The conservative media keeps tripping itself over lies invented by the left-stream media. I cannot blame it. People know the left-stream media lies, but still read it and take in much of what is written there. This time, conservatives fell for the fake news that Guccifer 2.0 (who took credit for release of the damning internal DNC documents) revealed as a GRU officer.
On or around March 21, 2018, The Daily Beast, a leftist tabloid on the lower end of the spectrum, published an “exclusive”: “‘Lone DNC Hacker’ Guccifer 2.0 Slipped Up and Revealed He Was a Russian Intelligence Officer.” The article alleged:
“But on one occasion, The Daily Beast has learned, Guccifer [2.0] failed to activate the VPN client before logging on. As a result, he left a real, Moscow-based Internet Protocol address in the server logs of an American social media company, according to a source familiar with the government’s Guccifer investigation. … Working off the IP address, U.S. investigators identified Guccifer 2.0 as a particular GRU officer working out of the agency’s headquarters on Grizodubovoy Street in Moscow. (The Daily Beast’s sources did not disclose which particular officer worked as Guccifer.)”
Amazingly, this fake news made rounds in the media, including conservative and libertarian publications, and hardly anybody laughed it out or even doubted it. When something like The Daily Beast announces big news citing anonymous sources, one should shrug them off as fake news and move on. But this case is even simpler, because the article claims the impossible – the identification of a person in an organization by an IP address. As everybody even remotely familiar with IT knows, practically every organization is connected to the internet through routers translating between private and public addresses. All connections from a typical mid-size organization have the same IP address – the public address of the router or firewall connecting the organization’s private network to the public internet. When somebody in the organization visits a website, this address is typically logged by the site’s server. That record can be used to identify a medium business, but not the person or even the computer that visited the website. But GRU is not a business, and probably takes steps to avoid identification at all – and that can be easily achieved. For example, it can route its traffic through remotely located proxies, combine its traffic with traffic from unrelated organizations and individuals, and use random IP addresses. Thus, the whole piece is a left-stream media hoax, possibly made up by somebody connected to the DNC.
The Birth of the “Russian Hacking” Hoax
Since June 2016, the official story of the Democratic Party was that its servers had been hacked and the content released by the Russian government. The DNC has provided no evidence of this theory. The DNC has permitted neither the Department of Homeland Security nor the FBI to examine the server. Since 2015, the DNC was ignoring the FBI’s warnings of security breaches and has refused their help. In April 2016, the DNC hired a shadowy private company called CrowdStrike, which toed the party line and alleged Russian involvement. From The Federalist:
“On June 15, 2016, CrowdStrike, a private computer security company the DNC hired, announced it had detected Russian malware on the DNC’s computer server. The next day, a self-described Romanian [initially; then ‘Eastern Europe born’] hacker, Guccifer 2.0, claimed he was a WikiLeaks source and had hacked the DNC’s server.”
“When the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI learned of the hacking claim, they asked to examine the server. The DNC refused. Why would the purported victim of a crime refuse to cooperate with law enforcement in solving that crime?”
A few other security companies “confirmed” possible Russian involvement, based on the purported data provided by CrowdStrike. Of course, this is an example of a circular reasoning. The version that Russians hacked and leaked the DNC documents is false and was known to be false even before the elections.
To be fully accurate, the DNC servers and email accounts were probably hacked multiple times. If the lone hacker Guccifer 2.0 could hack the DNC, other individuals and the intelligence services of Russia and China could have done so as well. The DNC email accounts and servers were so easily hackable for the same reasons, for which the DNC considers Michael Mann a distinguished scientist, and the increase of CO2 concentration in the air a danger rather than the blessing it is. These reasons are identity politics and obscurantism, and they are intertwined. Even if the Russian government hacked the DNC (i.e., independently from Guccifer 2.0) it was not the one that released its internal documents, for two reasons, at least:
- Putin prefers Democrats to Republicans as the U.S. ruling party, and sickly Hillary to strong Trump as president. Republicans have been more assertive toward Russia than Democrats at all times. The Obama administration was outright submissive, and this submissiveness led to the deterioration in the relations with Russia. On the contrary, Michael Flynn and some other Trump advisers were not just assertive, but hawkish toward Russia. Democrats understood that very well and were not worried about Russian hacking despite FBI warnings. DNC became worried only when it discovered that they had been hacked by someone else.
- Even if the Russian government hacked the DNC and wanted to harm Hillary and Democrats using stolen documents, it would not have released them in bulk and would not send them to WikiLeaks, as Guccifer 2.0 did. Remember how Russia released the eavesdropping recording from at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine following the capture of Crimea in February 2014? It posted a single recorded conversation between the top U.S. diplomat for Europe Victoria Nuland and the Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on YouTube, then brought attention to that video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV9J6sxCs5k – as of 2019-05-29, this video was disappeared by Google YouTube; see also https://archive.is/XE31h).
The advantages of a small release to the public compared to a bulk release to WikiLeaks:
- There is no risk of important document(s) being lost among many unimportant ones
- The target cannot distract attention from one or few important documents
- The intelligence sources and methods are less likely to be compromised
- All other documents remain in Russian possession for future use, and the target is kept in dark about the extent of the data loss
- There is no risk that the intermediary (WikiLeaks – a guy locked in the embassy of Ecuador in London) would fail to release the documents as expected.
The bulk release is typical of individual leakers or hackers who don’t have use for the documents other than to release them to the public, don’t have resources for a deep analysis of the treasure they have, and need an intermediary (such as WikiLeaks) to draw the public’s attention.
FBI, CIA, and NSA
FBI, CIA, and NSA knew all these facts. They also knew other facts showing that Russia either did not substantially influence the 2016 U.S. elections or influenced them in favor of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic candidates. Nevertheless, on January 6, 2017, responding to the request from Obama, FBI, CIA, and NSA top officials released an “assessment” unsupported and even flatly contradicted by evidence. They blindly followed the Democratic Party line. Why? Did they expect that inauguration of the elected president would not happen? Did they have roles to play in that? I leave these questions open. But the behavior of Comey, McCabe, Brennan, and their buddies is consistent with a hypothesis that they have committed serious crimes and attempt to take Trump down by any means in order to evade justice.
And it increases urgency for Trump to neutralize them, and to identify and remove their accomplices and co-conspirators as soon as possible. This will also remove suspicions from the rest of the intelligence community.
From The Nation (sic!), 9/1/2017 (https://archive.is/ryMj0):
“It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.
The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. … All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments.”
This is an exaggeration, but it has a point: the new Democratic Party and its backers would stop at nothing, absolutely nothing, for even a chance to return to power! And various groups with the “peace” in their names or programs fully support it in that.
“All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” … The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.
Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. [This hysteria is not American, but anti-American, whipped up by the anti-American media] It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception.”
There is also an independent analysis by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group that initially organized to oppose the Iraq war. It confirms the absence of any evidence that the internal documents of the DNC came to light because of “Russian hacking.” The real “Russian hacking” would leave behind evidence. The DNC and Democratic administration had sufficient time (7 months), motivation, and the duty to release the evidence. The fact that no such evidence has been released proves that the DNC and the mainstream media have been lying about “Russian hacking.”
VIPS claims that the documents have been leaked by an insider, rather than hacked by an outsider. I express no opinion on this claim and other views of VIPS. The VIPS memos are referenced as confirmation that no evidence of DNC hacking by “Russians” have been presented.
U.S. Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims (December 12, 2016; https://archive.is/fg97d)
“As the hysteria about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election grows, a key mystery is why U.S. intelligence would rely on “circumstantial evidence” when it has the capability for hard evidence, say U.S. intelligence veterans.
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Allegations of Hacking Election Are Baseless
A New York Times report on Monday alluding to “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” leading the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers with the goal of tipping the election to Donald J. Trump” is, sadly, evidence-free. This is no surprise, because harder evidence of a technical nature points to an inside leak, not hacking – by Russians or anyone else. …”
A Demand for Russian ‘Hacking’ Proof (January 17, 2017; https://archive.is/S2Mlc)
“More than 20 U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic veterans are calling on President Obama to release the evidence backing up allegations that Russia aided the Trump campaign – or admit that the proof is lacking.
MEMORANDUM FOR: President Barack Obama
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: A Key Issue That Still Needs to be Resolved
As President-elect 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 Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized “Russian hacking” that helped put Mr. Trump in the White House. …
We urge you to authorize public release of any tangible evidence that takes us beyond the unsubstantiated, ‘we-assess’ judgments by the intelligence agencies. …
Alleged Russian interference has been labeled ‘an act of war’ and Mr. Trump a ‘traitor.’ But the intelligence’ served up to support those charges does not pass the smell test. …
We find the New York Times- and Washington Post-led media Blitz against Trump and Putin truly extraordinary, despite our long experience with intelligence/media related issues. …”
No tangible evidence was released, because it did not exist.
Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence (July 24, 2017; https://archive.is/8CrJS)
This is our first VIPS Memorandum for you, but we have a history of letting U.S. Presidents know when we think our former intelligence colleagues have gotten something important wrong, and why. For example, our first such memorandum, a same-day commentary for President George W. Bush on Colin Powell’s U.N. speech on February 5, 2003, warned that the “unintended consequences were likely to be catastrophic,” should the U.S. attack Iraq and “justify” the war on intelligence that we retired intelligence officers could readily see as fraudulent and driven by a war agenda.
The January 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” by “hand-picked” analysts from the FBI, CIA, and NSA seems to fit into the same agenda-driven category. It is largely based on an “assessment,” not supported by any apparent evidence, that a shadowy entity with the moniker “Guccifer 2.0” hacked the DNC on behalf of Russian intelligence and gave DNC emails to WikiLeaks.”
“Why the FBI neglected to perform any independent forensics on the original “Guccifer 2.0” material remains a mystery – as does the lack of any sign that the “hand-picked analysts” from the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who wrote the “Intelligence Community Assessment” dated January 6, 2017, gave any attention to forensics.”