Russia has become a major issue in this year’s presidential campaign. It should have been a major issue in the last one, but President Obama countered Mitt Romney’s attempt to inject Russia into the debate with his sophomoric quip that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Whether it’s ISIS (aka “the jayvee”) or Russia, Obama sure knows how to spot trouble.
This year, both parties agree that Russia poses a serious threat. In this respect, and perhaps only this respect, the 2016 campaign is an improvement over last time.
With attention now being paid, Peter Schweizer’s latest piece on the Clinton Foundation will perhaps make a mark. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Schweizer shows that under Hillary Clinton’s leadership, “the State Department recruited and facilitated the commitment of billions of American dollars in the creation of a Russian ‘Silicon Valley’ whose technological innovations include Russian hypersonic cruise-missile engines, radar surveillance equipment, and vehicles capable of delivering airborne Russian troops.”
Here’s how it happened. As part of Hillary’s Russian reset, the Kremlin committed $5 billion over three years to fund Skolkovo, an “innovation city” on the outskirts of Moscow billed as Russia’s version of Silicon Valley. Clinton’s State Department worked aggressively to attract U.S. investment partners and helped the Russian State Investment Fund identify American tech companies worthy of Russian investment.
Dozens of U.S. tech firms, including top Clinton Foundation donors like Google, Intel, and Cisco, then made major financial contributions to Skolkovo. According to Schweizer, by 2012 Skolkovo had 28 Russian, American and European “Key Partners.” Of the 28 key partners, 17 have made financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation, totaling tens of millions of dollars, or sponsored speeches by Bill Clinton.
Russian money also flowed to the Clinton Foundation. Schweizer reports that Andrey Vavilov, the chairman of SuperOx, part of Skolkovo’s nuclear-research cluster, donated between $10,000 and $25,000. Skolkovo Foundation chief and billionaire Putin confidant Viktor Vekselberg also donated through his company.
As the Slolkovo project gained momentum, U.S. defense experts became alarmed. The U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Program at Fort Leavenworth warned:
The Skolkovo Foundation has, in fact, been involved in defense-related activities since December 2011, when it approved the first weapons-related project—the development of a hypersonic cruise missile engine. . . . Not all of the center’s efforts are civilian in nature.
Similarly, Lucia Ziobro, an assistant special agent at the FBI’s Boston office, stated that “the FBI believes the true motives of the Russian partners, who are often funded by their government, is to gain access to classified, sensitive, and emerging technology. . .” Ziobro added, “The [Skolkovo] foundation may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial application.”
Hillary Clinton knew about the dual-use problem while she was Secretary of State. Schweizer notes that a State Department cable sent to then-Secretary Clinton (and obtained via WikiLeaks) mentioned possible “dual use and export control concerns” related to research and development technology ventures with Moscow.
Clinton ignored the problem. Was this due to the millions of dollars in Clinton Foundation donations by Skolkovo’s key partners?
Only Hillary knows for sure. But the burden should be on her to provide a more convincing explanation.
In any event, Clinton is responsible for helping create a Russian “Silicon Valley” that has enabled the Krelim to boost its military and surveillance capacity. And let’s not forget her role in enabling Russia to gain control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States.
Russia has been well-served by Hillary Clinton’s cluelessness and greed.