President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, husband to Ivanka Trump, and a top advisor in the Trump administration, Jared Kushner wanted a secret communications line with the Kremlin as reported in the Washington Post.
Jared Kushner and Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak discussed the possibility of a potential secret and secure communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin, utilizing Russian diplomatic facilities to mask their pre-inaugural discussions from review or surveillance according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.
Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner initiated the idea of a secret communications channel during a meeting on December 1st or 2nd in Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were then reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.
The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, the ex-national security adviser.
The White House disclosed the meeting only in March, previously downplaying its significance, but people with knowledge of the matters of discussion say that the FBI now considers the meeting, and another meeting Kushner had with a Russian banker, to be an interest of federal authorities.
Russia is notoriously known for inserting false information into international communication streams that they think have a possibility of being monitored by a foreign intelligence agency.
Trump’s top advisers were also secretive about meetings with leaders from the United Arab Emirates. The Obama administration had only learned of these meetings with the crown prince from Abu Dhabi in December to see Kushner, Flynn, and Bannon, who was another top Trump adviser because U.S. border agents in the UAE spotted the Emirate leader’s name on a flight manifest.
In addition to their meeting on the secret communications channel, Kushner, Flynn, and Kislyak also discussed arranging a meeting between a representative of Trump and a “Russian contact” in another country whose name was not identified in the anonymous letter.
Currently, the FBI closely monitors communications between Russian officials in the United States, and it maintains a nearly “24-hour” surveillance of its diplomatic facilities. The National Security Agency surveils the communications of Russian officials internationally.
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that although Russian diplomats already have been provided with secure means of communicating with Moscow, Kushner’s sudden request for access to such lengths was puzzling to almost everyone.
“How would he trust that the Russians wouldn’t leak it on their side?” said one former senior intelligence official. The FBI would know that a Trump transition official was going in and out of the embassy, which would cause “a great deal” of concern, he added. The entire idea, he said, “seems extremely naive or absolutely crazy.”