The FBI interviews Sarah Bills, the Donbass Girl, while the DOJ and NCIS investigate her past

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The FBI interviews Sarah Bills, the Donbass Girl, while the DOJ and NCIS investigate her past

[Oak Harbor, Wash.] – WBHG/MTN – Former US Navy Chief Petty Officer Sarah Bills, better known as Russian Donbass propagandist Girl, was interviewed by FBI agents at her home in Oak Harbor, Wash., on Sunday, according to a Newsmax report, and is also being investigated by the Navy’s National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS).

An open-source intelligence investigation led by NAFO, a loosely connected group of pro-Ukraine social media users united in their fight against Russian disinformation, identified Bills as the person behind a disinformation empire on Twitter and Telegram that began in 2014, while she was in the US Navy and exploded after Russia expanded its war of aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Malcontent News was the first to report on Ms. Beals’ alter ego and was able to verify the self-proclaimed “Russian Jew” girl from Donbas was actually born in Voorhees, New Jersey, according to her 2011 marriage certificate.

On Sunday, Bills told the Wall Street Journal, after an exclusive interview with the paper on Saturday, that she had been “upfront and honest with the FBI and NCIS about what my clearances were and what I had access to, which was literally nothing.”

In early April, Bellingcat investigators found that the Donbass Devushka Telegram channel was the first to publicly leak redacted classified and top secret Pentagon documents allegedly shared by US Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeria on a private Discord server , called Thug Shaker Central. Teixeria, who is not related to Bils, was arrested without incident by federal agents on April 13.

On Monday, an unnamed source at the US Department of Justice said “it is an active federal investigation, but the circumstances surrounding the content of the investigation are unclear at this time.”

Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh was peppered with questions about Ms. Bills during a press briefing on Monday. Asked whether the Defense Department had known that the former chief petty officer of the Navy had published Russian propaganda since 2014 and whether it had been investigated before the document was leaked, Ms Singh said: “Because that investigation is ongoing, I would referred to the DOJ for this.”

Ms Singh confirmed that Bills had not been investigated by the US Navy “while in uniform”, adding “to my knowledge” and referring further questions to the Navy Department. On Tuesday, an NCIS spokesperson told the South Whidbey Record that NCIS “continues to work cooperatively on an investigation of her activities with the Department of Justice.”

On April 5, four poorly redacted top secret Pentagon documents were posted on her Telegram channel, with Ms Bills claiming she was not responsible for the post, that it was done by another administrator who had been “punished” and the documents removed . However, on April 14, the documents, which were subsequently deleted, were still available, contrary to her claims during her interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Over the past two days, a clearer picture of Mrs. Bills’ life has begun to take shape. In late 2020, she was promoted to E7, Chief Warrant Officer, which is the senior NCO rank. But just beneath the surface, her life was falling apart. She was already embroiled in a bitter divorce battle over custody of her daughter, and court documents reviewed by the South Whidbey Record said she suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and “substance abuse disorder.”

In 2021, court documents show that the US Navy sent Bills to a substance abuse treatment program in Utah. In September 2021, she was involved in a serious car accident where she rear-ended another vehicle while driving at high speed. Drugs and alcohol were not factors in the daytime crash, and Bills was cited by the Washington State Patrol for speeding. According to her mother, the Donbas girl was seriously injured in the crash and traveled to Washington to help her daughter recover.

Two days after the accident, Bills posted on Twitter that she had totaled her car and lost custody of her child. She was honorably discharged from the Navy on 27 November 2022 with a promotion to E5, Petty Officer Second Class. In the U.S. Navy, a chief petty officer is a petty officer and would be the equivalent of a sergeant in the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Space Force.

Bills previously filed for divorce in 2014 and requested a temporary restraining order, which was served on her husband by the Island County Sheriff’s Office on June 13, 2014. The 14-day temporary order was not extended by the court. In 2016, Bills withdrew her divorce filing.

Since leaving the Navy, Bills has made various claims about why she was fired, including telling the Wall Street Journal that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, writing on social media that it was because of her “left-wing views,” and in another Twitter thread, she claimed she stopped reporting for duty. In a series of tweets on Monday that are currently protected from public view, Bills, or one of up to 15 people she claims help run her social media empire, posted a Tweetstorm defending her actions, saying they were not laws were broken, and subpoenaing multiple news agencies to share and analyze top secret documents released by Teixeria. At the time of publication, the Donbass Devushka Telegram channel remained active, posting dozens of times a day.

The FBI and NCIS investigation comes at a time when the US government appears to be grappling with Russian influence in US politics. In a separate case, the Justice Department announced Tuesday that four American citizens and three Russians have been charged with “conspiring to covertly sow discord in American society, disseminate Russian propaganda, and unlawfully interfere in US elections.” A federal grand jury alleges that agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) recruited, financed and discredited American political groups to act as unregistered Moscow agents. Omali Yeshitela, Penny Joanne Hess, Jesse Nevel and Augustus C. Romain Jr. of St. Petersburg, Florida, are charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA) and each face up to five years in prison.

Moscow resident Alexander Viktorovich Ionov was one of three Russians charged with violating FARA and is accused of using foreign influence to “create the appearance of American popular support for Russia’s annexation of territories in Ukraine.”

When Malcontent News was researching our original report on Bils, a legal expert advised that the area of ​​potential trouble for Donbass Girl is in FARA.

FARA requires certain agents of foreign principals who engage in political activities or other activities specified in the statute to make periodic public disclosures of their relationship with the foreign principal and activities, receipts, and payments in support of those activities. Disclosure of the required information facilitates the assessment by the Government and the American people of the activities of such persons in light of their function as foreign agents.

United States Department of Justice

Bills’ social media work is supported by the Telegram channel Rybar, which has over 1.1 million followers and is one of the most influential Russian military-oriented social media brands on the planet. Rybar is led by computer programmer Denis Shchukin and former Russian Defense Ministry press officer Mikhail Zvinchuk, according to ANBOUND’s Kung Chan. The pair are said to be linked to the FSB, although they insist they receive minimal funding from the Russian government and have an operating budget of $20,000 a month.

On social networks, Girl from Donbas often praises and defends the private military company Wagner Group, headed by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin. In November 2022, Prigozhin opened a new PMC Wagner headquarters in St. Petersburg, Russia, which included plans for material and financial support for journalists and bloggers. Prigogine has publicly bragged about meddling in the 2016 and 2020 United States elections and used his company, Concord Management and Consulting, as early as 2014 to manipulate the US election. That same year, Bils became more active in publishing anti-Ukrainian and anti-American content.

Bills periodically lamented financial problems on social media and for years solicited donations of cryptocurrency, CashApp and Buy Me a Coffee, claiming the money would support Russian causes. Online and in her interview with the Wall Street Journal, she claimed that no money went to Russia and the little funds raised went to cover her personal expenses for technology and equipment.

An important question for the DoD to answer is how a man with a documented history of substance abuse, mental illness, financial problems, and a troubled marriage that included custody battles and restraining orders was able to keep his TS security clearance .

Bils blocked us on social media and did not respond to a request for comment.

Mental illness and substance abuse are sensitive topics that can evoke strong emotions. If you are depressed, desperate or having suicidal thoughts, there is help available. In the United States, you can dial 988 to contact the suicide and crisis hotline. You can also call 800-273-8255 24 hours a day. If you prefer not to talk to a person, you can send a message 741741and for US veterans, you can send an SMS 838255.

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