As 'DNC Hacked Itself' Conspiracy Theory Collapses, Key Backer Of Claim Exposed As UK Troll

from the disinformation-nation dept

Roughly a year ago you might recall that numerous outlets happily parroted claims that the DNC wasn't hacked by Russian intelligence (as latter reports would make clear), but had somehow actually hacked itself. The theory was never particularly well cooked, though outlets like The Nation ran with it anyway, claiming that "forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed" had all collectively unearthed undeniable evidence that the DNC had committed cyber-seppuku.

The widely-circulated report leaned heavily on a published memo by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a collection of former intelligence experts and whistleblowers like William Binney and Ray McGovern. It also leaned heavily on the input of several, anonymous, self-professed "computer forensics investigators" who, the news outlet informed readers, had "split the DNC case open like a coconut," providing incontrovertible evidence that Russian intelligence played no role in the now-legendary breach.

But the entire claim was little more than fluff and nonsense.

As we noted at the time, The Nation story relied heavily on the allegation the stolen files must have been copied locally to USB by a DNC insider because, as The Nation claimed, "no Internet service provider was capable of downloading data at this speed" (22.7 megabytes per second). In reality, 22.7 megabytes per second was simply a 180 Mbps connection, widely available around the world at the time the DNC hack took place. That includes Romania, the country that the Russian cutout Guccifer 2.0 pretended (at the time) to have originated from.

We weren't alone in pointing out that the story was flimsy, relied largely on cherry-picked evidence, and frequently stumbled into the realm of the "incoherent." And it's only gone downhill since. The Nation was forced to review the report, adding a meandering preamble to address criticism. In the year since, reports have forged a new infosec community consensus that yes, Guccifer 2.0 was GRU, and had been amusingly caught because Russian intelligence forgot to activate its VPN before logging into the bogus persona's WordPress site on one occasion (one of several opsec errors made by Russian intel).

But at the time, any reporter that dared report on the emerging links between Russia and the hack were quickly smeared by a website custom built to try and downplay any Russian connection. The creator of the website went by the name of Adam Carter, who was broadly cited as a respected "independent researcher" in The Nation and other unskeptical reports. Carter's website, a collection of half-cooked straw men and conspiratorial faux-technical nonsense, also took time to go after Techdirt, claiming our pretty rudimentary analysis of the theory's principle error was "pedantic, sleazy & condescending" (thank you).

Fast forward to this week, and a new Computer Weekly report notes that Carter wasn't much of an intelligence expert or "researcher" at all. He was, according to infosec reporter Duncan Campbell, a British IT manager and shitposter from Darlington, working in concert with U.S. trolls on a widespread online disinformation effort to downplay and discredit any and every connection between the DNC attack and Russia:

"The campaign is being run from the UK by 39-year-old programmer Tim Leonard, who lives in Darlington, using the false name “Adam Carter”. Starting after the 2016 presidential election, Leonard worked with a group of mainly American right-wing activists to spread claims on social media that Democratic “insiders” and non-Russian agents were responsible for hacking the Democratic Party."

The story is long and incredibly weedy, so it's going to be overlooked by many who lack patience or attention span during an oft-apocalyptic news cycle. But it's definitely worth winding your way through and fully digesting to understand the sheer scope of the effort. Especially if you're interested in understanding how incoherent internet bullshit has been industrialized and weaponized on an international scale for relatively little money.

Campbell methodically spent months tracking down Carter's real identity, noting his tactic of pretending to be combating disinformation while actively spreading it around the internet, from his g-2.space website (which he built on the back of an employer's server without their apparent knowledge), to the bowels of Reddit's r/conspiracy subreddit, where he was routinely found feeding baseless conspiracy theories to the aggressively gullible. Campbell states Leonard attempted to lend credibility to the theories by co-creating a second fake identity known as "Forensicator" (also cited by media outlets as a real, but anonymous intel expert).

Campbell states that this analysis (again: bogus insight created by fake people), was then recirculated by an "independent" outlet by the name of Disobedient Media, which utilized Carter as a "technology correspondent" (they're understandably none too happy with Campbell's reporting). According to Campbell, Disobedient media has played more than a passing role in spreading conspiracy theories internationally, usually with the help of forged documents:

"Disobedient Media is a so-called “independent media” site that describes “Adam Carter” as its technology correspondent. It claims to “bring honesty and integrity back into journalism”. The site has recycled paedophile allegations directed at Hillary Clinton and fellow democrats, and has made repeated attempts to frame murdered DNC official Seth Rich. Newspapers in France, Germany, Spain and Britain have identified Disobedient Media as an epicentre of Russian-backed attacks on Europe, using forged documents, including smears against Angela Merkel, Sadiq Khan and Emmanuel Macron.

While it's easy to dismiss this as just some incoherent rambling by the 4chan / Qanon conspiracy set, the report notes how some of the effort's "evidence" comically-managed to worm its way into White House policy circles. That was courtesy of William Binney, who met with CIA director Mike Pompeo at Trump's request to dig deeper into the "DNC hacked itself" conspiracy. Nothing appears to have come of that meeting (because again, the whole DNC hacked itself theory is garbage), but it's still worth pointing out that much of the underlying evidence was intentionally manipulated in order to deceive:

"One document – a tip-off file obtained in June 2017 by Leonard’s site from an “anonymous source” – took new disinformation all the way to the White House and the CIA...The team that created Forensicator, including Leonard, gave away that they were not the real authors of the analysis when they inaccurately copied a Linux “Bash” script they had been sent, breaking it. This suggested that they did not write, understand, or test the script before they published. Someone else had sent the script, together with the fake conclusion they wanted discovered and published – that DNC stolen files had been copied in the US Eastern Time zone on 5 July 2016, five days before DNC employee Seth Rich was killed."

One year later and The Nation's original theory isn't looking so hot, with even many of the original VIPS supporters running in the opposite direction, including Binney:

"A month after visiting CIA headquarters, Binney came to Britain. After re-examining the data in Guccifer 2.0 files thoroughly with the author of this article, Binney changed his mind. He said there was “no evidence to prove where the download/copy was done”. The Guccifer 2.0 files analysed by Leonard’s g-2.space were “manipulated”, he said, and a “fabrication”.

But the damage was done, and the Brietbart, Bloomberg, Nation and other reports remain online, still widely circulated as "evidence" that the DNC hacked itself. Amusingly, many of the same people (quite justly) railing against the over-reliance on anonymous sources in stories supporting Russian involvement in the hack saw no problem amplifying this dubious report, despite the warnings that the report was leaning largely on extremely dubious, anonymous experts.

Obviously real investigators continue to dig through the aftermath of the 2016 election to determine the width and breadth of Russia's global disinformation and hacking efforts in retribution for the Magnitsky sanctions. That process should slowly unravel which organizations and individuals were simply useful idiots, and which organizations and individuals actively coordinated their disinformation assault with the help of foreign governments.

But with questions arising about a evolved disinformation campaign on Facebook and another major internet disiformation effort operating out of Macedonia, it raises plenty of questions about just what real forensic investigators will unearth by this time next year.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 6:31am

    You don't need weapons to destroy a nation that doesn't care about educating themselves. Sadly, my own country is filled with idiocy as well and we are in a much more advanced state of degradation. Americans must unite and put petty partisan bickering aside because everybody has the same goal in the end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 6:47am

      Re:

      If we pull out of this nose dive with a populace that is more critical when reading crap on the internet. Cares more about who they vote for and hold politicians responsible... then we'll be better for it.

      If these people get away with it, we'll look back on these days going "Wow, and we thought it couldn't get worse back then"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:13am

        Re: Re:

        I actually think it would be easier and cheaper to just encourage people to eat tide pods and then not respond to the 911 calls it generates.

        Just pay for videos/ads to run on certain websites and on facebook.

        The kind of people who eat them we probably don't want voting anyway.

        America Saved.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 6:31am

    The bull surrounding everything on the internet is such that the only sane assumption is that everything is at best a lie or scam designed to sew confusion, doubt, and hate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 3 Aug 2018 @ 6:34am

    I'm sort of irritated at all those anti-DNC trolls

    I mean, trolling as such appears to be the kind of activity not inherently politically biased. While the current Republican party ended up with a big troll at their helm, trolling itself does not really appear like a partisan activity.

    And yet all the trolls and cyber warriors and crackers appear to wash up just on one side of the political divide these days (even Wikileaks which used to be anti-establishment rather than anti-democrat as such in former administrations seems much more muddy these days).

    Why does this appear so one-sided these days?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:04am

      Re: I'm sort of irritated at all those anti-DNC trolls

      I believe that the guys in Macedonia literally said that they tried "both sides" to begin with but the hit rate was so comparatively low with the left wing that they decided not to bother.

      This is just a rather biased personal observation, but I'd hazard a guess that the reason is that people who are taught to unquestioningly follow an authority (the religious, militaristic/authoritarian types, etc) tend to skew right, while those who are opposed to that tend left. Add confirmation bias and Dunning-Kruger into the mix, and you end up with people parroting whatever source fits their own beliefs on one side, while the other side checks their facts first.

      That's a very simplified version, but I think there's a reason why you see so many discredited sources on the "right" cited as fact, let alone nobodies like the above whose words are believe without credibility to begin with.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 8:32am

        Re: Re: I'm sort of irritated at all those anti-DNC trolls

        I would expand with my own opinions, social conservatism is defined by a belief in the value of the historic status quo and a desire to maintain and restore it. That then leans toward a refusal to take in information that challenges their belief in the historic status quo. That belief is stoked by the Religious, military, and and authoritarian types in their development.

        This, in combination with the factors you mentioned tends toward social conservatives only taking in the information supporting their view points, or skewing the information to support historical status quo. This fuels the misinformed outrage mobs generated by Macedonia which are persistent and retain their beliefs long after 'debunking'.

        Social liberalism on the other hand, is generally defined by the idea of shifting the status quo to enfranchising everyone as opposed to those few who have historically been enfranchised. This leads to a desire to take in new information in support of that goal even when it shifts the understood paradigm of thought.

        This wider set of information leads to the tendency of social liberals to question and analyze information received even when it supports their viewpoint. However it also results in a need for time to think, which leads to the reactionary outrage mobs we see over misunderstood information in the internet space. These mobs have a higher tendency to die down quickly with time and new information.

        Neither of these tendencies is 100% universal and social liberals are as well known for their reactionary outrage mobs as social conservatives are for their misinformed outrage mobs, but I think my distinctions here might better explain the core behavior seen by Macedonia.

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 9:05am

          Re: Re: Re: I'm sort of irritated at all those anti-DNC trolls

          There are two great fools: the one who says "this is old, therefore it is good," the and one who says "this is new, therefore it is better."

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            James Burkhardt (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 10:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm sort of irritated at all those anti-DNC trolls

            Most certainly

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            David, 3 Aug 2018 @ 12:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm sort of irritated at all those anti-DNC trolls

            Frankly, in politics we also have the "this is new, therefore it isn't old" faction who believe that a different calendar date will somehow prevent the same actions from having the same consequences.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re: I'm sort of irritated at all those anti-DNC trolls

        I've read recently that it's becoming increasingly likely that the Macedonian right wing website creators were actually working not just for the ad revenue, and the lulz, but were actually being paid and/or "seed funded' by Russia.

        I don't think the proof was there, yet, but some of the Macedonians site operators had said that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    cecil, 3 Aug 2018 @ 6:35am

    DNC servers

    Still haven't been handed over to the FBI. Given the DNC friendly appearance of the DC FBI, you would think that letting them do actual forensics would be a good thing... So, if the DNC thinks a state actor hacked their server, why have they not allowed the FBI to do their thing? That would be like a bank that got robbed not allowing the FBI to investigate.
    Notice I haven't mentioned anything about who did or did not hack the DNC. I stuck to what I believe are facts. If I am wrong, then I apologize.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 6:40am

      Re: DNC servers

      I would ask if you proofread your mental diarrhea before you post but you either have an agenda or a severe brain tumor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 6:54am

      Re: DNC servers

      You do not need to "inspect" any servers in order to determine this conspiracy theory does not pass the smell test.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Allen6, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:13am

      Re: DNC servers

      @Cecil:

      ... a reasonable comment (ignore the usual morning troll here)

      "Facts" are scarce about the supposed DNC Server problems because the DNC leaders seem quite reluctant to provide them -- but vast conspiracy theories abound from all sides.

      Debunking opposing conspiracy theories is apparently a high priority for various partisans. This teapot tempest is of no serious consequence and will be forgotten in a few years.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dark Helmet (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:24am

        Re: Re: DNC servers

        "... a reasonable comment (ignore the usual morning troll here)"

        It's not a matter of trolling, it's a matter of knowing fairly basic IT forensics and security. When a breach occurs and law enforcement gets involved, one does not simply "hand over" their servers. Instead, you work with law enforcement or a third party IT security contractor to image the server and hand THAT over, so that you can get the forensics done while continuing to use your production server.

        This, according to both the DNC and the FBI, is EXACTLY what the DNC did. The FBI has the server image for forensics, which in part led to the indictments Mueller had made of Russian nationals.

        So, did the DNC "hand over its server"? No. HELL NO. It wouldn't. Nobody would. When a law firm has a litigation hold on its email server, it doesn't "hand over" that server. It hands over either an image of it or the email archives on a third machine. That's how it's ALWAYS done.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:44am

          Re: Re: Re: DNC servers

          Sadly, you are speaking truth to people who want to debate in bad faith.

          The OP (and their equivalents) never care about reality. They will just move the goalposts on their argument "Oh yah! well how does the FBI know they imaged all of the servers?" "What if they had hidden directories? Or a computer with the hidden emails?" "what if the FBI deliberately missed a server to protect the DNC?"

          It is insanely frustrating because you can't ignore them. The general public will believe the conspiracy. So it is up to sites like this to educate the public. but people like OP are trolls and bots and will move onto something else almost immediately. So it just means we are fighting fires and never get any actual work done.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 9:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: DNC servers

            It is a flaw in the classic: "Don't argue with trolls, they'll pull you down to their level and beat you on experience!".
            Sadly, the more advanced trolls are good internet magicians experienced in creating illusions and misdirection. The problem is that objective and subjective is presented in a bundle to make the objective match the observers subjective view. In the end the best way to deal with it is to analyze the trolling and provide the sources to dissipate the illusion.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 1:54pm

          Re: Gorilla Dust

          "When a law firm has a litigation hold on its email server, it doesn't "hand over" that server. It hands over either an image of it or the email archives on a third machine. That's how it's ALWAYS done."

          ... Geeez -- this was the FBI on a national security investigation, not some private law firm on a civil case!

          DNC stonewalled the FBI, eventually handing over some third hand "information" from a private firm. FBI can not verify the validity of this information but had to blindly "trust" the DNC and its hired help. FBI and cops don't normally operate this way -- they directly "Seize" everything for forensics and make their own copies/images of the PRIMARY evidence.

          Comey testified to Congress on on March 20, 2017 that the FBI wanted direct access to the DNC servers, but the DNC leadership refused.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:18am

      Re: DNC servers

      "Still haven't been handed over to the FBI. Given the DNC friendly appearance of the DC FBI, you would think that letting them do actual forensics would be a good thing... So, if the DNC thinks a state actor hacked their server, why have they not allowed the FBI to do their thing? That would be like a bank that got robbed not allowing the FBI to investigate."

      Is this canard still a thing? The handing over of the server is NOT something would happen or even be requested. What happens instead is the FBI would image the server to be analyzed forensically. That is EXACTLY what happened, both on the account of the FBI and by merely reading Mueller's indictments.

      C'mon, this really isn't that hard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 3 Aug 2018 @ 10:38am

      Re: DNC servers

      Yes, they have been handed over. Why are images of the servers not good enough for you? This includes both harddrive and memory images.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 10:40am

      Re: DNC servers

      Fun fact: it is possible to copy data off a computer and put it on another computer.

      You do not actually need to physically possess a computer in order to access the information that is on it.

      Take this post you're reading right now, for example. You may be surprised to learn that I did not actually break into your house and type it into your computer. I typed it into a completely different computer, which then copied it to the server that hosts Techdirt. Your computer then copied that information from Techdirt's server -- even though you, yourself are not in possession of the server!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 2:05pm

        Re: Re: DNC servers

        Fun Fact:

        if you are blindly handed a copy/image of a computer... you have no idea what specific computer it came from ... or if that "copy" has been modified from the true original system.

        Direct physical access is CRITICAL to evidence validation

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        • identicon
          David, 4 Aug 2018 @ 9:56am

          Re: Re: Re: DNC servers

          "copy" yes, "image" no. Handing over an image is as good as handing over the original. It would require the same kind of effort to erase any trace of evidence.

          Admittedly there is a minuscule difference for drives that are so old that they have accumulated a sizable number of bad sectors that the drive OS has put into quarantine. If you have drive OS level access, you can check the quarantined sectors for data remnants (which is tricky because the sectors have been quarantined in the first place because their data is inconsistent with their CRC). Those are not part of a drive image and they are not accessible outside of the drive.

          Other than that, tampering with the original is indistinguishable from tampering with a proper image.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 5 Aug 2018 @ 9:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: DNC servers

          Direct physical access is CRITICAL to evidence validation

          Every computer forensics expert out there says... you're wrong.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 3:41pm

        Re: Re: DNC servers

        Isn't that exactly what a pirate would do?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    restless94110 (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 6:55am

    The Binney Retraction is Untrue

    Sic Semper Tyranus had the same nonsense as is written in this article, but Binney has commented as excerpted here:

    "The Misquoting Of Bill Binney

    Disobedient Media recently spoke with former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney, a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, who was featured in Campbell’s article.

    Binney told us that he stands by the assessment made in the VIPS memorandum to President Trump, published last year. He told us that Duncan misrepresented his statements describing Guccifer 2.0 a fabrication. While speaking with us, Binney utterly refuted Campbell’s dishonest portrayal of Binney having changed his stance on the issue.

    Binney told this author that he referred specifically to Guccifer 2.0 as a fabrication, adding that it doesn’t matter where the information was downloaded, or when, or that the information was manipulated, because the point is that it was not hacked, and the who/where does not alter that fact. He said that Guccifer 2.0 was: “Clearly a fabrication, a fake, put out there to confuse. Timing is irrelevant, fake is fake. You can manipulate timing, you can change anything, but it doesn’t matter. It makes no difference.”

    He added: “We [VIPS members] were calling it fake from the beginning, and we still do.”

    Binney told us: “We agreed it was a download, not a hack, the whole thing was a set up – we can’t prove who is responsible or where they were located, but that is irrelevant because it was still a download, not a hack, which tells us that the Guccifer 2.0 persona was a fabrication.” He added that Julian Assange and Craig Murray can prove the origin of the information, and that both have stated clearly that the Russian state was not their source.

    Binney confirmed that, though Campbell captured the essence of what he said in terms of referencing a fraud, Campbell distorted Binney’s view by framing its presentation so as to appear as if he had changed his mind on the matter.

    Binney stated that he found Duncan’s article to be ‘long and confusing,’ lacking in evidence, adding that he prefers a “Nice, clear argument, with lots of evidence” Binney explained to Disobedient Media that he also took issue with Duncan’s presentation of the Mueller indictments, and with the vicious doxxing of Adam Carter in what he called some “Some vague attempt to suggest that Carter is an agent of the Russians.”

    Binney reminded this writer that if a hack had occurred, the NSA would have been able to show not only that the intrusion took place, but who was responsible, and where the information was went. Binney stated that the lack of such evidence having been produced by the NSA, especially the inability to prove that hacked information was ever sent to WikiLeaks, may have played a role in the NSA’s lukewarm “moderate” confidence in Russian interference, in comparison with the CIA and FBI’s confidence in the matter. Binney added that in this case, the only agency whose opinion matters is the NSA’s."

    As Assange and Craig Murray have said it was a leak from an insider not an outside hack.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:08am

      Re: The Binney Retraction is Untrue

      I find it sad people fall for this crap.

      It's full of appealing to emotions, trying to confuse the reader and making outlandish claims like
      "if a hack had occurred, the NSA would have been able to show not only that the intrusion took place, but who was responsible"

      Because.... the NSA is omniscient?

      Conspiracy peddlers are all the damned same. It's always "Trump didn't commit a crime because he's not in jail"

      "Aliens exist because the FBI hasn't proven they don't exist"

      "Bigfoot is my uncle because otherwise my aunt would know where he is."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:30am

        Re: Re: The Binney Retraction is Untrue

        Yeah, that was the line that made me laugh - they couldn't have been hacked, because the hackers didn't leave a clear trail of evidence behind afterwards! Because obviously they never try to clear their tracks in any way.

        I also find it interesting that Assange is now being touted as an unimpeachable source by the right wing, whereas a few years ago he was obviously a commie puppet sent to discredit America. Funny how their views seem to change depending on who's being attacked.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:45am

      Re: The Binney Retraction is Untrue

      "Disobedient Media recently spoke with former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney."

      Yeah, let's trust the same news outlet ("Disobedient media") the story you JUST FUCKING READ clearly illustrates is a bullshit merchant co-operated by a guy who just got caught lying. Repeatedly. You folks are willfully obtuse.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 8:33am

      Re: The Binney Retraction is Untrue

      Assange has tweeted blatantly fabricated conspiracy theories. His authority is not to be trusted. He's got a significant and highly obvious bias against the Democrats.

      Here, read his direct messages from Twitter:

      https://emma.best/2018/07/29/11000-messages-from-private-wikileaks-chat-released/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2018 @ 8:55am

        Re: Re: The Binney Retraction is Untrue

        Considering that the Democrats' last presidential candidate has repeatedly and publicly stated her desire to murder Assange with a drone strike, can you really blame him for not being particularly friendly towards them?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:07am

    Imagine my disappointment

    when I realized you weren't talking about the Bernie Sanders voter roll thefts!

    While the DNC may be accused of computer intrusion crimes it didn't commit, far be it from the truth to presume that it didn't commit computer intrusion crimes.

    Of course if your working for a Congress person, or doing it on an industrial scale as a telecom, or doing it as a proposed journalist by snooping preposted content, you aren't currently getting prosecuted.

    Of course the latter could change. But based on his recent white paper, it won't get changed by anybody like Mark Warner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:57am

    " hacked by Russian intelligence (as latter reports would make clear)"

    Because we all know IP addresses can't be spoofed. And no one can use VPNs headquartered in Russia unless they're from Russia and working for Russian intelligence...right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 8:12am

      Re:

      How do you know that the only evidence is an IP address?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 8:20am

      Re:

      Quote from the article:

      "That includes Romania, the country that the Russian cutout Guccifer 2.0 pretended (at the time) to have originated from."

      Hackers were traced to Romania, not Russia. It's not just the IP address that indicates it was Russian intelligence.

      Before discounting the idea that it was, in fact, Russian intelligence that perpetrated the hack, I would suggest availing yourself of the multiple links in the article to get a fuller understanding of circumstances and evidence surrounding the entirety of what occurred.

      That you have thought of one flimsy counter-argument off the cuff does not mean nobody has already considered it or that the rest of the body of evidence is thereby invalidated.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re:

        Ah. Reading comprehension. "Claimed to be." Well, ignore the first part of my response talking about Romania, because I clearly did not read hard enough.

        The rest of it stands, though.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 8:37am

      Re:

      Keep digging that hole.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 12:31pm

      Re:

      That's something that's bothered me about all the Russia claims.

      If I want a hack, I'd buy it out of S Korea - maybe. That's where all the darknet "Will hack or DDOS for Cash!" seems to originate from.

      Besides, a *government* running a hack from inside it's OWN borders? I haven't got much faith in how smart the guys at the top of ANY government are, but.... seriously?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Reg Ister, 3 Aug 2018 @ 11:43am

    I'll stick with the version that accounts for the dead guy.

    Techdirt always ignores that, therefore most likely to be true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 12:00pm

      Re: I'll stick with the version that accounts for the dead guy.

      Why not the version where it was actually an Illuminati plot backed by the reverse vampires with the help of an army of lizard people? They never mention that one either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 1:07pm

      Re: I'll stick with the version that accounts for the dead guy.

      Yes, every death must be part of the conspiracy!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    cecil, 3 Aug 2018 @ 12:09pm

    dnc server

    By turning over the server, I meant an image of those servers, not the physical hardware. The indications that I have read, perhaps incorrect is that they turned it over to a private company, not the FBI. And it's totally unheard of for a private company to have an agenda of their own?
    So, what source are you citing that the DNC turned images over to the FBI? Since obviously some well regarded source has provided that to the public but obviously missed the president in their distribution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 1:08pm

      Re: dnc server

      You could try reading instead of laughably goalpost moving.

      "However, in March 2017, former FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the FBI got an “appropriate substitute” from CrowdStrike, and Mueller’s indictment makes clear that the FBI has lots of information about the hack from both within the DNC and from other sources."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        2018 @, 5 Aug 2018 @ 2:43pm

        Re: Re: dnc server

        Comey's assertion of an “appropriate substitute” from CrowdStrike ... is meaningless BS. FBI has zero verification of whatever CrowdStrike may have provided. And there was ample opportunity for DNC personnel to tamper with any server evidence long before CrowdStrike could have examined it. We don't even know if the DNC provided the "genuine" server systems for CrowdStrike to examine.
        (Mueller's vague indictment/accusation provides zero objective evidence on this issue)

        Any serious FBI investigation of the 'DNC Hacking' would at least consider the possibility that it was an inside-job ... and would have followed normal, strict procedures for valid forensics. But there was no serious investigation nor serious FBI forensics with hyper-partisan Comey in charge.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 2:12pm

      Re: dnc server

      So, what source are you citing that the DNC turned images over to the FBI?

      Is the then-director of the FBI a good enough source?

      “Best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves,” Comey said in March 2017, “but this — my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute.”

      Moving on:

      Since obviously some well regarded source has provided that to the public but obviously missed the president in their distribution.

      No, the president just doesn't understand how computers work.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:12pm

    Character Assassination DoJ Indictment Style

    As 'DNC Hacked Itself' Conspiracy Theory Collapses, Key Backer Of Claim Exposed As UK Troll

    Irregardless of idiots such as Tim Leonard (aka UK Troll, The Forensicator) and the other idiots (ie me) who trumpeted his bogus analysis in ignorance and without proper examination the fact remains Duncan Campbell's Russia hacked DNC allegation is based solely on DoJ's indictment.

    And as any person familiar with the US justice system knows just because a prosecutor was able to gain an indictment the allegations presented to the grand jury have not been examined in an adversarial type of setting (ie trial).

    DoJ has not proven any Russians were involved. All DoJ has done is indict 12 Russians who will never appear in a US court to challenge the allegations found with in the indictment.

    "'The district attorney could get the grand jury to indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to,' one Rochester defense lawyer said."

    https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/indict_a_ham_sandwich/

    Italicized/bold text below was excerpted from Duncan Campbell's report found at the website computerweekly.com and titled - Briton ran pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign that helped Trump deny Russian links:

    The GRU’s hackers were caught red-handed in June 2016, when the Washington Post exposed evidence of their role. Within 24 hours, after the Post had asked Russia for comment, the hackers fabricated evidence and planted a false trail that the hacking was the work of an imaginary, lone Romanian called Guccifer 2.0. While this happened, GRU officers were spotted doing online searches to check English phrases while penning the first blog post for their Romanian fake, according to the DoJ indictment.

    https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252445769/Briton-ran-pro-Kremlin-disinformation-camp aign-that-helped-Trump-deny-Russian-links

    Duncan Campbell based his allegations of Russian hacking solely - according to the DoJ indictment

    This bears repeating:

    "'The district attorney could get the grand jury to indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to,' one Rochester defense lawyer said."

    Again from Duncan Campbell allegations:

    Guccifer 2.0’s role was “falsely to undermine the allegations of Russian responsibility for the intrusion”, according to the indictment. US and European intelligence agencies identified “Guccifer 2.0” as a Russian deception operation before Americans went to vote. Detailed evidence had not been publicly available until the publication of the indictment.

    How can Duncan Campbell make a claim of Detailed evidence if he has based his Russia hacking allegation solely on DoJ's indictment?

    Perhaps Duncan Campbell is ignorant of US jurisprudence and doesn't realize in the land of the free a prosecutor can work a grand jury in order to indict a ham sandwich.

    How any reasonable person would/could believe US government pronouncements after being lied to for generations is beyond belief. The criminals infesting the US government are responsible for the deaths of tens if not hundreds of millions of human beings from the end of World War II to present. They have established an international kidnapping, indefinite detention without trial or charge and torture scheme. They have stolen trillions of dollars and tilted the economic playing field in favor of the rich creating a new Gilded Age. They have created a global surveillance program that intercepts/stores every bit/byte transmitted on Earth.

    The US government (ie intelligence community, DoJ) have less than zero credibility and seek to impinge the character of any person with temerity to question the official narratives being foisted upon an unsuspecting public using the tar of allegations found with in an indictment that will never be challenged during a trial.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    NN, 4 Aug 2018 @ 5:08am

    His name was Seth Rich.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Jakez, 4 Aug 2018 @ 5:13am

    Carter/Leonard Just Exposed Campbell's Efforts

    Leonard or Carter (or whoever) has just published an article that exposes what went on behind the scenes including the email dialog he had with Duncan Campbell and it's an eye-opener and I'm left wondering what the hell is wrong with Duncan?

    He's ignored most of the actual research and discoveries cited on the g-2.space site (even trying to attribute things others have written to Leonard instead of technically debunking Leonard's output as a reporter/writer). If you compare the style between Leonard/Carter and Forensicator, it's obviously two different people, yet here Duncan insists Forensicator is an invention of Leonard's, which is a ridiculous claim to make and is built upon pure speculation made by Duncan.

    Strangely, he only seems to mention tiny fragments of Leonard's work (bits that he can somehow distort and then attack the distortions) and seems to have tried to not only smear Leonard and bully and harass those around him but seems to determined to try to harm his career.

    Leonard has also divulged, since Duncan's article in ComputerWeekly, that his real identity was actually provided to the DOJ (with his permission) back when Campbell first started constructing these smears (8+ months ago) because Leonard was involved in preparing evidence for a report (by a third party in the US) that was sent to Mueller and Rosenstein asking for verification of evidence and findings.

    Basically, the "pro-Kremlin disinformation operation" Duncan has identified is really a Brit that works in IT and that was involved in the reporting of evidence to US authorities and was even okay with his real identity being submitted around the same time. This simple fact annihilates what Duncan has tried very hard to convince readers of.

    This looks like an astoundingly desperate attempt to attack someone whose site makes clear that the suspicions he holds are just his opinion and encourages people to look at the evidence itself. This looks like doxxing and smearing someone just because of the evidence they bring attention to and for having a dissenting opinion - all by attacking everything except the real basis of their opinion.

    Thanks to the emails being exposed by Leonard now, it's clear to see Duncan didn't even want to discuss the technical merits of evidence and discoveries with him at all and was only ever interested in trying to find ways to smear him. It's a shameful hatchet job that blatantly avoids many pertinent facts regarding Leonard's writing/reporting and distorts his work in numerous ways.

    The emails suggest it's Campbell that's really seeking to spread disinformation here, aggressively too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 4 Aug 2018 @ 8:48am

    It's right wing blathering. For almost *anything* from the right, assume lies/bullshit first and propaganda a close second.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2018 @ 5:41pm

    How can you not talk about the e-mails?

    I'm an outsider, following this whole hacking thing.
    No, I am not a troll.
    I am interested in computer security and following this closely.

    How can you write this whole article, without
    talking about the contents of the e-mails?

    The reason wikileaks released Hilalries e-mails,
    was because they showed that Hillary had been hacking
    the democratic process of the DNC. This was later
    confirmed in a US trial (by Bernie supporters).

    Wikileaks supports the democratic process, that is why
    they released it.

    The DNC could have excused themselves by claiming that
    it was the only way to win or something.
    According to some researchers Bernie might actually have
    won. And there have been some internal vote-hacking going on too.
    But with just a simple "Sorry, We have all have chosen to select Hillary" everything would be finished.

    But there was more going on, that did not get published via the media that supported Hillary.
    There was an enormous security breach of Awan.
    And the Clinton foundation has collected and
    distributed money in ways that are not fully legal
    for a foundation.

    Then there came more emails, those from Podesta and Wiener.
    These may uncover more legal problems, like the
    pay-to-play, and less legal deals with foreign countries.

    With these problems in the mind, the reaction
    of the Hillary of simply accusing Russia for everything
    is than clear.

    Now what evidence do we have that Russia was directly
    involved?
    .....
    ....
    NONE
    Until now I have only read fantasy stories.
    With my background in computer security, it is
    easy to spot the big words from the actual findings.
    And sadly most are just big words.

    There are some weak links with Russia.
    But only via Guccifer2.
    But this is all just speculation.
    He might have a Russian VPN, and downloaded the data from wikileaks. He might found Podesta's p@$$word.

    Or he may be fake, who knows. Well..
    All these hacks are traced by the NSA, and they have kept their mouths shut with actual data.

    Wikileaks had a different source, as can be seen in their documents. And wikileaks has always been a trustworthy source, and helped Snowden to escape the US.
    It also showed the world that the US had committed warcrimes (and likely still is), and that might be the reason that the US did not like wikileaks so much.

    And why does all DNC supporting media still claim to have evidence? Including this website.
    Why do people in the CIA or FBI claim to have evidence?
    They have really not shown any.
    For all I know this has been a Hacker from turkey
    or a leak from inside.

    That is because some of them are involved.
    Some want Trump out, that has been very clear.
    Some had deals with Hillary.
    Some had deals with Russia and other countries,
    even Hillary.

    So this all looks very much like a witch-hunt to me,
    to cover up the legal backslash.
    And anyone who disagrees is marked a "russian agent" or is seen as a troll.
    And this is fundamental problem with the story.
    You have use ad-hominem to defend your message.

    In the mean time, the CIA and Pentagon like the idea
    of a cold war, and they already started one in Syria.
    So we got that now too.

    Second: If the media complains that 2 presidents talk with each other about problems, then there is something completely wrong with the media.
    This "Russia" thing has really become propaganda.

    The witch-hunting and cold-war propaganda
    makes the actual problems worse.
    And this is also the actual cause of the
    division in the US.

    SOLUTION:

    To stop all this we first need to remove the "legal
    corruption" that is haunting both parties.
    Support http://represent.us
    It wants to separate the money from the politics.
    And with that, I think we can all start to
    improve the democratic process.

    I don't care if anyone goes to prison or gets indicted. The actual problem is the corruption that is partially legal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jakez, 6 Aug 2018 @ 4:03am

    Censoring commenters doesn't change the facts

    Leonard/Carter has published the emails between himself and Campbell and is promising much more to come.

    This doesn't look good for Campbell. This was a blatant hit piece and it's falling apart already for anyone paying attention.

    I have already explained this in another comment but the community here wants the inconvenient reality buried it seems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Aug 2018 @ 4:29am

      Re: Censoring commenters doesn't change the facts

      Did you try listing your counter-claims, citing your rebuttals, or at least making them coherent first? Trying at least one of those usually helps

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    cecil, 6 Aug 2018 @ 7:56am

    DNC servers

    Don't confuse them with facts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tim Leonard, 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:30am

    TechDirt Has Promoted Debunked Conspiracy Theories

    Putting opinions aside and concentrating on the facts...

    The conspiracy theories (of Duncan Campbell's) that Karl's article here promotes have been debunked:

    https://theforensicator.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/the-campbell-conspiracy/

    Campbell's efforts were questionable from the outset:

    https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/08/deconstructing-campbells-smear-campaign-yields-a-bluepri nt-for-propaganda/

    Campbell's article in ComputerWeekly was a mess that tried desperately to mislead readers about my character including numerous false claims:

    https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/08/deconstructing-campbells-smear-campaign-yields-a-bluepri nt-for-propaganda-part-two/

    A rebuttal specifically to this TechDirt article will be published at the weekend and will show that propaganda devices and misinformation has been employed by Karl and that he has ultimately propagated false claims and sought to mislead the readers of TechDirt.

    Please fact-check your articles properly and when an author clearly is emotionally invested in a story to a degree it affects their objectivity, find someone else to cover the topic so that these mistakes(?) are avoided in future.

    If TechDirt cares about accurately reporting on this topic, you have a considerable number of corrections to make already.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:26am

      Re: TechDirt Has Promoted Debunked Conspiracy Theories

      "The conspiracy theories (of Duncan Campbell's) that Karl's article here promotes have been debunked"

      ...by some random asshole on their Wordpress blog. Right... Then, I had a quick glance at the other site - nobody I've ever heard of, no actual information on their "about us" page apart from names, a quick search of which shows that they've previously written for sites like Zerohedge, a known right-wing bullshit peddler.

      Do you have anything from sources likely to be stating fact, or with a history of actually stating it?

      "A rebuttal specifically to this TechDirt article will be published at the weekend"

      By anyone with any credentials, or is "I know how to type into Wordpress" all you need when you agree with what someone's saying?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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