Another SIGINT compromise …


"Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.

Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said.

It is unclear if any of those countries acted on the discussions, but Kushner’s contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, the officials said.

Kushner’s interim security clearance was downgraded last week from the top-secret to the secret level, which should restrict the regular access he has had to highly classified information, according to administration officials.  Washpost


 Most people will probably be struck by the fall from grace of Kushner and other WH staff dilettantes.  I am not terribly interested in that.  What strikes me is that this is the third major compromise of US SIGINT products in the last year.  The first was the felonious disclosure to the press of US intelligence penetration of Russian diplomatic communications.  the second was the disclosure to the press of penetration of GRU communications.  In this one the oral or written  discussions among the officials of several foreign countries are revealed.  These conversations were probably encrypted. 

Is Jeff Sessions still alive?  Why are there no prosecutions for these felonies?  pl

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62 Responses to Another SIGINT compromise …

  1. b says:

    There is some law in borg world:
    “No crime is committed in any case that helps to dismantle the Trump regime and its threat to our projects.”

  2. TV says:

    Jeff Sessions is busy napping and don’t count on the “career” lawyers (mostly Democrat and Trump-haters) to do anything;the same bunch that passed on prosecuting Lois Lerner and contributed heavily to Clinton’s campaign.
    “Secret” has become just another meaningless word in the swamp.

  3. paul says:

    Democracy only works when the losers relinquish the reigns of the state, i think that’s over, the base of both parties are alienated and the elites of both parties drunk on power.
    they are harming america they are harming “trump’s america”
    i think this will be our new status quo for the foreseeable future.

  4. LeaNder says:

    Do I understand you correctly, Colonel, none of these three incidences should have ever been made public?
    It’s surely peculiar that any of this ends up in the media. …

  5. Leaky Ranger says:

    Maybe there is a clear and present danger in the White House?

    Kushner’s Business Got Loans From Companies After White House Meetings
    Apollo, the private equity firm, and Citigroup made large loans last year to the family real estate business of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior adviser.

  6. raven says:

    But, but . . her emails!

  7. Duck1 says:

    Apparently certain souls are being soothed?

  8. Compared to Mueller’s investigative team, the whole government is leaking like a sieve. However, I do wonder how much of this is a compromise of active SIGINT capability. I think the Russian were well aware something was up when Obama confronted Putin and Brennan did the same to his Russian counterpart after the election. If this capability included a variation of the SS7 exploit, that’s know to all, including hackers. It’s continued effectiveness relies on human nature. Everybody continues to carry their smart phones around and seemingly can no longer live without them. I thought the release of the Dutch cyber-espionage capability was a massive security breach even though the specific penetration of the COZY BEAR hackers ended long ago. The dueling HPSCI memos are another example of leaking classified information. It’s all casualties of war (soft war, but war nonetheless), both internal and external.
    For Kushner’s vulnerability to foreign manipulation, there seems to be a lot out there beyond this one WAPO story. This month old article lays out the problems existence over the last year with China.

  9. catherine says:

    Sessions is alive but Trump is beating him to investigate the FISA abuse.
    Sessions may not be around much longer.
    Donald J. Trump
    Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!
    14 hours ago · Twitter

  10. Marko says:

    Could you please refer to articles which discuss US intelligence penetration of Russian diplomatic and GRU communications?

  11. flamingo says:

    Sessions is barely able to pull off a Mr Magoo performance unlike his two predecessors who are now appearing like over achievers when compared to Magoo. Those two achieved nothing so it isn’t hard for Magoo to beat that record. Lets get some action and appoint Trey Gowdy. While Trump is at it he might tar and feather the saboteur that put Sessions up for appointment.

  12. TomV says:

    “Is Jeff Sessions still alive? ” …Great ‘punch line” It says it all!

  13. pantaraxia says:

    According to Sessions there are presently 27 open investigations of classified leaks whereas the previous two years had three each.

  14. jsn says:

    Unless and until Sessions starts arresting people, I’ll continue to assume what we are witnessing is a poker match of competing corruptions, private and public, where all the players, because of their personal rot, have weak hands. They are all so corrupt they can’t hold any of the face cards that real honor or morality could deal and they’re too personally opportunistic to hold the aces of integrity or ethics. So they’re all playing the numbers and suits and since ante was called in a smoke filled room, who knows what the wild cards are? No doubt they’re many so chance will play a big part. That is where Trumps core talent figures in. Trump performs very well in chaotic environments because he can read other peoples reactions to the risks and opportunities they perceive and position himself to dominate and benefit from path dependent outcome featuring other peoples attempts at self preservation. As long as it doesn’t start WW3, I’m enjoying the show.

  15. turcopolier says:

    Yes, none of the compromises of US penetrations of encrypted Russian government communications should ever have been made public. The penetration of such systems is an enormous enterprise and is vital to our (NATO) knowledge of Russian intentions on the world scene. I worked for three years in an activity that policed the security of our successes. The penalty for a US official or government contractor for breaching that security is 20 years in prison and IMO that penalty is richly justified. pl

  16. jonst says:

    as far as I’m concerned watching these compromises is akin to being worried about an active burglary ring in your neighborhood……while in the mean time your house is being taken away–unscrupulously-by your new mortgage company. It is not unreasonable to worry about the ring…but the main threat is an ‘elite’, bi-partisan, ruling class that is selling out the Nation because the profits are better overseas. And has been since the Soviet Union fell and that threat of ideological betrayal lost its meaning.
    This is the manure that the DC ‘Consulting’ Class has been grown with….to its Olympian Heights.

  17. Terry says:

    Partisan politics is trumping the welfare of the Sovereign state.

  18. plantman says:

    I think the attacks on Kushner are particularly evil and calculating…. And they could pose a real danger to the country!
    Look: The reason Trump’s enemies want Kushner gone is because Trump does not have a wide circle of friends he can trust, so his enemies want to further isolate him so he can be controlled BY THEM.
    The danger is that he will get increasingly embattled, erratic and paranoid.
    Then what??
    Maybe they think that’s a reliable way to control someone like Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon, but Trump???
    No way.
    Trump has shown time and again that he does not respond to situations like other people.
    I think that creates a potentially grave situation for the country, the country these deep-state vermin never think about. They only think about themselves.

  19. turcopolier says:

    “I do wonder how much of this is a compromise of active SIGINT capability. I think the Russian were well aware something was up when Obama confronted Putin and Brennan did the same to his Russian counterpart after the election.” Unless you had access to the products under discussion and saw a major drop in the productivity of these operations, you are guessing. pl

  20. pl,
    Yes, I am guessing. I have no idea if or when there was a major drop in the productivity of those operations. If i knew for sure, I wouldn’t be saying so on the open internet. If anybody here does know of any drop in major productivity, they ought not to confirm or deny it either. But I would assume the Russians would reevaluate their security after the President and CIA Director personally told them that we knew exactly what they were doing as early as September 2016 at the G20 Summit. IMO Obama should have quietly taken actions through IC and CYBERCOM capabilities and not say anything to anybody. Stuff has been going on in the shadows for many years. That’s where it can be most effective and that’s where it should stay.

  21. Green Zone Café says:

    I think what TTG is alluding to is that the source may be from another SIGINT establishment, not the USA. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    Given the vague nature of the allegations against Kushner, for all we know, it’s Turkey, Brazil, or the UK leaking.
    The reason why Jeff Sessions isn’t prosecuting anyone is because he has no evidence against an American who is leaking.

  22. egl says:

    The leaks could have come from inside the White House. There’s no shortage of insiders and wanna-be insiders who don’t like Javanka’s access to Trump.

  23. Sid Finster says:

    I do hope that this is a rhetorical question – nothing will be done because the Deep State, the Borg, whatever you want to call it, does not particularly want Kushner involved in policy.
    I do not want Kushner involved in policy either, but I am not leaking anything to get him forced to the side.

  24. Brad Ruble says:

    Does anyone know who recorded and released the Victoria Nuland conversation? Was she talking on a secure phone?

  25. Lefty says:

    @ 17
    Bingo. Thank you. There is nothing ambiguous or subjective about these leaks, the damage they can do, the lack of prosecution of the leakers, or the penalties for those breaching security.
    The loss of access seems likely to be profound and regaining it very expensive both in dollars and lost intelligence.

  26. Fred says:

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

  27. turcopolier says:

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

  28. The Beaver says:

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

  29. Laura says:

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

  30. Pacifca Advocate says:

    With all due repsect, Col:
    Perhaps Jeff Sessions isn’t the man you hope him to be?

  31. Mark Logan says:

    jsn, re post 13.
    The competing corporations are the parties. You reminded me of this prescient bit from George’s Farewell Address:
    “The common and continual mischief’s [sic] of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion.”

  32. Leaky Ranger says:
  33. Annem says:

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

  34. catherine says:

    plantman said…
    I think the attacks on Kushner are particularly evil and calculating…. And they could pose a real danger to the country!
    LOL…I think Kushner is a danger to the country. I don’t want a guy who shared his bedroom with Netanyahu and who’s father is a jailbird and uber funder of illegal Israeli settlements any where near the WH much less privy to the presidents daily intelligence briefings.
    As the saying goes….if Trump wants a friend let him get a dog.

  35. turcopolier says:

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

  36. I find it absurd that anyone is making it news that foreign governments are trying to find ways to manipulate White House connected officials.
    Surely this is the nature of the beast. Both in the US and in foreign governments. Why would anyone expect anything different.
    Ah, yes, because everyone in the US government is supposed to be honest, honorable, and of impeccable character (and brilliant to boot) – whereas anyone in a foreign government is a scumbag capable only of nefarious intentions and criminal methods.
    Well, the latter might be true – but it’s also true of the former.
    As for SIGINT leaks, I suspect anyone in any government who isn’t assuming their most encrypted conversations are immediately revealed to the NSA are idiots. If they don’t know how it’s being done, I would imagine they’ve already ordered their intelligence people to find out how. In the meantime, they’re resigned to speaking over any communication link only information that isn’t “Eyes Only” military technology secrets.
    And even that isn’t necessarily true. Yesterday Putin revealed no less than FIVE major Russian military breakthroughs in a speech.
    So, yes, our leakers are revealing our SIGINT capabilities – without revealing how it’s done. But since Snowden, my guess is most foreign government officials have already been told by their intelligence people that nothing they say is really secure unless it’s face to face in a SCIF.
    I have a meme I use in computer security: “You can haz better security, you can haz worse security. But you cannot haz ‘security’. There is no security. Deal.” It would behoove most people to take that to heart.
    However, the Colonel is certainly correct in that our leakers appear intent to reveal our secrets for political purposes – and they should be arrested and imprisoned for that.

  37. Kooshy says:

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

  38. turcopolier says:

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

  39. jsn says:

    Corruption, not corporations, and the problem is beyond the parties. Both parties have a NeoCon hawk wing that wants permanent war everywhere and both parties have dissenting wings that are more interested in domestic agendas.
    But the corruption at play is beyond that of the parties, corrupt though they truly are: the real legal problems that have ensnared Kushner are ones Trump has to worry about also and they don’t originate in politics, they originate in Trump’s and Kushner’s roles as Oligarchs in America.
    One of the defining characteristics of Trump is that as an Oligarch he is the first to have disintermediated the political classes of both parties in his assent to power and now holds power independent of them. Most of the S Show we’ve been watching for the last year is the already deeply divided, and corrupt, political class trying to impose the the order Trump’s voters voted him in to overthrow onto Trump.
    The thing is, they’re all so sleazy that no one can act honestly and so we get interminable innuendo, leaking, inconclusive memos and counter memos always screening real secretes no one involved wants out in public which ultimately result in charges of “Defrauding America” that now hang in the air like a Sword of Damocles threatening any dissenting voice with indictment.
    So the secret security state is incrementally expanding its control of allowable political discourse until such time as someone forces the issues into the courts. Sessions, as the dog that didn’t bark, is thus far looking more part of the problem than solution.

  40. The Beaver says:

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

  41. turcopolier says:

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

  42. VietnamVet says:

    I agree 100%. The next three years are incredibly dangerous. As the Colonel indicates someone high enough to get classified Russian Ambassador SIGINT purposefully used it to catch General Flynn in a FBI perjury trap to remove him as National Security Advisor. There is nothing more corrupt than this. It also shows how untouchable General Officers think they are. Even with the President’s Tweets, there still hasn’t been a special prosecutor appointed to investigate it. My take, also, is that this is an oligarchs’ fight over power and they are trying to keep it hidden. The corrupted bicoastal credentialed class that provides the support for the oligarchs haven’t realized quite yet that they are just as much losers in the new world order as the deplorables.
    America on purpose recently killed between five and a hundred Russian mercenaries in Eastern Syria. It is total luck so far that a shooting war with Russia has not broken out. With this gang it will go nuclear immediately.

  43. Valissa says:

    jsn @16 & 40, in complete agreement with you. Great comments! The Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int’l corporations).
    Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled “From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy” and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn’t find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: “Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service.” I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it’s even possible.
    Back when I used to subscribe to STRATFOR, founder George Friedman always made a point of evaluating the elites of whatever country he was analyzing and how they operated amongst themselves and relative to the people and how effective they were or were not in governing a country. But he never did that for the US. I would have paid extra for that report! But of course he could not stay in business if he did such a thing as those people are his clients.
    I think Mike Krieger over at Liberty Blitzkrieg nails it from another perspective with this post:
    The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia
    Blaming Russia for all the nation’s problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn’t support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party.
    By throwing every problem in Putin’s lap, the entrenched bipartisan status quo can tell themselves (and everybody else) that it wasn’t really them and their policies that voters rejected in 2016, rather, the American public was tricked by cunning, nefarious Russians. Ridiculous for sure, but never underestimate the instinctive human desire to deny accountability for one’s own failures. It’s always easier to blame than to accept responsibility.
    That said, there’s a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they’re terrified that — unlike Obama — he’s a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.
    … Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.
    Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn’t provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He’s simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.
    I can’t stand Kushner’s smirky face and got a good chuckle from this prince’s fall as I am not a fan of his passion for Israel. But I don’t think he’s a stupid idiot either. He’s probably very smart in business, but he seems to have no feel for politics. Trump is much better at it than Kushner. Of course they are going after Kushner as a way to attack and disadvantage Trump. Politics is a form of warfare after all.
    My take is that Trump survives but mostly contained by the Borg

  44. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater says,
    No, she was not talking on a secure phone. She was obviously picked up by a scanner. Once picked up, a program could be attached to monitor that phone whenever it was activated. Whether analogue or digital, that phone was now infected. Anyone who ever telephoned her on that phone could be identified and tracked. Their phones could also be infected.
    My opinion about this is that in the event Russian troops took over Kiev, they would arrest all the parties who made contact with Nuland’s phone.
    What intrigues me–if she liked her phone, decided to stick with it, perhaps a new Blackberry, and she took it home to the USA, if she used it in, say,Virginia, could it still be tracked? If so, it could result in knowledge of predictable movement of certain people. And the infection could continue to spread.
    If you get the right scanner and monitor,say,the Academy Awards, you could capture the phone conversations of some very famous people as they arrived. This is done all the time in New York near stadiums, for example.
    This happened to Prince Charles in London.
    I am not a tech guy. I think I am right about this. I could do it myself. Problem is, some type of scanners are now illegal and also hard to get. In Kiev, that would be no problem.

  45. pl,
    None of the articles you linked to provided any clear indication that Russian secure communications were compromised or that there was a drop in productivity of any USI penetration operations. The most recent account talks about intelligence briefings provided to McMaster. These briefings could have referred to SIGINT outside of secure diplomatic communications or even diplomatic cocktail party chitchat. Much of the reporting about Kislyak referred to conversations with Trump associates. Certainly that wasn’t secure communications systems.
    The common denominator in all this reporting is the SS7 exploitation that was known for a long time and was publicly explained at the 2014 Chaos Computer Communications convention in Berlin. This was probably how Nuland’s “F the EU” conversation was picked up. This is no longer a technical breach of secure communications. It’s a breach of human behavior. These smartphones are ubiquitous and open everyone around them to 24/7 surveillance.
    Having said all that, I agree with you in considering these disclosures felonious.

  46. turcopolier says:

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

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

  48. turcopolier says:

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

  49. turcopolier says:

    Still trying to work it out? pl

  50. turcopolier says:

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

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

  52. mikee says:

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

  53. Wunduk says:

    Just finished reading “Near and Distant Neighbors” by Prof. Haslan who chronicles the failures of Soviet SIGINT and their HUMINT triumphs in a nice little book (published 2015). It makes me think that the current Russian officials with their background in CI are not under-assessing the US capabilities, but set priorities in action over deniability.
    But this WaPo article is not about the Russians, so @TTG (your comment number 48) and @turcopolier (comment number 51), the nature of the US capability being revealed to the UAE, China, Israel and Mexico might be simply the SS7 exploitation, but I guess whether it was this capability or any other one does not matter in the argument.
    Am I right to think that in this article the critical wording is the following sentence: “… person familiar with intelligence intercepts of foreign officials discussing Kushner” giving as the source the “intercepts”. And the timeframe given as “spring 2017” could be read together.
    Besides the point what Kushner’s dealings with foreign officials were, whether they were declared in his security clearance form or not, and whether omissions were due to negligence or determination, I get the impression that the article implies strongly with the above sentence that the discussions of officials in the UAE, etc. were monitored through “intercepts” which means SIGINT.
    The article could have left out this piece, or the original sources for the information could have simply said they know this information from their sources. But someone chose to insert the word “intercept”.
    Under the guise of publishing material relevant to the integrity of the President’s special advisor and son-in-law, the article advertises that the US was able to monitor specific conversations of official in the UAE in spring 2017. This makes it pretty clear to the Emirati officials, which of their communications were intercepted. It is a bit less clear for the Chinese, Israeli and Mexican officials, but they might piece it together soon enough.
    Was this group of officials the target audience for the article? Certainly they would have preferred to be briefed not in the newspaper.
    As I do not know any of the journalists or their sources involved, but my guess is that the desire to give more weight to the allegations against Kushner’s integrity overruled their concerns for their sources and methods. That does not show a lot of professionalism.
    So the UAE, Chinese, Israelis and Mexicans now got it served to them by the WaPo that the US is listening to their cell phone conversations. Can – on the basis of this – the CI actors in the four respective countries do anything about this? Likely not. But is gives politicians in each of these countries yet another anti-American argument. But that i maybe not a concern for the WaPo.

  54. turcopolier says:

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

  55. turcopolier says:

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

  56. turcopolier says:

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

  57. You are certainly correct – but that was then and this is now.
    Today, any foreign government or for that matter anyone who thinks his stuff is secure is an idiot. Now, granted there are probably many idiots in foreign governments and terrorist groups and it is undoubtedly useful to take advantage of that fact.
    This doesn’t change the fact that the leakers have done a disservice to the nation. But I still doubt that the leaks have revealed anything critical about our capabilities to the non-idiots in Russia and elsewhere.
    However, one also has to admit that confirming our capabilities is something different than speculating about or assuming our capabilities. In this regard, obviously the leakers have done something bad. I don’t dispute that.

  58. turcopolier says:

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

  59. Wunduk says:

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

  60. JW says:

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

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