A few thoughts on the leaks – TTG


I had every intention to post something last night concerning the leaked NSA report on Russian election hacking, the oddly named young alleged leaker and the possible motivations behind her action. But I faced a dilemma. Even though the NSA document has been widely published, it is still classified. I no longer hold an active security clearance, but I am still legally bound by the many security agreements I have signed over the years. Technically speaking, I am not supposed to be reading or hearing about this latest leaked NSA report or commenting upon it except in the most circumspect manner. For anyone else here who has signed one of these ubiquitous security agreements at some time in your life, this is something to keep in mind.

On the other hand, I have solemnly sworn to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies. I took this oath before God. I pledged my life and sacred honor. If I ever found myself faced with a decision to go with a solemnly sworn oath before God or my signature on a legal agreement, I certainly hope I would choose my sacred honor and loving God over the penalties of the US legal code, no matter how severe those penalties might be. But more on this later. Here’s my comments on some questions raised by some of our correspondents.

1.  Why did Reality Winner have access to this document? Reality probably was first processed for a TS clearance shortly after she began training as an Air Force linguist and before she was assigned to NSA at Fort Meade as a linguist. As such, she was given an account on NSANet. This TS/SCI intranet gives analysts broad access to practically all intelligence information within NSA and across many other IC agencies. This wide ranging access came about because of unexamined advances in information technology and the deliberate decision to eliminate the stove piping of intelligence as a post-9/11 intelligence reform. Very little remains behind the walls of need-to-know besides HUMINT operational data and designated SAPs. 

This became a real problem with cyber operations and cyber reporting. This reporting often required detailed and specific data to be of use to network defenders. If these reports were available in the existing intelligence reporting databases, any analyst could access it. When I was setting up my last collection outfit, I was advised by a high level CIA tech dude to make my reporting limited distribution outside the normal reporting system from the git go. Otherwise some bonehead analyst who thought they were a 1337 cyber-sleuth would start investigating from his NIPRNet box and blow the operation. I ended up establishing a reporting system that was technologically decades out of date but still responsive to the needs of my customers. Perhaps a certain amount of stove piping will come back into vogue.

2.  Why did a contract linguist have a TS/SCI clearance? Almost every job in the IC requires a TS/SCI clearance as a minimum requirement. Almost every building is a SCIF. This is especially true at the NSA. Even some of the cleaning staff have TS/SCI clearances, but no IT system access. The alternative is to stop over-classifying everything or make due with far fewer TS/SCI cleared personnel. I don’t see either happening anytime soon.

3.  Is this a real NSA document? Unless the FBI arrest warrant is also a total fabrication, the document is real. The FBI states so in the warrant. The Intercept also redacted parts of the document at the request of the NSA when it became apparent that it was going to be published. If it was fake, the NSA would have just blown off the Intercept reporter. 

Many will continue to insist this document is fake along with every other piece of information about the “Russians tried to hack the election” thing. It’s all part of the vast snowflake conspiracy to get Trump out of office, just like the USG was behind the 9/11 attacks and the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax perpetrated by Obama in an effort to take all our firearms. I can't help you.

4.  Did this and other illegal leaks damage our collection capability? I have no doubt the sum total of information that has been made public concerning the Russian info op has degraded our capabilities to collect against the Russian target. However, I believe Obama’s personal warning to Putin in September 2016, his “red phone” warning to Putin along with the expulsion of 35 Russian officials in December 2016 and the 6 January 2017 DNI report tipped Putin to holes in his commo systems. As soon as I heard our government accuse Putin of being behind the DNC hacks, I knew we were deep in their shit. All that didn’t come about because of the CrowdStrike malware report. The illegal leaks were just icing on the cake. 

5.  What was Reality Winner thinking? Damned good question. If she thought she was going to be a protected whistle blower, she was hopelessly mistaken. Her stunt will end up costing her ten years of her life. Perhaps she thought she could outfox the NSA and FBI and get away with it. Given her background, she should have known better. She hated Trump and the Republican agenda. Maybe in her naiveté, she thought this small act would help in stopping Trump and the Republicans. That’s hardly seems worth ten years of her life.    

There’s another possibility. This may apply to Winner and to the other illegal leakers. There is a real possibility that Russia made a deliberate and concerted effort to disrupt our electoral process in the run up to the 2016 election. Based on my experience with Russian info ops, I believe this happened. I do not know it happened because I don’t have access to the intelligence. I don’t appreciate others trying to give me illegal access to this intelligence. I still have faith in the system to weather this storm and do the right thing. 

What the Russians did was not a crime against humanity or an act of war. Compared to what we did to Ukraine, it was elegant and bloodless. No, it was just hardball international politics and I don’t begrudge them for trying. But I do want them to know that any effort to try anything like this again will be quickly discovered and it will cost them more than they hoped to gain. 

But Russian info ops do not constitute a crisis requiring illegal leaking of classified information. If Trump and/or those around him colluded with the Russians in the execution of this info op, I want them and the Russians spanked hard. If the Trump administration is actively seeking to suppress the investigation and protect the Russians, I want them spanked. Either of these cases would mean that the reins of power are currently in the hands of enemies of the Constitution. Although I have faith that our system can deal with this possibility, perhaps Winner and other leakers lack this faith. Perhaps, as misguided as this is, they choose to honor their sworn oaths to the Constitution rather than their signature on a legal agreement. It doesn’t matter. If caught and tried they will all probably face prison time… that is unless they are high level muckety-mucks



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89 Responses to A few thoughts on the leaks – TTG

  1. Gene O. says:

    Great post, thanks TTG. I concur on all points you covered. I do have one snivel: don’t believe we should be going back to stovepiping intel. Perhaps it could be done in a limited way as you suggest. Although I am not computer savvy enough to even imagine how that would work.
    I saw that Assange calls her a hero, and offered a $10K reward to burn an Intercept reporter for reportedly outing the leaker. And yet Assange was the one that enabled the Russians by posting their hacks on wikileaks. And he claimed to be 1000 percent confident that the Russians had nothing to do with the leaked emails he published. Miss Winner should tell him to stick his support where the sun don’t shine. His involvement will get her a maximum sentence.

  2. Bill H says:

    I remember when Watergate was ongoing, all the cries about our democratic way of life being in danger. I said then, as you are saying now, that our constitution and the governance upon which is is founded are a whole lot stronger and more durable than such doomsayer give it credit for.

  3. DianaLC says:

    I am most concerned with her age. I would not have been concerned about that many years ago, but recently I’ve come to believe that we do little in this country to train our young people how to think logically. The country and our educational systems are now so divided ideologically that the young are most likely, no matter where they are being educated, at the whim of their instructors’ personal ideologies and are being taught what to think, not how to think.
    And your mention of God shows me clearly that you do most likely come from my generation. It doesn’t appear to me that many her age nowadays believe there is a God and most are taught that they, themselves, are quite able to to decide right and wrong without any help from a Deity.
    So, you are right, I think, in feeling many will end up spending years in prison. It would be wise to set up good libraries in those facilities with books on philosophy, religion, logic, and even on the advances that have been made in understanding how the brain works. I will even suggest that the libraries should have literature from all past centuries of human writing and history books from all time period. (I am overwhelmed with the artistic talent of our youth and with their advanced abilities in many subjects and in athletics. But somehow we have failed to make them aware that they are not really little gods.)

  4. Old Microbiologist says:

    It is a big can of worms. It opens up a lot of questions as to who sets foreign policy, who decides who and what is the “enemy”, what past involvement we have had in interfering with Russian elections and the follow-on repercussions on a tit-for-tat basis, why Russian attempts but not Israeli or Ukrainian (and others) are bad but the others okay, etc. the list can be very long. It certainly doesn’t excuse any government employees for releasing anything classified and as you say low level but not high level (Petraeus for example) will get punished to the maximum extent possible.
    Perhaps this now sets the stage for a series of follow-on arrests and prosecutions which are way past due. Maybe it is also a slippery slope and the higher mucky-mucks will slide down into the level of prosecution as the efforts to clean house and gains momentum. We are seeing traitorous behavior throughout the US government and especially in the Clintonista’s realm. Where it ends up is anyone’s guess but watching Trump I can guess that it won’t be anything that we could predict. I think in this case this particular analyst is a useful idiot who has opened up the door to a cascade of events. Perhaps this is progress and will aid Trump in the long run? Perhaps we will see a change to the Constitution similar to what was recently enacted in Germany to stifle fake news? It is a whole new game if this goes the way I think it might.

  5. Old Microbiologist says:

    Gene, I think it is likely that there are multiple efforts running simultaneously some external of which some were state sponsored and others just garden variety hackers. However, it is very possible that most were really internal and conducted by various IC elements inside the US government. The release of the NSA and CIA hacking tools have shown they developed and implemented hacks designed to look like foreign government attacks. So, winnowing out who did what to whom and when is going to be really next to impossible especially if the investigation is led by the perpetrators (as likely happened in Ukraine with MH-17). It will be interesting to watch this unfold.

  6. More of the pot calling the kettle black. If the Russians did as claimed, I would not be surprised, at all, given the meddling we have done politically there. I am specifically thinking of our meddling in the election which gave Yeltsin his second term, and the putsch in Ukraine.
    I believe a consequence of these revelations will be mass migration of all Russian computer systems off Intel architecture chips and onto ChiRus CPUs, concomitant with migration onto a ChiRus OS, for the express purpose of making NSA sleuthing more difficult. This will be followed by massive continuing assaults on AngloZionist networks for the purpose of finding exploits capable of shutting down critical utilities, ala Stuxnet vsavis the Iranian centrifuges.
    The US will complain, but given their behavior, nothing will come of it.
    Meanwhile, the Medical access crisis, and public health crises in the USA will go unattended, the elderly will continue to live on dog food, and those who work for minimum wage will continue to survive, barely, on Food Stamps.
    Before you flame me, I’m a Vietnam Vet. I too took an oath “to support and defend the constitution under Almighty God” and I too went into harms way, and I too believed in duty, honor, country.

  7. TonyL says:

    TTG, thank you for this
    “If I ever found myself faced with a decision to go with a solemnly sworn oath before God or my signature on a legal agreement, I certainly hope I would choose my sacred honor and loving God over the penalties of the US legal code, no matter how severe those penalties might be.”
    And I agree with this: “The illegal leaks were just icing on the cake.”

  8. Tel says:

    I have not found anyone offering the entire report, even the articles claiming that this document was “leaked online” provide neither a link, nor any plausible method of finding said document. All smoke, no fire.
    The article in “The Intercept” has just a few details from that NSA report, with sections blacked out (why black anything if the whole document is already leaked) and even these details apparently their journalist was unable to read properly (yes the article is not even consistent with the small amount of evidence it does put forward). For example, the diagram showing the phishing attach strategy uses the words “Probably within” in relation to the connection with GRU. Hmm, what does that mean “probably”? Sounds kind of uncertain. How does this journalist interpret this word?
    “The NSA report, on the contrary, displays no doubt that the cyber assault was carried out by the GRU.”
    There you go “probably” is equivalent to “no doubt”. Something you can only learn from journalists (the least trusted profession on Earth).
    Now the rest of what he describes is the same phishing that’s been going on for 20 years or more, which is very well known to most people on the Internet. We all get buckets of junk email, containing links to all sorts of dodgy sites… big deal, nothing new here. Some people will click on them, there’s always someone. OK, many variations exist, and two-factor authentication introduces a bit of an extra complexity, but none of that is specific to Russia, nor even relevant to the question of whether Russia is involved.
    In terms of actual evidence… zip. I mean something that directly links the Russian government. Just show me one tiny bit of real first-hand evidence.
    Many other news sources are making reference, to a reference, to the original Intercept article. Which really doesn’t help a whole lot.
    Overall… highly unconvincing.

  9. Fredw says:

    Thank you TTG for a nuanced analysis based strictly on the known facts. You have stated the tradeoffs of wide versus narrow distribution of classified data pretty clearly but at a very high level. Previous posting leads me to believe that these tradeoffs are not clearly understood by SST readers. Could someone post a more detailed explanation? Or least some links?

  10. Joe100 says:

    TTG –
    Thanks for this thoughtful and informative post.
    I have assumed that Hilary Clinton would have been a priority target for Russia and other counties with substantial intelligence capabilities while she was Secretary of State. If so, is it plausible that Russian intelligence (or Russian hackers) had obtained her private server emails? If this is likely, and if Russia wanted to impact the election, it would seem to me that releasing her “private” emails – which probably included any seriously problematic activities – would have had a substantially larger impact on the election than releasing the DNC emails.

  11. Tel,
    A pdf of the document is on documentcloud.org. This is an analytical report, not a piece of raw intelligence. It does not even refer to the raw intelligence reports as footnotes or endnotes as most reports I’ve seen. The report refers to GRU origin of the operation as confirmed information rather than analytical judgement.

  12. turcopolier says:

    “Obama’s personal warning to Putin in September 2016, his “red phone” warning to Putin along with the expulsion of 35 Russian officials in December 2016 and the 6 January 2017 DNI report tipped Putin to holes in his commo systems. As soon as I heard our government accuse Putin of being behind the DNC hacks, I knew we were deep in their shit. All that didn’t come about because of the CrowdStrike malware report. The illegal leaks were just icing on the cake.” IMO your points all imply that there had been a massive US penetration of Russians comms and that the Obama administration progressively indicated to the Russians by implication that this had occurred. It is nevertheless one thing to suspect that this was true and quit another to KNOW because of the content of the leaked diplomatic and GRU material that it is true. The “icing on the cake” was in this case about a foot thick. pl

  13. Mark Moon says:

    As someone with no direct experience with these matters, that’s the part that I truly don’t get: that IC professionals so feared Trump or so wanted to be at war in Syria or Ukraine or the Baltics or wherever, that they unmasked lots of the US monitoring capabilities in an all out quest to damage Trump. It’s very hard to see how that was a rational calculation. It’s also interesting that I’ve only heard people here speak about this cost to the leaking, while most media seem oblivious…

  14. turcopolier says:

    “The report refers to GRU origin of the operation as confirmed information rather than analytical judgment.” NSA does not produce finished reports based on multi-sourced. Information, SIGINT, IMINT, HUMINT, Open Source information, etc. It produces either raw reports of what was collected or what it calls semi-processed information that seeks to put its own products in context so that they not be misinterpreted. This evidently was one of the latter, but it must be remembered that such reports from NSA are firmly rooted in and concerned with SIGINT product. pl

  15. turcopolier says:

    Mark Moon
    Until the action of the Georgia Peach there was no [articular reason to think that IC professionals did anything like that. Their politically appointed bosses had the same access as the professionals. pl

  16. Marcus says:

    Are you including NSA, politicians, and various intel managers as potential enemies of the Constitution? There seems to be ample evidence there was massive violation of the Constitution involving the Fourth Amendment and chilling of First Amendment rights by collection of phone and internet communications by the NSA specifically. The National Intelligence Director even lied to our Representatives about this collection.
    This is a monumental violation of trust on the American people. Regardless of any good intent to protect us, the potential for damage to individuals going forward is incredible. This reminds me of two former army friends looking out a window view of the street and talking in an infamous prison in Moscow during Stalin’s reign. The one in custody asked his friend, “Am I a suspect?” his friend answered “No you’re guilty, all those people out there are the suspects.” Are we all suspected terrorists?
    As to Winner and more appropriately Snowden, I’ll paraphrase Martin Luther King, “an individual who breaks a law because his conscience tells him what he is doing is right, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over an injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

  17. pl,
    NSA is now firmly rooted in all manner of cyber-int as well. They referred to it as “SIGINT at rest” in a concerted effort to wrest control of all cyber collection from other IC agencies. This all happened after Y2K. Eventually they agreed this field was big enough for everyone. Within DOD the Air Force was always trying to claim this as their own domain.

  18. turcopolier says:

    Yes, the cyber connection is there with the NSA/Cybercommand merged function but the Georgia Peach’s paper seems to have been intelligence rather than cyberops. pl

  19. Simplicius says:

    The report describes Malicious VB macros & PowerShell – this is amateurs’ night. Frankly the GRU should be embarrassed at the exposure of their use of such antediluvian methods.
    What is unfortunately rather more convincing is the obvious redaction of named individuals in the GRU from the document. I guess this is what pl refers to in concluding that their internal comms are compromised. Winner clearly didn’t see or care about that small detail. She bears no comparison with Snowden, who at least had the good sense to move to Moscow.
    Dr. George W. Oprisko also makes a good point in his comment above. Modern strong encryption techniques likely mean we have their secret keys in order to read encrypted traffic – i.e. NSA are inside the Ruskies’ machines. If GRU still use Windows/Intel, or other technologies connected with the US, they are greater fools than we give them credit for. Not for much longer I suspect; we could be headed for an intelligence Dark Age.

  20. It seems that it’s difficult to keep information secret if you spread it around the intelligence community but difficult to make good use of information – analyse it and put it in context – if you don’t.
    Since information shared with a great number of people is always vulnerable to leaks that means that a certain degree of slippage has to be accepted. Quite serious slippage sometimes, because a trivial-seeming item of information might help an analyst on the other side to come to a non-trivial conclusion. Walling off or “stovepiping” particularly sensitive information can’t therefore solve the problem entirely.
    That “natural slippage” must be something all intelligence services must have to take into account but the less of it the better – if it occurs seldom then it will be easier to identify the source of the leak and seal it off.
    What’s occurring in the US at present is very far removed from anything that can be called natural slippage:- 1. It seems that a thumb drive and a few spare hours can facilitate the release of information that previously would have taken a major effort to acquire. 2. It also seems that an appeal to conscience, or even to political conviction, can be used to justify any leak by any member of the intelligence community. Put those two together and we move from natural slippage to all hell let loose, which to an outsider seems to be a fair description of what’s happening at present in parts of the US intelligence community.
    As a dissident deplorable – and getting more dissident and deplorable by the day – you might think that this state of affairs would suit me very well. It opens a window on to what the politicians are doing or authorising. But:-
    1. The window’s open enough as it is. We need no leaks to tell us we are arming dubious forces in the Ukraine. We need merely to look at the Congressional record. We don’t need leaks to tell us that ISIS was let run in Iraq. President Obama told us so on prime time television and why. The Wikileaks revelation that governments go to great lengths to collect and collate data on us wouldn’t have surprised the Elizabethans, or not those who knew of Walsingham, nor would the fact that that process is often abused. No one doubts that we have Special Forces all over the ME, or if they do there’s enough open source material around to enlighten them, and finding out the names of units or the identity of individuals would add nothing useful to our knowledge.
    So we’ve got chapter and verse for the use our defence and intelligence forces are being put to anyway, We don’t need leaked and often dubious footnotes as well.
    2. The window’s open enough but no one much is looking through it. We need merely look at this site, SST, to see that. Here we see, from the Colonel, you, and other specialist contributors, the record of what we are doing in the ME and elsewhere laid out, together with assessments of that record. The gap between that and what is put out by public media is almost unbridgeable. It is that information gap, not the lack of information, that renders control of the politicians by the voters difficult.
    3. Release of defence information, or of information from which defence information might be deduced, is inherently dangerous. The fact that politicians are misusing our armed forces at present, and also misusing our intelligence services, does not mean that those defence forces and intelligence services don’t have a genuine function to perform. Unless we take a pacifist line and wish to see no defence forces at all then they’d better be in good shape for times when they might really be needed. That’s why I don’t want to know, and want no one else to know, such information as mentioned in (1). Releasing information that’s not open source about, say. the location of units or individuals adds nothing useful to the information we need and quite possibly puts those units or individuals at risk. Similarly, releasing specific information about our intelligence gathering capabilities tells us nothing we can’t guess but could render those capabilities less effective.
    That’s a more significant consideration for the UK. The American defence establishment is so large that it can no doubt afford to lose a bit of effectiveness without seriously compromising its performance. There’s a lot of excess fat there. That’s not the case so much in the UK. “Full spectrum” is now merely a pretence, the forces are still undermanned, and the alliances that might compensate for those deficiencies are in question. In addition the army, according to what one hears said publicly by senior officers, has been run ragged in the various recent interventions and the cadre of experienced men to train the next generation is smaller than it should be. For the UK therefore unauthorised release of defence and intelligence information isn’t damage that can so easily be accommodated.
    Such considerations as I have set out above will be part and parcel of your everyday thinking. But the reason I’ve set them out is that a passage in your article causes me slight uneasiness:-
    “If I ever found myself faced with a decision to go with a solemnly sworn oath before God or my signature on a legal agreement, I certainly hope I would choose my sacred honor and loving God over the penalties of the US legal code, no matter how severe those penalties might be. But more on this later.”
    One has to agree with that in the case of blatant criminality – a soldier ordered to shoot prisoners might certainly feel that honour came before duty when the two conflict – but the difficulty is that we all have different definitions of blatant criminality. In the case of the release of information you are discussing here, it may be that it was motivated by the belief that Trump or his administration is the embodiment of evil and that all means are fair to combat that evil. The plea of honour or of conscience can therefore be stretched as far as one pleases until it simply becomes a license to do whatever one feels like.
    In the US intelligence community I believe a formal process is in place to resolve this conflict. It doesn’t work. As far as I know there is no such process in the UK. Instead the Courts sometimes decide retrospectively whether the plea of conscience is justified. I don’t think that works too well either. It seems to me that placing the burden of such a decision – whether to go public with damaging information on grounds of conscience – on the individual is unsatisfactory, both for the individual and for the community.
    One is therefore forced to the conclusion that the intelligence community, however it’s used, has to be regarded as a sealed box. No plea of conscience can justify the release of classified information. The supervision of that community, and the settling of such difficult questions as are raised in your article, has to come from the politicians representing us and acting in good faith.
    Which is where all collapse in a heap of laughter. In such cases “You can write to your Congressman” means, I would imagine, as little as “You can write to your MP.” But what I’m really saying is that if you’ve got out of control or derelict politicians then it’s inevitable you’ll have an intelligence community that doesn’t work properly, and no attempt to remedy that by setting out internal rules can be effective.
    A simplistic but not I hope facile conclusion. Perhaps your “more on this later” will arrive at a more satisfactory one.

  21. JMH says:

    Dear Sir,
    “And of course what destroys reason is passion. The principal passion in politics is greed. That is what pulls you down.” Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
    Reality isn’t being pulled down by her sacred honor but rather her political passions.

  22. Mark Moon says:

    Great point about pros vs appointees, although one would think that even political appointees should be smart enough or have long enough horizons calculate more rationally. Apparently, that’s simply not the case.

  23. ishmael Zechariah says:

    Excellent exposition. I have a few hypothetical questions:
    1-Let us posit that there was a successful “Russian” hack of the US election system. Could it really influence the outcome of the election? By what mechanism?
    -Do you think the election results were changed due to such a hack?
    2-Is it possible that the Russians were running an interference operation to stymie a Borg operation to anoint Hillary Clinton?
    -If there were a Borg operation to install La Clinton by derailing Sanders and destroying Trump, would you consider such activity a “subversion of the constitution” as well?
    -If so, who has the duty and the means to counter it?
    3-Is there, or is there not, “(a) vast snowflake conspiracy to get Trump out of office“? Perhaps one might substitute “Borg” for “snowflake” to make the question more appropriate.
    ishmael Zechariah

  24. Barbara Ann says:

    Whatever the arguments either way, the balance in the trade-off seems to be tipping further in one direction almost daily. If someone this junior and dumb can cause so much damage so easily, it seems to me the balance needs to be redressed.

  25. turcopolier says:

    English Outsider
    It is not just in the intelligence community that such documents are circulated. The IC are not the consumers, merely the producers. pl

  26. turcopolier says:

    “I guess this is what pl refers to in concluding that their internal comms are compromised” No. This NSA generated report could not exist if the US did not have the ability to “read” GRU comms. If that is wrong, tell me why. pl

  27. LondonBob says:

    I don’t don’t know what is thinner, the claim that this shows the Russians ‘hacked’ the election or that there is any sort of serious attempt to apply the rule of law applies to the anti-Trump leakers.

  28. Gene O. says:

    She is actually from Texas, only been in Georgia for several months. We need a new nickname. I find it hard to write her real name, what were her parents thinking? Texas Tattler? Texas Tipster? Texas Traitor? Texas _______?

  29. ISL says:

    IMO, I would be shocked shocked shocked if the Russians (and everyone else with a halfway decent IC) did not hack the DNC and Clinton private servers. As a matter of fact, if the Russians dd not hack them, they should be embarrassed.
    Of course I wonder why the NSA did not also note they were hacked.
    Oh right, untouchables – duh!
    As to whether the Russians would then pass that to wikileaks – seems to me that would be highly risky and with poor payoff.
    Thank you again for your edifying piece.

  30. Simplicius says:

    I am sure you are right, but if it is not the redacted names of GRU personnel that provides this insight, would you mind pointing us simpler folk to the ‘tell’ in this particular report that gives the game away re GRU’s comms being compromised – is it mere reference to the fact that it was a GRU operation? Thanks.

  31. Tigermoth says:

    EO. I really enjoyed this comment. Well put, and I did “bust a gut” at your last part. The “out of control and derelict politicians” seem to be “owned” these days and are no longer representatives of the people but of their masters.
    Thomas Jefferson said:
    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
    That will be the time when one truly makes the choice to honor the Constitution, and God.

  32. Stumpy says:

    Not taking sides for or against HRC, but conceptually I can imagine that the reason behind setting up her own IT system was the attempt to avoid known surveillance within the USG, or possibly from known foreign agencies…
    I also think the the public has been desensitized, having so many scandals thrown around in a political quest to bend their minds by whoever has the money to push an agenda. But, yeah, the Sec. of State would certainly be as you say a priority target, no doubt.

  33. Stumpy says:

    Yellow Rose, perhaps?

  34. Patrick D says:

    This is one of those times when current events call into question past assertions by the political and government “powers that be”.
    When electronic voting machines were rolled out concerns were raised about parties (mostly presumed to be domestic) hacking into them to alter election results. Those concerns were addressed with assertions that this was impossible.
    Now some among those “powers” are asserting or at least implying that the Russians just did that.
    IMO, the #1 question for the “powers” is, “So, were you lying then or are you lying now?”

  35. Medicine Man says:

    Regarding the 10 years this leaker is likely to give up to prosecution; does a similar fate await Snowden if he is ever repatriated?

  36. Dave Schuler says:

    How about “Yellow Rose”?

  37. Dr.Puck says:

    Extremely naive though: who knows what the fly on the wall would hear as POTUS, Bannon, Kushner, discuss how to initiate a substantial purge of suspected ‘disloyalists,’ or vulnerable holdover, staff in the IC and justice department?
    It seems there is a chicken-and-egg problem concealed in the contradiction inherent to not being able to efficiently “verify and trust” potentially loyal new personnel, with, sustaining ongoing robust intelligence activities. Is the executive branch still lagging in their appointments and staffing effort?
    The devil is in the details of serving and being loyal to the Constitution’s imperatives–as against the practical idea that the POTUS really needs in his administration many widening circles of loyalists who are faithful to Trump and MAGA, beyond the very small inner circle.

  38. Stumpy says:

    The parallel subject to your great article is the security practices of the US voting industry. So, the buried question is “Why, in the year 2017, do we not have a bullet-resistant, if you will, voting system that is both air-gapped from exterior attack as well as responsible against corruption within?”
    I offer the cynical answer that the PTB likes the system a bit fuzzy because within a sloppy system it’s easier to fudge things a bit. However, the battle can be won prior to voting day by an accidental loss of voter registration data, or by enacting certain rules about document-lacking or 3rd party voters to exclude them from primaries or even the general election. Human factors.
    As a side note, I conducted a recent business study on security camera tech, in which I was able to get a demo of the control software to run a whole constellation of security devices that would have potentially allowed me to reverse engineer, NDAs be damned, and hack any system made by that vendor, on top of any Windows exploits. I’ll just leave that there.
    One of the themes at an upcoming hacker’s convention will be how to exploit voting machines/software. Should be interesting.
    Remembering the allegations in past years that the Diebold voting machines were rigged to favor conservative candidates, it’s not a stretch to assume that, while there are always rumors, where opportunity exists, money follows. There are at least a half-dozen voting machine vendors, so market-driven security and accountability are in force. Voting machine systems are expensive, so many localities run them into the ground well past their shelf life, where old equals vulnerable to failure. Also not a great market for innovation, trying to squeeze $Million-level contracts out of $Thousand-level county officials.
    My point being, defending against attacks, be it email systems or voting machines, has to be a decent systems architecture that features intrusion defense and a redundant journaling system so that the vote counts can’t be gamed. Maybe if the Silicon Valley anointed would spend a bit less time trying to build an evacuation route to Mars.

  39. Fred says:

    Gene O.,
    I’ll wait until she has a prisoner # to be refereed to.

  40. Fred says:

    “If Trump and/or those around him colluded with the Russians in the execution of this info op….”
    There seems to be one and only one US presidential candidate whose name is associated with Russian “collusion”. What other possibilities are there?
    Please remind me again who got paid $500,000 for a speech in Moscow? Who is that person married to and what position did that person’s spouse hold at the time the payment was made? What NGO received millions of dollars from foreign governments and foreign nationals while employing family members of a senior US government official who became a presidential candidate who eventually lost the election? Thank goodness we aren’t considering those people as being corrupt. I haven’t heard that the Honorable Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Donna Brazile rigged the Democratic Primary because someone outside the US influenced them to do so but maybe we need an investigation to be sure the Russians weren’t behind that too.

  41. turcopolier says:

    Pacifica Advocate
    Here is the document as redacted by DIRNSA (Director National Security Agency) https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3766950-NSA-Report-on-Russia-Spearphishing.html#document/p1 It has all the appearances to me of a semi-finished analytic document written by DIRNSA for consumers outside NSA. For some reason DIRNSA asked “The Intercept” to redact the names of specific Russian organizations and individuals. What was this? Professional courtesy?” The story told in the report is of Russian government spear-phishing efforts, but the fact is that the THIS REPORT could not have been written without an intimate knowledge of what the GRU was saying to itself about the project. How else would they know the names? I recognize your ignorance about anything involving intelligence but the level of your obduracy about this would indicate some sort of political motivation. pl

  42. Colonel,
    I think in England the circle allowed access to UK classified intelligence includes politicians, civil servants, external contractors, journalists, anyone within earshot on the commuter train and the bloke down the pub. I don’t travel on commuter trains and the pub’s not what it was since they’ve banned smoking so I’m out of the loop.
    And not even my long ago reading of John Le Carre helps me with understanding the complex interaction between the intelligence services or those associated with them, and the politicans and the media. I’m still baffled by how Christopher Steele managed to romp around the US electoral scene for so long without anyone in the UK or US intelligence communities batting an eyelid.
    You might be interested in my own experience in the intelligence community. It was in the days before I discovered Adblocker so when I looked up say the price of red diesel some algorithm would pursue me for ever with advertisements from fuel companies in impossibly remote parts of the UK. I’d emailed a friend with some caustic remarks on the equipment supplied to our troops in Afghanistan. Immediately an invitation to apply for a job in MI5 appeared on the side of the screen. They must be desperate, I thought, and they’ve got the number wrong, but I confess I was flattered every time I saw the invitation appear with the advertisements for tractor parts I’d long since fitted and English-made leather shoes I’d never bought.
    If you’re still looking, MI5, and still desperate, I’m still here. A desk job please, and a civilised pub nearby because I’m at my best with tiny quantities of paperwork at a time, and I promise never to leave my laptop on the train or go near the Ecuadorean embassy.
    That, and a suspicion that the smartly dressed men who used to stand around scanning the crowd when I boarded the Irish Ferry weren’t porters, is as close as I’ve got to your world. But seriously, I do recognise that it’s an important world, and one none of us wants to see go off the rails.

  43. different clue says:

    My memory is that Snowden did not intend to move to Moscow. He intended to move through Moscow to somewhere warmer and more fun. The Obama Administration stranded him in Moscow by cancelling his passport while he was travelling, thereby stopping his ability to travel further. I believe Putin pointed this out in an interview somewhere. So it was Obama who caused Snowden to be stranded in the one place with security systems strong enough to protect Snowden from extraordinary rendition or extradition-under-pressure; and also a long-standing incentive to wrap that forcefield of protection around Snowden.
    Whatever fun-in-the-sun country Snowden would have rather gone to would have been easier to extort Snowden from or snatch Snowden from. It is Obama who put Snowden out of reach by cancelling his passport and stranding him in Moscow.

  44. VietnamVet says:

    Thanks. The GRU wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t try to figure out what Washington DC was up to. So far with the Russian PR disaster with MH-17 and being patsies to the restart of the Cold War; I don’t think they’ve been very successful.
    I do think that there is a soft coup underway led by western globalists and those in government who circle in and out through the revolving door to get rid of Donald Trump. This is shaking everything up.
    I witnessed the silent mutiny in Vietnam in 69-70. I am astonished that the deplorables in the armed forces and in the military industries whose families have been pushed out of the middle class and those who know friends and family members who’ve descended into addiction, despair and early death haven’t grasped the connection between this and the endless wars, fake news, scapegoating Russia and the new world order. By all indications the globalists are so isolated in their wealthy bubbles, they don’t realize what their coup is unleashing.

  45. Fredw says:

    If she was trying to avoid surveillance, USG or otherwise, her people would have made more effort to be secure.

  46. robt willmann says:

    I think the young lady’s given first name was probably Sara, and she changed it to “Reality” Winner–
    The affidavit supporting the arrest warrant is here–
    The criminal complaint filed in court to get the case started is here, and is also supported by the affidavit–
    As is noted on the complaint, the case is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia–
    The complaint relies on Title 18, U.S. Code, section 793(e), a felony, that can result in a sentence of a fine only, up to 10 years in prison only, or both–
    “(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or…”
    The two operative phrases at the start of the subsection require that the person had “unauthorized” possession, or, had “… information … the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation …”, or, both.

  47. Tel says:

    Thanks, I finally found the document. They claim to know the names of the people who did it, but the names are blacked out (presumably by the Intercept??) As you say, no explanation of how these names were discovered.
    That graphic on the end saying “Probably within” the GRU is weird because very little of what’s in the graphic matches up with what’s described in the text. Also the graphic says “Page 1 of 2” but there’s no “Page 2 of 2” provided, so perhaps Winner ran out of photocopying credit.
    The headers and footers on that last page are quite different from the rest of the document. What’s more the technique described in the graphic is about sending a link and then encouraging the victim to click the link to do credential harvesting. A common enough technique, but completely different to what’s described in the text above which was the sending of attached Word documents containing VB macro trojans.
    My conclusion is that final graphic page actually has nothing to do with the rest of the document, and probably came from a different source document. It’s just been chucked on the end there.
    I still think the Intercept guys come out looking kind of sloppy not properly checking this stuff for self consistency is nothing else.
    Also, if the US government really does know the names of the people involved… why not confront Putin with that? They have been farting around with highly vague accusations for months now, while at the same time sitting on specific names, dates and emails… something strange about that.

  48. BrotherJoe says:

    Absent the redacted names, which presumably could have only come from our penetration of Russian diplomatic communications, was there any other evidence
    linking the attack to the GRU. Given the fact that hacking software is so widespread and that state sponsored hacking would most like try to disguise their efforts as the work of another country, can we be sure (absent the redacted names factor)that it wasn’t China or even one of our own allies?

  49. turcopolier says:

    Brother Joe
    The NSA states in its report that it judges the “actors” herein to be the GRU. This is an analytic report. Understand? pl

  50. turcopolier says:

    “if the US government really does know the names of the people involved… why not confront Putin with that?” Unlike Australia the US has a government with three separate and equal branches at the federal level. There is no single “US government” in the sense that you imply. pl

  51. robt willmann says:

    The preliminary fight card to the main event tomorrow played out this morning (7 June) before the U.S. Senate “Select” Committee on Intelligence. The cable television networks carried it live. Appearing were NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, who looked as if he did not want to be there and was trying to avoid cussing like a sailor at the assembled senators; Director of National Intelligence and former senator Dan Coats, who seems to be a nice man and is still in the process of learning doctrines and methods about surveillance; Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appears to be working an angle more than just covering his derriere by passing the buck to Robert Mueller for the Russia investigation that dropped in his lap after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself; and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, whose attitude fit a street slang term that should not be said in the presence of ladies.
    After the witnesses said they could not talk about meetings they may have had with president Trump, and the session ended, the committee released the written, prepared testimony of former FBI Director James Comey for tomorrow, in which he talks about meetings and conversations with Trump!–
    After Comey’s prepared testimony was released, the performers on the cable TV networks were panting with ecstasy reading and talking about it.
    But that was not all in the bureaucratic jungle warfare for the day. Trump announced that he was going to appoint Christopher Wray to be the new FBI Director. Wray had been the chief of the criminal division of the Justice Department from 2003-2005 when Bush jr. was president and was appointed by him, and his boss in the organizational chart was Deputy Attorney General James Comey! Wray then went into private practice doing the well-paying “white collar” criminal defense work, in the course of which he represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the “Bridgegate” investigation, who was not charged with a crime in that episode.–
    Then, to top it off, a group called the Great America Alliance, co-chaired by Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, and designed to promote president Trump’s agenda, has released a 30-second ad trying to dirty up James Comey before his appearance tomorrow!–
    Although this spectacle may be fun to watch, it is a sad caricature of domestic politics and media in the face of the real problems that plague us.

  52. mauisurfer says:

    Celebrations today in Israel commemorating 50th anniversary of
    Israel’s napalming and machine gunning USS Liberty, killing 34 USA sailors, injuring 174, nearly sinking the ship.
    One of the greatest ironies is that a Russian navy ship was first to come alongside and offer aid!
    Khalidi reviews how Israel became master of USA under LBJ, in contrast to Ike who had no problem rebuking Israel in Suez in 1956.

  53. iowa steve says:

    Well, there’s no money in it for the tech vendors so it won’t happen, but the best voting system is paper ballots hand-counted in public. Germany does it. Canada does it at least for their federal elections.

  54. Jack says:

    TTG, Sir
    “If caught and tried they will all probably face prison time… that is unless they are high level muckety-mucks”
    Since the high level muckety-mucks can commit espionage with impunity, do you believe that our adversaries will focus on recruiting there?
    The most sensitive US secret, our ability to intercept and decrypt Russian secure communication has been disclosed. Apparently by some high level muckety-muck. Who were they an agent of? The Russians? Or was it par for the course in terms of our domestic politics and political appointees at the highest level?

  55. Fred says:

    Or her people were incompetent.

  56. different clue says:

    Legal Paper Ballots would be the most protected-in-the-first-instance system. In Michigan we have Opti-Scan. Yes it is digitally read and counted. But the actual ballot is physically cast by the analog voter on analog paperboard with an analog ink pen. If the subsequent reading of the votes or tabulation of the results is so digitally fraudulent as to set off alarm bells which cannot be denied, the Legal Paper Ballots could be gone back to and counted.
    If I am reminded of all the ways that physical meatspace analog-marks-on-analog-paper elections can also be fraudulated, and have been; I would have to throw up my hands and say: very well. Let’s hire the Canadians to run our election and have the Carter Center work with them and observe them at every step of the way.

  57. TV says:

    You don’t really think that these airhead millennials know what a library is, do you?
    They’re products of an “education” system in which everyone gets “A”‘s and the core curriculum is hatred of “racist” America.

  58. Degringolade says:

    Thanks you for an excellent work on the ethics and morals of a difficult and contradictory part of life. The duties and loyalties necessary for an effective intelligence service.
    English Outsider:
    I wish to thank you for one of best overall comments to a post I have seen here at SST. While not at all denigrating the excellent original piece by TTG, your piece complements and expands the thought that makes the discussion as worthwhile as any work here.
    Kudos to both…well done

  59. fasteddiez says:

    TV. Your riposte is a tad on the harsh side. As with the Boomers and Gen-Xers who received scorn for one reason or another, one must realize that these are not behavioral cohorts, but age cohorts, the millenials’ hipsters and snowflakes notwithstanding.

  60. fanto says:

    Wonderful comment; especially the “…Since information shared with a great number of people is always vulnerable to leaks that means that a certain degree of slippage has to be accepted…”
    I recently have found a book by de Gramont, “Secret War” from 1963; in this the NSA first huge loss of secrets was due to two intelligent homosexuals, who fled to the Soviet Union. There is no way to fool statistics – among say 10,000 people you will find some who will spill the beans. The Brits had their Cambridge Five (or Six?), the US had their atomic bomb secrets knows to Stalin in Potsdam, before Truman told him; The Soviets had their Penkovsky. Statistics do no lie.

  61. If she is smart then she should request a jury trial. She is plainly guilty but the politics in this country are viper poisonous right now. It would only take 1 or 2 strong willed Democrats on the jury trial to produce a hung jury. Of course we are talking about Georgia. My state. Rural jury conviction. City jury hung. I’m sure a pretty lenient plea deal will be offered because of this. I say she gets off with 3 years which at 25 probably seems like a long time.

  62. Simplicius,
    There is a simple truth about Russian and Chinese cyber operations that you and most Americans have not been able to grasp. Both these countries use vast armies of unorganized and semi-organized patriotic hackers to further their national goals. Control over these hackers is loose and unconventional and they are not supplied with government code to conduct their hacking. Collection against this kind of cyber target offers unique challenges. This concept is alien to Western cyber forces which is strictly hierarchical and centrally controlled.

  63. fanto says:

    “… ‘why is the usa hell bent on demonizing russia?’ it is like russia took away the usa’s lollipop or something.. for that, they must be demonized 24/7…”
    I think you touch a raw point here. Ukraine and especially the Crimean peninsula may perhaps be a secret “plan B” for the Israelis who will get over short or long tired of living in hostile region. More on this you can find in the chapter “California in the Crimea” in the book by Sudoplatov “Special Tasks”.

  64. Gene O. says:

    She will get one of those country club federal prisons – teach yoga to the other cons, indulge her enthusiasm for fitness, give interviews, and write a book.
    Oh, and she will be paroled after serving one third of her sentence.

  65. Walrus says:

    with respect, Australia is Westminster system and has had separation of the powers since establishment. The government cannot give orders to the judiciary and I know plenty of judges who use earthy language should anyone try to influence them. our high court has constitutional interpretation powers exactly like the U. S. supreme court.

  66. Stumpy,
    DEFCON will be targeting voting machines this year as their major research project. It should be interesting.

  67. walrus says:

    My guess is that Trump wants to make an example of her pour encourager les autres. The Democrats will try to make a heroine out of her. Fat chance.

  68. LondonBob says:

    I would be interested to know what the Russians did to influence the election. Also how did this compare to the attempts to influence the election by other parties such as the Ukrainians smearing Manafort, Steele’s dodgy dossier, the Atlantic Council, various foreign media smearing Trump etc. acting on behalf of Clinton. Surely this should be of deep concern?
    Sorry snowflakes you have had months to come up with something concrete and still nothing.

  69. LondonBob says:

    If you believe, like me, that the Russia thing was invented to cover up Obama’s illegal spying on domestic political opponents then sure why not, anything to save their own necks.

  70. Seamus Padraig says:

    Snowden first went to Hong Kong, asking for asylum. He left because the Chinese turned him down.

  71. Marcus says:

    Thanks for those references TTG. Very good reading as a package. Just about halfway through I had the thought that we could use an updated Doctor Strangelove movie as a cultural marker–when up pops the beautiful image of that brilliant character! When faced with irrational avarice the appropriate attitude is as an “irrational hater.” The phrase “paranoid authoritarianism ” is ringing clearer today than then.

  72. pantaraxia says:

    Leaked NSA Report Short on Facts, Proves Little in ‘Russiagate’ Case – Scott Ritter
    Scott Ritter provides a detailed analysis based on the chart from the NSA document. His conclusion:
    “Nothing in the document’s confirmed information links it to the GRU. The GRU attribution is presented for contextual purposes only. It is an inferred command relationship to a redacted cyberoperations management capability that is linked to the confirmed cyberoperators only through analysis (i.e., best guess), not fact.
    The NSA document, both in its title and text, is therefore misleading in the extreme. There is simply no fact-based information provided in the report that confirms that the events reported on were being organized and managed by the Russian GRU, despite the document’s assertions otherwise.”
    and Ritter’s overall assessment of ‘Russiagate’:
    “By allegedly leaking a highly classified NSA document, Winner has provided the American public with its first unvarnished look at what the true state of affairs is regarding the specific intelligence underpinning one of the foundational accusations that have been leveled against Russia today. In short, there is no quality intelligence that implicates the GRU as being behind the APT 28-“Cozy Bear” cyberattacks on the DNC and American electoral system. The Russian threat has been exposed as a phantom menace.
    It can now be clearly shown that any such attribution is purely speculative in nature, derived from the politically motivated and fundamentally flawed analysis conducted by a private company, CrowdStrike, which was subsequently adopted by the FBI before becoming a part of a national narrative that has been placed out of bounds when it comes to serious inquiry by a media that seems to have forgotten its responsibility to report fact-based truth, regardless of consequence“.

  73. raven says:

    Someone is simple, that’s for sure.

  74. Dr.Puck says:

    Department of irony: what is the problem with POTUS plugging the holes in the sieve that is the WH?

  75. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Thank you for this erudite and enlightening response. Could you elaborate using simple sentences so that some of us dissident deplorables can understand your impeccable reasoning?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  76. turcopolier says:

    IMO you should refrain from making cryptic little denigrating comments. If you want to say something do so but don’t act like some snotty kid troll. pl

  77. pantaraxia,
    Thanks for that link.
    If Ritter’s grasp of the technicalities is sound, a key paragraph may be the following:
    ‘The classification markings on the NSA document leaked by Winner indicate that it is “originator controlled” (i.e., a foreign source) that has been released to the United States via protocols that comply with the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. The only source for collection against European-based Google Cloud data is the GCHQ-run Muscular operation.’
    In an earlier discussion, I noted the GCHQ link in the claims that the metadata on documents release by ‘Guccifer 2.0’ suggested a ‘smoking gun’, implicating the GRU.
    Discussing the initial claims by ‘CrowdStrike’ on 16 June 2016 – which were to be accepted without any apparent attempt whatsoever at verification by the FBI – I noted that they portrayed the Russian hackers as virtuosos. And I went on to write:
    ‘It was on the following day that a site called ‘Ars Tecnica’ published the revelations which appeared to indicate that, in fact, the hackers had clumsily left indications pointing unambiguously to a Russian origin – most notably, the Christian name and patronymic of Dzerzhinsky.
    ‘These had, apparently, been “teased out of the documents and noted on Twitter by an independent security researcher who goes by the handle PwnAllTheThings.” This, it turned out, was a certain Mark Tait.
    ‘On 28 July, Tait produced a post on the ‘Lawfare’ site, entitled “On the Need for Official Attribution of Russia’s DNC Hack.”
    ‘(See https://www.lawfareblog.com/need-official-attribution-russias-dnc-hack .)
    ‘The bio accompanying the article reads:
    “‘Matt Tait is the CEO and founder of Capital Alpha Security, a UK based security consultancy which focuses on research into software vulnerabilities, exploit mitigations and applied cryptography. Prior to founding Capital Alpha Security, Tait worked for Google Project Zero, was a principal security consultant for iSEC Partners, and NGS Secure, and worked as an information security specialist for GCHQ.’
    ‘Note that: “worked as an information security specialist for GCHQ.”.
    In that post, I also discussed the BuzzFeed ‘dossier’, supposedly produced by the former MI6 operative Christopher Steele.
    As to his organisation, in the ‘Thirties it was utterly incompetence, whose enthusiasm for ‘appeasement’ and congenital unthinking Russophobia did a great deal to push the Soviet Union into making a pact with Germany, and thus destroying such chances as there were of avoiding the Second World War, and all the misery it brought in it its wake.
    This, of course, including both the Holocaust and the disastrous Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, including the Baltics.
    One had hoped that MI6 might have improved, but as far as I can see, this was overoptimism.
    As to GCHQ, this saddens me immensely to say this, because Bletchley Park, out of which it came, was a great product of an older British liberal culture.
    Very many indications suggest that it is now as corrupt as MI6. Among these, there has never been any convincing repudiation of the suggestion by Andrew Napolitano that GCHQ were used to allow Trump’s opponents to avoid the need to get a FISA warrant for critical surveillance operations.
    As I said in my previous comment, if Americans are prepared to see corrupt former employees – and I will now add current – employees of British intelligence play a major role in the attempted reversal of the results of a Presidential election, then on your own heads be it.

  78. Sam Peralta says:

    This sure is a very tangled web. And Comey’s testimony shows that there’s more than meets the eye. Many, many cross-currents between the Clinton “matter” and Trump’s “I hope..”!!
    And the role of elements in British IC as well as the US IC? Are these agencies so huge and so politicized that the left hand no longer knows what the right hand does, as there seems to be many “free agents” playing their own games?
    In any case, these internal games have resulted in the disclosure of some highly secret information that will no doubt setback our intelligence operations and enable the Russians and others to revamp & strengthen their secure communications. All for what? Gin up an impeachment of Trump??
    As long as the “high level muckety-mucks” as TTG calls them, can commit espionage with no consequences, it is all just kabuki theater. I notice that there is no discussion of this espionage among the chattering classes as it doesn’t fit with their propaganda.

  79. Castellio says:

    FWIW, 1664RM, over all I agree with your assessment.
    For many, however, it is impossible to appreciate that the MSM media is directly related to the events they cover, that the practices and priorities of news coverage reflects the intent of ownership, not at all the historical importance of events.

  80. David Habakkuk,
    “The classification markings on the NSA document leaked by Winner indicate that it is “originator controlled” (i.e., a foreign source) that has been released to the United States via protocols that comply with the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. The only source for collection against European-based Google Cloud data is the GCHQ-run Muscular operation.”
    That explanation of ORCON (originator controlled) is totally wrong. It means that the creator of the report controls further distribution of that report. It has nothing to do with the nature or identity of the source. In this report, it means the NSA office that produced this report whose identity was redacted. In this case the ORCON caveat is related to technical details that is often contained in cyber-related reports. Note the two caveat paragraphs at the beginning of the report. I referred to this problem in my discussion of the intelligence distribution system I had to establish for one of my projects.
    If Ritter is using this erroneous definition of ORCON to reach any conclusions about the report, he is off on the wrong tangent.

  81. Ked says:

    “There is a simple truth about Russian and Chinese cyber operations that you and most Americans have not been able to grasp. Both these countries use vast armies of unorganized and semi-organized patriotic hackers to further their national goals. Control over these hackers is loose and unconventional and they are not supplied with government code to conduct their hacking.”
    Seems to me is that’s what we have in our Snowflake Warriors like Millenium Winner. I’m a bit surprised the Deeply Anti-Borg populists haven’t come to her defense. Isn’t she just a brave little drown-it-in-the-bathtub operator?

  82. Fred says:

    Why not just penetrate the organizations that count the votes? Given the deep seated emotional need of some of their employees to destroy Trump and what he stands for that should be rather easy.

  83. Fred,
    All manner of machines are being looked at for hacking vulnerabilities. Luckily all attempts i know of require close or physical access to the machines or software. Even updates to these machines are done manually without network connections. Because of our decentralized system, changing a vote count is a damned difficult thing to do. To do it remotely would be damned near impossible in my view. But I do remember there were serious questions about the vote count during the Democratic primary in California. I don’t know if anything came of that.

  84. Tel says:

    Agree with your description of the nuts and bolts of what HRC did. Not sure if that qualifies as “treason” exactly, but at very least gross negligence. My guess is that a detailed investigation of the Clinton Foundation would reveal what they have been attempting to hide.
    “It involved the disclosure of real-time positional information on friendly forces positions & future intentions, in addition to that of several terrorist networks.
    This action would have directly endangered the lives of both US & allied service men & women at the very tip of the spear.”

    We don’t know whether that server was hacked, nor by whom… so once again it comes down to gross negligence, not treason. That said, many have been punished for much less.

  85. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “What was Reality Winner thinking?” She wasn’t. I’m not surprised. Have you worked with any 25 year old linguists lately?
    And before anyone starts ranting and raving about snowflake millennials, we weren’t paragons of logic and reason in my day. Each generation has had its morons leaking shite and being stupid. I’ve read the reports of past morons when things are slow and I’m bored at work. It’s a distinct pleasure – like reading about NFL superstars who go broke gambling and being stupid.
    What were they thinking?

  86. b says:

    Scott Ritter has used a very fine comb to go through the Intercept documents. The claims made in the article are simply made up. They are not backed by what is provided in the documents.

    Leaked NSA Report Short on Facts, Proves Little in ‘Russiagate’ Case
    Posted on Jun 7, 2017 By Scott Ritter

    The Intercept journos in Question had an agenda here. The blew the cover of the leaker – maybe intentional. One of those journos had been involved in blowing the cover of Kirakou who blew the whistle on CIA torture and is still the only one put into jail in relation to Brennan’s and Ayatollah Mike’s torture campaign.

    As for the “Russian hacking” claims.
    There is ZERO evidence for that. It does not make sense in the first place. It was first introduced by Clinton as an “excuse” for her and the DNC’s malfeasance and loss of the election.
    Note that Andrea Chalupa played a big part at the DNC and in the campaign. The Crowdstrike company that is the only one the DNC let “investigate” the “hacking” is led by one Abromovich (also at Atlantic Council)
    Chalupa and Abromovich are both part of the (fascist) Ukraine mafia. The Atlantic Council received large sums from an anti-Russian Ukrainian billionaire. It was Clinton who drove the putsch in Kiev.

    I have seen ZERO evidence that would back up the claim of “Russian hacking”. All that was ever presented are just rumors and hints of some spearfishing by whoever.
    Spearfishing is not a “Russian method” as some journos claim. It is the most simple way of getting into an account and has been done for decades by every run-of-the-mill criminal on the Internets.

  87. turcopolier says:

    “The claims made in the article are simply made up.” You entirely miss the point and so does Ritter. This document is an ANALYTIC report. It is a report to consumers OUTSIDE the SIGINT world. It states DIRNSA’s conclusions and would deliberately seek to avoid giving the consumers the raw data. I guess you would need to have inhabited the system to understand this. Your fascination with whether or not the document “proves” GRU involvement in the IO against the US election is actually a trivial matter. What matters is that the document implies US ability to read GRU encrypted communications. pl

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