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28 February 2018

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Brad Ruble

Does anyone know who recorded and released the Victoria Nuland conversation? Was she talking on a secure phone? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QxZ8t3V_bk

Lefty

@ 17

Bingo. Thank you. There is nothing ambiguous or subjective about these leaks, the damage they can do, the lack of prosecution of the leakers, or the penalties for those breaching security.

The loss of access seems likely to be profound and regaining it very expensive both in dollars and lost intelligence.

Fred

Leaky,

How about the multi-million dollar donations to the foundation run by the duaghter of the Secretary of State of the United States and bribes speech fees paid to the husband of the Secretary of State of the United States for talks given in front of -omg- Russians - in Moscow! LOL. Just business as usual payments? kind of like spouse of suspect under criminal investigation walking down a set of stairs rolled out to his jet, walking across tarmac, walking up stairs on other jet with armed guards posted, and speaking to the Attorney General of the United States. Business as usual. No clear and dangerous precendent to the pinciples of social justice for all in that conduct. No sir.

turcopolier

egl

The first two leaks seem likely to be from BHO people and the third from a Trumpista. Or all three could be from career people. pl

The Beaver

@ Brad Ruble

The audio clip was first posted on Twitter by Dmitry Loskutov, an aide to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, according to Foggy Bottom.

Laura

Apparently 30 -- 30! -- staffers had their security clearance downgraded. If there are 30 unreliable people on staff....is ANYONE surprised about leaks????

Really?

Pacifca Advocate

With all due repsect, Col:

Perhaps Jeff Sessions isn't the man you hope him to be?

Mark Logan

jsn, re post 13.

The competing corporations are the parties. You reminded me of this prescient bit from George's Farewell Address:

“The common and continual mischief's [sic] of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion.”

Leaky Ranger

Nunes gets caught leaking, Paul Ryan is indifferent:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/01/us/politics/senate-intelligence-nunes-leaks.html

Annem

Two propositions can be true at once: that the constant drumbeat against Russia is [very dangerous] nonsense and that Kushner, like the Trumps, cannot and will not separate his personal financial interests and his position in the USG. Case in point: Kushner’s Dad goes to Qatar and asks HBJ for $500 million to refinance that Fifth Avenue property. HBJ says conditionally, “Yes, IF you can raise the other $400+ million he needs from another investor.” He goes off to talk to the Chinese bank, but they turn him down. That means that Kushner Pere gets nothing for his efforts. Just shortly afterwards, Kushner Fills’ BFF in Saudi Arabia, MbS, launches the campaign against Qatar for supposedly supporting terrorism, etc., along with their other buddy in the UAE. President Trump jumps immediately on the Saudi-UAE bandwagon and blasts Qatar. SecState and SecDef among others remind POTUS of the importance of our base in Qatar and take it upon themselves to do damage control themselves. After their “clarifying statements” Trump doubles down against Qatar. Coincidence? Even if it were, I doubt you would be able to convince people in that region of the world that it was not. Complain as you will about the leaks, not to mention the failed presidential candidate and her party who just can’t accept that she lost for very solid reasons, but combined thus far with the performance of the winners, has brought our governance to new lows.
The leaks are troublesome, but more troubling to my mind is the trend now accepted by both parties that the government must fight against “alternative information” [facts or ideas it does not like]. The latest complaint is that the Russians are messing with US agriculture imports because of RT/Sputnik coverage of the GMO controversy and that it is a way to promote Russian Ag products to take its place. The fact that the issue of GMO and “big Ag” are major topics AMONG AMERICANS and resulted in modification of policies even within the Food Lobby seems not to cross the critics minds.

catherine

plantman said...

I think the attacks on Kushner are particularly evil and calculating.... And they could pose a real danger to the country!
>>>>>>>>>

LOL...I think Kushner is a danger to the country. I don't want a guy who shared his bedroom with Netanyahu and who's father is a jailbird and uber funder of illegal Israeli settlements any where near the WH much less privy to the presidents daily intelligence briefings.

As the saying goes....if Trump wants a friend let him get a dog.

turcopolier

PA Sessions? You lefties are supposed to be able to recognize ironic humor. Aren't you the literate future of humanity? pl

Richardstevenhack

I find it absurd that anyone is making it news that foreign governments are trying to find ways to manipulate White House connected officials.

Surely this is the nature of the beast. Both in the US and in foreign governments. Why would anyone expect anything different.

Ah, yes, because everyone in the US government is supposed to be honest, honorable, and of impeccable character (and brilliant to boot) - whereas anyone in a foreign government is a scumbag capable only of nefarious intentions and criminal methods.

Well, the latter might be true - but it's also true of the former.

As for SIGINT leaks, I suspect anyone in any government who isn't assuming their most encrypted conversations are immediately revealed to the NSA are idiots. If they don't know how it's being done, I would imagine they've already ordered their intelligence people to find out how. In the meantime, they're resigned to speaking over any communication link only information that isn't "Eyes Only" military technology secrets.

And even that isn't necessarily true. Yesterday Putin revealed no less than FIVE major Russian military breakthroughs in a speech.

So, yes, our leakers are revealing our SIGINT capabilities - without revealing how it's done. But since Snowden, my guess is most foreign government officials have already been told by their intelligence people that nothing they say is really secure unless it's face to face in a SCIF.

I have a meme I use in computer security: "You can haz better security, you can haz worse security. But you cannot haz 'security'. There is no security. Deal." It would behoove most people to take that to heart.

However, the Colonel is certainly correct in that our leakers appear intent to reveal our secrets for political purposes - and they should be arrested and imprisoned for that.

Kooshy

I agree with president Trump, The AG perfectly fits Mr. Magoo. In a way Trump is as good as our own colonel at characterizing and folksy nick naming. IMO, Mr. Magoo is high up there like colonel’s "Chihuahua," or Jason Robards in “Once Upon a Time in the West” Mr. Choo Choo.

turcopolier

Green Zone Cafe

If you have ever worked in the intelligence field at a high level, you know that very few countries are capable of breaking into high level Russian government cipher systems. In your mini-list only the UK would be a possibility. Wherever the data came from originally the number of US people who would have had access is very small and known by name in the bigot list for that series of COMINT. To disclose that data is a felony. pl

jsn

Corruption, not corporations, and the problem is beyond the parties. Both parties have a NeoCon hawk wing that wants permanent war everywhere and both parties have dissenting wings that are more interested in domestic agendas.

But the corruption at play is beyond that of the parties, corrupt though they truly are: the real legal problems that have ensnared Kushner are ones Trump has to worry about also and they don't originate in politics, they originate in Trump's and Kushner's roles as Oligarchs in America.

One of the defining characteristics of Trump is that as an Oligarch he is the first to have disintermediated the political classes of both parties in his assent to power and now holds power independent of them. Most of the S Show we've been watching for the last year is the already deeply divided, and corrupt, political class trying to impose the the order Trump's voters voted him in to overthrow onto Trump.

The thing is, they're all so sleazy that no one can act honestly and so we get interminable innuendo, leaking, inconclusive memos and counter memos always screening real secretes no one involved wants out in public which ultimately result in charges of "Defrauding America" that now hang in the air like a Sword of Damocles threatening any dissenting voice with indictment.

So the secret security state is incrementally expanding its control of allowable political discourse until such time as someone forces the issues into the courts. Sessions, as the dog that didn't bark, is thus far looking more part of the problem than solution.

The Beaver

According to MSNBC, H.R.McMaster may be on his way out , orchestrated by CoS Kelly and Sec Def. Mattis

turcopolier

TTG
If you don't know by the only meaningful criterion don't suggest and imply that it is likely that the Russians knew before these felonious disclosures that their systems had been compromised. pl

VietnamVet

JSN
@41

I agree 100%. The next three years are incredibly dangerous. As the Colonel indicates someone high enough to get classified Russian Ambassador SIGINT purposefully used it to catch General Flynn in a FBI perjury trap to remove him as National Security Advisor. There is nothing more corrupt than this. It also shows how untouchable General Officers think they are. Even with the President’s Tweets, there still hasn’t been a special prosecutor appointed to investigate it. My take, also, is that this is an oligarchs’ fight over power and they are trying to keep it hidden. The corrupted bicoastal credentialed class that provides the support for the oligarchs haven’t realized quite yet that they are just as much losers in the new world order as the deplorables.

America on purpose recently killed between five and a hundred Russian mercenaries in Eastern Syria. It is total luck so far that a shooting war with Russia has not broken out. With this gang it will go nuclear immediately.

Valissa

jsn @16 & 40, in complete agreement with you. Great comments! The Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations).

Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible.

Back when I used to subscribe to STRATFOR, founder George Friedman always made a point of evaluating the elites of whatever country he was analyzing and how they operated amongst themselves and relative to the people and how effective they were or were not in governing a country. But he never did that for the US. I would have paid extra for that report! But of course he could not stay in business if he did such a thing as those people are his clients.

I think Mike Krieger over at Liberty Blitzkrieg nails it from another perspective with this post:

The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/
Blaming Russia for all the nation’s problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn’t support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party.

By throwing every problem in Putin’s lap, the entrenched bipartisan status quo can tell themselves (and everybody else) that it wasn’t really them and their policies that voters rejected in 2016, rather, the American public was tricked by cunning, nefarious Russians. Ridiculous for sure, but never underestimate the instinctive human desire to deny accountability for one’s own failures. It’s always easier to blame than to accept responsibility.

That said, there’s a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they’re terrified that — unlike Obama — he’s a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.

... Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.
Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn’t provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He’s simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.
------------

I can't stand Kushner's smirky face and got a good chuckle from this prince's fall as I am not a fan of his passion for Israel. But I don't think he's a stupid idiot either. He's probably very smart in business, but he seems to have no feel for politics. Trump is much better at it than Kushner. Of course they are going after Kushner as a way to attack and disadvantage Trump. Politics is a form of warfare after all.

My take is that Trump survives but mostly contained by the Borg

Tidewater

Tidewater says,

No, she was not talking on a secure phone. She was obviously picked up by a scanner. Once picked up, a program could be attached to monitor that phone whenever it was activated. Whether analogue or digital, that phone was now infected. Anyone who ever telephoned her on that phone could be identified and tracked. Their phones could also be infected.

My opinion about this is that in the event Russian troops took over Kiev, they would arrest all the parties who made contact with Nuland's phone.

What intrigues me--if she liked her phone, decided to stick with it, perhaps a new Blackberry, and she took it home to the USA, if she used it in, say,Virginia, could it still be tracked? If so, it could result in knowledge of predictable movement of certain people. And the infection could continue to spread.

If you get the right scanner and monitor,say,the Academy Awards, you could capture the phone conversations of some very famous people as they arrived. This is done all the time in New York near stadiums, for example.

This happened to Prince Charles in London.

I am not a tech guy. I think I am right about this. I could do it myself. Problem is, some type of scanners are now illegal and also hard to get. In Kiev, that would be no problem.

The Twisted Genius

pl,

None of the articles you linked to provided any clear indication that Russian secure communications were compromised or that there was a drop in productivity of any USI penetration operations. The most recent account talks about intelligence briefings provided to McMaster. These briefings could have referred to SIGINT outside of secure diplomatic communications or even diplomatic cocktail party chitchat. Much of the reporting about Kislyak referred to conversations with Trump associates. Certainly that wasn't secure communications systems.

The common denominator in all this reporting is the SS7 exploitation that was known for a long time and was publicly explained at the 2014 Chaos Computer Communications convention in Berlin. This was probably how Nuland's "F the EU" conversation was picked up. This is no longer a technical breach of secure communications. It's a breach of human behavior. These smartphones are ubiquitous and open everyone around them to 24/7 surveillance.

Having said all that, I agree with you in considering these disclosures felonious.

turcopolier

TTG

Not clear? I think the inference is quite clear in all three cases. We are not cops or professors. We work on inferences and intuition. pl

The Twisted Genius

Inferences and intuition still points me towards some kind of SS7 exploitation. However, I humbly acknowledge you are an accomplished and experienced analyst. I am not.

turcopolier

TTG

So, your thinking is that defects in cell phone technology are the answer. I have a tough time believing that the Russian ambassador was calling home on a secure cell phone, but even if that were true these kinds of of criminal leaks would be little less deserving of prosecution and imprisonment. pl

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