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27 May 2017

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bks

There is no conspiracy. Trump is not fit for the office. He is now in zugzwang because if he throws anyone out of the inner circle they will reveal the level of ineptitude, and if he brings anyone in from outside, they will find out about it. His sons, who are supposed to be running his business interests at arm's length, invited themselves to a GOP high-level strategy meeting; the emoluments clause be damned.

J

Time for a music break from the boneheadness of both Flynn and Kushner.

Here for your viewing pleasure:

Султан-Ураган и Мурат Тхагалегов На дискотеку
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ett4Uud8ehM

Enjoy.

Account Deleted

Colonel,

This story states above the fold, right corner that US officials who either produced the report of the intercept or received the report of this successful intercept outside the IC in State, Defense, the NSC, etc. informed the Washington Post of the frailty of Russian diplomatic communications

Para. 2: "...according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials." - is that the part to which you refer?

If your premise is right; that the leak exposes the fact that Russian diplomatic communications are insecure, this would appear to make what Snowden did look like a minor transgression. It would also appear to indicate that the leaker considers Trump a greater risk to national security that Russia. This rather ironically somewhat undermines the whole 'links to Russia' thing.

Crown Jewels of this magnitude must be a very closely guarded secret - i.e. very few people in the IC community and even fewer outside would be aware of the fact that Russian diplomatic encryption has been compromised. Intel reports produced using such sensitive source data must go to great lengths to disguise the nature of that source. Surely only the POTUS and a handful of other very senior officials would have access to raw decrypted intercepts. If this part of the WaPo article is to be believed then, the leaker would seem to be among a very rarefied group.

Decameron

You can't make this up! Colonel, you truly captured
the essence of the Kushner-Flynn meeting with the Russians.
In the tradition of Groucho's Freedonia, Chaplin's Great
Dictator, Boris and Natasha,and Alfred E. Newman. But it
really happened.

Eric Newhill

Sir,
Ok then. I thought you were being tongue in cheek b/c it would represent such a massive violation of US espionage rules that it couldn't possibly be actually happening.

So you're serious. Trump needs to get to the bottom of this and start heads rolling and fast. Heads rolling includes firings and prosecutions where applicable. He's supposed to be the consummate businessman. If someone in my department (fortune 500 company) released confidential corporate info to the press, financial or market details, there would be a serious cleaning of house. Examples would be made. It would be ugly, but understood as totally necessary. That Trump has not begun this process is very disconcerting.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

You obviously know more about such matters than I do.

However, it seems to me that actions are being taken by a number of persons, all aimed at bringing down the Trump presidency (without, of course, any obvious collusion between them).

The motivation behind this could be either or both of the following:

- Because his victory was based on the mobilisation of ordinary Americans (who are normally not part of the political process). The political energisation of this bloc threatens established politicians and political parties, and their allies in the military-intelligence-industrial-media complex (which, I think, you refer to as the Borg).

- Because he advocated policies that would end the Cold War being waged by the Borg against Russia (policies that benefit the Borg, and enable parts of it to acquire both power and resources).

It seems to me that both of these are in play. Which implies that both the Democratic establishment as well as (at least, some) members of the Borg are behind this vicious campaign. I have no proof whether there is any overt collusion between (though it would surprise me if at least some individuals among the two groups did not consult together).

Bill Herschel

There was a leak. Somebody is playing double. I would be absolutely amazed if US intelligence can decrypt messages by the Russian Ambassador.

And, I would be a trillion more amazed if anyone would reveal this to the newspapers.

b is right. There is nothing here. Kushner was well within his rights. It's all utter nonsense.

Trump will not be impeached. It's all about the midterms, which might though I think not deliver a House majority ot the Democrats. But there will be no impeachment. President Pence? Don't hold your breath.

Bill Herschel

The advantage would be for the story to fold like a two dollar suitcase in the courts. I.e. no wrong-doing.

Cold War Zoomie

Venona is a bit of history that is relevant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venona_project

Freudenschade

Col.,

Perhaps this is an attempt to get the Russians to change their current system in the hopes that they will introduce a vulnerability. If so, the signal has been sent several times. This is far from the first supposed leak that revealed our ability to intercept Russian communications. Is this one worse than the last few times (recall the intercepts where Kislyak supposedly bragged about being able to use Flynn to influence Trump)? Time will tell if these are bonafide leaks or if someone in the IC is playing the long game against the Russians.

The Twisted Genius

You're right, Colonel Lang. This appears to be a massive intelligence loss. Somebody sacrificed a rook rather than a pawn. Does that somebody think this is worth the sacrifice? Perhaps. Here's a theory for you. A conspiracy theory if you like. This isn't about Trump, the Trumps or Hillary's sour grapes. It's about a well executed, far ranging Russian info op that aimed to influence our electoral process in which the Trump camp and the RNC played an active and willing part. It's the second part of this theory that is of real concern. A second story came out today. This is about an RNC operative in Florida admitting that he asked for and obtained detailed Democratic electorate data from Guccifer 2.0 that he used for micro-targetting prior to the November election. This cuts across several conspiracy theories flying around the internet.

http://www.salon.com/2017/05/25/gop-strategist-admits-he-colluded-with-russian-hackers-to-hurt-hillary-clinton-democrats/
http://www.politicususa.com/2017/05/25/bigger-trump-republican-operatives-colluded-russia-government-hurt-clinton.html

As you all know, I am fairly confident that the well executed, far ranging Russian info op did occur. This confidence is based more on my up close and personal experience with Russian info ops over many years. I don't begrudge the Russians for their demonstrated skill. I don't expect others without this experience to accept this based on the evidence put out there up to now. Jeffery Carr is right in being highly skeptical of the publicly available digital forensic evidence used to "prove" Russian government attribution of the DNC, DCCC and Podesta hacks. There's a lot more to this than digital forensics. Bruce Schneier touches on this. I never expected detailed evidence, like HUMINT, to ever be available. IMO, it shouldn't be.

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/04/incident_respon_1.html

I do think the big data analysis techniques, micro-targetting and micro-propaganda techniques will forever be part of all future election cycles. That's just progress in the art and science of marketing. Connect those techniques with the vast quantities of detailed personal information collected and sold by private industry and we're in for something special. Jonathan Albright, a researcher of news and journalism, is doing some interesting research in this area. Here's a sample.

https://medium.com/@d1gi/the-election2016-micro-propaganda-machine-383449cc1fba

Now back to the second part of my conspiracy theory. If the RNC, many powerful Republican officials and the Trump machine served as active participants in this Russian info op, we have a serious problem. The FBI and the IC would see this as an unprecedented hostile penetration of our system. This isn't just a lone penetration like Ames, Hanssen or Montes. Once the FBI was on them, they couldn't fight back. In this case, the reins of national power rest in the hands of those the FBI are investigating. They can most definitely fight back. That's the purpose of the Bannon war room. Perhaps in this case the FBI and IC may be willing to sacrifice a rook and more in order to capture the king.

OTOH, it could all turn out to be just as loopy a conspiracy theory as the fake moon landing. I'm not willing to bet on that though.

turcopolier

Bill Herschel

"I would be absolutely amazed if US intelligence can decrypt messages by the Russian Ambassador" Well, good. It is intended that you should be amazed. pl

Emad

Colonel,

There could be a twist here that makes things worse for the U.S. IC.

The story focuses on Kislyak's report to Moscow. If someone from GRU or SVR had been present in the meetings with Flynn and Kushner or were briefed on them, they'd have sent their own reports back to higher.

In that case Russians wouldn't know whose comms were compromised, so they would have to assume everyone's, hardening their comms procedures, equipment and so forth, in effect neutralizing zero-hour vulnerabilities in their systems.

steve

Agreed. I don't think that impeachment has ever been possible or a real goal. The next election is what is important. Just like the GOP kept Benghazi alive for 4 years, we can expect the Dems to keep this active until at least the mid-terms, if not the next general. Precedent has been set.

Steve

Jack

TTG, Sir

Micro-targeting by consumer products marketers and advertisers has been going on for at least a decade now. Political campaigns have been equally sophisticated for some time. Hillary's campaign with over a billion raised directly and through surrogates was extremely well funded and sophisticated. Substantially more than Trump's campaign. Let's not forget the continuous media stories of the disarray in Trump's campaign. He changed his campaign team twice! And clearly the RNC was not behind him at the same level as it was with Romney.

Now, let us assume for the purpose of discussion that the Russians hacked the DNC's and Podesta's emails. In this case they only disclosed the truth. Nothing fabricated. How exactly do you believe they changed the outcome of the election in Trump's favor?

Isn't it plausible that this is all sour grapes that Trump won unexpectedly despite the best efforts of the establishment?

Henshaw

Agree. Unless there has been a major breakdown in US sigint procedures, it seems very unlikely that acknowledgement of cracking of high-level Russian crypto system would be released so casually. More likely that Russians intentionally sent it through a less secure/known compromised channel.

 Ishmael Zechariah

TTG,
A few questions not necessarily in logical order:
1-Did the RNC support Trump without qualification during the election cycle in the USA? Do they do so now?
2-Do you think it was the Russians or a disgruntled Sanders supporter who supplied the DNC correspondence to Wikileaks?
2-b:Who killed that fellow? SMERSH?
3-Did Ms. Clinton violate security rules by using unprotected servers?
4-Do you consider Salon.com a reliable source? Does their reporting of the Syria story stand up to scrutiny?

I am willing to bet that what we are observing is a BORG operation-not a Russian one. Let us pick reasonable stakes/time-frame and we can shake on it.

Ishmael Zechariah

Sharac

Security is in layers and i'm pretty sure that Russians are well aware of true capabilities of NSA or at least a little paranoid of what those MIGHT be. As such they will probably employ various levels of security with most extreme being probably classic messengers getting their information in "silent rooms" and delivering them in person to Moscow. It just might be that they considered this a "petty" matter not worth some extra hassle as they've probably assumed that everyone on Trumps team will be monitored and main locations such as Trump tower definitely not secured (aka "bugged from basement to the roof"). Also what better for Russia than US having non shooting civil war (with sad prospect of it becoming shooting if libtards continue with their nonsense) and much of its assets looking internally.
Good thing coming from all that is that at least 60-70% of decent Americans whom still trusted the system will see that political system is completely broken and that change through political means is impossible.

Fred

TTG,

Thanks goodness no Democrats got involved with the Russians, well other than by giving half-million dollar speeches. Perhaps it was another state actor, like Pakistan, who penetrated them. Maybe they were pissed off their guest, Osama, got knocked of by BHO while you know who was SOS. "f you prick us do we not bleed? ....And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?"

For example it seems someone may have infiltrated the legislative branch's IT as well:
http://www.wftv.com/news/politics/few-public-answers-to-puzzle-in-congressional-it-investigation/527155464

Apparently she of the "rigged primary" (Debbie Wasserman Schultz) isn't too happy her "lost" electronics wasn't returned by the Capital Hill Police
http://jamiedupree.blog.wsbradio.com/2017/05/27/few-public-answers-to-puzzle-in-congressional-it-investigation/

Now one has to wonder why the words "hacking" or "bleach bit" weren't used by either party in the video provided by wsb radio?

"Once the FBI was on them, they couldn't fight back." You mean they couldn't have their spouse sit down to chat about the grandchildren with the Attorney General?

As to micro-targeting of voters, that has been around a long time. The first exposure I had to the idea was Tom Loftus' book "The Art of Legislative Politics". The electronic era was well represented by Mark Grebner:
http://lansingcitypulse.com/article-8187-end-of-an-era-for-the-master-of-voter-lists.html

Fredw

Once I start thinking about other interested actors as sources, I have to ask this question about the state of modern cryptography: Would there be value in feeding a number of known texts through the Russian communications? It seems probably to me that the agencies would have other means of knowing the contents of these communications. Could that be used to deduce the encryption?

turcopolier

All

Several commenters have put forward the notion that "some other source of information" (other than SIGINT) could have been the source of the material that the US internal spies (leakers)gave to the Washington Post. Well, the number of possibilities for collection means seems limited to me. In the intelligence world the number of black programs and SAPs is endless and one never knows what one does not know, but, the basic possibilities are: SIGINT intercept and decryption (this achievement would be a major asset of the US IC), one or more HUMINT assets in the Russian system (another major asset or assets), one or more electronic listening devices in the Russian embassy (yet another major asset) However you want to look at this the American internal spy or spies gave away information that directly implies the existence of these US intelligence assets. It is to be expected that the Russians will hunt for and correct these vulnerabilities. Get it? pl

Yeah, Right

Colonel, isn't there another possibility: the information was obtained via a bug placed inside Trump Tower, thereby allowing someone to listen in on that conversation between Kushner, Flynn and Kislyak?

The leak of that information could then be used to embarrass Team Trump, and the "news" about the information being obtained from decrypted Russian communications may simply be a cover story intended to disguise the illegal method used to obtain it.

After all, which is more difficult:
a) decrypting secure diplomatic communications
b) sneaking into Trump Tower and planting a bug

Just a thought.....

Eric Newhill

TTG,
I see no reason the RNC would have to go to Guccifer2 or Russians for the data. All of that is readily available from certain vendors in the US. These vendors seem to me to be fairly unscrupulous and highly profit oriented. They'd sell their own mother for a few bucks, IMO.

Even if the companies refused to sell DNC specific data to the RNC, these companies are populated with highly skilled, but hungry, tech workers from India and Pakistan that have access to probably just about everything (I know because I have hired some of these guys fresh off these projects myself and I like talking to them about their experience, especially after getting a few drinks into them). Some of them would steal and sell data and reports. Guccifer2 seems totally unnecessary.

But mostly it's all available from the vendors themselves.

LeaNder

I was a bit puzzled, admittedly. But close to posting this as reply to b.

I would not exclude though that the breach was not a real breach. The Russian ambo is a professional player. Some maskirovka may be part of this.

Are you suggesting, however indirectly, the Russians helped out the Trump government by feeding a false info into the US media stream? with the knowledge it would lead nowhere but distract attention for a while?

James F

Spaseba -

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