A response to Publius Tacitus concerning those meddlesome Russians – TTG


Honorable Sir,

You, David Habakkuk and many others seem to rely on the questionable parentage and demeanor of Dimitri Alperovitch to justify your conviction that Russia had nothing to do with the DNC or Podesta hacks or did not attempt to influence our 2016 election.  Beyond your reasonable and justifiable skepticism of the IC, I think you’re all trying too hard to exonerate Putin and prevent any besmirchment of the immaculate glory of Trump’s election to the Presidency of the United States.

Alperovitch did not run the team investigating the DNC hack. It was Shawn Henry, a twenty plus year veteran FBI agent. He was assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division from 2008 to 2010 and is credited with boosting the FBI's computer crime and cybersecurity capabilities. I was intimately familiar with the FBI Cyber Division, their robust capabilities and the respect they received from their parent organization. I was envious of their resources and organizational support. While in the FBI, Henry was already tracking the activities of Russian intelligence and criminal hackers. That continued once he retired from the FBI and began working at CrowdStrike. Those in the FBI who took CrowdStrike’s research probably did so because of Henry’s reputation. 

And why didn’t the DNC turn their email servers over to the FBI? For one thing, remember that Hillary Clinton was under FBI investigation at the time for her own email troubles. She and the DNC saw no upside to turning over anything that the FBI could use against her in that investigation. That’s just as prudent as Trump not voluntarily handing over detailed records of his business and financial dealings with Russians. This is especially true since Mueller has assembled a team of experienced federal prosecutors, not investigators.

Henry was actually surprised that the FBI, like the DNC, did not take the initial indications of a hack of the DNC systems more serious. He spoke of this at a recent panel discussion.

“I made notification personally as the Assistant Director of the Cyber Division in 2008, to then‑candidate Obama, that his campaign ‑‑ actually, to Denis McDonough, that his campaign had been breached. Then we subsequently did it a week later to Senator McCain, because we recognized these significance, the severity, and the implications of a foreign government targeting a political campaign.

I personally, as the Assistant Director, made that notification. Fast forward, eight years later, and there was notification, as John described, that was a phone call, rather than somebody knocking on the door.

I was a little concerned about that, coming from that place. Looking at some of the details, and talking to some of the people who were engaged in that investigation, there were thousands of breaches that they were reporting. Obviously, the DNC should have been at the top of the list in terms of prioritization.

I believe that the agents that were engaged there just didn’t recognize it for what it was. I don’t think that they personally had a political agenda that they did something for partisan purposes, but I believe that they just didn’t pay enough attention to the severity of the attack, what was being targeted, by whom, and what the ultimate results might be.”

According to William Binney, the FBI does not need the DNC servers to conduct their investigation. This was explained in the VIPS memorandum of 12 Dec 2016.

“When email packets leave the U.S., the other “Five Eyes” countries (the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and the seven or eight additional countries participating with the U.S. in bulk-collection of everything on the planet would also have a record of where those email packets went after leaving the U.S.

These collection resources are extensive; they include hundreds of trace route programs that trace the path of packets going across the network and tens of thousands of hardware and software implants in switches and servers that manage the network. Any emails being extracted from one server going to another would be, at least in part, recognizable and traceable by all these resources.

The bottom line is that the NSA would know where and how any “hacked” emails from the DNC, HRC or any other servers were routed through the network. This process can sometimes require a closer look into the routing to sort out intermediate clients, but in the end sender and recipient can be traced across the network.”

Binney and his VIPS cosigners, however, conclude that since this evidence has not been made public or referred to in any meaningful way, it must not exist and the hacks must be leaks. Presumably that means there was a DNC leaker and a separate Google leaker for the Podesta emails. I find this reasoning flawed. By that logic, the OPM data hack along with other publicized hacks never occurred. There is no publicly available convincing evidence of any of these hacks. This is classified evidence of many of these hacks. I have seen much of it and collected some of it. Be patient. Most of this will be proven or disproven in time. There have already been too many leaks of classified information resulting in the probably loss of collection capabilities. I shake my head at the constant demands for proof. It’s damaging.  

Separate from CrowdStrike, Kevin Mandia’s FireEye conducted a forensic review of the DNC hack and came to the same conclusion as CrowdStrike. This was probably done with disk images provided by CrowdStrike with DNC approval. Before entering private industry, Mandia was an Air Force officer involved in cyber security at the Pentagon and in AFOSI. Like CrowdStrike, FireEye did not merely rely on the the forensic evaluation of this particular hack. Both firms drew on their longterm investigations of Russian hacker activity and how their methodology and targeting developed over time. This is how any of these companies involved in cyber threat analysis, as well as the IC, conduct these investigations. The process relies far more on human behavior (and HUMINT) than pure code forensics. Bruce Schneier touches upon this. FireEye’s results are covered quite well in Kevin Mandia's statement before the SSCI on 30 May 2017 and in FireEye's special report on APT28 from Jan 2017.

In FireEye’s APT28 report, the researchers made a point of mentioning how these hackers began incorporating hacking tools from public code depositories into their methodology. This includes the PHP malware known as Grizzly Steppe also known as P.A.S. v.3.1.0 developed by a Ukrainian  and used in the DNC hack. I’m very familiar with this methodology. I’ve done it myself. One of my people developed an exploit capable of infecting computers through CDs or USB memory sticks in a couple of days using code from these malware code depositories. That’s what hackers do. 

In addition to CrowdStrike and FireEye, another private security company did an investigation covering the Podesta email hack although this company, Dell SecureWorks, did not set out to specifically address the Podesta hack.

“SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit (CTU) researchers track the activities of Threat Group-4127, which targets governments, military, and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Components of TG-4127 operations have been reported under the names APT28, Sofacy, Sednit, and Pawn Storm. CTU researchers assess with moderate confidence that the group is operating from the Russian Federation and is gathering intelligence on behalf of the Russian government.

Between October 2015 and May 2016, CTU researchers analyzed 8,909 Bitly links that targeted 3,907 individual Gmail accounts and corporate and organizational email accounts that use Gmail as a service. In March 2016, CTU researchers identified a spearphishing campaign using Bitly accounts to shorten malicious URLs. The targets were similar to a 2015 TG-4127 campaign — individuals in Russia and the former Soviet states, current and former military and government personnel in the U.S. and Europe, individuals working in the defense and government supply chain, and authors and journalists — but also included email accounts linked to the November 2016 United States presidential election. Specific targets include staff working for or associated with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), including individuals managing Clinton's communications, travel, campaign finances, and advising her on policy.”

All this addresses only one aspect of the Russian IO campaign to influence the 2016 election. The hacking is really small stuff. The big stuff came later. The techniques used to attempt to influence the thoughts and actions of adversaries range from mundane to breathtakingly sophisticated. I touched upon some of this in an SST posting about "The  Russian Concept of Reflexive Control" and in my musings about what could be done with good AI data mining tools and massive data such at that gleaned from the OPM hack in a posting cowrote by myself and our late [very much alive] colleague confusedponderer entitled "The Grand OPM Hack."  I recently found a TED Talk-like presentation by Gordon Greenhall, a futurist, which beautifully summarizes the power of these new Russian applications in reflexive control. Listen to his six minute presentation on "The New Russian Revolution: Digital Propaganda." These concepts are already understood in the marketing and advertising world. The Russians and select members of the Trump circle also understand this revolution. Perhaps this shared understanding is the ultimate source of all the talk about Trump-Russia collusion. There may be no real collusion at all, just simultaneous arrivals at light bulb moments in the field of reflexive control and applied advances in communications and information technology. It's possible.

Eventually all groups desiring more than day-to-day existence will understand and employ these techniques to further their agendas. Those who don’t will go extinct.

So this is my attempt to offer some guidelines for further discussion of this Russia thing. It is indeed a subject ripe for meaningful discussion beyond purely partisan denial and advocacy.

I remain, dear sir, your humble and obedient servant,


p.s.  My sincere apologies to confusedponderer for announcing his premature demise. He is still very much with us.  

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224 Responses to A response to Publius Tacitus concerning those meddlesome Russians – TTG

  1. AriusArmenian says:

    Is this article serious?

  2. Freudenschade says:

    It is refreshing to get a technically based analysis of Russia’s attempt to influence our election, rather than the dreary and wrongheaded political ones.

  3. Kutte says:

    You have got a point. Once people realize the world is not black and white, but rather black and dark black, they become sort of obsessed and end up defending unconditionaly those who have been attacked wrongly. Be careful what you wish for. Be careful who you defend one might also say. The Russians may not be quite as evil as depicted, but they are of course very hard nosed in pursuing their own interests.

  4. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I think there are two problems going on with the “Russian hacking” meme, one serious and the other silly.
    The serious is what you point to, that through employment of technological means, Russians are engaged in attempts to manipulate domestic politics of other countries, including United States. Yet, the seriousness of this challenge is easily overblown: use of all manner of new communication technologies, radio, television, films, printing press, etc., for various social and political agendas is as old as humanity itself. We, ourselves, have been engaged in exactly this sort of exercise for a long time ourselves. Whether the computer-centric forms of propaganda, centered around a mixture of hacking and data-mining techniques, is necessarily all that effective, I am a bit skeptical. Having been involved in the use of some of these technologies myself in various settings, including election campaigning, I think their powers, although considerable, are rather seriously overblown (although it is admittedly a relative statement) that can only supplement rather than substitute the actual situation.
    This, in turn, sets up what I think is the misguided abuse of the “Russian hacking” meme. The stories have not been simply that Russians have been hacking computers of US political operations, including the DNC, possibly with the intent of influencing US politics–which, I think is entirely normal and natural, even if unpleasant (that is, to have foreign powers intrude on our deomstic politics), but that the Russians have somehow delivered the election illegitimately to Trump. Thus, the story is not that “Russians and their agents infiltrated DNC computers,” but that “Russians hacked our democracy.” The latter is just plain wrong and hysterical on top of that. I don’t think Russians have the kind of resources or even basic understanding of American politics to pull off such a feat. They may have preferred that Trump win, may have done a few things here and there, and lo and behold, Trump won. Would Trump have won without alleged (even if likely) Russian activities? I think that is a near certainty (“near” inserted only for technical reasons). This, however, is not what “Russian hacking” innuendos point to.
    So, I think the “Russian hacking” is a serious story, but something that needs to be placed in its proper context. Yes, they have a political agenda. They probably are engaged in some form of dirty tricks to influence political outcomes here. Yes, these need to be taken seriously. The problem is that, once the problem gets taken out of context and is reduced to political talking points, we are reduced to two equally absurd choices: either Trump is an illegitimate Russian stooge or accusations against Trump are baseless pack of lies. The likely “truth,” that Russians are doing something but it is probable that it is immaterial to the election outcomes, at least not yet (and if they are material, that’d mean that we’d be in such a mess even without their interference anyways), is crowded out of serious discourse. I think this is the worst of all possible outcomes.

  5. VietnamVet says:

    It is a given that there is signal interception and decryption. There is ongoing analysis and interpretation. Yet, the USA has got itself in eight incomprehensible wars since Desert Storm that could never be won and as a direct result the Atlantic Alliance ls in a slow motion collapse. I was a participant in the computerization of technocrats that eliminated typing pools and started the generation of meta-data. Yes, Google traffic maps work. But, it is a huge leap to say that Russia identified and generated the meme that Hillary Clinton is a sick corrupt war lover. At its worse, WikiLeaks resulted in Americans learning the truth about the DNC. In fact Americans are being bombarded with Globalist media propaganda 24/7. It is avoiding the blame for the 2016 Democrats election disaster that is the basis for the scapegoating of Russia. I do not believe that Russian meddling was the reason why a number of correspondents here voted for Donald Trump.

  6. Jack says:

    TTG, Sir
    Thank you for providing the other side. This is what makes SST so great. A model that the MSM ought to emulate instead of the usual hysterical propaganda they publish.
    You have convinced me that the Russians did indeed use social media channels to target those predisposed with the appropriate messaging. So did Trump’s campaign. They spent a fifth of Hillary’s much more well funded campaign, so they had to be much more efficient in their approach. Their social media operations out of San Antonio put together with the help of Peter Thiel clearly did a good job.
    The focus by the media and the Democrats on the DNC and Posta email hacking does not hold water in that they only disclosed the truth. That is something we should all welcome. To know what those in high places actually do and say and how it contradicts their public personas. That’s why I am a fan of Snowden and Wikileaks. People who made huge personal sacrifices to inform the public of malfeasance. And why I have only disdain for people like Clapper and Brennan. And why I’m highly skeptical of anything that comes out of our IC, or FBI investigations and naturally anything published in our media. Old Microbiologist’s first hand account of the anthrax investigation is a good example here.
    Where I may disagree with you is on the election outcome. I believe many parties tried to influence our election, just like we have done in other countries internal affairs for decades. This is part and parcel of the Spy vs Spy game that is played. Both campaigns had access to the same tools. The ideas behind “reflexive control” are known and as you note marketing and advertising make use of it already. Just because Trump’s campaign took advantage and Hillary’s didn’t does not mean that Hillary would have won but for the Russians. Trump focused his relatively meager resources well. Trump knew he couldn’t compete with Hillary’s ad budget and her “ground game”. He knew it was pointless wasting resources in NY and California. He knew he won the primary due to his anti-establishment rhetoric and his stance on jobs, immigration and the corruption in DC. He reinforced that winning primary campaign with a superb social media campaign based on the ideas of reflexive control. Bottom line, he ran a superior campaign and the result showed. I’m sure you will agree however that this was not a hierarchically planned campaign but one that evolved and experimented despite organizational chaos. IMO, Hillary’s biggest weakness was lack of voter enthusiasm. That’s why I believe that Sanders could very well have defeated Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The Democrats blew it because of their party establishment. They don’t tolerate mavericks.
    The election result was an unexpected shock to the establishment and they turned around with an ugly campaign to delegitimize Trump. IMO, all that has accomplished is further polarize an already polarized nation. Many despise him. The Borg is after him. And he’s fighting back the way he knows. We may not like his tweets, his demeanor and his style. But that’s what it is. The next election will bring new tools and new approaches. Who takes advantage and who falls short? In any case we are a divided country with IMO a virulent systemic bias.

  7. Walker says:

    TTG, this link from your “Russian Concept of Reflexive Control” SST article alludes to “Useful idiots . . . deployed to promote all of this material to unknowing audiences”.
    This echoes language used in the Washington Post article about sites allegedly under the control or influence of Russia.
    The list alluded to by the Post article includes sites like Consortiumnews.com, Antiwar.com, Counterpunch.org, and LewRockwell.com. I first encountered these sites 15 years ago while trying hard to find alternative views to the overwhelming media consensus favoring the Iraq invasion. Far from being vectors of disinformation, these sites provided some truth in the face of a waterfall of lies from our own government.
    Russia probably is using web sites to spread propaganda, much of it not very convincing. Isn’t it also plausible that the US smears sites with independent points of view as Russian-influenced?

  8. VietnamVet,
    I get your point that IO is necessarily a subtle thing which can only affect outcomes around the edges, say only in 49-51 situations. That was the point made by Gordon Greenhall in his video I linked to.

  9. Sam Peralta says:

    I do not believe that Russian meddling was the reason why a number of correspondents here voted for Donald Trump.
    VV, I concur.

  10. Sharac says:

    Firstly i would have to agree that Russians do what they have to in their opinion to gather/process as much info or intel as possible. I would also wholeheartedly agree that they might even try to influence the “minds” of US people to vote for candidate they would deem more suitable or less dangerous.
    What i find fundamentally wrong in your reasoning is that assuming they do all what you wrote and do it in the way you wrote with 100% success wouldn’t it also be reasonable to expect then that they know perfectly well that POTUS in for a while now without P and is just a OTUS without real power. Another fundamentally wrong assumption IMO is that notion that being a (moral) professional at one point in your life will guarantee to be such also in a future and US system is notorious for just that ex military/professionals turning into private sector where they are running various senior positions or being liaisons between public sector/private companies, this is especially cancerous in financial industry but also very true for defence sector.
    The last thing i also find (or would if i were US citizen voting for Trump – which i would given the choices and if being forced to) extremely insulting that you assume that even if they tried meddling they were successful and that election result is somehow in any meaningful term a byproduct of Russian meddling and not overwhelming (territorial especially) victory not so much for Trump but for an anti-establishment sentiment a big regular Joe fuck you to Washington elites. For me that is the real victory behind US election that people have simply (probably for the last time without weapons) said we fucking hate you and this is your last opportunity to change the course or else…
    PS: I won’t even go into whole US foreign policy and various domestic and foreign NGOs trying to brainwash not only US citizens but basically entire planet so any US analyst or person bitching about hacking or “mind control” is simply a big bigot applying double standards and not worth having a civilized discussion with…

  11. Sam Peralta says:

    … the story is not that “Russians and their agents infiltrated DNC computers,” but that “Russians hacked our democracy.” The latter is just plain wrong and hysterical on top of that.
    Yes, that is an excellent observation. The hyperbole that our “democracy” was hacked is plain ridiculous.
    What it shows is the nature of the campaign to delegitimize the election outcome. Remember the campaign to get the electoral college to reverse the voters decision. No thought was ever placed into the implications – from the Constitution to centuries of agreed practice. It was sheer derangement. Then we had top intelligence officials like Brennan and Clapper using their insider positions to launder leaks to create a campaign by innuendo and in the process disclosing highly sensitive national intelligence secrets like our ability to intercept and decrypt Russian secure communications.
    This will all come back to bite another time even worse.

  12. Bill H says:

    Various things were said about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, things that came from the computers of those parties. The parties never denied the truth of those things, never denied that they said and/or did those things, they merely cried foul that the truth about those things had been released by the Russians. And so the media is not upset about the things that were revealed; they are, instead, outraged that the Russians revealed the truth.
    I have no problem with the Russians revealing the truth, but apparently the vast majority of the American public prefers that the wrongdoing of Democrats remains secret and considers the Russians evil for revealing it.

  13. shepherd says:

    I just wanted to concur with TTG. I’m familiar with the tools, methods, and investigation. Publius Tacitus’s focus on Crowdstrike ignores much, and it’s not really that big a deal anyway.
    Digital marketers over the last decade or so have developed highly sophisticated tools to manipulate segments of public opinion. The most powerful ones are psychometric. They rely on personality traits and emotion, and glean them by analyzing digital activity, including what you post on blogs like this. You may not realize this, but we can see everything you do, analyze it in real time, and come to highly accurate conclusions about what motivates you. Then we can target you with specific messaging that motivates you to action, even though you think this is all your own thinking. This all happens programmatically at scale. And it is shockingly effective.
    You may not think of Trump as sophisticated, but in this realm, his campaign was very much so. He used a firm called Cambridge Analytica to target Facebook users via the OCEAN personality profile to great effect. You may not want to know this, but if your Facebook feed was filled with Trump campaign messages during the runup to the election, you had probably been identified by Cambridge Analytica as a person who gets pissed off easily. Tell me I’m wrong.
    The next time you see some ad or piece of content that strikes fear in you, enrages you, or confirms you hatred of another, realize that you are possibly being played.

  14. ToivoS says:

    If Binney has already revealed NSA capabilities then surely the rest of the world knows it as well. So why doesn’t the NSA provide the results of the tracking analysis? One would think the small price in perhaps revealing some secrets not yet known to the Russians would be worth it given the magnitude of the charges being made against the US president. I have to agree with Binney — if that information has not been released it is probably because it doesn’t exist.
    In the early stages of this story I simply assumed it was the case that the Russians were responsible. However, the absence of any evidence to support that assumption seems very possibly because it is not true.

  15. Sam Peralta says:

    Jordan Greenhall’s talk of decentralization vs centralization reminds me about the arguments in tech about centralized vs distributed computing. The model he describes has been used in tech innovation particularly consumer-focused for at least a decade. The idea is rapid innovation cycles where the product is not perfect. This enables rapid feedback to know quickly what succeeds and what does not. Instagram was written by couple people over 6 weeks. Now half a billion people use it. Its all about fail fast.
    The open source concept is similar. Put it out there and get others to build upon it and strengthen it or not use it at all. Its like Baidu putting out the source code for its Autonomous Driving technology. Maybe it will be the Android for AVs but maybe not. The point is that no one knows a priori how successful it will be.
    So analogous to this, micro-targeted information and misinformation could be pushed out but no one really knows how effective it will be. Similar to why does a particular picture go viral on Instagram or video on YouTube. Many times re-inforcement mechanisms need to be in place. Since many people now consume information from so many varied sources I don’t think there is an easy mechanism to generate momentum for any desired meme or information. The other point is that due to the rapidity of information update, retention is lost.

  16. Mathiasalexander says:

    The purpose of the row about how the e-mails got out is as a distraction from the actual content of the e-mails.

  17. Kutte says:

    “These concepts are already understood in the marketing and advertising world. The Russians and select members of the Trump circle also understand this revolution.”
    I think Trump understands them too. I think Trump knows exactly what he is doing, he just does not tell anyone what his real aims are. The “new” concept is programming people and whispering things into their ears, so they don’t realize they are being manipulated. They have to be de-programmed eventually.

  18. ISL says:

    Perhaps I miss the point, but I always expect countries / societies / people to have interests and present them in the best light. What does Shawn Spencer do for a living? AIPAC? Obama during Brexit (which I think backfired)? My lawyer?
    Listening to NPR always raises my blood pressure because they assume their listeners have no memory (we have always been at war with EastAsia) and only cover half the story to create an incorrect impression – even when the issue is basic physics (radioactives from Fukushima). I suppose NPR is applying reflexive control to the (liberal elite) of the US.
    I find that overseas news and alternative news is far less a waste of my time as they assume the listener has a brain – our lame-stream media seems more preoccupied on some pop star’s underwear choice, a missing China flight, an empty Trump podium, etc., ad nauseum.
    IMO this is all a red herring. Psyops against the US are a waste of resources – the public has approximately 0% effect on all political decisions (based on a few studies). If one wants to affect US politics, Foreign Policy, etc., bribery (oops, I mean campaign contributions) is the only way to go. Corporations are people with free speech rights. Dark dollars are speech. Bundle those dollars up. AIPAC is the master others try to emulate.
    Did the Russians create our corrupt election system? Nope. When wealth gets too concentrated, its just what happens. What is the point of being a billionaire if you cant buy politicians – the most profitable investment possible. This is not something new in US history, either.

  19. Peter AU says:

    “I shake my head at the constant demands for proof.”
    Not only the people of the US, but countries aligned with the US, have all too often gone off and destroyed other countries for the boy who cried wolf.
    Some months after MH17, I began cheering for the red team.
    Several times between MH17 and the US presidential election, US/Russia relations, because of US official rhetoric, were at a stage where many worried that it could quickly escalate to nuclear war. From statements by Putin, and his answers to some journalists questions, this was a worry for not just bloggers/alternative media but an existential threat to the very existence of Russia. Not just their interests, but their existence
    Russian leadership would have been remiss in not trying to mitigate that threat.
    In reading your posts on the subject TTG, it seems Russia has acted to try and mitigate the threat. There were quite a number of leaks/hacks throughout the US election campaign. Many people in US and around the world would have good motivation to expose what was exposed throughout the campaign, but if Russia was responsible for all of it, I guess the operation would have been code named – “Look, the emperor is naked”
    Fancy Bears.. Shadow Brokers… US gets Russia banned from Rio Olympics, some US athletes acting with arrogance.. exceptional people not unlike the supremacy of the Aryans and 1936 Berlin olympics. WADA medical records then available to the public. The Russian tennis player banned.. forget her name, but we get to see Serena Williams medical. Quite a cocktail of steroids she takes for various allergies.
    US bragging about its cyber warfare capabilities and how no other nation comes close. CIA tools put up on the open internet to the highest bidder.
    It is interesting watching spooks play their games.
    But I look at 9/11 and Saudi involvement – mostly Saudi nationals as perps, Saudi financing… then much of MENA destroyed in the war on terra, Saudi still close ally…. licence for US to kill anyone anywhere…
    For me, MH17… not good to see Australians sacrificed for US geo-political ambitions…worse still to see that not one oz politician makes waves about it.
    US IC community holds balance of power in five eyes governments.
    I see the reaction here of Americans, re NK, that possibly one city could be destroyed. As it should be. First duty of any government/intel/military should be to protect their people. (caveat – typical US reaction – use a hammer because every problem is a nail)
    I look at the operation Northwoods documents and wonder how many similar documents will never be declassified because they were put into operation.
    Demands for proof…
    If the US government had the integrity of pl, yourself TTG, and other authors who’s articles are posted at this site, US may have had the same respect Russian Federation is gaining in the world.

  20. Lemur says:

    Even if there is some substance to the Russian hacking charge, the fury of the establishment elite stems from outrage an external actor penetrated their sphere of propaganda. When the elites talk about ‘our democracy’ (aka ARE DEMOKRASI), they really do mean ‘our democracy.’ It’s theirs. They own it. Your opinion, or more precisely, the range of possible opinions available to you, are a commodity they purchased a long time ago. And the Kremlin (if TGG is right) is trying to take their stuff (you)!
    I think this raises fundamental questions about what it means to be free. Because its becoming increasingly apparent liberal democracy generates a subject incredibly susceptible to manipulation. In other words, the sort of freedom envisaged by Locke, Voltaire, and his ilk form *the very basis of subjugation to factional agendas*. The problem at root is not some Despicable Me style villain (Soros, the Koch Brothers, the Illuminati, the Jews, the banks or whatever floats your conspiratorial boat) ‘subverting’ democracy. The issue is a systematic flaw which has become wider and wider with the advent of mass communication. Liberal democracy may very well be an evil system precisely because it inveighs against the hierarchy and elitism necessary to secure the common good, and the reality all societies require a ‘properly basic’ foundation beyond question. By pretending hierarchy and foundationalism are either wrong, unreal, or both; democracy disseminates a narrative which prevents us from ever actually addressing what is necessary for a just society (ie, right order and a system of matriculation which creates the aristocratic types necessary to enforce it)
    The criminally overlooked Italian philosopher in The New Science is well worth reading on this matter. He outlines how ‘reflection’ of the deconstrutive sort (non instrumental reason) is far more savage than the ‘barbarism of sense’ (our primordial response to the necessities of keeping body and soul together).
    ‘As the popular states became corrupt, so also did philosophies. They descended to scepticism. Learned fools fell to calumniating the truth, thence alone arose a false eloquence, ready to uphold either sides of an opposed case indifferently. Thus it came about that by abuse of eloquence…they [the Romans] caused the commonwealth to fall from the perfect liberty into the perfect tyranny of anarchy or the unchecked liberty of the free peoples…since [when people become so far corrupted they] are already become naturally slaves of their unrestrained passions [this is precisely what liberal democracy promotes], of luxury, effeminacy, avarice, envy, pride, and vanity, and in pursuit of the pleasures of their dissolued life; falling back into all the vices characteristic of the most abject slaves; having become liars, thieves, tricksters, cowards, and pretenders…
    But if the peoples are rotting in that ultimate civil disease, and cannot agree on a monarch from within [Trump?], or a conquered and preserved by better nations from without [Russia?], then providence for an extreme ill will have its extreme remedy at hand: for such people, as so many beasts, have fallen into the custom of each man thinking only of his own private interests, and have reached the extreme of delicacy…in which like wild animals they bristle and lash out at the slightest displeasure. Thus no matter how great the throng or press of their bodies they live like wild beasts, in a deep solitude of spirit and will, scarcely any two being able to agree since each follows his own pleasure or caprice [because there is no positive foundation beyond dispute). By reason of all this providence decrees that through obstinate factions and desperate civil wars, they shall turn their cities into forests and the forests into dens and lairs of men. In this way through long centuries of barbarism, rust will consume the misbegotten subtleties of malicious wits that have turned them into beasts, made more inhuman by the barbarism of reflection than first men had been made by the barbarism of sense. For the latter displayed a generous savagery, against which one could defend oneself, or take flight, or be on one’s guard. But the former under a base savagery under soft words and embraces, plot against the life and fortunes of friends and intimates.’

  21. confusedponderer says:

    I’d like to clarify just that I am not ‘late’ but that I merely have been knocked out of the web by having to spend the last year by and large in hospitals after I had an accident last january. So, ‘too late’ I am, but, fortunately, not ‘late’. I remember our co-post and still appreciate our cooperation.
    That written, I am already writing stuff again to publish peu à peu, when it is done properly. That, however, takes its time, and I am being distracted by doing ‘get healthier stuff’ in the rehabilitation and, of course, silly reality stuff like for instance this weekend’s G20 madness in Hamburg.
    G20 has attracted a large number of lefty ‘autonomous’ folks, probably not just from Germany, who wanted to protest against, well, … something, anything: capitalism, not sure about cannibalism, but whatever else.
    They showed the sincerity of their effort to dispute and debate by dressing in nice black, masked uniforms, torching some cars and bring with them bricks, fireworks, knives and slingshots to use them – of course in protest against something, anything – i.e. at cops.
    Apparently, some such ‘autonomous’ ‘protest’ jokers had comitted a series of arson and property damage at railways in the last weeks, ‘to disturb G20’, ‘to harm capitalism’, and probably to fight utter boredom too. Well, what’s the point? I daresay that lords like Trump or Erdogan give not more than a piss at some german workers missing their trains and getting late to work, if they notice. They themselves have expensive cars and chauffeurs and don’t use public transport.
    Brilliantly, the local newspaper Kölner Stadtanzeiger headlined a report on the anti G20 riots like this: ‘excessive violence characterises Hamburg G20’. Ah yes, so ‘excessive violence’ is the problem? And that means what? That there is acceptable violence and non acceptable excessive violence? Isn’t the violence the problem? And how to make a difference? Burning a car is good violence, but hurting a cop is bad violence? Good grief … has the author actually been thinking during writing?
    With stupidity like that in the news, I am actually positively surprised that Trump and Erdogan, though limited by their capability to control this, behaved more or less.
    I heard a speech by Erdogan on the tv, and it surprised me with relative politeness, complete sentences, and some thinking appeared to have flowed into writing the speech. He rather behaved.
    As for Trump, I was surprised by US declaring cooperation with Syria and Russia in south Syria. It’ll be interesting to see if the US are practially capable to live up to that.
    Then, in contrast, I saw Trump sitting through Beethofen’s 9th symphony in Hamburg’s opera, looking grumpy as if he’d rather be some welsewhere – perhaps on the moon, in a zoo, on a loot or in a circus. Well, he could of course have listened to Shiller’s text of ‘Ode to Joy’:
    ” All creatures drink joy
    At the breasts of nature,
    All good, all evil
    Follow her trail of roses.
    Kisses she gave us, and the vine,
    A friend, proven in death.
    Pleasure was given to the worm,
    And the cherub stands before God.
    Do you fall down, you millions?
    Do you sense the creator, world?
    Seek him above the starry canopy,
    Above the stars he must live.

    Joy is the name of the strong spring
    In eternal nature.
    Joy, joy drives the wheels
    In the great clock of worlds.
    She lures flowers from the buds,
    Suns out of the firmament,
    She rolls spheres in the spaces
    That the seer’s telescope does not know.
    Happy, as his suns fly
    Across Heaven’s splendid map,
    Run, brothers, along your path
    Joyfully, as a hero to victory.

    Ah well, I am already getting distracted …

  22. b says:

    TTG “And why didn’t the DNC turn their email servers over to the FBI? For one thing, remember that Hillary Clinton was under FBI investigation at the time for her own email troubles. She and the DNC saw no upside to turning over anything that the FBI could use against her in that investigation. ”
    For one thing, remember that the DNC emails WERE ALREADY PUBLISHED BY WIKILEAKS. They were not a downside for Clinton or the DNC to let the FBI look at the servers.

  23. jonst says:

    The prime area I see ‘Russian (or, Russian Inspired) Reflexive Control’ as a likely dynamic at work is in the ‘subcontacted’ spreading of the ‘Russians Hacked our Democracy’, and/or the “17 Intel Agencies All Agree’ memes. Memes that seem to have been–simultaneously–ingested, digested, and spew back out to the American public. And the DNA, at least, resembles, the run up to the Iraq War during W’s time.
    Not that I put this all beyond Russia. And given their belief that Clinton was a personal and bitter enemy of Putin, and Russia, I would not put a lot beyond the pale, when it comes to Russia. Hell this kind of thing as been coming out of Moscow since Willi Munzenberg back in the 30s..
    My take on all this–i.e. why Trump won, is simply the following: The American Elite and their accountants, lawyers, doctors, therapists, financial advisors, professors who teach their kids, high level bureaucrats who run their Administrative State, and a few other categories that escape me at the moment, have screwed the majority of the American Working Class in the last 40 years. Got said WC’s kids in wars we either lost, or remind mired in.
    Said Elite ran a candidate who is the veritable Avatar of this group ( That Donald Trump, of all people, was on the other side is simply one of those historical ironies that–inexplicably- pop up and fascinate every so often). And Americans, like, the Brits with Brexit, jumped, literally, at the chance to say “Fuck You” to said elite. Not all Americans said it. Not, perhaps, a majority of Americans, given the twists and quirks of the Electoral system, but enough to win the battlefield. And for the moment that was sufficient.
    Any other excuses, Russian Hacks, Reflective Control, Marketing guys in Cambridge using ‘secret sauce’ batches of ‘big data’ are, while not made of whole cloth, there IS a lot of ‘smoke’ everywhere these days, are simply strenuous and strident efforts to make them believe the ‘product’ they put out there–the last 40 years or so– is not as bad as it has been judged. I, for one, am here to say it is not as bad as advertised these days, it is worse.

  24. Yeah, Right says:

    I have serious problems with this article, which can be summarized by pointing to these sentences: “Be patient. Most of this will be proven or disproven in time.”
    All well and good, but the people making the very public and hysterical allegations that The Russians Stole My Election! are not showing that same patience.
    They are shouting those allegations from the rooftops, and doing so at the very same time that they are steadfast in their refusal to show anyone *any* evidence of *any* kind.
    Maybe that evidence exists.
    Maybe that evidence doesn’t exist.
    Maybe that evidence never existed.
    You are correct that we don’t know which of those three possibilities is true, but I (humbly) suggest that you are incorrect in suggesting that the correct response is to be patient.
    No, I think the correct response is this: to shout back that this emperor has no clothes, and until *they* see fit to wrap themselves in their evidence then *they* should sit down and shut up.
    Oh, and one more thing: “I shake my head at the constant demands for proof. It’s damaging.”
    No, I would argue that it’s “prudent”.
    Because the alternative is simply to accept the notion that we should trust those who have shown that they can not be trusted and I, for one, am not inclined to do that.
    Just my opinion, of course. But honestly held nonetheless.

  25. b says:

    @TTG – I seriously doubt your explanations.
    Shawn Henry may have once done a good job at the FBI. But he is now CSO
    and President of Services of Crowdstrike with tons of share options in a very valuable company. He is there for the money, not for some oath he once gave in a completely different organization. I see no reason to trust him anymore than any other self interested snake oil peddler. The same goes for others who ones were in the government cyber business and then went into the commercial cyber security craze.
    The Crowdstrike reporting as well as the other (in-)security companies always peddle ATP-XX and similar self invented designations like “Cozy Bear” and “FANCY Bear” as a “Russian group” and as a sure sign of “Russian interference”. (See here for example: https://go.crowdstrike.com/rs/281-OBQ-266/images/Report2016CyberIntrusionServicesCasebook.pdf)
    That is pure nonsense and a sure sign of a snake oil product. The ATP descriptions designate tools and methods. They are neutral to actors. A massive phishing campaign is just that. A tool or method. It does not say who is behind it. Some trick to break into a python server is just that – a trick. It does not tell you who used it. Tools can be reused. They get copied all the time. The hacker scene is full of tool-collections once used by this or that nation state that are now used by others for other purposes.
    “The house was broken into with a large hammer” does not designate a specific group of thieves. Any such group can use a large hammer. All the investigators will see is the result of the use of a large hammer. Is the use of a hammer a certain behavior? Sure, but that does not give any trace to a specific group or even nation.
    I would need way more then claims from some self-advertising snake oil peddlers about certain tools allegedly used against DNC servers to convince me of anything “Russian” or even “hacking”.
    Aside from that: I do not see much reason or motive for Russia to try to hack into the DNC. There are way more important (military, industrial) targets for Russia to hack into and resources in Moscow are more scarce than in Washington.
    What I see is an intense campaign by the Clinton aligned borg to bash Russia wherever possible. Hacks like Clapper, Brennan, Abramovich (and partially Comey) are part of the “Cold War 2.0” campaign. Trump’s election endangered that campaign. The “Russian hacking” claims further the CW2.0 issue as much as they restrict Trump.
    (Note: My statements on IT don’t come from hot air. I co-programmed an Internet Protocol driver for Windows (then 3.0) before Microsoft started to make one itself. I later ran one of Germany’s biggest IP access network of its time as the responsible CTO. Currently I am consulting on organizational (IT-)security.)

  26. Old Microbiologist says:

    I agree completely. The largest issue I see is the obfuscation of the actual content in the emails which is a disaster and reveals exactly how bad the Democrats are. The typical way to avoid any trouble is to create smoke about the accuser and if that doesn’t work generate an alternative reality. Another issue not mentioned much is that many other countries tried to influence the elections. That would include Saudi Arabia, China, Israel, and Ukraine among others. Ukraine stands out as being the most aggressive but the Saudi’s did it the “right” way by donating massive amounts to their candidate sometimes above board and others using nefarious methods. The Israelis are well known to have a firm hand in massaging US politics. Add in other actors such as Soros and you can see how big a mess the US campaigns are. Russia pales in comparison to the others yet serve a purpose as the boogey man responsible for Hillary’s loss. Americans love to hate Russia and the Democrats need a target to put the blame onto. It is really a continuation of the US foreign policy of the last 100 years. Russia, China, Iran, Brazil, and Venezuela have been defiant about American hegemony and are all under attack one way or another. Russia has been the best at defending itself from US dominance and China will follow suit now that the pressure has been ramped up.
    But, if you think about it, if the Supreme Court has defined corporations as having individual rights then maybe foreign governments can also have the same rights? So, maybe interfering in elections is “normal”.
    I personally do not accept that Russia did anything directly or unusual and certainly far less than we do to them regularly. However, I can accept that the CIA or the NSA has developed hacking tools (as has been proven) which can make it look like a foreign government such as Russia has attempted a hacking. I believe the latter before I believe Russia interfered. Looking at the actual publicly released “proof” it was basically stating I am Ivan the Russian or some such drivel. No one writes code in Cryrillic ever anywhere so leaving that as evidence is bizarre. So, to me it looks very amateurish but that sells well to idiots who are reviewing it as such.
    A more logical attempt by a state actor would have been to hack the voting machines (which the CIA was caught trying to do) or to influence the actual vote counts when reconciled. There is zero evidence that happened. What did happen was a hack (hard to say that for Podesta who is a fool who had his passwords emailed to himself so it wouldn’t take much to hack him) of Podesta’s emails and the same from the DNC server. Much more logical and typical is an insider leaked the DNC stuff which is what Wikileaks and Mega have been saying all along and the subsequent mysterious death of Seth Rich lends credence to that. I discount the Podesta emails as anything other than somebody got into his email saw it was juicy and released it. It could have been anyone including kids. I believe that Seth Rich was murdered a lot easier than Russian hacking as this is typical for the Clintonistas. The body count around the Clintons is impressive and if only 1/3 is true it is still a lot. If you screw with them you die and these are very evil psychopathic people. Podesta is a good example of why I didn’t want her in office. That is why most people like myself voted for Trump and nothing to do with Russia at all. Not that Trump is Prince Charming as it looks to be like he is just a flip side to Clinton so we have ended up at the same point anyway.
    The usual way to look at this stuff is to ask “who gained?”. It doesn’t look like this helped Russia at all. Is there anyone else that gained from this election that wouldn’t have if Clinton won? I would approach it that way if the actual truth is of interest to anyone.
    The last thing would be to decide how to prevent future interference at all levels. That can only be done by taking money out of campaign financing. No one in power will willingly do that (they get to keep unspent campaign funds to be used for any purpose).

  27. BillWade says:

    If any entity tries to influence me in how to vote with any sort of persuasive technique, I’m ok with it, it’s up to me to do my own research and make up my own mind. Since the USA MSM is not legally bound to tell the truth, I have to do extra research to make up my mind, all’s fair I suppose. Unless the Russians, or some other group, can electronically change the vote tally or hold a real gun to my head, they can do as they please as far as I’m concerned.

  28. Ed says:

    SST is doing excellent work. Thanks for the informative discussion and analysis.

  29. confusedponderer,
    My sincere apologies for announcing your premature demise. I now remember your disappearance was temporary. I may have confused that with our loss of Charles I. I do miss my “forest brother.”

  30. bluetonga says:

    Thank you for a different, professional and quite articulate discussion on the topic. I take good note that there seems to be true, reliable independent experts – Shawn Henry, to name one – to unambiguously identify Russian hacking attempts in DNC and Podesta files and to consequently support the thesis of effective Russian meddling with the US electoral process. If I understand you well, these attacks may not have been quite impactful overall but they should be understood as one cog in the much larger wheel of a reflexive control strategy that aims to influence US domestic decisions and processes.
    This last point is the weak argument in my opinion. Russians snooping into US institutions and prominent, influential public figures makes some sense, after all, since this is what every intelligence organization does to some degree. Aside from the fact that hacking does no unveil by itself the ultimate hackers goals, there is no doubt that major national intelligence organizations around the world hack into each other’s services and institutions, including longstanding allies. US’s own record in this regard is both notorious and infamous, and one may sense, as incidentally hinted by Russian authorities, that in this instance they might only receive a taste of their own medicine (who after all wrote the textbooks of color revolutions in former USSR and Arabic countries?). Soviet strategists may have conceived of and theorized reflexive control techniques, but what about America’s own perception management policies?
    This said, how relevant were those hacks to the Democrats’ claim that it stole them the election? I guess barely. Anti-establishment stances are gaining favor all over the western populations due to the increasing drift between citizen and leaders, so opponents to the West need little creativity to find ways of increasing the momentum. Lots of people voted for Trump because they were simply sick and tired of being left aside by the leading nomenklatura, as embodied by HRC. Aren’t precisely these relentless attempts of the MSM and the Democratic political instances to negate the obvious and put the blame on some existing but largely fantasized foe a form of reflexive control strategy? It seems to me that nowadays those deceitful techniques are simply used by establishment agents against their own people.
    Finally, I can understand that releasing evidences may backfire and harm ongoing intelligence procedures. Yet, confidence in the press, the government and federal institutions have kept plummeting over the last decades. Less and less bold statements issued by them are taken at face value by the public. Evidence is neither a luxury nor a delicacy. It has become a vital resource in a society infected with deception at all levels.

  31. Anna says:

    This? – “I think you’re all trying too hard to exonerate Putin and prevent any besmirchment of the immaculate glory of Trump’s election to the Presidency of the United States.”
    1. How immaculate is the glory of the CIA/NED/Mossad behavior towards the sovereignty of many countries on different continents?
    2. Why don’t you focus on the main point of the scandal: the illegal activities of DNC in relation to Bernie Sanders. If you care for the fairness of elections to the Presidency of the United States, should not you focus your attention on the maintaining the US laws and rules first and foremost?
    “The Russians and select members of the Trump circle also understand this revolution. Perhaps this shared understanding is the ultimate source of all the talk about Trump-Russia collusion.”
    What about Clintons and Saudis collusion (9/11 anyone)? What about the condescending attitude towards the US democracy by Clintons’ warriors (should not we start discussing “democracy on the march” in Libya and Ukraine right away?) Your point is, the US citizenry is made of little children that need protection from the bad Russians. The very bad Russians are so bad that they allow themselves to become armed so very close to the NATO borders. Right. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. The Cheney cohort rushed to protect Clinton. The whole ziocon camp stands behind Clinton. Wonder why.
    “And why didn’t the DNC turn their email servers over to the FBI? For one thing, remember that Hillary Clinton was under FBI investigation at the time for her own email troubles. She and the DNC saw no upside to turning over anything that the FBI could use against her in that investigation.”
    You mean, as a public servant – a Sec of State – Clinton is immune from any investigation if she feels so? – Even if when her bad judgment could compromise national security? If she is serious about national security re bad Russians (and if you are serious about national security), the FBI investigation should have been the must.
    “I recently found a TED Talk-like presentation by Gordon Greenhall, a futurist..” – are you serious? Sounds like a paranoia over the alleged “neuropsychological programming” of Russian citizens by the US propaganda.
    Moreover, there were corrections in the CrowdStrike production, which were pointed out by Ukrainians and Brits. Does this fact affect your attitude towards Kevin Mandia’ & Shawn Henry’ competence? How come that these two supposedly highly experienced FBI agents have allowed the publication of blatantly erroneous information by CrowdStrike?

  32. J says:

    Speaking of a Russian I/O op, take a look at this flashmob that can carry a tune.
    Непередаваемые ощущения. Наш флешмоб

  33. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Great observations!

  34. J says:

    The sad thing is that both governments (U.S. and Russia) waste money, time, and resources with their failed I/O operations in each others elections. Our U.S. I/O falls on deaf Russian ears, and Russia’s I/O falls on deaf U.S. ears.
    U.S. security goes through Russia, and Russian security goes through U.S.. We need a formal alliance to put to bed all the heated BS and Nuclear threats. So that everybody can get on with their lives of loving their families and friends, and trying to build a future for humanity and our planet.

  35. b,
    Your criticism is too focused on digital forensics and leaves out the far more important aspects of observing human behavior over significant periods of time. That is where attribution is made possible. The answer is not in the tools, but in those who use the tools. That is how the science and art of attribution developed both in the IC and in those private IT security companies that specialize in this kind of threat analysis.
    Beyond that, your criticism of the attitude that Russia is the devil incarnate is spot on. It is counterproductive, dangerous and just flat wrong.

  36. Bill H says:

    And an astonishingly successful distraction.

  37. Eric Newhill says:

    I am, somewhat experimentally at this time, a consumer of the kind of data/analytics you describe. I have access to all kinds of such data that comes into my employer via vendor feeds. We know what you buy with your credit cards (especially interested in unhealthy habits like cigarettes and alcohol, but also food choices), the magazines/online sites you subscribe to, your finances, political preferences and personality attributes and much more + “we” being an insurance company, all of your healthcare diagnoses and procedures. All of this gets fed into SAS data mining software to analyze the strength of associations between variables and to create a profile of an individual or and aggregate profile of a group. This will help us set premium prices; perhaps make the decision of whether or not to issue insurance at all in a given market, employer group, indiviual, etc. Also, can be used to target and tailor and market additional products to members.
    These days I often find myself in the role of liaison between business and IT. I talk to the IT guys that we have brought in on contractor status and they tell me about all the work they have done for companies like Google, Facebook, various smart phone ap developers. As you say, all of these companies are engaged in the secondary business of gathering data about all aspects of users’ lives so that data can be joined together from all the sources for the purpose constructing a complete profile of individual Americans. The profiles then become a tradable commodity.
    But I don’t see the Russians as having access to all of that profiling. This is a very complex infrastructure involving tools and partnerships beginning at the point of data collection (e.g. facebook, twitter, cell phone ap, cable TV carrier) and the many brokers that are buying and selling the info so that the various bits and pieces can ultimately rest in one place in a format that permits combining and analysis.
    If the Russians haphazardly inserted their own memes (or what you have you) into the larger flow of targeted marketing/influencing, I don’t know how you could ever parse out what originated with Russia and what did not. There is so much of it going on. It’s a needle in the haystack problem. Did they do it? Who could possibly know? Did it have an impact on election results? Who could possibly know? Much silliness over nothing by anti-Trumpers. The topic is losing traction quickly and a year from now will be totally forgotten.

  38. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Here is an example of why Trump won:
    The writer is a Harvard prof. If anyone knows how to reconcile the first two sentences of his point #6, I would be happy to hear it.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  39. Jack says:

    These same tools and methods were available to Hillary. She also paid millions for data analytics. Probably way more than Trump. What the Democrats and the media establishment don’t want to accept is that many just didn’t like her and many didn’t want the Clinton’s back in the WH. It was obvious she had no voter enthusiasm. Compared to Bernie and Trump who were getting hundreds to show up hours before and stand in line to attend their rallies in city after city, she could essentially get mostly paid placard holders to show up.
    The Democrat establishment rigged their primary to nominate her. The media and the establishment of both parties who uniformly campaigned against Trump were shocked they could not defeat the guy they ridiculed. Maybe a better strategy is to reflect why they lost to a “buffoon”. Implying the weakness of their sure thing. But instead they unleashed an ugly campaign of delegitimization.

  40. Anna,
    The DNC, like the RNC, is a private institution. It is not an integral part of our government and is not a necessary part of our political and electoral process. Their seriously flawed top down process for selecting national candidates with that god awful idea of super delegates is seriously flawed and is, IMO, the primary reason for the Democratic loss in the 2016 election. Even beyond this candidate selection process, I agree with Bernie’s criticism of the party, “The current model and the current strategy of the Democratic party is an absolute failure. The Democratic party needs fundamental change. What it needs is to open up its doors to working people, and young people, and older people who are prepared to fight for social and economic justice. The Democratic party must understand what side it is on. And that cannot be the side of Wall Street, or the fossil fuel industry, or the drug companies.”
    I also think your conflating Clinton’s email server with the DNC email server. The former was used by a sitting SecState and was turned over to the FBI. The DNC server is private property of a private organization. All such organizations are loath to voluntarily turn over this kind of property to the FBI.
    How do you expect Mandia and Shawn to control publications put out by CrowdStrike? They are separate companies. The only part of the CrowdStrike report on the hacking of a Ukrainian artillery app that was retracted was its assessment of the effectiveness of the hack. They based that assessment on IISS data on losses of D-30 artillery pieces by the Ukrainian Army. When IISS corrected their initial erroneous assessment, CrowdStrike had no choice but to issue a correction of their assessment of the hacked app’s effectiveness. They still stand by the the rest of their report.

  41. Bobo says:

    My hat is off too you for the in depth details and enlightenment.
    I look at the concept of Reflexive Control as just a sophistication of why I ate Raisin Bran versus Wheaties as a child. Simple yes, but unless we break these concepts down to basics our population will just blow it away. The only thing to learn from this Russian IO is that we need to secure our voting system better than present. Fortunately for us, our present system is so diverse that an intentional attack fails in that only a minute change not sufficient to tip the outcome occurs. Now in Greenhalls video he talks about the 49-51 and the traffic lights but doesn’t this move from an IO to a direct attack? Now I guess my biggest concern with this Russian Hack/IO what was our esteemed intelligence community doing while this was going on. There must of been some sort of group that is tasked with countering this type of IO so that it does not get out of hand. We have heard that this all occurred but nothing about how Clapper, Brennan or NSA thwarted it. That would be very enlightening.
    I look forward to reading the evidence in a decade of so as distorted as that will be. In the interim Trump has moved on for the betterment of this country.

  42. Fred says:

    Facebook is targetting ads towards people because it might get them mad? Who paid for that, Wonder Boy Robbie Mook, who blew through a billion bucks for crap just like that? (The donors, but who cares what they thought anyway.) How’d that work out? Well, as Samuel L Jackson says in the commercial “What’s in your wallet”. From where I sit it looks like the usual DNC suspects got paid by the usual DNC campaign staff. They lost just like Donna Brazile lost every other time she was in charge. Way to go. You might want to upgrade your computer program to the M6 version, M5 isn’t doing such a bang up job.

  43. Fred says:

    “But I don’t see the Russians as having access to all of that profiling.”
    If its commercially available they can buy it.

  44. shepherd says:

    The profiling is available via proprietary tools running on top of exposed/purchasable Facebook and Google data. The tools you describe are not the ones I’m talking about. In addition, other third party data sets enable you to accomplish much the same thing. They are much more targeted and precise than the segmentation tools you describe, which have a different purpose.
    So we’re clear, the Russians are extremely proficient at I/O, and a concerted effort on their part could have an effect. It’s clear to someone who deals in propaganda that they’re spewing a lot of propaganda.

  45. Roy G says:

    It is important for us skeptics to hear this expert analysis, which reminds us at least that there are many dimensions to this situation. That said, I keep coming back to what I see as the Big Picture: The DNC email hack revealed the absolute corruption of the DNC leadership, which should be more concerning than how this truth was learned. Think about that in an absence of national and political identities.
    As for how information is presented to the public, charges of Russia influencing the media are to me like the Israelis complaining about the awesome high-tech arsenal of Hamas. Yes, there is something there, but it’s more than a little rich when the side complaining has CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, etc. etc. at their disposal.

  46. shepherd says:

    My comment has nothing to do with Hillary. It’s a technical comment on the tools and methods we have available, and how Trump’s team employed them in an effective fashion. In case it’s not clear, I know people who work with Cambridge Analytica. It was cutting edge stuff.

  47. Barish says:

    “These concepts are already understood in the marketing and advertising world. The Russians and select members of the Trump circle also understand this revolution. Perhaps this shared understanding is the ultimate source of all the talk about Trump-Russia collusion. There may be no real collusion at all, just simultaneous arrivals at light bulb moments in the field of reflexive control and applied advances in communications and information technology. It’s possible.”
    I very much doubt that credit for “digital propaganda” can be pin-pointed to just these two parties. As it is a new playing field, a host of parties, both political and corporate, are delving into it independent of one another at the same time. If anything, credit has to be given to Trump’s campaign to getting the toss of the coin right.
    As another comment here put it, it’s good to be aware of current advert-tech and marketing techniques, but ultimately it is still left to every individual to make up their own mind, as it should be.
    Warnings against “cyber warfare” are also hardly a new thing. Accusations against certain countries have already been drummed up in years past – always with the caveat that determining perpetrators is no sure thing, which holds true today as well. As such, ministries and organizations tasked with engaging in that field are, IMHO, better off concentrating on that rather than openly play politics.
    Here in Germany, just prior to G20, a certain Mr Maaßen, head of our “Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz”, released a report that, aside from noting a rise in the number of extremists in 2016 also lay blame for “cyber attacks” and espionage against Germany squarely on Russia, China and Turkey. He made a point of announcing such in person in just that order on TV as well, while not even touching on US activities which got attention here a few years past and never stopped since. Fortunately, this didn’t stop our Mrs Merkel from meeting either China’s Xi nor Russia’s Putin, nor should this petrify any direct engagement with Russia in its tracks as appears to be the main goal of the hysteria in the US.
    Ultimately, “Cyber warfare” is a fact of life today and neither that nor espionage should under any circumstances be turned into an actual casus belli, a thought that appears to be increasingly entertained by certain circles.

  48. shepherd says:

    What are you talking about? It was Trump who paid money to Cambridge Analytica to target the neurotic end of the OCEAN spectrum on Facebook. “Neurotic” is misleading, but it refers to people who are, among other things, quick to anger. If you don’t like that, it’s not my problem.
    I do this stuff for a living and offer you information, not opinion. Nothing I’ve said has the least thing to do with the DNC. At what I do, they sucked, plain and simple.

  49. Murali says:

    Anna you are right on every point you discuss. As a matter of fact I think you overlooked the point that the writer says regarding Clinton’s investigation and Mueller assembling a team of prosecutors to look into the allegation of collusion (Mind you this exactly what the writer said). How come Mueller appoints a team of prosecutors even before you establish that there was a crime committed. Also the writer says the great sleuth Henry advised the Meaish Obama about breaching of his election and a week later of Mccain’s election. SInce according to the author the venerated Henry is the one who investigated this DNC email fiasco why didn’t he raise the issue in June and bring it to the public attention regarding the nefarious Russian activities into our Democracy? If I recall correctly Obama said at that time “Never mind the content of the emails, but look at the illegalities of the Russians”. Since when it is OK for politicians to engage in various corrupt schemes and get a pass because they were revealed in an illegal manner? So why not hold the same standards to the other world leader? Say Rouseff of Brazil? or Yanokowitch of Ukraine? Remember they were photographers all over the Presidential Palace to show the luxuries of Yanokowitch? Karma is a bitch what goes around comes around. Thanks for your thoughtful post

  50. Murali,
    To several of your points/questions:
    Mueller’s team is prosecutors rather than investigators because he already has access to all the raw intelligence/evidence he needs to build a coherent case(s). Mueller appears to be concentrating on possible collusion/corruption rather than the mechanics of the Russian IO. That’s bad news for those associated with Trump.
    Henry could not have brought any of his findings or concerns to the FBI or the public without approval from the DNC. I’m sure he executed a mutual NDA with the DNC before starting his investigation. That’s standard practice.
    I don’t recall if any of the leaked emails reveals actual prosecutable illegal acts. If so, I don’t understand why there is no call for specific prosecutions. What was revealed was sleazy and underhanded behavior within the DNC and by the Clintons. It was the type of stuff that no one percenter wants revealed, including Trump.

  51. TTG,
    Your post raises rather fundamental questions about the effects of the privatisation of key intelligence and law enforcement functions. There are interesting similarities, and dissimilarities, with what has happened in the ‘media.’ So I hope you will pardon a rather convoluted response.
    As it happens, both my SWMBO and I were rather closely involved in the creation and development of the ‘independent sector’ in British television in the ‘Eighties. It developed in the same time as the ‘private security sector’. So Channel 4, which commissioned programmes but did not make them, started broadcasting in 1982, while Defence Systems Limited, a key pioneer in its sector, had been created the previous year, largely by Colonel Alastair Morrison, who during his time in the SAS had commanded the hostage rescue operation at Mogadishu Airport in 1977.
    It became ArmorGroup after it was taken over by the U.S. company Armor Holdings in 1997. Erinys International, the company at the centre of the Litvinenko affair, was in essence a spin-off.
    An ironic effect, in these very disparate areas, could be an upending of traditional hierarchies. One of the founders of Erinys was Fraser Brown, former RSM of the SAS, who had also served in the Rhodesian Light Infantry. In terms of recruiting a force to protect oil pipelines in Iraq, I would hasard a guess, he would be rather more use than Morrison.
    (My SWMBO went into the BBC, as a flighty young secretary, and trained as a drama production assistant. Television programmes aren’t made by directors and producers, but by such rarefied people sitting on top of a whole range of highly skilled craftsmen – cameramen, film and video editors, costume designers, make-up girls, etc etc. A really good PA knows all about how to choose such people, how to organise and schedule the various tasks etc – also about how to make them all feel loved and wanted.)
    Another element of the privatisation process was that, partly be accident, partly by design, it created a situation in which the scope for expressing unconventional or inconvenient views in television was closed down, quite radically.
    An ironic consequence of this was that the market value of my SWMBO’s skills went right up, and that of mine – as a ‘heavy’ current affairs producer-director – went right down.
    The point of this autobiographical digression is that, from our rather wide combined experience, I can point to some common characteristics which ‘privatisation’ has had.
    One is that people who could get ‘a stake in the equity’ could make very large sums of money indeed. Sometimes, this has been done by people who combine talent and ‘giver’, but are kind and decent people. But built into the processes involved are pressures which can, to be blunt, corrupt averagely honest people.
    Related to this is an important contrast. If one is working in organisations where one has reasonable security of tenure, and has a reputation for consistently delivering good quality work, and is not hungry for promotion, one can often get away with telling one’s superiors a great deal of what one thinks. People who did this used to be a significant antidote to ‘groupthink.’
    In a commissioning system, this is usually a bad idea. It makes much better sense to tell people from whom one can expect lucrative contracts what they want to hear. So you can get a lot of ‘echo chamber’ relationships, reinforcing ‘groupthink.’
    Where the ‘private security sector’ differs from the ‘independent sector’ is that opportunities are also created for people to, as it were, ‘buy into’ the system – which can create very strange relationships.
    This I can illustrate, in a different way, from personal experience. My interest in the Litvinenko mystery arose out of a discussion we had here on SST, back in February-March 2007. After Colonel Lang posted a piece on the line of fortifications which Hizbullah were building north of the Litani, I raised the question of how far the progressively increasing range and accuracy of missiles available to Hizbullah would intensify pressures from Israel and its supporters in the United States to get the United States to attack Iran.
    In the middle of the discussion that followed, I received an e-mail which turned out to be from Tim Reilly, then an executive at Erinys, which looked like a rather crude attempt to inveigle me into making antisemitic remarks. I dimly remembered that the company had been one of those to which Litvinenko had introduced his supposed assassins, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, and where polonium traces had been found.
    A few quick checks established that Mr Reilly was a former Parachute Regiment officer, turned oil and gas geopolitics specialist, with a special interest in the Caspian. It also established that Erinys had emerged as a significant player in the private security sector as the result of a contract to protect oil installations in Iraq won in collaboration with associates of Ahmed Chalabi.
    As part of the process of ‘beefing up’ the company for that job, first Alastair Morrison, and then Major General John Holmes, DSO OBE MC, former commander of the SAS and Director, UK Special Forces, had been brought on board.
    Among other interesting articles, I came across one in the ‘Independent’ from 28 November 2006, explaining that forensic scientists had been testing, and found polonium traces in, a four-storey building at 25 Grosvenor Square. This, apparently, was was ‘owned by the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky’, and was ‘rented to companies that include a specialist security agency run by a former member of British special forces.’
    (See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/radioactive-traces-found-at-berezovskys-office-426112.html .)
    It was quite clear that instructions had been issued not to mention Erinys, its subsidiary Titon, and Major General Holmes by name. So, inadvertently, the report had actually suggested that these were involved with British intelligence – and that, in addition to having got into bed with Chalabi with disastrous results, the people involved were likely to have done the same with Berezovsky. (There should be some limits to human stupidity, but, apparently, no.)
    Then later, I came across a programme broadcast by BBC Radio on 16 December 2006. It was wholly devoted to claims made by a former KGB operative called Yuri Shvets, supported by a former FBI operative called Robert ‘Bobby’ Levinson.
    It told a tear-jerking story of how Litvinenko, cast aside by his oligarch patron, had been forced into ‘due diligence’ work, in the course of which he and Shvets had discovered terrible truths about the relationship between a figure close to Putin and organised crime – in retaliation for which Lugovoi and Kovtun had been sent to put poison in his tea.
    (See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)
    All this was transparently a mixture of some elements of truth with a great deal of flagrant lying. For one thing, there was no mention of the involvement of Shvets with the ‘Melnichenko tapes.’
    In relation to the FBI connection. During his time at that organisation, Levinson had been involved in investigating the activities of the notorious Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich. As I was subsequently able to ascertain, Shvets, Litvinenko and their Italian associate Mario Scaramella had been involved in was fabricating evidence designed to demonstrate that Mogilevich, while acting as an agent for the FSB, and under Putin’s personal ‘krysha’ had been attempting to provide a ‘mini nuclear bomb’ to Al Qaeda.
    Most of the evidence I submitted to Sir Robert Owen’s Inquest/Inquiry on this was suppressed. However, one critical piece was let through, but not mentioned in the report.
    (See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)
    As you will doubtless be aware, attempts to link Trump to Mogilevich are part of the current ‘information operations’ against him.
    (See, for example, https://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/12/19/the-curious-world-of-donald-trumps-private-russian-connections/ ; https://trump-russia.com/2017/06/16/is-robert-mueller-examining-trumps-links-to-mogilevich/ .)
    In March 2007, Levinson would disappear on the Iranian island of Kish – as later emerged, while on a covert mission for the CIA.
    Reverting to Erinys. When I received the e-mail from Reilly, part of my initial response was – what became of the old notion of an officer and a gentleman? Moreover, at the time my SWMBO was organisational partner in a decently successful – and extremely well-run – small independent company making food and lifestyle programmes. I asked myself whether it would be conceivable that one of their employees would have sent a questionable e-mail without checking it with them.
    Unless Major General Holmes is out of his depth running a company, and cannot control his staff, it seems to me that he must have been privy to the e-mail. A possible explanation could be that neither man was very happy with it, but some neocon who could influence lucrative contracts could not be gainsaid.
    A coda. The head of BBC Radio Current Affairs at the time the pack of lies about Litvinenko was broadcast was the wife of a sometime colleague of mine, who I would once have regarded as a friend. Some time after I began taking an interest in the affair, he asked me and my SWMBO out to dinner, displaying a curiosity about my interest in the matter which I was not certain was purely spontaneous.
    And we now know that the person orchestrating the cover-up about Litvinenko was Christopher Steele, who has been actively involved in trying to subvert your constitutional processes. If you want further information on why I strongly suspect that Alex Younger current head of MI6, is likely to have been involved in orchestrating the activities of both Steele and Matt Tait, I can supply it.
    So, I think I am in a position to tell you that the nexus between the intelligence services, the private security sector, and the media in Britain is thoroughly corrupt. Doubtless Shawn Henry is a ‘twenty year plus veteran FBI agent’ – I do not know how many years Levinson served, but it would I think be comparable. Given what I know about the one, I would require a lot more persuasion to be persuaded that the other should be regarded as a credible source.

  52. Old Microbiologist says:

    But why bother in the first place? What do they gain from a friendly president? It is Congress that must be influenced as Israel has been doing. Russia has so far remained steadfast regardless of the administration. Their long term goals have nothing o do with which party is in control as basically the two parties are identically dysfunctional and both only represent the top 0.1%.
    The sanctions had an unintended consequence of forcing the Russians to accelerate the process to once again be self sufficient, no mean task. It also served to move the trade balance in favor of Russia. Their economy is in pretty good shape with only $150 billion in debt. They also have large production capacity and the market share for energy is now only 14% of GDP. They are number 2 in weapons export as well so things are pretty good with the Russian economy and they don’t rely on fakery to show that.

  53. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Even more important than just having the data is being able to place the information conveyed by data in context. Data is never as complete as one might like–you still have to connect the dots. Russians don’t know the American context. Heck, even US elites don’t understand the American context. Russians may or may not be able to do clever or not so clever things to gather data. They may or may not be able to do interesting and/or dangerous things with the data they have. I don’t see them being able to pull off anything that’s worth half a penny in the end.

  54. Old Microbiologist says:

    Exactly correct.

  55. Old Microbiologist says:

    Much worse.

  56. Old Microbiologist says:

    I disagree. If you are being paid to produce a report by a politically biased organization you will also create a biased report. You won’t get repeat business unless you produce as directed. It is this way for many “independent” companies as we have seen with the faked ratings out of Standard and Poors and others. I don’t trust anything being paid for unless it is truly independent which is nearly impossible.

  57. Anna says:

    1. was not the CrowdStrike report commissioned by the DNC? – Do you see any conflicts of interest in this arrangement?
    2. is the US democracy so feeble that is has completely succumbed to the bad Russians because of the alleged hacking of the DNC emails and because of the alleged collusion with Trump? – Do you have any respect for those who decided to elect Trump instead of Clinton out of complete disgust with Democratic party? As you write, “the primary reason for the Democratic loss in the 2016 election.” Then what is the effect of the alleged “Russian meddling” in the “Trump’s election to the Presidency of the United States?”
    3. The Chalupa sisters who recommended Alperovitch (he is not Russian, by the way, he is jewish) to the DNC deciders have been involved with neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine. – How do you feel about the feelings of the US (and Russian) veterans of the WWII?
    4. The same MSM leaders that had led this country to Iraq War (under the guidance of Cheney & Wolfowitz and the whole ziocon cabal) have been livid about the alleged Russian meddling into the US affairs. – The same main sources of the pernicious disinformation have been talking non-stop about Russian danger. – Does this give you a pause? Could you imagine that the US citizenry has been manipulated by the MIC, oilmen, AIPAC, and banksters?
    5. “The DNC server is private property of a private organization. All such organizations are loath to voluntarily turn over this kind of property to the FBI.” – Then the DNC should shut up. Either they care about national security or not. Either they cooperate with the FBI re “Russian hacking” or they behave treasonously with respect to the investigation.

  58. J says:

    ‘Privatization’ of whether it be intelligence (little i), law enforcement (little le), or military (little m), they all equal to one thing — Mercenaries.
    Mercenaries have only one allegiance, that is to their pocket book (pc term their bottom line). Whereas Intelligence (big I), Law Enforcement (big LE), and Military (big M), their allegiance are to their Constitutions/Citizens/States/Ideals.
    We see ‘private’ companies that intelligence has been farmed off to by lazy intelligence types, all too frequently cooked.
    We see ‘privatized’ companies that law enforcement is farmed off to by lazy government types, citizen abused.
    We see ‘privatized’ companies that military duties have been farmed off to by scared arm-chair wannabe civilian generals (aka politicians), create more battlefield problems and friendly casualties (case in point Private Military Contractors that are too many to mention anymore screwing things up, Black-water types all over the place).
    Privatization doesn’t save money, it usually costs far more in lucre, blood, and treasure, than it saves.

  59. Augustin L says:

    A very good overview by TTG and the rabbit hole goes deeper. Who’s behind Cambridge Analytica ? Where they working in tandem with the Alamo project unit in San Antonio ? https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy

  60. Pundita says:

    Transcript: Sen. John McCain on CBS “Face the Nation,” July 9, 2017
    JOHN DICKERSON: That’s right. We don’t have a globe, but let’s start with Russia. So the U.N. ambassador said in terms of consequences for Russian interference in the election she said, “Don’t think this is over.” And she suggested consequences could come. But the president this morning is tweeting. And he said the following. “Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with the Russians.” That seems to suggest no consequences.
    JOHN MCCAIN: Well, so far the interesting aspect of this whole issue is we know that Russia tried to change the outcome of our election last November. And they did not succeed. But there was really sophisticated attempts to do so. So far they have not paid a single price for that. We passed a very good bill through the Senate on sanctions and we also have other proposals out there. But as far as a specific penalty for what they did, there has been no penalty. So if you were Vladimir Putin, who I’ve gotten to know over the years, you’re sitting there and you got away with literally trying to change the outcome not just of our election. French election. Tried to overthrow the government of Montenegro, a beautiful little country. I recommend it. And there has been no penalty whatsoever. Time to move forward. Yes, it’s time to move forward. But there has to be a price to pay.
    JOHN DICKERSON: Why not? Why does there have to be a price?
    JOHN MCCAIN: Otherwise he will be encouraged to do so again. Obviously. I mean, does anyone doubt his intentions of undermining American supremacy, undermining democracy, the principles of freedom, and all of the things that have epitomized Europe and the world since the end of World War II? For the last 70 years we’ve had a new world order. And that is now under severe stress not only in Europe but all over the world.
    JOHN DICKERSON: The president announced and the White House says this is a significant achievement of their meeting. The president, again, tweeting this morning, said, “Putin and I discussed forming an impenetrable cyber security unit so that election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded.” What do you–
    JOHN MCCAIN: I am sure that Vladimir Putin could be of enormous assistance in that effort since he’s doing the hacking.
    OHN DICKERSON: I want to ask you about Syria. Let’s listen to something that Secretary of State Tillerson said about the Russians, who have interests in Syria, and the United States. Let’s listen to the secretary.
    REX TILLERSON: By and large, our objectives are exactly the same. How we get there we each have a view. And maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach.
    JOHN DICKERSON: Do the Russians have the right approach?
    JOHN MCCAIN: You can’t make that up. You can’t make that up. These are the same people that use precision-guided weapons to strike hospitals in Aleppo where sick and wounded people are. This is just- You know, I’m preparing myself mentally to be on this show. I said, “John, you’re not going to get upset. You’re not going to get emotional.” But I’ve met the White Hats. I know what the slaughter has been like. I know that the Russians knew that Bashar Assad was going to use chemical weapons. And to say that maybe we’ve got the wrong approach? Look, I agonized over voting for or against Tillerson for secretary of state. Not that I didn’t admire his success and all the great things he’s done. But the things that he’d said in the past. He has divorced a fundamental of American democracy. The reason why we are the shining city on the hill, as Ronald Reagan used to say, is because they look up to us because of our principles, and our beliefs, and our advocacy of freedom- for freedom. That’s what America’s supposed to be all about. Not whether they’re right and we’re wrong. We know who’s–
    JOHN DICKERSON: Do you regret–
    JOHN MCCAIN:–right and who’s wrong here.
    JOHN DICKERSON: Do you regret that vote for Tillerson?
    JOHN MCCAIN: Sometimes I do. But I’m still torn by the fact that the American people chose this president.

  61. Old Microbiologist says:


  62. ISL says:

    In support of your argument – I recall the polls being miserable, and all the horridly expensive, big data analytics, trying to swing for the other 16 republicans / HC having zero effect on Billy Bob voter and his middle finger.
    To my eye, that says there is hope for the American people – sophisticated psyops or not – most Americans refuse to disbelieve their lying eyes.

  63. fanto says:

    at ISL,
    ISL – glad to hear how others blood pressure goes up because of NPR faux news – and they are really good at that, especially because they know how illiterate (as far as geography, history, geopolitics etc) their audience is. And they have complete monopoly on national and world news on the radio. How come there is no competition ?
    Excellent comments abound under this article.

  64. steve says:

    ” The American Elite and their accountants, lawyers, doctors, therapists, financial advisors, professors who teach their kids, high level bureaucrats who run their Administrative State, and a few other categories that escape me at the moment, have screwed the majority of the American Working Class in the last 40 years.”
    Go look at the numbers. Those people have sen a fairly small increase in their income. The really big growth is in the top 1% and even that is concentrated into the top 0.1%. That bubble we had in the early 2000s? The ones who really benefitted weren’t the ones you name. The ones making big bucks by sending production to Mexico and China? Not that group. It has been the finance guys, real estate, insurance and upper professional management. Always, always follow the money trail.

  65. TTG – Your article and the subsequent comments point to an internal problem with the electoral process as well.
    Most elections are decided by a small margin. The big voting blocks neutralise each other and only a handful of voters determine the result.
    If those who might belong to that handful can be targeted individually, as is suggested here, then the election becomes to some extent a contest in data analysis. The politicians must still position themselves to appeal to or to assemble the respective voting blocks, but that done the final result hangs on who uses the data best.
    We already have one serious problem with democracy. The wealthy buy the politicians. This is another.
    Most of us, at least one hopes, fall into our respective voting blocks as a result of thought-out conviction. As is pointed out above we’re unlikely to be influenced much by the techniques of persuasion used to sell breakfast cereals. But the more labile voter, who might vote on fashion or on impulse, can be so influenced.
    It is just these voters who, in the close elections that are the norm today, are the ones who decide the outcome. So Cambridge Analytica style techniques of data analysis that can identify the foibles of individual voters, if applied on any great scale, will result in our elections being decided even more than they are at present by the whim of the few rather than by the conviction of the many.
    Just as the private investor is becoming more and more a passive observer of the battle of the quants so the average voter will become more and more a passive observer of the battle of the data analysts.
    Your article therefore points to a greater danger than the possibility of an election being decided by foreign influence. Within a democracy, since the wealthy will always be able to buy more and better data analysts than anyone else, the election process will be locked up even more than it is at present.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I must say that I find it highly ironic that the techniques and artifices that UK had so successfully and so repeatedly used against foreign governments and peoples are have now been employed against herself and her own alliance members -it must be the Law of Karma.

  67. 1. The report was not commissioned by the DNC. It was produced by CrowdStrike on their own dime. DNC hired CrowdStrike to investigate and fix their email server. However, the DNC had to authorize CrowdStrike to release the report.
    2. Who said the US succumbed to the Russians? I want to examine and understand the full extent of what the Russians did and what they attempted to do. Only then can we even attempt to determine if those efforts had any effect. If that concept frightens you or threatens your world view, I suggest you ignore such investigations.
    3 and 4. Now you’re just being hysterically insulting.
    5. The DNC allowed the CrowdStrike and FireEye reports to be publicly released. Nothing further is needed. I agree with Binney on that.

  68. Babak Makkinejad says:

    He was likely not amused either by the bit about “the man eith a good wife…”.

  69. David,
    Thanks for that. It was enlightening. However, IT and IT security is almost exclusively in the realm of private industry, at least that is so in the US. LE and the IC often lament this situation. Government cyber security entities are often kept outside of what happens in the private IT world. We have made many efforts to entice the private IT world to let us government types in.
    Another problem is that our ability to hire cyber security types into government is hampered by Congressional preference for contractors rather than government expansion. That has been the case since 9/11 at least.

  70. b says:

    One can recognize the “handwriting” of a programmer in code when one has analyzed other programs that programmer has written at about the same time in the same language.
    But I doubt one can do the same with the various operations of one group. The environmental variables of different operations (what kind of servers, networks, problems, defense is involved) vary way too much.
    Varying circumstances lead to varying methods and to varying behavior of the thieves. The highest confidence of attributing several hacking cases to one actor is likely “could be the same”.
    Crowdstrike on one side claims (like your) that the “Russians” are incredibly sophisticated in their hacking and information operations. But Crowdstrike then goes on and lists all the sloppy mistakes the hackers made that allowed them to be identified as “Russian”. What is it? Are these people incredibly good or do they leave traces all over the place?
    Crowdstrike claims that X-Agent malware was used against the DNC and claims that it is a tool used exclusively by Russian government hackers. That is nonsense. X-Agent had been in the wild for quite some time and had been used by others. Their attribution is bullshit.
    You say Russian information operations are sophisticated. But nobody watches RT political reporting and Sputnik is often just a bad joke. The great Russian info-ops people obviously don’t even know how to run a news blog. Any western marketing pusher for milkless cheese is better than the Russian in selling their wares. If the “Russian Concept of Reflexive Control” is so great why is there so much bad press about Russia?
    IMHO if anything Russia does looks “strategic” or “well planned” that is only because you compare it to the cacophony coming out of Washington. Moscow improvises a lot and makes lots of mistakes
    My well learned opinion on the “Russian hacking” is still:
    There is no evidence connecting whatever happened at the DNC to Russia. There is no evidence that the Paneta emails were taken in a “Russian hacking” operation.
    I am not alone with this opinion:
    Jeff Carr agrees with me
    So does Sam Biddle and various other people who know the issue (and hacking) well

  71. Donald says:

    This sounds right to me. I am too ignorant to discuss what is or isn’t known about Russian hacking of computers, but unless they actually altered votes or somehow changed the list of registered voters than the claim that they hacked the election is ludicrous over the top hysteria. Everyone tried to hack the election by the low standards that people use when talking about Russia.

  72. b,
    You and Jeff Carr are still talking about after the fact code analysis. You either discount or ignore the place of long term SIGINT and HUMINT operations in determining attribution. That stuff will seldom be publicly available. I have done HUMINT against these targets both in meatspace and cyberspace since the days of FIDONet and IRC. I know how attribution works. I don’t think you or Jeff Carr do.

  73. Ante says:

    Simply stating “Russia hacked the X” has become a dog whistle for the Russophic hysteria of “Trump Putin’s Slave” narrative. I believe this is why PT and others choose to deny that hydra of a statement on its face. Most would agree that there is some possibility that Russian groups accessed DNC servers. Where they diverge is in arguing that the public evidence is soft and absolutely does not support the broad claims of “election hacking” that rest upon it.
    The denial of the statement is a way of interrupting the prevailing narrative, at least for a blink, so that a fact or two may be discussed.
    I believe the Ukrainian and thinktank denials of artillery hacking contain many contradictions, and smell of the “mechanical failures” of downed aircraft, grade of military bullshitting. Novorossian militia counterbattery fire was supreme, I wouldn’t be surprised if Uke artillery was by some means, unwittingly broadcasting its location.
    However, those denials contain the seeds of doubt that one could use to argue against the Russian provenance of the DNC penetrations. It’s a mirrored situation, where in one case, a group doesn’t want to admit that they were breached and vulnerable, and another one wants to make political hay out of a relatively inconsequential attack, to cover for their own failures.

  74. Tel says:

    If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.
    That’s what the guy at the airport keeps telling me… so obviously it applies to the DNC just the same like it applies to the rest of us.

  75. jdledell says:

    TTG – Good article. My son is Technical Director at SecureWorks, a subsidiary of Dell Computer. His computers were tracing all the attempts by Russians to infiltrate a wide range of computers – not just the DNC or Podesta’s emails. SecureWorks technology is capable of immediately tracing back to the source, thru dozens of intermediary connections, any suspicious attempts to connect to a customer’s computer and cut the connection until the probe is determined to be legitimate.
    Since the DNC was not a customer, they encountered the Russian attempts in their client base of financial, Utility and other government offices. This was a very large and broad attempt to infiltrate hundreds of US sites from about 3 dozen simultaneous Russian computers located in half a dozen Russian cities.
    All of this was immediately reported to the FBI who has the complete SecureWorks file on the subject. Also Mueller’s team has been to Providence to interview SecureWorks personnel, including my son.
    None of this proves it was Russian state authorized actors who were behind this activity. But in my son’s 8 years with the company, they have never before seen such a massive attempt by Russians. It usually is one or two hackers who attempt to gain access to financial data but this probe was directed at computers that were not going to yield money for the hacker’s efforts.

  76. fanto says:

    At David Habakkuk and seconding OMB
    Wow wow wow! this reads like a short version of John LeCarre I think David needs to look over his shoulder more frequently.

  77. Fred says:

    You mean all those congressmen don’t stand for election?

  78. jdledell,
    Thank you for this account of your son’s work. Very interesting. I’ve been fascinated by this world since the advent of BBSs and FIDONet. I miss hearing stories like this since my retirement from DIA.

  79. Anna says:

    “The report was not commissioned by the DNC. It was produced by CrowdStrike on their own dime.”
    Such altruism is hard to believe in. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-24/what-crowdstrike-firm-hired-dnc-has-ties-hillary-clinton-ukrainian-billionaire-and-g
    To state that the Clintonists (such as the Clinton’s subordinate Nuland-Kagan et al.) have been involved with neo-Nazis in Ukraine is not hysterics – this is a statement on the unfortunate reality. https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/15/sorting-out-ukraine-conflicts-history/ http://observer.com/2017/01/ukraine-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-election/ Have courage to face it.
    The same with my statement on MSM: it is not the statement itself that is insulting – it is the free reign of ziocons that is insulting: https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/liars-lying-about-nearly-everything/?highlight=russia%252Bneocons%2BMSM+lies https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/06/msm-still-living-in-propaganda-ville/

  80. Eric Newhill says:

    Agreed. The stuff isn’t good enough [yet] to work the way it is desired to.
    But Shepard says I am talking about something different than what he is and maybe I am, I only know what I know.

  81. Eric Newhill says:

    I am told by the people that developed them, that even all the phone aps and games have algorithms that will turn on to either increase frustration level or decrease it, depending on which would appear more profitable and that info, about the individual’s temperament, is also captured and stored and can be made available.

  82. bluetonga says:

    Let me clarify my point. TTG did not convert me plain and simple to the conclusion that the Russians did it, that is, hacked the US electoral system with the aim of waving its results to their best interest. But he cast a reasonable doubt on their possible involvement in the attacks.
    His argument is rather flimsy though and relies on the opinion of a couple of esteemed experts who advocate for such a scenario. Hard evidence is evoked, but once again, cannot be produced for the time being. Now, as you and others have argued, should the opinion of a hired private contractor be credited with the same degree of objectivity and reliability than the opinion of a sworn public servant? Probably not…
    Yet my point is : shouldn’t modern intelligence agencies precisely do that : hack, collect information, process data, use it to their best interest? Isn’t it precisely the aim of the game? Well, I suspect the Russians might at least have taken a shot at it. They should have, indeed, considering the high degree of hostility displayed by the US establishment towards them. And not only they, other concerned nations might have joined.
    Now, supposing the Russians were actually involved, how successful were they? Did they meet their objectives? What were those anyway? All of this has been left to speculation, but for the media and the hard-assed Democrats who opted for the worst scenario in order to raise audience for the former, shun responsabilities for the latter.

  83. Eric Newhill says:

    Aside from all the technical arguments as to who was behind the DNC hack (IMO, the only aspect, if true, of Russian efforts to influence the election that go beyond the normal), there is the social and political milieu in which it occurred that must be considered if one desires a meaningful resolution to the questions.
    What is really happening a couple layers beneath the surface is that Russia is seen by many – particularly Trump supporters – to be the emerging good guys on the world scene. They are the defenders of Christianity and Western culture, whereas the left – with whom Clinton and Sanders were firmly allied – are the destroyers of both. When a Trump supporter is told that Russia sought to influence the election in Trump’s favor, the answer is “good”. These people feel closer to Putin and Russians than they do to fellow American citizens on the left. This isn’t America versus Russia. This is Western culture – beyond borders – against communism, fascism, third world promotion at the expense of the first world, values versus chaos.
    Isn’t that what the promoters of the internet said it would do? Erase borders? And, indeed, that is what it is doing. Perhaps Trump supporters don’t feel like they were “hacked”. Perhaps they feel as if a universal good overcame a universal bad. So there is little interest from them in pursuing the investigation.
    On the left, there is just sore losers that got caught being corrupt and their pathetic wild excuse making as allegations. No one wants to invest too much into validating a loser’s excuses. Even the left is beginning to see it as such.
    Politically, this is reaching a phase where is has burnt out. No longer has legs.
    Maybe some IC people will continue to quietly work away at understanding what was done, how and how to develop better defenses. Private industry will be doing the same. Otherwise, this will be put to rest shortly.

  84. bluetonga,
    I am not a Maryknoll missionary. I had no intention to convert anyone based on what is publicly available or my word on the matter. I am glad you are now open to differing opinions. I am convinced the Russians launched a wide ranging IO against us, but I don’t know the full extent of that operation and have no idea how effective it was. That’s why I want the investigation to continue without obstruction. I base my opinion not just on what’s been made available publicly, but on my first hand knowledge of what the Russians are capable of doing and have done in this field while working as an Army and DIA case officer for twenty years.

  85. turcopolier says:

    Do you detect any sign of obstruction? pl

  86. Peter AU says:

    I went back and re-read your earlier piece on reflexive control.
    “Information manipulation/perception management”
    “Disinformation is a Russian technique that manipulates information and misinforms people or groups….
    This takes it for granted that US/West gives accurate information, therefore Russian information must be false.
    Who is giving false information and who is giving accurate information?
    Some time ago I would always check the Guardian articles on Syria and the comments.
    At the start, in the comments there was a lot of confusion but commenters mostly thought US was there to destroy ISIS and Assad a bad dictator ect. That started to change with Russia’s entry into the war in Syria. By the time Putin showed the pics of the ISIS oil convoys heading to NATO Turkey and then destroying them, (this was after much in the MSM about coalition cutting off sources of funding ect) comments were 90% pro Russia, pro Syria, anti US, and Guardian had to shut down comments to continue printing their trash.
    In the west, we are fed mostly false information by the MSM. In information warfare it would seem logical that Russia counter it with accurate information.
    I have thought ever since reading your earlier article, that the most logical way for Russia to run an information warfare campaign in the current situation, is to simply give people access to accurate information, as in emails ect, also the operation in Syria may well be part of this, and let nature take its course.

  87. MRW says:

    But I’ve met the White Hats. I know what the slaughter has been like. I know that the Russians knew that Bashar Assad was going to use chemical weapons.

    The White Hats? Seriously? (Actually they’re the White Helmets.) This man is so deluded that he cites the recently exposed propaganda arm of the terrorist Al-Qaeda rebel factions?
    EXCLUSIVE: The REAL Syria Civil Defence Exposes Fake ‘White Helmets’ as Terrorist-Linked Imposters By Vanessa Beeley, British investigative reporter who grew up in series of Middle East posts as daughter of British diplomat Sir Harold Beeley K.C.M.G C.B.E. (Middle Eastern Advisor to Ernest Bevin and Special Envoy to Cairo during both Suez Crises) and can speak the languages in the region unlike McCain and Lady Lindsey. She broke the White Helmets con story in a long series of detailed and well-sourced reports that traced the financial backing behind them, the ex-Uk Military Dubai-based handler running them, and phony videos they produced for US consumption.
    Assad didn’t use chemical weapons. It was proven in August 2013, and it was proven in the latest ‘attack’.
    Vanessa Beeley in a December 15, 2016 RT interview with Brent Budowsky, US-based Hill reporter

    Brent Budowsky: We can witness day by day dead babies by dead babies. You can watch the CNN, the BBC, any other television station. The point is – the killing, the bombings of civilians must stop. The dead children and babies is a moral outrage against humanity.

    What’s wrong with the Arizonans that keep voting this guy in?

  88. pl,
    Nothing that I think would rise to a prosecutable offensive. Mostly just a lot of blustering about witch hunts, misdirecting tweets and the firing an FBI Director. Maybe more than Clinton offered up to the Starr investigation, but I don’t remember what it was like back then.
    I get the impression that the FBI and IC along with FVEY and related support have already provided all the intel needed for Mueller’s prosecutors to build whatever cases they intend to build. I’d be awfully surprised if this involved any collusion on Trump’s part. Illegal business/financial dealings, yes, but collusion, no.

  89. Fred says:

    Interesting comments from Jordan Greenhall. I believe that confirms some of what “shephard” stated (and I initiall misunderstood) above. A couple of other questions are not even stated:
    1) Who else is doing this?
    2) When did they start?
    3) Who is it directed for/against?

  90. Tyler says:

    Congrats, you’re aligning yourself with McCain, Graham, and Brennan because of your Trump Derangement Syndrome.
    Live long enough and you’ll see everything, its been said.

  91. J says:

    jdledell brought up an interesting point:
    “This was a very large and broad attempt to infiltrate hundreds of US sites from about 3 dozen simultaneous Russian computers located in half a dozen Russian cities.” .
    Which begs the question, ‘could’ those purported Russian cities been a spoofing job by other state/private entities that wanted the op to look like it came from Russia, when their locations were elsewhere?
    Our own DHS tried to spoof Georgia’s (USA) election computers and failed, that was revealed in the real news. Our own federal governmental agencies have pulled spoofing jobs that made the op seem to have come from China/Russia/elsewhere, when in fact it came from U.S. shores.

  92. Jackrabbit says:

    There are other countries that influence our elections FAR MORE than Russia. And over a long period of time.
    Why is that never mentioned by those who are so offended by “election meddling”?
    Where aren’ those countries named? Where are the calls to investigate THEIR interference?

  93. Fred,
    I know Russia and China are doing a lot of development in this high end AI stuff to deal with real time and near real time pattern recognition in unstructured big data sets. In the early 2000s China was enticing a lot of the top geometric algebra researchers to work for them. This field offered a lot of promise in AI at the time. This AI is a natural progression of the Russian field of cybernetics as opposed to our computer science. It’s also a natural fit for reflexive control.
    I worked with an individual through the mid-90s who developed a new branch in the field of geometric algebra so he could apply it to program his AI. This is a guy who gave the developers of IBM’s Watson solutions to some of their problems. I happened to recognize a bit of Prolog III coding in one of his early versions of AI as he was scrolling through it. That impressed him and he hit it off famously. I had to admit to him that I understood little beyond that bit of Prolog III. His AI reminded me of the machine in CBS’s “Person of Interest.” I tested it against a half terabyte collection of unstructured information in multiple languages including foreign hacker slang collected over a three year period. In a matter of minutes, his AI learned all the languages and recognized patterns and specific instances of human behavior that we and a dozen seasoned analysts gleaned from this data over three years. The AI also recognized things we missed. This was done on a laptop, not a supercomputer. Needless to say, I was most impressed. Since that time, he has gone much further in the development of his AI. It is capable of being set out in the wild, much like the machine in “Person of Interest” to do astounding things. He’s not the only one doing this stuff.
    I worked with a Soviet trained cyberneticist in the mid-90s whose goal was to design a machine capable of making a leap of faith. I imagine he’s doing stuff similar to my friend here with his miraculous AI. Just as a comparison, my friend considers his AI to be much more advanced than Watson.
    This stuff can be used in any field imaginable: medicine, communications, energy, network and population surveillance, defense and all manner of decision support systems. It is definitely used for intelligence analysis and predictive analysis. This capability was one the things that most worried me about the data stolen from the OPM hack and the Anthem hack. Although I don’t think it’s been said definitively, but it has been suggested that the Chinese government was behind both hacks. I surmised that this data and a suitable AI could form a predictive model of the US government and entire defense sector. But that’s just my crazy imagination.

  94. jdledell says:

    J – According to my son, they can see through spoofing attempts. Criminals use it all the time to try to cover their tracks. Unless the spoofing is much, much, much more sophisticated than SecureWorks have ever seen before they seem confident of their tracing results. They have previously traced Chinese, North Korean and Israeli (among others) attempts at hacking.

  95. Eric Newhill,
    That’s an interesting and thought provoking observation. It definitely smacks of Bannon’s take on Fukuyama’s “Clash of Civilizations.” I definitely agree with the thought that those Americans who have put all their eggs in the Trump basket would be very happy with the notion that Russia’s IO effectively pushed Trump to victory. Although I don’t begrudge the Russians for trying, I seriously doubt their efforts were that effective. Nor do I see Russia as a bastion of Western culture. It is something uniquely Russian between East and West. I see Latin America as a closer match with us as a bastion of Western culture and Christianity.
    OTOH I do see Russia as a natural ally against Islamic jihadism. I think their approach is far better than ours to the Mideast. I applaud Trump’s drive to not seek confrontation with Russia, especially in the face of the whole Russian investigation thing. I wish he would follow Russia’s lead in not seeking regime change in Iran and Syria.
    I’m not surprised by sore losers on the left, but I am wondering why there are so many sore winners on the right. They should be happy or just gloat, but i don’t understand their continued anger. Perhaps they realize that both the left and right lost and only the one percenters won.

  96. Fred says:

    I understand a part of that but it reads like Hari Seldon’s vision come to life . On the video you linked to in the main article there’s a comment from Mr. Greenhall at the 0:30 mark about “we go about social control”. What about the human factor? As an example, slightly off topic other than as an example of what I see as “group think” amongst our elite, here’s Ford’s Futurist, Sheryl Connelly. She and her team put together a fine report on consumer trends and behavior. 50+ pages. Not a single mention of God or Religion as an organizing factor in life.

  97. Tyler,
    And uncomfortable company it is. The difference is I see no need for further provocative and confrontational actions towards Russia. I applaud Trump’s push for normalization and cooperation with Russia, especially in the Mideast. I still want us to fully understand Russia’s formidable capabilities in the field of IO by examining in detail what they attempted in this election cycle and be prepared to counter any such efforts in the future.

  98. Jackrabbit,
    Don’t be shy. Go ahead and mention those other countries.

  99. Fred says:

    Come now, AIPAC doesn’t influence American elections………

  100. Lesly says:

    Thank you for your post. Some commentators have responded as if you present advocacy. Your presentation is neutral. I would not be surprised if Russia did attempt to persuade the public. They’re not the first or the last. Best case scenario is they want(ed) to avoid a hot war. And if they went further than that, well, I’ll work up some outrage when we stop doing worse to countries that do not present a threat.

  101. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In a conversation with a KGB officer, this refusnik was told that Nixon will be elected to the presidency of the United States.

  102. Fred,
    Yes this stuff does sound fantastical. In the words of Winston Zeddemore, “Your Honor. I’ve only been with the company for a couple of weeks, but these things are real. Since I joined these men, I’ve seen shit that’ll turn you white.”
    I read that article at some point, just not tonight. Thanks. You have a point about these futurists. Their presentations do seem to sound rather Godless and faithless. I’m hoping those with some anthropological background are different.

  103. Anna says:

    The true patriot Paul Craig Roberts on the madness of the opportunistic warmongers:
    “Trump Cannot Improve Relations With Russia When Trump’s Government and the US Media Oppose Improved Relations,” http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/07/09/trump-cannot-improve-relations-russia-trumps-government-us-media-oppose-improved-relations/
    What do they want – a hot war?
    “Cunningham points out that instead of lauding the meeting as the beginning of the process to defuse the high tensions between the two major nuclear powers, the US media denounced Trump for being civil to Putin in the meeting.
    What is missing from the media in the entirety of the Western world and perhaps also in Russia is the awareness that the dangerous tensions are orchestrated not only by Hillary and the Democratic National Committee, the neoconservatives, the US military/security complex, and the presstitutes, but also by President Trump’s own appointees.
    Trump’s own ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and Trump’s own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, sound exactly like Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, the neoconservatives, the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and the rest of the totally discredited presstitute media that is committed to raising tensions between the US and Russia to the point of nuclear war.”
    And who owns the MSM? – http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-20/billionaire-owned-corporate-media-worthless-ever
    “Rather than focus its journalistic energy on chronicling the economic insecurity plaguing so many of our fellow Americans, the billionaire-owned corporate media appears entirely obsessed with chattering endlessly about Russia conspiracy theories and domestic coup plots. Instead of looking in the mirror and admitting how its countless errors and propaganda pushing led to multiple humanitarian disasters over the last couple of decades, the oligarch-owned mainstream media insist upon a narrative that Trump the individual is at the root of our problems, as opposed to an entrenched executive branch with excessive power.”

  104. bks says:

    An ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush blasted Donald Trump Jr. for meeting with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have compromising information on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the campaign, saying it “borders on treason.”
    “This was an effort to get opposition research on an opponent in an American political campaign from the Russians, who were known to be engaged in spying inside the United States,” Richard Painter said Sunday on MSNBC.
    “We do not get our opposition research from spies, we do not collaborate with Russian spies, unless we want to be accused of treason.”
    Painter said the Bush administration would not have allowed the meeting, which was attended by Trump Jr., White House senior adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, to happen.


  105. sid_finster says:

    For my part, i had no idea that compliance with subpoenas, search warrants and court orders to turn over evidence were all optional.

  106. sid_finster says:

    Hell, the entire “independent consultant” industry is based on figuring out what the folks who hired you want to hear, and then giving it back to them wrapped up in the appropriate jargon and authority speak.

  107. Richardstevenhack,
    I deleted your last comment. I’ll summarize it for everyone else:
    It is inconceivable that Russia hacked the DNC or engaged in any activities with the aim of influencing the 2016 election. Anything TTG says to the contrary is mere puffery.
    Further engagement with you on this subject is tedious and not worth my time.

  108. mike says:

    TTG –
    Thanks for putting this info out there. I have a major concern with the current situation. We seem to be too busy pointing fingers at each other and have lost sight of what is important.
    It should not matter about arguments (here and nationally) of whether or not the hack actually changed votes. That is purely political and immaterial. The debate should be about how to keep it from happening in the future. Instead of attaching blame and slinging mud at each other we should be banding together to find better cyber defenses, deterrence strategy, and to prescribe ROE for cyber counterpunch when future attacks happen. Kevin Mandia from FireEye that you mention has stated “”Until we can impose some risk, some deterrence, these intrusions are here to stay.”
    Who could do that, and keep it out of political infighting, is the million dollar question. Not only infighting by politicians and their fanboys but also by entrenched cyber bureaucracies in the government and the Armed Forces. The National Cybersecurity Center under the DHS only has the responsibility to protect federal computers and comm systems. The new White House Cyber Czar seems to have the same charter – a duplication of effort?. Plus there is another National Cybersecurity Center, a non-profit, in Colorado Springs. Not to mention the many cyber security organizations in states, universities, and the one by the National Governors Association. It appears to be a feeding frenzy at the public trough accomplishing little if anything.
    We need someone to streamline and modernize cyber security and transform our current non-system from a motley collection of competing agencies into the best in the world. Someone similar to Elihi Root who modernized the War Department over a hundred years ago.
    I would nominate you and/or Kevin Mandia for the job, or anyone you care to recommend.

  109. Jackrabbit says:

    Israel and Saudi Arabia are among the worst offenders.
    Their influence is mostly felt via MONEY, which in the American political is a primary determinant of election success.
    We all know that such influence doesn’t have to be direct political contributions but is made via proxies as Fred (below) alludes to.

  110. turcopolier says:

    How do you explain the fact that Trump spent much less money than Clinton and yet won. pl

  111. Murali says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful responses. However it seems to me that you are ignoring the valid points Anna is making. I always wondered all this time is our American Democracy so feeble and the electorate so dumb that they will fall for the Russian (mind you the American Public was trained to look down on the Russians since Soviet days and after that I hope you remember Maverick Mccain saying that Russia is a big gas station pretending to be a country, President Obama saying that Russians are a third rate power don’t make anything but survive on gas sales!). In such a mind set of American people I believe the Putin the Magician (May be of the same level or higher as Hudini) pulled a fast one on the American people to select the Trump the ignoramus over intellectual Clinton ( 2 for the price of one!). If you truly want to understand what might have prompted the American people to vote for Trump you may want to read the leaked emails. Of course that wouldn’t be necessary if you already decided it is the big bad wolf.
    Your reply to points 3 and 4 is condenscing to say the least worthy of Clintons’ reference to deplorables.
    For point 5 the DNC was so kind to let the Crowdstrike and FireEye to release the reports but not to let the FBI to look at their computers may be the patriots at DNC were afraid that FBI was controlled by KGB. Who knows in the MCcarthy Era we had Soviet spies running around the whole of US>

  112. b says:

    I do not discount sigint or humint. I simply have not seen any evidence there is such at all that leads to conclusion of “Russian hacking”. (Just like there is also no public evidence in code or log-files that has been shown and analyzed by competent people.)
    The mealy-mouthed papers Clapper and Brennan put out are extremely vague in their claims. Besides – both are known pro-Clinton/anti-Trump actors who have lied in public, under oath, to Congress. Why should or would anyone trust their “say so” in this case?
    You tell me that SIGINT and/or HUMINT would lead to the hacking attribution. Where is it? Not enough there to allow something better being published than “we assess” “with moderate confidence” “trust us”?
    Wikileaks released the Vault7 CIA toolbox. It includes programs and methods to fake attribution. If there was any hacking at all how can we exclude to fall for such?

  113. Murali says:

    I don’t see any mention of the Congressmen not standing for election by OM. However you have MSM and the leaders of both parties demonizing Russia 24/7. What I don’t understand is this may be you can enlighten me with your thoughts:
    The Congressional leaders of both the parties are demonizing North Korea which as far as we know doesn’t have deliverable Nukes. However Russia has just as many as we do and if we really start a shooting war with them do you think they will use their Nukes? If so what would be the casualities in US (I am not concerned about Russia). If not do you really believe that our Missile shield will protect us? Thanks

  114. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Donald, KSC, and Sam P —
    I think that you are missing TTG’s point.
    Coming way, way out of left field — let me suggest what I think that he is saying, but I’d say it like this: ‘stop thinking about voting machines, and turn your mind to how ‘slime mold’ silently reshapes the world. ‘
    You appear to be thinking about ‘Russian hacking’ in legalistic, technical, and political terms. I think that TTG is conceptually in a very different context, and one that is breathtaking in its creativity, ingenuity, and ‘opacity’.
    You are thinking about voting machines, and voter rolls, and hacking those with programming code.
    Those are technical and legal topics.
    I suspect that some voting machines were probably hacked, but that completely misses the more profound, even mind-blowing insight that TTG is laying out for us all: stop looking at the voting machines, and look at the social, networked structures of LinkedIn, the socially powerful friend-unfriend social behavior on Facebook, the millions of Pinterest likes/loves. I think the Russians were ‘hacking’ social media as much, or more, as they were ‘hacking’ voting machines. We are now in the world of natural phenomena, and two in particular are relevant to give us insight:
    (a) slime mold, which is a very odd phenomena
    (b) neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to reshape itself in response to new information, which is made more powerful by social media
    By ‘ mind hacking’, I mean:
    (a) introducing memes (Hillary’s emails, egads!)
    (b) dispersing contradictory, or conflicting, information – Trump seems to do this as an offshoot of his ‘cognitive style’, in which he says completely opposite things within a 2 hour span (ahem).
    (c) using social connections to generate, or modify, beliefs – (Trump is a ‘qualified’, successful executive who can ‘fix’ government; get a group together to hear him speak and this belief is reified)
    The thing about the types of ‘social’ hacking that I think TTG is pointing out is that — like slime mold — it appears very quietly, very under-the-radar, and then vanishes and turns back into separate, seemingly unrelated, spores that leave no visible trace (i.e., interactions among Facebook users, or LinkedIn members, or Pinterest users). After the episode of activation is over, there is nothing visible — you could hack the election without a single voting machine tally ever providing evidence, because all the evidence lies in brief periods of activation of posts on Facebook, articles on LinkedIn, and topics on Pinterest that will never, ever be visible if your definition of ‘evidence’ is limited to examining the outputs of voting machines.
    In the real world of the forest, slime mold spores trigger communication, join together as a kind of ooze that acts as a single organism. It activates as one gigantic cell, then dissipates and leaves no trace. It does its work, and then turns back into seemingly innocent, unconnected, dormant spores.
    **If** I am correctly interpreting the post, then I’m with TTG in saluting Putin, et al, as ‘magnificent bastards’, because this is ingenious. Also, hard to defend against in a ‘free’ culture awash in mobile devices.
    Watch the video link to see how a seemingly random bunch of spores mysteriously communicate and begin to ooze their way along tree bark or the forest floor as one huge, gigantic single-cell with a purpose (yum!! bacteria to be devoured! deploy enzymes to dissolve bacteria, then feast!)
    Notice its threadlike appearance, its ability to undergo a phase change by becoming one gigantic, silent, oozing entity. That now-we-activate-now-we-disperse into unnoticed, dormant spores mimics the odd, quirky, miraculous behavior that I’ve observed among humans on the Internet.
    Slime mold time lapse (PBS, 2016): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx3Uu1hfl6Q
    FWIW, I emphatically agree with TTG that the DNC, by being ‘hierarchical’, handed the election to Trump. And just to underscore that point – how was it that Bernie evoked such a profound response from the American public, in so short a time? That phenomenon lay completely outside anything the DNC or Hillary could ever have accomplished, no matter how many pollsters and consultants they hire. That is the phenomena of ‘slime mold’. And the Russians appear to have shrewdly observed these social dynamics. (FWIW, I assume that Trump is primarily a ‘useful idiot’ for their objectives; it was never about Trump, he just happened to fit the role they needed.)
    The news media needs to stop the he said/she said and talk to a few mycologists. Experts in fungi could probably shed more light on this whole ‘Russian hacking’ thing, than a bevy or lawyer-experts, or a thousand lectures on voting machines.
    Layer onto this ‘psychological warfare’ the brain’s neuroplasticity: the cumulative, seemingly invisible changes made by all those billions of Facebook and LinkedIn social interactions are hard to map out, and scientists are only beginning to be able to spot them and map them. However, all those billions of small social interactions have a profound cultural effect — like waves upon the sand; the waves recede, and the sand now reveals a new pattern. The wave leaves no trace, just as all the Facebook and LinkedIn interactions are almost ‘invisible’ to the cable chatterers trying to whip up a furor over legalistic, technical questions that still don’t grapple with the profound implications of a nation ‘mind-hacking’ the population of another; in this instance, the cumulative results manifesting as electoral returns putting a ‘useful idiot’ into the US Presidency.
    Also, chilling.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Dotiqbtvoo [Brain in 3-D, showing how activity is electrical; it is ‘plastic’ and can be mapped]
    If I have misread TTG, I trust that any errors in my thinking will be pointed out for correction.
    Reading this post was like having lightning explode in my brain.
    Regards, rOTL

  115. b says:

    @jdledell claims
    “SecureWorks technology is capable of immediately tracing back to the source, thru dozens of intermediary connections, any suspicious attempts to connect to a customer’s computer”
    Utter bullshit.
    Unless SecureWorks has corrupted all servers, switches and routers along the connection path that is physically and technically impossible.

  116. Jackrabbit says:

    I explain it like this:
    Now, I could put the question to you: WHY was her campaign so bad? She had arguably the best political minds, the most money, and she knew her opponent very well. The only other populist in the race was sheep-dog Sanders. Why was that?
    It is reported that she had said (in 2015, I believe) that she would prefer to run against Trump. It is claimed that she believed that she could beat him easily. But this preference for Trump merits close examination given that:
    1) the Clintons were close to Trump for a long time (Chelsea and Ivanka are still close);
    2) Trump announced that he would not pursue charges against Clinton within days of winning election;
    3) Trump kept Comey on as FBI director;
    4) During his Presidency, Trump has acted like Clinton might have – breaking his ‘America First’ promises in the process (bombing Syria, arming Saudis, reversing his skepticism about NATO, etc.)
    <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
    I’m not anti-Trump. Hillary would’ve been worse. But people should realize that a faux-populist leader is natural for an inverted totalitarian system of government. Trump is the Republican Obama.
    In short: the system isn’t broken. It’s fixed.

  117. different clue says:

    In other words, the Russians adjusted our social-cognitive magnetic field and got all us iron filings to line up the way they wanted us to line up?

  118. different clue says:

    Bill H,
    The vast majority of the American public? What vast majority? Such a vast majority would have elected Clinton, if it had existed.

  119. kao_hsien_chih says:

    it is not clear to me that what you have described applies particularly to “Russians.”
    See Sam Peralta’s post below about decentralization below. The point he raises is spot on:
    “So analogous to this, micro-targeted information and misinformation could be pushed out but no one really knows how effective it will be. Similar to why does a particular picture go viral on Instagram or video on YouTube. Many times re-inforcement mechanisms need to be in place. Since many people now consume information from so many varied sources I don’t think there is an easy mechanism to generate momentum for any desired meme or information. The other point is that due to the rapidity of information update, retention is lost.”
    Technology permits all manner of dis/mis-information to be spread easily, but how effective it will be, and what purposes they will ultimately serve, however, cannot be easily anticipated, precisely because of the decentralized nature of the means through which information is diesseminated. Whether the effects (of the information itself) will be lasting is itself unclear. Yes, no doubt the Russians are attempting this, but, so, in a way, are we, vis-a-vis different regimes, possibly including Russia itself. As are many others who are looking to hit it big, not necessarily in political realm.
    And this is not necessarily unique to today’s environment: the printing press did have a similar effect long ago, again with impact that was not necessarily anticipated or designed: I doubt the Reformation, with its manifold and decentralized strains, was the product of information operation by the enemies of the Habsburgs and the Roman Church (incidentally, hierarchical and centralized organizations themselves), even if it turned out to be the effect eventually.
    I guess the point that I am arriving at is twofold: that Russians have sought to infiltrate various political organizations in United States to advance their political aims is likely, serious, but not necessarily earthshaking, and we should do what we can to counter such dirty tricks without blowing things out of proportion; with regards the potential for possible troublemakers to sow disinformation and chaos through technology, with the inability of hierarchical organizations to counter them effectively, I’d hardly consider it a “Russian” trick either, but something that has been brewing from many directions, including among various “populist” political movements of left and right, all around the world. Did Russians throw a few more gallons of gas into the mixture? Probably. Is it serious? I think so, in proper context. But does this justify the political histrionics in Washington? I do not believe so.

  120. MRW says:

    He’s not the only one doing this stuff. […] Just as a comparison, my friend considers his AI to be much more advanced than Watson.

    No, he’s not the only one. They were working on it at Bell Labs when I was there in the 1980s and early 90s (altho’ Bell Labs changed names by the end of my time there). I was working at Holmdel NJ where Reagan was setting up Star Wars bowels deep below my own office…that I had to give up. Levels upon levels deep down a huge square 12 ft square elevator shaft lined with 12” of lead. I used to hang onto the railing of the inside perimeter of glass having a smoke early in the morning watching the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrive with their technicolor from shoulder to waist. What amused me, however, was that a helicopter preceded theirs and a bunch of military police (at least I assumed that’s what they were) jumped out and raised swords so the JCOS would have a canopy to walk under when they embarked. What a spectacle. Reagan never finished Star Wars and all my friends had to be reassigned.
    I knew some of the early people who worked on, or who contributed as contractors to, Watson. Some really bright guys, then they clammed up. Sworn to secrecy.

  121. MRW says:

    Eric Newhill:

    When a Trump supporter is told that Russia sought to influence the election in Trump’s favor, the answer is “good”.


    I definitely agree with the thought that those Americans who have put all their eggs in the Trump basket would be very happy with the notion that Russia’s IO effectively pushed Trump to victory.

    Not the ones I know. They are offended by the thought that their vote would then still not count, and that’s it’s all a cheap geopolitical game. Meaning, for them, that America has truly lost its sovereignty if any country can seat operatives in their basements and dictate our democractic outcomes.
    Maybe it’s an east coast thing to think this, but it sure as hell is not prevalent in the bars and joints between the 49th parallel and the southern border between the two coasts, especially in the west, minus CA.
    What I hear the people say about the Russian thing is show me the proof. And Brennan and Clapper flapping their lips and prevaricating from one month to the next don’t cut it.

  122. kao_hsien_chih says:

    If I might interject…
    The conceit behind a lot of ML/pattern recognition stuff is that humans are creatures of habit who usually stick to their usual behavior most of the time. Given sufficient data and adequate computing power (Something that I learned in 1990s, while working with the gaming industry, was that because Russian computers at the time were not very good, Russian programmers were far more frugal with computing power than Westerners, and could do things on sparse computers that Westerners would not even imagine to be possible–something that I was reminded of by TTG’s comment below. Curious if this tradition has been maintained since then.), all the patterns that are captured in the data can be categorized and, as long as they stick to their pattern, what they will be doing when similar circumstances arise again, can be predicted with precision. And this works because, by and large, humans ARE indeed predictable. I would say that, proverbially, what 99% of people do 99% of the time can be predicted with utter precision if enough data about their routines are captured.
    The human element is the 1% of the people and/or the 1% of the situations. In the grand scheme of things, not a whole lot. But very few things happen in a normal day. Most important things happen in few extraordinary situations, and those are the data points that are rare available because most of the data come from routine times. Yet, you want to be able to predict what happens when there are extraordinary events unfolding–when there is a crisis, market meltdown, etc.–, especially since these are the times when a handful of people can effect outcomes far more than their numbers might justify, much more than you do at routine times. This is a very big reason that I tend to be skeptical of some of the overblown claims by AI types.
    Still, being able to predict the proverbial 99% of people 99% of the time may be an extraordinarily amazing thing, not something to be easily dismissed. If the goal is not to do something “big” but to maintain “normalcy,” this is no small feat.

  123. MRW says:

    And Hillary Clinton’s Norma Desmond approach to 2016 election certainly didn’t help.

  124. DianaLC says:

    All this seems to be “wind,” which some believe is an alternate translation of the word from the original that in many Bibles is called “vanity” in the book of Ecclesiastes.
    Whatever happened in the election, hacking by Russia or by some young nerd in a basement, I was thrilled that the behaviors and the thought processes of HRC were made clear to the American public who were paying attention.
    Here is what this “ordinary” person felt:
    Anyone lazy enough or self-centered enough, or just plan sneaky who is running to be the POTUS and who disregards custom to set up a private server rather than to use the State Department email system is already someone who needs to be exposed by whoever is able to expose her–foreign person or otherwise. I don’t like our people messing in other countries’ elections, but I know they do. I just hope that the other countries’ people are aware and take control for themselves. (I think that is what happened in Egypt when BO and HRC messed in their election process.)
    All Russia did was as someone here posted was let us really see how the minds of HRC and her cronies think about us, the “deplorable people.’
    I was not a Trump fan–mostly because I just didn’t like his way of talking and his willingness to be “mean” to the other candidates. I am a simple person and try to be one of the meek who will inherit the earth. That is all.
    So, though my choice of a candidate was not chosen by the majority, in the end I disliked HRC more than I disliked Trump. It’s sad when one has to vote for a candidate based on which one he/she dislikes less.
    Trump’s stated objectives were, in the end, more like my wishes for the country. HRC’s behavior, in my mind, indicated she simply wanted to be on top of the pile of globalists. She showed no real concern for anyone other than herself.
    That’s how I interpreted the election. And if Russia made it possible for more people to see into HRC’s psyche through her emails, I thank them.
    But…..I am not convinced it was necessarily Putin who did that for us.
    In my opinion and in my belief system, God is in control ultimately. We individual persons are left with dealing with a very complicated world and must simply check the state of our souls as much as we can and do what we think is right.
    This comment wont’ appear since it is not the type of comment wanted on this blog. But if it does appear, my opinion in regard to whether or not PT or TTG is right, I will vote for PT. The American people went to the polls and voted. I worked as a vote counter locally for several years. At least where I am, I could not see at all how elections themselves could be hanged by an outside source very easily. The real “hacking” of our elections comes when the political parties become so very corrupt. That did happen locally when a disgruntled Democratic Party official finally revealed the corruption of many of the other Democratic Party offiicals in our majority Democratic county. The populace had to be awakened to the fact that voting the party line is not always the right thing to do. Nationally this time, Democrats may have had to be a bit ashamed when they saw the actual words of their national party leaders It was time they were awakened a bit. I don’t care who woke them up.

  125. blowback says:

    Has Clinton or the DNC made a criminal complaint about Russian intervention in the 2016 election? Not that I’m aware of, so this is nothing more than a great big fishing expedition and should be the subject of much mockery.

  126. Anna says:

    Our big, sorry problem: “…multinational megacorporate media.” https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/06/msm-still-living-in-propaganda-ville/

  127. Eric Newhill says:

    A close friend of mine in the 90s was a big player in developing this kind of analytical software. By 2000 he had landed a lucrative DoD contract. In fact, he was in the pentagon on 9/11/01. After 9/11 he/his company (based out of Denver) was dedicated solely to DoD work. After about a decade of working with the DoD he burned out, freaked out, or something. We are still in touch from time to time and he is ok – just he wants nothing to do with the US govt (or any govt) based on his experiences (e.g. shit that’d turn you white).
    Prior to his success, when he was still earning his masters and PhD, we would spend countless hours together drinking coffee and smoking too many cigarettes debating, in mostly friendly manner, the potentials and the ethics of what he was, at that time, seeking to develop. He was pro, of course and, I , con. Ironically, he, a developer of the capabilities, has left the field for some new age utopian application of his talents and I, the organic remote viewer type, am now increasingly involved in utilizing big data tools.
    At any rate, I believed then as I do now, that all of this stuff is useful for pattern recognition in existing big data sets. No doubt about it. It is also good at predicting the future *as long as the activities of humans – individuals and collectively – remains habitual*. Much human behavior is habitual. So the stuff works pretty well. However, it fails to accurately predict when you need it to work the most; which is in uncertain times when new energies have been introduced into the system and old habits are fading out.
    So the next gen plan is to control the all of new inputs/energies entering the system such that there is nothing novel occurring that isn’t already accounted for by the algorithms. This model fundamentally depends on a critical mass of people being linked into the network (much like The Matrix). Check. People are doing that via social media and cell phone aps and cable tv, etc.
    However, one problem for our megalomaniacal would be masters is that they are not the only ones inputting data into the matrix. Anyone can do it. Anyone. This is one point where I find the entire Russian interference meme to be absurd. All of the organizations and governments and individual that are inputting into the matrix and the Russians are singled out as bad actors. Silly. And, frankly, dishonest.
    The idea of meaningful Russian influence via a social media I/O assumes that the Russian input was somehow able to influence at a level that overwhelmed the massive inputs of the MSM, Clinton campaign, the Trump campaign, countless other groups with their own agendas and all of the private citizens with opinions. How would the Russians accomplish this? There are only two ways. 1. Superior volume of input and/or 2. Much more convincing input.
    I think it is safe to say that the volume of Russian input did not – could not – overwhelm all of the other inputs. Therefore, the Russian input must have been more convincing. Why?
    So all of the inputs from US firms (like the ones Shepard describes up thread) are certainly not worth nearly what they are paid. Clearly the Clinton’s $billion was wasted on firms that created a massive amount of ineffective input that it could be drowned out by a small amount of Russian input. Even Trump’s investment – albeit far more frugal the Clinton’s – was wasted because, according to you, a little Russian input was so much more effective and, ultimately, swayed the election. Trump’s investment was not necessary.
    Or to put it more succinctly, your position means that the Russian stuff was all powerful signal and all the other players were paying for a lot of noise.
    Getting back to all this AI and my discussions with my friend; there is a mentality that spends much of its time dreaming of a utopia in which an enlightened powerful – but wise and parental – few build a better world for all the messy stupid deplorable idiots. All such efforts, to date, have failed; usually miserably.
    So this mentality looks to AI and related technology as the new opportunity to bring about the golden age. They have a lot of magical thinking around the topic. I have seen myself that the developers imagine themselves to be alchemists; veritable sorcerers. Too often big business execs and govt also sees this stuff as real sorcery. Hey, when you’ve got Merlin in your corner, sky is the limit.
    But’s it’s too good to be true.
    People, for all their foibles and failings, still think for themselves, still feel (which is beyond rationality), still get a wild hair and do unpredictable things and, conversely, can become quite rational about selecting and acting in the best interests.
    All the matrix is, is us. It’s our thoughts and behaviors displayed in cyber space. It is nothing new. If you couldn’t control us in meat world, you won’t control us in cyber land either. If you try to limit who can input into cyber land, then cyber land becomes a repressive regime and the people will leave or revolt.
    IMO, the Russian influence meme is the whining of loser megalomaniacs that spent a lot of money on fraudulent sorcery and who now sense that their grand utopian vision that the modern day sorcery promised to deliver ain’t gonna happen any time soon.
    I’m sure that some geeks are tweaking the algorithms as we speak, calling the 2016 election “a learning opportunity”

  128. blowback says:

    Who is this Gordon Greenhall? I googled on Gordon Greenhall futurist and even on google.com there were no obvious references to him except yours. After looking at the first couple of minutes I gave up because his behaviour suggested he was a ham actor reading from an autocue. As for the contents of his “talk” there were few if any facts and no examples, so it looked like a propaganda video that assumed Russian guilt from the start.
    As for the Russian “IO”, how much influence would RT.COM and Sputnik News, a handful of political websites, a few bloggers and a few commentators on blogs actually have? That it was enough to change the results of an election seems ridiculous to me and an insult to the American voters. I think the real problem for the western MSM and the Washington Borg is that fewer and fewer people are accepting their narrative which is built on frequent lies and half truths.

  129. Eric Newhill says:

    Right. Russians are not necessary to sway people to the Trump camp when you’ve leftists posting their smug idiocy all over the internet.
    The more I think about this situation, the more I see it as merely smug leftists not being able to accept that free thinking people rejected their brand of insanity. Period.

  130. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And I suppose you (and others with nothing to hide) have never said or done anything shameful?
    People have a right to their privacy.

  131. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No computer program – a mathematical object – will be able to come up with the Makkinejad Thesis – no matter how predictable one claims that human beings are.
    There is a story on this topic, written in 1920s, by Carl Capeck – the man who coined the word “robot” in which a thief and a police inspector both are using some sort of AI to make decisions.
    I can predict that 100% of people will have to visit the toilet at a minimum of twice in 24 hours – so what?
    I can also predict that with “Above Average” confidence level that every country is 3 meals away from a Revolution by the masses – again so what?
    Small numbers of people are making decisions of war and peace – and their small numbers makes it impossible to have “statistics”. Who would have predicted that FDR would go against the interests of his class while Hoover would uphold the interests of FDR’s class?

  132. Fred says:

    So the JCS had an honor guard fly to a building in NJ just so they could walk under cross swords like at a wedding? I doubt that Admiral Crowe or his predecessor had such shallow egos but it makes a nice tale.

  133. Old Microbiologist says:

    They pander to the voters who tend to vote incumbents anyway. They also have an unfair advantage using gerrymandering. Without term limits the idiots like Pelosi and McCain will die before they leave office regardless of what the voters want. If you look carefully at the decisions made by Congress less than 1% are in favor of the voters but 99% are in favor of the 0.1%. It is actions not words which define a politician’s character.

  134. Old Microbiologist says:

    Good points. Wait for the next big crash in the markets when the PPT cannot sustain the insane (and horribly corrupt) market gains. Facebook is worth more than Siemens and GE combined? WTF? The market way overbought and the DOW at least 8,000 too high and all done through manipulation. Personally,we went to cash only after Trump was elected and we are waiting patiently for the bottom to drop out. The problem is what to do with dollars? Euros will fall equally as will all fiat currencies. Maybe Bitcoins or physical gold are the only things which will retain value.
    When it crashes and the Algo’s panic and the market drops like a rock into freefall then we are going to see a lot of very different behaviors in the American population in general and in particular in the left leaning side. It is all fine and dandy to preach equality and globalism until you have no job, no money, and no hope to get any yet meanwhile the immigrants (and minorities but not veterans) receive public assistance. Racism will rear it’s ugly head and all bets are off when that happens. The rich will run for their nuclear bunkers but they forgot they are manned by the bottom 1% of the population. I see visions of bonfires and pitchforks coming maybe soon. Marx’s in Das Kapital very well describes the necessary and periodic (now way overdue because of supporting the banks by printing $21 trillion and zero interest loans) corrections. I forget who but think it was Lenin who observed that when the wealth disparity reaches a certain level it always results in revolution. I think we will see this if the market crashes all the way and the dollar becomes worthless.

  135. Old Microbiologist says:

    Yeah, it is why I stopped getting job offers. I never do anything but tell the cold hard truth. This is mostly as I can’t remember lies so I learned in my childhood to only tell the truth always even when it hurts. I seem to be able to remember that okay. If you don’t want it then don’t ask. 🙂

  136. Larry Kart says:

    I think TTG already has answered this question several times on this thread: In his estimation the Clinton people (.e.g Robbie Mook et al.) were arrogant and semi-ignorant and thus were paying for a lot of crap that only added to their arrogance and ignorance. The Trump people, TTG speculates, were spending their money far more wisely and may have had some help. Further, of course, as you and I feel, there are a good many reasons why Trump would have won no matter what.
    In particular, as Josh Marshall recently laid out, once Trump became the GOP nominee, virtually every more or less disaffected, in some cases nose-holding, self-identified GOP voter and almost all party leaders “came back” to him, as did a good-sized batch of independents — this because of the nature of the Democratic opposition and the various policy issues at stake. This pattern still holds, despite Trump’s low “personal” poll numbers.

  137. Old Microbiologist says:

    I don’t know what the founding fathers were thinking. But, today most voters are clueless and generally vote on party lines regardless of what is said (if they can read the ballots at all as illiteracy is more or less stable at 14% the US). It parallels the literacy rate in the US which at best is 85% at an 8th grade education level and less than 60% at high school level. I have always pondered the problem that you need a license to drive a car (plane, boat,guns, etc.) but not to have children or to vote. This is the crux of the problem…ignorance.
    Perhaps a system needs to be put in place where you must qualify to be a citizen with full voting rights. Perhaps a basic test which at a minimum is identical to that required for immigrants to become citizens. I find it bizarre that immigrants know more about the US political process than 90% of Americans. The US is in a sad state regarding education of the masses and it is these people who decide the fate of the world? Nuts.

  138. fanto says:

    at DianaLC
    Diana, with people like yourself there is still hope

  139. exiled off mainstreet says:

    It is a serious propaganda effort. The latest info on disobedientmedia further debunks the entire conspiracy. Just because Alpirovich hired somebody else to do the dirty work doesn’t mean that the whole crowdstrike effort was part of the con.

  140. Eric Newhill says:

    I see that are both saying the same thing. I am glad to have you in agreement. Our lines of work have some overlap. So I consider you a colleague of sorts.
    I also agree with what you said to Shepard up-thread. I think the capability and value of all this AI is overblown and I think that the segmenting data and analysis that I we are involved with is more accurate and useful than the form that Shepard describes. At least with what I have, I could – if I was in that business – identify and target likely voters, likely Trump voters as well as fence sitters.
    For example, I think it is funny that Shepard says that pro-Trump voters were identified based on the trait that they “anger quickly”. I don’t buy it and I detect an anti-Trumper dig I the statement. In my experience trolling around social media, it is liberals that anger most quickly and who tend to stay in full hyperbolic frenzy mode.
    More likely, market segmentation data is used to identify the target audience. Then various test messages (memes, posts, comments, “news” etc) are sent to the targets. Then responses to the “information” are measured by various metrics (e.g. “likes”, re-tweets, shares, comments and, probably, the nature of the comments – the latter being where AI is actually deployed with some success). Then the message is refined for each segment based on the feedback received, to be re-sent; repeat as needed.
    The idea that any one group can control this process is a megalomaniac’s wet dream ….as well as the consulting companies’. I’m repeating myself, but there are too many individuals and groups inputting memes for any one to be in charge. In fact, Tyler’s generation actually labels this phenomenon as being “The Meme Wars”.
    Somewhere in this meme haystack is a Russian straw.
    Who cares?

  141. kao_hsien_chih says:

    That’s my 1% of the people in 1% of situations right there: most of the data we have for statistics is for mundane and routine situations. But extraordinary things happen under extraordinary circumstances for which we have very little data, and those are exactly things for which we want to have predictions for–and relying on statistics too much will give us exactly the wrong predictions.

  142. kao_hsien_chih says:

    PS. What I imagine where algorithms can be very effective would be the situations where they fail, i.e. when people and things are breaking their routine, the so-called “the episode of the dog at night” moments (to borrow Sherlock Holmes’ terminology). We expect the dog should have barked. All our algorithms and past data says that it should have. But it didn’t. What broke from the routine? One unfortunate tendency for many, though, is to blame the dog for violating the pattern, not ask why the pattern broke for that dog at that particular circumstance. But that’s my pet peeve.

  143. Jackrabbit says:

    Why haven’t you posted my response?

  144. jld says:

    It’s not “Gordon” but Jordan Greenhall, you would have found out if you took care to at least glance at the video.
    Greenhall is/was the CEO of Divx and quite involved in “the future of technology” with a very nasty attitude bordering on death threats for those who would not get along with the future wrapped of course in the most gentle, advanced and well meaning discourse.
    He his especially interested by the impact of the Trump election.

  145. Eric Newhill says:

    The whole concept relies on the notion that people are thoughtless mooing cows that mindlessly eat and crap and can be directed by superior intellects that create AI. It’s an elitist fantasy. The products are expensive because they are developed by elitist geeks for consumption by elitist megalomaniac private sector execs and government head honchos.
    That CNN has gone self-destructive crazy over someone producing and disseminating a very silly video meme of Trump smacking down a character with “CNN” crudely pasted on its face, shows just how not in control the elites are, despite all of the expensive high tech IO resources. Anyone can produce IO these day and lots and lots of people are. In fact, there is a massive reactionary force – of which Trump tapped into – consisting of young people on the internet creating counter IO just because they are pissed off about the elites thinking they are programmable mooing cows.
    There is a “viral” grass roots IO reaction against CNN right now doing more damage to CNN than all the high paid consultants could have done for a $billion.
    No one is control of the internet and the information. It’s wild frontier and that really bothers some people who are dinosaurs in their thinking. They just don’t get it.

  146. Eric Newhill says:

    Yes they say, “Show me proof” with their mouths. It is in their minds that say, “Good”. I said “two layers down”

  147. Dr.Puck says:

    Ok ok. But, in the end the spanking of the elite via the election of POTUS Trump comes to an end. On January 20.
    The president proceeds to create a cabinet of billionaires and multi-millionaires. Soon enough he endorses an economics that joins a soft libertarianism with supply-side tax cuts heavily tilted toward the monied elite, and, soon enough comes to endorse healthcare reform that will devastate people and communities that supported him.
    The GOP legislative majorities could tomorrow bring to fruition the experiment about the “working class” Trump would like to do: shrink the administrative state, send money to the MIC, deport illegals, strong arm trading partners, slash taxes for the 1%, and see if making the hyper-wealthy even richer will pull them out of the rentier and paper economy and have them invest in the restoration of goods; such as steel, hard goods, consumer goods, and machines, for the sake of building out the “supply” in advance of the demand.
    It seems untenable as a method to bring back the middle class.
    (It seems to me there could be a very smart and acute critique of how capitalism has changed since, say 1960, and it would probably be a large book written by a Frenchman.)

  148. Linda says:

    TTG – thank you very much for your posting. I learned a lot and find it very useful for understanding this topic.

  149. I have paused to take several deep breaths after reading your response. Regrettably, I see no genius in it. Yours is a “straw man” critique.
    You start with a meaningless straw man—i.e. You, David Habakkuk and many others seem to rely on the questionable parentage and demeanor of Dimitri Alperovitch to justify your conviction that Russia had nothing to do with the DNC.”
    That is just flat out wrong. I never questioned or challenged the parentage of Alperovitch. Alperovitch’s parentage is not, in your words, “questionable.” It is a fact that he was born in Russia and his parents are known. It is also a fact that Alperovitch is aligned closely with organizations like the Atlantic Council that share his strong anti-Russian outlook. I merely point out the fact that the only source of information claiming that what happened at the DNC was 1) A Hack and 2) was done by the Russians, comes from a company co-founded by someone who is stridently anti-Russian.
    Straw man two—“Alperovitch did not run the team investigating the Russian hack.” I never claimed he did. Instead, I offered up several links to other articles that show the flaws and errors of the Crowd Strike work. If that shoddy work was the product of your beloved Shawn Henry then it raises further questions about his prior accomplishments (which you claim) at the FBI cyber crime division. There is another article out, quite technical, that I think eviscerates the myth that Russia hacked the DNC and then passed those emails to Wikileaks–http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-10/new-research-shows-guccifer-20-files-were-copied-locally-dnc-not-hacked-russians.
    I encourage you to actually read the analysis. Here are the key findings from the Forensicator (https://theforensicator.wordpress.com/guccifer-2-ngp-van-metadata-analysis/):
    Conclusion 1: The DNC files were first copied to a system which had Eastern Time settings in effect; therefore, this system was likely located on the East Coast. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the .7z file times, after adjustment to East Coast time fall into the range of the file times recorded in the .rar files.
    Conclusion 2: The DNC files were first copied to a file system that was formatted either as an NTFS file system (typically used on Windows systems) or to a Linux (ext4) file system. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the .rar file(s) show file last modified times (mtime) with 7 significant decimal digits (0.1 microsecond resolution) ; this is a characteristic of NTFS file systems.
    Conclusion 3: The DNC files may have been copied using the ‘cp‘ command (which is available on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X in some form). This (tentative) conclusion is supported by the observation that all of the file last modified times were changed to the apparent time of the copy operation. Other scenarios may produce this pattern of last modified times, but none were immediately apparent to this author at the time that this article was published.
    Conclusion 4: The overall time to obtain the DNC files found in the 7z file was 14 minutes; a significant part of that time (13 minutes) is allocated to time gaps that appear between several of the top-level files and directories.
    Conclusion 5: The lengthy time gaps suggest that many additional files were initially copied en masse and that only a small subset of that collection was selected for inclusion into the final 7zip archive file (that was subsequently published by Guccifer 2).
    Conclusion 6: The initial DNC file collection activity began at approximately 2016-07-05 18:39:02 EDT and ended at 2016-07-05 18:53:17 EDT. This conclusion is supported by the observed last modified times and the earlier conclusion that the ex-filtrated files were copied to a computer located in the Eastern Time zone.
    Conclusion 7. A transfer rate of 23 MB/s is estimated for this initial file collection operation. This transfer rate can be achieved when files are copied over a LAN, but this rate is too fast to support the hypothesis that the DNC data was initially copied over the Internet (esp. to Romania). This transfer rate can also be achieved when copying directly from a computer’s hard drive to a fairly slow USB flash drive; there is a lot variability in USB flash drive speeds. We can shorten this statement and say that the 23 MB/s transfer rate supports the conclusion that the files were initially copied locally and not over the Internet.
    Conclusion 8: The .rar files that ultimately are included in the NGP/VAN 7zip file were built on a computer system where the Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT) time zone setting was in force. This conclusion is supported by the observation that if the .rar last modified times are adjusted to EDT they fall into the same range as the last modified times for the directories archived in the .rar files.
    Conclusion 9: The final copy (on 9/1/2016) from the initial file collection to working directories was likely done with a conventional drag-and-drop style of copy. This conclusion is based on the observation that the file last modified times were preserved when copying from the initial collection to the working copies, unlike the first copy operation on 7/5/2016 (which is attributed to the use of the cp command).
    Conclusion 10: The final working directories were likely created on an NTFS file system present on a computer running Windows. This conclusion is based on the following observations: (1) the file timestamps have 0.1 micro-second resolution (a characteristic of NTFS file systems), (2) NTFS file systems are widely used on Windows systems, (3) NTFS file systems are typically not used on USB flash drives, and (4) WinRAR is a Windows based program and was likely used to build the .rar files.
    Conclusion 11: The .rar files and plain files that were combined into the final .7z file (the subject of this analysis) were likely copied to a FAT-formatted flash drive first. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the seconds part of all the last modified times are all exact multiples of 2.
    Finally, your insistence that there was a sophisticated operation is beyond laughable. You state:
    All this addresses only one aspect of the Russian IO campaign to influence the 2016 election. The hacking is really small stuff. The big stuff came later. The techniques used to attempt to influence the thoughts and actions of adversaries range from mundane to breathtakingly sophisticated.
    I defy you to provide evidence, actual evidence, that the DNC emails played an important role in the decision of voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin in voting against Hillary and for Trump. Show me actual evidence that voters in those states were reading or watching RT and Sputnik News (or other so-called pro-Russian outlets). I will save you the time. There is no such evidence.
    Apart from Fox News, I’m not aware of any mainstream media outlet that gave Trump more favorable coverage than Hillary. Here is a representative sample—I’ve done a Google Search for the week of September 11, 2016 on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Please show me the invisible Russian hand.
    Google Search “New York Times and Donald Trump” for week of September 11, 2016.
    Donald Trump Checkup Said to Reveal He Is Overweight – The New …
    Sep 14, 2016 – After a whiplash-inducing morning of mixed messages, Donald J. Trump on … reports, including an article in The New York Times, put his weight at 267 pounds ).
    Colin Powell, in Hacked Emails, Shows Scorn for Trump and Irritation …
    Sep 14, 2016 – Colin Powell, in Hacked Emails, Shows Scorn for Trump and Irritation at Clinton … He noted that Donald J. Trump once questioned the validity of President … alluded in graphic language to coverage in The New York Post suggesting that Bill … updates and special offers for The New York Times’s products and services .
    Donald Trump Threatens to Sue ‘The New York Times’ for …
    Sep 18, 2016 – Trump says that his lawyers want to sue, but he “said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting.”
    Donald Trump snipes at ‘crazy,’ ‘wacky’ New York Times columnist …
    Sep 18, 2016 – Donald Trump attacked one of The Times’ columnists, Maureen Dowd, on Saturday, after she riffed on Trump’s raucous White House campaign. During a CNN …
    Trump threatens to sue New York Times | TheHill
    Sep 17, 2016 – Trump said his lawyers want to sue the paper. … Trump threatens to sue New York Times … Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2016. Trump …
    New NYT managing editor: ‘Would we have a staff left if we listened to …
    Sep 16, 2016 – Pedestrians wait for cabs across the street from the New York Times building in 2014. … Journalism is now examining how it should treat Donald Trump.
    N.Y. Times editor: I’d risk jail to publish Donald Trump’s taxes – Sep. 12 …
    Sep 12, 2016 – N.Y. Times executive editor Dean Baquet said he’d risk jail to publish content of Donald Trump’s taxes.
    The New York Times does it again … whitewashes a negative Donald …
    Sep 15, 2016 – On Wednesday, Donald Trump took another stab at reaching out to black voters with a visit to an African-American church in Flint, Michigan, allegedly to thank …
    Donald Trump threatens to sue New York Times over ‘irresponsible …
    https://www.theguardian.com › US News › Donald Trump
    Sep 18, 2016 – In a tweet, the US presidential candidate calls the newspaper ‘really disgusting’, but did not elaborate.
    Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton locked in tight race nationally – CBS …
    Sep 15, 2016 – This is the first national poll in which CBS News and the New York Times have measured the presidential race among likely voters. The measure for likely voters …
    Google Search “New York Times and Hillary Clinton” for week of September 11, 2016.
    An Unplanned Absence for Hillary Clinton at an Inopportune Time …
    Sep 13, 2016 – Hillary Clinton in White Plains last week with her communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, left, … Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times. For much of the summer, Hillary Clintondeliberately kept a low public profile, fund-raising in private …
    Michelle Obama to start campaigning for Hillary Clinton – Women in …
    Sep 12, 2016 – Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton during the International Women of … Virginia, Michelle Obama will be lending Hillary Clinton a hand on the campaign trail by … or some of the other obligations of political life, leading The New York Times to …
    A compassionate, enraged Hillary Clinton is revealed by 9/11 radio …
    Sep 11, 2016 – Was Hillary Clinton’s behavior in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New YorkCity a clue to what could be expected from a Clinton presidency? A fresh …
    Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton locked in tight race nationally – CBS …
    Sep 15, 2016 – This is the first national poll in which CBS News and the New York Times have measured the presidential race among likely voters. The measure for likely voters …
    At the New York Times, the blind lead the blind – ThinkProgress
    Sep 12, 2016 – Liz Spayd is the New York Times’ Public Editor, a role that ostensibly makes her the … Tell me again why Donald Trump is no different than Hillary Clinton.
    NYT Calls Clinton’s New Book ‘Flop’ After Terrible Sales Numbers
    Sep 14, 2016 – Hillary Clinton’s new book Stronger Together is a “flop” after selling less than 3,000 copies in its first week on sale, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
    Hillary Clinton is a congenital liar – Washington Times
    Sep 14, 2016 – In 1996, The New York Times columnist William Safire diagnosed Hillary Clinton’s real problem. He called her a “congenital liar.”
    Hillary’s media is torching its standards to cover the … – New York Post
    Sep 11, 2016 – There is nothing more to learn about Hillary Clinton’s home-brew server, deleted … And The New York Times, stung by Clinton’s woeful performance at last …
    How to take “bitch” down: What The New York Times gets right and …
    Sep 16, 2016 – In an excellent op-ed last week in The New York Times, Andi Zeisler describes Hillary Clinton’s longstanding, often contentious relationship with the word “bitch.
    Gore May Campaign for Clinton, Warn About Third-Party Vote – NYMag
    Sep 16, 2016 – Al Gore May Campaign for Hillary, Finally Get His Revenge on Third-Party … The New York Times reports that Clinton staffers have been in talks with Gore aides …

  150. walrus says:

    TTG, thank you for your well thought out post. I have some problems however with your conclusions.
    1. As David H. has pointed out, when millions of dollars in personal equity in a business is potentially at stake, personal integrity becomes rubbery. I have personally experienced this in my own career dealing with esteemed university professors. I therefore agree with David that prior integrity as an FBI official is not necessarily a predictor of corporate integrity. Crowd strike et al are therefore not unimpeachable sources.
    2. I would expect all intelligence services, American, Russian, Australian, Chinese, French, Calathumpian, would, should and are probing computers of potential interest of friends and enemies alike 24/7. To do less is dereliction of duty. I therefore discount the evidence that just because a Russian or chinese service “tried the door Lock” of an american computer is anything out of the ordinary, much less intent to meddle with an election.
    3. Even if Russian Government assets gained access to a DNC server, the method chosen to exploit the access – a publicised leak, seems crude to me, steeped as I am in le carre fiction. It burns the source and leaves traces. How much better to use the exploit to produce an ongoing advantage. Blackmail possibly?
    4. The Russian hacking narrative “we wuz robbed” only seems to benefit the DNC leadership and their failed candidate. Absent such a narrative, doesn’t the entire DNC establishment have the most serious charges to answer about the quality and integrity of their entire leadership? The only possible conclusion absent Russian hacking is that the leadership has failed. Denial is too kind a word. Wouldn’t the DNC leadership prefer any explanation other than organisational failure?
    In my opinion, the simplest explanation is to be preferred. As others have now suggested, time stamp data posits a direct download by a local individual. Seth Rich employing a bootable linux thumb drive and giving the results to Assange sounds to me far more believable than a grand russian conspiracy, as does the subsequent murder of Seth Rich to prevent the simple truth from discovery.

  151. Fred says:

    He didn’t mention them, I did because presidential elections are not the only kind we have here.
    “the leaders of both parties demonizing Russia 24/7.”
    Not true. Trump isn’t demonizing Russia 24/7.
    “deliverable” The North Korean’s don’t have ICBM’s. Maybe you think we should sit on our asses like Obama did because Russia has ICBMs but I don’t.

  152. Fred says:

    ” Without term limits the idiots like Pelosi and McCain will die before they leave office regardless of what the voters want.”
    Tell that to Eric Cantor.

  153. Fred says:

    That may be true but I suspect the Candy Crush voter data model is not going to be very damned predictable without a great deal of other factors of human behavior to fit whatever model your computer is having.

  154. Fred says:

    “…, the fury of the establishment elite stems from outrage an external actor penetrated their sphere of propaganda.”
    They are furious because Trump won and they are doing their best to sabotage him even if it means the destruction of the Constitutional order to do so.

  155. Eric Newhill says:

    I have been waiting for Assange to reveal that Seth Rich was the source for the DNC server documents. I understand that he is still very much at risk of arrest by the US or Britain. He is likely at risk of getting the Seth Rich treatment too. So he is no doubt holding out for a deal with Trump, or, by this point, waiting for the right time to drop the bomb in coordination with Trump’s team. Assange knows. He is potentially an extremely dangerous man to the DNC.

  156. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Thanks! The great value of places (so to speak) like SST is that it gives chance to see how people think, not just what. Always happy to see your insightful thoughts (as well as others’) on various things, including things that seem a bit different from the usual topics, e.g. AI. 🙂

  157. FourthAndLong says:

    There seem to be legitimate grounds for the POV that the info about the dems rigging things against Sanders came from insider leaks rather than hacking.
    In fact if such things were done to Sanders it seems incredible that it WOULD NOT be leaked.

  158. Greco says:

    I think you put in an interesting defense, mostly with respect to the integrity of the FBI, but I think many of us here believe the investigation has been compromised by overriding political considerations and a lack of credibility.
    Publius illustrated this clearly, at least in my mind. As he noted, all 17 agencies didn’t come to agreement with the conclusion of Russian hacking. The implication is that Hillary and others deliberately misled the public in order to make it appear with absolute certainty that Russia leaked the emails when in fact it’s not definitive that Russia was responsible for the leaks. Also Publius noted that Cloud Strike had to retract parts of a separate report on alleged Russian hacking in Ukraine, which hampers their credibility in addressing such claims.
    In any event, and to your point, if they indeed already had evidence, then why hasn’t Trump put 1 and 1 together? Is he simply unaware they possess evidence? Or is it because he knows there is nothing to their investigation because there was no collusion?
    Also, how do we know their investigation is related to Russian hacking? Who is to say that they’re putting together a team that in the end addresses financial irregularities or possible corruption as it relates to Trump and his circle?

  159. FourthAndLong says:

    Who says your “cutting edge stuff” has the effect you claim ?? You and the owners of Cambridge Analytica.
    A person would have to be very naive to accept that on your say so.
    Trust your friendly opinion manipulators why don’t you ?

  160. different clue says:

    After reading the comments about computerised ability to learn about us individuals in detail from our dusty trails of digital footprints, the first thing I can say is…
    If I ever get a cell phone, it will be a dumm phone. It will be the dummest phone I can find.
    Right now I only pay cash in the Sole Proprietor stores which really can’t afford to share any money with the credit card company. I may well start paying cash as nearly everywhere as possible. And check for almost everything else.
    I will give up my traditional phone when they pull the dead copper line from out of my wall.

  161. Jackrabbit,
    I have a full life in addition to sometimes assisting Colonel Lang on SST. I get around to posting comments and responding when I desire and when I have time. There are definitely some correspondents I want to respond to in time. You best learn some patience.

  162. shepherd says:

    It works, well, it depends. Basically there is a pretty extensive stack of technologies for doing what’s known as “marketing automation.” There are plenty of basic videos that explain this concept on YouTube. They allow you to target people at scale based on a wide range of behavioral, etc. data. You can also automate the creation and testing of multiple variants of your messages. The debate in the industry about them is complicated, and too extensive to into here. But the basic problem for a business is whether such precision is worth the cost. That question gets a different answer depending on what you’re selling.
    In the political and foreign policy realm, however, you’re never trying to get ROI, you’re trying to gain influence. And cost usually isn’t an issue. You just go for the jugular.
    The psychometric stuff is something that’s new and I was never an advocate of, because I didn’t believe in it. It’s a layer you add on to the automation. Cambridge Analytica simply analyzes links you post on Facebook (which is an available data point), assigns it an OCEAN value, and then plugs it back into Facebook targeting tools. Turns out this is pretty effective.
    For what it’s worth, Hillary’s people preferred to target voters based on their past responses and expected behavior of demographic groups. You’d kind of expect that, right? I can tell you from past experience that that can move the needle a few percentage points. The Trump team’s strategy of targeting based on personality and emotion may be a little unsettling, but it’s far more psychologically acute.

  163. Jackrabbit says:

    Thanks TTG!
    Did’t mean to bug you.
    Very interesting discussion.

  164. shepherd says:

    Trust whom you like. Who are you that I should trust you, seeing that you seem to lack any curiosity and already have reached your conclusions long ago? My suggestion is to separate the information from the source and investigate the information. Look up a few concepts: marketing automation, psychometric targeting, dynamic content optimization, and rapid mass experimentation. Don’t trust your intuition or me. Do your homework and see if I’m wrong. Stop being so lazy and complacent. Learn about my world. Do we have a deal?
    Yeah, I manipulate opinion. So what. That’s what everyone on this blog is trying to do.

  165. Charles says:

    In re Sen McCain
    ” Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.”

  166. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And where, in this “system” resides personal responsibility, the informed citizenry, and republicanism?

  167. Sam Peralta says:

    Eric & KHC
    I use ML, in particular neural nets, as a tool, in my work which is macroeconomic and financial analysis. We are not just looking at data, we are also looking at memes, stories and how investor perceptions form and more importantly change. We are trying to understand the factors that cause investor behavior to change. Right now algorithmic trading is rather simplistic as it is mostly momentum driven.
    What ML is good at is in discerning dogs from cats in images if there is lots of training data. It can also be good at detecting anomalies, which is primarily what we use it for. But, frankly there is more hype around it now than what it actually delivers. The good news however is that there is a lot of money pouring into these start-ups and a decade from now something more useful will turn up.
    I worked in the tech industry for a long time in several start-ups and in venture capital and have a decent feel for how the innovation cycle works. Both of you are correct. We have an amorphous information system where the number of publishers and subscribers are both enormous and growing. So determining, let alone attributing why something, an image for example, goes viral is extremely difficult. Just because one image went viral with a certain set of factors doesn’t mean applying the same techniques will make the next image go viral.
    KHC’s point that in many critical situations crucial decision making is done by very few is very important to note. That is, the influence of the 1% is more heavily weighted in edge conditions. If you read newspapers in Europe and the US from the period before WW I, it would be easy to conclude that the average person in those countries would never have imagined, let alone given consent, to an escalating conflict. A few leaders’ “miscalculations” played a very large role in the outcome.
    IMO, to answer the question “Did Russia hack our democracy and hand Trump victory over Hillary?”, we have to look to two factors – cui bono and Occams Razor.
    cui bono would imply that the only beneficiaries of painting the Russians for “stealing” the election are the Democrats, the DC establishment (aka Borg) and of course the vast majority of the MSM who openly campaigned hard against Trump and did not have the slightest expectation that he would win. The Russians are a nice scapegoat for their own campaign ineffectiveness. Which brings up an even larger question, if Trump was a “buffoon” as they characterized him, why did they lose?
    Occams Razor would imply, as a possibility, that enough voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania just wanted to give the DC establishment a gigantic fuck you by voting for the “buffoon”.

  168. MRW says:

    different clue,

    I will give up my traditional phone when they pull the dead copper line from out of my wall.

    Just so you know, that copper wire into your house gives any agency access to the microphone inside your landline, to turn it on, and listen while they’re eating Cheetos in an air-conditioned office somewhere. Your microphone is a receiver. (See this patent from 1980 where they were designed for TVs: https://www.google.com.au/patents/US4338492)
    They do it by calling your phone number via a special number that doesn’t ring, much the way the old BBS (bulletin board service) let you call up a server box and connect. That BBS access number never ‘rang’ or there would have been clangs throughout the nation. Most home-answering machines operate that way as well; they don’t ring so they don’t wake the baby.
    Unless you have a phone where you have to acknowledge “Roger” to let the other speaker talk, your dumb landline phone has a two-way microphone courtesy of that ‘always on’ copper wire you think is protecting you.
    I know all this because I used to do it in the analog age at Bell Labs. We did it for shits and grins when we were working late because we knew the numbers to call. (People loved to have phones by their bedside.) The Labs had designed the system for the boys in DC.
    In 1992 AT&T developed the only truly impenetrable tabletop phone that freaked out the agencies, so they passed CALEA (look it up) in April 1994 to give them digital access and identification. I think I was the only person on the eastern seaboard screaming at the top of my lungs not to pass that goddam law but I was only perceived as a tin-hatter. I knew what it meant.
    If you want the current safest method, buy a ‘throw-away cell phone’ from Walmart, Costco, or any of the chain drug stores. The kind where you get X number of minutes and have to use a credit card to add more. Except don’t use your credit card. Throw the phone away and buy another. Only downside is your phone number keeps changing. If you can live with that, you’re good to go.

  169. Fellow Traveler says:

    Thank you for your efforts to raise the signal-to-noise ratio, especially in this era of full-spectrum whataboutism.

  170. Sam Peralta says:

    I know many very highly educated people with long lists of academic degrees and also know many who barely made it through high school. IMO, the latter have better common sense. They can smell bullshit a mile away. They may not know the details of quantitative easing or understand the sophistry with which its proponents present it, but get it that their standard of living is under pressure doing tangible work while those owning financial assets and speculating in financial paper make hundreds of millions and billions and get bailed out when their bets go awry.
    My own thesis is, we are living in a period of mass delusion. Not just here in the US but globally. We have seen such periods before in history. IMO, history is very instructive since human behavior has not evolved much in five millennia.

  171. MRW says:

    I said “two layers down”

    So you did. Missed that.
    I say two layers down they don’t give a shit about the Russia stuff until there’s proof. Scarborough isn’t helping his cause, imo.

  172. MRW says:

    Fred, it made an even more laughable scene. The HQ at Holmdel had a helipad on my side of the building with a lake-sized pond behind it with swans.

  173. Eric Newhill says:

    Oh no. I understand what it is and how it works. As I said, I am in a very large insurance company. We use market segment data to augment other data we have to understand what kind of covered lives we might be looking at and what we might expect in terms of healthcare costs. There is also some marketing of other products and services based on all this supplemental big data (supplemental beyond health claims data and demographics). Then there is predictive modeling that is being developed for proactively identifying who may need a care management outreach call before – and to prevent – a serious healthcare incident.
    So a but different than what you are referring to, but I do both attend conferences where the wider spectrum of potentials is discussed and I talk to people in the industry. Like I said, I have hired people that have worked developing IT for Facebook, Google and various aps who had implemented a lot of this. I love to discuss this stuff with them because it interests me. And I’m always looking to leverage new tech for increased profitability and/or improved quality for our members.
    I am fully aware of what Facebook is doing. Everyone thinks it is this wonderful free playground. They do not suspect that they are the product; not the consumer.
    I think the real magic in all of that is that the content of text (e.g. FB posts and comments) can be read and analyzed appropriately…and quickly. That IS amazing. That any real insight into who people really are and what they really think – as it translates into action in the real world can be gleaned, is a less perfected aspect, IMO. Influencing the real world actions of the targets is yet more sketchy.
    As I said to TTG down thread, there are too many variables at play; not the least of which are all of the various actors who are inputting information; including individuals themselves. I do not see how a single player could gain a monopoly on influence. If one somehow did, I do not see it lasting long. People would just migrate to a new environment where they would be free of unwanted propaganda once they noticed. I know that you think you can outsmart people, but I disagree. Some people sure. Then you get stuck with a non-representative sample, that might be ok for marketing products, but not so good for understanding or influencing an election cycle (kind of like how all the big polls and the DNC had Clinton winning last year).
    You can fool some of the people some of the time, but…..
    CNN, a major propaganda outlet is being brought down because they listen to the advice of all these out of touch – and, frankly, arrogant conceited, marketing firms with all this wiz bang tech stuff. Meanwhile, the alt right and others have hijacked Facebook and the other info gathering centers to make very effective anti-CNN memes from their parents’ basements.
    Zuckerberg and his army of data miners are not as in control as the fantasize they are. Therefore, I become even more suspicious of all the AI produced intelligence. Seems like it’s always a day late and a dollar short. Rust never sleeps.

  174. Donald says:

    I didn’t miss that rotl. I just didn’t take it seriously. I don’t believe the Russians have discovered some new science based way to mind control us with propaganda, something unknown to Western ad agencies and political campaign consultants and governments here.
    And do people really believe that it took Russian mind hacking to make Hillary Clinton unpopular? I am a lefty and I have disliked the Clintons from the moment they appeared on the national scene and I voted for her. Rightly or wrongly ( I think it is a bit of both) they have been hated for decades. They also have their passionate defenders. One way or another they are probably the targets of more propaganda, good and bad, than any other two politicians in our lifetime, though Trump may surpass them. The Russian spinmeisters are coming into this very late.

  175. Lefty says:

    TTG, Perhaps you could do your friend favor to let him know he has fallen in with bad company and that he or Alperovitch should go. But, if he is even half as bright as you believe he is he should have figured that out long and merry ago.
    It seems VIPS and Binney’s conclusions were well founded as we can infer from Brennan’s “assessment”. If he had NSA confirmation that massive loads of DNC data headed overseas it would have been all over the report. It was not. That is a Sherlockian “Dog that didn’t bark”. He instead relied on “foreign sources” that NSA apparently did not think too much of. That NSA had merely “Moderate” confidence indirectly confirms that NSA does not have the smoking packets. They are damning with faint (moderate confidence) praise. That is about as much as we can expect from them in public. It also seems likely that NSA would have preferred not to be involved in what looks like a CIA propaganda campaign turned domestic.
    Here is an analysis that purports to show that at least the Guccifer 2.0 docs were downloaded. The implication is that they were part of a far larger download that could have been what ended up at Wikileaks. http://disobedientmedia.com/2017/07/new-research-shows-guccifer-2-0-files-were-copied-locally-not-hacked/

  176. Lefty says:

    Some of the engineering “boys in D.C.” had a little different take on the origin, but the outcomes were just as you describe. It would not be surprising to find it was a joint exercise with Bell Labs as many things were. Expect it is even easier with current phones.

  177. Eric Newhill says:

    True, But the Candy Crush data is joined to data from many other sources to create a complete profile. Candy Crush is actually one of the games that I was told, specifically, is manipulated along frustration level lines. One manipulation is simply to get users to purchase clues; or something like a clue – never played so don’t know exactly what it is your purchase, but that is the gist of it. But also, that data on your frustration level is the kind that Shepard is talking about.
    We know who you are because the phone service is tied to you directly or indirectly through social security number, credit card, etc.

  178. Eric Newhill says:

    We use ML to great effect in our fraud detection unit. As you say it picks up anomalies very well. Sifts right through 100s of millions of medical claims and detects anomalous provider billing patterns very nicely. The anomalies are also what KHC sees as one of the best uses. So there’s three of us users in agreement.
    It’s also very good at revealing things like physician referral patterns. We see that certain physicians refer to the more expensive specialists or surgical centers. We can then talk to them about referring to cheaper ones. We can analyze medical outcomes for quality and price by servicing provider, by referring provider, by member demographic, by medical condition….keep adding layers of detail until we can really understand what is happening in our business in the real world. Great stuff.
    We can assess a new market based on all kinds of demographic data joined to all that external data from vendors and build a profile that tells us what we need to charge in premium. These models are becoming very refined in terms of being on the money. This is actually quite predictive in nature.
    However, it is totally different from the Russian (or anyone) causing someone to do what they weren’t going to do by inserting some message on their facebook feed based on how easily the person angers.

  179. TonyL says:

    I have not examined closely other bullet points. But Conclusion 3 is not definitive, 7, and 9 are likely wrong.
    “Conclusion 3: The DNC files may have been copied using the ‘cp‘ command (which is available on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X in some form).
    This (tentative) conclusion is supported by the observation that all of the file last modified times were changed to the apparent time of the copy operation.”
    There are ways other than using cp command to get the mentioned result.
    “Conclusion 7.
    We can shorten this statement and say that the 23 MB/s transfer rate supports the conclusion that the files were initially copied locally and not over the Internet.”
    A transfer rate of 23 MB/s is not too fast over the Internet. If you know how to do it.
    “Conclusion 9: The final copy (on 9/1/2016) from the initial file collection to working directories was likely done with a conventional drag-and-drop style of copy.
    This conclusion is based on the observation that the file last modified times were preserved when copying from the initial collection to the working copies, unlike the first copy operation on 7/5/2016 (which is attributed to the use of the cp command).”
    In Linux system, without using drag-drop style, there are commands that can make the creation timestamp and modified timestamp of files to be any timestamp you want (does not matter how you copy the files).

  180. TonyL says:

    And Conclusion 2 is not definitive either.
    “Conclusion 2: The DNC files were first copied to a file system that was formatted either as an NTFS file system (typically used on Windows systems) or to a Linux (ext4) file system. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the .rar file(s) show file last modified times (mtime) with 7 significant decimal digits (0.1 microsecond resolution) ; this is a characteristic of NTFS file systems.”
    This characteristic can be forced on files in Linux file system. So we can’t say it NTFS.

  181. Fred says:

    “…humans ARE indeed predictable. I would say that, proverbially, what 99% of people do 99% of the time can be predicted with utter precision if enough data about their routines are captured.”
    I certainly understand the basic concept, that’s why Detroit traffic can be bumper to bumper at 70 mph for most of a commute, at least until something disrupts it. However there are other more complex things to human behavior than driving in rush hour. To play devil’s advocate If humans from a place, say Somalia, relocate to Minnesota they are going to recreate thier routines from Somalia long before they “change” i.e. assimilate, thus things like female genital mutilation, which never existed in Minnesota before, become a predictable routine. How long until what was a culturally acceptable pattern in one place is dropped in favor of what is culturally acceptable in the new locale?

  182. Fred says:

    In reference to the referal patterns do you also look at the ownership of the refered to provider? Way back in the ’70s the folks in Naples, FL had a major scandal with the local non-profit hospital because a large number of doctors were making referals for services to various providers outside the hospital rather than the in-house center because they jointly owned the things. They weren’t over priced, just over-refered too to generate a greater income. Where in the data do you determine a procedure/test just wasn’t necessary?

  183. Fred says:

    On a slightly off topic but still IT security related subject, never use a fingerprint for a password:

  184. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Sam and Eric,
    One of my friends described statistics (and by extension, ML) as using the past to predict the past, which I always thought is the appropriate description. The patterns of the past can be a useful prediction for the future on the condition that tomorrow is like yesterday, and, usually, this is true enough that we can get by, as long as things stay close enough. If we get enough technology and data, we might do better about predicting yesterday, and this, in turn, might help better predict tomorrow. But the assumption that tomorrow will be like yesterday is a big leap of faith which I don’t think is often justified when we actually need good predictions.

  185. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Well, that gets beyond the scope of what I was talking about: data, if there is enough, will allow for identification of routines, habits, and other “behavioral patterns,” but anyone who would be trying to draw data and pattern recognition to make moral claims one way or another would be insane, I think.

  186. Eric Newhill says:

    Fred, briefly b/c we are straying from the topic, yes as to ownership. Medical necessity is based of random sample of actual provider records. All providers that contract with us agree that we can request the medical record from the physician’s office. If it isn’t properly documented in the chart it didn’t happen. So all the necessary diagnoses and nuances had better be there or it wasn’t medically necessary or appropriate. Just a little of the standard work that the evil insurance company does every day to waste money, LOL.

  187. Degringolade says:

    TTG: Good work…some of the responses here give much grist for thought.
    I am not certain who is right here, I am going through linux commands and trying to get a look at the originals, but truth be told, they have been through so many wash and rinse cycles I despair of ever getting anything useful done. For me, it mostly an academic exercise to see that (if anything) I reproduce from the data available.
    I think that what I have treasured the most about this conversation is the fact that it pushes against the “status quo” thinking out there.
    A good article for all to read is

  188. TimmyB says:

    A critique of TTG’s recent post.
    I am not a computer expert. However, I have been a practicing attorney for over 20-years. Thus, I have some experience in dealing with so-called “expert opinions” such as those contained in TTG’s recent letter. I will go over TTG’s letter and try to expose some of the logic flaws contained therein. I have used the sections of TTG’s original letter and written my response to those highlighted sections directly below each highlighted section.
    “You, David Habakkuk and many others seem to rely on the questionable parentage and demeanor of Dimitri Alperovitch to justify your conviction that Russia had nothing to do with the DNC or Podesta hacks or did not attempt to influence our 2016 election.”
    This assertion, that critics of Crowdstrike’s conclusions “rely on the questionable parentage and demeanor of Dimitri Alperovitch” is a false and misleading attempt at a disgusting smear. No one who has read the criticism of Crowdstrike’s report can honestly claim that the criticism relies on Mr. Alperovitch parentage. Contrary to that false assertion, this is actually what critics actually say about Mr. Alperovitch:
    “The firm’s CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with openly anti-Russian sentiments that is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, who also happened to donate at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation.”
    Critics are noting that Mr. Alperovitch belongs to anti-Russian groups and that he may be prejudiced against Russia and thus predisposed to find a Russian connection where the evidence for such a connection is weak. Those critics are certainly not bigots who are mainly relying on Mr. Alperovitch’s parentage to dispute Crowdstrike’s claims. Here. TTG is smearing Crowdstrike’s critics as bigots and implying criticism of Crowdstrike is based on little more than bigotry.
    Note that TTG chose to lead with this emotionally charged smear, instead of leading with factual evidence proving his case. TTG’s choice to use such a smear to open his argument highlights exactly how devoid of facts and evidence his argument is.
    “Beyond your reasonable and justifiable skepticism of the IC, I think you’re all trying too hard to exonerate Putin and prevent any besmirchment of the immaculate glory of Trump’s election to the Presidency of the United States.”
    This bit of argument attempts to flip the burden of evidence from Russian accusers having to provide actual facts supporting the assertion that there was Russian interferience and/or a Trump-Russia conspiracy to sceptics who must now must show facts that “exonerate Putin and prevent any besmirchment of the immaculate glory of Trump’s election to the Presidency of the United States.” Unfortunately for TTG, the burden still remains with the person making the claim. We will see if TTG provides the required evidence and facts supporting his claims.
    “Alperovitch did not run the team… That continued once he retired from the FBI and began working at CrowdStrike.”
    While the FBI’s capabilities are notable, they have nothing to do with Crowdstrike’s. Crowdstrike and the FBI are not the same organization and Crowdstrike does not have access to US government information.
    ” Those in the FBI who took CrowdStrike’s research probably did so because of Henry’s reputation.” 
    Here, TTG is speculating that the FBI believed Crowdstrike’s assertions because of Henry’s reputation. However, this speculation is further confirmation that the FBI did not do its own independent investigation of the supposed DNC server hack. All this means is Crowdstrike is the sole source of the claim the Russians hacked the DNC email server. Thus, every single claim that the FBI made some sort of independent conclusion about the alleged DNC hack is completely false. The FBI never performed an independent investigation. The FBI never made its own conclusions. Instead, it relied solely upon Crowdstrike.
    “And why didn’t the DNC turn their email servers over…”
    This excuse is little more than claiming “I didn’t allow the police to investigate the break in because I had a meth-lab in my house.” TTG should be embarrassed. Here, the DNC refused to allow the FBI to fully investigate what it now claims are serious violations of federal law by a hostile foreign power aimed at undercutting our country’s entire democracy. The reason? It’s because the DNC placed a higher value upon secrecy and Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions. That excuse is sorely lacking.
    “That’s just as prudent as Trump not voluntarily handing over detailed records of his business and…”
    This is nonsense. It is designed to equate Trump, who has not accused anyone of committing a crime, with the DNC’s failure to cooperate with the FBI after it accused a foreign power of stealing its private documents. Let me confess that I, like hundreds of millions of other Americans, didn’t provide all my financial and other documents to the FBI, same as Trump. That’s because, same as Trump, I wasn’t asked to assist an investigation of my claims that a foreign power stole my emails.
    “According to William Binney, the FBI does not need the DNC servers to conduct their investigation.”
    While it is undisputed the NSA has the ability described above, Crowdstrike most certainly does not. The NSA’s abilities are not Crowdstrike’s to use.
    “Binney and his VIPS cosigners… must not exist and the hacks must be leaks.”
    This is false. Other individuals, including the head of Wikileaks which published the DNC emails, stated the information came from leakers. Julian Assange said it was leakers. The NSA hasn’t put fourth any evidence showing it was hackers. Thus, when we consider the actual evidence before us, instead of the secret evidence that we can’t see and don’t even know if it exists, then TTG hasn’t met his burden and proved the DNC was hacked and the DNC emails were stolen by Russia.
    “Presumably that means there was a DNC leaker and a separate Google leaker for the Podesta emails…”
    Podesta gave his Gmail password up in response to a phishing email. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/how-john-podesta-got-hacked-839125 That fact is beyond dispute. No one has claimed that the Podesta emails were the result of a leak instead of a hack. The Podesta emails and the DNC emails are two completely different incidents. Here, TTG is attempting to conflate the two together. However, the Podesta incident has exactly zero in common with the supposed DNC hacking. The Podesta phishing attack could have been done by half the Jr. High School students in the US or any other computer literate country. So it actually is completely logical to conclude the supposed DNC hack and the Podesta phishing incident were carried out by different individuals.
    “There is no publicly available convincing evidence of any of these hacks.”
    This is an astounding admission. It’s true and it cuts right to the core of the sceptic’s claims—“There is no publicly available convincing evidence of any of these hacks.” Since TTG admits there is no convincing evidence, there is really no need to go on further. The case that the DNC hacks occurred and that the Russians are behind that hack, as TTG admits, remains unproven because there is no publicly available convincing evidence.
    There is classified evidence of many of these hacks. I have seen much of it…”  
    Sadly, because of the lies my government has repeatedly told over the years, I will not believe its claims without evidence or proof. I am willing to wait for evidence to prove or disprove claims, but until such evidence is provided, the claim that the DNC was hacked and the Russians did it remains unproven.
    “Separate from CrowdStrike, Kevin Mandia’s FireEye…”
    Years ago, so-called experts on fiber analysis claimed they could tell, via microscopic examination of fiber evidence, that different fibers came from the same cloth. Different experts claimed to be able to tell, using microscopic examination, whether or not different hairs came from the same person. Finally, there were other experts, dentists in fact, who claimed that they had the ability to look at the impressions made by a criminal suspect’s teeth and determine if a bite pattern on a murder victim was made by a particular set of teeth.
    Each of these, fiber analysis, hair analysis, and bite mark analysis have been found to be junk science. See “Pseudoscience in the Witness Box” http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2015/04/fbi_s_flawed_forensics_expert_testimony_hair_analysis_bite_marks_fingerprints.html So, unless TTG can produce evidence showing that computer experts can scientifically without error identify a hacker by the hacking tools he or she uses, then we should not believe their claims.
    All this addresses only one aspect of the Russian IO… Those who don’t will go extinct.
    This too is meaningless mishmash. Every government and every large corporation puts out propaganda. However, using the DNC emails and the Podest hack as examples is flawed at best. Both were widely reported in national newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. These stories were also reported in local newspapers in addition to national and local television and radio news programs.
    However, the “Russian did it” claim seems to be that the Russians used the internet to circulate these stories and “weaponize” them. This conclusion completely depends upon people ignoring how widely these stories about the contents of the DNC and Podesta emails circulated outside the internet. They were a huge story. Blaming the Russians for that, after The NYT, WaPost, and WSJ reported on them, is silly and ignores the facts.

  189. Eric Newhill,
    I get your techie friend who went off the grid. I do not have a smartphone. I sometimes carry an old flip phone without camera or GPS, but with a notably unsocial voicemail message. Colonel Lang can vouch for that. I fill it once a year with $50 worth of T-Mobile card. I don’t have cable or FIOS, but rely on free digital broadcast signal. I have a six year old laptop and a DSL connection. And I sit in my gazebo every morning to read an old fashioned local newspaper. I like life that way.
    Part of the reason I’ve adopted this semi-Luddite lifestyle is that I have serious misgivings about big government and big business capabilities in SIGINT, digital data collection and the increasing capabilities of AI technologies. Yes these AI machines can work on large data sets, but they can do so much more. My friends AI doesn’t require collected data sets. It can be launched onto the network and act as tens of thousands of autonomous “agents” to do the bidding of whoever unleashed them. These agents are guided by broad mission commands and refine their activities through ML to try to zero in on what the operator wants even if he does not quite know what he want when he launches these agents. In another use, this AI outperformed experienced polygraphers.
    I don’t know what my friend is doing with his AI and for whom right now. I respect him too much to ask. But I am confident that I could sit down with my friend and his AI and find out exactly what’s true and untrue about this whole Russian IO thing in a week or so. Several years ago I talked with him about the idea of making this AI available to the public, not just the government or big businesses. That would empower the people. The problem is that it would empower both good and bad people.
    Unfortunately, the genie will be put back in the bottle. That’s why I want the investigation of the full extent of this particular Russian IO to continue and be widely publicized once concluded. This stuff will be widely used by a lot of governments, political parties and businesses in the future. I want everyone to be aware of what can be done so they can recognize it and guard against such attempts to influence.

  190. TonyL says:

    On further examination of his/her findings, I’d say the Forensicator did not have a good enough technical expertise to perform a forensic examination.

  191. MRW says:


    It would not be surprising to find it was a joint exercise with Bell Labs as many things were.

    Oh, it absolutely was. We created the PLN, the Private Line Network. That was how the trunks communicated nationwide. There were only 100 scientists who knew how it worked. I had to learn it, then teach the updates to these scientists and the four NSA scientists who came over to get the updates as well.
    Remember Alex Klein (I think that was his name) who blew the whistle in late 2006 on the secret room at AT&T’s San Francisco trunk building? Well, that was a ‘node’ and when I was working on it there were 10 nodes nationwide. I hear there are about 20 now because of the net and global traffic. NSA in my day attached their hoovers to the nodes directly—reason why they needed those updates—and picked up every telecommunication made in the US, and in and out of it. Everything. Wholesale. The bullshit that story that Congress still believes and pundits repeat is bogus. (What Snowden revealed was just the tip of the iceberg.)
    The thing about the Klein incident is that the public to this day think what Klein uncovered only occurred in one location. And what he discovered at that node was how NSA was using NARUS as the go-between, the uber-hoover, to provide plausible deniability. NARUS was in that little room. NARUS, this super hoover, was an Israeli company when it was created in the late 90s (of course using our technology, purloined after CALEA). And the Israelis ran the operation until their cocky owner had bragged once too often about what he was doing. Many suspect that Israel had added another pipe back to Mossad HQ. These days Boeing owns NARUS, as far as I know.

  192. TimmyB,
    I edited out half your comment. It was just a repetition of my post. You take great umbrage at my opening paragraph. That passage is not part of a sworn affidavit, it’s a blog post done in my often flippant and irreverent style. Toughen up or relax. Your choice. Judging by the mass of responses this post has flushed out, and the tone of some, I think the general intention of my words was more correct than wrong.
    I think I’ll rebut only one of your points. You claim Assange called all his material the product of leaks and also acknowledge that Podesta’s emails were hacked. I think you forgot that Wikileaks began publishing the Podesta emails within an hour of the airing of the Access Hollywood Trump video. And those hacked Podesta emails kept coming from Wikileaks. In other words, your blind faith in the veracity of Assange is misplaced.

  193. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    I take it very seriously, but then I have a lot of background in education, the neurology of reading, and topics related to ‘how learning happens’. Consequently, the implications of ‘slime mold’ and social ephemera would strike me as a very big deal. Perhaps the Russian spinmeisters are coming to this late; OTOH, perhaps we are only now hearing about something that’s been happening for some time.
    KHC – completely agree with the Gutenberg analogy, as well as the idea that Johannes Gutenberg never intentionally triggered the implosion of the Roman Catholic Church. However, this post was about Russia; it’s not unique in exploiting information. Never was; never will be.
    The DNC curia was ill suited to recognize that the upsurge for Bernie was a profoundly important shift. Once the DNC screwed him, quite a few of my relatives were left with only one option for ‘change’, and it would not have been hard for any interested observer to note those social dynamics and exploit them.

  194. Old Microbiologist says:

    Okay, randomly people get rid of them OR more likely they are cast aside by the party. But, in general, once elected it takes a huge effort to remove one. Very rarely one is caught out for too much corruption but again it is usually as a consequence of defying the orders from the plutocrats who really run things in Congress. Watch Sanders who seems to be falling into the morass of defiance. Another to watch is Tulsi Gabbard who very openly has defied them. If she survives then she will rapidly rise to the top. A cynic might think this is all part of a larger game plan. Fake revolts seem to lure voters back to the fold for a chance to get a better leader. We see it openly in the Presidential elections but it is more cloaked in the Congressional races. This was Trump’s game plan and it worked well. It worked for Obama and surprisingly twice as apparently the voters forgot all his unfulfilled campaign promises.
    I always think of the old Warner Brothers cartoon with Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog punching the clock to duke it out during the day and back to buddies at the end of their shift. I think this characterizes Congress well.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kerUbfOQTW0

  195. Old Microbiologist says:

    J, there is a big difference as to cause. The Russians are being attacked on all fronts literally by the US and it’s hegemons. The entire Syria gambit was begun by the US in an attempt to break the Shia crescent and open up a pipeline (foolish thinking here) to the Mediterranean and thence to Europe to supplant the Russians business there. Now they are pushing LPG from the US at 4 times the price. But, a secondary plan which is still in effect is to generate many jihadists particularly from former Soviet Republics who would eventually return home and apply jihadist pressure once again the Russia. I believe it is this reason Putin is so adamant to defend Assad so as to kill the snakes before they come back home. Of course, the short sighted idiots who planned this “civil war” in Syria (we must also include Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, etc.) failed to foresee that there are also a lot of jihadists who will be coming back to the EU countries.
    No one is directly attacking the US yet. However, in pushing China hard we may see something interesting. What I don’t quite understand is the failure of whomever is running this global operation to foresee unintended consequences. The economy is in reality horrible and extremely fragile. This is especially true as only the stock markets have done well and the majority of trading is now completely autonomous using alogrithmic trading platforms operating under loose supervision. We have had and are still seeing flash/crash caused by the Algo’s making poor decisions. Most people are unaware but Twitter is the main parameter monitored by the Algo’s to forecast the market. As we have seen many botnets can be used to shift internet memes and can be used to force a market change. It is subtle but I am certain nefarious actors are working to do exactly that. The Plunge Protection Team intercedes often and if you play the market you can watch it happen. How much and how far they can intercede is an open question. BUt, a major calamity like a nuclear blast somewhere will tip it past the point of control. What I am saying here is there is no free market any more and hasn’t been now for quite a while. It pleases them to run it up under Trump but they still have zero controls on the banks and Hedge funds and they can drive it down and make money on shorts just as easy. Glass-Steagall which was removed under Clinton, was the only thing keeping the markets free and relatively uncorrupted. Naked shorts still exist and banks can co-mingle customer’s deposits with their hedge funds. I recall my shock when I learned that as a depositor I am actually legally a creditor and have loaned them my money. THis means that I am towards the end of the line in claims should they lose my money. The business vendors are far ahead in line. It was Clinton who allowed this to happen.
    Worse, in 2007 the banks were leveraged 50:1 and it is why companies like AIG were on tap to insure (through Credit Default Swaps -CDS) over $3 trillion dollars on assets of less than $300 billion. That should never be permitted or legal. Now the banks are leveraged at 150:1 and CDS (plus “new” instruments are all back as it was before the last collapse) so we are back once again to a point of collapse should something relatively minor happen. So, why are we shaking the trees so hard? It makes no sense to me.
    I will add (again I know I sing this tune periodically but only because I so adamantly believe it) that the American citizens have some control over the behavior of the banking industry. It is after all our money they are playing with. I recommend to everyone to move their banking to Credit Unions who are non-profits and cannot loan more than they have in assets. Yes, it is somewhat crappified compared to slick banks but it is worth it to do so. The next big thing is to stop borrowing money at all. My SWMBO (a very tough Russian emigre and a PhD Geo-Physicist) and I worked our asses off to pay off all our mortgages, car loans, etc. It took about 5 years of paying everything off but we got there in the end. We also moved all of our IRA/401K to Scottrade where we control where it is invested and bypass all the fees that eat away the IRA balance. We also never carry a balance on credit cards and are completely debt free. If you want to taste freedom in America you either have to be very rich or completely debt free otherwise you are a debt slave. We then left the US and emigrated to Hungary where there is no death or property taxes. That was our main reason to come here but it has turned out to be a great decision. Anyone can do what we did assuming you have a sufficient income. Of course, my 40 years with the US government earned me 2 Federal pensions plus Social Security so we have that at least until the US economy collapses. I sincerely hope it won’t because if it happens it will effect the entire world and not in good ways.
    So, I see that Russia, Iran, China, Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, and others are putting up resistance to US efforts to destroy the world. It is only through this resistance that there is hope for us to avoid the mother of all wars and possibly the end of humanity. I believe the stakes are that high. I also believe that if Clinton had been elected that we would already be in that nuclear war. Trump is still an unknown and it may go that way despite everything, but at least he is different and we are not yet at global thermonuclear war. I see what Russia and China (mainly) are doing as trying to keep this from happening as for them it is an existential threat to their (and sadly our) existence. But, the idiots in Washington fail to see the long term risks to their policy decisions.

  196. Old Microbiologist says:

    Good points. We could also ask if these agencies can defy all Constitutional Rights so as to protect us how come we have had so many attacks? I mean really, what are they doing? Between NSA and Cyber Command and toss in the supporting contractors we have at least 50,000 people working on defense of the homeland from terrorist attacks. There shouldn’t be any at all.

  197. Old Microbiologist says:

    Somewhat related to the cause and effect debate about Trump, the Russians, etc. My son, who is a liberal millennial with a BA but underemployed posted this to Facebook. It is a long diatribe but I think it shows the problems we are facing in this country with the liberals way of viewing the world. I don’t think he wrote it but he seems to believe it to be the truth. These are educated people by the way.
    ‘I don’t think Trump supporters have any particular views on policy (foreign or domestic). They’re moved only by a nihilistic hatred of liberals. Whatever riles them up is their bread and butter.
    They feel they’ve been mocked and ridiculed by popular culture (and that is half unfair and half deserved). So they are in the process of getting back at everyone. They elected Trump because he’s a pig, because he can lay the biggest and steamiest piles on that mainstream culture. You have to pay attention, but if you follow interviews of Trump supporters, you will eventually notice that, from news clip to news clip, the one comment that comes back often is the one where the supporter will say something along the lines: “I like it when Trump shakes the media a little bit”.
    These are the hardcore Trump fans. Sadly, the moderates are not far off.
    The stupidity of this situation is that everybody gets fooled. Trump first. Because he doesn’t like his supporters (let’s be real: this guy wouldn’t wipe his ass with the hillbillies that follow him). But he thinks they like him. They don’t. They elected him to do one thing: being a dick, especially to the liberal side of America. Eventually, Trump will get tired of being the people’s monkey. And the people are getting fooled too. Some, I think, imagine Trump can both play the part and fix their lives. I don’t believe their reasons to believe that are very sophisticated. You can narrow it to one thing: Trump is a billionaire so he must “know money”, as one Trump supporter put it. The thing is he doesn’t, his business track record proves it. I remember the speech of Michael Bloomberg at the DNC Convention. He said: “Trump says he wants to run America like he runs his business. God help us!”. So Trump supporters won’t get any out of him. What they are getting instead is the Republican agenda which, as far as I can remember, has always been about making sure poor people are miserable as hell.
    In the end, everybody will get tired of this farce. The administration is testing the limits of how far lies can go. But even stupidity has its limits sometimes. People will see that things aren’t getting better and it will erode their patience and diminish their confidence.
    Trump too will tire of being the circus act. He’ll realize he’s the clown and not the show runner. He’s gonna find himself in the situation of the performer who sees his audience getting bored and dwindle when he strays from his main trick. That will hurt his ego badly, his ego being, as we know, his soft spot. And beyond that, I think he did not anticipate that the press would be all up in his junk, asking for tax returns and peeling apart every shred of his business. If reporters start getting really specific about the underbelly of his so called empire Trump will get super squeamish. The tax returns in particular are a big no no. I don’t think they’ll show anything nefarious (they’re tax returns after all), but I do believe they’ll show he’s not a billionaire, or at least that his wealth is vastly inflated. He’s for sure very rich, but he’s not super rich. If that became public, it would take a lot away from the Trump persona, at least in his eyes. Remember, he’s the guy who sued because someone called him a millionaire (instead of a “billionaire”), as if that was somehow an insult. The suit may be a stunt, but the message is quite clear. The sum total of this is, I think, that Trump will drop the presidency like a hot potatoe.
    All this, of course, will take time. By then, as you said, it will be too late for people to realize that they have not only shot themselves in the foot but sawed their own legs off. It will be a hard reckoning and I can’t think of how people will react. Maybe it will be very quiet suddenly, like when you turn the light off somewhere. But that’s in the distance. For now, we have to get used to the noise. And, by God, we have to get better at parsing through that noise, to distinguish what is just people yelling and what is the loud cracks of the system crashing. Because when Trump is gone, and his supporters have followed him in that pit of shame and oblivion, we’ll have a heavy work ahead of us. So we’d better start now to save on the sweat waiting for us.’

  198. MRW says:


    I think you forgot that Wikileaks began publishing the Podesta emails within an hour of the airing of the Access Hollywood Trump video.

    I seem to recall that Assange announced he would have a series of revelations that would damage Hillary’s campaign on a certain day. First it was to be at the end of September. Then It was to be the first Tuesday in October, as I remember. Tuesday came and went, which pissed me off because I was getting immense pleasure out of election fireworks.
    Assange released them three days later on Friday, Oct 7. without fanfare, two days before the 2nd Presidential Debate between Trump and Hillary. The Washington Post released the Access Hollywood Trump video the same day, which I perceived as an effort to both blunt whatever Assange would be dumping (eventually) and cripple Trump going into the debate in two days.
    What was the point you were making about these coinciding events?

  199. Old Microbiologist says:

    Today I found this link to the Foresnsicator’s analysis of the 7zip files containing the DNC files and it seems fairly conclusive to me it was an inside job based on the evidence. It makes for good reading:https://theforensicator.wordpress.com/guccifer-2-ngp-van-metadata-analysis/

  200. MRW,
    Assange was releasing DNC documents from July onwards along with Clinton emails obtained through a FOIA request. The Podesta email release began right after the Access Hollywood tape was aired. The point is that TimmyB is relying on Assange’s word that there were no hacks, just leaks as proof that no hacks took place. In truth, even Assange admitted the Podesta emails were hacked and said they could have been hacked by any kid.

  201. Eric Newhill says:

    Ah, I see. There is a lot more to the techie capability side of this than I realized. Thx for helping me see that. My sense is that it still doesn’t change my opinion that whatever the Russians may have done, their input is a mere drop in the sea of I/O and normal socialization of ideas on the internet ; even it if was well done and had some ability to sway perception. That’s just my good old fashioned horse sense talking.
    I also carry a simple cheap trac phone. I update the minutes with cash at Walmart. All my fortune 500 friends laugh at me for it; let them.

  202. Publius Tacitus,
    I worded my initial paragraph quite flippantly, but I meant the general direction of those comments. Since I addressed you specifically in those comments, I apologize if you found that personally offensive.
    I started reading that posting about the Guccifer 2.0 files two nights ago after Jeff Carr pointed it out. I initially found it intriguing. I noted that the author suggested both Alperovitch and Henry were behind the copying of the DNC files and the whole Guccifer 2.0 thing. My skepticism increased. Comment here by TonyL and Richardstevenhack cast more doubts on the forensicator analysis. It does seem that total reliance on code analysis, especially shoddy code analysis, is not sufficient evidence for reaching any conclusions. As I’ve said before, it takes long term intelligence analysis along with HUMINT/SIGINT collection to reach meaningful claim of attribution.
    Along that line, I would say the admission that the IC has tapes of Putin and others in the Russian government plotting and directing the Russian IO against our election is the final nail in the coffin. I thought this classified leak from last month was the most damaging of all, but now I think it was leaked long after the collection operation was already blown. I contend the arrest in Moscow of two FSB officers for espionage in January and a Kaspersky Lab official in December was the unraveling of this particular intelligence collection operation. Operations like this often begin with a HUMINT penetration and are gradually transformed into remote SIGINT collection. This is the kind of information that allows the IC to be so certain that Russia was behind the hacks and the rest of the IO not just the analysis of CrowdStrike, FireEye and SecureWorks. Once Mueller concludes his investigation, I think more of this will be revealed.
    For the effect of any of this on the behavior of the electorate, I have no idea at this time. That’s why I want the investigation to continue. I want to understand exactly what the Russian IO entailed. Only then can we examine if it was effective or not. Part of this investigation should include how information flowed during the election cycle. I recommend some work done by Jonathan Albright, a researcher in news, journalism, communication and technology. He published much of his work at medium.com. He’s done some interesting studies in how information flowed during the election. I plan on delving deeper in this stuff over the next few months.

  203. Eric Newhill says:

    Well, you do have to test models against past data. the test should be done blind, of course, but it needs to be done. If a model can’t predict the past, it is not going to predict the future, except by luck.
    That said, my wife’s Uncle was fairly high up in the CIA (Bruce Berkmans, deceased a few years ago – he was outed in the 80s by a famous traitor Agee, so it’s ok to state his name). He did a lot of field work in the early stages of his career in addition to security type work later in his career. He used to always say that CIA gospel is that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I think that is true, but, as we’ve been saying, it breaks down at exactly the crucial juncture when we need methodologies to work the most.
    Predicting the future is the holly grail. Like the holly grail, people will be pursuing it for ever. The other holly grail is to be able exercise total control of people without their knowing they’re being controlled. AI promises both. So people are willing to spend a lot of money on it; both development and to deploy it in the real world.
    It’s just human foolishness, IMO, with regards to actual warfare. There will always be counter measures and an AI arms race, etc, etc
    What happens if everyone just unplugs?

  204. Wrxally says:

    TTG, have you seen this analysis? very interesting: https://theforensicator.wordpress.com/guccifer-2-ngp-van-metadata-analysis/ It suggests the data was copied locally and not remotely…

  205. Jack says:

    TTG, Sir
    No matter the outcome of Mueller’s investigation, one side will cheer and the other will claim it was all fixed. Some believe that Mueller has to charge someone for something to justify all the expenditure. What do you think the media will do to him if there are no indictments?
    Clearly the IC should learn what happened and how and update their own CI efforts. But the fact is the IC don’t have clean hands with Brennan and Clapper all in on the NeverTrump camp. They made and continue to make great effort to delegitimize Trump. Where are the investigations into their media leaks? We have seen too many cases of politicized intel reports.
    Another fact is that some Americans like me don’t trust what the IC claim or FBI investigations and in particular anything that the Times or CNN or Fox and the media in general say. Old Microbiologist’s first hand experience with the anthrax investigation is an excellent case in point. There can be no doubt that the majority of the media were biased and campaigned hard against Trump during the elections.
    The question is can trust be restored in governmental institutions in such a charged national atmosphere? How can trust be restored when there are no objective standards?

  206. kxd82 says:

    burner phones are not as safe as you’d like to think…
    Welcome to our “Minority Report” digital future.

  207. TTG,
    I didn’t find your inclusion of me in your dismissal of those who are sceptical of the ‘narrative’ about Russian interference in your political processes ‘personally offensive.’ As an old-style British television current affairs ‘hack’, I have a pretty thick skin – in the old days, we weren’t like the ‘snowflakes’ in the contemporary BBC.
    But I do think that your general interpretation is utterly and completely wrong. And very dangerously wrong, as well.
    Actually, rather than the ‘questionable demeanor’ of Alperovitch, I am relying on a whole range of different types of evidence – and how they seem to fit together into a total picture. A lot is still obscure, but some elements are clear.
    Immediately prior to the publication of the BuzzFeed dossier, CNN produced a report which included claims about the credentials of its author in its attempt to justify the presentation of his conclusions to the President-elect:
    ‘Some of the memos were circulating as far back as last summer. What has changed since then is that US intelligence agencies have now checked out the former British intelligence operative and his vast network throughout Europe and find him and his sources to be credible enough to include some of the information in the presentations to the President and President-elect a few days ago.’
    (See http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/10/politics/donald-trump-intelligence-report-russia/index.html .)
    When the dossier appeared, it was a patently ludicrous document.
    As I have noted before, one of the best British scholars of Russia – now unfortunately working in Canada – is Professor Paul Robinson, also a sometime British Army intelligence officer.
    (He was a contemporary at Eton and Oxford of our buffoon of a Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. In a reasonably rational world, Johnson would have indulged in some helpful nepotism, brought Robinson back from Canada, and installed him in an office down the corridor. This could have produced an instantaneous massive improvement in British foreign policy.)
    Confronted by the dossier, Robinson dissolved into hilarity. In a post on his ‘Irrussianality’ blog, entitled ‘Top Secret Credulous Eyes Only’, he claimed he too had informants deep within the Russian government, and gave a tongue-in-cheek account of what they had told him:
    ‘These sources of mine tell me that the plot to place Donald Trump in the White House was hatched not five years ago as claimed in the BuzzFeed report, but 13 years ago at an exclusive banya in Sokolniki.
    ‘According to Source BS, the concept for what became known as Operatsiia Tuz emerged during a sweaty discussion over a dozen bottles of vodka, when oligarch Viktor Bogatyi announced that he had an idea for a new television show. Aspiring kleptocrats would audition for a job as Bogatyi’s assistant and the losers would be eliminated one by one with his famous catchphrase “You’re shot!” Hearing this, a senior GRU agent, Max Otto von Stierlitz, after a pause of seventeen moments, suggested an alternative. Why not, said Stierlitz, pass the idea for the TV show on to Donald Trump to use as a vehicle for making himself popular among the American people? It would be the perfect mechanism to gradually push the Donald into a position from which he could become President of the United States of America. The rest, as they say, is history.’
    (See https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/top-secret-credulous-eyes-only/ .)
    The serious point at which he was getting was that five years ago nobody would have dreamed that Trump would emerge as a serious candidate for the Presidency. Anyone who wants to suggest that Putin anticipated this years in advance, quite clearly, is attributing to him second sight. (And, after all, if Putin is Sauron, equipped with Galadriel’s mirror, why do we bother to attempt to resist?)
    Anyhow, it then emerged that the author – or at least the supposed author – of the garbage put out by BuzzFeed was Christopher Steele, who it appears was head of the MI6 Russia Desk from 2004 to 2009. This coincided with the time when Sir John Scarlett – who played a central role in the intelligence failures which led to the invasion of Iraq, the rise of ISIS, the migration crisis into Europe, etc etc – headed the organisation.
    After falling over themselves contradicting each other, because their sources could not work out which lies they wanted to tell, British MSM journalists at least managed to agree that Steele had been responsible for the MI6 investigation into the death of Alexander Litvinenko.
    As a result of the attempts of Scarlett and others in the intelligence services and the Blair Government to shift the blame onto each other, Dr David Kelly – whose own role in the ‘information operations’ leading up to the invasion had been thoroughly discreditable – committed suicide.
    In Britain, you can usually find judges or ‘distinguished public servants’ who will exonerate the intelligence services whatever they do, so Lord Hutton shifted all the blame onto the BBC, and Lord Butler recommended that Scarlett be allowed to take up the position as head of MI6.
    This is part of the reason why serious journalists are no longer welcome in the BBC – although a few can be found, as was evident from some of the coverage of chemical weapons in Syria.
    Also, unsurprisingly, the attempts of Scarlett and Steele to demonstrate that jihadist terrorism was really the result of a deep-laid Kremlin plot precipitated ‘unintended consequences’, as a result of which one of their principal agents, Alexander Litvinenko, ended up ingesting polonium.
    Confronted by the threat of having their shameless dishonesty and incompetence exposed, the duo managed successfully to corrupt the investigation into Litvinenko’s death.
    As you know, I pointed out some problems with the ‘evidence’ supposed to establish that Putin had sent Andrei Lugovoi to pour polonium into his tea in a piece posted here following the publication of Sir Robert Owen’s – frankly scandalous – report in January last year.
    The whole thing was a complete frame-up. If indeed Steele was a key figure in creating the ‘narrative’, as seem reasonably clear, there seems a strong prima facie case against him for ‘perverting the course of justice.’ The only reason he can get away with it is that the Russian security services are quite as reluctant to have the actual truth of what happened see the light of day as their Western counterparts – and MSM journalists are now all-too-happy to act as ‘stenographers’ for their ‘sources’ in the ‘intelligence community.’
    (See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/01/david-hakkuk-on-sir-robert-owens-inquiry.html .)
    So, if the leaders of your ‘intelligence community’ consider Steele a credible witness, there are only two possibilities: that they have no idea of what he was up to, in which case they are incompetent, or that they know, in which case they are as corrupt as he is – and key figures were probably up to the hilt in the Litvinenko/Berezovsky/Shvets/Goldfarb/‘Suvorov’/Bukovsky/Palumbo/Scaramella ‘information operations.’
    And the same, obviously, goes for their counterparts on this side of the Atlantic.
    From what I can make out, it seems that there are actually highly competent and honest analysts in the DIA. Maybe there are, lower down in the CIA, NSA, and CIA. As to the top leadership, on both sides of the Atlantic, their credibility among serious people is now zilch.
    If you want to get a sense of quite how ludicrous it would be to trust anyone from MI6, have a read of the first public speech of their current head, Alex Younger, given last December. As you will be able to see, he is a fit successor to Scarlett.
    (See https://www.sis.gov.uk/media/1155/cs-public-speech-8-december-2016-final.doc .)
    Rather than quoting the disingenuous gibberish Younger writes about ‘hybrid warfare’, and the Russian cyberthreat, I will quote what he has to say about Syria.
    ‘Because beyond any of our capabilities, it is legitimacy that is the strongest weapon against international terrorism. If you doubt the link between legitimacy and effective counter-terrorism, then – albeit negatively – the unfolding tragedy in Syria will, I fear, provide proof. I believe the Russian conduct in Syria, allied with that of Asad’s discredited regime, will, if they do not change course, provide a tragic example of the perils of forfeiting legitimacy. In defining as a terrorist anyone who opposes a brutal government, they alienate precisely that group that has to be on side if the extremists are to be defeated. Meanwhile, in Aleppo, Russia and the Syrian regime seek to make a desert and call it peace. The human tragedy is heart-breaking.’
    Words fail me. The notion that today’s MI6 protects us from terrorism is BS. It has a non-trivial share of the responsibility for creating the Sunni jihadist threat, and is part of the reason why people like Boris Johnson are advocating measures likely to make it much worse.
    You are probably away that our Foreign Secretary is all too eager to support further American air strikes against the Syrian government, in response to the new ‘false flags’ which he and his like are encouraging.

  208. Jack says:

    What I find instructive is the lack of pursuit into the role of MI6, CIA and Clapper in the creation and laundering of the Trump Dossier.
    The MSM is hysterical in their reporting on Don Jr’s attempt to gather oppo research but the leaks and campaign of innuendo by Clapper, Brennan are being given a pass.
    Putin and Xi must be having a good guffaw as they watch the US mired in incompetence and consumed in fatricide.

  209. Dr.Puck says:

    1. Superior volume of input and/or 2. Much more convincing input.
    There are many other possibilities:
    a few;
    Pattern extender
    Pattern looper
    Triggered responder
    Then there are third order possibilities, one of which is context recognition; “patterns of patterns,” and plug that into: prediction of future conditions.
    My amateur hunch is that without knowing what any actor was doing, nevertheless, there was a simple fundamental shift at the point in late October when it appeared that some of HRC’s supporters might be thinking about staying home because of the potential for a landslide.
    From this actors who could “see” what one another were doing might work on their own to, for example multiply and amplify two basic future scenarios: (1) that HRC was going to win for sure, (2) that the only righteous and rational vote was for the anti-elitist DJT.
    It seems to me here is a nice vector drawn between the economic (in the behavioral sense,) benefit of not wasting one’s time adding an unneeded vote to HRC’s tally, and, the emotional appeal to come together to ‘end business as usual’ with a vote for the anti-politician and anti-PC bomb thrower, TP.
    The closeness of the election, and the complexity of the social cybernetics, suggests we will never be able to ascertain which actor with what inputs tipped the election. After all, the individual actor is somewhat a black box, and, generally, cannot say “what it was” that made the difference.

  210. MRW says:

    Wonderful comment.

  211. Old Microbiologist says:

    An alternate to unplugging is to use encryption for everything. They don’t have the computer muscle to break through even minuscule amounts of encrypted stuff. If everyone does it then it becomes a morass for them. I have several email accounts and 2 of them permit full encryption. For fun I randomly send encrypted mails to myself just to make them work harder. I suppose because I know it to be a sham and that this is costing the US government a significant amount of time and money that it could seen as a crime. I wonder about that.This is the joy of being an American living outside the US with large amounts of TS info in my head. They can legally intercept all of my communications because I am outside the US. I think eventually they have given up. I see less and less attempts to penetrate the network. Just using encryption is a red flag for increased surveillance. So, this must bug the hell out of someone. I also periodically send an email with every NSA trigger word in it in a nice story which is nonsensical. You can find the text out there. There is also a nifty webpage which runs a long list of bizarre google searches just to screw up their metrics. I run that at least daily. There are lots of things a person can do to thwart the massive surveillance. Anything that vastly increases their workload is worth doing.
    My point is that if everyone started to do this then it would overwhelm their capacity to do any intercepts.
    I also run a strong home built router using OpnSense which is extremely difficult to penetrate. Not that I have anything to hide, I just want to keep nefarious people out of my home network. That router setup cost me less than $200 and was well worth the investment as everything is encrypted real time. You can do the same using pfSense. It also runs virus scanning on everything coming in and there is no latency. We have a 500 Mbps service which is part of our cable package $30 a month). I see no latency at all even running full encryption, SNORT, and virus scanning. I also use a commercial 2 hop VPN when communicating to the US and an IP address scrambler (Unlocator) on top of that. I take this stuff seriously as should everyone.

  212. Old Microbiologist says:

    Treason can only occur during a state of war and is very well defined in US law. We are not legally at war with any state. So, this shows their ignorance.

  213. Anna says:

    But some people do think that “the human all too human” affair at DNC should be dealt with a class action lawsuit: http://www.newsweek.com/bernie-sanders-rigged-hillary-clinton-dnc-lawsuit-donald-trump-president-609582: “A class action lawsuit alleging the Democratic National Committee worked in conjunction with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign to keep Bernie Sanders out of the White House has been raging on in the courtrooms for months on end–and yet, most people have no idea of its existence, in large part thanks to the mainstream media’s total lack of coverage.”
    Unlike the feeble mem “Russians did it” (despite Mr. Mueller trying to look very manly), the DNC activities “to keep Bernie Sanders out of the White House” have provided all the smoking guns. As for Mr. Mueller’ character, he was obediently instrumental (unprincipled) when Cheney & cabal were busy with planning a war (illegal) against Iraq. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-09/retired-fbi-special-agent-blows-whistle-real-robert-mueller “…as top law enforcement officials of the George W. Bush Administration (Mueller as FBI Director and James Comey as Deputy Attorney General), both presided over post-9/11 cover-ups and secret abuses of the Constitution, enabled Bush-Cheney fabrications used to launch wrongful wars, and exhibited plain vanilla incompetence.”

  214. John_Frank says:

    IMV, looking at this whole situation, one sees at least three distinct activities:
    1. A series of phishing attacks over an extended period of time by someone which resulted in large quantities of information from various places being gathered by someone for some purpose.
    It is unclear from the public record, whether that someone is Russian intelligence, persons working on behalf of Russian intelligence, persons working for other intelligence services or persons working for non State actors.
    2. The publication of what some call the US election documents.
    While the US election documents are accurate, it remains unclear how the documents that were subsequently published were obtained.
    Yes, DHS and FBI published their Grissly Steppe analysis; and the DNI, published the assessment of the CIA, FBI and NSA.
    However, the information on the public record is not sufficient to justify the current political uproar.
    In turn, based on various analysis, we are left with the question as to whether the documents were obtained as a result of cyber attacks orchestrated by or on behalf of Russian intelligence, or were the documents obtained as a result of one or more leaks by insiders, along with cyber attacks orchestrated by third parties acting independent of any State intelligence service?
    It is important to note that stealing documents and then arranging for their publication, without distorting them in any way to smear the victim is not consistent with the usual practices of Russian intelligence.
    3. Publication and dissemination of information which counters the US media narrative.
    Russia Today and Sputnik have become very adept at pushing information which supports the Russian position and Russian interests.
    There is also an ongoing operation to disseminate this information as widely as possible.
    Relations between the United States and Russia have been deteriorating for some time, so the current efforts to influence domestic US opinion to further Russian interests should come as no surprise.
    (As an aside, the Chinese are now heavily involved in the same effort.)
    At the same time, for a number of reasons, the domestic credibility of much of what used to be known as the “Democratic media complex” has collapsed, and since the 2016 election, the situation has gotten even worse.
    In summary, like many other foreign governments, the Russian Government did seek to interfere in the 2016 election. The exact extant and scope of that interference remains unclear.
    The current focus on Russia by many Democratic and some Republican politicians, as well as various political operatives and their media allies is extremely unhelpful.
    Furthermore, the refusal by the left and the militaristic right to accept the election results and the peaceful transfer of power does not bode well for the country.
    Also, if the FBI and the other agencies involved have completed their counter-intelligence investigation and found no evidence of collusion, why do we need a Special Counsel?
    Can not the prosecution of those involved in committing cyber crimes be carried out by the Department of Justice?
    How can there be a claim of obstruction of justice if the FBI and other agencies have been able to proceed with their investigations.
    As to claims about illegal business dealings, what are we talking about and why the need for Special Counsel? Can not the prosecutions of any alleged criminal activity be carried out by the Department of Justice?
    Just my two cents on this whole topic.

  215. FkDahl says:

    In regards to counterbattery the Ukies had:
    fixed artillery positions without camouflage
    remained in place for significant amount of time
    many pieces in proximity – seen a full battalion in a line
    used radio (US officer was dismayed how quickly the Russians found the radio and disturbed it).
    All of this contributes to CB.

  216. FkDahl says:

    It is also easier and cheaper to provide the truth. Take the White Helmets as an example – this is an extensive setup, with a budget in the many tens of millions – neutered by a couple of videos of White Helmets guys hanging out with their Al Qaeda buddies. Cost for that? Close to zero.

  217. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I think of models as a “simple” description of the data/the past, with “simple” defined by what it is that we are capable of calculating. Advances in ML have given us a vastly more advanced notion of what “simple” entails (I’m still enough of an old fashioned statistician that the idea of “training” and “validating” models seem a bit gimmicky, even if they allow for more robust models. I suppose I find the terminology a bit objectionable, since it presupposes that models are for “prediction,” about which I’m very ambivalent.) We can describe the past with ever more precision now than before. Since we do know that past repeats itself for the proverbial 99% o the time, this is a powerful thing and something that can be used as a foundation to build on, with the right set of insights. I guess I’m just suspicious that a lot of hype is getting in the way of the “right set of insights.”

  218. kao_hsien_chih says:

    And MI6 is a foreign intelligence agency (not that US intel agencies getting involved in domestic politics is not something to be ignored)…..

  219. Peter AU says:

    The parts of this thread on reflexive control coupled to AI programs are an eye opener.
    Even now, it is a long and crooked road, many dead ends to travel from MSM to the few sites on the internet like this and get a better understanding of what is occuring in real time.
    A few more years and AI using reflexive control will be running on all social media sites and search engines. For the average person to find their way out of the matrix of official narratives will then be near impossible.

  220. David,
    Glad you weren’t offended by my opening remarks. I figured you’d be inured to such things since you’ve enjoyed a steady diet of acerbic British wit.
    As for the Steele dossier, I had a hard time getting past the idea of the “pee pee tape.” The twittersphere had a hilarious time with that for 24 hours after the dossier was released. I pretty much ignored it after that. I think the FBI started looking at with a jaundiced eye last June, but i don’t see any indications that they took it too seriously… or at least were embarrassed to be seen as taking it seriously. Although I do think the FBI used parts of it to steer their own investigations. I have no idea what, if anything, they corroborated or definitively disproved.
    As I pointed out in my last comment to Publius Tacitus, I think a good deal of the information about the Russian IO was obtained from a HUMINT penetration of Putin’s inner circle which was migrated to a cyber or SIGINT collection operation before it was blown by the arrest of two FSB officers in January. That is all just a guess on my part. I have no inside information to back it up. If I did, I wouldn’t be saying a damned thing about it.

  221. Peter AU says:

    This thread is old now, but just run onto an article at the guardian.
    AI for censorship and redirection of search engines is now a reality.
    …YouTube also said that it had begun working with 15 more NGOs and institutions, including the Anti-Defamation League, the No Hate Speech Movement, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in an effort to improve the system’s understanding of issues around hate speech, radicalisation and terrorism to better deal with objectionable content.
    Google will begin enforcing tougher standards on videos that could be deemed objectionable, but are not illegal, in the coming weeks. The company said that YouTube videos flagged as inappropriate that contain “controversial religious or supremacist content”, but that do not breach the company’s policies on hate speech or violent extremism will be placed in a “limited state”.
    A YouTube spokesperson said: “The videos will remain on YouTube behind an interstitial, won’t be recommended, won’t be monetised, and won’t have key features including comments, suggested videos, and likes.”….
    Within a few years, sites like SST will be impossible to find on the internet. All searchers will be redirected to pc sites.

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