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08 July 2017


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TTG - thank you very much for your posting. I learned a lot and find it very useful for understanding this topic.

Publius Tacitus

I have paused to take several deep breaths after reading your response. Regrettably, I see no genius in it. Yours is a “straw man” critique.

You start with a meaningless straw man—i.e. You, David Habakkuk and many others seem to rely on the questionable parentage and demeanor of Dimitri Alperovitch to justify your conviction that Russia had nothing to do with the DNC.”

That is just flat out wrong. I never questioned or challenged the parentage of Alperovitch. Alperovitch’s parentage is not, in your words, “questionable.” It is a fact that he was born in Russia and his parents are known. It is also a fact that Alperovitch is aligned closely with organizations like the Atlantic Council that share his strong anti-Russian outlook. I merely point out the fact that the only source of information claiming that what happened at the DNC was 1) A Hack and 2) was done by the Russians, comes from a company co-founded by someone who is stridently anti-Russian.

Straw man two—“Alperovitch did not run the team investigating the Russian hack.” I never claimed he did. Instead, I offered up several links to other articles that show the flaws and errors of the Crowd Strike work. If that shoddy work was the product of your beloved Shawn Henry then it raises further questions about his prior accomplishments (which you claim) at the FBI cyber crime division. There is another article out, quite technical, that I think eviscerates the myth that Russia hacked the DNC and then passed those emails to Wikileaks--http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-10/new-research-shows-guccifer-20-files-were-copied-locally-dnc-not-hacked-russians.

I encourage you to actually read the analysis. Here are the key findings from the Forensicator (https://theforensicator.wordpress.com/guccifer-2-ngp-van-metadata-analysis/):

Conclusion 1: The DNC files were first copied to a system which had Eastern Time settings in effect; therefore, this system was likely located on the East Coast. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the .7z file times, after adjustment to East Coast time fall into the range of the file times recorded in the .rar files.

Conclusion 2: The DNC files were first copied to a file system that was formatted either as an NTFS file system (typically used on Windows systems) or to a Linux (ext4) file system. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the .rar file(s) show file last modified times (mtime) with 7 significant decimal digits (0.1 microsecond resolution) ; this is a characteristic of NTFS file systems.

Conclusion 3: The DNC files may have been copied using the ‘cp‘ command (which is available on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X in some form). This (tentative) conclusion is supported by the observation that all of the file last modified times were changed to the apparent time of the copy operation. Other scenarios may produce this pattern of last modified times, but none were immediately apparent to this author at the time that this article was published.

Conclusion 4: The overall time to obtain the DNC files found in the 7z file was 14 minutes; a significant part of that time (13 minutes) is allocated to time gaps that appear between several of the top-level files and directories.

Conclusion 5: The lengthy time gaps suggest that many additional files were initially copied en masse and that only a small subset of that collection was selected for inclusion into the final 7zip archive file (that was subsequently published by Guccifer 2).
Conclusion 6: The initial DNC file collection activity began at approximately 2016-07-05 18:39:02 EDT and ended at 2016-07-05 18:53:17 EDT. This conclusion is supported by the observed last modified times and the earlier conclusion that the ex-filtrated files were copied to a computer located in the Eastern Time zone.
Conclusion 7. A transfer rate of 23 MB/s is estimated for this initial file collection operation. This transfer rate can be achieved when files are copied over a LAN, but this rate is too fast to support the hypothesis that the DNC data was initially copied over the Internet (esp. to Romania). This transfer rate can also be achieved when copying directly from a computer’s hard drive to a fairly slow USB flash drive; there is a lot variability in USB flash drive speeds. We can shorten this statement and say that the 23 MB/s transfer rate supports the conclusion that the files were initially copied locally and not over the Internet.
Conclusion 8: The .rar files that ultimately are included in the NGP/VAN 7zip file were built on a computer system where the Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT) time zone setting was in force. This conclusion is supported by the observation that if the .rar last modified times are adjusted to EDT they fall into the same range as the last modified times for the directories archived in the .rar files.
Conclusion 9: The final copy (on 9/1/2016) from the initial file collection to working directories was likely done with a conventional drag-and-drop style of copy. This conclusion is based on the observation that the file last modified times were preserved when copying from the initial collection to the working copies, unlike the first copy operation on 7/5/2016 (which is attributed to the use of the cp command).
Conclusion 10: The final working directories were likely created on an NTFS file system present on a computer running Windows. This conclusion is based on the following observations: (1) the file timestamps have 0.1 micro-second resolution (a characteristic of NTFS file systems), (2) NTFS file systems are widely used on Windows systems, (3) NTFS file systems are typically not used on USB flash drives, and (4) WinRAR is a Windows based program and was likely used to build the .rar files.
Conclusion 11: The .rar files and plain files that were combined into the final .7z file (the subject of this analysis) were likely copied to a FAT-formatted flash drive first. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the seconds part of all the last modified times are all exact multiples of 2.
Finally, your insistence that there was a sophisticated operation is beyond laughable. You state:

All this addresses only one aspect of the Russian IO campaign to influence the 2016 election. The hacking is really small stuff. The big stuff came later. The techniques used to attempt to influence the thoughts and actions of adversaries range from mundane to breathtakingly sophisticated.

I defy you to provide evidence, actual evidence, that the DNC emails played an important role in the decision of voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin in voting against Hillary and for Trump. Show me actual evidence that voters in those states were reading or watching RT and Sputnik News (or other so-called pro-Russian outlets). I will save you the time. There is no such evidence.

Apart from Fox News, I’m not aware of any mainstream media outlet that gave Trump more favorable coverage than Hillary. Here is a representative sample—I’ve done a Google Search for the week of September 11, 2016 on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Please show me the invisible Russian hand.

Google Search “New York Times and Donald Trump” for week of September 11, 2016.

Donald Trump Checkup Said to Reveal He Is Overweight - The New ...
Sep 14, 2016 - After a whiplash-inducing morning of mixed messages, Donald J. Trump on ... reports, including an article in The New York Times, put his weight at 267 pounds ).
Colin Powell, in Hacked Emails, Shows Scorn for Trump and Irritation ...
Sep 14, 2016 - Colin Powell, in Hacked Emails, Shows Scorn for Trump and Irritation at Clinton ... He noted that Donald J. Trump once questioned the validity of President ... alluded in graphic language to coverage in The New York Post suggesting that Bill ... updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services .
Donald Trump Threatens to Sue 'The New York Times' for ...
Sep 18, 2016 - Trump says that his lawyers want to sue, but he "said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting."
Donald Trump snipes at 'crazy,' 'wacky' New York Times columnist ...
Sep 18, 2016 - Donald Trump attacked one of The Times' columnists, Maureen Dowd, on Saturday, after she riffed on Trump's raucous White House campaign. During a CNN ...
Trump threatens to sue New York Times | TheHill
Sep 17, 2016 - Trump said his lawyers want to sue the paper. ... Trump threatens to sue New York Times ... Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2016. Trump ...
New NYT managing editor: 'Would we have a staff left if we listened to ...
Sep 16, 2016 - Pedestrians wait for cabs across the street from the New York Times building in 2014. ... Journalism is now examining how it should treat Donald Trump.
N.Y. Times editor: I'd risk jail to publish Donald Trump's taxes - Sep. 12 ...
Sep 12, 2016 - N.Y. Times executive editor Dean Baquet said he'd risk jail to publish content of Donald Trump's taxes.
The New York Times does it again ... whitewashes a negative Donald ...
Sep 15, 2016 - On Wednesday, Donald Trump took another stab at reaching out to black voters with a visit to an African-American church in Flint, Michigan, allegedly to thank ...
Donald Trump threatens to sue New York Times over 'irresponsible ...
https://www.theguardian.com › US News › Donald Trump
Sep 18, 2016 - In a tweet, the US presidential candidate calls the newspaper 'really disgusting', but did not elaborate.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton locked in tight race nationally - CBS ...
Sep 15, 2016 - This is the first national poll in which CBS News and the New York Times have measured the presidential race among likely voters. The measure for likely voters ...

Google Search “New York Times and Hillary Clinton” for week of September 11, 2016.

An Unplanned Absence for Hillary Clinton at an Inopportune Time ...
Sep 13, 2016 - Hillary Clinton in White Plains last week with her communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, left, ... Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times. For much of the summer, Hillary Clintondeliberately kept a low public profile, fund-raising in private ...
Michelle Obama to start campaigning for Hillary Clinton – Women in ...
Sep 12, 2016 - Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton during the International Women of ... Virginia, Michelle Obama will be lending Hillary Clinton a hand on the campaign trail by ... or some of the other obligations of political life, leading The New York Times to ...
A compassionate, enraged Hillary Clinton is revealed by 9/11 radio ...
Sep 11, 2016 - Was Hillary Clinton's behavior in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New YorkCity a clue to what could be expected from a Clinton presidency? A fresh ...
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton locked in tight race nationally - CBS ...
Sep 15, 2016 - This is the first national poll in which CBS News and the New York Times have measured the presidential race among likely voters. The measure for likely voters ...
At the New York Times, the blind lead the blind – ThinkProgress
Sep 12, 2016 - Liz Spayd is the New York Times' Public Editor, a role that ostensibly makes her the ... Tell me again why Donald Trump is no different than Hillary Clinton.
NYT Calls Clinton's New Book 'Flop' After Terrible Sales Numbers
Sep 14, 2016 - Hillary Clinton's new book Stronger Together is a "flop" after selling less than 3,000 copies in its first week on sale, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
Hillary Clinton is a congenital liar - Washington Times
Sep 14, 2016 - In 1996, The New York Times columnist William Safire diagnosed Hillary Clinton's real problem. He called her a "congenital liar."
Hillary's media is torching its standards to cover the ... - New York Post
Sep 11, 2016 - There is nothing more to learn about Hillary Clinton's home-brew server, deleted ... And The New York Times, stung by Clinton's woeful performance at last ...
How to take “bitch” down: What The New York Times gets right and ...
Sep 16, 2016 - In an excellent op-ed last week in The New York Times, Andi Zeisler describes Hillary Clinton's longstanding, often contentious relationship with the word “bitch.
Gore May Campaign for Clinton, Warn About Third-Party Vote - NYMag
Sep 16, 2016 - Al Gore May Campaign for Hillary, Finally Get His Revenge on Third-Party ... The New York Times reports that Clinton staffers have been in talks with Gore aides ...


TTG, thank you for your well thought out post. I have some problems however with your conclusions.

1. As David H. has pointed out, when millions of dollars in personal equity in a business is potentially at stake, personal integrity becomes rubbery. I have personally experienced this in my own career dealing with esteemed university professors. I therefore agree with David that prior integrity as an FBI official is not necessarily a predictor of corporate integrity. Crowd strike et al are therefore not unimpeachable sources.

2. I would expect all intelligence services, American, Russian, Australian, Chinese, French, Calathumpian, would, should and are probing computers of potential interest of friends and enemies alike 24/7. To do less is dereliction of duty. I therefore discount the evidence that just because a Russian or chinese service "tried the door Lock" of an american computer is anything out of the ordinary, much less intent to meddle with an election.

3. Even if Russian Government assets gained access to a DNC server, the method chosen to exploit the access - a publicised leak, seems crude to me, steeped as I am in le carre fiction. It burns the source and leaves traces. How much better to use the exploit to produce an ongoing advantage. Blackmail possibly?

4. The Russian hacking narrative "we wuz robbed" only seems to benefit the DNC leadership and their failed candidate. Absent such a narrative, doesn't the entire DNC establishment have the most serious charges to answer about the quality and integrity of their entire leadership? The only possible conclusion absent Russian hacking is that the leadership has failed. Denial is too kind a word. Wouldn't the DNC leadership prefer any explanation other than organisational failure?

In my opinion, the simplest explanation is to be preferred. As others have now suggested, time stamp data posits a direct download by a local individual. Seth Rich employing a bootable linux thumb drive and giving the results to Assange sounds to me far more believable than a grand russian conspiracy, as does the subsequent murder of Seth Rich to prevent the simple truth from discovery.



He didn't mention them, I did because presidential elections are not the only kind we have here.
"the leaders of both parties demonizing Russia 24/7."

Not true. Trump isn't demonizing Russia 24/7.

"deliverable" The North Korean's don't have ICBM's. Maybe you think we should sit on our asses like Obama did because Russia has ICBMs but I don't.



" Without term limits the idiots like Pelosi and McCain will die before they leave office regardless of what the voters want."

Tell that to Eric Cantor.



That may be true but I suspect the Candy Crush voter data model is not going to be very damned predictable without a great deal of other factors of human behavior to fit whatever model your computer is having.



"..., the fury of the establishment elite stems from outrage an external actor penetrated their sphere of propaganda."

They are furious because Trump won and they are doing their best to sabotage him even if it means the destruction of the Constitutional order to do so.

Eric Newhill

I have been waiting for Assange to reveal that Seth Rich was the source for the DNC server documents. I understand that he is still very much at risk of arrest by the US or Britain. He is likely at risk of getting the Seth Rich treatment too. So he is no doubt holding out for a deal with Trump, or, by this point, waiting for the right time to drop the bomb in coordination with Trump's team. Assange knows. He is potentially an extremely dangerous man to the DNC.


Thanks! The great value of places (so to speak) like SST is that it gives chance to see how people think, not just what. Always happy to see your insightful thoughts (as well as others') on various things, including things that seem a bit different from the usual topics, e.g. AI. :)


There seem to be legitimate grounds for the POV that the info about the dems rigging things against Sanders came from insider leaks rather than hacking.

In fact if such things were done to Sanders it seems incredible that it WOULD NOT be leaked.


I think you put in an interesting defense, mostly with respect to the integrity of the FBI, but I think many of us here believe the investigation has been compromised by overriding political considerations and a lack of credibility.

Publius illustrated this clearly, at least in my mind. As he noted, all 17 agencies didn't come to agreement with the conclusion of Russian hacking. The implication is that Hillary and others deliberately misled the public in order to make it appear with absolute certainty that Russia leaked the emails when in fact it's not definitive that Russia was responsible for the leaks. Also Publius noted that Cloud Strike had to retract parts of a separate report on alleged Russian hacking in Ukraine, which hampers their credibility in addressing such claims.

In any event, and to your point, if they indeed already had evidence, then why hasn't Trump put 1 and 1 together? Is he simply unaware they possess evidence? Or is it because he knows there is nothing to their investigation because there was no collusion?

Also, how do we know their investigation is related to Russian hacking? Who is to say that they're putting together a team that in the end addresses financial irregularities or possible corruption as it relates to Trump and his circle?


Who says your "cutting edge stuff" has the effect you claim ?? You and the owners of Cambridge Analytica.

A person would have to be very naive to accept that on your say so.

Trust your friendly opinion manipulators why don't you ?

different clue

After reading the comments about computerised ability to learn about us individuals in detail from our dusty trails of digital footprints, the first thing I can say is...

If I ever get a cell phone, it will be a dumm phone. It will be the dummest phone I can find.

Right now I only pay cash in the Sole Proprietor stores which really can't afford to share any money with the credit card company. I may well start paying cash as nearly everywhere as possible. And check for almost everything else.

I will give up my traditional phone when they pull the dead copper line from out of my wall.

The Twisted Genius


I have a full life in addition to sometimes assisting Colonel Lang on SST. I get around to posting comments and responding when I desire and when I have time. There are definitely some correspondents I want to respond to in time. You best learn some patience.



It works, well, it depends. Basically there is a pretty extensive stack of technologies for doing what's known as "marketing automation." There are plenty of basic videos that explain this concept on YouTube. They allow you to target people at scale based on a wide range of behavioral, etc. data. You can also automate the creation and testing of multiple variants of your messages. The debate in the industry about them is complicated, and too extensive to into here. But the basic problem for a business is whether such precision is worth the cost. That question gets a different answer depending on what you're selling.

In the political and foreign policy realm, however, you're never trying to get ROI, you're trying to gain influence. And cost usually isn't an issue. You just go for the jugular.

The psychometric stuff is something that's new and I was never an advocate of, because I didn't believe in it. It's a layer you add on to the automation. Cambridge Analytica simply analyzes links you post on Facebook (which is an available data point), assigns it an OCEAN value, and then plugs it back into Facebook targeting tools. Turns out this is pretty effective.

For what it's worth, Hillary's people preferred to target voters based on their past responses and expected behavior of demographic groups. You'd kind of expect that, right? I can tell you from past experience that that can move the needle a few percentage points. The Trump team's strategy of targeting based on personality and emotion may be a little unsettling, but it's far more psychologically acute.


Thanks TTG!

Did't mean to bug you.

Very interesting discussion.



Trust whom you like. Who are you that I should trust you, seeing that you seem to lack any curiosity and already have reached your conclusions long ago? My suggestion is to separate the information from the source and investigate the information. Look up a few concepts: marketing automation, psychometric targeting, dynamic content optimization, and rapid mass experimentation. Don't trust your intuition or me. Do your homework and see if I'm wrong. Stop being so lazy and complacent. Learn about my world. Do we have a deal?

Yeah, I manipulate opinion. So what. That's what everyone on this blog is trying to do.


In re Sen McCain
" Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason."

Babak Makkinejad

And where, in this "system" resides personal responsibility, the informed citizenry, and republicanism?

Sam Peralta

Eric & KHC

I use ML, in particular neural nets, as a tool, in my work which is macroeconomic and financial analysis. We are not just looking at data, we are also looking at memes, stories and how investor perceptions form and more importantly change. We are trying to understand the factors that cause investor behavior to change. Right now algorithmic trading is rather simplistic as it is mostly momentum driven.

What ML is good at is in discerning dogs from cats in images if there is lots of training data. It can also be good at detecting anomalies, which is primarily what we use it for. But, frankly there is more hype around it now than what it actually delivers. The good news however is that there is a lot of money pouring into these start-ups and a decade from now something more useful will turn up.

I worked in the tech industry for a long time in several start-ups and in venture capital and have a decent feel for how the innovation cycle works. Both of you are correct. We have an amorphous information system where the number of publishers and subscribers are both enormous and growing. So determining, let alone attributing why something, an image for example, goes viral is extremely difficult. Just because one image went viral with a certain set of factors doesn't mean applying the same techniques will make the next image go viral.

KHC's point that in many critical situations crucial decision making is done by very few is very important to note. That is, the influence of the 1% is more heavily weighted in edge conditions. If you read newspapers in Europe and the US from the period before WW I, it would be easy to conclude that the average person in those countries would never have imagined, let alone given consent, to an escalating conflict. A few leaders' "miscalculations" played a very large role in the outcome.

IMO, to answer the question "Did Russia hack our democracy and hand Trump victory over Hillary?", we have to look to two factors - cui bono and Occams Razor.

cui bono would imply that the only beneficiaries of painting the Russians for "stealing" the election are the Democrats, the DC establishment (aka Borg) and of course the vast majority of the MSM who openly campaigned hard against Trump and did not have the slightest expectation that he would win. The Russians are a nice scapegoat for their own campaign ineffectiveness. Which brings up an even larger question, if Trump was a "buffoon" as they characterized him, why did they lose?

Occams Razor would imply, as a possibility, that enough voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania just wanted to give the DC establishment a gigantic fuck you by voting for the "buffoon".


different clue,

I will give up my traditional phone when they pull the dead copper line from out of my wall.

Just so you know, that copper wire into your house gives any agency access to the microphone inside your landline, to turn it on, and listen while they’re eating Cheetos in an air-conditioned office somewhere. Your microphone is a receiver. (See this patent from 1980 where they were designed for TVs: https://www.google.com.au/patents/US4338492)

They do it by calling your phone number via a special number that doesn’t ring, much the way the old BBS (bulletin board service) let you call up a server box and connect. That BBS access number never ‘rang’ or there would have been clangs throughout the nation. Most home-answering machines operate that way as well; they don’t ring so they don’t wake the baby.

Unless you have a phone where you have to acknowledge “Roger” to let the other speaker talk, your dumb landline phone has a two-way microphone courtesy of that ‘always on’ copper wire you think is protecting you.

I know all this because I used to do it in the analog age at Bell Labs. We did it for shits and grins when we were working late because we knew the numbers to call. (People loved to have phones by their bedside.) The Labs had designed the system for the boys in DC.

In 1992 AT&T developed the only truly impenetrable tabletop phone that freaked out the agencies, so they passed CALEA (look it up) in April 1994 to give them digital access and identification. I think I was the only person on the eastern seaboard screaming at the top of my lungs not to pass that goddam law but I was only perceived as a tin-hatter. I knew what it meant.

If you want the current safest method, buy a 'throw-away cell phone' from Walmart, Costco, or any of the chain drug stores. The kind where you get X number of minutes and have to use a credit card to add more. Except don’t use your credit card. Throw the phone away and buy another. Only downside is your phone number keeps changing. If you can live with that, you’re good to go.

Fellow Traveler


Thank you for your efforts to raise the signal-to-noise ratio, especially in this era of full-spectrum whataboutism.

Sam Peralta


I know many very highly educated people with long lists of academic degrees and also know many who barely made it through high school. IMO, the latter have better common sense. They can smell bullshit a mile away. They may not know the details of quantitative easing or understand the sophistry with which its proponents present it, but get it that their standard of living is under pressure doing tangible work while those owning financial assets and speculating in financial paper make hundreds of millions and billions and get bailed out when their bets go awry.

My own thesis is, we are living in a period of mass delusion. Not just here in the US but globally. We have seen such periods before in history. IMO, history is very instructive since human behavior has not evolved much in five millennia.

I said "two layers down"
So you did. Missed that.

I say two layers down they don’t give a shit about the Russia stuff until there’s proof. Scarborough isn’t helping his cause, imo.


Fred, it made an even more laughable scene. The HQ at Holmdel had a helipad on my side of the building with a lake-sized pond behind it with swans.

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