The latest major media “bombshell” in the Trump-Ukraine saga involves reports that a European “Trump backer” was involved in a scheme to surveil former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and Democrat impeachment star witness Marie Yovanovitch.
Media reports on Friday said that Robert Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate, named Anthony de Caluwe in the alleged plan to place Yovanovitch under surveillance.
Who is Anthony de Caluwe?
Intelligence contractors in the United States and Europe told Free Press International that de Caluwe is not credible, having presented himself as an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which he is not and never has been.
Related: State Dept. sued for records related to alleged surveillance under Amb. Yovanovitch, January 20, 2020
Text messages released last week by the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff, indicate that Hyde relayed information on purported intelligence on Yovanovitch’s movements last spring to Lev Parnas, another of many characters of questionable credibility in the 3-year-long series of investigations of Donald Trump culminating in the impeachment saga.
Hyde claimed that he had received the information from de Caluwe and passed it to Parnas, who supplied the messages to House officials leading the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
De Caluwe initially said Hyde’s assessment was “incorrect” and claimed he declined to help when Hyde asked for information on Yovanovitch.
“I informed him it’s against the law,” de Caluwe told NBC News on Friday.
After the texts were released, de Caluwe said in a statement on Saturday that he was not involved in any surveillance of Yovanovitch and that the messages with Hyde were merely “ridiculous banter.”
Reports identify him only as a Dutch national who supports Trump and works on finance and renewable energy ventures in Central America.
Intelligence and law enforcement sources in Europe said that de Caluwe flashes DEA badges and other agency-related paraphernalia when inquiring about alleged drug operations. He is known to have lived and traveled in Switzerland and Latin America.
“He was born in the Netherlands. He officially lived in Belgium, but he was scrapped from the registers. That’s because they don’t ‘officially know’ where he lives,” one source said.
“He walks around with those (badges) and also wears an FBI jacket,” one contractor told Free Press International. “His Instagram account is full of pictures implying he is DEA. Although the handle mentions FBI.”
“It was rather easy to establish Anthony does not work for the DEA.”
A representative for de Caluwe, Karyn Turk, told NBC that de Caluwe is a 52-year-old Dutch citizen who works as a financial adviser and travels frequently to Belgium.
De Caluwe claims he was a Marine who later joined the DEA, set up a program with sniffer dogs and has spent 15 years working for the DEA in Venezuela or El Salvador.
De Caluwe “boasts of written recommendations from President Trump and posts pictures of him standing on the stage of some election rallies with President Trump, as one of his supporters,” a source said. He would wear the same hat on that picture as on those he posts and sends to others. “This didn’t make sense to me, since I thought federal officers are not allowed to be publicly affiliated with a certain political party.”
De Caluwe had provided a business card with the company name of IT Tech Ciaren in Palm Beach, Florida. A search on the Florida Secretary of State business website found no results on the company. A Google search also produced no results.
The contractor also found de Caluwe used several aliases and variations on his name.
De Caluwe “believes he is invincible,” the contractor told Free Press International. “He tries to get in touch with politicians and high-ranking officers, etc. What is even a bigger threat is what this guy poses to Trump. Running around with fake credentials. I’m happy the guy is getting exposed.”
“Parnas is trying to out Trump on things he had no knowledge of and people he never met,” a U.S.-based contractor for the Department of Homeland Security said. “De Caluwe might have used his fake agent credentials to ask people to surveil Yovanovitch but we won’t know. The Democrats and media are trying to use the info on these text messages to boost the impeachment, but the people they are basing this on are definitely not credible.”
NBC News reported Turk said that de Caluwe doesn’t know Parnas but began a “playful exchange” with Hyde about the ambassador after seeing Hyde post about her on Facebook.
“Anthony understands how these exchanges released in the media yesterday look,” Turk said. “He has never had any contacts in the Ukraine.”