Hillary Clinton worked as secretary of state to funnel U.S. dollars into Russia's technological development, including military technology, in exchange for Russian investment in the United States, a new report claims.
Though the activity was legal, the report further illuminates the tangled alliances Clinton developed in her role leading the State Department, the lengths she went in trying to develop a relationship with Russian leaders, and the common ground that donors to the nonprofit Clinton Foundation appeared to share with donors tied to the Kremlin.
The report, released Sunday by the Government Accountability Institute, found the activity began in 2009, when President Obama worked with the country to establish the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.
The commission, led by Clinton on the U.S. side and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for Russia, was tasked with "identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people."
In that role, leaked diplomatic cables show, Russia won Clinton's assistance in obtaining funding for Skolkovo, an "innovation city" akin to Silicon Valley. The Russians established the nonprofit Skolkovo Foundation to assist with the effort, while Clinton's State Department began helping the Russian State Investment Fund, Rusnano, seek investment opportunities among U.S. tech firms.
Documents show the State Department was ultimately successful in obtaining 28 Russian, American, and European "key partners" to fund the Skolkovo Foundation. Some of those likely happened as a result of Clinton's personal clout: A total of 17 companies, like Google, Cisco and Intel, were either donors to the Clinton Foundation or had paid for speeches from Clinton's husband, President Bill Clinton.
Government documents suggest Skolkovo's work conflicted at least in part with U.S. military interests. The U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Program described it in 2012 as a "vehicle for worldwide technology transfer to Russia in the areas of information technology, biomedicine, energy, satellite and space technology, and nuclear technology."
The FBI issued a similar warning about the Skolkovo Foundation in 2014. "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 from the companies," Assistant Special Agent Lucia Ziobro wrote in an op-ed on behalf of the FBI. "The 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."
"There are serious national security questions that have been raised about both Skolkovo and Rusnano, by the FBI, the U.S. Army, and cybersecurity experts," the Government Accountability Institute report said. "These experts have argued that the activities of Skolkovo and Russian investment funds like Rusnano are ultimately serving the interests of the Russian military."