Video from an undercover investigation broadcast Monday by British television station Channel 4 News shows the head of the data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Trump’s 2016 campaign, talking about using bribes, traps involving sex workers and other unethical tactics to swing elections around the world.
Cambridge Analytica – the data company that credits itself with Donald Trump’s presidential victory – have been secretly filmed saying they could entrap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers.
In one exchange, when asked about digging up material on political opponents, the firms CEO, Alexander Nix, said they could “send some girls around to the candidate’s house”, adding that Ukrainian girls “are very beautiful, I find that works very well”.
In another, he said: “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.”
Offering bribes to public officials is an offense under both the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Cambridge Analytica operates in the UK and is registered in the United States.
The stunning admissions were filmed at a series of meetings at London hotels over four months, between November 2017 and January 2018. An undercover reporter for Channel 4 News posed as a fixer for a wealthy client hoping to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka.
“…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,” Mr. Nix told the reporter.
Along with Mr. Nix, the meetings also included Mark Turnbull, the managing director of CA Political Global, and the company’s chief data officer, Dr. Alex Tayler.
Mr. Turnbull described how, having obtained damaging material on opponents, Cambridge Analytica can discreetly push it onto social media and the internet.
He said: “… 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?’.”
Nix also 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.”
The company is at the center of a scandal over its role in the harvesting of more than 50 million Facebook profiles.
Watch part one of the documentary below via Channel 4: