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What The US Intelligence 'Russia Hacked Our Election' Report Could Have Said… But Didn't

from the why-didn't-it? dept

By now it’s quite clear that many in the US intelligence community believe strongly that Russia tried to influence the US election, and part of that included hacks into the DNC’s computer systems, a spearphishing attack on Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails and some exploratory surveillance hacking into the computer systems of state election systems (but not into the voting machines themselves). The US intelligence services said it back in October. And they said it again last month. And, they said it again on Friday with the release of an unclassified “incident attribution” report.

Because the debate over this issue has gotten quite silly in some places — and ridiculously political as well — let’s start with a few basic points: It is absolutely entirely possible that the Russians hacked into all these systems and that it was trying (and perhaps succeeding?) to influence the election. Nothing in what I’m saying here is suggesting that’s not true. What I am concerned about is the evidence that’s presented to support that claim — mainly because I think we should all be terrified when we escalate situations based on secret info where the government just tells us to “trust us, we know.” And, yes, governments (including the US) have done this going back throughout history. That doesn’t make it right.

But here’s the thing: there actually is some pretty good evidence that Russia was behind the hack. But here’s the crazy thing: that evidence is not in this report, but presented elsewhere. If you keep reading below, I’ll point out an example of some pretty compelling evidence that Russia was behind the hack — and it’s the kind of evidence that the US intelligence community could have easily provided, but did not.

And that’s where the problems lie. Because very little in this new report provides any evidence at all of Russia doing anything. It certainly goes deep into the motivations for why Russia might want to influence our election. It’s also not surprising that Russia might have the ability and expertise to do these things. But it would be nice to see actual evidence. As Lovenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai at Motherboard notes, there’s really very little in the new report that we didn’t know already:

But this report adds nothing we didn?t already know from public information. The only significant statement is that, yes, American spies are convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin himself directed the hacking and influence campaign—something they already stated in early October.

Marcy Wheeler similarly notes that there’s plenty of work on motives, but little on evidence:

What we see of it is uneven. I think the report is strongest on Russia?s motive for tampering with the election, even if the report doesn?t provide evidence. I think there are many weaknesses in the report?s discussion of media. That raises concerns that the material on the actual hack — which we don?t get in any detail at all — is as weak as the media section.

The “media” section is actually pretty ridiculous. It basically notes that RT, the American-targeted TV station owned by the Russian government, has a history of pushing Russian-approved propaganda. Well, sure.

And just one more pointer on this. Former CIA analyst Patrick Eddington also has a really thorough analysis of the report and comes to basically the same conclusions:

While the report provides new and important details on the multifaceted Russian operation, its failure to include declassified primary source data for key claims ensures the controversy has not been put to rest.

So, what kind of evidence could the intel community have provided? Well, Matt Tait, who used to work at the UK’s GCHQ, and who now tweets at @pwnallthethings gave a pretty damn good example of digging down into publicly available data to present quite compelling evidence that Russian interests were behind, at the very least, the hack of John Podesta’s emails. This is not 100% conclusive, certainly, but it’s a hell of a lot more compelling than anything released by the US government:

See? That’s pretty damn compelling. Perhaps it’s not conclusive, but it’s a very, very strong argument for why the hack came from Russia. And it’s a hell of a lot more compelling that what the US government put out.

I’ve seen lots of people arguing that the intelligence community couldn’t reveal more details because it would “burn sources and methods” that were used to determine the attribution of the hacks — but Matt Tait did figure all that out with public information (ironically, some of it revealed via Wikileaks). Now, perhaps the intelligence community that hates Wikileaks doesn’t want to use that as a “source” in its report. Or perhaps it’s something else. And, yes, it makes sense that the intelligence community should not burn sources and methods to reveal stuff like this. But there are ways to present compelling details without compromising those things. But, of course, this is the US intelligence community we’re talking about, and they’re generally not fans of revealing anything at all. So I’m sure even the details in this report were like pulling teeth. And that’s dumb.

Again, more and more of what happens in the world is going to happen via computer systems and networks. And we’re not always going to know. But it’s a serious problem when governments are escalating situations and making angry posturing moves against one another based on totally secret information where the best we’re being told by the government is “trust us.” Especially when that very same government has a long history of not being so trustworthy.

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Comments on “What The US Intelligence 'Russia Hacked Our Election' Report Could Have Said… But Didn't”

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Ninja (profile) says:

Remember how they kept treating information from public leaks (Snowden anyone?) as classified even if everybody else had already read it all? Well. This would explain why they aren’t revealing these details.

So it could be stupidity. Or it could be the Govt not used to people questioning them and willing to take the “trust us” route that worked in the past. Or downright totalitarian impulses. Or it could be a comic albeit tragic mixture of all.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’ve dug through the filling and frankly the case seems weaker than Gawker. The lawyers conveniently left out tons of evidence TD presented at the time to make the basis of the arguments.

I’m going to repeat what Norton said at Ars:

I hope this will finally be the straw that breaks the congame this guy has been running for the last 37 years.

There are plenty of people willing to help if TD decides to crowdfund the defense me included.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

frankly the case seems weaker than Gawker.

That’s putting it lightly. Gawker published someone’s sex videos, and were sued over it as a privacy issue. Ayyadurai on the other hand has been telling a lie, and Techdirt merely pointed that out. It’s a defamation issue.

And Ayyadurai lie is easily disproven. The history of email is well documented.

Thad (user link) says:

Thanks, Mike; I think this is a pretty good rundown of the central dilemma here, which is that (1) Russia is probably responsible for the attacks but (2) the intelligence agencies have done a piss-poor job of providing evidence of that, and a reasonable person should not accept something as true just because the CIA said so.

(With a side dish of (3) saying that Russia attempted to influence the election is not the same as saying Trump won because of Russia, and (4) we should evaluate stories like this based on facts and not based on our own political leanings.)

waves says:


all you have shown is what i could have done in 1996 and in fact did and the mere mention that whoever also did , russians and other govts shows you it was a vulnerability move and they snagged a good one, my one example in 2001 before the trade centers nailed 3662 servers in 14 seconds…100% rooted….with process hiders and anti anti viri lol ( love that ) you effectively can sit back and scoop all kinds a nice stuff….and you can easily spread your vector over huge degrees , now remember this tech still works too….

regards ,
a once 14 year old hacker …

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Hacking vs Penetration

To hackers, it still means cleverness and unorthodoxy to solve problems. But yeah, hacking in common parlance has turned into an obtuse bad (e.g. terrorism) but with a computer. In the old days, one would actually say computer hacking to differentiate it from, well, analog cleverness.

To be fair, all of the tools used in tech support are also hacking tools, and we have language (penetration, cooking, corruption, sabotage, etc.) for specific things that one does, for good or ill, to a computer, but thanks to the CFAA, many of them are criminalized even before intent is considered.

Anonymous Coward says:


I trust the American Government as much as I trust the Russian one. Two liars lying about who did or did not do what.

As an American Citizen, what does this mean to me? Every nation is already trying to hack us for multiple reasons. I don’t think a single election has ever gone down without someone trying to fuck with it internal or external. There is a high likely hood that they all wind up cancelling each other out, but that provides no comfort either.

How about we start telling the government that we cannot trust them anymore when we are called to jury duty and just start rendering not guilty verdicts until the government along with the so called “justice” system cleans its fucking act up?

Russia’s hacking is a problem, but still second to the bullshit going on at home!

Anonymous Coward says:

RT's Involvement

Is no one other than me troubled by some of the comments in the report about RT’s “Involvement” in “influencing the election”, including comments like:

“Messaging on RT prior to the US presidential election In an effort to highlight the alleged “lack of (RT, 3 November) democracy” in the United States, RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised thirdparty candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates. The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a “sham.””

“RT’s reports often characterize the United States as a “surveillance state” and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use (RT, 24, 28 October, 1-10 November).”

“RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability (5 October).”

The report seems to say things like “Russia has a Propaganda TV channel, which it uses to publish true things that embarrass us.” They certainly don’t accuse RT of fabricating any of the stories. RT’s support of third party candidates, for instance, doesn’t suggest those candidates were influenced in any meaningful way. I dunno. There *are* real issues around police brutality and the surveillance state in this country. There *are* health concerns around fracking. We can’t just lump all this stuff together.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Hillary is a confirmed election hacker

No, they’re quite right. The emails did not show any evidence of election rigging.

There were signs of DNC bias in the DNC primaries, but that’s not the election. For all its importance, it’s still a private function by a private organization. They’re free to manipulate it the way the RNC manipulated their own primaries against McCain in 2000 and Ron Paul in 2012 an (more desperately, too late,) Trump in 2016. Fortunately the DNC didn’t go anywhere near that far.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Hillary is a confirmed election hacker

Trump himself said the RNC primaries are rigged. Serveral times, actually.




Sorry if that pokes a little hole in your bubble. But that’s right out of the orange horse’s mouth.

I’m guessing the conversation’s over.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 You keep using that word...

Whining, taken literally, is an auditory effect, like the whining of a dog or the whine of an engine. Applied to a verbal milieu such as an internet forum or a newspaper editorial, it becomes dismissive hyperbole for voicing a grievance.

Dismissive as in disinterested in any consideration that the grievance might have legitimacy. You won, and you give zero fucks as to who might suffer as a result. Yes?

Not. Your. Problem.

But no one here was complaining that the election was lost by Clinton. A fact is a common observance. Clinton won the majority. We counted. Neither Clinton’s majority nor Trump’s electoral victory are in dispute.

But, Anonymous Coward, the defensiveness indicated by your presumption that it was the expression of a grievance, and your premature effort to dismiss it as whining can be easily inferred to mean you are sensitive that Trump’s technical victory is not confirmed by a popular majority. Trump won only by the distrust of our constitutional framers regarding a pure democracy.

As did Republican President George W. Bush, and we all saw how that turned out.

So, maybe you should be sensitive about it. Recent history suggests Republicans can only get elected by exploiting the technical vulnerabilities of the system, not just by sustaining the Electoral College, but also through acknowledged voter suppression campaigns and gerrymandering. The magnitude of subversion of the system serves as an open admission that the GOP could not win fairly-run elections, but have to game the system to have a chance at all.

In Trump’s case, he had to depend also on demagoguery and interference by a foreign state and a rogue agency director just to win. Not to landslide, but win by a technicality, without a majority.

Trump knows that his Presidency is the result of a well-rigged system and not the choice of the people. He personally helped to rig it.

But it bothers him.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Trump the Vampire?

Is he a time traveler/vampire?

No. Trump just hired consultant teams for his campaign to incite grassroots voter suppression. It worked too. He also raised the specter of voter fraud, which is the classic Republican justification for laws intended to suppress votes, even though our incidents of detected voter fraud (including in this campaign) are very few. In districts peopled with higher numbers of non-whites and an active suppression campaign (often enabled by a local administration antagonistic to racial minorities) voter turnout was noticeably less than the mode and Clinton got fewer votes. A common counter-suggestion is that Black people are too lazy to vote.

A number of underhanded methods were personally endorsed by Trump to take the presidency despite the actual will of the people. This isn’t particular to Trump, but is common practice among the GOP, but it does imply that they have to do this to win, and would lose elections if they didn’t resort to subversive measures.

How would a Vampire Trump be particularly capable of rigging the election? Stinkin’-rich Trump has a lot more appropriate super powers.

And no, the electoral college is necessary safeguard to keep less populous states from being dominated by larger ones.

That’s only the weighting effect of the electoral college, not the part where the electorates can vote for whoever they want regardless of the candidate they’re assigned. There are really two separate components to the Electoral College.

If we wanted to weight some territories or demographics more than others, there are much better ways to do it (e.g. count landowner votes as 1.5 votes and everyone else’s as 1.0 votes or White Male votes as 1.66 votes and everyone else as 1.0 votes).

Of course, when we do that, the unfairness of it is more evident. Giving weight to whites or Christians or ruralites or the affluent is antithetical to the principle of equality under law.

Regarding the winner-take-all thing, a popular count makes every vote important and worth campaigning effort, since states (or even districts) are no longer rounded to be red or blue. This would also end the problem of gerrymandering which is an exploit of a policy of rounding to the lead.

It was recently observed that both Texas and California are really rather purple, so neither would be a party bulwark. Votes would count whether from California or Michigan or Hawaii or Kentucky.

The winner-take-all factor is an artifact from a time when few people were mathematically literate and adding machines were rare. In this age, we can dispense with devices we used to make the calculations easy because almost everyone has access to math and (at least) handheld calculators.

…except that the way things are benefit one party, and that party would rather game the system to stay in power, rather than changing their platform with the times. Politics is the art of the possible, and the GOP can continue to use exploits to control the system, but then you can no longer call the United States a democracy.

And you can’t suggest that the Democratic party should take on a more conservative platform to get more votes. You can, but while the GOP is cheating to win, the Demos are still going to be at a disadvantage.

You can suggest that the RNC organize like the GOP to implement their own system exploits so that both sides are subverting the US election system. They’re also subverting democracy, then, and the people will have less and less say as elections are determined by who utilized the exploits the best, or who discovered the best gamebreaker.

This is normal. Plenty of authoritarian regimes choose to rule by technicality and refusing to reform broken systems. But they openly give zero fucks about what is best for the people, or what they want.

That’s what you’re doing as a Trump supporter, giving zero fucks about what happens to the United States and the plurality of peoples that make its citizenry.

So no. Don’t think the Trump regime is in any way legitimate. Don’t try to pretend that it’s popular. Don’t assume that Trump is well liked, and don’t think that you will be forgiven for supporting a petty, spiteful, violent regime that disenfranchised people and relied on foreign intervention to weasel its way into office.

Instead own it. Don’t support trump because you think he’s going to Make America Great Again or Drain The Swamp (both of those are pure jingoism). Support trump because you like charismatic authoritarians. Support Trump because you like having permission to hate those different from you. Support Trump because you like feeling like one of a privileged elite over the rest of us shlubs. Support Trump because you believe winning, even by subterfuge, is more important than sportsmanlike conduct. Support Trump because you are a staunch Republican and Trump, for all his ugliness, was the best the Republican party could do this time around. Support Trump because you love Trump more than you love America, or yourself.

Support Trump, and revel in his victory. But do not pretend that he won fair and square. Do not pretend he is, in any way, the people’s choice, or the better choice. (Not that Clinton was a strong candidate either, but she’s not as bad as Trump by orders of magnitude.)

Trump knows he’s popularly despised, which is why he feels compelled to respond when someone voices it. (More so than he feels compelled to run the country, for certain.) That compulsion may well be his undoing.

Anon says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Trump the Vampire?

Blah, blah, blah, you said he “helped rig the system,” which is impossible unless he has a time machine. Hilarious that you people complain about election fraud while being staunchly opposed ID voter ID. And Hillary probably loses popular too without CA (which has among the loosest voting regulations).
“Stinkin’-rich Trump has a lot more appropriate super powers.”
Not enough to spend half as much as that pauper Hillary did

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:14 You didn't actually answer my question.

The video lost me at How liberals really feel…. Neither liberals nor conservatives nor feminists nor gamers nor /b-tards can be expected to monolithically adhere to a given precept, even when it comes to those that should be axiomatic for them.

Besides which, the Democratic party in the 1960s was significantly different (and divided) in comparison to what it is today. Contrast George Wallace and Jack Kennedy.

Similarly, Nixon was an education president and gave zero fucks about abortion. The Republican party has been sorely corrupted by the Religious Right which came into power in the 80s. Ronald Reagan heralded the religious-affiliation era of the GOP and almost started a thermonuclear war over it, since he couldn’t tolerate those godless Soviets being godless.

But yeah, in the 50s and 60s Dixie was Democrats from one end to the other.

Since you’re confused, though, I call myself a liberal. I am probably more spooked by mean-looking black guys at a bus stop than I’m spooked by mean-looking white guys (mean-looking being the relevant factor there), but I’d give them both time and directions. What I feel about a given people — including Trump supporters, mind you, at whom I remain livid — is incidental to how they should be regarded, which is on the pretense that we are all created equal and should have equal regard.

Get it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hillary is a confirmed election hacker

What is being left out of this equation that those emails were not written by the Russians and clearly show Hillary and the DNC doing real election rigging.

And I’d say WikiLeaks wouldn’t be biased if they also released the emails of the RNC as well. Because bias is bad.

I heard there’s some election rigging of their own going on. You won’t hear that on MSM.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Hillary is a confirmed election hacker

You’ll have to ask Trump:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/13/trump-draws-rnc-rebuke-over-rigged-primary-charg e-missing-key-deadlines.html

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/275926-trump-lash es-out-at-rigged-disgusting-dirty-primary

http://www.politico.com/blogs/twelve-thirty-seven/2016/04/t rump-gop-primary-rigged-222376

Unless you’re arguing he’s a liar.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Hillary is a confirmed election hacker

Funny. When I tell people to check stuff out, they tell me they aren’t going to do my homework for me. That i must post links. Then when you guys make statements w/o links, it is my homework to do. You guys are very confusing.

Also, remember when Obama said he would have the most transparent administration in history? I guess Russia just helped him out with that promise.

Dave Cortright (profile) says:

"Came from Russia" ≠ Russian government is behind it

One point that I wish the media would make regarding this story: even if the source of the hack was Russian, that does not imply the Russian government was behind it, and it’s misleading to imply the link when it hasn’t been proven.

“Americans responsible for act terrorism against their own countrymen” accurately yet misleadingly describes what Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols did.

DC Pathogen says:

Smoke Screen detected

What if it was discovered the the English hacked the email accounts?
What if it was discovered that the English hacked the email accounts and framed the Russians?
What if it was discovered that the French hacked the email accounts on behalf of the English who then framed the Russians?

It still would NOT change the content of the email!!!
Does the source of the truth change the truth?

Do we ignore the content of the email because of it’s source?

This is all smoke to cover up a look inside the truth inside a political machine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Smoke Screen detected

Do we ignore the content of the email because of it’s source?

No, but to argue that we should ignore the means by which it was obtained is problematic.

Unless you’re arguing that hacking is perfectly fine. If that’s the case I’ll say be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Smoke Screen detected

To argue that we should ignore what was exposed because of the way it was exposed is even worse.

Except that’s not what I said:

Do we ignore the content of the email because of it’s source?

No, but to argue that we should ignore the means by which it was obtained is problematic.

Did you miss the No? – that was the first word of the sentence.

A little email hacking of what is a private organization and not a government entity is not the magnitude you would make it out to be.

Except that it had ramifications on a government entity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Smoke Screen detected

Putin has played Obama like a fiddle. Obama has been impotent when it comes to Putin. Remember the hot mic incident where Obama told Putin he would have more flexibility after he was re-elected? Remember how Putin congratulated Obama on winning the election and called him afterward? Yet somehow one world leader calling another after winning an office is only bad when it is Trump. Look, only libs fall for that garbage, the rest of us have the internet and the internet never forgets.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Smoke Screen detected

I am not defending Trump, he wasn’t my top choice. But he beat the hell out of Hillary. That is the part you just can’t come to grips with. As bad as you think Trump is, he beat her. But it is more than that, Obama’s greatest accomplishment is to build the strongest Republican party in some time. That makes me happy.

So why are you such a supporter of maybe the most corrupt candidate ever?

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Smoke Screen detected

But he beat the hell out of Hillary.

Three million more people voted for Hillary than for Trump. Even in Electoral College terms, Trump’s victory margin only ranks 46th among the 58 presidential elections. He didn’t "beat the hell out of Hillary"; he squeaked by on a technicality.

Obama’s greatest accomplishment is to build the strongest Republican party in some time.

Obama ran the country as a pre-2008 Republican, sticking to Republican policies. Pushing the Republican Party further to the extreme right, where it was hijacked by the Tea Partiers with Ted Cruz and others attacking traditional Republicans as RINOs.

That in turn was hijacked by an outsider, Donald Trump. Who many prominent Republican officials, governors and ex-White-House residents denounced before the election. And who – after getting the support of remaining prominent Republicans like Cruz, Romney and Christie – has systematically humiliated them.

Last week Trump yanked the leash on Republicans in Congress, stopping them from gutting the ethics office with one tweet.

It’s not "the strongest Republican party in some time." It’s the Trump party.

When the axe entered the forest, the trees said, "The handle is one of us!" – Turkish proverb

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 "Trump as a candidate beats Hillary hands down."

In what way, exactly?

In that he continuously changes his story to cover his own ass, and believes his own lies?

In that he is showing all signs of profiteering off his position as POTUS?

In that he’s assigned to pretty much every official post someone who is ideologically opposed to the regulatory purpose of the agency they’re running?

In that he’s overtly prejudiced about every race, every marginalized minority?

In that he’s completely abilist and can not exhibit pity, mercy or compassion for anyone who has gone through hardship?

That he is openly misogynistic and objectifies women as sex objects?

That he thinks he knows more than anyone about everything?

That he is eager about utilizing the United States thermonuclear arsenal?

That he is almost assuredly, one psychological evaluation away from a narcissistic personality disorder diagnosis? (Three if you want to be absolutely sure), and is with no doubt a danger to himself and others, now the whole world, as a nuclear-armed head of state?

For me, a couple of these would disqualify a candidate. What amazes me is that Trump openly has exhibited all of these characteristics, and some people still find him a valid candidate.

So you may need to ask yourself: how many people need to be deprived of life or liberty or wellbeing before you are going to accept that Trump is a disaster? How many before you will regret that Trump ever became President of the United States.

Because everything indicates that he is going to exceed my expectations of calamity. That I can’t imagine how horribly he is going to wreck the United States.

And no, he won’t be here to clean it up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 "Trump as a candidate beats Hillary hands down."

Hilary said she had her public opinion and her private opinion. She sold pay for access while Secy of State and made 10’s of millions for her foundation. She lied about the cause of Benghazi even after the YouTube story was disproven. The election rigging. The list goes on.

The whole list of isms and ists you list are lies from the left and a big part of the reason the left is losing. Crying wolf only works for so long. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can develop a winning strategy. Or not, and the Republicans will keep on winning.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Smart! Sad!

Um, the Republicans keep on winning because they suppress votes, circulate false news and implement projects to gerrymander the entire nation, one county at a time. The GOP cast of committees and projects to game elections in their favor is extensive, notorious and public. Many of them are found on Wikipedia. The implication is, of course, that if the Republican party allowed for a fair election, they’d lose, and lose hard.

They have to do these things. They have to disenfranchise, and intimidate, and cheat in elections to win, so yeah, the Democratic party is going to lose if they expect the Republican party to play fair. Granted, the Democrats are notoriously disorganized, depending on grassroots support.

Regarding Trump’s -isms maybe you just don’t keep track of elections, but an easy google search should direct you to Trump’s specific incidents. On the other hand, maybe you respect people who regard women as meat and will grab their bits because they know they won’t retaliate against someone with the fame and wealth to bury them. Maybe you’re okay being represented by a guy who raped a thirteen year old little girl (not just once, mind you) and then threw money and hired thugs to intimidate the legal problem away. Maybe you’re okay having for President a guy who has repeatedly failed to pay his workers for his building projects, and is currently in 4000+ court cases which will continue while he is President for breaking contractual obligations.

I suspect those things didn’t come up because you were too busy actually researching the Bengazi incident, yes?

Maybe you’re okay with someone who has every intent to fleece the nation to feed his own coffers, probably to pardon himself and flee to Monaco after he resigns. Because he’s smart.

Incidentally you’re going to have to be specific about who’s crying wolf and what they’re crying wolf about. It sounds more like (considering your reference to -isms) that you don’t respect identity groups outside your own, and are glad for a president who thinks all Muslims are terrorists and all Mexicans are rapists. Because fuck those guys, right?

I’d hope not, but there are a lot of Trump supporters who feel the same way and are so glad to have a President they can relate to and understand who the real Americans are.

Or you may be one of the people so frustrated with trying to break even that you voted for him to watch the world burn. I hope so for your sake. Because, I expect, that’s the only group who will be satisfied with consequences of a Trump presidency.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Smoke Screen detected

That is exactly what you are doing. You are mad because your side lost. Your side has been losing since 2010 to the tune of over 900 positions. Riots, looting, protests and general cry babying isn’t how you change that. That is exactly how you got here in the first place. That and bad policy.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Smoke Screen detected

That is exactly what you are doing.

[citation needed]

You are mad because your side lost.

My side was Bernie Sanders. But yes, I’m mad that he lost. In fact, I’m absolutely furious with the DNC and the Clinton campaign. You think I’m arguing that we shouldn’t pay attention to the contents of the leaks? Really? Me? Who do you think you’re fooling?

Your problem is that you can’t hold two separate thoughts in your head at the same time. You don’t think it’s possible to think that the Russian government attempting to influence our election is bad and Democratic insiders attempting to influence our election is bad.

Discussing foreign propaganda efforts against our electoral system is not the same thing as defending Hillary Clinton. Get a clue.

That is exactly how you got here in the first place. That and bad policy.

But mostly gerrymandering.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 "You are mad because your side lost."

I wrote a blog piece about this particular line of thought. The TL:DR version is:

a) It presumes we had a side that could win. The issues important to me include copyright maximalism; mass surveillance; failing oversight, especially with our law enforcement; extrajudicial detention and torture; abuse of drone strikes and other messy targeted killings; whistleblower persecution; the pandemic technophobia in our administrations; corporate sovereignty; the futile-but-expensive wars on terror and drugs;

Guess which of our candidates is eagerly looking to address these concerns with massive reforms. (Hint, it’s a trick question!)

and b) We wouldn’t get to relax if our side won. The situation is massively divided. Obstructionism in the legislation is rampant. We have to activate, to get involved, to do anything to pressure officials to do the right thing. Because otherwise, they won’t. Otherwise, others will get in the way. Otherwise things will move too slowly.

So, of course we’re mad. But if we won we couldn’t just sit down and let Ms. Clinton run our country for us.

Now, instead, we have to control the conflagration that Trump is about to set off. (Hopefully, it’s not literal.)

Zarvus (profile) says:

You’re focusing exclusively on the DNC hack of Podesta’s account (the report covers a lot more than just that one thing) and also forgetting who the intended audience for the intelligence report summary was for. It wasn’t for techies or people who appreciate breakdowns like the one from pwnallthethings, it was for the general public who doesn’t have classified access.

kage (profile) says:

I’m not completely convinced it was Russia. Sure, we have an IP address and a country listed, but it isn’t difficult to hide behind a VPN or proxy and make it look like you’re coming from any country in the world. A good hacker would know this and cover their tracks, which lead me to believe that the hacker responsible purposely left a trail of bread crumbs that point to Russia. But there is still no real evidence being presented.

shanen (profile) says:

Recursive lies biting themselves in the arse

The layers of deceit are built upon layers of deceit, so where do you try to unravel the infinite loop?

When you traffic in lies for too long, how can anyone EVER trust you? Just ask #PresidentTweety about trust. We’re going to have a presidential library with an entire wing dedicated to the great Twitter Wars.

Don’t look at me. I’m so paranoid I’m convinced Snowden was a patsy. Sincere and even a patriot, but still a patsy. They spotted him and fed him what they wanted to leak, but Putin got in the way of the last step of making a right proper example out of him. Maybe Putin will now arrest Snowden as a little housewarming present for his puppet?

Oninoshiko (profile) says:


The thing is, I don’t trust the CIA. I don’t trust the people who work for the CIA. I don’t trust the motives of the CIA nor the motives of the people who work for them.

Let me remind everyone, this is the same agency that thought their mandate would be best fulfilled by dosing unsuspecting US populations with LSD. Because, yes, THAT’s in the best interests of americans.

Virtually Nonymous says:

Look, this report is coming from the same people who gave us all that excellent information about Iraq’s WMD programs. If you don’t believe everything they tell you, you’re probably a paranoid conspiracy-theorist.

On a more serious note, almost none of the coverage of this issue actually tackles the most substantial argument against the “blame the Russians” hysteria – namely that anything these leaks exposed would not have been a problem if the people who had their communications leaked were not engaging in shady/dodgy behavior. Saying that Assange or the Russians are the party at fault here is like a convicted criminal saying that the problematic results of his crimes are the result of the courts convicting him.

Wyrm (profile) says:

The way I see it, but I might be wrong, is that the intelligence corps were the product of an era when they had trust and authority. They knew, they were the good guys. They said someone did something wrong and we (mostly) believed them.

Today everything changed. Saddam’s WMD, Snowden, and widespread fact checking… They lost a lot of that trust they had, but old habits die hard. They didn’t need to display too much evidence then… and, although they clearly need to in order to rebuild that trust, they are still going out of their way to deny as much information as possible.

Maybe things will change once all the cold war era politicians and intelligence officers retire? When a generation that grew up with Internet and its overabundant knowledge actually gets its turn?
Either that, or the “power corrupts” trope is inevitable.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: America's imperialist history of rigging elections

If the US survives long enough to recover, and this experience gives us empathy enough to change our national foreign policy to cease our interventionist ways and seek to preserve the integrity of foreign democratic elections, it will be a proud day to be an American, indeed.

I doubt it will happen. The United States appears to be peopled with imbeciles. But it would be a grand day if it did.

Koby (profile) says:


Apparently, up to 18000 email hacking attempts is not an indication of a state-sponsored actor. It can be accomplished by a brother and sister duo according to Bloomberg News. Also, the two were capable of a much more sophisticated hacking method that involved a malware network, instead of just phishing.


Anonymous Coward says:

Republican Politicians seek public office to insure that Republican Billionaires, like themselves, will get richer VIA the Law.

Democratic Politicians seek public office to insure that Democratic Billionaires, like themselves, will get richer VIA the Law.

The difference is mythological.

Just a quick question.

Does the US have the telecom capacity/savvy, necessary to make the evidence for a “cyber attack” appear to be from Russia? – (manufacture evidence which on the surface would be compelling, as long as nobody with expertise actually examines the totality of the “evidence” closely and discovers the little nuances left behind by the CIAF BINSA)

I think they do, and then some.

Such a “russia spoof” would also help all those politicians screaming for the creation of a US Military Cyber Warfare Response Department. Helps get the public behind a new scary-cyber-crisis so they can make some more easily reversed protection laws that will be happily reinterpreted to use against the online public later.

And IMO, the US spy apparatus had far more to gain from this still apparent “hack” than the Russians did, for suddenly, they have a big scary “enemy” so powerful it can “cyber”-netically make Americans choose a crooked megalomaniac moron to be their leader. Without a Strong Anti-Cyber Attack Force, the next thing you know, Americans will all be wearing furry hats, eating borscht and drinking Vodka. Cyber-netically of course.

As a bonus, they got T.Rump into the Awful Orifice, who is as blatantly pro-surveillance as he is pro-ignorance, and who will do almost anything for vast sums of money.

One does not have to have an active imagination to consider some of the things that T.Rump would gleefully do if paid well enough, once he’s in the Awful Orifice.

You all might want to check your backside for those telltale vaseline stains, cuz I think you have all just been had, once again, big time….

…but that’s just me, apparently.

Richard Hack (profile) says:

What May Really Have Happened

Evidence – much better evidence than has been produced so far – is building that any hacks – as opposed to leaks – that were done to the DNC were likely done by Ukrainian hackers as a false flag to get Russia blamed for them.

Everyone should read these articles:

Why Crowdstrike’s Russian Hacking Story Fell Apart – Say Hello to Fancy Bear

Did a Ukrainian University Student Create Grizzly Steppe?

Russia Hacking the Election the Inside Story

I had been suspicious of the Russian theory due to Jeffrey Carr’s articles on Medium (Google for them, they are vital to understanding the issues) which debunk most of the evidence. I wondered why it was that the equally logical
possibility that Ukrainian hackers might have done the hacks as a false flag operation to frame Russian for them was being ignored completely.

I noted that the “evidence” that the compile times for the malware were allegedly during “Russian business hours.” If you look at the time zone maps, you’ll see Moscow is just one hour ahead of Kiev, Ukraine. So that “evidence” was meaningless.

Secondly, I read an article by WordFence, a company which does WordPress blog security, that the PHP malware used was provably Ukrainian and open source, i.e., available to anyone aware of it. There is nothing “Russian” about it.

Then I found the above articles which pretty clearly show connect the dots evidence that the head of CrowdStrike, the company that the FBI RELIED ON for the “evidence”, is run by an anti-Russian Russian ex-pat who has DIRECT connections to Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who are DIRECTLY connected to the Democratic National Committee and who themselves have DIRECT connections to apparently competent Ukrainian hackers. I mean these articles lay it out in chapter and verse based on publicly available data.

I now believe that it is entirely possible that the entire DNC “hack” accusation is a false flag operation organized by Ukrainian individuals, with or without Ukrainian state help, and with or without the knowledge of the Clinton campaign, for the purpose of further ruining US relations with Russia.

The DNC documents themselves were likely “leaked”, not “hacked”. But hacks were done solely for the purpose of getting Russia blamed for them.

This is potentially a HUGE story. If the head of rowdStrike – and possibly members of the DNC itself or the Clinton campaign organization – were knowingly in league with Ukraine ultranationalists who in turn were in contact with
competent Ukraine hackers in a false flag attempt to increase the bad relations between the US and Russia
for their own political reasons, this would be a massive conspiracy which would put egg on the faces of everyone involved, including the entire US intelligence apparatus, the mainstream media and many other people. The entire
Russia-bashing industry would be called into question.

I suspect that what happened is as follows:

1) The DNC and the Clinton campaign decided to tar Trump with the “Russian agent” meme.

2) At some point the DNC and the Clinton campaign became aware that there were one or more serious leaks of information from the DNC – leaks, not hacks.

3) At this point the DNC and the Clinton campaign decided to fake a Russian hacking effort in order to 1) cover the leaks, and 2) use it to continue to tar Trump as a “Russian agent.”

4) In order to make a believable case, they contacted some ultranationalist Ukrainians who were involved in the election and who had contact with some reasonable competent anti-Russian Ukrainian hacker collectives. These
collectives faked a Russian hack of the DNC.

5) They then called in CrowdStrike, which was already on the DNC/Clinton payroll, a company headed by an anti-Putin Russian ex-pat who would be ready to “validate” the “Russian hack” by accepting flimsy circumstantial and spoofable “evidence” as sufficient for attribution.

6) Then they refused to allow the FBI to use their own infosec forensic experts to inspect the evidence, relying on CrowdStrike officer Shawn Henry’s background as a former FBI Assistant Director to deflect the FBI into accepting
CrowdStrike’s “investigation” as adequate.

The latter fact pretty much makes clear that the DNC and the Clinton campaign knowingly colluded with Ukrainian nationalists to influence the election.

So far from the situation being “Russia influenced the election for Trump”, it looks like “Ukrainians influenced the election for Clinton.”

This may all sound like “conspiracy theory”. There is of course no proof to date of any of this. But the circumstances are just as likely as the theory that Russia decided to “influence the election” by hacking the DNC using the most incompetent hackers and poorest OPSEC they could produce, leaving a trail pointing directly at them.

The one thing we can know is that in intelligence and hacking operations, Occam’s Razor – the notion that the simplest solution is usually correct – does not apply. There is too much obfuscation, misdirection and manipulation involved in such operations.

The theory that someone has conducted a false flag operation to frame Russia for hacks is at least as credible as the idea that Russia would attempt to influence the election by randomly hacking the DNC. The latter really makes no sense, given the probability that whatever hacks Russia could do would be less influential on the election than the actions of the candidates themselves – which the Russians would know. And the Russians would also know that if caught, there could be serious repercussions in relations with the US – which means not using incompetent third-party hacker groups who leave trails and use outdated

Some investigative journalists need to follow up on the articles cited above and see where they lead. If this theory is proven, it will be Pulitzer Prize for someone – and major egg for the US intelligence community, the mainstream media, and the infosec community.

GEMont (profile) says:

Probably the only time you will ever read this probable reality.


Well, Richard Hack, its awfully nice to see someone actually thinking for a change. Thanks for being.

That was the most believable scenario I’ve read to date on this “Russian Hack” gambit and explains nicely why the “dialogue” is entirely devoid of even the slightest possibility that it was not a Russian Hack.

Well done and thanks again.

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