In a highly anticipated hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, lawmakers questioned Christopher Wylie, a former research administrator for the shadowy political data firm Cambridge Analytica, about the company’s history of privacy violations, its contacts with Russia, and its work with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. But an even more fundamental question formed the crux of the inquiry: Did all of the black magic Cambridge Analytica sold to patrons, from legislators to defense bureaux, really even operate?
The hearing arrived simply a period after The New York Times reported that the now shuttered company is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department in what appears to be a look at the company’s finances. In his written testimony, Wylie corroborated he had been contacted by the FBI and the DOJ, and was cooperating with their investigation.
In preparation for his testimony, Wylie sent the committee a 71-point listing of fears he has about Cambridge Analytica’s work and evidence he has to back up those concerns, including a lengthy section on Russia. According to Wylie, former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix once mailed the Russian oil juggernaut Lukoil, which is sanctioned by the United states, a white paper laying out all of the data Cambridge Analytica had on Americans.