US Intel provides Evidence of Russian hacking, One thing Missing is Evidence
Saturday, 07 January 2017

After Hillary Clinton was defeated in the U.S. presidential election the relevant powers launched a campaign to delegitimize the President elect Donald Trump.

The ultimate aim of the cabal is to kick him out of office and have a reliable replacement, like the Vice-President elect Pence, take over. Should that not be possible it is hoped that the delegitimization will make it impossible for Trump to change major policy trajectories especially in foreign policy. A main issue here is the reorientation of the U.S. military complex and its NATO proxies from the war of terror towards a direct confrontation with main powers like Russia and China.

The cabal consists of President Obama, the defeated candidate Hillary Clinton, neoconservatves like the State Department's cookie dispenser Victoria Nuland, the Republican senators McCain and Lindsay and the military-industrial complex. (One of the few neocons planted near to Trump, former CIA director James Woolsey, threw in the towel and left the Trump transition team.)

A major role in directing the plot has fallen to Obama's consigliere John Brennan, the current director of the CIA. Another role has been delegated to the various military and NATO think tanks like the Atlantic Council and the British RUSI and reliable proxies within the media.

The current emphasis of the campaign is on the release of emails and papers from the Clinton campaign through Wikileaks. It is alleged that some releases were gained through hacking, planned and executed by the Russian government. Trump had announced that he plans to seek good relations with Russia, the power that the cabal had earlier chosen as the new enemy de jour.

But there is a problem. There is no real evidence that a "hack" ever happened. There is no evidence that Russia is involved. None at all.

Three cases of paper releases have to be differentiated:

- The emails from Clinton's private basement mail-server were released by the State Department after various FOIA requests.
- Emails from Clinton's campaign chief John Podesta were released after someone "spear phished" his Gmail password and got access to his mail box. Such spear phishing - sending an email which asks to change one's password on a faked login page - happens thousands of times each day. - Naturally prominent people with publicly widely known addresses are the preferred targets of such stunts. This has nothing to do with real hacking which defeats a system's defense by manipulating computer code.
- The Democratic National Council was probably hacked. "Probably" because it is still quite possible that a (murdered?) insider leaked the DNC emails and the hacking "evidence" is made up to conceal that. But even that "evidence", presented by the DNC hired company Crowdstrike, is thin.

Allegedly there were two different hacks into the DNC. One was probably harmless, the second one is said to have gained system-level access. I have found no explanation yet how the hackers of the second attack got their first entry into the DNC system. Was an administrator spear-phished? Crowdstrike's fluffy account doesn't say. But it mentions two well known tools the alleged hackers are claimed to have used: "RemCOM, an open-source replacement for PsExec available from GitHub" and "X-Agent malware with capabilities to do remote command execution, file transmission and keylogging". The X-Agent hacking suite has been known for some time and is used by several actors. It is likely also in use by other non-state and state services. All such hacking tools use freely available infrastructure like TOR or rented networks from cyber-crime wholesalers like the recently exposed Israeli denial-of-service franchiser.

The tools and the infrastructure the DNC hackers allegedly used are not evidence that points to any specific actor. Indeed any cyber-crime actor, like the NSA, seeks to disguise as a different actor when committing attacks. Something that "proves" that A did it is likely to have been created by B, C or D to disguise as A.

As no evidence exists the cabal has to rely on throwing chaff, lots of it, and on conjecture. Media who propagandize such are plenty. Keep in mind that some 95% of U.S. media backed Clinton during the campaign.

The Joint Assessment Report released (pdf) last Friday was hyped in the media. But it failed to prove hacking or any Russian involvement.

The new report released later today adds nothing but fluff to it. Selected bits of the new intelligence report are systematically "leaked" by "senior intelligence officials". Here are headlines from today that show how stupid the presented "evidence" is.

The Washington Post: U.S. intercepts capture senior Russian officials celebrating Trump win

A lot of people all over the world celebrated when Clinton lost - me included. So the headline above certainly carries grains of truth. But it should have been be shortened to: CIA finds, watches Russia Today clip on Youtube:

Russia: State Duma applauds Trump's victory in US elections

The Russian State Duma welcomed the news of Republican candidate Donald Trump's victory in the US Presidential elections with a round of applause from Moscow, Wednesday. Deputy Vyacheslav Nikonov announced Donald Trump as the president-elect which was greeted enthusiastically by the chamber.

So yes, the WaPo report is correct. Senior Russian officials celebrated the Trump win - publicly. The CIA got wind of that.
Deep down the Washington Post piece also says:

The new report incorporates material from previous assessments and assembles in a single document details of cyber operations dating back to 2008. Still, U.S. officials said there are no major new bombshell disclosures even in the classified report. A shorter, declassified version is expected to be released to the public early next week.

How could information from some cyber operation in 2008 be relevant here? The systems existing today are hardly the same. We can assume that this is only included to disguise the lack of current proof that any hack of the DNC happened. And the "no bombshell disclosure" line is just a different way of saying: "We got nothing new. There was no real evidence before this report and there is none in it now."

Also consider this lines from a Reuters report on the new release:

Not all 17 intelligence agencies participated in preparing the assessment.
...
The report contains some of what the officials called "minor footnotes" about open questions and other uncertainties

Not all 17 U.S. intelligence services signed off on the report. Those who declined to be part of it will have their reasons. Footnotes to the "slam dunk" 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on alleged Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction reports got some prominence:

Not all agencies involved concurred with the NIE's conclusions. Two footnotes have come to public attention. In one, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research dissented from the intelligence community's majority view [...]. In another footnote, the U.S. Air Force's director for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance questioned [...]

Back then the "minor footnotes" caveats turned out to be correct while the "evidence" in the main report was fake and its conclusions were one big lie.

Consider also this example on how the "evidence" about the alleged DNC "hack" was gained: The FBI Now Says Democrats Were Behind Hack Investigation Delay:

"The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated. This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information," a senior law enforcement official told BuzzFeed News in a statement.

The third party was Crowdstrike, a cyber-something company whose founder and Chief Technical Officer is the Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, Dmitri Alperovitch. (I fail to find biographic information about Alperovitch. Where was he born?) The Atlantic Council NATO lobby is sponsored by various foreign (Gulf) governments and defense industry companies. Crowdstrike was hired by the DNC.

The FBI statement above inspired me to write this movie plot:

In the public courtroom:

Judge to FBI: "So you know who killed Mrs. Clinton's Dream?"

FBI: "Yes. We think Vlad did it ... evidence ..."

Judge: "You found the evidence at the crime scene?"

FBI: "Yes, ehem ... no. We never visited the crime scene. We were not allowed to enter it. Our assessments rely on the reports by the private investigators. The victim's family hired those."

Hollywood rejected that movie script. "Hilarious, but too implausible," they said.

Whenever there is talk of "evidence" of alleged hacking or any Russian involvement ask for real evidence. You will likely be pointed to the several (semi-)official reports and opinions that have been issued so far. But none of these reports, which I read a to z, contains any real evidence. It may be that the DNC got hacked - may be. Even if it was - the case currently presented points only to tools and methods that are known and used all over the hacking and spying scene. To say that it was a "Russian hack" is pure conjecture based on chaff and hot air.

Keep in mind who makes those "hacking" assertions and the motives and money behind them.  //Moon of Alabama

 




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