According to Channel4News, senior executives at Cambridge Analytica, the data company connected to Donald Trump mega-donor Robert Mercer and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, were secretly filmed saying they could trap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers.
An undercover reporter for Channel 4 News pretended to be a fixer for a wealthy client who wanted to elect candidates in Sri Lanka, then interviewed Cambridge Analytica chief executive Alexander Nix, who asserted when they discussed getting compromising information on candidates that the company could “send some girls around to the candidate’s house,” adding Ukrainian girls “are very beautiful, I find that works very well.”
Channel 4 also recorded Nix saying, “We’ll offer a large amount of money to the candidate, to finance his campaign in exchange for land for instance, we’ll have the whole thing recorded, we’ll blank out the face of our guy and we post it on the Internet.”
Cambridge Analytica is located in the United Kingdom but is also registered in the United States.
The tape-recorded remarks were reportedly made between November 2017 and January 2018. Nix told the supposed “fixer,” “We’re used to operating through different vehicles, in the shadows, and I look forward to building a very long-term and secretive relationship with you.” Nix also supposedly said, “Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company … so often we set up, if we are working then we can set up fake IDs and websites, we can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists, there’s so many options we can look at. I have lots of experience in this.”
Mark Turnbull, the managing director of CA Political Global, explained how the company would propagate rumors:
… we just put information into the bloodstream of the internet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again … like a remote control. It has to happen without anyone thinking, “that’s propaganda,” because the moment you think “that’s propaganda,” the next question is, “who’s put that out?’”
Cambridge Analytica’s chief data officer, Dr. Alex Tayler, was also present at some of the meetings. Channel 4 reported, “The executives boasted that Cambridge Analytica and its parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) had worked in more than two hundred elections across the world, including Nigeria, Kenya, the Czech Republic, India and Argentina.”
A Cambridge Analytica spokesman responded to the Channel 4 report by saying, “We entirely refute any allegation that Cambridge Analytica or any of its affiliates use entrapment, bribes, or so-called ‘honey-traps’ for any purpose whatsoever. … We routinely undertake conversations with prospective clients to try to tease out any unethical or illegal intentions. …”