Pindo Junta officially accuses Russia of hacking
Ellen Nakashima, WaPo, Oct 8 2016
The Obama administration on Friday officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the DNC and other political organizations. The denunciation, made by the ODNI and the DHS, came as pressure was growing from within the administration and some lawmakers to publicly name Moscow and hold it accountable (sic! – RB) for actions apparently aimed at sowing discord around the election. A joint statement from the two agencies said:
The Pindosi so-called intelligence community is confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from Pindo persons and institutions, including from Pindo political organizations. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the Pindosi election process.
The public finger-pointing was welcomed by senior Democrat and Republican Congress critturs, who also said they now expect the administration to move to punish the Kremlin (sic! – RB) as part of an effort to deter further acts by its hackers. Sen Ben Sasse, a member of the homeland security committee, said:
Today was just the first step. Russia must face serious consequences. Moscow orchestrated these hacks because Putin believes
Soviet-style aggressionkicking sand in your face at the beach in front of your girlfriend is worth it. Pindostan must upend Putin’s calculus (sic! – RB) with a strong diplomatic, political, cyber and economic response.
The White House has been mulling potential responses, such as economic sanctions (sic! – RB), but no formal recommendation to the president has been made. The DNC publicly disclosed the intrusions in June, saying its investigation determined that Russian government hackers were behind the breach. That was followed shortly after by a major leak of DNC emails, some so embarrassing that they forced the resignation of the DNC chair, Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on the eve of the Democrat National Convention. The administration also blamed Moscow for the hack of the DCCC and the subsequent leak of private email addresses and cellphone numbers of Democrat lawmakers. A series of other leaks of hacked material followed. The digitally purloined material has appeared on websites such as DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks. It has included the private emails of former Sec State Colin Powell and aides to Hillary Clinton. The statement said:
An online persona calling himself Guccifer 2.0 has claimed responsibility for posting the material. Those sites and that persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials (sic! – RB) could have authorized these activities.
The Kremlin responded on Friday dismissed the administration’s accusation. Dmitry Peskov commented:
This is some sort of nonsense. Every day this site gets attacked by tens of thousands of hackers. Many of these attacks can be traced to Pindosi territory. It’s not as though we accuse the White House or Langley of doing it each time it happens.
The Obama administration
noted alleged that attempts to interfere in other countries’ political processes are not new to Moscow. Russian hackers have used hacking and other techniques to influence public opinion in Europe and Eurasia, it noted alleged. On the eve of a critical post-revolution the Nazi junta’s pro forma presidential vote in Ukraine in 2014, for instance, a digital assault nearly allegedly nearly crippled the country’s central election commission website. The intelligence community has for weeks been confident that hackers tied to Russian spy agencies were behind the DNC hack. Senior boxtops at the DoJ & DHS pressed the White House to go public with an accusation. But a number of admin boxtops were worried that such a statement would appear to politicize the issue in the weeks before the election. They were also concerned about the Kremlin’s reaction and about inadvertently disclosing sensitive intelligence sources and methods. Lisa Monaco, Obama’s adviser on counter-terrorism and homeland security at a WaPo cyber-summit Thursday (sic! – RB):
Is it in our interest to act? The primary guiding and overarching focus in these discussions is what is in the national security interest of Pindostan. That’s the north star (sic! – RB) for those discussions.
Senior admin boxtops in recent weeks had begun to hint that a public attribution might be coming. Monaco said at a cyber-conference at CSIS last month:
We know Russia is a bad actor in cyberspace, just as China has been, just as Iran has been. Nobody should think that there is a free pass (sic! – RB) when you’re conducting malicious cyber-activity.
Asst Attorney-General John Carlin said at the same event:
The message to countries such as Russia, that attempt to meddle in the Pindosi election is, you can and will be held accountable.
With the public naming of Moscow, the administration has now officially called out all its major nation-state foes in cyber-space: China, Iran, North Korea and Russia. But among the four, Russia is the only government that has not been subject to a deterrent measure. The administration has a range of options, including economic sanctions for malicious cyber-activity, a new tool created by the president that has never been used before (sic! – RB). The DoJ could bring indictments for hacking. The NSA could take a covert action in cyberspace to send a signal to the Kremlin. The State Dept could also eject the Russian ambassador. Jason Healey of Columbia University said:
CYBERCOM should disrupt Russian hacking operations. Go after their command and control. Counter-offensive is the key word here.
Rep Adam Schiff, ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, urged the administration to work with European vassals to develop a “concerted” response, whether it involves economic sanctions or other measures. Schiff said:
The best way to push back is in a truly international effort to let the Russians know there will be costs (sic! – RB) to this latest form of cyber-aggression, against others.
Pindostan formally accuses Russian hackers of political cyber attacks
Mark Hosenball, Dustin Volz, Jonathan Landay, Reuters, Oct 7 2016
WASHINGTON – The Pindo junta for the first time on Friday formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democrat Party organizations ahead of the Nov 8 presidential election. A Pindo government statement said on Friday about hacking of political groups:
We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the Pindo election process.
Pindo intel boxtops concluded weeks ago that the Russian government was conducting or orchestrating cyber attacks against the DNC and the DCCC, possibly to disrupt or discredit the election. A Kremlin spokesman called the Pindo allegations “nonsense,” said Interfax. Also on Friday, Jackass Kerry said Russian and Syrian actions in the Syrian civil war, (purportedly) including bombings of hospitals, “beg for” a war crimes investigation. In addition, a Pindo intel boxtop said Friday that Russia is moving short-range nuclear-capable missiles into Kaliningrad, confirming Estonian news reports. Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta said public blaming for the hacks left one remaining question of “why Donald Trump continues to make apologies for the Russians.” Trump had previously expressed doubt about Russia’s involvement. In July, he suggested Russia should attempt to retrieve and publish emails from Clinton’s private server. Hours after the Pindo government’s accusation was levied, WikiLeaks posted hundreds of emails on its website purportedly hacked from Podesta’s private account.
Until Friday, the administration had avoided publicly naming Russia in connection with the mounting civilian deaths in Syria or the cyber attacks. The statement by the DHS and the ODNI did not blame the Russian government for hacking attempts against state election systems, but said “scanning and probing” of those systems originated in most cases from servers operated by a Russian company. However, a DHS spokesman told Reuters that Pindo boxtops have concluded that the hacking attacks or probes of state voter registration systems are “consistent with Russian motivations.” Concern has grown about the reliability of the Pindo voting system as a result of the breach, and Trump has called the system “rigged,” but without providing specific evidence. Pindo intel boxtops have said there is no evidence that voting recording systems have been manipulated.
Naming Russia as the actor behind the cyber attacks on political organizations falls short of more punitive measures that Pindostan has taken against other countries for cyber intrusions. Congress critturs of both political parties welcomed the formal accusation. Sen Cory Gardner, chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Cyber-Security, said he planned to introduce sanctions legislation. A senior Pindo boxtop said the administration is considering other retaliatory steps against Russia, but he declined to identify them. Those steps may remain covert, they said. In Friday’s statement, the government said disclosures of emails by WikiLeaks and hacking entities known as DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 “are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.” WikiLeaks has not identified the source of its leaks and criticized those who have claimed it was Russia. Guccifer 2.0 has identified himself as a Romanian hacker, but intel boxtops have concluded it and DCLeaks are both fronts for Russian spy units.
Pindostan accuses Russia of cyber-attack on elections
AFP, Oct 7 2016
WASHINGTON — Directly accusing Russia of trying to manipulate the 2016 Pindosi presidential election, Pindostan on Friday issued a stark warning that it would act when it wants to protect its interests. Echoing language usually reserved for military campaigns, a senior administration official told AFP:
We will take action to protect our interests, including in cyberspace, and we will do so at a time and place of our choosing. The sheeple should not assume that they will necessarily know what actions have been taken or what actions we will take. The sheeple and our democracy are resilient to foreign attempts to manipulate public opinion. The government is committed to ensuring a secure election process and has robust capabilities to detect efforts to interfere with our elections.
Earlier, ODNI & DHS took the unusual step of publicly accusing the Russian government of directing cyber-attacks on Pindosi political organizations. The statement said a series of email hacks leaked to DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks by Guccifer 2.0, were “intended to interfere with the Pindo election process.” It said:
We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.
They said it was less clear that the Russian government was behind other efforts to manipulate voting machines and systems.
Joint DHS and ODNI Election Security Statement
ODNI, Oct 7 2016
The Pindo Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from Pindo persons and institutions, including from Pindo political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the Pindo election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow. The Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities. Some states have also recently seen scanning and probing of their election-related systems, which in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company. However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government. The Intelligence Community and the DHS assess that it would be extremely difficult for someone, including a nation-state actor, to alter actual ballot counts or election results by cyber-attack or intrusion. This assessment is based on the decentralized nature of our election system in this country and the number of protections state and local election officials have in place. States ensure that voting machines are not connected to the Internet, and there are numerous checks and balances as well as extensive oversight at multiple levels built into our election process. Nevertheless, DHS continues to urge state and local election officials to be vigilant and seek cybersecurity assistance from DHS. A number of states have already done so. DHS is providing several services to state and local election officials to assist in their cyber-security. These services include cyber “hygiene” scans of Internet-facing systems, risk and vulnerability assessments, information sharing about cyber-incidents, and best practices for securing voter registration databases and addressing potential cyber-threats. DHS has convened an Election Infrastructure Cyber-Security Working Group with experts across all levels of government to raise awareness of cyber-security risks potentially affecting election infrastructure and the elections process. Secretary Johnson and DHS boxtops are working directly with the National Association of Secs State to offer assistance, share information, and provide additional resources to state and local boxtops.