« Trump kicked the Islamic world in the teeth today, and loved doing it. | Main | A Modest Proposal to dismember Syria ... »

26 January 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Or the Russians were not involved at all.

The Twisted Genius


During the decade I worked this field, the Russians were known to operate in a stealthy manner and would quickly vanish if discovered. The Chinese, on the other hand, tended to be noisy and far less stealthy. The 2014 DOS attack was a drastic change. The Russians stayed in the system and fought back hard. Even the Chinese didn't fight back when discovered. Concerning the DNC hack, this was the first time the Russians released the information they stole. That was also a surprise.

My small DIA operation worked with an equally small German BND operation. The BND was able to do things that no USI operation could attempt. Capabilities among all the players in this field were ever changing and sometimes very surprising. Sheer luck also played a part.

As to why this info came out now I think it is primarily due to the aggressive investigative reporting of the Dutch reporters. That Dutch access to Cozy Bear has vanished prior to this reporting so the sources were probably emboldened to talk about it. The Dutch authorities were obviously none too pleased. I offer the example of an an FBI colleague and friend who spent three years conducting a wild undercover online operation. His operation was finally blown and publicized by an industrious German reporter.


The Twisted Genius

Eric Newhill,

The Russians, quite appropriately, care no more for Trump than they do for Clinton. What they do care about is ensuring that the US is rife with doubt and internal discord so that we are unable to confront Russia in any meaningful way. They initially aimed for a weak and damaged Clinton presidency. For an example of how Russia sought to sow discord is their creation of online groups advocating for both sides of an issue. They actually created two sites which organized opposing protests in Texas.

The idea of Russia passing damaging anti-Trump to Steele is a pro-Trump supposition. Perhaps it happened, but there is no proof of that. As far as attempting to influence the outcomes of elections both the US ands Russia have a rich tradition of doing this since shortly after the end of WWII. Between the two of us, there were 117 attempts between 1947 and 2000 according to Wikipedia. It might be shameful, but certainly not a shocking idea.

The Twisted Genius


"This strikes me as TS if not TS/SCI stuff."

It probably was. Even though the operation was over, it was probably still classified. It came out as the result of some enterprising Dutch investigative reporters.

The Twisted Genius


Yes, I remember all the talk was about the FSB and GRU. I believe it was you who suggested that the SVR would be the more likely perpetrator of this kind of operation. The DNI paper points to the GRU as being behind the Guccifer 2.0 activities. CrowdStrike said it was either the FSB or SVR but didn't know which. I don't know how they could have known who was behind it other than through institutional knowledge of former USI members now working for CrowdStrike. APT28 or Fancy Bear is widely attributed to the GRU.


I presume Putin is a chess player, not a checkers player. So, why would he go beyond normal spying and attempt to throw an election when his hand prints would be all over it? Why would he give the all presumed winner Clinton a causus belli?



Who leaked this and why is what I'd like to know. Who are the six American and Dutch sources? It would seem to me that they are high officials in the Dutch and US IC. They are quite happy to disclose sources and methods. But if their lawless activities are discovered they then hide behind sources & methods to prevent disclosure.

I've got to say I don't trust anything our IC say. The first thing I will always do is question their motives.


Colonel, PT, TTG,

Stephen Cohen [Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies, History and Politics Princeton and NYU] had it right when he said "What's the number one threat to the U.S. today? Today I would say it's this assault on President Trump. It is beyond belief now and has become a national security threat to us in itself."


The Twisted Genius


"And yet the DNC would not give the FBI access to their actual servers"

This is often trotted out as evidence of a vast Borg conspiracy. The FBI and NSA knew of APT29 activity by at least September 2015. That's when the FBI first warned the DNC of the penetration. They also told the DNC of the APT29 intruders calling home some months later. When CrowdStrike was finally called in, they did not physically examine the DNC servers. They passed a digital tool to the DNC IT staff and had them install it. CrowdStrike then remotely monitored the flow of information from that digital tool to determine the intruders were APT29. They only had to physically touch the servers when they set about ridding the system of the intruders. The FBI would not be interested in that. They would need the months of monitored traffic and the remotely acquired results of the CrowdStrike examination. Once the systems were cleaned and rebuilt by CrowdStrike, FBI physical access to the servers was no longer useful. Binney says NSA probably has all the traffic from the DNC systems. I believe him.


A rather thorough debunking of the Dutch came riding to the rescue - https://steemit.com/steemit/@suzi3d/10-reasons-the-dutch-russia-hacking-story-is-fake-news

The Twisted Genius


Why assume this would be a causus belli. I can assure you Russia has done things far more egregious to us on the digital battlefield and we did not go to war. Quite a while ago I wrote that this Russian influence op was elegant and bloodless. Hell, most of was not even illegal. Nor did it destroy our country, its system of governance or our way of life. Sure we should take measures to ensure it doesn't happen again, but beyond that it is just an opportunity for wailing, caterwauling and getting a lot of panties in a bunch.


Have the intelligence agencies discovered any evidence of Israeli Jews or Israeli/USA duel nationals influencing USA elections? Until the IC puts America First, rather than Israel First I don't believe one word coming from their mouths. I will assume any words from the IC are a psychological operation designed to subvert the mind of the American electorate, to further the agenda of apartheid Israel.



Would you say that the US wants Russia to be rife with doubt and internal discord? This whole "interfering in our elections" idea seems semantically underdetermined to me. If the SVR discovered that the DNC leadership was tilting the scales to help Clinton win over Bernie and released that information to the American people, I think this action could just as fairly be characterized as "promoting democracy" as "interfering in our elections".

I think that coming up with international norms for how countries should respect other countries elections would be a good thing. But I think the Borg won't go for that - the Borg wants to interfere in other countries elections while stopping any actors outside of the Borg from being able to interfere with the Borg "rigging" US elections.

Peter AU

TTG, mind if I ask what era you worked in this field? Russia of the 90's and early 2000 was a mess. PJ's comment "I presume Putin is a chess player, not a checkers player"..
Russia in this decade seems to have become very professional yet much of what is coming out reads like KAOS in the old Get Smart show.
On the Anti Russia/Russia dunit front we now have the same group from July 2014.
US IC would have the goods on Ukraine, Australia, Netherlands over MH17.
After a publicly disclosed investment (not to mention undisclosed) of 5 billion in regime change in Ukraine, it is inconceivable US intel was not monitoring the battlefield They would have Ukie radar emissions mapped same as Russia, launch flare most likely pinpointed to a few square meters, plus most likely humit and other intel on who was responsible if they did not plan it themselves.
Anything coming from this band of forty or more thieves and liars must have solid publicly released evidence , as in where are the pictures, what is the address of the building ect ect. Otherwise it is no more than a little vial of Colin Powell


Why indeed....seems too sloppy for a Putin (Russian Government) operation.


The longer this goes on, the more we continue to loose sources and methods that we can't get back.


"What they do care about is ensuring that the US is rife with doubt and internal discord so that we are unable to confront Russia in any meaningful way."

If need be, I'm sure we can confront Russia in many many meaningful ways. Let's get the Nunes memo out and then make up our minds.


I don't think there's any shred of doubt that all manner of intelligence (and other) agencies the world over, as well as corporate, criminal, and other organizations are hacking into (or trying to, at least) computers of every agency and organization that may have something to do with their interests some time or somewhere somehow. This has been going on before the computer age, even: ever since cable wires and radio waves were used for communication, everyone has been trying to listen in on everyone's communication, some more successfully some not so successfully. If the successes were really big, e.g. the Allies' decryption of German and Japanese encrypted communications during World War 2, no one would know about them for decades. While hardly conclusive, that we are hearing so much about these things makes me wonder if what took place is "big deal," a meaningful departure from fairly everyday operations of this sort. I don't think it would be any surprise that Russian intel people or their proxies broke into somehow, or at least tried to, Democratic Party computers. If the Dutch intel people somehow caught them in the act while breaking into the Russians' network, if true, would be at best vaguely amusing in irony, I think.

But it is a huge and gigantic leap of argument to suggest that Russians hacked "the election," as many of us have maintained for months. We know from numerous accounts now that the Democratic National Committee was sorely incompetent and corrupt, HRC campaign was inept and overconfident, and Trump, for all his problems, did have a good read on where an important but neglected segment of the American electorate was disenchanted with politics as usual. At worst, that Trump was elected is a sign that there are things seriously wrong with the American politics and society, not necessarily a sign of Russian dirty tricks being so powerful. What I see in all the attempts at directing the public attention to focus attention on allegations or even reality of Russian dirty tricks (which I don't think could have been any more than barely marginal in its impact, if that much) is a dangerous attempt to force everyone's heads into sand, to ignore the serious problems that 2016 revealed. If some Russian hackers messing with some computers at DNC, even if it actually took place, is enough to fundamentally subvert American democracy, then it's the American democracy that was in trouble to begin with, not the Russians. It'd be the democracy that we need to do something about if we want to save it, for if it's not Russian hackers, it might as well be alien space bats or some other random trivial event from nowhere in particular that could knock it off the path if its illnesses are not addressed soon.


I quit following the all the bread crumbs in this:


Because it is so stupid. How did they 'hack the election'?...did they get inside our voting machines and skew vote numbers for Trump?

So what if they put out info on facebook or placed ads or revealed emails or had nerds flaming Hillary, they had plenty of company in that by political PACs and dozens of hired PR firms planting media stories and wikileaks reveals and ordinary Americans and people everywhere flaming both Hilary and Trump on the net.

Unless someone can prove they MINIPULATED ACTUAL VOTES ....its a non story.

Why would Russia give a damn who the US elected anyway...Congress is going to keep Russia as their no. 1 boogie man and Iran as their no.2 no matter who is elected.


thanks for the link - it speaks volumes that the MH17 topic is avoided in the MSM like the pest. It must be a very very very inconvenient truth behind the mystery of MH17. It is in to the benefit of the perpetrators of this crime to keep it out of sight and out of mind, until the families of the victims get older, die out and the collective memory dies with them. Kind of like the story of the "Liberty"- the less one talks the better it is for the perpetrators.

The Twisted Genius

Peter AU

I first targeted East European and Soviet hackers from 1991 to 1995. I found Russian hackers breaking into US computers from Moscow. This was in the era of Hayes modems and FIDONet. My next stint was from 1999 to 2011. That was at the national level primarily targeting Russia and China. All I can say about it is that those governments are very much involved. The Russians have always been very good, but not infallible. They sometimes made mistakes and got sloppy, even at the highest levels. None of us are immune from human foibles and frailties.

I share your frustrations about MH17. My guess is that a lot of people including the US and Russians know exactly what happened. No one has provided convincing evidence for their accusations. I have no explanation for that.

The Twisted Genius

kao_hsien_chih and catherine,

Check my response to pj at #38.


I get that the DOS attacks in 2014 takes serious hardware but what I have never understood is why the Russians didn't take any efforts to hide their phishing operations. The exposure of the Russians via the Bitly account for the bitly links embedded in the phishing emails was a careless setup mistake on their part but the bigger question is why have any exposure at all? The phishing operation would take minor resources and could be setup anywhere in the world, completely anonymous, and untraceable.


You could take the opportunity in all the "Get Russia' caterwauling to reveal it for what it is.

Hint...its about Israel and Iran.

''The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation Thursday to sanction Russia and Iran for their destabilizing activities worldwide.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote much of the comprehensive package and worked as a chief negotiator to help his colleagues reach bipartisan consensus on the path to final passage today.

“Iran and Russia need to see more than rhetoric from the United States. The action the Senate has taken today sends a clear message to Moscow and Tehran that there will be economic, diplomatic and material consequences for their aggression toward U.S. interests, values and allies,” Senator Cardin said.

“I am pleased to have worked so closely with Senate leadership and my colleagues to craft a strong package of measures to hold Iran and Russia accountable.

The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 contains the following key provisions:

Mandatory Ballistic Missile Sanctions: Imposes mandatory sanctions on persons involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program and those that transact with them.
Terrorism Sanctions: Applies terrorism sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC.
Enforcement of Arms Embargo: Requires the president to block the property of any person or entity involved in specific activities related to the supply, sale, or transfer of prohibited arms and related material to or from Iran.

The Russia sanctions amendment would:
Provide for congressional review if sanctions are relaxed, suspended or terminated.
Codify and strengthen existing sanctions contained in executive orders on Russia, including the sanctions’ impact on certain Russian energy projects and on debt financing in key economic sectors.
Impose new sanctions on: corrupt Russian actors; those seeking to evade sanctions; those involved in serious human rights abuses; those supplying weapons to the Assad regime; those conducting malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government; those involved in corrupt privatization of state-owned assets; and those doing business with the Russian intelligence and defense sectors.
Allow broad new sanctions on key sectors of Russia’s economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.
Authorize robust assistance to strengthen democratic institutions and counter disinformation across Central and Eastern European countries that are vulnerable to Russian aggression and interference.
Require a study on the flow of illicit finance involving Russia and a formal assessment of U.S. economic exposure to Russian state-owned entities.
Cardin also wrote a provision included in the amendment that would prevent the Trump Administration from returning the compound on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to Russia without first seeking Congressional review. The Russians were accused of using the facility for spying purposes when it was shuttered by the U.S. government late last year.

The Russia sanctions amendment is based on various legislation written by Senator Cardin.


TTG, The issue is not what we, you, or I think would be a causus belli, but what Putin would think would be a causus belli to Hillary, in light of her serial interventions on thin to non-existent grounds of US national security. How would she react to an actual assault on our election?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad