Why Some U.S. Ex-Spies Don’t Buy the Russia Story

Evidence that undermines the “election hack” narrative should get more attention.

The VIPS theory relies on forensic findings by independent researchers who go by the pseudonyms “Forensicator” and “Adam Carter.” The former found that 1,976 MB of Guccifer’s files were copied from a DNC server on July 5 in just 87 seconds, implying a transfer rate of 22.6 megabytes per second — or, converted to a measure most people use, about 180 megabits per second, a speed not commonly available from U.S. internet providers.

.. However, as Forensicator has pointed out, the files could have been copied to a thumb drive — something only an insider could have done — at about that speed.

.. Adam Carter, the pseudonym for the other analyst, showed that the content of the Guccifer files was at some point cut and pasted into Microsoft Word templates that used the Russian language.

.. VIPS includes former National Security Agency staffers with considerable technical expertise, such as William Binney, the agency’s former technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis, and Edward Loomis Jr., former technical director for the office of signals processing, as well as other ex-intelligence officers with impressive credentials. That doesn’t, of course, mean the group is right when it finds the expert analysis by Forensicator and Carter persuasive. Another former intelligence professional who has examined it, Scott Ritter, has pointed out that these findings don’t necessarily refute that Guccifer’s material constitute the spoils of a hack.

.. Having been burned so badly on the Iraq intelligence claims in 2003, you would think major U.S. media would apply more journalistic skepticism and rigor here, even if, to the broader public, Russia is a faraway power to which it’s easy to ascribe pretty much any nefarious activity. Instead, these outlets seem more intent on noting Putin’s bare-chested physique and accusing him of further meddling on social networks

Why Some U.S. Ex-Spies Don’t Buy the Russia Story

the whole mess with Iraq and Afghan wars, and especially everything that Wikileaks exposed about them, is one of the biggest providers of source material for Russian “whataboutism” (see also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_you_are_lynching_negroes). In early 00s, it was mainly useful to justify the way Russia handled Chechnya. But from 2008 on, it became more and more important – South Ossetia, Crimea, Donbass, Syria.

.. With that in mind, leaks about any American administration serve those goals. Bush was certainly fair game. As do any leaks that concern any Western countries, their allies, and affiliated countries. Which happens to be exactly what Wikileaks has been focusing on.

.. I don’t get why people are so trustful of Assagne’s assurances the source wasn’t Russian. Unless he hacked it himself or was looking over the shoulder of the guy who hacked it, he simply cannot know who the ultimate source of the material is. The person he got it from may very well not have been Russian. But who did that person get it from? It’s no different than a Tor exit node delivering information it receives: it simply isn’t in a position to know the true origin.

The fact that Assange has come out very hard trying to imply it was Seth Rich and not Russians is itself the most suspicious thing.1. He can’t possibly know if Russia is the true source.

2. Seth Rich is a classic KGB style conspiracy theory with literally not one shred of evidence, at all.

So he’s doing two very odd things here that he’s never done. He’s saying Russia is NOT the source AND Seth Rich IS the source.

It’s typical for someone with good intentions to find themselves owned by a spy agency. Assange is most likely in so deep he can’t fix it.

It’s a fact he’s taken money from Russia and the theory of him being compromised by them goes back years before the election. He’s the one that arranged for Snowden to go to Russia.

So he’s compromised and a tool now. It doesn’t matter if he was once free or not at this point.

. I don’t think Assange is a Russian agent (even though he receives money from RT etc). I think he has his own motives. At the time this was more anti-Clinton that pro-Trump specifically.

More recently his Tweets have become more supportive of Trump personally (although interestingly not really his agendas necessarily). My uncharitable suspicion is that he’s hoping for a presidential pardon.

.. Why do you believe that the Russian reaction to pulling back would be to pull back as well? If anything, all experience shows that they’ll use that to do a power grab in the neighbouring countries instead. Treating “sphere of influence” as a valid concept is immoral, it essentially means allowing Russia to do whatever they want to others against their will; there’s a good reason why their neighbours are allying with the west – it’s because they want protection from being “sphereofinfluenced”.

 

Wired: Indicting 12 Russian Hackers Could be Mueller’s Biggest Move Yet

The same unit, according to public reports, has been involved in attacks on

  • French president Emmanuel Macron,
  • NATO,
  • the German Parliament,
  • Georgia,

and other government targets across Europe.

.. Each of Mueller’s indictments, as they have come down, have demonstrated the incredible wealth of knowledge amassed by US intelligence and his team of investigators, and Friday was no exception. The indictment includes the specific allegations that between 4:19 and 4:56 pm on June 15, 2016, the defendants used their Moscow-based server to search for the same English words and phrases that Guccifer 2.0 used in “his” first blog post, where “he” claimed to be a lone Romanian hacker and claimed to be solely responsible for the attacks on Democratic targets.

.. It doesn’t rule out that future indictments might focus on the criminal behavior of Americans corresponding with the GRU or the IRA—nor would Americans necessarily have to know they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers to be guilty of various crimes.

.. the charging documents include intriguing breadcrumbs. The indictment references at one point that Guccifer 2.0 communicated with an unnamed US congressional candidate and, especially intriguingly, that the GRU for the first time began an attack on Hillary Clinton’s personal emails just hours after Trump publicly asked Russia for help in finding them.

.. one of the early tips to the US government that launched the FBI investigation eventually known by the codename CROSSFIRE HURRICANE: Trump aide George Papadopoulos telling an Australian diplomat in May 2016 that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, weeks before the GRU attacks became public. The charges against the GRU make clear that its effort began at least by March 2016. Papadopoulos, arrested last summer and already cooperating with Mueller’s team, might very have provided more information about where his information came from—and who, in addition to the Australians, he told.
Thus far, Mueller’s probe has focused on five distinct areas of interest:

1. An investigation into money laundering and past business dealings with Russia by people like former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort
2. The active information influence operations by Russian trolls and bots on social media, involving the Russian Internet Research Agency
3. The active cyber penetrations and operations against the DNC, DCCC, and Clinton campaign leader John Podesta
4. Contacts with Russian officials by Trump campaign officials during the course of the 2016 election and the transition, like George Papadopoulos and former national security advisor Michael Flynn
5. Obstruction of justice, whether the President or those around him sought to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference

.. What Mueller hasn’t done—yet—is show how these individual pieces come together. What level of coordination was there between the Internet Research Agency and the GRU or FSB? What ties, if any, exist between the business dealings of Manafort, Gates, and the Russian efforts to influence the election?

How coordinated were unexplained oddities, like the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians, and the Russian government efforts by the IRA, GRU, and FSB?

.. He knows far, far more than the public does. There was little sign in Friday’s indictment that any of it came from the cooperation and plea agreements he’s made with figures like Flynn, Gates, and Papadopoulos—meaning that their information, presumably critical enough to Mueller that he was willing to trade it for lighter sentencing, still hasn’t seen the light of day.

Mueller Indictment of 12 Russian Military Intelligence Staff (Full Text)

In or around 2016, the Russian Federation (“Russia”) operated a military intelligence agency called the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (“GRU”).  The GRU had multiple units, including Units 26165 and 74455, engaged in cyber operations that involved the stage releases of documents stolen through computer intrusions.  These units conducted large-scale-cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Source: https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/80-netyksho-et-al-indictment/ba0521c1eef869deecbe/optimized/full.pdf

Democrats Sue Trump Campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks Over 2016 Election

Lawsuit seeks damages over alleged hack into the DNC’s computer network

The Democratic National Committee sued the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks on Friday, accusing them of conspiring to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The lawsuit alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy ahead of the election to hack into the DNC’s computer network and strategically leak the stolen information to bolster Donald Trump’s chances of winning the election.

Among the defendants are the Russian Federation, the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, Donald Trump Jr. , former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, longtime Trump associate Roger Stone and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner.

The suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks an unspecified amount of damages and requests a jury trial. The DNC said it paid more than $1 million in the fallout of the hack to repair electronic equipment and hire additional staff.

The DNC accuses the defendants of violating a range of federal laws, including antihacking and racketeering laws.

The lawsuit alleges the Trump campaign acted like a “racketeering enterprise,” saying Trump associates and employees of WikiLeaks encouraged Russia to hack into the DNC, with the expectation that WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, “would disseminate those secrets and increase the Trump Campaign’s chance of winning the election.”

Manafort associate had Russian intelligence ties during 2016 campaign, prosecutors say

They said that when van der Zwaan was interviewed by the FBI in November, he told investigators that Gates had informed him that Person A was a former officer of the Russian military intelligence service, known as the GRU.

Kilimnik ran Manafort’s office in Kiev during the 10 years he did consulting work there, The Post reported in 2017.

During his August 2016 meeting with Kilimnik, Manafort has said he and his longtime Kiev office manager discussed, among other topics, the ongoing campaign, including the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. Stolen DNC emails had been released by WikiLeaks the previous month, and the hack was widely suspected to be the work of Russia.

.. During Kilimnik’s time working for Manafort in Kiev, he had served as a liaison for Manafort to the Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, with whom Manafort had done business. Emails previously described to The Post show that Manafort asked Kilimnik during the campaign to offer Deripaska “private briefings” about Trump’s effort.