Stunning Admission from Obama on Wikileaks
Craig Murray, Jan 18 2017
In his final press conference, beginning around 08:30, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. This undermines the stream of completely evidence-free nonsense that has been emerging from the US intelligence services this last two months, in which a series of suppositions have been strung together to make unfounded assertions that have been repeated again and again in the mainstream media. Most crucially of all, Obama refers to “the DNC emails that were leaked.” Note, “leaked,” not “hacked.” I have been repeating that this was a leak not a hack until I am blue in the face. William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, has asserted that were it a hack the NSA would be able to give the precise details, down to the second it occurred, and it is plain from the reports released they have no such information. Yet the media has persisted with this nonsense “Russian hacking” story. Obama’s reference to the “the DNC emails that were leaked” appears very natural, fluent and unforced. It is good to have the truth finally told.
Obama Parting Shot: “The DNC Emails Were Leaked”
Moon of Alabama, Jan 18 2017
CIA, NSA and FBI claim that IT systems of the DNC + Podesta were “hacked” in an operation related to the Russian government. They assert that emails copied during the “hack” were transferred by Russian government-related hackers to Wikileaks, which then published them. Obama disagrees. He says those emails were “leaked.” Wikileaks had insisted that the emails it published came from an insider source, not from any government. The DNC emails proved that the supposedly neutral DNC had manipulated the primary presidential elections in favor of the later candidate Hillary Clinton. This made it impossible for the alternative candidate Bernie Sanders to win the nomination. Hillory Clinton, who had extremely high unfavorable ratings, lost the final elections. The POTUS disagrees with those intelligence services. He says that the DNC emails were “leaked”, i.e. copied by an insider, and then transferred to Wikileaks. At the time around the leaking the DNC IT-administrator Seth Rich was found murdered for no apparent reason in the streets of Washington DC. The murder case was never solved. Here is Obama in his final press conference yesterday (vid @8:31):
First of all, I haven’t commented on WikiLeaks generally. The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether Wikileaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC emails that were leaked.
The DNC emails “that were leaked,” not “hacked” or “stolen” but “leaked.” One wonders if this is a parting shot is primarily aimed at the agencies lof DNI Clapper and DCI Brennan. Or is dissing Hillary Clinton and her narrative the main purpose? Obama’s judgement could change the political pressure towards a new cold war with Russia if the mainstream media would pick it up and discuss it. But the media are widely invested in the “hacking” claims (and even create their own ones from hot air). They are also furthering the anti-Russian narrative. We therefore can not expect that they will report this presidential parting shot at all. h/t – Shuaib M. Almosawa
A Demand for Proof from Pres Obama of Russian Hack
‘VIPS’, Jan 17 2017
As Donald Trump prepares to take the oath of office Friday, a pall hangs over his upcoming presidency amid an unprecedentedly concerted campaign to delegitimize it. Unconfirmed accusations continue to swirl alleging that Putin authorized Russian hacking that helped put him in the White House. As President for a few more days, you have the power to demand concrete evidence of a link between the Russians and WikiLeaks, which published the bulk of the information in question. Lacking that evidence, the Pindo creeple should be told that there is no fire under the smoke and mirrors of recent weeks. We urge you to authorize public release of any tangible evidence that takes us beyond the unsubstantiated “we-assess” judgments by the intelligence agencies. Otherwise we and other skeptical Pindosis will be left with the corrosive suspicion that the intense campaign of accusations is part of a wider attempt to discredit the Russians and those like Trump who wish to deal constructively with them. Alleged Russian interference has been labeled an act of war and Trump a traitor, but the intelligence served up to support those charges does not pass the smell test. (You are urged) to respond more persuasively to NBC’s Peter Alexander’s challenge at your last presser on Dec 16:
Show the proof! Put your money where your mouth is, and declassify some of the intelligence!
You told Alexander you were reluctant to “compromise sources and methods.” We can understand that concern better than most Pindosis, but we would remind you that at critical junctures in the past, your predecessors made judicious decisions to give higher priority to buttressing the credibility of their intelligence-based policy than to protecting sources and methods. With the Kremlin widely accused by politicians and pundits of an act of war, this is the kind of textbook case in which you might seriously consider taking special pains to substantiate serious allegations with hard intelligence, if there is any. During the Cuban missile crisis, Pres Kennedy ordered us to show highly classified photos of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba and on ships en route, even though this blew sensitive detail regarding the imagery intelligence capabilities of the cameras on our U-2 aircraft. Pres Reagan’s reaction to the Libyan terrorist bombing of La Belle Disco in Berlin on Apr 5 1986 that killed two Pindo servicemen and injured 79 others is another case in point. We had intercepted a Libyan message that morning:
At 1:30 in the morning one of the acts was carried out with success, without leaving a trace behind.
We should add here that NSA’s dragnet SIGINT capability 30 years later renders it virtually impossible to avoid leaving a trace behind, once a message is put on the network. Reagan ordered the USAF to bomb Gaddafi’s palace, killing several civilians (including his adopted child – RB). Amid widespread international consternation and demands for proof that Libya was responsible for the Berlin attack, Reagan ordered us to make public the encrypted Libyan message, thereby sacrificing a collection/decryption capability theretofor unknown to the Libyans. As CIA veteran Milton Bearden put it, there are occasions when more damage is done by protecting sources and methods than by revealing them. We find the NYT- & WaPo-led media blitz against Trump and Putin truly extraordinary, despite our long experience with intelligence- and media-related issues. On Jan 6, the day after your so-called top intel boxtops published what we found to be an embarrassingly shoddy report purporting to prove Russian hacking in support of Trump’s candidacy, the NYT ran a banner headline across all six columns on page 1 with lede following:
PUTIN LED SCHEME TO AID TRUMP, REPORT SAYS.
Pres Vlad V Impaler of Russia directed a vast cyber-attack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald Trump in the Oval Office, the nation’s top intel agencies said in an extraordinary report they delivered on Friday.
Eschewing all subtlety, the NYT added that the revelations in “this damning report … undermined the legitimacy” of the President-elect, and “made the case that Mr Trump was the favored candidate of Mr Putin.” On page A10, however, NYT investigative reporter Scott Shane pointed out:
What is missing from the public report is what many Pindosis most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission. … Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’ There is no discussion of the forensics used to recognize the handiwork of known hacking groups, no mention of intercepted communications between the Kremlin and the hackers, no hint of spies reporting from inside Moscow’s propaganda machinery. … (The report) offers an obvious reason for leaving out the details, declaring that including ‘the precise bases for its assessments’ would ‘reveal sensitive sources and methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.’
Shane added a quote from Susan Hennessey, who served as an attorney in NSA’s Office of General Counsel and is now a Brookings Fellow in National Security Law:
The unclassified report is underwhelming at best. There is essentially no new information for those who have been paying attention.
There is a lot of ambiguity about Russian hacking, whether calculated or not. Everyone knows that everyone hacks, says everyone. Russia hacks, China hacks, every nation that can do it, hacks. So do individuals of various nationalities. This is not the question. You said at your press conference on Dec 16:
The intelligence that I have seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that the Russians carried out … the hack of the DNC and the hack of John Podesta.
Earlier during the press conference you said that “the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks.” The key question is how the material from “Russian hacking” got to WikiLeaks, because it was WikiLeaks that published the DNC and Podesta emails. Our colleague William Binney, who was Technical Director of NSA and created many of the collection systems still in use, assures us that NSA’s “cast-iron” coverage of Julian Assange and others associated with WikiLeaks would almost certainly have yielded a record of any electronic transfer from Russia to WikiLeaks. Binney has used some of the highly classified slides released by Edward Snowden to demonstrate precisely how NSA accomplishes this, using trace mechanisms embedded throughout the network (See this.) We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks. If NSA can produce such evidence, you may wish to order whatever declassification may be needed and then release the evidence. This would go a long way toward allaying suspicions that no such evidence exists. If NSA cannot give you that information quickly, this would probably mean it does not have it. In all candor, DNI Clapper’s checkered record for trustworthiness makes us much less confident that he is more “trustworthy than the Russians,” as you suggested on Dec 16. Clapper lied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Mar 12 2013 about NSA dragnet activities, later apologizing for testimony he admitted had been “clearly erroneous.” (See here). We endorsed the demand by Rep Jim Sensenbrenner that Clapper be removed. Sensenbrenner told The Hill:
Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it. The only way laws are effective is if they’re enforced.
Actually, we have had trouble understanding why Clapper remains DNI, overseeing the entire intelligence community, almost four years after he deliberately misled the Senate. Our own conclusion is that leaks, not hacks, are the source of the disclosures in question. Leaks normally leave no electronic trace. William Binney has been emphasizing this for several months, and suggesting strongly that the disclosures were from a leaker with physical access to the information, not a hacker with only remote access. Of course, this makes it even harder to pin the blame on Pres Putin or anyone else, and we suspect that this explains why NSA demurred when asked to join the CIA and FBI in expressing “high confidence” in this key judgment of the report put out under Clapper’s auspices on Jan 6, yielding this curious formulation:
We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help Pres-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Sec Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
In addition, former British Ambassador Craig Murray has said publicly he has first-hand information on the provenance of the leaks, and has expressed surprise that no one from the NYT or the WaPo has tried to get in touch with him. We would be interested in knowing whether anyone from your administration, including the intelligence community, has made any effort to contact Ambassador Murray. Trump said a few days ago that his team will have a “full report on hacking within 90 days.” Whatever the findings of the Trump team turn out to be, they will no doubt be greeted with due skepticism, since Mr Trump is in no way a disinterested party. On the other hand, you enjoy far more credibility and power for the next few days, and we assume you would not wish to hobble your successor with charges that cannot withstand close scrutiny. We suggest you order the chiefs of the NSA, FBI and CIA to the White House and ask them to lay all their cards on the table. They need to show you why you should continue to place credence in what you described a month ago as “uniform intelligence assessments” about Russian hacking. At that point, if the intelligence heads have credible evidence, you have the option of ordering it released, even at the risk of damage to sources and methods. For what it may be worth, we will not be shocked if it turns out that they can do no better than the evidence-deprived assessments they have served up in recent weeks. In that case, in all fairness, we would urge you to let the Pindo creeple in on the dearth of convincing evidence before you leave office.
As you will have gathered by now, we strongly suspect that the evidence your intelligence chiefs have of a joint Russian hacking and WikiLeaks publishing operation is no better than the intelligence evidence in 2002-2003, expressed then as flat-out certitude, of the existence of WMDs in Iraq. Mr President, there is much talk in your final days in office about your legacy. Will part of that legacy be that you stood by while flames of illegitimacy rose willy-nilly around your successor? Or will you use your power to reveal the information, or the fact that there are merely unsupported allegations, that would enable us to deal with them responsibly? In the immediate wake of the MLK holiday, it seems appropriate to make reference to his legacy, calling to mind the graphic words in his “Letter From the Birmingham City Jail,” with which he reminds us of our common duty to expose lies and injustice:
Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
William Binney, former Technical Director of World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder of SIGINT Automation Research Center;
Marshall Carter-Tripp, former FSO and former Office Director in the State Dept Bureau of Intelligence and Research;
Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA;
Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security;
Philip Giraldi, former CIA Operations Officer;
Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, Communications Intelligence Service, special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former Senator;
Matthew Hoh, former Capt USMC, FSO Iraq & Afghanistan;
Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer, former State Dept Counter-Terrorism Officer;
Michael Kearns, former Capt USAF; ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC);
Brady Kiesling, former FSO;
John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counter-Terrorism Officer, former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee;
Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt-Col USAF at Office of Sec Def watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003;
Linda Lewis, former WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA;
David MacMichael, former member National Intelligence Council;
Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst;
Todd Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate;
Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA;
Scott Ritter, former MAJ, USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq;
Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel;
Peter Van Buren, State Dept FSO;
Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA;
Robert Wing, former FSO;
Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel and former diplomat.