US special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly interviewed cybersecurity expert Matt Tait who claimed he was "recruited to collude with the Russians" during the 2016 US presidential election. Tait, a British security analyst and former information security specialist for Britain's GCHQ who now runs a private internet security consultancy in the UK, was interviewed by Mueller several weeks ago, a source told Business Insider.
The interview comes as part of Mueller's broader investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow. Mueller is also examining the relationship between the longtime Republican operative Peter W. Smith, who was tied to the Trump campaign, and former national security adviser Mike Flynn.
In an article titled "The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians" published on the Lawfare national security blog in June, Tait claimed to have been recruited by Smith to help verify hacked emails Hillary Clinton's private email server.
"Smith implied that he was a well-connected Republican political operative," Tait wrote. "Yet Smith had not contacted me about the DNC hack, but rather about his conviction that Clinton's private email server had been hacked – in his view almost certainly both by the Russian government and likely by multiple other hackers too – and his desire to ensure that the fruits of those hacks were exposed prior to the election."
Tait claimed that Smith approached him during the campaign for help to validate whether or not the emails from Clinton's private server that were provided by 'dark web hackers' were genuine or not.
He said he agreed to go along with the request because he wanted to find out more about the alleged hackers and whether or not they were scammers or part of a larger Russian intelligence operation.
Tait wrote that he warned Smith about the serious implications if the hack was orchestrated by Russia and the Kremlin was using the stolen emails as part of a campaign to influence the election.
"Smith, however, didn't seem to care," Tait wrote. "From his perspective, it didn't matter who had taken the emails, or their motives for doing so. "He never expressed to me any discomfort with the possibility that the emails he was seeking were potentially from a Russian front, a likelihood he was happy to acknowledge."
Smith died in May at the age of 81, about 10 days after talking to the Wall Street Journal about his experience and pursuit of the emails.
Tait also said claimed to have been linked to Flynn and his son. Flynn was forced to resign earlier this year after reports emerged that he misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding the extent of his communications with the then-Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
The House Intelligence Committee, which is also currently investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and alleged collusion between Trump's team and the Kremlin, has also interviewed Tait earlier this month as part of its own probe, CNN reported.