The Pindosi Intelligence Community Freaks Out About Russia
Andrea O’Sullivan, Reason.com, Jan 10 2017
The wannabe Cold War with Russia continues apace. The Pindosi political establishment has not allowed a few major blunders along the way to hinder the hazy narrative that “Russia hacked our democracy.” Rather, it has doubled down by inflating cyber-threats and inflaming geopolitical tensions. But this full-court press on public opinion has revealed more about the opportunism and opacity of the Pindosi intelligence community and its allies than it has about any specific foreign harm to the Pindo creeple. Last Friday, the intelligence community finally released a declassified version of the vaunted secret CIA report that started it all. The report contains no new technical information, and interestingly enough barely addresses any actual hacking at all. The reader will learn more about RT.com’s Occupy Wall Street coverage than he will about election-related hacking. The report does maintain that Russian intelligence hacked into the DNC and controlled ‘the Guccifer 2.0 persona’ and ‘the DCLeaks.org website’. Notably, it also states that Russia did not interfere with voting machines and that the Wikileaks emails “did not contain any evident forgeries.” But it does not mention the Podesta emails once, and mostly repeats the established narrative that the Russian government strategically molded Pindo opinion to get Donald Trump elected through the Wikileaks disclosures, state-backed news stories, and even “quasi-governmental troll” accounts.
This report may have the unintended consequence of actually generating gratitude for our supposed enemies. Most of the report reads more like an aggrieved Clinton supporter’s 99 possible reasons (other than Hillary herself) why her preferred candidate lost, rather than a measured security analysis. Obviously, people who do not like Clinton are unlikely to take issue with her factual dirty laundry being aired. And plenty of people across the political spectrum join Putin’s trolls in “characterizing Pindostan as a ‘surveillance state’ that perpetrates widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality and drone use.” Of course, the intelligence community can always fall back on its excuse that the report “does not and cannot include the full supporting information” proving many of its claims. And it also purports to merely describe Russia’s motivations, without making any claims about what impact this had on the electoral outcomes. But this also limits its persuasive impact. Many Pindosis, perhaps still reeling from the disastrous CIA-driven Iraq War, have so far not been quick to buy this story based solely on such vague assurances. And the core of the report’s complaints, that certain political actors were embarrassed when their corrupt dealings were made public, didn’t exactly generate much outrage outside of the affected partisan groups.
The declassified report is only the latest in a long line of rhetorical volleys that in the worst case would have the effect of drumming up a new international conflict. In late December, the FBI and the National Cyber-Security and Communications Integration Center of the DHS released a Joint Analysis Report detailing these offices’ public perspectives on the recent rash of leaks. It is the first of its kind to attribute a cyber-attack to a specific actor. The document is another gem in the Pindosi government’s proud tradition of Joseph Helleresque communiqués. The 13-page report starts by informing the reader that it is “provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only,” and that the offices do “not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.” This would later prove prophetic. It then proceeds to unveil a sexy new name for the shadowy enemy du jour: “GRIZZLY STEPPE.” This is an updated Axis of Evil, comprised of the entire “BEAR family.” While the report does not mention them by name, it offers hardly more information than put forth by the CrowdStrike report on the DNC breach and the SecureWorks analysis of the Podesta email intrusion upon which it appears to be based. Indeed, the bulk of the report does not speak specifically about the recent hacks at all, but rather puts forth a standard list of good defensive security techniques that people should practice regardless.
Where the report did mention specifics it goofed, big-time. The associated report files contain what’s called “indicators” of the breaches, which include suspected IP addresses and even a sample of the malware that the threat groups supposedly used. This intrigued many in the puzzle-hungry information security industry, who did some investigating of their own. The feds made a rookie mistake, as the security engineers at WordPress soon discovered. The hardcore malware that the moustache-twirling GRIZZLY STEPPE super-hackers supposedly used was no Russian-backed superbug at all, but a garden-variety piece of old free Ukrainian malware. Furthermore, the “suspicious” IP addresses fingered in the report did not have any obvious connections to the Russian government at all, had been previously involved in a wide range of non-political attacks all across the web, and in fact appeared to mostly originate in Pindostan. In retrospect, it’s easy to see how the FBI and NCCIC could have gotten things so wrong. In early January, BuzzFeed News reported that the FBI had never even asked to examine the DNC’s servers. According to an unnamed intelligence agent, “CrowdStrike is pretty good,” implying they felt that no further investigation was needed. Yet it is fairly unusual for a federal inquiry to solely rely on the work of a commercial firm, particularly when private bodies can have their own conflicts of interest and biases. At any rate, it hardly inspires confidence in their pronouncements on the issue.
This same sloppy rush to find Russian hackers under every piece of malware was evident in the WaPo’s recent fake news faux pas. On New Year’s Eve, its reporters cited anonymous Pindo boxtops that GRIZZLY STEPPE hackers were inside the Pindosi electricity grid. Egad! Suddenly, Putin and his trolls were not just antagonizing Hillary Clinton and her friends. They were physically attacking the Pindo creeple, at least those in Vermont, and threatening to shut off their heat in the middle of winter. Not cool, Russia. Except that’s not what happened at all. There were no Russian hackers in the Burlington Electric computer systems, and there was certainly no threat to our nation’s finest maple syrup producers’ winter heat. So why all the hubbub? A Burlington Electric employee used his laptop to connect to a potentially malicious IP address—probably one of the hundreds examined by the WordPress team. This laptop was not connected to the electric grid, but out of an abundance of caution Burlington flagged the event for the authorities. The game of anonymous federal official telephone somehow turned this benign event into an act of war by a foreign villain. The WaPo sheepishly retracted the story a few days later, but not before yet another wave of paranoid saber-rattling swept the American imagination.
Of course, none of this bungling means that the Russian government (or some group connected to them) did not attempt to infiltrate the computers of Pindosi organizations. On the contrary, there is almost no question that Russia did and does. Everyone, including the Pindosi government, does the same. These continued fumbles demonstrate the extent to which the Pindosi intelligence community and its accomplices have been willing to sacrifice tact and evidence in the apparent pursuit of some unknown agenda that involves escalating tensions with the Russian government. More importantly, they reveal a dangerous tendency for the commentariat to conflate criticism of the Pindosi political establishment with anti-Pindo foreign propaganda. Just as the scare-word “terrorism” has been contorted to fit whatever new threat inconveniences the reigning party, so too will “hacking” and “fake news” be used as a cudgel to cut back on legitimate dissent. This new Russian scare has also underscored the dramatic recent reversal of ideological allegiances. Reliable Thug war-hawks are now joined with formerly antagonistic Demagogues in their lockstep support of the intelligence community. The ‘liberals’ have forgotten their previous complaints about CIA torture, mass surveillance and subversion. For the first time since these polls have been conducted, the Demagogues support the CIA more than the Thugs do. Yet for libertarians, the problems with a self-serving intelligence community run amok remain the same regardless of which party cheers it on. The enemies and contexts may change, but the result is almost always the same: A bigger government, loss of civil liberties, and yet another foreign intervention. Donald Trump says he wants to dramatically overhaul and limit the Pindosi intelligence apparatus. Let’s hope he actually does it.
35 Pages Attack Against Trump Fails – Foreign And Domestic Losses
Moon of Alabama, Jan 12 2017
The tale about the fake accusations about Russian influence on the Pindosi presidential election becomes more gripping by each day. The are part of a larger war between various groups of the “elites” but also include infighting between Pindo government organizations. We know that there was heavy Ukrainian influence on the side of Clinton in the election and in the current smear campaign against Trump and Russia. But it certainly wasn’t Ukraine alone that is behind this. There are more international connections. The “former” MI6 desk officer for Russia Christopher Steele was the one who prepared the 35 pages of obviously false claims about Russian connections with and kompromat against Trump. There are so many inconsistencies in these pages that anyone knowledgeable about the workings in Moscow could immediately identify it as fake. Putin personally started working on Trump five years ago, when Trump had no political role or hope whatsoever? A Trump associate met Russian officials in Prague, even though he has never been in the Czech Republic? Steele spread the fakes throughout the press corps in Faschingstein, but no media published them because these were obviously false accusations. Steele then decided to hand the papers to the FBI, and to talk to its agents hoping they would start an official investigation. He cleared his move (or was ordered to proceed?) at the highest level of the British government:
The Daily Telegraph was told during a meeting with a highly-placed source in Washington DC last October that the FBI had contacted Mr Steele asking if they could discuss his findings with him. The source said that Mr Steele spoke to officials in London to ask for permission to speak to the FBI, which was duly granted, and that Downing Street was informed. … Once he had been given the all-clear, he met an FBI agent in another European country, where he discussed the background to the file he had compiled. His contact with the FBI reportedly began in July last year and ended in October, after he became frustrated by the bureau’s slow progress.
When Steele’s first move with the FBI in October did note deliver the hoped for results an attempt to stove pipe them through Senator John McCain was launched. A “former” British ambassador to Moscow arranged the hand over:
A former British ambassador to Russia has revealed he played a significant role in bringing the Donald Trump ‘dirty dossier’ to the attention of the American intelligence services. Sir Andrew Wood said he spoke to Republican senator John McCain at an international security conference in November about the existence of material that could compromise the president-elect. Mr McCain subsequently handed the document, which contained allegations of lurid sexual behaviour by Mr Trump in Russian hotels, to the head of the FBI.
MI6 is well known for launching fakes on behalf of the British government. Even the second, more official handover to the FBI still did not result in the hoped-for publication of the allegations. But by that time Clinton was widely expected to win the election anyway so no further steps were taken. After Trump unexpectedly won the election a new effort was launched to publish the smears. The DNI decided (or was ordered to) “brief” the President, the President-elect and Congress 8 on the obviously dubious accusations. It was this decision that made sure that the papers would eventually be published. As the NYT noted:
What exactly prompted American intelligence officials to pass on a summary of the unvetted claims to Mr Obama, Mr Trump and Congress? Officials have said they felt the president-elect should be aware of the memos, which had circulated widely in Washington. But putting the summary in a report that went to multiple people in Congress and the executive branch made it very likely that it would be leaked.
Only after Clapper or others leaked to CNN about the briefing of Obama, Trump and Congress, did CNN publish about the 35 pages:
Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr Trump, multiple Pindo boxtops with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN. … The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the most senior Pindosi intelligence chiefs: DNI Clapper, FBI Director Comey, DCI Brennan, and NSA Director Rogers. … CNN has reviewed a 35-page compilation of the memos, from which the two-page synopsis was drawn. The memos have since been published by Buzzfeed. The memos originated as opposition research, first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats. At this point, CNN is not reporting on details of the memos, as it has not independently corroborated the specific allegations.
The last half-sentence is part of the smear campaign. When DNI Clapper recently tried to exculpate himself from the shitstorm he created, he used the same obfuscation:
The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable ..
That is like saying: “The IC has not made any judgement that information of Barack Obama’s Kenyan citizenship is reliable.” Any media or intelligence agency that claims it could or did not judge the content of 35 papers is obfuscating in an attempt to give them additional weight. The easily verifiable content is so obviously false that the few not immediately verifiable claims in it can not be taken serious. The media and Clapper know this and, if they were truthful, would say so. The attack on Trump (and Russia) failed. Trump brushed it of with a few tweets and sentences in his press conference. The attack did not hold up any of the procedures in Congress or elsewhere necessary to install the new administration. It did not change policies. The British government and MI6 have cake on their face. The ODNI and the CIA will bleed. The attack was a deep state attempt to stage a coup against Trump:
Trump has deliberately rattled the members of the deep state with his brazen criticism of U.S. intelligence findings about Russian hacking. Deep government does not stand idly by, as David Runciman wrote recently in the London Review of Books, and allow itself to be shat upon by newcomers. The president-elect has enemies in profusion on the inside who are practiced at the art of the leak. They may have had no official role in this attempt to stage a coup against Trump before he’s even inaugurated, but they must be cheering BuzzFeed’s naughtiness as they sharpen their knives for his administration.
This blog reported and warned a month ago of such “elite” coup attempts. The fight has since become more intense. But this attack failed. Trump gained standing against the “fake news” created by the 35 pages. The fakery and smear attempt was just too obvious. One wonders why it was launched at all. Who panicked? Obama, major Pindo intelligence heads, neocons, the British government, Ukrainian nationalist (aka fascist) circles and the Clinton campaign conspire against Trump and try to derail his announced policy changes. Trump has argued for better relations with Russia and for a concentrated fight in Syria and Iraq against ISIS and other Takfiris and Islamists. This endangers Obama’s legacies of starting a new cold war with Russia and of pampering al Qaeda and ISIS to overthrow the Syrian government. Two fights within the Pindo government are being waged within this larger context. One is the fight between the CIA and the Pentagon over spying competence and lethal operations. DCI Brennan, who was and is Obama’s consigliere and an operative for the Toads, has waged a military campaign in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and several other countries. The CIA’s assassinations by drone are an operational issue which the military believes should be under its exclusive control. On the other side, SOF missions have hindered CIA intelligence-gathering. The CIA support for and training of various Takfiris in Syria, Iraq and Libya is against the interest of the soldiers who eventually will have to fight these groups. The incoming National Security Advisor Flynn warned against the CIA’s policies back in 2012, when he led the DIA. Pindo SOF then sabotaged such CIA operations in Syria. With Flynn coming in as National Security Advisor, the CIA is in danger of losing this fight. Flynn will argue for a CIA that only collects and analyzes and will likely try to move all operations to JSOC. Today the CIA used its unofficial spox to (again) warn Flynn off. Writing in Jeff Bezos’ blog, David Ignatius stenographed the threat:
According to a senior Pindo government boxtop Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars Pindo citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about “disputes” with Pindostan. Was its spirit violated?
A second area of internal conflict is about FBI Director Comey, who was and is insufficiently deferential to the Obama and Clinton cabals. He launched and publicly announced an investigation into Clinton’s proven illegal behavior with regard to her private email server, but he refrained from announcing and investigating the obviously fake accusations against Trump which were peddled to him. Such disloyal misdeeds demands punishment:
The Justice Dept’s inspector general said Thursday that he would open a broad investigation into how FBI director Comey, handled the case over Hillary Clinton’s emails . … The inspector general’s office said that it was initiating the investigation in response to complaints from Congress critturs and the public about actions by the FBI and the Justice Dept during the campaign that could be seen as politically motivated.
The inspector general is serving at the pleasure of the president. He can be fired as soon as Trump is in office. Unless he joins the cabal against Trump, Comey has nothing to fear. But the war against Trump is not over. In my view, Trump should and must be fought but that fight should be about important economic and social issues for which people care, of which there are plenty. Trump has his own cabal, made up of libertarian billionaires like the Koch brothers, several generals in his cabinet and arch Zionists like Adelson. But that cabal’s henchmen are not yet installed throughout the government. It is important to hinder such infestation. The fight as it is waged now is an attempt to redirect Trump’s foreign policies and to generally lesson his foreign policy power. That fight was already lost during the campaign. Every attempt to accuse Trump of this or that “Russia” outrage that has nothing to do with the average voter’s life simply fails. These pseudo scandals waged within the “elite” media against him just makes him stronger. But the cabal was unable to understand that during the campaign and is still unable to get a grip on it. It will continue its attempts and will lessen its own power through its failures. Effort by Obama loyalists against Trump started immediately after election day:
Over the past 10 years, Obama alumni have spread throughout the government, the advocacy world, and influential parts of the private sector, including at Google and Facebook. That means there’s a lot diverse talent to harness.
More attacks on Trump will come even when Trump is in full power and starts to clean house. But all of those who openly work against him will be endangered. The continued open attacks only lay bare the various actors behind them. Those will be be shunned. Each new open attack against Trump will eliminate another power center installed during the Obama administration. If these hopeless attacks continue few will be left to wage the silent, patient resistance against the Trump administration that will be necessary to lessen the damage it will create. To now attack Trump, Flynn, Comey or even Putin is hopeless and unproductive. One thereby wonders why this panic reaction from one side of the deep state cabal continues. What dirt have they hidden that they fear will be unearthed?