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28 February 2018


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Still trying to work it out? pl



You have never been in the intelligence business and have no idea what you are talking about. We have always had massive SIGINT capabilities and foreign powers including the USSR always believed that we could not break into their systems unless it was proven to them as in this case that they were wrong. pl

The Twisted Genius


All Kislyak would have to do is have his smart phone in his pocket or on his desk, even if turned off, and the IC would be able to listen to everything going on in the room. Much of the leaked conversations involve his conversations with Republican politicians and operatives. No secure phones were involved in those conversations. This is beyond the inherent defects in SS7. These are sophisticated exploits built upon those defects. It's all built on modern man's penchant for needing cell phones at hand all hours of the day. Remember it was only very recently that the White House decided to get personal cell phones out of those spaces.


Is Miller embellishing here, possibly:

"Something happened in those 24 hours” between Obama’s announcement and Putin’s response, a former senior U.S. official said. Officials began poring over intelligence reports, intercepted communications and DIPLOMATIC CABLES, and saw evidence that Flynn and Kislyak had communicated by text and telephone around the time of the announcement."



Just finished reading "Near and Distant Neighbors" by Prof. Haslan who chronicles the failures of Soviet SIGINT and their HUMINT triumphs in a nice little book (published 2015). It makes me think that the current Russian officials with their background in CI are not under-assessing the US capabilities, but set priorities in action over deniability.

But this WaPo article is not about the Russians, so @TTG (your comment number 48) and @turcopolier (comment number 51), the nature of the US capability being revealed to the UAE, China, Israel and Mexico might be simply the SS7 exploitation, but I guess whether it was this capability or any other one does not matter in the argument.

Am I right to think that in this article the critical wording is the following sentence: "... person familiar with intelligence intercepts of foreign officials discussing Kushner" giving as the source the "intercepts". And the timeframe given as "spring 2017" could be read together.

Besides the point what Kushner's dealings with foreign officials were, whether they were declared in his security clearance form or not, and whether omissions were due to negligence or determination, I get the impression that the article implies strongly with the above sentence that the discussions of officials in the UAE, etc. were monitored through "intercepts" which means SIGINT.

The article could have left out this piece, or the original sources for the information could have simply said they know this information from their sources. But someone chose to insert the word "intercept".

Under the guise of publishing material relevant to the integrity of the President's special advisor and son-in-law, the article advertises that the US was able to monitor specific conversations of official in the UAE in spring 2017. This makes it pretty clear to the Emirati officials, which of their communications were intercepted. It is a bit less clear for the Chinese, Israeli and Mexican officials, but they might piece it together soon enough.

Was this group of officials the target audience for the article? Certainly they would have preferred to be briefed not in the newspaper.

As I do not know any of the journalists or their sources involved, but my guess is that the desire to give more weight to the allegations against Kushner's integrity overruled their concerns for their sources and methods. That does not show a lot of professionalism.

So the UAE, Chinese, Israelis and Mexicans now got it served to them by the WaPo that the US is listening to their cell phone conversations. Can - on the basis of this - the CI actors in the four respective countries do anything about this? Likely not. But is gives politicians in each of these countries yet another anti-American argument. But that i maybe not a concern for the WaPo.


BTW, what is a "wunduk?" Is it something like a "wookie?" "Was this group of officials the target audience for the article?" IMO you are falling into a variant of the "Lyttenburgh Error." This is sometimes known as the "Peter AU" fallacy in which dark and hiddem meanings are insisted on to satisfy confirmation bias. No. The target of these leaks is the destruction of the Trump counter-revolution against Borgist and Leftist control (not always the same). MSM agents of the Borg are now boasting of their progressive isolation of Trump in preparation for closing in for the "kill" (figurative). They see themselves as gradually eroding his position, Heh. Heh. pl



"intercepted communications and DIPLOMATIC CABLES," All of the reporting on that in the IC would have been highly classified. pl



OK, but the product would still have been COMINT and you know the levels of classification involved. pl


You are certainly correct - but that was then and this is now.

Today, any foreign government or for that matter anyone who thinks his stuff is secure is an idiot. Now, granted there are probably many idiots in foreign governments and terrorist groups and it is undoubtedly useful to take advantage of that fact.

This doesn't change the fact that the leakers have done a disservice to the nation. But I still doubt that the leaks have revealed anything critical about our capabilities to the non-idiots in Russia and elsewhere.

However, one also has to admit that confirming our capabilities is something different than speculating about or assuming our capabilities. In this regard, obviously the leakers have done something bad. I don't dispute that.



"Today, any foreign government or for that matter anyone who thinks his stuff is secure is an idiot." You are completely wrong and ignorant of the subject. Any resemblance between cell phone and internet security systems and the first line cypher systems of the great powers has to with both being electronic systems. What the hell is the matter with you that you want to argue with me about something I know a lot about and you know nothing? If TTG or some other intel or SIGINT guy want s to argue with me I will listen but not you. pl


OK, understood, so domestic politics aspirations trump national security.


It's this wild, romantic and carefree American passion for leaks that has led the Australian government to introduce legislation to criminalise any local attempts to copy it. One hopes that AGs present and future actually put this legislation to use, to forestall any attempt to create our version of the hydra-headed coughing fit that we see currently in the US.

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