By the week after the 2020 election, former Trump national security official Rich Higgins had some ideas about what was going on.
Higgins, three years from a stint at the National Security Council that ended with him circulating a memo accusing “globalists” and “islamists” of undermining Trump from within, saw President Biden’s putative victory as something familiar: foreign actors, he claimed, were using the same tactics that the U.S. applied to its enemies.
“It’s a technique known as a color revolution,” Higgins said in a Nov. 12 interview with Matt Shea (R), a far-right Washington state legislator known for, among other things, drafting an outline for killing infidels and libs, and for being accused by the state legislature of participating in domestic terrorism. (The interview and other connections around Higgins were first flagged on Twitter by @mrspanstreppon, a research account.)
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Higgins was named in a memo circulated among Trump advisers that would have seen the then-president create a team to seize NSA signals data in an effort to manufacture information showing that the election had been stolen.
Higgins, along with two other people, was named in the memo as being part of the team that would “run targeted inquires of NSA raw signals that may not have been processed yet to pursue suspected foreign interference of the 2020 election vote count manipulation.”
Higgins, once described by Frank Gaffney as “one of our nation’s most astute and skilled political warfare specialists,” also is listed as a fellow at Americans for Intelligence Reform — a non-profit run by Bradley Johnson, who was among the first to propagate the ItalyGate conspiracy theory that loomed large in the imaginations of those that sought to claim 2020 was stolen. That theory holds that the 2020 election results were in part the product of an Italian defense contractor using military-grade satellites to beam different vote totals into American voting machines, thus depriving Trump of his victory.
The NSA memo, obtained by the Post, described the 2020 election results as the product of foreign actors altering U.S. vote counts and stoking a “color revolution” in the United States.
“A group of former DoD and IC analysts collected, analyzed, and organized into a work product substantial evidence suggesting foreign involvement in both the violent Color Revolution’ the US is presently undergoing and specifically the 2020 Election fraud and their involvement in altering the vote counts in the 2020 Election,” the memo reads.
In the interview with Shea, Higgins used much of the same language that appears in the memo, repeatedly describing both the 2020 election and the summer 2020 Black Lives Matter protests as a “color revolution.”
“Basically, it’s a giant perception weapon designed to put pressure on those not conforming with the narrative,” Higgins said, referring to Biden as someone “known to be a Chinese agent.”
“The goal being that after having engineered this crisis, they put Biden in there,” Higgins added. “We the people that support the federal republic acquiesce and the Chinese agent president goes in.”
The theme of foreign election interference via manipulated vote totals and the potential role of signals intelligence runs through the interview.
At one point, Shea asked Higgins about “hammer” and “scorecard” — a bizarre claim in a viral video put forth by a former Lt. General that computer programs called “hammer and scorecard” were used to change the vote totals.
Higgins replied that while he didn’t know of any “hammer” or “scorecard” programs, he believed the underling theory was plausible.
“That said, is it possible to write a program that masks the manipulation of voting? Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve never heard of anything like it — that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. But it’s completely plausible that it exists, and it certainly looks like it.”
That theory bears some similarities to other conspiracy theories that were circulating in the final weeks of 2020, including ItalyGate.
During the transition period, archived tweets from Higgins’s now-deleted account show him promoting the idea, advanced by Sidney Powell, that the election results were the product of an international communist conspiracy involving Hugo Chavez. He made room for Italy as well in the baroque world of the theory.
Higgins did not reply to a request for comment from TPM. He appears to have been hit with a severe case of COVID-19 in January 2021.
In the interview with Shea, Higgins claimed that that “the operation to take down Trump in this election with this color revolution was blown up.”
“These guys thought they were going out to ambush a platoon, but they ambushed a division,” Higgins added. “Americans blew up the operation to enslave them.”