'A report in The New York Times this week reveals details of a multimillion dollar scheme by a now defunct Israeli spy firm to use social media manipulation and fake online identities in a sophisticated effort to sway the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump.
Trump eventually secured his party’s nomination and went on to win the US presidency but it is unclear if Psy-Group, a firm staffed by former Israeli intelligence agents, gave him a boost.
The company’s former CEO Royi Burstien previously commanded an Israeli psychological warfare unit.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Burstien lives in a settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and held several senior intelligence posts with the Israeli government between 2003 and 2013. He now markets himself as an “intelligence-based influence expert.”
Psy-Group has also reportedly been involved in the Israeli government’s covert campaign against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.
Back in May, the Times reported that three months before the 2016 election, Psy-Group owner Joel Zamel and an emissary for two powerful Gulf princes had met with one of Trump’s sons to talk about ways to help the Trump campaign.
“The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president,” the Times reported.
“The social media specialist, Joel Zamel, extolled his company’s ability to give an edge to a political campaign; by that time, the firm had already drawn up a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump.”
“There is no evidence that the Trump campaign acted on the proposals,” the Times states in its latest report.'
Read more: Did Israeli spy firm help Trump win presidency?
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