An Italian newspaper has received an audio recording from someone who claims to be Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese professor who allegedly delivered word of Hillary Clinton’s stolen emails to Donald Trump's campaign.
Mifsud’s whereabouts have been unknown for two years. He went to ground days after his identity as the unnamed “overseas professor” at the center of the Trump–Russia probe was revealed — and his whereabouts have been unknown since.
Corriere della Sera said it received the recording through an anonymous email account late on Tuesday night.
"Today is the 11th of November 2019. I am Joseph Mifsud, speaking, this is my voice," the audio begins.
He categorically denies any wrongdoing or links with intelligence services.
"I have been a networker all my life. This is what I am good at. I try to bring one group in contact with another.” He goes on to say that none of his contacts were with any “secret service” or “intelligence service.” He adds that if he had made contact with people in such agencies, he would not have known. “So this is extremely important,” the man says.
Initial analysis by Bellingcat suggests that the voice in the recording is likely to belong to Mifsud. The record includes mispronunciations that match publicly available audio of the Maltese professor, and these would be hard to achieve for someone trying to imitate his voice.
BuzzFeed News also spoke to Mifsud’s former girlfriend and shared a link to the audio with her. She said she was certain that the voice in the recording published by Corriere della Sera belonged to the Maltese academic.
The man in the recording claims to have had absolutely no contact with friends and family for months and explains that he decided to keep a low profile to think and reflect on events “and blown-up issues” for the past two years.
He concludes: “It is extremely important that I am given the possibility of coming back to life. It has been very very difficult for me to live like this without any human contact, without a human experience. I believe I should be given the opportunity to do that. It is extremely important that somebody somewhere decides to let me breathe again."
There is no indication in the recording of Mifsud’s current whereabouts, nor is an explanation provided for the timing of the release.
Mifsud remains one of the mysteries of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. He has been described as “a Russian agent” by former FBI director James Comey. And in recent weeks he has become the central character of an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory after Attorney General Bill Barr began reviewing the origins of the Russia investigation.
Some of Trump’s allies and right-wing media outlets have laundered the unfounded theory that the Maltese professor is a Western intelligence asset who was used to entrap the Trump campaign. Barr was in Italy earlier this year to meet with Italian intelligence agencies to ask about the fate of the missing professor, adding further fuel to the theory.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte categorically said last month that Italy had nothing to do with the Trump probe.