FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller reportedly obtains Facebook search warrant


Last week, Facebook acknowledged that phony accounts appearing to have originated in Russian Federation bought $100,000 in advertising on its platform during the 2016 presidential election cycle and in the months after.

The move reportedly opens a whole new avenue of speculation about what the investigation is finding and where it is leading, said Business Insider on Saturday.

"Mueller clearly *already* has enough information on these accounts - and their link to a potential crime", tweeted Asha Rangappa, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence agent.

"This is big news - and potentially bad news for the Russian election interference 'deniers, '" said Asha Rangappa, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence agent.

"They kind of have a reputation within law enforcement for being less cooperative, and only giving information when they've received court orders and they're sticklers about that", he said. The prosecutor then has to show that the information being sought will provide evidence of that crime.

Facebook did not give the same information to Congress because it didn't want to disrupt Mueller's investigation or violate US privacy laws, according to the report. Evidence has come to light in recent months that people connected to the Russian government used social networks and other media in various ways in attempts to sway public opinion in favor of the Republican candidate, Donald J. Trump, over the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

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The fact that Mueller obtained a warrant means he's already made a strong case for Russia's meddling with the election.

Rangappa explained that to obtain a search warrant a prosecutor needs to prove to a judge that there is reason to believe a crime has been committed. "Second, that evidence of the crime existed on Facebook".

In its initial statement, Facebook said that about 25 percent of the ads purchased by Russians during the election "were geographically targeted". If done knowingly and willfully, such spending by a foreign national is a crime. That's aiding and abetting. Yet investigators in the House, Senate, and special counsel Robert Mueller's office are equally focused on a more explosive question: did any Americans help target the memes and fake news to crucial swing districts and wavering voter demographics?

According to reports, Kushner was in charge of the campaign's entire data operation.

In a post-election interview, Kushner told Forbes that he had been keenly interested in Facebook's "micro-targeting" capabilities from early on. A spokeswoman told CNN Thursday that the company isn't sure how many Kremlin-backed ads appeared on the site to influence US politics.

"We brought in Cambridge Analytica", he continued. I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. "We started really from scratch".