-long stealth effort chasing down documents and conducting interviews on the ground in various countries around the world. His team directed BuzzFeed lawyers to subpoena specific data and testimony from dozens of agencies or companies across the country and assembled a cyber ops war room to analyze that data, according to sources familiar with the work.

BuzzFeed is being sued for libel by Russian technology executive Aleksej Gubarev, who argues that the news organization was reckless in publishing a series of memos written by former British spy Christopher Steele. Those memos -- part of a so-called dossier of information about Trump -- include unverified claims that servers belonging to a company owned by Gubarev were used to hack the Democratic Party's computer systems during the 2016 campaign.

BuzzFeed's outside attorneys initially hired FTI to verify aspects of the dossier specifically pertaining to the Gubarev lawsuit, but its scope has since expanded. "If it's fact, it's not libel, that's the idea," one source told FP.

Posted by at February 12, 2018 4:24 PM

  

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