Email Dates in the Wikileaks DNC Archive

Yesterday, Scott Ritter published a savage and thorough critique of the role of Dmitri Alperovitch and Crowdstrike, who are uniquely responsible for the attribution of the DNC hack to Russia. Ritter calls it “one of the greatest cons in modern American history”.  Ritter’s article gives a fascinating account of an earlier questionable incident in which Alperovitch first rose to prominence – his attribution of the “Shady Rat” malware to the Chinese government at a time when there was a political appetite for such an attribution. Ritter portrays the DNC incident as Shady Rat 2.  Read the article.

My post today is a riff on a single point in the Ritter article, using analysis that I had in inventory but not written up.  I’ve analysed the dates of the emails in the Wikileaks DNC email archive: the pattern (to my knowledge) has never been analysed. The results are a surprise – standard descriptions of the incident are misleading.

Nov 7, 2017: story picked up by Luke Rosniak at Daily Caller here 

On April 29, DNC IT staff noticed anomalous activity and brought it to the attention of senior DNC officials: Chairwoman of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, DNC’s Chief Executive, Amy Dacey, the DNC’s Technology Director, Andrew Brown, and Michael Sussman, a lawyer for Perkins Coie, a Washington, DC law firm that represented the DNC. After dithering for a few days, on May 4, the DNC (Sussman) contacted Crowdstrike (Shawn Henry), who installed their software on May 5.

According to a hagiography of Crowdstrike’s detection by Thomas Rid last year, Crowdstrike detected “Russia” in  the network in the early morning of May 6:

At six o’clock on the morning of May 6, Dmitri Alperovitch woke up in a Los Angeles hotel to an alarming email. Alperovitch is the thirty-six-year-old cofounder of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, and late the previous night, his company had been asked by the Democratic National Committee to investigate a possible breach of its network. A CrowdStrike security expert had sent the DNC a proprietary software package, called Falcon, that monitors the networks of its clients in real time. Falcon “lit up,” the email said, within ten seconds of being installed at the DNC: Russia was in the network.

In many accounts of the incident (e.g. Wikipedia here), it’s been reported that “both groups of intruders were successfully expelled from the  systems within hours after detection”. This was not the case, as Ritter pointed out: data continued to be exfiltrated AFTER the installation of Crowdstrike software, including the emails that ultimately brought down Wasserman-Schultz:

Moreover, the performance of CrowdStrike’s other premier product, Overwatch, in the DNC breach leaves much to be desired. Was CrowdStrike aware that the hackers continued to exfiltrate data (some of which ultimately proved to be the undoing of the DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the entire DNC staff) throughout the month of May 2016, while Overwatch was engaged?

This is an important and essentially undiscussed question.

Distribution of Dates

The DNC Leak emails are generally said to commence in January 2015 (e.g. CNN here) and continue until the Crowdstrike expulsion. In other email leak archives (e.g Podesta emails; Climategate), the number of emails per month tends to be relatively uniform (at least to one order of magnitude).  However, this is not the case for the DNC Leak as shown in the below graphic of the number of emails per day:

Figure 1. Number of emails per day in Wikileaks DNC archive from Jan 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. Calculated from monthly data through March 31, 2016, then weekly until April 15, then daily. No emails after May 25, 2016.

There are only a couple of emails per month (~1/day) through 2015 and up to April 18, 2016. Nearly all of these early emails were non-confidential emails involving DNCPress or innocuous emails to/from Jordan Kaplan of the DNC.  There is a sudden change on April 19, 2016 when 425 emails in the archive. This is also the first day on which emails from hillaryclinton.com occur in the archive – a point that is undiscussed, but relevant given the ongoing controversy about security of the Clinton server (the current version of which was never examined by the FBI)The following week, the number of daily emails in the archive exceeded 1000, reaching a maximum daily rate of nearly 1500 in the third week of May. There is a pronounced weekly cycle to the archive (quieter on the week-ends).

Rid’s Esquire hagiography described a belated cleansing of the DNC computer system on June 10-12, following which Crowdstrike celebrated:

Ultimately, the teams decided it was necessary to replace the software on every computer at the DNC. Until the network was clean, secrecy was vital. On the afternoon of Friday, June 10, all DNC employees were instructed to leave their laptops in the office. Alperovitch told me that a few people worried that Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, was clearing house. “Those poor people thought they were getting fired,” he says. For the next two days, three CrowdStrike employees worked inside DNC headquarters, replacing the software and setting up new login credentials using what Alperovitch considers to be the most secure means of choosing a password: flipping through the dictionary at random. (After this article was posted online, Alperovitch noted that the passwords included random characters in addition to the words.) The Overwatch team kept an eye on Falcon to ensure there were no new intrusions. On Sunday night, once the operation was complete, Alperovitch took his team to celebrate at the Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão.

Curiously, the last email in the archive was noon, May 25 – about 14 days before Crowdstrike changed all the passwords on the week-end of June 10-12. Two days later (June 14), the DNC arranged for a self-serving article in the Washington Post in which they announced the hack and blamed it on the Russians. Crowdstrike published a technical report purporting to support the analysis and the story went viral.

There were no fewer than 14409 emails in the Wikileaks archive dating after Crowdstrike’s installation of its security software. In fact, more emails were hacked after Crowdstrike’s discovery on May 6 than before. Whatever actions were taken by Crowdstrike on May 6, they did nothing to stem the exfiltration of emails from the DNC.

Discussion

The lack of emails prior to April 19 is something that I don’t understand. This is more or less the date on which Fancy Bear was said to have entered the system, but, in other hacks (e.g. Podesta, Climategate), all emails in the account as of the penetration date were exfiltrated.  Was it an editorial decision on the part of the DNC hacker to exclude emails prior to April 19? If so, why were there any at all?

Nor does the razor-sharp end-date of noon May 25 tie into reported dates of Crowdstrike security measures?  Does this reflect an editorial decision during the curation of the hacked emails or something else?

Hiring Crowdstrike to watch the exfiltration of data can hardly be what the DNC had in mind.It’s a bit reminiscent of the uniformed official in the (Lifelock) commercial who explains “I’m not a security guard, I’m a security monitor. I only notify people if there’s a robbery… There’s a robbery.”  As Ritter observed, some of the most embarrassing emails were after Crowdstrike’s May 6 discovery of the hacks – an obvious point that has not been made in media discussion.

Recent articles about Crowdstrike  continue to falsely claim that Crowdstrike “quickly closed” the leak but “damage already done” eg Wired in March 2017:

The vulnerabilities were quickly closed, but the damage had already been done.

As discussed above, the opposite was the case.  Most of the damage was done after Crowdstrike installed its software.  Ritter further asked: “Did Overwatch detect the spread of malware into the servers of the DCCC? If the answer is yes, one must question the competence of a cyber security company whose job is to prevent just that kind of activity.”

Overall, the most serious question is the validity of Crowdstrike’s attribution of the DNC hack to the “Russians”. Alperovitch is an Atlantic Council associate who is vituperatively anti-Russian, with questionable attribution history.  Before being baked into government policy, any Alperovitch findings ought to be cross-checked in the most minute detail. However (unlike Climategate), the police (FBI here) never took possession of the hacked server and were thus unable to carry out their own forensic analysis. The intel assessments provided to the public consist of little more than assertions, repeated over and over, louder and louder, rather than objective evidence. The intel community hides behind a supposed need to protect “sources and methods”, but I seriously wonder whether these caveats nothing more than a figleaf to prevent exposure of their own shortcomings (h/t David Niven).

 


518 Comments

  1. Not Sure
    Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “…setting up new login credentials using what Alperovitch considers to be the most secure means of choosing a password: flipping through the dictionary at random…”

    This is the absolute worst way to come up with passwords because it is precisely what password cracking software does; it searches though the dictionary and tries every word.

    The credibility of any security expert who recommends this method is highly suspect.

    • duker
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 3:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The English language has 250K+ words, an average persons vocabulary is in the 4K range. The point with the random words is that you use up all the characters available, say 20 with multiple random words. With 3 or 4 words at random out of 250K, thats the security. It wouldnt make sense to chose only one random word. I have seen one generator that uses forgotten words like ‘firman’- which means an oriental despot’s edict

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 4:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Your average English dictionary contains about 60,000 words, more or less. Your code cracking software should not be much hampered by dictionary randomness, seemingly.

      • TerryS
        Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

        A 3 word password has 1.5625^16 combinations which is only slightly better than an 8 character password comprised of digits, letters and symbols which has 6.6^15 combinations.

        8 characters is the absolute minimum many systems will allow as a password and anything below 16 (4.4^31 combinations) is often considered weak.

    • Michael Jankowski
      Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 5:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve had websites that won’t allow a password or username that even contains a English word. I assume there are exceptions to “a”, “of,” “the,” etc.

    • Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 7:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Yea, I saw that too and it goes against every security guideline I know in IT. Makes you wonder if Crowdstrick is just a patsy. Sure looks like it.

    • eloris
      Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Seems like any site should shut you down long before you can try 250,000 passwords. Usually 3-5 attempts before the account locks.

      • TAG
        Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Wouldn’t shutting down accounts open up an easy denial of service strategy? Just try a few passwords and lock somebody out of their account.

        • eloris
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

          I guess that option is open to you on a whole lot of websites, if there is somebody you don’t like, and you happen to know their username. Though usually it’s only for a brief time, say 10 min. But I’ll bet if it happens a few times in a row the time limits start lengthening. Then I guess the person changes their username.

          Also these days the websites confirm your device using a second factor, e.g. texting you a code, often before even checking the username/pwd…

          I am sure a clever hacker can often figure a way past these things, but it is pretty hard to brute force your way into an account, and the limitation is not just number of possible passwords.

  2. Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 1:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, it’s pretty incredible that this firm Crowdstrike, which apparently has the same competence as the satire security monitor in the Lifelock commercial, is driving the US intelligence community and mainstream media’s consensus on Russian election interference, which is also driving their probable cause to investigate Trump for collusion.

    Meanwhile the only person known to visit Assange to see his data is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, who went last month. Senate investigators have shown mild interest in talking to Rohrabacher. http://www.washingtontimes.com/topics/dana-rohrabacher/

    Assange has been proclaiming Russia’s innocence from the beginning. Also there is the question of the amount of time it would at internet upload speeds to grab the data versus download to a flash drive and what the server records for these access times.

  3. mpainter
    Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 1:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, thanks for this. It is puzzling that most of the exfiltration occurred after CrowdStrike cleansed the computers and installed their own security software. Equally puzzling is why CrowdStrike should have any credibility as a competent cyber security specialist after this. I agree with Not Sure that CrowdStrike is highly suspect. A alternative explanation is that CrowdStrike betrayed the DNC, but why would they? Then we have the claim that the emails were downloaded onto a storage device of some sort.

    It is impossible to make any coherent sense of the facts, but I have been convinced from the start that the Russian attribution is wrong. Who believes that a Russian operative would so clumsily and conspicuously leave his “fingerprints”? Not me, nor should any sensible intelligence type.

    Nothing of CrowdStrike’s narrative stands under close scrutiny.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 2:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve looked closely at issue of supposed “Russian” fingerprints and have work in inventory that I’ve been meaning to write up.

      Metadata was an interesting issue in connection with Climategate and I’ve spent time, comparing metadata handling in CG and DNC. It’s interesting. Crowdstrike and other experts seem unaware of Climategate hack. BTW I and a few other bloggers got a sign-off email from Mr FOIA about six months after the police investigation ended. I don’t think that I ever wrote about it. It was interesting as well.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 7:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Resolving leaks revolve around means, opportunity and motive. Even Crowdstrike itself had the means and opportunity for this DNC hack (2nd visit), though not the motive. Theoretically they could have been the source for the bulk of Wikileak’s material (FBI!) seeing the time lines.
        As in ClimateGate, a well informed but disgruntled insider is much more likely the one to have all three of the above. Bernie Sanders supporters working inside the DNC were given plenty of motive by internal party machinations.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

          your attribution of Climategate is incorrect.

          Mr FOIA sent me and a few others an email saying that he was not from UK or US, thus not an East Anglia insider, and a keen reader of CA and WUWT. Since relatively early on, I had believed Mr FOIA to be an individual very familiar with climate disputes and a CA reader, rather than a CRU insider, though I had thought hard about potential insiders early on.

          Influenced by this profile, I think that the DNC was hacked, not a leak despite popularity of leak theories. I think that it was hacked by a US partisan.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

          New information, thanks. So plenty of motive, but also some means in the Climategate “hack” than. A simplistic login and password would enable even amateurs to get into an e-mail server: it has to be connected to Internet.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

          Regarding the question of motive and whether this was a hack or a leak, it strikes me that all of the “damaging” Wikkileaks e-mails fall into two categories: (1) e-mails showing collusion between journalists and Clinton operatives during the primary contest against Bernie Sanders; and (2) e-mails showing collusion between Clinton operatives and the DNC which also with respect to the primary contest. None of the e-mails were directly relevant to general election contest and none were taken after May 25, 2016. I note that May 26, 2016, happens to be the date the AP announced that Donald Trump had enough delegates to win the Republican nomination.

          I know there are a couple of John Harwood e-mails showing him giving advice to John Podesta on which Republican candidates would be most dangerous in the general election and one, also from Harwood to Podesta bragging about his questions during a Republican primary debate. As far as I recall, however, as to all of the other e-mails the victim of the exposed collusion was Bernie Sanders.

          Obviously, although e-mails showing collusion between Clinton and the DNC would not be particularly meaningful during the general election, it seem plausible to me that the journalists assisting Clinton against Sanders would not have refrained from assisting Clinton against Trump. For example, if Donna Brazil shared the identity of “townhall” participants and debate questions during the primary elections, it seems unlikely to me that she would refuse to do so (as a matter of journalistic ethics) when the contest was between Clinton and Trump. If similar journalist/Clinton collusion continued after May 25, 2016, and if the purpose of the hack was to assist Trump against Clinton, why didn’t the collection of e-mails continue at least until: (1) the release date of July 22, 2016; or (2) the Crowdstrike password change on June 10, 2016?

          To me, the foregoing suggests that a Russian hack, or any hack, designed to help Trump is less likely than a series of leaks initially designed to help Bernie or, perhaps, gain revenge against journalists/DWS/Clinton for their treatment of Bernie.

        • Susan
          Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

          In addition to collusion, some of the emails also revealed technical campaign finance violations.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 3:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

      In this game of spy vs spy, if you can convince your adversary that you are a clumsy simpleton then you have him beat. So who is kidding whom? Drawing conclusions from what you hear about the intelligence game is futile, imo.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 8:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I correct myself; CrowdStrike only installed their security software on 5/6/16, it did not clean the DNC computers until 6/10/16. The ointment stands, however, that their software allowed continual exfiltration for the next month.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 8:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Point, not ointment.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 8:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

        even some recent stories falsely say (Wired, as noted in blogpost) that Crowdstrike plugged the leak almost immediately.

        The continued exfiltration is ignored in the pro-Crowdstrike articles.

    • Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 9:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Having worked in military intelligence long ago, I will state that screw-ups do happen. However, the “…would so clumsily and conspicuously leave his “fingerprints”?” issue seems to me a case of purposeful misdirection. Just a guess though.

      Steve: I’ve looked very closely at this and am 100% certain that the “Russia” metadata in the first G2 blogpost is not a mistake. Internal Word metadata doesnt get changed in that way by uploading. G2 created a Word document template with Russian whiskers, cut and pasted the Trump document (and some others) into the template and saved them. All done on June 15 about 2 hours before release. To put Russian whiskers on the document, for a user name, G2 chose the Russian equivalent of J. Edgar Hoover (Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of Cheka.) Anyone who thought that a user name of J. Edgar Hoover proved that a document originated in the FBI would be laughed at. I think that G2 was American and put in misdirections to help not get caught.

      • Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “I think that G2 was American and put in misdirections to help not get caught.” I would say your statement is quite plausible.

  4. Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 3:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ritter criticizes Crowdstrike for only giving the FBI “forensic images” of the servers, rather than the servers themselves, but really forensic images are the proper thing to work with, here. A properly done forensic image is a byte-for-byte copy of an entire hard drive, containing not only the files on the hard drive but also remnants of deleted files and whatever other junk happens to be there. The only scenario in which that would not be enough is if the malware had managed to infect the machine’s firmware — inserting itself into the BIOS, say, or into hard drive firmware. There is such malware, but it’s quite rare, largely because it has to be tailored for each different brand and model of device, since each has different firmware. And if it were present in this case, we’d expect to hear something like “the infection was cleared by wiping all the hard drives, but it kept mysteriously reestablishing itself on such-and-such a server, and we eventually had to simply discard that server.” Even if the FBI did have the servers, it would be normal for them to first take forensic images of all the hard drives, and then do the rest of the work with those images, rather than trying to (say) boot up the servers, which would run the risk of actually activating the malware.

    Now, there can be lots of questions asked as to when the forensic images were taken, and whether they really were a thorough set of forensic images; but working from them is normal procedure.

    By the way, I think the best analogy as regards Crowdstrike’s vigilance in safeguarding the emails is this one:
    http://dilbert.com/strip/1990-10-31

    http://dilbert.com/strip/1990-11-01

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 4:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

      a fair point about forensic images.

      failure to inform FBI promptly (not for about 6 weeks or so) would appear to be a larger issue. In Climategate, police said that time was of the essence for access to servers. They were delayed only a few days.

      There seems to be some question about the date of the forensic image: did Crowdstrike take a forensic image when they first started? Did they give that to the FBI?

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 4:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      thanks for this. Dilbert images are apt indeed.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 6:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Crowdstrike giving the FBI ‘forensic images”? Since when is it standard FBI practice to to wait (longtime!) outside a crime scene, hand in hat, till some mall security hands them over crucial evidence? Farcical!
      Same story with HRC’s home server full with State Department material that was never touched by the FBI.
      The Keystone cops were at least a little funny.
      Anything coming out of this kind of evidence gathering should be dismissed in Court on the first occasion.

    • MrPete
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      A byte-for-byte copy of a drive is insufficient as a forensic copy, at the FBI level and above.

      It’s sufficient for those who only want to see what is *currently* written.

      However, AFAIK (as a former drive recording technology expert in the commercial realm) there are most likely classified methods available to detect what may have previously been written to the drive.

      My conclusion: most definitely The FBI should have taken possession of the actual disks.

      Steve: very useful comment. The contrast with police taking Climategate server is pretty striking, especially given the fallout of DNC attribution.

      • Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 9:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

        There are two sorts of methods for trying to recover data that has been overwritten. The first applies to old-fashioned spinning-platter hard drives, and involves trying to measure the remnants of the overwritten data. To do this, you might use a custom set of electronics connected to the hard drive so as to do things like subtly varying the exact positions of the read heads as they pass over the track. The custom electronics also would record the exact analog values read, rather than trying to clamp them to one or zero. This is not a trivial undertaking, and may not even be possible for modern drives with their extremely high bit densities. For more on this, see:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_remanence

        Similar techniques have been theorized for flash chips, except there the electronics in question is built into the chip and so is much harder to replace:

        http://www.cypherpunks.to/~peter/usenix01.pdf

        Again, “ever-shrinking device dimensions … and the use of novel techniques such as multilevel storage … is making it more and more difficult …”

        The second sort of method is to make use of the fact that in SSDs, data that nominally has been overwritten really, at first, is just marked for deletion. This is done because erase blocks are rather large (say, half a megabyte); so when a sector (commonly still 512 bytes, for compatibility, but at most 4K) is overwritten, rather than erasing a whole block and rewriting it, they write the data to a new block and store its new location in the “flash translation layer”. Eventually the old block will be erased, but not until enough data has been moved from it that erasing it has become economical. To support this way of doing things, SSDs usually have more underlying storage than is reported: lots of SSDs are sold as 240GB drives when the underlying chips hold 256GB. Of course the drive’s firmware won’t let you just read the “overwritten” data, but that is just a policy matter: overriding that policy would still take some work, but is eminently doable, especially if you’re the FBI and could pay and/or harangue the firmware’s authors into providing you with a law enforcement version with an extra command.

        This might sound like something they must be doing already; but the FBI’s computer competence is not strong enough to make that assumption an appropriate one. (Look up “Virtual Case File” for some of the sorry history of the FBI’s dealings with computers.) They probably could ask the NSA for it; the NSA, per Snowden’s revelations, is already in the business of altering hard drive firmware in order to bury their malware super-deep inside systems, so providing firmware that merely had an extra read-deleted-areas command would be a walk in the park for them. But whether they’d officially admit this, even to the FBI, is another question. And even the NSA probably doesn’t have firmware for _every_ drive.

        In any event, with all the fodder for criticism of the DNC that this has produced, it’s easy to forget that the DNC was nominally the victim, not the culprit, in this investigation. Of course their political power was probably a large part of why the FBI deferred to them, but even aside from that, deferring to the victim’s wishes is not all that strange a thing to do. And it’s not surprising that, in the midst of a hectic campaign, they valued keeping their computers more than they valued having the most thorough investigation possible.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

          You miss the point on the DNC refusing the FBI access to the computer hard drive. It is a question of why they would do so, their motivations for refusing. That is the essential question.

          There are cogent reasons having to do with this nation’s well being that this issue should be determined. That being the case, every effort should be made to make a final, expert determination. Who would argue now that CrowdStrike should be accorded the final authority?

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 11:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Why believe that a private Crowdstrike cannot be in cahoots with a “public” agency?

      Example: “Cyber security company, Siege Technologies, was founded in 2009 as an advanced research and development firm. Siege focuses on leveraging offensive cyberwar technologies and methodologies to develop predictive cyber security solutions for insurance, government and other targeted markets.” http://www.siegetechnologies.com/industries/insurance/

      Visible at Wikileaks a Siege product for the CIA from “vault 7” : https://wikileaks.org/vault7/document/AthenaTechnologyOverview/

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

        if any computer security firm was a candidate to be “in cahoots” with public agencies, it would be Crowdstrike.

  5. Follow the Money
    Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 3:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Very interesting as always!

    1. Possibly the emails before May 2016 were selected with care by the hacker, and the May ones were dumped in toto? What might show this is if all the pre-May emails are juicy or interesting, while in the newer ones there is a lot of chaff and boring communications.

    2. If the security software failed to do the job advertised, the providers would have an interest to blame a big strong competitor or enemy. It was a running joke at that time to “hope” China, Russia or whoever had accessed Hillary Clinton’s unsecure (non-DNC) server and phone communications, and would release it. Changing all the DNC computers in June might be more evidence of the failure of the Falcon software, not the skills of the hacker(s).

    3. Did they install “Falcon” on the new DNC computers and laptops? If not, that’s damning. This new(?) story that the company watched the hacking for a month is very strange.

    • Follow the Money
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I’m sorry, I did not see the Esquire article says Falcon was installed on the new computers, and the kept a “watch” (?) on it….at least until the Brazilian meat feast two days later.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 4:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It’s not a “news story” that Crowdstrike watched the hacking for a month. Ritter’s article is an opinion piece – essentially a blog article.

      I’d noticed the dates a couple of months ago and did this graphic at that time. I meant to write it up, but Ritter’s piece got me to do the writing.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 5:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Blaming a big strong enemy was also done by climate community in Climategate. They also blamed it on Russia and called it cyberterrorism. Many skeptics thought that it was a leak. Same range as DNC hack.

      My own Climategate opinion was (after a while) that it was a lone individual hack by someone who was evidently a faithful reader of Climate Audit, familiar with partisan climate issues. The prominence of Yamal in the curation of emails was totally implausible in any other scenario. The unbleached dates in the exfiltration of documents further convinced that it was a lone individual with partisan interests.

      I think that a base case scenario for the DNC hack has to be a partisan individual – in the sense that one cannot make a high confidence attribution without ruling out this possiblity.

      • Follow the Money
        Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 8:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I think I got caught up in the company’s big story about a big hack, but does the nature of the Wikileaks DNC emails indicate something else?

        The documents come from seven email accounts. Five are in the finance department. WL says, “The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures.” There is a Communications Director – the DNCpress handle, Senior advisor Wright, and four top finance officials. An outlier is Northern California Finance director Stowe. Why his account, but not Florida’s and Southern California’s and others? Is Stowe “key?”

        If the hack was so big and powerful, why is there not so much more? It’s understandable to focus on finance, but how does Stowe get caught up in this? How does Stowe get targeted? Is there something about the way these account were stored or created, or something about the layout that made them susceptible?

        I’ll make the point of “Sownage” here. Sony + ownage. Sony was reputedly illegally accessed numerous times by different actors. Whatever the Crowdstrike people monitored is not necessarily unreal, but not necessarily the source for Wikileaks’ data. BTW, when Crowdstrike was “monitoring” the activity, did it notice the targeting of these seven accounts?

        I have a theory why the emails for these accounts increased so much. In April 2016 maybe someone put out a memo to be careful not to use personal email for company business. That matter was much in the news around that time with Hillary’s email issues.

  6. Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 4:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Not only has Assange denied Russia as being a source on August 9, 2016, Assange six weeks after the July 22 Wikileaks DNC email dump went on Dutch TV and claimed that Seth Rich’s July 10 murder was the type of hazard his sources faced. Assange declined to affirm that Seth Rich was his source. Instead, he stated his policy of not revealing sources. At that time the Rich murder was still a fresh investigation, and most random murders by street robbers in a major city get solved. So Assange’s $20,000 reward for information leading to Seth Rich’s murder conviction was putting his money where his mouth is. Currently there is ~$250,000 combined reward, with nothing from the DNC but a memorial plaque on a bike rack.

    Seth Rich was known by friends and family as well as social media to be a Bernie Sanders supporter. The only major result of the DNC leak was the firing of Debbie Wasserman Schultz by revealing her bias and actions in support of Hillary Clinton and against Sanders. (Donna Brazile, who took over DNC leadership was found after the Podesta email release to have fed debate questions in advance to Hillary during the primary against Sanders and others.) Rod Wheeler, a DC private detective hired by the Rich family, and funded by a conservative lobbyist, claimed that:
    1) Rich was having a conflict with Donna Brazile before his death.

    2) Wheeler’s FBI source said the 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments, dated Jan 2015 to May 21, were on Rich’s laptop in their custody.

    3) The DC Metro Police had “shut down” the investigation – directives from the top.

    4) After Wheeler’s contact with the DC police both the police and the Rich family got calls from Donna Brazile discouraging cooperation with Wheeler.

    After Wheeler went to Fox News in May of this year with this story and was aired on local DC Fox and Sean Hannity nationally the Rich family fired Wheeler and disavowed him. Apparently the fiercely pro-Dem family were told Wheeler was investigating Russian ties to son’s murder, which none of the family believed was a failed robbery (nothing was taken) as put forth by the DC police.

    The family are not happy with the DC police. There were video cameras across the street that police initially told the family had captured images of two assailants. These videos were never released to the public as is customary immediately after the crime to get community tips. Also Rich was alive and talking to police when they arrived with at least two operating police vest video cameras, which also have never been viewed by family or public.

    Most bizarrely, within 48hrs of the Hannity airing Wheeler denied he was the source of any of his claims and instead said he was put up to a hoax by the local Fox affiliate. last month on the 1st of August Wheeler announced he was suing Fox for millions in allowing his career as a credible PI to be ruined. The next day Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh alleged that he has an FBI source reveal to him that there is an FBI report confirming Seth Rich was in contact with Wikileaks. Hersh claims though the Rich murder is just a coincidence.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMcHblG9_j8 (language warning 🙂

    http://www.wnd.com/2017/08/bombshell-dropped-on-seth-rich-murder-mystery/

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 5:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Has anyone accounted for Rich’s whereabouts from 1:45 am, when he left the bar, to 4:20 am when he was murdered?

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 7:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

        It appears implausible that Seth Rich had anything to do with Guccifer 2 documents, which continued to be disseminated well after his death.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

          On the other hand, the idea that Seth Rich could not have had the ability or skills to access the DNC data Wikil got is unlikely to be true given his title, “Voter Expansion Data Director,” and rumored involvement with VoteBuilder.

          BTW, the DNC first hired Crowdstrike to investigate whether Bernie Sanders supporters unfairly accessed NGP VAN’s VoteBuilder section for Hillary.

      • Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 7:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

        July 10, 1:45am – Seth Rich left Lou’s City Bar say “unusually drunk,” and refusing a lift, saying he was headed
        toward Wonderland Ballroom (a bar 10 minutes walk away,) according to the Lou’s bar’s staff. Rich never witnessed at Wonderland Ballroom, a gay bar (Rich was straight). Lou’s employees claim never to be interviewed by police according to wnd.com. According to OAN’s investigation the manager of Lou’s City Bar, Joe Capone, shows up on the White House entry blotter on July 6, 2016 (four days prior to the Rich murder). It reveals only that he had a meeting scheduled in the east wing. Capone posted a photo from inside the White House of a view of the front fountain from that visit on his social medial account. The photo has since been removed.

        Lou’s staff said that Rich was a regular and was usually
        good matured and upbeat. But he was clearly troubled that night.

        According to this site,
        the first three calls were made on Rich’s phone before the bar had closed — two, supposedly made to his father, who was sleeping and had not answered the phone. The third, a one minute long call to an unidentified friend.
        As Lou’s Bar was closing, Seth received another call from a yet to be identified friend, which lasted from 1:21am until 1:33am. During what should have been a 40 minute walk of 1.8 miles, Seth was alleged to have talked to Kelsey, (his girlfriend of two years), first, from 2:05am until 3:34am, when the signal apparently dropped out. Seth allegedly called her back and continued the conversation until 4:17am. Rich is a block from his home when Kelsey heard over the phone “scuffling noises” and Rich told her not to worry and hung up.

        4:19am shots were recorded by electronic gunshot sound detection or heard by police who were patrolling nearby, depending on whose version of the story you are following.

        At 5:57am Seth Rich was pronounced dead at an undisclosed hospital.

        • Jared
          Posted Nov 8, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

          And now we have Donna Brazile’s new book and her giving TV interviews to sell the book. She says that after Seth Rich was murdered that she feared for her life. Why would she fear for her life if according to police it was just a botched robbery (nothing stolen, but a life taken). She also said in a TV interview with George Stephanopoulos that Seth Rich being murdered was like losing a child. Why was Seth Rich murdered? Donna Brazile might know and that’s why she feared for her life.

        • Posted Nov 8, 2017 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

          Jared, I think I read the same article today in Newsweek. I posted here on it this morning but it went straight to moderation. Steve just let it out and commented. here.

  7. gorgiasl
    Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 5:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Zero-Hedge has a great article linking CrowdStrike to Hillary Clinton, a Ukrainian billionaire and Google.

    https://goo.gl/uezWGF

    “In lieu of substantive evidence provided to the public that the alleged hacks which led to Wikileaks releases of DNC and Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta’s emails were orchestrated by the Russian Government, CrowdStrike’s bias has been cited as undependable in its own assessment, in addition to its skeptical methods and conclusions. The firm’s CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with openly anti-Russian sentiments that is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, who also happened to donate at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation.

    In 2013, the Atlantic Council awarded Hillary Clinton it’s Distinguished International Leadership Award. In 2014, the Atlantic Council hosted one of several events with former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who took over after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in early 2014, who now lives in exile in Russia.”

    Conspiracy theory or fact? The evidence seems to point to some very strange and questionable behaviour by a number of DNC players.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 7:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      the Atlantic Council’s blindness to neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine coup is troubling. I’ve tweeted about this. Within a couple of weeks of the Feb 2014 coup, they brought Andriy Parubiy, one of the co-founders of the neo-Nazi Socialist-National Party of Ukraine (rebranded Svoboda in 2004) to Washington to cozy up to politicians. As early as 2010, they purported to re-brand Nazi Stepan Bandera as merely a Ukrainian nationalist. Bandera torchlight parades are prototypes for Charlottesville torchlight parade.

      • Sven
        Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Oh boy… What’s happening to this site? It used to be climate audit, now it seems to be becoming a Trumpian “filial” of Russia Today. Ukraine coup… nazi Bandera… sad

      • Sven
        Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 11:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Quite interesting. Quoting Steve has made me use a word that’s put my comment into moderation. Nice.

        • Duke C.
          Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

          Sven, I’d like to read your comment. Perhaps you could censor out the “N” word and re-post…

          Steve: retrieved

  8. Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 10:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    ‘Intelligence community’ exchanges of information take place in the secret domain In other words, without the benefit of open competition, cross-checking, verification and without penalities for being wrong – things which make everything else in life work.

  9. jddohio
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 12:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The really big picture that is being ignored, for reasons that I don’t understand, is that the US has a long history of interfering in the elections of other countries. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/10/13/the-long-history-of-the-u-s-interfering-with-elections-elsewhere/?utm_term=.b9a8532a0287 In fact, Obama interfered in the Brexit election. It is obviously not good that it is possible that Russia interfered in the US election. On the other hand, with the past US history, it is not something horrifically unexpected — I would look at more like an adversary government spying on the US. Also, it doesn’t appear that there is any law making it illegal for foreign governments to try to influence US elections. (Maybe there should be — interesting questions would arise if for instance, Jewish groups aligned with Israelis, tried to influence US elections.)

    JD

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 9:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Not to mention overthrowing elected governments. Former US Ambassador McFaul chuckled at this during his testimony to House Foreign Relations Cmte on June 14, 2016. During the hearing, WaPo story announced DNC claim to have been hacked by Russians. McFaul today blocked me from his twitter feed, after I criticized his testimony.

    • Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It is actually worse than you know. You personally don’t understand the reason. Follow the money.

  10. jddohio
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 12:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Haven’t had time to compare article in Epoch times — http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2284477-former-us-intelligence-officials-debunk-claim-russians-hacked-democrats/ — with Ritter article, but I wonder whether Epoch article is on a parallel path and whether it is credible.

    JD

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Epoch Times article focuses on a different issue: whether the rate of copying indicated by timestamps in one of the Guccifer2 7z files is too fast for an internet connection and requires local copying to a thumbdrive. The topic was originated by The Forensicator, but VIPS (the main promoter of this theory) somewhat over-egged Forensicator’s conclusions. The most recent position of Forensicator is simply this (https://theforensicator.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/alternative-scenarios/):

      There is evidence that suggests the files in the NGP VAN archive were copied (twice) locally, on the East Coast, US. Further, there are indications that a USB-2 capable media may have been used for the first copy operation on July 5, 2016 and that a FAT-formatted media was used in the second copy operation on Sept. 1, 2016. (A USB flash drive is one of the most popular FAT-formatted media, but there are others including SD cards and removable hard drives.)

      This is well short of what’s needed for VIPS.

      My own present surmise is that it wasn’t a leak (by Seth Rich or anyone else), but a hack by a partisan in Eastern time zone.

  11. AndyL
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 1:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m new to this detail of this story.

    I don’t understand the significance of your timeline. The Ritter article makes it clear that Crowdstrike did not attempt to block the leaks until June 10th, so are these dates even a matter of dispute?

    Ritter says:
    Before the Washington Post could go to print, however, CrowdStrike needed to evict Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear from the DNC server, and deploy security mechanisms designed to keep them out. Over the course of two days, from June 10–12, CrowdStrike stealthily replaced the DNC’s software, moving carefully to avoid detection. With the DNC server clean and secure, the plan to “name and shame” Russia could go forward.

    • Sven
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

      +1

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

      in other articles, Crowdstrike claimed to have plugged the leaks shortly after installing software (May 6). Be that as it may, the larger point is that the majority of emails in the Wikileaks DNC archive, including some of the most embarrassing, were AFTER Crowdstrike was hired to install security. Try to see that clearly stated in any article in the entire history of the controversy (prior to Ritter).

  12. AntonyIndia
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What could explain Comey’s FBI lacklustre performance best? Same for other Homeland security sections.
    My best fit is politically motivated negligence towards HRC misdeeds.

  13. AntonyIndia
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 7:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    By tripping US Trump the Establishment has also crippled the USA as a whole. Kim in North Korea and Xi in PR China has sensed this perfectly and took the opportunity. Thanks but no thanks fools!

  14. mpainter
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 12:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From the Thomas Rid article, concerning the intrusive malware.

    “Its target was the DNC research department, specifically the material that the committee was compiling on Donald Trump and other Republicans.”

    I wonder if the FBI has this research on Trump or have they been denied it. Was Fusion GPS the source for this research? So many questions that arise and go unanswered.

    • Follow the Money
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 4:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      1. I recall it being a bio from news and reports. The “Donald Trump Report” is a long document, and I don’t think Wikileaks had it. Wikileaks shows only emails and attachments. This Trump report was released by Guccifer 2.

      2. I don’t think Guccifer 2 released any emails at all, just a bunch of documents and some donor info. This is completely out of character with the Wikileaks release. G2 claimed to have given the emails to Wikil, but shows absolutely no evidence of this, which would be easy to do if true.
      Guccifer 2 is bogus as to its relationship with Wikileaks.

      3. “Its target was the DNC research department.” This is also out of character with the emails released by Wikileaks, although it could jibe with Guccifer 2.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 6:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Follow the money, thanks. It was “Fancy Bear” that exfiltrated the Trump research information. It first appeared while CrowdStrike had their software on the DNC computer. By this time, Steele was composing his dossier on Trump and it was apparent that Trump would be the GOP nominee. These sort of coincidences make my nostrils twitch. In essence, CrowdStrike watched while all of this was done.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

          the coincidence of the dates of commissioning of the Trump Dossier and of the announcement that “Russia” hacked the DNC also make mine twitch.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 12:12 AM | Permalink

          About twitching nostrils:
          The DNC found out they their files were read by others from Crowdstrike. Crowdstrike concluded in a few hours this was a hack by Russian governmental actors. The DNC management had lots to gain from going public with that hunch as to deflect from any possible negative fall out from their data leak so the asked Crowdstrike to go public. Crowdstrike loved that: good PR for future business and straight up their alley – pointing out the bad guys, only in virtual cyber space….
          http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/crowdstrikes-kurtz-is-in-a-race-against-hackers

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 12:14 AM | Permalink

          Boss George Kurtz from Crowdstrike is not all that knowledgeable about cyber security apparently: http://www.joshwieder.net/2015/08/crowdstrike-founder-george-kurtz-made.html

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Trump Report is in Podesta emails in original version. G2 version was altered to add “Russian” metadata. See g-2.space.

        As I recall, G2 posted an email in one of his later blog posts that was not in Wikileaks. I’ll locate.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

          I’ve seen articles about Carter’s findings, including recent pieces. They cover the technical side well. But I think its a good idea you also check out if G2 released any emails, and if Wikileaks had them. Because I have not seen any comparative analysis between what Wikileaks released, and what Guccifer 2 has released or has shown he hacked. Albeit from memory, the G2 materials were totally different than the Wikileaks release. I think such a comparative analysis would augment the technical arguments that Guccifer 2 is a faker regarding his relationship to Wikileaks.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

          you suggest:

          But I think its a good idea you also check out if G2 released any emails, and if Wikileaks had them.

          Yes, indeed. Got something interesting. (There’s been surprisingly little technical description of either G2 or DNC archives – hence my interest.)

          On October 18, G2 released screenshots of three emails.

          One is a screenshot of a May 18, 2016 email that appears in the Wikileaks archive https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/8776 (one of relatively few with a document attachment). G2 released this email AFTER the DNC release but the Wikileaks version https://guccifer2.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/3.png of this email is formatted differently.

          A second is a screenshot https://guccifer2.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/1.png of an email from Kelly Roberts of the DNC to Tyson Brody of hillaryclinton.com on May 16. There are 16 emails from Kelly Roberts on May 16 in the Wikileaks archive, but not the one shown here by G2.

          Another is a screenshot https://guccifer2.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/5.png of a May 12 (May 11 UTC) email from an accountant to tcarrk@hillaryclinton.com (and many others). Tony Carrk is the recipient of 757 emails in the archive and numerous emails on both May 11 and May 12 (dates subsequent to Crowdstrike software installation). However, the email shown by G2 is NOT in the Wikileaks archive.

          To my eye, these three emails are fairly strong evidence in favor of G2 originating the Wikileaks archive – evidence that I don’t recall seeing discussed anywhere.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

          The FBI or most MSN cannot find these simple facts: they don’t want to. Tripping Trump is the game.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

          That is very interesting. He has access to some emails Wikileaks did not publish. But why so few, and why pick out such boring ones?

          Also, after Wikileaks went public with the emails, according to Vice, G2 said, “i sent them emails, i posted some files in my blog,” Guccifer confirmed by DM, when asked if he shared all files with Julian Assange.

          G2 is at that time aware Wikileaks only produced emails, and I assume the gist of Vice’s direct mail was awareness that Wikil only published emails, and wanted to hear if G2 sent them more. G2 did not qualify previously that he sent Wikileaks only emails, though that does not mean he did not send only emails to Wikil.

          But could these non-Wiki emails may have come from hacking accounts at hillaryclinton dot com? According to the smoking Gun, G2 appeared to have also hacked the gmail account of a Hillary staffer named Sarah Hamilton.

        • Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

          What does the fact that G2 had DNC emails not published by Wikileaks mean? Let’s parse it. If Wikileaks was an almost complete, continuous archive of emails the unique G2 ones could fit like lock and key as the missing ones. This would have been an excellent way G2 could have proved himself the hacker. So one must conclude that he never thought about setting up a way to claim credit before the handover to WL or that this indicates G2 is trying to make a claim based on his thrill of having access to a few unpublished emails.

          One must assume there were several intermediaries. (I wouldn’t contact Assange directly if I had material for him.) Any one of these intermediaries could have withheld some material. Also, there is the possibility of multiple breaches on the DNC.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

          Steve,

          I see that the G2 e-mails released on October 18, show that G2 and the Wikileaks source both had access to the DNC e-mails at some point but does it show that G2 and the Wikileaks source are the same?

          1) If G2 is the Wikileak source why would he “pre-release” some meaningless e-mails if he has already given more interesting e-mails to Wikileaks to release?

          2) Why would G2 use Wikileaks at all if he is able to prevent his identity from being known and is able to generate interest without Wikileaks?

          3) Aren’t G2 and the Wikileaks source working at cross-purposes? G2 presents information which actually harmless to Clinton but does so in a manner which is favorable to Clinton (by being unfavorable to Russians and Trump). The Wikileaks source provides information which is unfavorable to Clinton (and neutral as to Russians and Trump).

          4) Aren’t Wikileaks and G2 working at cross-purposes? Wikileaks claims their source is a leaker, not a hacker; G2 claims he is the source and a hacker. Wikileaks claims their source is not a government entity; G2 practically carries a sign around his neck saying “Russian military intelligence”. Would Wikileaks deny these facts if their actual source asserted them?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

          None of this is easy to figure out. Every attempted explanation of G2 seems to have some problem or another.

          You say

          3) Aren’t G2 and the Wikileaks source working at cross-purposes? G2 presents information which actually harmless to Clinton but does so in a manner which is favorable to Clinton (by being unfavorable to Russians and Trump). The Wikileaks source provides information which is unfavorable to Clinton (and neutral as to Russians and Trump).

          Adam Carter’s theory g-2.space is that Crowdstrike’s Alperovitch=G2 , created as a false flag to poison the well against forthcoming Wikileaks. That G2 disseminated useless chickenfeed with fake Russian whiskers.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

          2) Why would G2 use Wikileaks at all if he is able to prevent his identity from being known and is able to generate interest without Wikileaks?

          He may not have the ability to rummage through them and prepare them for posting online, let alone have Wikileaks-like search tech. He may have wanted the much greater “interest” posting at Wikileaks would ensure.

          The Wikileaks source provides information which is unfavorable to Clinton (and neutral as to Russians and Trump).

          Assumes G2 knew what would be found in the emails. Maybe G2 hoped people would find, via
          Wikileaks’ engine, matters harmful to Trump. As for harmful to Hillary, I don’t think much, but there was some embarrassing stuff for Debbie Schultz–btw, in emails not obviously linked to the seven email accounts Wikileaks lists.

          G2 practically carries a sign around his neck saying “Russian military intelligence”.

          Crowdstrike said one of two hackers of the DNC was Russian military, I don’t see anything Guccifer 2 did showing such. BTW, what does a computer registered or owned by “Warren Flood” have anything to do with a foreign country?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

          Warren Flood’s copy of Word was licensed to the US government (GSA= General Services Administration) – a point not recognized in debate at the time.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 6:50 AM | Permalink

          Follow the money,

          My understanding is that “Fancy Bear” is supposed to be the GRU and “Cozy Bear” the FSB. Although both were allegedly in the DNC servers, Crowdstrike claims that Fancy Bear, not Cozy Bear, exfiltrated the Trump opposition research which later appeared on the G2 site. Also, the FSB is generally supposed to be the one quietly gathering intelligence while GRU presumably would have been tasked with efforts to “hack” the American election (had any such thing occurred). Hence my comment about a sign.

          But this is all bulls**t. G2 was not the Wikileaks source.

        • webdatadev
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

          Steve, I agree with Adam Carter on all this, but think we’re missing something important which is that the WikiLeaked Podesta Emails (certainly) and the DNC Emails (I believe) were hosted by Google (Gmail), rather than on the DNC’s own servers. This means any actions by Crowdstrike to secure the DNC’s network would have had virtually no impact on the security of those emails, and the role of the insider would merely to have been aware of Podesta’s and a few other staff members’ passwords.

          With respect to G2’s posting of DNC’s emails which did not appear in WikiLeaks, I would point out that WikiLeaks announced they would be posting Podesta’s emails on Oct. 7, 2016 and had started releasing the DNC emails much earlier on July 22, 2016. Therefore, if G2 was a DNC fabrication, they would have realized it would appear odd if G2 had only posted files on the WordPress site and not emails, which is all that WikiLeaks has ever posted. At that point, all the DNC had to do was give their G2 persona some email screenshots for him to post on WordPress and look like the legit source.

          The reason why the list of emails is not exact might be because the WikiLeaks’ source had obtained credentials to the Gmail accounts of only eight of the DNC staff. If my impression that they were using Google as their email provider is correct, then there would not have been any central “store” of all DNC emails for G2 or the WikiLeaks source to copy and download.

          In terms of cross-referencing the file attachments in the Podesta Emails, Jimmyslama has done a good job comparing the two sources at the following URL. In my opinion, it is unlikely that WikiLeaks used G2 as a source.

          https://jimmysllama.com/2017/05/28/9867/

          Thanks for everything.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

          yes, I’d noticed the jimmyllama compilation.

          Other than being convinced that G2 is not Russian, I’m not sure what to make of him. I vacillate between preferring a false flag scenario a la Carter to a lone wolf individual in the US.

        • Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

          Steve, do you now lean away from G2 being the WL source?

          What does anyone make of the methodology of the creation of the G2 MS Office documents?

          Was Warren Flood’s and other’s registered copies of MS Office used to create the Word docs or is that able to be spoofed? Here is a blog post from 4 months ago analyzing the G2 docs as a false flag created by the DNC as damage control for a Seth Rich leak. One should remember that HRC had already come up with an alternative narrative for Benghazi before the attack was even over.

          The blog post was made just after Awan’s arrest, which the blogger sees as a blackmailer of Debbie W.S. (the DNC) on WL-Rich link. Logically, what else could Awan have been doing but blackmailing? What alternatives are there? If blackmailing, what’s the secret? The DNC emails were already hack/leaked. It would have to be a secret that occurred after the breach or regarding the breach. Either way, I find congress’s and MSM media’s disinterest is eye-opening.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

          Question: do you now lean away from G2 being the WL source?

          I don’t have a strong opinion one way or another. Mostly I’m frustrated that the assertions are so vociferous when evidence is so thin.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

          Can someone explain the reasons for believing that G2 is a Wikileaks source?

          Obviously, G2 claims he is and both the Wikileaks source(s) and G2 had some access to DNC e-mails prior to March 25. Beyond that, however, I really see no argument in support of the claim.

          Among other things, Wikileaks denies G2 (or any hacker) is the source and I have trouble seeing why Wikileaks would do that if G2 were telling the truth. If G2 were the source, I would expect Wikileaks would, at a minimum, stay silent. Wikileaks credibility could be damaged if it is later discovered that G2 is the source and they may want to be believed about this type of thing in the future. Assuming he is the source, G2 always has the ability (and, evidently, some inclination) to expose himself and provide convincing evidence supporting his assertions (which, for some reason, he really hasn’t done). I don’t know why Wikileaks would make itself vulnerable to this possibility when it had the option of just saying nothing.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

          “which, for some reason, he really hasn’t done”.

          One obvious reason for G2 not identifying himself is that he has no interest in being charged and sent to jail. Mr FOIA of Climategate didn’t reveal his identity either.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

          mcburney, the fact that Wikileaks denies G2 as the source is the clincher, imo. G2 offers no details to substantiate his claims, such as circumstances of his transmission of the material (dates, methods, receiver, etc). This would be easy to do, but G2 refrains from providing such detail. I conclude that he has no such substantiation to offer.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

          Steve,

          The parenthetical statement you quoted was not a comment on why G2 chose not to expose himself but on his failure to provide convincing evidence that he is actually the Wikileaks source (as opposed to a false flag intended to put “Russian whiskers” on a Bernie supporter’s leak).

          In fact, the evidence as to whether G2 is concerned about criminal prosecution tends to point the other way. Consider the actions of Mr. FOIA. Mr. FOIA put the archive on a server and called attention to the documents only via two or three cryptic comments on other people’s blogs. Afterwards, he remained an enigma for years, no further comments, no communications of any kind to anyone, no explanations.

          G2 acted differently, getting himself a blog and twitter account, chatting with journalists (which I believe is how the original Guccifer was caught). I am not an expert but it seems to me that G2 chances of getting caught were greatly increased by those actions. It seems to me that G2’s actions are inconsistent with any real fear of criminal prosecution and are inconsistent with the actions of an actual Wikileaks source.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

          I entirely agree that there are important differences between Mr FOIA and G2. I don’t claim to have a good explanation that accounts for everything. Each explanation seems to founder somewhere.

          I don’t accept the intel community theory that the Russian intelligence services acting as G2 made a “mistake” when G2 cut-and-pasted Democrat documents into a Word format altered to Cyrillic default as a user named the Russian-equivalent of J. Edgar Hoover. I’ve looked at lots and lots of metadata in both Climategate and DNC hacks and such an operation cannot be done unintentionally. Calling it a “mistake” is, IMO, a fatal flaw in the intel community theory of G2.

          I agree with you that G2’s conduct with journalists is hard to explain for someone afraid of being caught. I agree that Mr FOIA took considerable precautions. On the other hand, there are a few details about Mr FOIA that you’re missing. Before putting the archive on a server, you may recall that Mr FOIA tried to release it via Real Climate, presumably through a password that had been sent to CRU in Climategate emails. This was uncharacteristically risky behaviour which brings Mr FOIA a little closer to G2 than otherwise appears. Also, Mr FOIA did not disappear entirely. He posted a blog comment out of the blue one year and in 2013 sent an email to me and several other bloggers before permanently disappearing. Also, Mr FOIA’s original blog comments went unnoticed for a couple of days, frustrating him. I need to check back on that history.

          BTW his 2013 email technique was more or less identical to G2: a “burner” generic email address in a jurisdiction far away from US and UK.

  15. jddohio
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 3:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The really big picture that is being ignored, for reasons that I don’t understand, is that the US has a long history of interfering in the elections of other countries. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/10/13/the-long-history-of-the-u-s-interfering-with-elections-elsewhere/?utm_term=.b9a8532a0287 In fact, Obama interfered in the Brexit election. It is obviously not good that it is possible that Russia interfered in the US election. On the other hand, with the past US history, it is not something horrifically unexpected — I would look at more like an adversary government spying on the US. Also, it doesn’t appear that there is any law making it illegal for foreign governments to try to influence US elections. (Maybe there should be — interesting questions would arise if for instance, Jewish groups aligned with Israelis, tried to influence US elections.)

    JD

    • AndyL
      Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 1:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

      “In fact, Obama interfered in the Brexit election.”
      That is pretty much the ultimate in false equivalence. Obama gave a speech – which was criticised so much that it was probably counter-productive.

    • Frank
      Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 2:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

      jddohio: All of the examples in the Washington Post article date back to the Cold War before the Senate Hearings on the CIA’s dirty tricks in the 1970’s. Those incidents were at least 40 years ago and more of them involved supporting coups not interfering with elections. The Russians did the same things – only their actions continue to this day.

      Did Obama “interfere” in the Brexit vote? Is publicly expressing an opinion about a foreign election really interference? Putin almost certainly favored Brexit, but didn’t express his opinion – almost certainly because it would prompt more Brits to vote for Remain. Perhaps Obama’s opinion was also counterproductive. I suggest we define “interference” as acts that are illegal in another country or ours: Financial assistance to campaigns and allied efforts. Stealing information for disclosure.

      FWIW, federal election law makes it a crime to solicit financial or non-financial assistance in a campaign. That would cover both Israelis and Russians.

      • jddohio
        Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Andy L & Frank Re: Brexit not equivalent to alleged Russian interference in US election.

        Ob*ma interfered in the British election in a big way. He stated that: “Bar*ck Ob*ma has warned Britain’s voters that it could take up to a decade to strike a trade deal with the United States from outside the European Union. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/24/leave-campaign-obama-trade-warning-eu-referendum This is a huge practical interference in British affairs. How does it differ in a meaningful way from Russia’s alleged interference in US elections by publishing true emails connected to Cl*nton? (In both instances, a nation is trying to advance its own interests by changing US behavior through the mechanism of elections.) Parenthically, I would add that it is quite arrogant for a departing US President to state what future US policy would be towards Britain. I would also add that if you believe that it was the Russians who caused problems for Clinton that was counterbalanced by the legacy media buying into Clinton and trying to help her with its coverage of the election.

        …..
        Also, I would add that if the US recently interfered in another country’s elections, in say the last 10 years that would almost certainly be classified information and would be hidden by the US government. I, for instance, would be quite surprised if the US government didn’t try to influence recent Afganistan or Iragi elections.

        JD

        • AndyL
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

          jddohio
          One one side you have a public speech, where everyone can examine the motivation and accuracy of the speaker. On the other you have a CIA-inspired coup, or emails selectively hacked and published by an unknown party. It is nonsence to think these in any way equivalent.

          Or do you think that Nigel Farage interfered with the US election?

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

          Andy L “One one side you have a public speech, where everyone can examine the motivation and accuracy of the speaker. On the other you have a CIA-inspired coup, or emails selectively hacked and published by an unknown party.”

          You totally mischaracterize what happened. Obama didn’t make just a speech; he made a threat to harm Britain’s interests. He used the threat to intervene in the Brexit election by trying to affect the voters. Assuming Russia was behind the emails leaks (a big assumption), it was doing the same thing in the US — it was trying to sway voters. No fundamental difference. In each instance, foreign outsiders are trying affect election results.

          Your reference to a CIA inspired coup is delusional and funny. (Please link to any sources you have.) If anything the intelligence community is trying to unseat Trump. When Trump took office private conversations with national leaders were leaked. Additionally, in July of 2016 Ob*ma was already accusing Russia of involvement. It was well-known way ahead of the election that there were allegations of Russian involvement. If voters cared, they could have punished Trump. If Ob*ma thought it was serious, he could have released more information.

          JD

        • AndyL
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

          jddohio

          Obama did not make a threat, he made a prediction. One that was immediately discounted because it was so obviously written for him by the British Government (saying Britain would be “back of the queue” for a trade deal instead of “back of the line”.

          Everyone knew he could not influence the future himself because he would be out of office before the Brexit process even started.

        • AndyL
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          jddohio
          BTW my reference to the “delusional and funny” idea of a CIA coup came from the article you posted yourself, and which you included in the same continuum as Obama’s supposed “interference” in the Brexit referendum.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

          jdohio writes:

          ow does it differ in a meaningful way from Russia’s alleged interference in US elections by publishing true emails connected to Cl*nton?

          The Emails were obtained by breaking into the DNC server and Podesta’s Email account.

          The Watergate burglars broke into DNC headquarters to plant bugs and into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office to obtain his medical records. Nixon was impeached and numerous members of his administration were sent to prison.

          In addition, John DEan spoke to Nixon of a “cancer on the presidency”. people think this was a general comment on the Watergate behavior. it wasn’t. it was a comment on the blackmail that the Watergate burglars were committing against the administration. They wanted money or they would tell all. if anyone in the Trump campaign had any knowledge of the DNC or Podesta break ins then it would be Watergate again. Hence the susceptibility to blackmail.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

          Andy L: “BTW my reference to the “delusional and funny” idea of a CIA coup came from the article you posted yourself,”

          Please provide the link and the exact language. I don’t see it myself. It is pretty extreme to claim that the intelligence community that worked under Ob*ma for 8 years and which undermined Trump from his very first days engineered a coup to get ride of Ob*ma.

          Also, at the time that Ob*ma interfered in Brexit, it was strongly anticipated that Clinton would succeed him and that her 4 years would be a continuation of Ob*ma policies.

          JD

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

          Forgot to use asterisk with respect to a forbidden word. Recent comment (I believe acceptable) was put into moderation.

          JD

        • AndyL
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

          jddohil
          This is from the Washington Post article you posted as examples of US interfering in foreign elections, which you immediately followed with the statement “In fact, Obama interfered in the Brexit election.”

          In 1954, Washington unseated Guatemala’s left-wing president, Jacobo Arbenz, who had had the temerity to challenge the vast control of the United Fruit Co., a U.S. corporation, with agrarian laws that would be fairer to Guatemalan farmers. The CIA went on to install and back a series of right-wing dictatorships that brutalized the impoverished nation for almost half a century.

          Aside from its instigation of coups and alliances with right-wing juntas, Washington sought to more subtly influence elections in all corners of the world.

        • AndyL
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

          BTW the Guardian article says Obama “warned” Britain (not threatened – that’s your invention). He said
          “It could be five years from now, 10 years from now before we’re actually able to get something done,”

          Meanwhile, the earliest possible date for a trade agreement looks like being March 2022, following 2 years Brexit process and 3 years transition. That is 6 years after Obama’s statement to the BBC. His warning looks spot on.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

          AndyL “jddohio
          BTW my reference to the “delusional and funny” idea of a CIA coup came from the article you posted yourself,

          ****
          Also, AndyL “In 1954, Washington unseated Guatemala’s left-wing president, Jacobo Arbenz,”

          *****
          AndyL Original Comment “On the other [Opposed to what you characterized as a speech by Obama} you have a CIA-inspired coup, or emails selectively hacked and published by an unknown party.” The clear implication here is that you were accusing the CIA of attempting a coup of the US presidency. Of course, you have presented no evidence of that. Instead you refer back to a CIA coup in 1954, where the US then, was acting the way that the Left contends that Russia acted with respect to the US election. Instead of supporting your own argument, in your particularly muddled way, you support mine by mentioning past US involvement in another country’s affairs. If you wish to identify other instances of US interference in the affairs of other countries, you are welcome to continue to do so. However, from this point on, I won’t bother to respond to your muddled and illogical arguments.

          JD

        • AndyL
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

          jddohio
          I think you are hard of reading
          This discussion started with the false equivalence you created between alleged Russian interferance in US election, US interference in foreign elections (in the article you posted) and a speech given by Obama. You made that comparison in the first three lines of the first post in this thread.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:53 AM | Permalink

          jddohio: Ob*ma said it might take 5 years, possibly even 10 years to get a trade deal with the US outside the EU. How long would you suggest that a trade deal would take?

          The TPP negotiations began in 2008 and took more than five years.

          A better model would be the US-Korea free trade agreement that Trump is threatening to renegotiate. Form Wikipedia:

          The United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement (officially: Free trade agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Korea),[1] also known as KORUS FTA,[2] is a trade agreement between the United States and the Republic of Korea. Negotiations were announced on February 2, 2006, and concluded on April 1, 2007. The treaty was first signed on June 30, 2007, with a renegotiated version signed in early December 2010.[3][4]

          The agreement was ratified by the United States on October 12, 2011, with the Senate passing it 83–15[5] and the House 278-151.[6] It was ratified by the National Assembly of South Korea on November 22, 2011, with a vote of 151–7, with 12 abstentions.[7] The agreement entered into effect in March 2012.[8]

          Based on this precedent, 5 years appears to be a very reasonable estimate. Then you have the problem that getting trade deals passed in the US Congress today is likely to be much harder than it was a decade ago.

          Finally Britain is at a serious disadvantage in negotiations outside the EU. The British market is 1/10 the size of the EU in population. US trade negotiators are gaining access to 65M and providing access to a more affluent 330 million. And with Trump, the US needs to WIN in trade negotiation. The Dems want to win too, but their constituencies are different.

          I’d like to believe Britain could negotiate mutually beneficial pacts with a variety of countries in a few years, but I don’t think that is realistic. So I’d say he provide the Brits with reasonable advice.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

          Frank: Ob*ma not threatening.

          Ob*ma went out of his way to threaten Britain and said it would be put in the back of the line on trade negotiations. He had no reason to speak other than to threaten and to interfere in the election. He could have kept quiet but didn’t in his effort to oppose Brexit. It was viewed as a threat by many in Britain. Here is a link to an article that referred to Ob*ma’s statement as an “amazing threat.” http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/663665/Barack-Obama-Britain-back-queue-Brexit

          JD

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

          bmchurney comments

          As to the Trump Tower meeting, the Russians did not offer to provide “opposition research” they initially got the meeting by offering to provide information regarding dealings between the Russian government and then Secretary Clinton. Assuming the Russians actually had such information, the information would have been acquired during the normal activities of the Russian government, not via an “opposition research” operation. Had such information actually been provided, it would have placed the Russians in the role of a “witness” or “informant”, not the role of purveyor of opposition research.

          This is the initial Email that alerted Trump Jr to the proposed meeting

          Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.
          The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.
          This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.
          What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?
          I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.

          Note that the Russian government has offered this information as part of their support for teh Trump campaign. If this is accurate, they are not just passive witnesses but active supporters offering information that they have collected and organized. This would be a costly work product and a thing of value that they propose to donate to the campaign.

        • JT
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

          “The Crown prosecutor of Russia…”
          This makes no sense. How could Russia have a “Crown Prosecutor”? In England or Canada or elsewhere in the Commonwealth a criminal prosecutor is called a “Crown Prosecutor”. Russia has no King nor Crown and a Russian Prosecutor is most unlikely to be called a “Crown Prosecutor”.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

          TAG,

          I am not sure I understand the point you are attempting to make. The e-mail you quoted strongly supports my prior comment. In fact, it is the very e-mail I had in my mind when I made the comment.

          The e-mail states that Russian law enforcement official have “official documents” pertaining to Hilary Clinton’s dealing with the Russian government which “incriminate” Hilary. If this were true, it would obviously be very helpful to Trump’s campaign but, as far as I know, it is not actually illegal for anyone, even Russians, to provide super helpful information to the Trump campaign.

          The e-mail is not an offer of an “in kind” contribution of “opposition research.” If the “official documents” existed they would be a normal byproduct of whatever “dealings” caused them to be produced. If they were obtained by law enforcement officials then, presumably, the law enforcement official would have obtained them during the normal course of law enforcement activities. Nothing in the e-mail suggests the possibility of an “in kind” contribution of “opposition research.” Nothing in the e-mail so much as hints at anything which might be a campaign finance law violation or any other illegal activity.

          Of course, its all nonsense. Trump Jr. took the meeting but no such information was provided. Which raises the question: “which side were the Russians actually trying to help?”

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

          McBurney, you are correct. Key word in the email: “official documents”

          TAG is trying to spin official government documents, never received by Trump, which in any case could be fiction, into a campaign crime. TAG often thinks like that.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          The e-mail is not an offer of an “in kind” contribution of “opposition research.” If the “official documents” existed they would be a normal byproduct of whatever “dealings” caused them to be produced.

          A search would have had to be done to find these “official documents”. That costs money. i have been involved as a consultant in lawsuits. Discovery costs are a major factor in inducing a party to settle. it is a tactic sued by patent trolls.They make an entirely spurious claim but really do not care if it has merit or not. They are relying on the fact that it is cheaper to settle for nuisance money (several hundred thousand dollars) than to litigate and incur discovery costs.

          So the “official documents” are costly work product and not just the result of being a passive witness. The offer to provide the results of the costly search is a offer to provide in-kind donation to the campaign.

        • pbw
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

          Have you been a consultant in Russia?

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

          TAG,

          This is getting silly.

          The fact, assuming it were a fact, that the Russian government had in its possession “official documents” allegedly reflecting their own “dealings” with the former Secretary of State obviously does not imply that money was spent to search for them. But even if money was spent for that purpose, the e-mail makes reference to “crown prosecutors” which (despite the anachronism pointed out by JT) indicates that the documents were in the possession of law enforcement personnel. If law enforcement personnel search for documents or acquire documents in the course of their own work (which is what the e-mail implies) they are not performing “opposition research” and their work product is not retroactively transmogrified into “opposition research” if it is given to a US campaign or, as in this case, if someone says it might be helpful to a candidate. Nothing in the e-mail suggests that anything even slightly improper was going to occur at that meeting and, by all accounts, nothing improper did occur. This was all manufactured hysteria and I am sorry you seem to have fallen for it.

          I don’t know how else to explain it to you.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

          Steve Mc: “there are convincing stories that Ukrainian government gave damaging intel against Tr*mp campaign to DNC (through Alexandra Chalupa.)

          The only excuse seems to be that Ukraine is an “ally”, rather than an “adversary”

          ******
          You are right. Politico (not a right-wing outlet) summarized facts, which if you use the expansive definition of interfering in a US election utilized by some here, which definitely show intentional Ukrainian involvement in US election and cooperation with Ukrainian officials. See
          http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446

          JD

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

          jddohio wrote: “Ob*ma went out of his way to threaten Britain and said it would be put in the back of the line on trade negotiations.”

          No, the “Express” chose to characterize Ob*ama’s words as a “threat” in their headline. If you listen to Ob*ma’s WORDS in the video, he made the same point I did above: Britain’s small population places it at a disadvantage in trade negotiations. Facts maybe uncomfortable, but they aren’t a “threat” or “interference”. I’d like to think that our common heritage and historical friendship will permit quicker negotiations between the US and Britain after Brexit. However, the special interests who must be listened to in these negotiations are weighed with dollar signs and Britain is at a disadvantage outside the EU.

      • bmcburney
        Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 9:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Frank,

        It is illegal for a US campaign or candidate to solicit such support but, at least as far as I know, it is not (even) illegal for the foreign government to give the assistance without the solicitation.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

          As far as I know there is no law prohibiting a foreign government from interfering in US elections. (Possibly Alan Dershowitz commented on this previously) It is illegal to solicit money from a foreign government, but if the foreign government itself decides to involve itself in an election, I know of no law prohibiting this.

          JD

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 4:10 AM | Permalink

          Can foreign parties contribute money or other things of value to a US campaign?

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

          jdohio comments

          As far as I know there is no law prohibiting a foreign government from interfering in US elections. (Possibly Alan Dershowitz commented on this previously) It is illegal to solicit money from a foreign government, but if the foreign government itself decides to involve itself in an election, I know of no law prohibiting this

          The Veritas group (much beloved of Fox News) had a campaign sting in which they enabled a Canadian woman to buy campaign gear from the Hillary campaign. They say that foreign donations to US campaigns is illegal. Here is a section form a story about it in “The Hill. Veritas claimed that the Hillary campaign broke election laws in this.

          http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/252428-james-okeefe-releases-sting-video-of-canadian-buying-hillary

          A conservative media group specializing in undercover investigations released a video on Tuesday purporting to show the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign breaking federal election law.

          In the video, an operative from the James O’Keefe-led Project Veritas approaches a Hillary for America booth manned by officials Molly Barker and Erin Tibe, when she notices the woman next to her get turned away from making a donation because she is a Canadian citizen.

          “Sure, so we can’t take contributions from anyone that is not a citizen of the United States,” Tibe tells the woman who is only identified as a Montreal native.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

          http://www.uky.edu/electionlaw/analysis/foreign-contributions-us-elections

          This is a discussion from the University of kentucky that details the specific laws governing foreign contributions to US elections and how they are illegal. it also details how it is quite easy for foreign governments to circumvent this law with teh “Citizen’s United” decision

          This is the prohibition as explained by the Federal Election Commission

          https://transition.fec.gov/pages/brochures/foreign.shtml

          The Prohibition
          The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

          Who is a Foreign National?
          The following groups and individuals are considered “foreign nationals” and are, therefore, subject to the prohibition:

          Foreign governments;
          Foreign political parties;
          Foreign corporations;
          Foreign associations;
          Foreign partnerships;
          Individuals with foreign citizenship; and
          Immigrants who do not have a “green card.”
          cartoon of port

          From discussions on cable, I understand that the ban applies to both money and other things of value. So the fruits of “opposition research” (a euphemism for illegally obtained emails) would also be in the prohibited category.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

          TAG,

          You have not read the comments by myself and jddohio carefully enough. It is illegal for the US candidate or campaign to knowingly to solicit or accept foreign contributions. So far as we know, however, it is not illegal for the foreigner to make them. Moreover, in this case we are not even talking about contributions per se but, by analogy, uncoordinated outside expenditures. These are not illegal and probably could not be made illegal without significant alterations in the First Amendment.

        • Jeffrey Taylor
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

          “From discussions on cable, I understand that the ban applies to both money and other things of value. So the fruits of “opposition research” (a euphemism for illegally obtained emails) would also be in the prohibited category.”

          So this applies to the NYT as well, right?

        • Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

          TAG: “From discussions on cable, I understand that the ban applies to both money and other things of value.” As I read the FEC page, the prohibition is narrowly focused on funds and fund-raising. There is no mention of anything beyond that. Providing a list of potential donors might be off limits, as an aid to fund-raising, but I don’t see that any information removed from fund-raising (e.g. “opposition reasearch”) would be not allowed.

          Doesn’t mean this is a good thing. Only, not illegal. Nor, as the Steele dossier reminds us, reliable.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

          bmcburney comments:

          So far as
          we know, however, it is not illegal for the foreigner to make them. Moreover, in this case we are not even talking about contributions per se but, by analogy, uncoordinated outside expenditures

          from the federal Election Commission:

          The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

          HaroldW comments:

          As I read the FEC page, the prohibition is narrowly focused on funds and fund-raising. There is no mention of anything beyond that. Providing a list of potential donors might be off limits, as an aid to fund-raising, but I don’t see that any information removed from fund-raising (e.g. “opposition reasearch”) would be not allowed.

          From an article on a DC Bar web page. Note teh prohibition on both money or other thing of value

          https://www.dcbar.org/bar-resources/publications/washington-lawyer/articles/february-2010-foreign-concept.cfm

          The Foreign National Prohibition

          The United States’ foreign national prohibition is comprehensive.[7] The penalties for violating the foreign national prohibition are both criminal and civil.[8] The FECA-BCRA specifies the items a foreign national cannot give, to whom such items cannot be given, and the purpose for which a prohibited item cannot be given. Also, the FECA-BCRA mandates that a prohibited item cannot be given either directly or indirectly, nor can a foreign national promise either expressly or impliedly to give a prohibited item. Even if the purpose of the foreign national in giving the prohibited item is somehow not to influence the political process, it is still a violation merely because the item comes from a foreign national.

          In Connection With Federal, State, or Local Election
          Under the FECA-BCRA, a foreign national cannot give any of the following prohibited items in connection with a federal, state, or local election:

          A contribution,
          A donation of money, or
          Other thing of value.[9]
          Under these same regulations, a foreign national cannot give any of the following prohibited items in connection with a federal, state, or local election:

          Expenditure,
          Independent expenditure, or
          Disbursement.[10]
          Contribution Defined
          The term contribution means anything of value that is given by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office, or the payment of compensation to any person who renders personal services to a political committee without being compensated for those services by the political committee.[11] The FECA-BCRA does not further define the term anything of value, but provides descriptions of items that constitute contributions. Additionally, items that are contributions are not only set forth in the FECA-BCRA and the regulations, but also in Advisory Opinions (AOs) issued by the FEC and case law. Whether an item is a contribution is analyzed as follows:

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

          “From discussions on cable, I understand that the ban applies to both money and other things of value. So the fruits of “opposition research” (a euphemism for illegally obtained emails) would also be in the prohibited category.”

          So this applies to the NYT as well, right?

          If the NY Times stole or induced somebody to steal Emails then it would be guilty of a crime. It is not illegal for it to publish Emails stolen or not

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

          TAG,

          If the FEC really means what you say they say, I detect a First Amendment problem. I am not aware of that understanding of the law ever being enforced. Were you able to find an example of that?

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

          To clarify the comment above, I assume Congress can prohibit US resident aliens from making actual “contributions” or “donations” to campaigns. I question whether a resident alien or foreign government can be prohibited from merely “spending funds” in connection with a federal election.

        • Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

          TAG,
          From your reference, “The term anything of value is not defined in the FECA-BRCA or the regulations. It should be construed according to its common meaning and consistent with the purpose of the FECA-BRCA.”
          To me, that would include (a) a service commercially available, or (b) a tangible item with commercial value (i.e., salable). It would exclude dirt/gossip. It would also exclude the provision of debate questions to a candidate, positive coverage (e.g. puff pieces) by media, or harsh coverage of opponents. All of those are “of value” in the extended sense of improving the chances of election, but not consistent with the FEC’s purpose of regulating campaign finance. Your interpretation, of course, may differ.

          Now, if someone offered to a campaign the free services of an investigator to dig up dirt on the competition, that would clearly be a contribution under the FEC’s definition: “An in-kind contribution is any good or service that is made available to the campaign for which the campaign pays nothing, or pays less than the commercial or normal price of the good or service…”

        • Jeffrey Taylor
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

          “If the NY Times stole or induced somebody to steal Emails then it would be guilty of a crime. It is not illegal for it to publish Emails stolen or not”

          But it received something of value (fruits of opposition research). If it applies to a campaign official then it applies to the NYT. The point I am making is that research cannot be a thing of value for one party and not for another.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

          TAG Federal Law Dealing With Foreign Interference in Elections and things of value

          1. The first problem with your analysis (claiming that the released emails constitute “other things of value” is that Russia didn’t release the emails. Wikileaks did. The UK discussion you referenced stated:
          ******
          ” Is there a way for foreign governments to get around the Federal Election Campaign Act?

          Yeah, and it’s not a hard detour to find, either. Thanks to decades of laws, court rulings, IRS interpretations, and one hugely controversial Supreme Court decision (Citizens United), a type of organization exists in the United States that can accept unlimited donations from corporations (foreign or otherwise), campaign for a candidate, and not tell a soul about where the money came from. These fate-decreed special organizations exempt from disclosure under federal tax laws are called Social Welfare Organizations. In the 2012 election, the third largest advertiser, just behind Obama and Romney’s campaigns, was a conservative-backed Social Welfare Organization called Crossroads GPS.

          Social Welfare Organizations are supposed to exist to promote social welfare. However, they cannot exist primarily for elections.”

          *******
          Wikileaks could be viewed as a Social Welfare Organization. In any event, it and not Russia, released the emails.

          Second, Federal Criminal laws are to be narrowly construed. (See Arthur Anderson Supreme Court Case). You and others are construing the law very broadly. Any statement or anything done by anyone could be construed as a thing of value. For instance, if the Mexican government released a study of the value of Mexican illegal aliens in the US to the US economy, it definitely has some economic value. It could also indirectly affect any number of elections. Under your implied view, it would violate the Act. Assuming Russia supplied the emails to Wikileaks, if it had supplied emails of Trump to the NYTs and the NYTs published them, then potentially the NYTs or its reporters could be subject to criminal prosecution for indirectly aiding a foreign government. If you combine “things of value” and “indirect” aid, then virtually nothing somehow tied to a foreign government is exempt. Under your very expansive theory, even if a foreign national wrote a persuasive letter to a newspaper, since it is a thing of value, it would violate the Act.

          It should be made clear that Russia did not release the emails and that the emails were not sent to the Trump campaign. Personally, I think that so long as information is not specifically collected to affect elections, that foreign governments have every right to release the information publicly or on request to specific candidates. Suppose that a sitting President is lying about facts pertinent to a foreign relations issue and that the President is running for reelection. Under your theory, if the government releases documents disputing the President’s false statements, it is contributing a thing of value and as such would be violating US law.

          Finally, I would add that if we accept your interpretation, it is very clear that the Cl*nton Foundation (which accepted actual money) violated US law. (Among other donations, Qatar, a backer of Hamas gave money to the Foundation, which at the very least, indirectly aided Hill*ry C by supporting her luxury travel, whom everyone knew was running for President)

          JD

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

          In the famous June meeting at trump tower, it is alleged that the Russian government offered “opposition research” that would be of aid to the Trump campaign. This is prior to their alleged use of the cut out Wikileaks operation. It is also alleged that the Trump campaign when first apprised of the offer, indicated their interest in obtaining the opposition research. The opposition research was supposed to be compromising information about the Clinton campaign. it was being offered because the Russian government wished to assist the Trump campaign. it is alleged that even knowing this the Trump campaign assented to the proposed meeting.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

          Jeffrey Taylor comments:

          “If the NY Times stole or induced somebody to steal Emails then it would be guilty of a crime. It is not illegal for it to publish Emails stolen or not”

          But it received something of value (fruits of opposition research). If it applies to a campaign official then it applies to the NYT. The point I am making is that research cannot be a thing of value for one party and not for another.

          An interesting point. So if a foreign government colludes with a campaign to release opposition research (hacked Emails or other information) through Wikileaks or a similar organization to the news media, such as the Times, then I would think that this would be considered the be a donation an item of value in terms of the Federal Election Campaign Act

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

          Tag: “In the famous June meeting at trump tower, it is alleged that the Russian government offered “opposition research” that would be of aid to the Trump campaign.”

          …..
          That meeting is problematic for Trump junior. (If you get by the “thing of value” [not an easy hurdle]) issue, However, if the research was done ahead of time and not specifically for the election, I personally see no problem. As a practical matter, I don’t see how giving information not prepared for an election is a crime. Should be noted that Assange states that he strongly opposed Clinton and was responsible. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/27/us/politics/assange-timed-wikileaks-release-of-democratic-emails-to-harm-hillary-clinton.html?_r=0

          Of course, if the statute was interpreted the way you are interpreting it, the US (which has interfered in many elections) is forbidding something in the US, which it itself did repeatedly in other countries. [Don’t think this would help American foreign policy as it deals with foreign countries]

          JD

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

          there are convincing stories that Ukrainian government gave damaging intel against Trump campaign to DNC (through Alexandra Chalupa.)

          The only excuse seems to be that Ukraine is an “ally”, rather than an “adversary”. In that respect, former ambassador Matlock (Reagan era) sensibly questioned on June 14, 2016 at House Intel Committee why US would ally with a contentious nation which could drag US into yet another conflict without contributing anything to mutual defence. House Intel Committee sneered at Matlock, preferring evidence of Obama neocon McFaul. WaPo story on DNC hack announced in midst of hearing.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

          CyberBerkut claimed that US State Department initiated Ukraine adverse information against Manafort, that US State Dept’s Evan Ryan gave documents concerning Manafort to a Ukrainian government official in June 2016 – around the same time as the Trump Jr meeting.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

          TAG,

          Your comments regarding the “opposition research” meeting misstate the facts and the law.

          As to the Trump Tower meeting, the Russians did not offer to provide “opposition research” they initially got the meeting by offering to provide information regarding dealings between the Russian government and then Secretary Clinton. Assuming the Russians actually had such information, the information would have been acquired during the normal activities of the Russian government, not via an “opposition research” operation. Had such information actually been provided, it would have placed the Russians in the role of a “witness” or “informant”, not the role of purveyor of opposition research. Even if it were later determined that the Russians were somehow offering to perform opposition research, that fact was not evident from the e-mails suggesting that the meeting take place. Even if the Russians were explicitly offering to perform opposition research in the e-mails, and even if it were shown that Trump Jr. was inclined to accept the offer, the entire event would be perfectly acceptable under campaign finance law had Trump Jr. simply offered to pay or have his father pay at the end of the meeting. As it happened, of course, no “opposition research” of any kind was provide so Trump Jr. had no reason to offer to pay for it.

          For example, Fusion GPS is a purveyor of opposition research and was paid by an unknown person to create the famous “Trump dossier”. If, perchance, the Trump dossier were ever provided to the Clinton campaign by anyone, the person providing the dossier, and the Clinton campaign for accepting it, would possibly be guilty of a campaign finance violation. However, the individual sources information used in the dossier were not providing “in kind” opposition research simply by providing the underlying information. Those informants did not get the information by performing “opposition research” they got the information, some of them, allegedly, presumably, by pissing on Donald Trump.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

          If the Trump dossier is viewed as opposition research (and indeed it was commissioned against a presidential candidate), then what liabilities has Comey? Trump broke no laws, yet Comey ordered an investigation of Hillary’s opponent (Trump) and paid for it, or offered to. Seems like Comey used his office against candidate Trump to dig up dirt on a presidential candidate.

        • Jeffrey Taylor
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

          At some point information could be construed as speech. I am not giving you a file but I will tell you what is in it. Is that a thing of value? It might be if one can attach a commercial value to it. I suspect not so much if the value is political. Was it work that was commissioned or is it something I or someone else observed in the normal course of business and or politics?

          FECA-BCRA would not stand judicial scrutiny if one can make the case that information is speech.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

          In the context of the very expansive interpretation of “anything of value” made by several people here the attack Ad by a pro-Israeli group against Cory Booker for voting against a measure to block U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority raises interesting issues. Assuming that the Israeli government provided information to the Committee for Israel and also particular individuals who are acting on their own, this could be construed as interfering in US elections. See article at: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/349530-pro-israel-group-unveils-attack-ad-against-booker

          One potential defense against the charge of election interference (assuming aguendo an expansive interpretation) would be that the pro-Israeli groupt is a Social Welfare Organization. In any event, the expansive interpretation of “things of value” used by some here, would cast its net over a very wide range of activities.

          JD

        • Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

          The offer only becomes illegal if offer is not paid for, as pointed out. A fair market price for the disclosure of “official documents” is not known or quantifiable. Regardless, the HRC emails promised could only be of value if they were officially released by a state authority or anonymously leaked onto the web. Both are illegal unless done by the US government in conjunction with HRC (since both of their property is involved), or it’s done as an exercise of journalism.

          But even if the Trump campaign had paid for their release but they were not. No harm — no foul. If they had been released officially by Russia after being paid be Trump I would say Trump was guilty of aiding disclosure of stolen information (if there is such a crime) but not of receiving a foreign gift. If nothing was paid and the Russian disclosure occurred there would only be a gift violation if there had been a promise of return influence of specific quid pro quo should Trump win office.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

          Tag, HaroldW, the same FEC page specifies that volunteering for a campaign by a foreign national is allowed. ‘Any thing of value’ cannot just be stretched to suit the purposes of a prosecutor. If a foreign investigator provides the service this would be allowed. If a foreign national pays the investigator, then it is not allowed.

    • Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I believe Obama interfered in an Israeli election. They hired a public relations firm to work against Netanyahu. Obama by the way was very unpopular in Israel, not surprising given his policy choices. That’s actually more blatant than alleged Russian hacking of DNC emails.

    • davideisenstadt
      Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 4:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Funny isnt it JD that the previous administration’s actions doing just that in the last Israeli election didnt raise those same questions?

  16. jddohio
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 3:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, I have a comment in moderation. (Tried to post it twice) Really doubt that there is anything offensive.

    JD

    Steve: some political words e.g. Obama, Nazi, … trigger moderation. Made sense when I was keeping a hard line on climate discussions. Put in an asterisk.

  17. dearieme
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 5:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “The results are a surprise – standard descriptions of the incident are misleading.” Ooh, you are a wag, Mr McIntyre, and no mistake.

  18. Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 11:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve Mc: “I think that the DNC was hacked, not a leak despite popularity of leak theories. I think that it was hacked by a US partisan.”

    1) Doesn’t Seth Rich fit your profile as a US partisan and a Sanders supporter? He slept in US flag bed sheets.

    2) How can a hack from an unauthorized DNC insider be differentiated from an outside hack?

    3) Do you think that Assange does not know the identity of the source of the DNC emails?

    4) If not, what was Assange’s motive when he offered the $20K reward on the Seth Rich murder?

    5) Wouldn’t the possibility of the identification of Rich’s murderer(s) being local street criminals have put Assange’s money and reputation in jeopardy? How could he be confident that the crime would go unsolved?

    6) Why have the DC police been so closed about releasing any details that could help solve the crime?

    7) Do you find it plausible that a local Fox TV affiliate made up Rod Wheeler’s original story in a brief collusion to perpetrate a hoax as Wheeler claims and the MSM assumes?

    • AndyL
      Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 2:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

      8) There was clearly more than one shooter

    • Frank
      Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 4:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Anyone who believes Seth RIch was killed because of the role he played in the DNC email hacking/leak should ask themselves several questions: a) Wouldn’t a hired killer have a silencer? b) Would a professional have left Rich bleeding from two gunshot wounds in the back or added two shots to the head? (ER personnel allegedly say Rich was alive and talking in the hospital for more than an hour. They allegedly expected him to live.) c) Who would benefit enough from Rich’s being silenced to make it worth the risk of ordering his murder?

      Ron asked: “3) Do you think that Assange does not know the identity of the source of the DNC emails? 4) If not, what was Assange’s motive when he offered the $20K reward on the Seth Rich murder?”

      Assange wants potential leakers to believe that Wikileaks contains material from whistle-blowers in Western democracies, and is not an outlet for purloined material obtained by Russian and other non-Western intelligence agencies. Given his generally unprincipled behavior, I’m inclined to believe Assange would be happy to hint that the material came from Rich, whether that was true or not. .

      For that matter, the Russians are likely to disguise the source of the material they send to Assange.

      Ron asked: “5) Wouldn’t the possibility of the identification of Rich’s murderer(s) being local street criminals have put Assange’s money and reputation in jeopardy? How could he be confident that the crime would go unsolved?

      Assange has little to lose if it turns out that Rich was killed by ordinary criminals. Rich could have given the information to WikiLeaks no matter who killed him.

      Ron asks: “Do you find it plausible that a local Fox TV affiliate made up Rod Wheeler’s original story in a brief collusion to perpetrate a hoax as Wheeler claims and the MSM assumes?”

      Made up? No. Exagerrated? Mischaracterized? Misunderstood? Sure. That happens all of the time. And when a professional investigator finds his work has been misrepresented and used for political purposes, he is going to be upset. If Fox had done everything by the book, they would have stood by their story.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 5:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

        All questions would be answered if the DNC would allow a complete forensic examination by the FBI of their computer hard drive. But they never will because the last thing they want is the truth to emerge.

        Frank, why don’t you go harry the DNC? Tell them that you are concerned. Help the truth emerge.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

          I’d like the DC Police to testify under oath about whether evidence was found on Seth Rich’s computer clearly connecting him to the information at WikiLeaks. After a year without resolution, I think its time for the police to tell us essentially everything they learned in the course of their investigation. Rich lived more than an hour after being shot and was talking.

          Computer security at both the DNC and Democrats in Congress is a mess and DWS is at the center of both. Steve has clearly proved the Crowdstrike allowed the theft to continue. Lots of people have things to hide here.

          If you believe that “Russian fingerprints” on the hacking of the DNC are unreliable and could have been faked, then logically you shouldn’t accept at face value any new “fingerprints” that might be uncovered from the actual server rather than its forensic image. If a good hacker can always make some other party appear responsible, then we will always know nothing. However, the Russian would not put misleading fingerprints on a server that pointed to them.

          None of this changes DT’s usually friendly relationship with Putin and Russia and the fact that several members of his campaign tried to get HRC’s email from the Russians. Apparently they believed HRC’s private server was hacked by the Russians (even though there allegedly is no evidence that her server was hacked). Now you want me to believe that the Russians weren’t involved with the DNC. Anything is possible; consistency would be nice. The links above I followed from Ron Graf to InfoWars etc. led to sources who clearly would distort or suppress any subject to achieve their political goals. I read ClimateAudit because I’m interested in facts, not propaganda. Steve provides facts (the data in this post), acknowledges areas of disagreement and provides useful links (including some that disagree).

          If you have good reasons for disagreeing with the evidence I cited suggesting that Rich’s death was not a hit, I’d like know why I’m wrong. (I now have an additional reason: Two sets of legs were picked up by cameras following Rich at the crime scene. Hit men usually don’t work in pairs. They don’t want witnesses.)

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

          you say : “there allegedly is no evidence that her server was hacked”.

          The server logs for the server were destroyed under instructions from Cheryl Mills and David Kendall AFTER the preservation order from the Benghazi Committee. This destroyed all the relevant evidence. Seems like obstruction of justice and yet Comey didn’t do anything. Comey charged Martha Stewart and Frank Quattrone for obstruction of justice on relative trifles and knows how to do it.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

          Frank, I have no opinions on Rich. My point is that all could be answered if the DNC would allow a complete forensic examination of their computer. The Rich matter intrigues me but there are too many gaps in the information needed.

          I would accept conclusions based on a complete forensic examination of the DNC computer by a team of experts assembled by the FBI, for example. You have faith in CrowdStrike and their Russian attribution and I have to wonder why. It would have been a wonderfully dumb Russian. I say it was a smart Israeli, Israel having the strongest motivation of all to sabotage Hillary and the Dems. Myself, I don’t believe in dumb Russian intelligence operatives. But I’ll tell who is dumb: that Steele spook.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

          Mpainter: After reading this post, I have little faith in CrowdStrike. However, IIRC, the FBI has received full forensic image of the DNC server. The FBI has passed judgment about that information and intelligence leaders have repeated it under oath many times. The original judgments were made long before collusion became an issue and was highly publicized. Back then, Russian efforts to influence elections were not linked to the Trump campaign. At best I can tell, the DNC hacking and collusion are two independent issues to be judged on their own merits

          If the FBI felt they could obtain better info from the server itself on this matter of national security, they should have asked. However, after CrowdStrike’s and the DNC’s delays, it may have been harder to recover new useful information from the server. In the case of the UEA, investigators seized the server from an organization responsible for the disruption of the Copenhagen climate negotiations. The FBI would be more reluctant to make demands of the President’s political party, unless they are absolutely necessary. That is not equal treatment under the law, but it is reality, and that reality does not constitute a coverup. The DNC and Crowdstrike obviously have lots to hide, but it may not pertain to Russia.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

          Frank, you say: “The original judgments were made long before collusion became an issue and was highly publicized.”

          I don’t agree. The CIA launched a hair-on-fire investigation in collusion between Trump and Russia in early August. WaPo had a story in June in which they say that CIA had some super-secret info going all the way to Putin. WaPo didn’t disclose the information, but I’m convinced that it was nothing more than early Steele memoranda which are known to be in the hands of intel community by early August. There are some other links that I’ve been intending to write up.

          Early Steele memoranda connected the DNC hack to Russian collusion by August. There was apparently some initial resistance to attribution of the Russian hack to Russia and Putin due to lack of evidence, but this resistance was overcome by the time of the October 6 assessment.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

          You apparently missed this comment, Frank:

          Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:04 PM | Permalink | Reply
          A byte-for-byte copy of a drive is insufficient as a forensic copy, at the FBI level and above.

          It’s sufficient for those who only want to see what is *currently* written.

          However, AFAIK (as a former drive recording technology expert in the commercial realm) there are most likely classified methods available to detect what may have previously been written to the drive.

          My conclusion: most definitely The FBI should have taken possession of the actual disks.

          Steve: very useful comment. The contrast with police taking Climategate server is pretty striking, especially given the fallout of DNC attribution.

          Also, the FBI asked but were refused access to the computer, according to the FBI, I’ve seen reported. There are other things incorrect in your comment. The collusion and the hacking are linked. These are not separate issues, the collusion charge stemming from the hacking (the so called Russian meddling in the election).

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

          The FBI & co went easy on HRC under (Establishment) Democratic president Obama; under Republican president Trump they don’t know when to stop following silly leads.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: “Frank, you say: “The original judgments were made long before collusion became an issue and was highly publicized.”

          I don’t agree. The CIA launched a hair-on-fire investigation in collusion between Trump and Russia in early August.

          I personally assumed that Russian hackers were trying to break into both candidate’s and party’s computer systems (and other government computers) looking for valuable information. The negative information about the Dems emails was – in my mind – discredited by the fact this was what the Russians wanted me to know from an unknown greater store of information. None of this was an important issue to me.

          I personally didn’t pay much attention to any “Russian collusion” stories until after the election. I paid attention to DT’s strange admiration for Putin and his naive belief that personal diplomacy could end our severe conflicts of interest with Russia. However, what influenced me has nothing to do with the average voter. To support my views, I did a google search for reasons to vote against Trump. That didn’t focus on the late fall, when the undecided were about to break for Trump. I found at least two articles on why the Electoral College should vote against Trump and was surprised to find Russia was the number two reason at that point. So I must respect Steve’s point, even though it didn’t agree with my perceptions

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/davidhalperin/8-new-reasons-the-elector_b_13248386.html

          This Sept 29, 2016 editorial, on the hand, didn’t mention any about Russian favoritism.

          https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/09/29/dont-vote-for-donald-trump-editorial-board-editorials-debates/91295020/

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

          I’ll return to this topic.

      • Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 1:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Frank, you have some good points. Let’s explore them. “Wouldn’t a hired killer…” Making assumptions of what a crime scene fingerprint should look like is confounded one suspects include sophisticated actors. This goes for the hack as well as crimes possibly taking advantage of the hack.

        Assange’s mission is clearly to expose the intelligence community and state secrets. One would think that it crossed Assange’s mind that material could be handed to him under false flags in order to exploit Wikileaks for state purposes. If so one would assume that Assange has set up some type of system of trusted intermediaries to weed out spooks from legitimate whistle-blowers. Why would Assange not declare Rich as the DNC email source? Because a firm claim would demand of firm evidence, an opening of the internal books.

        Frank says: “Made up? No. Exaggerated? Mischaracterized? Misunderstood? Sure. That happens all of the time. And when a professional investigator finds his work has been misrepresented and used for political purposes, he is going to be upset. If Fox had done everything by the book, they would have stood by their story.”

        The book says to confirm stories with an independent source before broadcasting. But in the case of a professional investigator representing the family of a murder victim who wants to reveal his findings it might be unreasonable to demand the reporter confirm all the facts before allowing the investigator to go on the air. The investigator is making the claim, not the reporter. I do not see how Rod Wheeler could have been confused in what he was saying. You can watch him on Hannity here.

        On August 1 Wheeler went on MSNBC here to explain his law suit against Fox. Contrary to MSM reports that Wheeler claimed that all his facts were fed to him by Fox, Wheeler stands by everything he said on Hannity as true and limits his claim to a Fox reporter that mis-quoted Wheeler as claiming that Wheeler had seen the emails. Amazingly at the end of the MSNBC clip Wheeler goes further than he went on Hannity and says the DNC’s Donna Brazile was meddling into the DC’s Rich murder investigation and was the one telling them and the family not to cooperate with him.

        • Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

          My point in my fourth paragraph was made before I saw the MSNBC video. Again, Wheeler now claims he never dis-avowed his Hannity story. The entire retraction and suit are regarding a very narrow point of degree of claim of certainty that DMC emails were on Rich’s computer. Talk about “Exaggerated? Mischaracterized? Misunderstood?” Wheeler has a better case against the MSM outlets that characterized Wheeler as completely disavowing when he was only making a correction on a fine point.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

          Thanks Ron. Both are informative, but not conclusive (IMO). On FOX, Wheeler made a strong concluding statement saying he thought Rich WAS source on May 16th, but that contradicted some of the uncertainty he expressed earlier in the interview. He now claims that he wouldn’t have made that statement, if he hadn’t been misinformed about what Fox reporters told him about a source in the FBI. He didn’t claim his strong statement was taken out of context. Obviously neither he nor Fox News now assert the story as presented was reliable. Wheeler has no first hand knowledge linking Rich to WikiLeaks, he claims that info came from Fox and Fox isn’t standing behind the story. Where does that leave us?

          The videos do NOT support my characterization of “Exaggerated? Mischaracterized? Misunderstood?” I was wrong.

          Both sides tried to interfere with or make use of Wheeler. A Republican paid for his investigation. Who is funding his lawsuit against FOX? I doubt he can afford the cost.

          I think this leaves us with no real evidence and plenty of room to guess.

          I think we disagree about Assange. I see his objective as destroying the credibility of governments. I releases anything, whether or not it usefully informs the public and whether or not it hurts people or governments. An ambassador’s casual candid comments about personal flaws in a leader don’t help the public or the government that works for the public. So I don’t think Assange cares at all about the source of any sensational information, he just doesn’t want potential leakers in the West to consider WikiLeaks to be an outlet for Russian intelligence.

          In contrast, FIOA took the time and risk to sort through and release two batches of UEA email that was relevant to climate change. IIFC he finally gave the remainder to a few trusted bloggers who might find it useful, but asked them not to distribute it indiscriminately.

        • Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

          Frank, thanks for your reconsideration in the face of new evidence. I’m also keeping an open mind to which direction the best evidence points.

          After viewing Wheeler’s Aug 1 MSNBC interview I went and found another longer interview of Wheeler by citizen investigators here.

          The most interesting points I gleaned were these:

          1) Wheeler, after doing a what he sincerely maintains was an honest investigation, feels the chances the murder was motivated by Rich’s work far outweighs that of random street crime of personal life conflict, what he calls the three doors of standard investigation.

          2) The DC police are obviously not following any standard protocols in their investigation as far as public communication or with the family. He stands by his allegation that the DC police shut him out.

          3) The alleged FBI agent who claimed to see the DNC emails on Rich’s laptop and also communication with Wikileaks Gavin McFadyen was brought to Wheeler by Fox reporter Malia Zimmerman, who according to Wheeler told him the information was confirmed. So apparently Wheeler’s on air claim that it was his source was misleading and what he recanted.

          4) Wheeler feels the MSM has used him to divert attention from the story that needs investigating, the Seth Rich murder.

          5) Wheeler is under a non-disclosure order from the Rich family lawyer is trying to maintain is permanent, preventing him from talking about his investigation. The family is being represented by a spokesman Brad Bauman, who is employed by a Democratic consulting firm.

          6) Wheeler confirmed the police admitted there is a video of the murder but that it’s low quality, and they were not willing to let him see it. The police maintain they had body cams but lost them. Wheeler was not allowed to see the autopsy report, which is also highly unusual not to share with family or their investigator. Also, police would not release the “lookout” which is the “be on the lookout” bulletin broadcast immediately after a crime is responded to and a description is made. Wheeler says that every policeman is trained their first question to a conscious victim is, “who did this? or what did they look like?”

          7) The Judicial Watch and American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) have FOIA suits filed on the DC police Seth Rich investigation.

        • Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

          It turns out, point #3, the allegation that an FBI source read an FBI file that cited evidence of Rich in communication with WL, came from Seymour Hersh. His ‘s phone call to Ed Butowsky, sometime before Wheeler was hired in February or March, Hersh tells Butowsky that he has a longtime high level source in the FBI would will read files for him as a favor. Hersh’s alleged source tells him that the FBI lab was given the Rich laptop by the DC police to crack and retrieve all the info. The source says it was revealed that Rich contacted WL and asked for money and put the files on an online archive. http://redpilledworld.blogspot.com/2017/08/seymour-hersh-audio-transcript.html

          All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I’m sure dozens of emails, and said, “I want money.”

          Then later Wikileaks did get the password. He had a DropBox – a protected DropBox – which isn’t hard to do. I mean you don’t have to be an IT wizard. He was certainly, he was not a dumb kid.

          They got access to the DropBox. He also – this is also in the FBI report – he also let people know with whom he was dealing. I don’t know how he dealt with the Wikileaks and the mechanism but he also… The word was passed according to the NSA report, “I also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problems.” Okay. I don’t know what that means.

          If Hersh, (the reporter who exposed the My Lai Massacre for a Pulitzer), is not a complete liar the key to everything seems to be in the FBI files regarding the contents on Rich’s laptop. Hersh does not help himself by his rambling tone and willingness to share his personal theory that the coverup was directed by Brennan and Obam@ and became the foundation of a Russia-Trump aimed misinformation operation. Hersh also does not help himself in his recent interview with NPR where he denied being the source of the Butowsky-Fox News-Wheeler fiasco. The Hersh audio got released on the next day, I think Aug 1. According to Huffpo’s Aug 9 article the audio recording had cut off Hersh telling Butowsky

          The “information” from Hersh’s source “was not necessarily true, and that, even if true, it did not preclude the possibility that Russians also hacked the DNC.

          If there is even a kernal of truth to anything Hersh said he has the story of the century and I wager he is not walking on any dark streets at night.

        • Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

          This is a replacement of a comment in moderation that can be discarded.

          The audio of Seymour Hersh connecting Rich to WL it turns out is from February 2017, and is the original source of the Rod Wheeler-Fox alleged claim and details of an FBI report linking Rich to WL.

          In his phone call to Ed Butowsky Hersh tells him that he has a longtime “high level” source in the FBI would will read files for him as a favor. Hersh’s alleged source tells him that the DC police gave the Rich laptop to the FBI lab to retrieve the info. As a result, according to the source, it was revealed that Rich contacted WL and asked for money and put the files on an online archive. http://redpilledworld.blogspot.com/2017/08/seymour-hersh-audio-transcript.html

          All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I’m sure dozens of emails, and said, “I want money.” Then later Wikileaks did get the password. He had a DropBox – a protected DropBox – which isn’t hard to do. I mean you don’t have to be an IT wizard. He was certainly, he was not a dumb kid.
          They got access to the DropBox. He also – this is also in the FBI report – he also let people know with whom he was dealing. I don’t know how he dealt with the Wikileaks and the mechanism but he also… The word was passed according to the NSA report, “I also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problems.”

          Was he telling the truth? Hersh (80) is an investigative reporter of over 50 years and received a Pulitzer Prize for exposing the 1974 My Lai Massacre. Yet Wheeler’s law suit brief reveals that somewhere in the uncut audio version Hersh told Butowsky the information was not necessarily true, and that, even if true, it did not preclude the possibility that Russians also hacked the DNC.

          Also, the actual audio only got released because Hersh dismissed that he was the Butowsky-Wheeler-Fox source, telling NPR last month, “I hear gossip. [Butowsky] took two and two and made 45 out of it.”

          If there is even a kernal of truth Hersh’s original call to Butowsky it’s the story of the century. I think Hersh needs to be interviewed again.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

          Why did the police fetch Rich’s computer ?from his apartment, presumably. They say it was a failed robbery attempt, so what did the computer have to do with that? Is it confirmed that the cops have his computer?

        • Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

          According to Hersh and confirmed by Wheeler, it’s SOP for police to search the possessions and communications of a murder victim. The motive for the murder is still officially undetermined and I have seen no public police statement made at any time since the murder. The Rich family gave an interview the day after expressing skepticism at the police’s knee-jerk assumption that it was a holdup. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Seth_Rich

          Rich’s mother told NBC’s Washington affiliate WRC-TV, “There had been a struggle. His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything…”

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

          Ron, mpainter: What does this Hersh interview tell us? First, it says Rich was in communication with WikiLeaks and gave them some samples. Never says all the information WikiLeaks received came from Rich.

          Now we have interviews with Hersh that deny he received information directly from an FBI agent. He, like Wheeler, attribute the FBI source to someone else (Butowsky?)

          http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/has-russiagate-finally-been-solved/ri20670
          http://www.npr.org/2017/08/01/540783715/lawsuit-alleges-fox-news-and-trump-supporter-created-fake-news-story

          Obviously Hersh can’t confirm the information from his single source – if indeed he has a single source – or he would be publishing under his own byline. We don’t know what agenda his FBI source might have, assuming he exists. Perhaps Hersh is spreading these rumors to see if anyone else will step forward to confirm the story for him. Then maybe we will have a legitimate news story and something we can trust.

          However, the story I heard raises more questions than it answers:

          Did Rich get paid? The police (and Wheeler?) ought to have looked at his bank records.

          If he put the info in a dropbox, why is Charles Murray collecting a flash drive 3 months later at American University. And how does Murray know who the source was if the information came by dropbox and an email address.

          And if the drop box was shared with friends, why aren’t they afraid Rich was murdered (the most sensational aspect of the story) and that they might be next? The idea that Rich was murdered for leaking still seems absurd (to me and Hersh). I’m perfectly willing to believe Brennan could be responsible for the overconfident assessment that the Russians hacked the DNC (since I already suspect he was behind the overconfident initial assessment that Benghazi started as a demonstration).

          The press has remained skeptical of Hersh’s recent big revelations about the killing of Osama and poison gas being used in Syria, by ISIS, not Assad. The New Yorker refused to run the former. The traditional press no longer seems to regard Hersh as a respected winner two Pulitzer prizes. This information can be interpreted in a number of ways.

        • Posted Sep 9, 2017 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

          Frank: “[Hersh] Never says all the information WikiLeaks received came from Rich.”

          Frank I’m not sure you if you are implying that if a murdered DNC staffer was only found to have passed sample DNC emails to Assange and WL that the story is less than — yes, the biggest story of the century.

          If Rich’s bank account showed some unaccounted for cash deposit it would certainly add one more big question demanding an answer. But absence of that evidence could mean that Rich’s demand was either ignored or he received token compensation, which might not be detectable. A PI might be the only way that question could get answered considering the DC police’s clamp on the case.

          I absolutely agree that Hersh could have been shopping his story in hopes of gaining support to find a confirming source or marrying his source with one Fox might develop. And, I agree that Fox jumped the gun going forward with only a hearsay source. The failure of the gambit to flush out a confirmation looks like it caused everyone to deny they the original story. That doesn’t mean it was untrue. As incredible as the story is it’s just as incredible someone in the FBI or Hersh made it up. There is no chance it was Butowsky. If you listen to the tape Hersh is telling the story, not reacting to it, regardless of the few editing cuts.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

          Thanks, Ron Graf. The Hersh transcript makes it clear that it will all be put into the light of day, eventually. The Wheeler lawsuit will give Fox News the opportunity to depose Hersh on his sources. If Hersh is right, the whole DNC “hacking” was contrived as a means to engineer the “Russian collusion” BS against Trump. I wonder if O’bumma was complicit. Very interesting times we live in.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 3:03 AM | Permalink

          While the Independent Counsel law was repealed, Ken Starr was operating under the same regulations. He was assigned a specific criminal inquiry(was actually the 2nd prosecutor for Whitewater), and then had additional criminal investigations added. He went to Janet Reno for permission to investigate Clinton’s behavior in the Paula Jones case, even though it was related to Whitewater given Vernon Jordan’s similar behavior in both matters to silence witnesses.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Frank, what about Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan? Is he also unprincipled, as you claim Assange is? In which case you must judge him a liar or if not, you must accept him as truthful. Myself, I believe Murray and it follows that Assange is credible.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

          When you mentioned Craig Murray, I checked to see if Assange had publicly endorsed Murray’s story. I found the details of his trip that I quoted above and deduced (hopefully correctly) that the personal events he described weren’t relevant to Seth RIch (though Murray didn’t make that clear). Unfortunately, my Google search first encountered an article on his publicly outing one of the women accusing Assange.

          An interview is not an investigation. Could the Russians (or Assange) have arranged for Murray to collect a flash drive in the woods near American University? Sure. Did Murray look at the contents of the flash drive to see that they contained Podesta’s email? If not, who did he give the drive to? Was he involved earlier with collecting the DNC email leak? If not, why did he publicly state he was sure it had been leaked? Does he have any personal knowledge that Rich was involved? I think the answers to some of these questions might complicate Assange’s policy of keeping leakers confidential, so I stopped looking for confirmation from Assange of Murray’s story.

          In any case, I don’t think Putin called up Assange and said his former colleagues had obtained some great information from the DNC that Assange could trust. I assume hacked material from an intelligence agency – if any comes that way – would come with a minimum of a fig leaf of plausible deniability to protect both the source and Assange.

          If Seth Rich, not the Russians, were the source, why wouldn’t Assange disclose the evidence he possesses. It would be WikiLeaks greatest exposure of government lying about a truly important subject (Russian interference in the US election). HIs source has been murdered, possibly for leaking. Why wouldn’t he disclose his evidence. Yes, there might be others involved and there could be some risk of exposure, but the information Assange and Murray have already released have already created that risk.

          I also listened to much of Wheeler’s interview, especially the three possibilities: a) Street crime, with the police withholding most of the evidence needing to judge that possibility. b) Love life, no evidence. c) Work, some reason to suspect a conflict being hidden for political reasons (or worse). For possibility c), I can’t envision a chance or planned encounter with a work colleague on the street at 4:00 am a few blocks from his apartment that intentionally or accidentally got out of control; nor a “professional” hit without a silencer that left Rich alive and talking (nor anyone who would risk paying for it). For possibility a), I can envision (counterproductive) pressure on the police from the DNC and the family to avoid unnecessary speculation before the case is resolved. Hopefully, someday FOI, Congress, or commonsense will eventually promote transparency. Until then, anyone is entitled to speculate and speculation runs wild on the Internet. One concerned citizen even traveled from North Carolina to DC with a gun to break up a child sex ring at the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria based on the Podesta leak. As scientific skeptics, I think it behooves us to scrutinize every link in the chain of evidence (as Steve does at this site) supporting all hypotheses, not immediately assumed that our formerly-trusted institutions are failing us.

          IMO, Mr. Comey’s memo about resolution of the Clinton email investigation before all witnesses had been questioned coupled with the unreasonably generous cooperation agreements Clintons insiders received (after their complicity and negligence in protecting our secret) tells me he no longer deserves my confidence.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

          “I know who leaked them,” Murray said. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things”.[49]
          ####

          From the Wikipedia article on Murray.
          Frank, for me, you need to show that Murray is dishonest or a dupe. I know that details are lacking, but I have no reason to disbelieve Murray. It is faultworthy to ignore Murray’s above statement, imo, because it is the most substantial testimony that we have on the DNC Wikileaks affair.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

          Oh, c’mon Steve.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

          Frank, I do not propose Seth Rich as the leaker but I acknowledge that he is the prime suspect as the leaker for now. Nor do I draw any conclusions concerning his murder.

          Assange cannot disclose his sources, dead or alive, for obvious reasons: potential leakers would lose faith in him. His offering a reward is a strong indicator that Seth Rich was involved, but he dare go no farther than that. You propose that Assange is dishonest without offering any substantiation.

          ####

          “I know who leaked them,” Murray said. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things”.[49]
          ####

          From the Wikipedia article on Murray.
          Frank, for me, you need to show that Murray is untrustworthy. I know that details are lacking, but I have no reason to disbelieve Murray. It is not justifiable to ignore Murray’s above statement, imo, because it is the most substantial testimony that we have on the DNC Wikileaks affair.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

          “I know who leaked them,” Murray said. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things”.

          ####

          This is the only testimony that we have concerning the DNC computer hack/leak. I do not think that it should be ignored. And now CrowdStrike is discredited, so what else is there? Your imagination?

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

          mpainter: All the GWB administration cared about when Comey was appointed was terrorism. GWB was being briefed morning and night on the “threat matrix”, including every rumor that law enforcement was pursuing. Cheney had gone over to “the dark side”. We were about to invade Iraq because of WMD that didn’t exist. Or, more correctly, had existed in the 1980s, had been secretly destroyed by Saddam, hadn’t yet been reconstituted due to inspections and sanctions, and which Saddam wanted his enemies to fear. We had enhanced interrogation at CIA black sites and rendition to foreign intelligence programs. The Clinton administration allegedly hadn’t wanted to indict the Khobar towers bombers because of their links to Iran and the lack of cooperation from Saudi Arabia. Comey was brought in to personally brief Bush about Iranian involvement in the Khobar Towers in the days after 9/11. Comey was the hot young prosecutor with anti-terrorism experience when that was most in demand. Front page prosecutions of the Gambinos and Martha Stewart helped.

          https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/government/comey-bio.html

          Ob*ma came into office pledging on his first day to end what he saw as the excesses of GWB era: He ordered the closure Guantanamo (never carried out), ended enhanced interrogation, and wanted those involved prosecuted (never carried out). On the other hand, Ob*ma also made Osama the CIA’s top priority, surged in Afghanistan, and conducted numerous drone strikes in Pakistan. When looking for bipartisan cover, Ob*ma turned to those Republicans who had stood up to the excesses of the Bush administration, Mueller and Comey. Again, they were in the right place at the right time.

          Now, with the rise of Trump, concerns about the “deep state” and conspiracy theories, they are in the center of suspicion, not the right place at the right time.

          https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/government/comey-bio.html

          I wouldn’t be a long-time reader of Climateaudit if I accepted everything I read in the MSM However, these were the only sources I found that explain why Comey ended up where he did. The dotcom bubble, Enron and other accounting scandals produced many desperate people. Perhaps Comey helped out someone with influence in 2002. However, it doesn’t make sense that two years later he and Mueller (and Comey’s deputy Chris Wray and likely others) were about to resign over the illegality of programs Bush and other top White House officials believed were essential to protecting American lives. Just like it didn’t make sense for Comey to have done some of the things he did a decade later if his goal were to help HRC. For me, trying to make sense out of Comey begins with ego, morality, and volatility, not consistent bias. The article below was written by the author of “The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller’s FBI and the War on Global Terror” when Comey had been nominated to replace Muller as head of the FBI. It is potentially just as biased as any other source i have offered, but contains more detail and was written by an expert on the subject, not an ordinary journalist.

          https://www.washingtonian.com/2013/05/30/forged-under-firebob-mueller-
          and-jim-comeys-unusual-friendship/

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 6:53 AM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: “If it were an ordinary murder trial, any prosecutor would recuse himself if the key and only eyewitness was a close personal friend. Seems obvious.”

          As best I can tell, the American Bar Assn rules for conflict of interest make no mention of friendship between witnesses and prosecutors. Personal knowledge of a witness’ integrity can assist a prosecutor in deciding whether to bring a case. However, a prosecutor also knows that the defense will attempt to impeach a witness on cross-examination by bringing up a witness’ personal relationship with the prosecutor. So personal knowledge of a witness is both an asset and a liability for a prosecutor, and he must weigh both factors when deciding to bring a case.

          https://www.americanbar.org/publications/criminal_justice_section_archive/crimjust_standards_pfunc_blkold.html

          We also need to remember that any legal case would be the US vs DT, not JC vs DT (for wrongful firing). The critical element in the case will be DT’s intentions, and there will be dozens of witnesses presenting information about what the President said when he inserted himself into the investigation and fired Comey. Comey was the only witness to one key event, but the President’s intentions were witnessed by many (and tweeted). When firing Flynn, for example, DT could have said he would protect Flynn from further investigation. During his testimony, Comey admitted not knowing whether DT’s words constituted a “corrupt intent” to obstruct justice – he said that it would be Mueller’s job to evaluate all of the evidence, not just his recollection and memos.

          However, before Mueller gets to intent, he must find someone guilty of a serious crime colluding with the Russians. He probably needs to prove that DT was aware of that crime. If no crime took place, then justice has not been “corruptly obstructed”. If DT was completely unaware of the crime, how could he have intended to interfere with its discovery? Incomplete disclosure of relatively harmless interactions with the Russians (like DT Jr’s currently appear to be) won’t be good enough. If we are lucky, Mueller will never have to evaluate DT’s intentions.

          Finally, Mueller likely will not be the prosecutor of DT. The special prosecutor in Whitewater provided the House Judiciary Committee with a report and supporting documents. They (and the whole House) served as a kind of grand jury. Their – not Mueller’s personal understanding of the integrity of various witnesses will be important. That is why DT’s allies are working so hard to discredit Comey.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

          Frank, among other odd things that I’ve researched carefully in my life are conflicts of interest for lawyers, including reading a lot of case law (Canadian not American, but the principles are pretty much the same).

          I agree that the ABA manual doesn’t specifically deal with the situation in which a key witness is a friend of the prosecutor but that doesn’t change my view that it would be very unseemly for a prosecutor in a murder trial not to recuse himself if he was close friends with the key eyewitness. Maybe in some 19th frontier town, but not in a modern city.

          Whenever a potential conflict arises, disclosure issues arise. For example (https://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/standards/ProsecutionFunctionFourthEdition.html), Mueller presumably had an obligation to formally disclose to the DoJ his personal connections with Comey which “could reasonably be viewed as raising a potential conflict of interest”. We don’t know precisely what Rosenstein knew about Comey-Mueller relations. Regardless, it should have been formally disclosed. (Such formal disclosures are routinely required in minutes of far less important business transations.)

          Standard 3-1.7 Conflicts of Interest
          (g) The prosecutor should disclose to appropriate supervisory personnel any facts or interests that could reasonably be viewed as raising a potential conflict of interest. If it is determined that the prosecutor should nevertheless continue to act in the matter, the prosecutor and supervisors should consider whether any disclosure to a court or defense counsel should be made, and make such disclosure if appropriate. Close cases should be resolved in favor of disclosure to the court and the defense.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

          Comey: “..corrupt attempt to obstruct justice”
          ###
          Here Comey continues to maneuver against Trump, as he pours swill in his attempt to inflame opinion against Trump. But Comey now is facing prison and he has known that for a long time. His fear of Trump is reflexive and his attempts to undermine Trump are calculated.

          By the way, Comey meekly yielded up his memos to the DoJ. He recognized that he had goofed; these were government work. Now he is threatened with subpoena by Grassley. I think Comey is an idiot.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

          Mueller and Comey have a community of interest in regard to the Khobars Towers prosecution. The circumstances are very interesting. Mueller was appointed Acting Deputy Attorney General by Bush, January 20, 2001(inauguration day). About six weeks later, just arrived Mueller assigned prosecution of the Khobars Towers suspect to James Comey, U.S.Attorney for Richmond, Va. This was after Janet Reno refused to use the evidence extracted by torture, provided by Al Saud. But Reno left January 20 and Eric Holder became Acting AG. The implications are that Bush wanted the prosecution and Mueller and Comey were following directions. Why do you suppose that Bush took such an interest in this prosecution? Mueller was rewarded with his appointment as Director of the FBI five months later.

          My point? Comey and Mueller, the Bushco twins, have a community of self interest against Trump, who has sworn the destruction of swamp creatures.

          Concerning Comey’s reputation as a terrorist slayer, it seems that he slew the wrong guy with bullets molded by torture. Your heroes, Frank. There will be more on this.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

          I’m going to set up a separate thread on Khobar Towers to collect comments.

      • Frank
        Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 2:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve wrote: “The server logs for the server were destroyed under instructions from Cheryl Mills and David Kendall AFTER the preservation order from the Benghazi Committee. This destroyed all the relevant evidence. Seems like obstruction of justice and yet Comey didn’t do anything.”

        I’ve previously expressed the opinion that HRC’s clearest offenses were obstruction of justice and perjury. Comey told Congress the FBI only investigates such subjects when Congress files a complaint with the FBI. The original complaint that HRC mishandled secret information came to the FBI from the DoS Inspector General. The Republicans filled perjury complaints with the FBI after Comey testified (which are hard to prove), but ignored obstruction of justice.

        Steve added: “Comey charged Martha Stewart and Frank Quattrone for obstruction of justice on relative trifles and knows how to do it.”

        Both Quattrone and Stewart were charged with far more than obstruction. In Stewart’s case, Stewart’s stockbroker’s assistant testified that he and his boss had told Ms. Stewart that ImClone CEO Wankal and family (who were also clients) were selling off their ImClone stock when a drug approval from the FDA was expected any day. When insiders like Wankal trade, that information is shared with the public, but it wasn’t public knowledge when Stewart decided to sell. However, proving that Ms Stewart knew that Wankal’s sales weren’t yet public knowledge would be difficult. However, Ms. Stewart and her stockbroker had concocted a story that they had a previous agreement to sell if the price began to fall and told that story to investigators. When the assistant agreed to testify, proving obstruction of justice was easier than proving insider trading. If Ms. Stewart had simply told the truth about what she had done and claimed she hadn’t realized that the information she received wasn’t yet public knowledge, she probably would have escaped with a fine. Lying about her actions, when the investigators knew better, caused her to go to jail.

        https://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/comp18169.htm

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

          Why would Martha have been fined if they couldn’t prove a crime?

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

          MikeN asked: “Why would Martha have been fined if they couldn’t prove a crime?”

          The SEC deals with civil, not criminal, penalties. When Ms. Stewart sold, she possess knowledge that wasn’t public. If you benefit from a “mistake” like this, the SEC asks you to return your profits. If they question whether your actions really were a “honest mistake”, they might insist on adding a penalty in addition to the return of profits. Rather than settle for a civil penalty with the SEC, Ms. Stewart refused to admit any mistake and insisted she and her stockbroker had decided on a plan to sell at a certain price before hearing about Wankal’s sales. She claimed she had merely been acting on the basis of that plan. (The SEC allows corporate insiders to file written 10-b-5 plans to sell at a particular price. Those plans must be submitted at a time when the insider doesn’t possess inside knowledge, say a week after an earnings announcement.)

          Ms. Stewart’s stockbroker also worked for CEO Wankal and his family and thus was involved of a criminal investigation of their insider trading. The DoJ made a deal with the stockbroker’s assistant in return for his testimony. The assistant had been part of all conversations with Stewart on the day of the sale. He testified that no earlier plan had been discussed that day – only the news about Wankal’s sales. The jury believed the assistant, not Ms. Stewart’s assertion that she was following a plan.

          Could the assistant have testified the Ms. Stewart knew Wankal’s sales were not public knowledge? On TV, judges don’t allow witnesses to speculate about what someone else KNEW, but they do allow them to testify about what was SAID. So they tried her for lying (obstruction) rather than insider trading.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

          you say: So they tried her for lying (obstruction) rather than insider trading.

          As I recall, They tried her for both.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

          Comey was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, January 2002 to December,2003, a Bush appointment. In December 2003 he was appointed Deputy Attorney General. Big step. One wonders what he did to deserve such a big promotion. It certainly could not have been the chicken feed Martha Stewart case, high profile through it was.

          Maybe it was something he didn’t do, or rather, something he managed to avoid doing that he might have done with his authority.

          His district included the big financial houses and stock brokerages of New York City. Something tells me that the career of James Comey is about to get a close scrutiny.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 3:52 AM | Permalink

          mpainter asked: “Comey was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, January 2002 to December,2003, a Bush appointment. In December 2003 he was appointed Deputy Attorney General. Big step. One wonders what he did to deserve such a big promotion.”

          Investigation and prosecution of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing caused major disagreements between Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was deeply and personally committed in the case. In the first few months of the Bush Presidency as he was about to retire, Freeh and acting Attorney General Mueller succeed in transferring responsibility for the case to Comey, who was then the US Attorney in Richmond. Within about 3 months (and 4 days before the five year statute of limitation expired), Comey succeed in indicting 8 Saudi members of Hezbollah, who were later found guilty. That success got Comey to NY and then to Washington as the Deputy AG. Effective, but principled, anti-terrorism was Comey’s main claim to fame a decade ago.

          http://www.chron.com/news/nation-world/article/Reports-FBI-reassigns-prosecution-of-Saudi-2011994.php

          http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a51446/what-was-comey-thinking/

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

          it’s interesting to see this mention of Saudi Hezbollah, which one doesn’t hear about much anymore. Do you know how this bombing was connected to Hezbollah rather than Al Qaeda?

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

          Frank, I asked about Comey’s activity (or lack thereof) as U.S.Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and you responded with his activity while at Richmond. You also referenced two dubious articles from popular media.

          So far, the reason why Comey was elevated to the #2 position in the DoJ is obscure. That position is a political appointment. There must be some reason for this appointment other than the fact that he did his job while at Richmond. There were 93 U.S.Attorneys doing their job, yet Comey got the boost. And two years later,a very rich boost when he went to Lockheed Martin and earned several millions per year as their General Counsel. Thus it goes in the swamp.

          The questions remain: why the meteoric career of James Comey in the Bush administration and then his incomprehensible transition from Bushco to FBI Director under O’bumma. Hopefully, some light will be put on this nest of swamp crawlers.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

          Comey is buddies with Mueller, who was FBI director for 13 years. Mueller was doing a big service to Bush Admin in shutting down investigation of Saudi links to 9/11.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

          And Comey succeeded Mueller as Director of the FBI in 2013. Mueller was Bushco and so was Comey. I’ve asked this before, but the question bears repeating: why would O’bumma appointment Bushco Comey as Director of the FBI?

          By the way, Mueller performed many important services for Bushco while he headed the FBI.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

          I think that Comey and Eric Holder have some shared history. Might look in that direction.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

          Comey charged Martha Stewart with both securities offences and obstruction. She was found not guilty on the security charges.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

          Comey was involved in a revolt of attorneys that were planning to resign over Bush surveillance. Obama got a chance to replay that story.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

          Steve asked: it’s interesting to see this mention of Saudi Hezbollah, which one doesn’t hear about much anymore. Do you know how this bombing was connected to Hezbollah rather than Al Qaeda?

          The basic outline of the Khobar Towers investigation is in Wikipedia. Those indicted (and convicted in abstentia) were members of a Saudi branch of Hezbollah, which claimed credit for the attack. The 1996 attack on Khobar Towers was before any terrorist attacks commonly attributed to Al Qaeda, though Bin Laden later claimed Al Qaeda was responsible for Khobar Towers and several other attacks. The 9/11 commission investigated and reported on this possibility. FWIW, the general consensus appears to be that Al Qaeda was not involved. The Al Qaeda info is from “The Looming Tower” (Pulitzer Prize) esp references on p474.

          Before 9/11, Hezbollah and other groups (Islamic Jihad) linked to Iran and Palestinian groups were the most famous terrorists. Almost 300 US Marines and French peacekeepers were killed in a suicide attack in Beirut. The was also an attack on the US Embassy and US hostages including the kidnapped CIA station chief. Iranian/Shia/Hezbollah terrorists be less publicity than Sunni groups, but they aren’t inactive.

          Steve wrote: “Comey charged Martha Stewart with both securities offences and obstruction. She was found not guilty on the security charges.”

          This CNN source tells a slightly different story. I have been confused about the difference between security fraud and insider trading, but it appears that insider trading is a type of securities fraud. Perhaps she was convicted of insider trading, with that term being replace with “securities fraud”.

          http://money.cnn.com/2004/03/05/news/companies/martha_verdict/

          Steve commented: “I think that Comey and Eric Holder have some shared history. Might look in that direction.”

          Somewhere I read that Comey (as US Attorney in NY) investigated Clnton’s pardon of Marc Rich, which was handled by Holder as Acting AG.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

          a number of years ago, I read the Martha Stewart decision – I’ll check sometime and am working from recall – which used to be aces, but weakening. As I recall, Martha was not convicted of any of the securities charges, regardless of terminology. I also vaguely recall that the alleged obstruction as being very slight and remedied voluntarily, but I don’t vouch for that. At the time, there had numerous high-publicity securities offences for losses in very large companies. Martha’s incident didn’t involve her own company, was for a rather small amount. It struck me at the time as vindictive for some reason, given so many greater sins uncharged.

          The obstruction charge related to Martha’s initial responses, which she coopered up (as I recall.) As a dog that didn’t bark: why didn’t Comey interview Hillary right at the start, as Martha Stewart was. By waiting until all the evidence was on the table, Hillary knew what Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson etc had said and could tailor her testimony accordingly. That Mills and Samuelson were permitted to advise her is bizarre.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

          I’m very intrigued by the Khobar Towers incident tho I have too many rabbit-holes already. I read a couple of online articles. I get the impression that all the evidence was stage-managed by the Saudis for the FBI. Saudis placing blame on Shias seems very convenient. Given that the indictment was made only 5 days before statute of limitations kicked in, there was obviously some DOJ resistance to bringing an indictment based on available evidence. One article quoted Sandy Berger (I think) as saying that the evidence staged by the Saudis was all hearsay – Saudi prisoners telling stories about conversations at which they were not present. Berger presumably had some reason for precaution.

          No one was arrested until 2015.

          The indictment against Saudi Hezbollah was filed on June 21, 2001 http://www.cnn.com/2001/LAW/06/21/khobar.indictments/, a time period when the FBI’s time might well have been better employed on Al Qaeda based on subsequent events. I noticed a contemporary article describing Hezbollah as the A-team of terrorists and AlQaeda as the B-team, an infelicitous estimate of relative strength.

          The prior Hezbollah incident that you mention was 1983. Al Qaeda’s biggest beef was presence of infidels in Saudi. The Khobar Towers bombing would be consistent with AQ objectives. From a distance (as someone who has not looked at details), it sure looks like Al Qaeda ought to be just as serious a suspect as Hezbollah.

          Again, this comment is without parsing the evidence. I realize that, just because the US intel community says something, it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or misleading — but I have to remind myself of this.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

          I know for sure that Comey ended up with the Marc Rich pardon file and terminated the investigation. He also terminated , without charges, the investigation into Hillary’s brother, who had been paid $400,000 in commission from two drug dealers for a Clinton pardon.

          He also agreed to the misdemeanor settlement with Sandy Berger for stealing and destroying a document, thereby concealing it from the 9/11 Commission. Berger stuck the document in his underwear and removed it from the archives. The backstory of what was in the document has attracted very little commentary. I have a vague recollection of it having something to do with Qatar.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

          From Wikipedia:

          The statute spells out this purpose in subsection 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a), which states:

          (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—

          (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device[ , ] a material fact;
          (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
          (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry
          shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, …
          ###
          It seems that this law could be applied against anyone who makes false statements before congress, and there are plenty of recent examples to give in this respect. But, it never is so applied. Imho, this law stinks.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

          The Hezbollah al-Hejaz is the Saudi Arabian branch of Iranian sponsored terrorist organizations (all Hezbollah are Iranian supported).

          There is some confusion over the word Saudi. Al-Saud refers to the Saudi royal house, and it numbers some 15,000 persons. Sometimes Saudi is used to refer the royal house, but this is not strictly correct.

          The Saudi Hezbollah is Shia, and Al Saud is Sunni. The Saudi Hezbollah seeks the overthrow of Al Saud. Hence the claim that the Saudi government seeks to hide and protect the Saudi Hezbollah (Hezbollah al-Hejaz) is most implausible and ill informed.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: “given the extremely close friendship between Mueller and Comey, Mueller’s conflict of interest is greater than the minuscule supposed “conflict of interest” [of Sessions].

          Is it possible that the blogosphere has confused you about who and what is being investigated by Mueller? Comey’s actions as head of the FBI are currently being investigated by the DoJ and it will be interesting to see what they say about the subject of this post, the memo pre-judging HRC, and other controversies.

          Mueller is not investigating Comey. He is investigating Russian interference in the recent election and possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia.

          Mueller is also being asked to judge the INTENT of DT’s actions in firing Comey. Did DT intend to “corruptly interfere” with an ongoing investigation to prevent prosecution of his associates or himself? Comey is merely a witness to some of these events. A relationship between a witness and a prosecutor is not a conflict of interest.

          In any case, Mueller doesn’t need Comey as a witness. DT told his staff and then publicly bragged that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation. His intent is clear, but we don’t know if his actions interfered with any prosecutions.

          Respectfully, Frank

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

          no, I understand that Comey is not being personally investigated, but he is a key witness. If it were an ordinary murder trial, any prosecutor would recuse himself if the key and only eyewitness was a close personal friend. Seems obvious.

          Also Mueller seems to have expanded the scope of his investigation far beyond alleged collusion in the DNC hack to pretty much any potential criminal activity by anyone ever associated with Trump or anything that he can think of. Rosenstein’s terms of reference ought to have been rigorously precise, but left a barn door open.

          However, while Mueller is following the most trifling lead in respect to Trump associates, he hasn’t followed up billboard-sized leads in respect to Comey also “arising” out of the incident – such as Comey’s leaking of classified information and/or lying to Congress.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

          Frank, which of us is confused? Mueller has the responsibility and the discretion of judging the credibility of any witness or source. He should not be the one to judge the reliability of Comey’s testimony. Comey has criminal liabilities of his own which he is certainly by now aware of. His memos clear Trump of any criminal liabilities, but put Comey under the same.

          Trump is not liable to any obstruction of justice indictment, as he has the power of pardon. This power can be exercised at any stage in the investigation, trial or even before, as when Ford issued a preemptive pardon of Nixon. The “obstruction of justice” meme is only a sop for the Trump haters.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

          And concerning Comey’s personal liabilities under the law and otherwise, these encompass this whole affair. What do you say, Frank? Given Comey’s liabilities, his Congressional testimony this past year, his maneuvers against Trump? Is his pal Mueller the one to judge Comey’s credibility?

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 4:16 AM | Permalink

          mpainter: Can the President pardon himself? If you want to hear two legal experts on the subject of pardons (rather than fantasies from the blogosphere), I suggest the podcast linked. The main subject was DT’s pardon of Arpaio. The discussion goes back to what the founders said as they created the pardon power. Self-pardon is discussed for about 10 min, beginning at 39:20. The short answer is that a President probably can’t pardon himself, but the issue has not been resolved in the courts, so he can certainly try. The speakers’ qualifications are discussed from 1:00-2:00

          https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/podcast-presidential-pardons-and-the-rule-of-law

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

          Frank, the president cannot be indicted for obstruction of justice. The pardon power has no limit or restrictions. When Trump says to Comey “I hope that you can see your way to go easy on Mike Flynn” he has nuanced his power of pardon, and is not obstructing justice because he is granted explicitly the power of pardon by the constitution. He may remove anyone from the DoJ for whatever reason. The “obstruction of justice” ballyhoo is MSM swill.
          As far as pardoning himself, Trump can issue a general absolution and pardon describing any circumstances, such as his campaign. Key word: No limit to pardon power.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

          I can see a very easy defence (also likely true) without the esoterica of pardon.

          From time to time, CEOs dismiss employees for conduct, which might additionally give rise to prosecution by local police. I can easily picture a CEO saying to the police that the employee was otherwise decent, that he was satisfied with dismissal as punishment and had no interest in further proceedings. (Particularly when such further proceedings would be a distraction from more important duties.) Comey had earlier said that he had been unable to discern mal-intent in Hillary’s decision to keep emails away from government scrutiny and closed his eyes to destruction of evidence (apparently) under instructions by Cheryl Mills and David Kendall in the face of a congressional preservation order. Yet Comey purported to find mal-intent in Trump’s comment about Flynn. In my opinion, Comey’s ability to discern intent was compromised by the fact that the FBI had gotten sucked in by the fake Steele dossier, had spent months investigating Trump and his associates and that Comey had lied to Trump and deceived Trump about these investigations, in effect already treating Trump like a perp, rather than a democratically elected President.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

          As far as testing pardon issues in court, who would have the standing? The DoJ, perhaps, but the president has full authority over the DoJ. So the obstruction of justice clamor makes me smile.

          Also, no court may order the President. They may only take cognizance and give opinions. But the pardon power is not a law, but a constitutional enablement, and courts can hardly modify that as the president has complete discretion in it’s implementation.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

          mpainter write: William Perry, who was the United States Secretary of Defense at the time that this bombing happened, said in an interview in June 2007 that “he now believes al-Qaida rather than Iran was behind a 1996 truck bombing at an American military base.”

          Perry resigned in January 1997, six months after Khobar Towers. What information caused him to change his mind and make him an authority worth citing? He doesn’t say.

          http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2007/06/06/Perry-US-eyed-Iran-attack-after-bombing/UPI-70451181161509/

          “I believe that the Khobar Tower bombing was probably masterminded by Osama bin Laden,” Perry said [to the Council of Foreign Relations in 2007] . “I can’t be sure of that, but in retrospect, that’s what I believe. At the time, he was not a suspect. At the time … all of the evidence was pointing to Iran.”

          He said al-Qaida did not emerge as a major threat until Clinton’s second term.

          Perry said the FBI strongly believed at the time the bombing was ordered by Iran, but Saudi officials tried to discourage that theory.

          “They feared what action we would take. They rightly feared it. In fact, I had a contingency plan for a strike on Iran, if it had been if it had been clearly established. But it was never clearly established, and so we never did that,” Perry said.

          Interesting. The Saudi’s didn’t want us to be sure the attackers the attack came from Iran. Of course, they didn’t want Al Qaeda to be blamed either. It is not surprising we don’t know what happened for sure.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

          why do you say that Saudis didnt want US to blame Iran? Sounds like they encouraged Louis Freeh to blame Iran.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

          Frank, I cited Perry as an example of how views change with the maturity of time concerning the Khobar Tower incident. My point is that all is a wretchedly undetermined state of affairs. I believe this is due to the fact that Al Saud refused full cooperation in the investigation by the U.S. That, imo, indicates that Al Saud ran this business to their liking, and the U.S. acquised in this. Disgusting. Comey’s prosecution was based on Al Saud evidence.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 11:34 PM | Permalink

          >Rosenstein’s terms of reference… left a barn door open

          Rosenstein’s terms of reference are in violation of the regulations on appointing a special prosecutor. He is required to identify a specific criminal investigation for which the prosecutor is required. Rosenstein identifies no crime, and only an investigation that is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal one. Mueller’s appointment is invalid.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

          good point. As I understand it, the special counsel legislation was intended to curtail open-ended investigations under previous Independent Counsel law that led to self-perpetuating Starr investigation. Rosenstein’s terms of reference are shameful. Deep state revenge.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

          Rosenstein cites the authority of his position as the basis for the appointment of a special counsel, stating that he judges that circumstances justify such an appointment. He cites no law or DoJ procedural rule, simply the authority of his position.

          Hmm. Rosenstein castigated and condemned Comey publicly. Trump dismisses Comey, but before he can name a new FBI Director (which took over a month), Rosenstein appoints Mueller to investigate what the FBI was investigating under Comey’s tenure.

          I do not understand what is going on.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 2:29 AM | Permalink

          § 600.1 Grounds for appointing a Special Counsel.
          The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and –

          (a) That investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and

          (b) That under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

          Note Special Counsel, not Special Prosecutor.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 2:45 AM | Permalink

          But the two terms are identical. Special Counsel is the current usage.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 4:26 AM | Permalink

          From the Wikipedia article on special prosecutor:

          “With the expiration of the independent counsel authority in 1999, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Janet Reno promulgated regulations for the future appointment of special counsels. As of 2017, these regulations remain in effect as 28 CFR section 600.[6] While the regulations place limits on the authority of the attorney general, for example to fire the special counsel once appointed, they are internal Department of Justice regulations without an underlying statutory basis. It is thus unclear whether the limits these regulations place on the attorney general would prove binding in practice.”

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

          mpainter wrote: Hmm. Rosenstein castigated and condemned Comey publicly. Trump dismisses Comey, but before he can name a new FBI Director (which took over a month), Rosenstein appoints Mueller to investigate what the FBI was investigating under Comey’s tenure. I do not understand what is going on.

          Rosenstein didn’t want the President calling him up and trying to instruct him how the Russia investigation should be run. Give Paul Manafort or Michael Flynn a sweet deal for cooperating, no matter whether they really cooperate or not. (Like the deals Clinton’s associates received.) So he quickly passed that hot potato to Mueller with a charter that allowed him to refuse any meetings or phone calls from the president.

          More seriously, the firing of Comey created the perception that DT was interfering in the investigation of his campaign. Special/independent counsels/prosecutors were created to ensure that a president can’t interfere with an investigation that involves him – both literally and in the eyes of the public.

          One advantage of picking Mueller was that he had the necessary security clearances and could start immediately. The director of the FBI requires a Senate confirmation, which rarely gets done in as little as one month. In this case Congress was eager to have a new director in place.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

          Frank, I agree that Rosenstein was motivated to remove Trump’s influence from the DoJ and I believe that Sessions shared that motivation when he recused himself. I think they misjudged because their position in the DoJ is infirm. These two were not so clever; Trump is not the sort of man who will accept such dealings.

      • Frank
        Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 2:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve wrote: “From a distance (as someone who has not looked at details), it sure looks like Al Qaeda ought to be just as serious a suspect as Hezbollah.”

        That is certainly a sensible position with 20/20 hindsight. In 1996, Al Qaeda hadn’t made any confirmed attacks. The Hezbollah group publicly claimed credit. The indictment was filed before 9/11 (when the FBI and CIA should have been cooperating to prevent it.)

        The Clinton DoJ didn’t want anything to do evidence obtained by the Saudi’s using torture. Nor did they want to confront the new “moderate” Iranian leader with evidence linking Iran to terrorism. This drove Freeh crazy and launched Comey’s career.

        All of the scandals you mention that were investigated by Comey and Mueller and not prosecuted (plus others like the IRS and HRC) are extremely disturbing. And hard to rationalize with their principled disagreements over illegal conduct in the war on terror. Those disagreements remained private until Congress began investigating AG Gonzales several year later. The best explanation I can come up with is that proving guilt of powerful people beyond a reasonable doubt in a courtroom is far different being reasonably sure something stinks. There are both ethical and practical reasons for not charging powerful people without an air-tight case, and the prosecutor making that judgment has his own biases. I’ll note that Comey has undergrad degrees in chemistry and RELIGION. The conflict between a religious and legal view of right and wrong may account for some of his inconsistency: For example, explaining to Congress the legal barriers to prosecuting HRC, while expounding in detail on her many mistakes. His memos to himself clearly show he believed DT’s conduct was unethical, but deciding whether it amounted to obstruction was Mueller’s job and required delving into intent.

        https://www.washingtonian.com/2013/05/30/forged-under-firebob-mueller-and-jim-comeys-unusual-friendship/

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

          If you re-read Comey’s memos and put yourself in Trump’s shoes as incoming CEO, I see nothing troubling in Trump’s comments to Comey. I can also see how Trump came to the conclusion that Comey lied to him and misled him. Trump fired Flynn, who had been loyal to him, for lying and was equally justified in firing Comey. Obviously Trump regularly trips over his own narrative, but underneath the inarticulateness, I think that there was complete justification in firing Comey. Also for prosecuting him for leaking classified information. Either he lied to Congress on March 20 about the Jan 6 meeting being classified or he leaked classified information. Perhaps both.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

          given the extremely close friendship between Mueller and Comey, Mueller’s conflict of interest is greater than the minuscule supposed “conflict of interest” which caused Sessions to recuse. If you watch the video in which Sessions misspoke, it was in the context of a question on the Trump dossier which broke during Sessions’ interview and which Sessions clearly misunderstood as opposed to attempting to mislead. Hard not to sympathize with Trump in his view that Sessions botched the recusal. Rosenstein acted so quickly… I wonder when he got informed.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

          Frank: “All of the scandals you mention that were investigated by Comey and Mueller and not prosecuted (plus others like the IRS and HRC) are extremely disturbing.”
          ###
          The Comeys and the Muellers have enormous powers of discretion of whom to prosecute and whom not to prosecute and they are never really called to account. The squawks of the opposition can be safely ignored.
          Thus Comey uses hammer and tongs against Martha Stewart and gives Hillary her Get Out of Jail Free card. Comey is a swamp creature of long standing and played the game by swamp creature rules. His assumption that he would never have to answer was wrong, however. Trump was elected and foolish James Comey desperately tried to use the dirty dossier to gain leverage against Trump.

          There are substantial rewards for playing the game correctly. $$$$$$$$$. Swamp creatures can get rich. $$$$$$$$ All of your D.C. insiders know this.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

          Here’s an interesting article arguing that Al Qaeda bombed Khobar Towers:
          http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32589-who-bombed-khobar-towers-anatomy-of-a-crooked-terrorism-investigation

          At a first read, it makes as much sense as the opposite. Thoughts?

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

          Comey will likely play the ploy that the document was “not marked classified.” His leaking professor buddy already used that line. Hillary Clinton’s people regularly used it, I don’t know if they originated it.

          The ploy is intended to mislead the listener into believing that if a document does not have the word “classified” on it, then it is not classified.

          Comey is good at tricks. He used a different word game to exonerate Clinton. He said she did not intend to commit a crime. But intent is not about knowledge of the law and following it, but the intent to commit an act that may break the law.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

          Follow The Money, right you are. Those who would ascribe personal integrity to James Comey ignore his maneuvers that are calculated to dupe.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

          Steve, yes it makes sense that Al Saud would try to direct U.S.vengeance against Hezbollah al-Hejaz and deflect it from Al Qaeda, the Sunni extremists. So the U.S. was perhaps duped. Somehow, that makes sense, too.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

          it would be a LeCarre-esque story if Al Qaeda was actually responsible, but US got bamboozled by Saudis into blaming Saudi Hezbollah for Khobar Towers,
          thus diverting resources away from AlQaeda (the “B-team”) towards Hezbollah (the “A-team”.)

          Comey and others who built reputations on indictment of Hezbollah would not have much interest in re-opening the investigation.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 4:45 AM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: “Mueller’s conflict of interest is greater than the minuscule supposed “conflict of interest” which caused Sessions to recuse. If you watch the video in which Sessions misspoke, it was in the context of a question on the Trump dossier which broke during Sessions’ interview and which Sessions clearly misunderstood as opposed to attempting to mislead.”

          I listened and am shocked to find that you are right about Jeff Sessions mis-statement. However, it turns out that Jeff Sessions didn’t recuse himself because of what he said at his confirmation hearing. These passages are from the full text of his press conference announcing his recusal:

          “[My staff] said that since I had involvement with the campaign, I should not be involved in any campaign investigation. I have studied the rules and considered their comments and evaluation. I believe those recommendations are right and just.”

          “— my reply to the question of Senator Franken was honest and correct as I understood it at the time. I appreciate that some have taken the view that this was a false comment. That is not my intent. That is not correct.”

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/03/02/transcript-of-jeff-sessionss-recusal-press-conference-annotated/?utm_term=.35a1aa49932b

          Steve: “Hard not to sympathize with Trump in his view that Sessions botched the recusal. Rosenstein acted so quickly… I wonder when he got informed.”

          I’m sure Rosenstein knew from the beginning that Sessions – a participant in the Trump campaign – would be advised to recuse himself from any investigation of the campaign.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

          a fair distinction. One needs to distinguish, as you did, between why people demanded that Sessions recuse and why he actually recused.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre comments:

          If you re-read Comey’s memos and put yourself in Trump’s shoes as incoming CEO, I see nothing troubling in Trump’s comments to Comey

          Trump is not the CEO of teh United States. He is the President of the United States and as such is bound by the Constitution. The Department of Justice operates at arm’s length from the office of the president to separate the political and the magisterial powers of the presidency. This is essential for the rule of law to operate. The FBI does not report to the president. It reports to the Attorney General. The FBI director does not owe loyalty to the president. He swore an oath and owes loyalty to the Constitution.

          I recounted on this blog before of some questioning during the Senate Watergate inquiry in which one of the senators asked Haldeman about an incident in which Nixon ordered him to use the IRS to go after a Pepsi Cola executive who had crossed Nixon. Haldeman admitted it.This was an impeachable offense. No president has the power to use teh magisterial aspects of the presidency for political ends.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

          TAG, you are ill informed. Trump has absolute authority over the DoJ, even to the point of appointing a close relative as Attorney General, if he so chooses, to assure that his authority is enforced and obeyed.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: Here’s an interesting article arguing that Al Qaeda bombed Khobar Towers. At a first read, it makes as much sense as the opposite. Thoughts?

          http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32589-who-bombed-khobar-towers-anatomy-of-a-crooked-terrorism-investigation

          For 40+ years, Gareth Porter has published a series of exposes about how the world is different from the consensus presented in the mainstream press. Many of his stories are favorable to Iran, so it is not surprising that he has written about Khobar Towers.

          http://www.truth-out.org/author/itemlist/user/44886

          It is hard to believe that the average story by Porter is accurate, but a lot of work is needed to prove that any one in particular is wrong. Your work at ClimateAudit always checks out when I find something “improbable”. Porter’s story on the non-existence of the Hue massacre appears wrong.

          In any case, I recommend “The Looming Tower. Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11”, a Pultizer Prize winning history (with extensive reference) of Al Qaeda’s rise up until 9/11. And the 9/11 report. Neither claims to know for sure that Al Qaeda wasn’t responsible; they both discusses the limited evidence for and against. The first successful attack normally attributed to Al Qaeda was the attack on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, two years after Khobar Towers. By 1996, Bin Laden was well known as a terrorist financier, operator of training camps, and sponsor of some failed operations, but not the notorious leader he became after the attacks in Africa and combining with Zawahiri’s Islamic Jihad. Bin Laden took credit for earlier attacks in Mogadishu (Black Hawk Down) and Saudi Arabia, in addition to Khobar Towers. There is little evidence that Bin Laden had directed any of these operations, but he certainly had interacted with and trained some of those who were involved.

          http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf
          Sections 2.4 & 2.5

          The Saudi branch of Hezbollah (a Shia organization) also publicly claimed credit for Khobar Towers and evidence indicated their operations had been directed from Iran. The Saudis captured some member of the organization and extracted confessions, but refused to let the FBI investigate the crime scene or questions anyone.

          As best I can tell, Porter has little new information on the subject; he just sensationalizes the weaknesses of the case from 2001 and doesn’t mention that the ambiguous nature of some of the evidence had been well understood a decade earlier.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

          thanks for the kind words. I don’t treat work by people like Porter as in any way authoritative or rely on them for facts, only as offering a different perspective. I know so little about Khobar Towers that I certainly wouldnt venture an opinion. It just seems odd to me, that’s all.

          I’ll take a look at the 9/11 references.

          Fifteen years later, I think that we’re all considerably more attuned to the intense animosity between Sunni and Shia, especially the virulent anti-Shia bigotry among Wahhabi and salafists. I noticed some speculation in 2001 vintage analyses about possible co-operation between bin Laden and Hezbollah. I’m hardly in a position to say anything’s impossible but it seems odder now than it would have then,

          A timeline (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:82nx8JGHsioJ:www.nbcnews.com/id/4677978/ns/world_news-hunt_for_al_qaida/t/al-qaida-timeline-plots-attacks/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca#.Wb7B98iGNPY) places bin Laden influence earlier than you suggested though not clear cut. The planner of the 1993 New York bombing was the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and is said to have stayed with Osama Bin Laden. So there may have been a connection which was earlier than we thought.

          The whole backstory of the indictment of Saudi Hezbollah reads really oddly to me. That Comey and Mueller, both of whom were involved in the Khobar indictment, should now be joined at the hip in a present controversy is the sort of odd coincidence that would be in the plotline of a Ross MacDonald mystery.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

          Interestingly, Osama bin Laden claimed credit for the Khobar Tower act, and was ignored. The lid remained battened on. Then 9-11 happened and the lid blew off. This gave Bush the opportunity to institute illegal surveillance, through the NSA. This illegal surveillance has continued until today, without interruption, despite the self-glorifying falsehoods that Comey and Mueller broadcast about themselves. See the pretty halo over Comey’s brow. It’s phoney.
          Comey gave the lie to cover Bush and has gotten away with it, but no longer.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

          Wikipedia:

          William Perry, who was the United States Secretary of Defense at the time that this bombing happened, said in an interview in June 2007 that “he now believes al-Qaida rather than Iran was behind a 1996 truck bombing at an American military base.”[25]
          ####

          The issue of which party guilty of the Khobar Towers crime, whether Al Qaida or Hezbollah Al Hejaz, is not settled. Imo, the matter has been botched. For me, the behavior of Al Saud shows that they had something to hide. The Al Saud are loathe to confess that their ranks conceal militants with murderous intent toward the U.S.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

          mpainter comments

          TAG, you are ill informed. Trump has absolute authority over the DoJ, even to the point of appointing a close relative as Attorney General, if he so chooses, to assure that his authority is enforced and obeyed.

          And he Congress has the power to impeach, convict and remove from office any president who politicizes the administration of justice. For instance, if a president shut down an investigation for political reasons, then that would be grounds for impeachment. Richard Nixon found that out. Nixon had the constitutional power to fire Archibald Cox. Congress had the constitutional power to impeach him. The American public had the right to rise in outrage and demand that impeachment

          Stephen MIller said that the president’s authority was not to be questioned. he was very very wrong in that. A president’s authority and specifically his authority over the DoJ can be questioned very stringently.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

          Don’t get too excited over Trump’s impeachment. Not with a Republican majority of forty in the House of Representatives.

          The DoJ is a political instrument. If a candidate is elected on the basis of more stringent enforcement of immigration laws, then the DoJ becomes his instrument for carrying out his mandate. You hate that idea, I know, but you will not change the truth of the matter through wishful thinking.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

          mpainter comments

          Don’t get too excited over Trump’s impeachment. Not with a Republican majority of forty in the House of Representatives.

          The DoJ is a political instrument. If a candidate is elected on the basis of more stringent enforcement of immigration laws, then the DoJ becomes his instrument for carrying out his mandate. You hate that idea, I know, but you will not change the truth of the matter through wishful thinking.

          Google “Saturday Night Massacre” — Google “Iran-Contra”

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

          TAG, not thanks, I’ve got better things to research. Your fantasies hold no attraction for me.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

          mpainter wrote: “TAG, you are ill informed. DT has absolute authority over the DoJ, even to the point of appointing a close relative as Attorney General, if he so chooses, to assure that HIS AUTHORITY is enforced and obeyed.”

          MP, you are equally poorly informed. DT can nominate, but the Senate must approve every AG candidate. And DAG. And an AG can be impeached, just like the President.

          My guess is that there is zero chance the Senate would approve a relative as AG at this point. Sessions – a former Senator – got zero Democratic votes and Betsy DeVos lost two Republican votes. That was during what is typically called the “honeymoon period”.

          The President doesn’t have the authority to do anything … the Constitution or Congress hasn’t authorized him to do. When he exceeds his authority, partisan judge issue injunctions to prevent him from acting. I presume the Supreme Court will eventually grant his temporary travel ban, since that is almost certainly within his authority as commander-in-chief. However, his anti-Muslim rhetoric during the campaign has already held up his ban for about 8 months and provided a way for the Supremes to block the president’s action without creating an unfortunate precedent.

          Congress could pass a rider banning spending on a preventative attack in Korea or further retaliation in Syria. They did so in Nicaragua and Vietnam and nearly did so in Iraq.

          There is even an Office of Legal Counsel and a Pardon’s Office in the White House that review the President’s proposed legal actions. He can, of course, fire and replace those people at will, but they may be testifying in front of Congress a week or two after being fired.

          When Ford pardoned Nixon, he volunteered to answer Congress’ questions about a pre-arranged deal UNDER OATH for nearly 2 hours.

          DT exercised his authority and fired the director of the FBI. That resulted in a Special Counsel, placing day-to-day direction for the Russia investigation out of DT reach. And the new FBI Director worked under Comey and with Mueller in the Bush administration.

          I know you and Trump admire authoritarian populists (like Putin, Erdogan, Chavez, and Hilter) who blamed ethnic minorities for their country’s problems, kicked the opposition in the tail, and set their country on a path to renewed greatness – for awhile.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

          No, Frank, I am well informed, and I consider myself at least as well informed as you and even better. You kid yourself if you think I don’t know presidential appointees are by “advise and consent” of the senate. You also kid yourself if you hold that the Senate would never confirm a close relative of the president as a cabinet officer, such as the AG.

          As for yourself, the executive authority is in the constitution. Why do you argue otherwise? You are arguing that there is no executive authority in the U.S. government. Foolish talk to claim it is anywhere else.
          The president has complete discretion, even to commit impeachable offenses (as per the view of congress), if he believes these are justified. I refer you to Andrew Johnson.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

          mpainter: I’d like to apologize for my intemperate remarks about authoritarian leaders.

          Of course, I realize you know about confirmation of presidential nominees. However, you don’t stop to think about all of the limitations on a President’s authority. He can order an end to the investigation of his campaign. Not so far. He ends up with an investigation run by a Special Prosecutor, which is worse. He can fire the FBI director, but ends up with a new one who endorses the action of the old director. If he thinks he can pardon himself, what happens if he is wrong?

          The executive powers in the Constitution, other than commander-in chief, are extremely limited. The rest of a president’s powers are given (and removable) by Congress and the vast expansion of the federal government and administrative state.

          https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/articles/article-ii

          As for the President’s power to appoint relatives, see 5 US Code
          § 3110. Employment of relatives; restrictions

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/3110

          (b) A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official. An individual may not be appointed, employed, promoted, or advanced in or to a civilian position in an agency if such appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement has been advocated by a public official, serving in or exercising jurisdiction or control over the agency, who is a relative of the individual

          This was enacted in 1967 after RFK and been appointed JFK’s Attorney General. Exactly how this applies to “Special Assistants to the President” isn’t clear, but no one can stop the Prez from constructing whatever chains of authority inside the White House and from listening to whomever he wants. I suspect this will prevent a relative from serving in any post that requires Senate confirmation.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/11/14/the-ethics-rules-that-apply-and-dont-apply-to-trumps-children/?utm_term=.6c507a7d916a

          https://ballotpedia.org/Verbatim_fact_check:_Have_presidents_before_Donald_Trump_appointed_family_members_to_White_House_positions%3F

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 12:40 AM | Permalink

          Frank, yes you guessed correctly; I was thinking of Bobby Kennedy. I did not know about the 1967 law which barred such family appointment. This law is unconstitutional,imo, because the constitution applies no such restrictions and congress cannot modify constitutional powers. Such modifications can only be achieved by amendment. A president could rightfully challenge this law by appointment of his brother, citing his oath of office. Now, can congress impeach the president when he fulfills his oath of office to “defend and uphold the constitution”? This is the sort of carp one encounters when congressional clowns seek to curtail executive power.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 1:16 AM | Permalink

          It’s truly wonderful how the Trump haters cannot grasp the obvious fact that the president’s authority over the executive branch is complete and unhindered except as detailed in the constitution. They invent all sorts of reasons for making him the Doge of Venice instead of President of the United States. Such unhappy clowns.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 1:21 AM | Permalink

          And in fact, this is what occurred in regard to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson; congress tried to infringe on the powers of the president and Johnson rejected such infringement. Congress impeached but they could not convict, failing by one vote.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 2:55 AM | Permalink

          mpainter writes: “There are substantial rewards for playing the game correctly. $$$$$$$$$. Swamp creatures can get rich. $$$$$$$$ All of your D.C. insiders know this.”

          Everyone knows that the way for top government attorneys to get rich is to use their government experience to defend rich clients. To defend Martha Steward, no prosecute her.

          All swamp creatures know that the the last thing one does if one wants to get ahead is threaten to resign over an secret domestic intelligence program of dubious legality in an election year. White House counsel Alberto Gonzales went to Ashcroft’s hospital bed to demand his signature on an extension of the program that Ashcroft wasn’t prepare to give when he was healthy, but Comey beat him to the hospital and Ashcroft refused to sign. Although the AG’s authorization was required, Gonzales then revised the document so he could sign in place of the AG. Meanwhile, Bush (who had been kept in the dark) finally learned that Comey was about to resign, Comey told him that Mueller and probably others in the DoJ would likely follow. The dispute was resolved without any publicity and Bush was re-elected. When Ashcroft resigned after the election, Alberto Gonzales was rewarded with the job of AG, and Comey departed the dAG job within a year.

          I think we need a better hypothesis than $$$$ to explain this data. Self-righteous? Over-confident? Egotistical? Mutinous? Unstable?

          Two years later, the Senate threatened to impeach Gonzales (with seven Republicans voting against him and four abstaining on a cloture vote.) Gonzales soon resigned. Before that happened, Comey and Mueller were asked to testify about what happened with Ashcroft (which had been kept secret until that point. Joe Biden presided and Barack Ob*ma was present.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

          mpainter comments:

          It’s truly wonderful how the Trump haters cannot grasp the obvious fact that the president’s authority over the executive branch is complete and unhindered except as detailed in the constitution. They invent all sorts of reasons for making him the Doge of Venice instead of President of the United States. Such unhappy clowns.

          Trump asked Comey to end an investigation into Flynn’s conduct

          Nixon’s Smoking Gun tape

          Haldeman: Okay -that’s fine. Now, on the investigation, you know, the Democratic break-in thing, we’re back to the-in the, the problem area because the FBI is not under control, because Gray doesn’t exactly know how to control them, and they have, their investigation is now leading into some productive areas, because they’ve been able to trace the money, not through the money itself, but through the bank, you know, sources – the banker himself. And, and it goes in some directions we don’t want it to go. Ah, also there have been some things, like an informant came in off the street to the FBI in Miami, who was a photographer or has a friend who is a photographer who developed some films through this guy, Barker, and the films had pictures of Democratic National Committee letter head documents and things. So I guess, so it’s things like that that are gonna, that are filtering in. Mitchell came up with yesterday, and John Dean analyzed very carefully last night and concludes, concurs now with Mitchell’s recommendation that the only way to solve this, and we’re set up beautifully to do it, ah, in that and that…the only network that paid any attention to it last night was NBC…they did a massive story on the Cuban…

          Nixon: That’s right.

          Haldeman: thing.

          Nixon: Right.

          Haldeman: That the way to handle this now is for us to have Walters call Pat Gray and just say, “Stay the hell out of this…this is ah, business here we don’t want you to go any further on it.” That’s not an unusual development,…

          Nixon: Um huh.

          Haldeman: …and, uh, that would take care of it.

          Haldeman tells Nixon that to end the investigation into the Watergate break in that they should get the CIA (Waters) tell the FBI (Gray) that the breakin was a CIA operation and ask him to end the investigation. Nixon replied with “Um huh” and that was the smoking gun

          I don’t think that the House impeachment committee or the Senate Watergate committee were unhappy clowns. Nixon’s most vocal supporter on the House committee read the smoking gun transcript. he then got up and turned the Nixon portrait in his office to the wall.

          Do you also see why Mueller is looking into business dealings. he is tracing the money

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

          mpainer commented:

          It’s truly wonderful how the Trump haters cannot grasp the obvious fact that the president’s authority over the executive branch is complete and unhindered except as detailed in the constitution. They invent all sorts of reasons for making him the Doge of Venice instead of President of the United States. Such unhappy clowns.

          A president has the constitutional power to grant a pardon or end an investigation. if a president accepts a bribe to do so then he is guilty of an offense and can be convicted and sent to prison. President Ford pardoned Nixon so he wouldn’t be charged with obstruction of justice, bribery, extortion … . I don’t think President Ford was an unhappy clown.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

          Right, TAG, I should have said “Such unhappiness” and left it there. Please don’t feel that the word “clown” was meant to reflect on you.

    • Frank
      Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 4:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Ron said: “Frank I’m not sure you if you are implying that if a murdered DNC staffer was only found to have passed sample DNC emails to Assange and WL that the story is less than — yes, the biggest story of the century.”

      If Rich passed only a sample of DNC email to WL (which is all the Hersh recording says), then we need a second source for the rest. That source could be a Russian hacker, another hacker (as Steve suggests), possibly a partner of Rich, or Rich himself. So nothing Hersh said rules out Russian hackers.

      Whatever Rich did, it won’t be the biggest story of the century unless Rich was murdered for for doing it. I’ve explained why I think this is unlikely.

      If our national security apparatus is wrong about Russian hackers trying to influence the election, that would be a huge story, no matter how WL acquired the information. However, it won’t change the fact that numerous people in the Trump campaign had contact with Russians and lied about it or withheld that information longer than appropriate. It also won’t change the fact that DT has an unusually favorable view of Putin and undisclosed financial relationships. And it won’t change the fact that DT fired Comey over the investigation into these activities. And Mueller is investigating whether that constitutes obstruction of justice – at least until DT fires him too.

      No, even if HRC personally order the hit on Rich, that might not be the biggest story of the century. She isn’t President.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 5:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

        http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/03/peter-schweizer-trump-vs-clintons-russia-ties-guess-who-always-got-free-pass.html
        and
        http://nypost.com/2017/07/05/uncovering-the-russia-ties-of-hillarys-campaign-chief/
        Establishment gets a free pass; disturbers of the Washington D.C. status quo get persecuted.

      • Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 4:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “So nothing Hersh said rules out Russian hackers.”

        Hersh supposedly says this on edited out part of audio. Perhaps this is what gave Butowski the idea of proposing to the Rich family that their son may have been killed by Russians. I read somewhere that this was the pretext in which they allowed Wheeler to investigate. Apparently once Donna Braziie denounced Wheeler to the police and family he was done.

        I agree that Sessions should have disclosed that he shook hands with Russian Ambassador when Al Franken asked. I don’t know if it was needed to call for Sessions to resign or even recuse and do an investigation of millions of dollars about it.

        I want to see Seth Rich’s autopsy forensic report. Don’t you?

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

          Ron: I want to see everything (not just the autopsy report) the DC police has on the Rich murder and the FBI has on the DNC leak. I think the conspiracy theories being promoted are likely far worse for the government’s credibility (and the family) than disclosure. Unfortunately, some will probably distort whatever is released.

          In St. Louis, the prosecutor released all of the grand jury testimony about Michael Brown’s killing by Officer Wilson. Comey disclosed far more about HRC than many thought appropriate.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

          Frank, I don’t know why your comments are getting held up. I apologize.

        • sue
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 1:43 AM | Permalink

          there is no autopsy report. the family refused an autopsy on religious (jewish) grounds.

        • Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

          The state did not need to abide by the families wishes in the case of death caused by violence.
          http://criminal.lawyers.com/criminal-law-basics/autopsies-finding-out-why-may-be-required.html

          There should at least be medical records and photos.

          An anonymous blogger claiming to be a fourth year resident at Washington Hospital Center who operated on Rich described the wounds in detail. He said his wounds were not fatal and that Rich was alive for many hours longer than the official time of death. https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/6btlpo/surgeon_in_the_seth_rich_homicide_contacts_4chan/

          These stories would be easier to debunk if the authorities would release the medical records and the attending physician would include a statement. If the Rich family wants privacy that could begin by demanding the authorities stop their mysterious secrecy or find the murderers.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

          Does the Rich family’s desire for privacy preclude resolution of the murder of Rich?
          We do not have a murder case if we do not have a complete report on the cause of death. There must be medical proof that Rich died of gunshot wounds and not a fatal reaction to drugs, medical malpractice, etc.

          For me, and even bigger mystery is why Rich died. Persons who do not bleed to death of gunshot wounds to the torso always recover if they receive prompt medical treatment, as Rich did, (barring other medical complications such as a poisonous bullet, poor health, or botched treatment).

  19. Curious George
    Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I wonder why the name of Imran Awan, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s mysterious Pakistani IT guy arrested by the FBI after wiring $300,000 to Pakistan, does not appear in this discussion.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 10:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Or the names of the other 3 or 4 family members of his working all over the DNC.

    • Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I heard a guest on 1210 am radio in Phila mention a curious fact. The justice department official in charge of the Seth Rich Washington DC murder is an attorney by the name of Steve Wasserman. Debbie’s brother.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 10:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Internet sources claim he is overseeing the iwan family probe. Can this be confirmed?

      • Frank
        Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 3:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The Seth RIch murder does not involve a federal crime, so it isn’t obvious why the federal DoJ would be involved. The investigation is being run by the DC police and this “nonpartisan” (:)) DIstrict Attorney. https://oag.dc.gov

        According to the source below: “Steven Wasserman is Assistant US Attorney at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.” To my knowledge, Ms. Wassermann has been accused of misusing the DNC to assist HRC, but that isn’t a federal crime. She is linked to the Pakistani IT consultant Awan. That scandal is being investigated by the Capitol Police, the FBI, and Congress. Debbie’s brother Steve would be involved in prosecution – at least until he recuse himself.

        https://everipedia.org/wiki/steven-wasserman/

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 11:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “Imran Awan hid secret server, backed up Democrats’ data on Dropbox” & The report noted that Awan “had access to all emails and office computer files of 45 members of Congress. http://www.worldtribune.com/imran-awan-hid-secret-server-backed-up-democrats-data-on-dropbox/

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Sep 26, 2017 at 11:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Meanwhile the WaPo publishes a story called “Federal probe into House technology worker Imran Awan yields intrigue, no evidence of espionage” https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/federal-probe-into-house-technology-worker-imran-awan-yields-intrigue-no-evidence-of-espionage/2017/09/16/100b4170-93f2-11e7-b9bc-b2f7903bab0d_story.html

      House technology worker? How unspecific can you get?
      So espionage is ruled out by the Feds after about 5 months, even though he transferred terabytes of data from official servers to his private place, and that only after lots of prodding by reporter Luke Rosiak. The latter gathered lots of evidence about foreign influence and leak opportunities in the Democrats internals: http://dailycaller.com/2017/09/26/awan-funneling-massive-data-off-congressional-server-dems-claim-its-childs-homework/
      Contrast this with the few days it took the Feds and the WaPo /NYT to trumpet other Democratic data breaches as Trump supportive governmental Russian hacks.

      • Posted Sep 27, 2017 at 6:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Do you have any evidence this had anything to do with espionage? Arguments by incredulity aren’t compelling. For instance, a defense of these employees is they were using the servers in question to store material unrelated to government duty, treating them as personal servers. I can say from experience, that happens. The mere act of transferring data from servers doesn’t mean any theft has happened. I’ve seen university networks where people set up file sharing servers on school machines. It’s wrong,but it doesn’t mean someone is trying to sell information to a foreign country.

        I don’t know what did or did not happen here, but if you want people to believe this was a case of espionage, you need to do something to show someone was trying to sell, or at least give, government material to somebody else. I haven’t seen any evidence, or even any accusations (from people who might have the information to make them) of such.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Sep 27, 2017 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

          Antony did not say it was espionage. He was questioning how it could be ruled out. You say because somebody in some college used university servers blah blah blah. Nice work.

  20. Eric Barnes
    Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “more than a figleaf to prevent exposure of their own shortcomings”

    I’d say agenda and self imposed shortcomings. The deep state is more concerned with its continued hegemony than anything else.

  21. pbw
    Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 8:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    This is what your website looks like to an Australian viewer who happens to be logged in to WordPress.

    The response to a blog owner’s question about this is here:

    • MrPete
      Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 6:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      AFAIK there’s nothing in this site that does it. We don’t see it here. It is most likely related to your browser or your ISP.

      • pbw
        Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 3:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

        It occurs on WordPress hosted sites, when the viewer is logged into WordPress, and the viewer is in Australia. So Climate Audit shows the rainbow to me when I’m logged in, as does https://orthodoxtoowoomba.com, the website of St John the Baptist Orthodox Mission, Toowoomba.

        I think that WordPress may have pulled the same stunt when Obergefell was before the Supreme Court. Just another example of the contempt of “progressives” for anyone who disagrees.

  22. Jeff Norman
    Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 1:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting post and comments. Thank you.

  23. Josh Sacks
    Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 1:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There’s a ton of strong forensics linking Russian groups to DNC hack. See https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/21/evidence-ties-russia-to-podesta-and-powell-email-hacks/
    Most damning is the targets list for phishing which have been recreated due to errors made by the attackers:
    “SecureWorks built a target portfolio to see who Fancy Bear was working for. Lo and behold, the addresses attacked included a host of military, political, and government leaders in Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet states. They also sent spear-phishing emails to NATO military attachés, diplomatic and military personnel from the US and Europe, and critics of the Russian government from around the world. The pieces started to fit together as the firm identified more similarities between the previous hacks and those targeting Podesta, other members of Clinton’s campaign staff and the DNC.”

    It’s possible this is some sort of false flag by another very sophisticated government actor. However, when you tie it together with human intel pointing at Russia (some of which has been leaked) and subsequent attacks all aimed at political parties viewed as hard on Russia, the conclusion becomes obvious. It’s not clear why anyone else would go through trouble to do do this- what other government was strongly in favor of Trump over Clinton or LePen over Macron?

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 2:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “.. what other government was strongly in favor of Trump over Clinton or LePen over Macron?”

      ###
      The Israeli government had the strongest motivation against Hillary and the Democrats and for Trump, which anyone familiar with the enmity between the late administration and Netanyahu will not dispute. Strike one. I have no doubt that Trump strongly favored LePen (the conservative candidate), against Macron, who showed his disdain for Trump. Strike Two.
      ###

      ” It’s not clear why anyone else would go through trouble to do do this- ”

      Crystal clear that powerful political interests would go to any amount of effort to concoct discredit of Trump. This is fully documented and illustrated by events, acts, and testimony. But you do not allow such a possibility in your thinking. Strike three.

      • Josh Sacks
        Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The idea that Israeli intelligence broke into DNC (and attempted/achieved break-ins at various NATO-affiliated agencies) would make for a really interesting Jason Bourne movie. It’s a great plot twist and it sort of makes sense.
        However, this sort of thing almost never happens. If something went wrong and it leaked that Israel had sabotaged HRC- it would be cataclysmic for American/Israeli relations. The Democratic party already struggles to keep the extreme pro-Palestinian wing under control. It’s a crazy risk to take and for what amounts to a relatively small gain. The difference between HRC and Trump on Israel just isn’t that big.

        I’m not sure I understand the second part about Macron.

        As for discrediting Trump- I agree media can be very biased. But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Russia has the means, motive, and opportunity to do this. They apparently continued to do this in France and Ukraine, consistently supporting the more “pro-Russia” candidate. They also apparently baited Trump Jr into meeting with an intelligence operative by promising more leaked documents. Did Israeli intelligence also set that up? If so why?

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 11:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Josh, you asked, I answered. Both Israel and Trump fit your criteria of being “strongly in favor of”. Your faulty reasoning was thus exposed.

        “However, this sort of thing almost never happens.”

        almost never happens = sometimes does happen

        Israel knows about false flags and how to raise them. I suggest you educate yourself on basic intelligence. Do you dispute my claim that Israel had strong dislike of Hillary and the Democrats? This is not to claim that Israel was responsible. But your assertion that Russia only had motivation is easily shown as false. That is my point.

        Your whole argument is based on the assumption that Russian intelligence operatives are clumsy hackers. Others don’t fall for that. What seems “apparently” to you seems dubious to others, including intelligence professionals.

    • bmcburney
      Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 4:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      If the hackers are the Russian GRU and the intent was to help Trump, why would the hackers limit the journalist-related e-mail released to collusion between journalists and Clinton against Bernie Sanders? I can see why they would use that information in addition to other stuff but I find it hard to believe that US journalists did not enthusiastically collude with Clinton during the general election (at least up until the Wikileaks release in July). For that matter, I would think that journalists themselves would be an especially soft target for hacking if hacking was really going on. We see nothing of that kind at all. The information is coming only from Clinton and DNC related persons and stops just when the general election campaign is beginning. I buy Bernie supporters leaking, at least they had motive and opportunity. I can’t buy any kind of outside hack.

      With all due respect to the computer forensics, it seems to me that there is plenty of evidence of false forensics trails designed to “launder” the electronic record. To some extent a seemingly false computer forensic trail was attempted and that was intended to frame Russians, not exonerate them. Is the GRU that sloppy? It’s true that the Russians might have framed themselves to throw everyone off, but this possibility just makes all the computer forensics seem dubious. I am no expert but it seems to me that Wikileaks alone has the skills and motive to launder the e-mails any way they want.

      • Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 5:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

        bmcburney, you make an excellent point. A major state intelligence service would have a very careful calculation of the propaganda impacts of their actions, as they are cold professionals. If a covert operation cover is blown the whole thing backfires. Blow-back is certain. Therefore a false flag is integral and critical. If a US intelligence agency could show an attempted false flag that they pierced with a stroke of brilliant forensics then maybe it’s believable.

        But the intelligence community does not reveal their brilliant sources and methods, which brings forth the dilemma that no information can be trusted from the IC their purpose is to inform the head of state, and even then they at 50% right.

        • Josh Sacks
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

          Ron, BMC,

          Completely hiding the origins of an attack is very difficult. It’s not like normal software development where bugs can be found and fixed before launch. Hackers are often working on a live system, responding to the software that’s installed, and attempting to break it. There’s no QA team- once you’ve made a logged mistake, no backsies.

          Even the NSA leaves footprints. There’s little doubt that Stuxnet attack on Iranian nuclear program was devised by NSA.

          I’d also point out that perhaps Russia doesn’t really care too much about obfuscating. They want plausible deniability, which they have (and you help provide!), but having Russia itself be a huge and divisive issue in the campaign has helped to undermine our democracy.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

          in Climategate, UK police and counterintelligence tried for 3 years without being able to draw any conclusions about the hacker, even with the server in their possession, even though Mr FOIA was a lone individual with an interest in climate disputes.

          Does it make sense that Russian intel, carrying out an operation in which blowback would have very bad consequences, would leave a trail that could be attributed in a couple of hours? That their tradecraft was so much worse than Mr FOIA?

        • bmcburney
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

          Josh,

          Sorry, despite your sweet passive-aggressive suggestion that Ron and I are ourselves GRU agents, I somehow remain unconvinced. To the best of my knowledge, the evidence that Stuxnet was created by the US (and Israel) is based entirely on the same “cui bono” analysis which leads me to conclude that the Wikileak e-mails were leaks by one or more Bernie supporters. The finger points at the US because the US had “motive, means and opportunity” to unleash Stuxnet on the Iranians. Computer forensics added nothing to case except to the extent that Stuxnet was believed to be beyond the abilities of non-State actors.

          As I understand it, all of the “Fancy Bear” tools allegedly detected by Crowdstrike were well known and available to all on the internet before the alleged DNC hacks. These alleged “hacks” were not performed via some sophisticated “zero day” weaknesses in Outlook software, they were done via conventional spear phishing e-mails. None of this adds up to the GRU. Why would the GRU re-use tools already exposed in 2014 unless they were actually trying to tell the world they did it? Saying that the GRU was only interested in plausible deniability just adds another layer of irrationality to the whole analysis.

          If you can’t explain why none of the e-mails concerned Clinton/DNC/journalist collusion designed to hurt Trump during the general election, the theory that this was a Russian hack to help Trump in the general election makes no sense.

          Steve’s whole post is itself based on the deeply weird observations that (1) the DNC and Crowdstrike allowed more e-mails to be hacked after Crowdstrike was hired than before the DNC and Crowdstrike allegedly aware of the problem and (2) that the alleged hacks stopped before Crowdstrike made any serious “anti-hack” effort to stop them. As hacks by the GRU or anyone else, this makes no sense at all. As leaks by Bernie supporters, however, there is nothing to explain. Crowdstrike couldn’t do anything to stop the hacks (and didn’t even try hard) because they weren’t hacks, they were leaks and they knew they were leaks. The leaks stopped when Trump had his nomination won and the leaker(s) closed ranks with Clinton to oppose him. The whole “Russian hacking” explanation works better as a post hoc justification for NSC spying on Trump than it does as an explanation for how Wikileaks got the e-mails in the first place.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

          BMc, anyone: cannot a leaker downloading emails, etc. from an organization be detected and identified?

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

        the “Russian” whiskers (Word metadata) in the memos in the first G2 release were intentional, not a “mistake”. Reasonable people can disagree on why G2 would have put these whiskers on the memos.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 7:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I’ll comment on phishing lists at some time.

      My views are strongly influenced by Climategate experience, where, if you recall, climate science community quickly blamed Russian intelligence due to supposed sophistication. However, Mr FOIA wrote me after police closed investigation saying he was a lone individual with an interest in the issues.

      I’m suspicious of attribution of DNC hack based on “sophistication”

      • Josh Sacks
        Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t remember the Russia angle in ClimateGate. A quick Google search indicates that the claims of Russian involvement came from the IPCC community who seem to have just made it up. Perhaps basic CYA by climate science community.
        I can’t find any evidence that anyone in the computer security community or intelligence services ever blamed Russia for ClimateGate. If they did, such claims didn’t make it into any of the articles at the top of my Google Search.

        The supposed “sophistication” of the ClimateGate break-in also seems to be a fabrication of the Norfolk constabulary. Probably more CYA by an organization that had no idea what they were dealing with and probably started asking questions at local tackle shops when told the break-in involved phishing.

        Just to be clear- I’m not saying CrowdStrike isn’t full of shit regarding their own product and prowess, but lots of other knowledgeable CS engineers have looked at this and think the evidence pointing to Russia is quite solid. Not 100% certain like the IPCC reports to be sure…

        • Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

          The Russian fantasy during Climategate was assisted and perhaps spawned by the fact that the files were left on a Russian FTP server.

          This fact made me scan the archive with multiple anti-virus programs before opening a single file. Open Russian server = malware danger.

          This was just a random open server, the kind used by tens or hundreds of thousands of Internet users wanting to conceal their identity. But it gave the obfuscators a hook upon which they could hang the Russia story.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

          CTM, seems to me that key elements of the attribution of the DNC hack to Russia are based on nothing more substantial than the false attribution of Climategate to Russia. In each case, the driving force was desire to attribute to Russia – much much stronger in the DNC case both on part of DNC and on part of anti-Russia fanatic Alperovitch

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

          Alperovitch is the holder of the DNC server evidence and principal attributor of 2 Russian spy agencies as hackers into that computer with the fanaticism of an unhappy Ex-Russian.
          Still to haul along US spy agencies and MSM in his crusade he needed a strong partner: meet Shawn Henry. He started out in the FBI as part of SWAT, later promoted by than director Robert S. Mueller III as the executive assistant director (EAD) of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch (CCRSB) https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/news/pressrel/press-releases/shawn-henry-named-executive-assistant-director-of-the-criminal-cyber-response-and-services-branch After he left the FBI to become president of Crowdstrike and also as analyst and contributor to NBC News and MSNBC. http://heavy.com/entertainment/2017/07/shawn-henry-amelia-earhart-history-channel-fbi-bio/
          Publicly he always worries about US governmental cyber defence but he left the FBI for 2 private companies in March 2012.

      • bmcburney
        Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 8:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve,

        I take it that the content of your communications with the person representing himself to be FOIA was such that you were able to confirm this was not an impostor. I also take it that your communication with FOIA was such that you believed his statement that he was not “from” the US or UK. I also take it that your communications with FOIA were such that his statement that he was not “from” the US or UK was sufficient to establish that he was not an insider at University of East Anglia. However, I don’t understand why you believe that FOIA being a hacker is evidence that Wikileaks must have gotten the DNC e-mails from a hacker. Can’t we have a hacker in one case and a leaker in the other?

      • Jeff Norman
        Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

        “I’m suspicious of attribution of DNC hack based on “sophistication””

        LOL – Of course the hacker(s) has to be sophisticated. If they weren’t sophisticated that would mean the DNC’s security measures were not sophisticated. (Which they weren’t (apparently)).

        Steve: my point was that one cannot deduce “Russians” from the fact of sophistication. Mr FOIA was sophisticated enough to elude UK counter-intelligence.

        • Jeff Norman
          Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

          My point was that the presumption of sophistication is just a presumption.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 11:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

      If this DNC case was an official Russian governmental hack than the West has nothing to fear from Moscow.

      I would fear Russian-American Dmitri Alperovitch’s “cyberexpert” labeling by US agencies more.

      The whole affair makes one also wonder the use of the very expensive NSA, as they had nothing to offer – in public – to cyber defence.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 11:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Those who believe that 2 Russian government cyber agencies (Fancy Bear/APT28 and Cozy Bear/APT29) were roaming around in the DNC server independently of each other while both the NSA and CIA were absent on that spot should check the budget allocations to these 4 organizations for starters.

  24. blueice2hotsea
    Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 5:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Also worth mentioning is Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, who also contradicts the Russian hack theory. Murray claims to have personally received the DNC emails from someone with legal access (i.e. not the Russians), after which he (Murray) then personally couriered them to Assange.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 7:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Craig Murray, is an activist who was dismissed from his diplomatic post because of over fastidious principles against some CIA practices. He has publicly stated that the Wikileaks emails were downloaded, not hacked, and that he was personally handed the material by a DNC insider. He conveyed this data to Assange. I must say that this is impressive and believable. Apparently Murray was sought out as a courier by the leaker. But the Murray connection gets ignored by all, for some reason.

    • Frank
      Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 7:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Craig Murray says he flew to DC in September. If true, that would have been to pick up the Podesta material. Seth Rich couldn’t have had anything to do with this. If one believes that Seth RIch was involved in the first release, that would mean that two different leakers exist or that some sort of conspiracy existed.

      If Rich had partners and Rich had been killed, I don’t think they would have remained silent.

      As best I can tell, Murray hasn’t told us anything useful about the DNC hack and the possible role Rich played in it. This information is about Podesta.

      Murray met an intermediary, but claims to know the source is not Russian. Why would the source involve an intermediary if he were already known to Murray? Is the FBI following Murray on his trips to the US?

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4034038/Ex-British-ambassador-WikiLeaks-operative-claims-Russia-did-NOT-provide-Clinton-emails-handed-D-C-park-intermediary-disgusted-Democratic-insiders.html

      “Craig Murray (left), former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (right), told the Dailymail.com that he flew to Washington, D.C. for a clandestine hand-off with one of the email sources in September”

      “Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,’ Murray said. ‘The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.’ He said the leakers were motivated by ‘disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.'”

      “Murray said he retrieved the package from a source during a clandestine meeting in a wooded area near American University, in northwest D.C. He said the individual he met with was not the original person who obtained the information, but an intermediary.”

      “Murray claims he met with the person who passed the emails over in a Washington, D.C. part near American University.”

      “His account cannot be independently verified but is in line with previous statements by Wikileaks – which was the organization that published the Podesta and DNC emails.”

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The Podesta emails end in March 2016, before the DNC Wikileaks archive, though published later. The phishing email is one of the last emails in the archive and was used to attribute to Russia. I’m not sure whether the Podesta phishing link was otherwise known, and, if not, raises questions about why it was left in the archive if access to Podesta emails arose through the phishing.

  25. mpainter
    Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 7:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I have come to the conclusion that Guccifer 2 is not an actual person but a _persona_ created for the purpose of advancing the fiction of a Russian hacking of the DNC. The Guccifer 2 persona was to be presented in such a way as to reinforce the verdict of Russian guilt. The public was supposed to see through his purpose and conclude that G2 was a Russian operative whose task was to sow disinformation and raise doubt that Russia was the hacker. The operative who presents the G2 persona has full access to the DNC data bank, hence he can post emails not in the Wikileaks inventory, which inventory came via Craig Murray from a DNC insider, as claimed by Murray.

    This theory carries all sorts of implications. Seth Rich becomes the prime suspect as the leaker. CrowdStrike is participating in the fiction. The fiction was part of an operation to discredit Trump. Persons in the O’bumma government knew of this operation and participated, such as Comey and other high intelligence officials.

    Comments, anyone?

    • bmcburney
      Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 9:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

      mpainter,

      I agree with your comments regarding G2 (not so sure about Murray and Seth Rich).

      My thinking went like this: assuming this was a Russian hack and G2 is the Russians, what purpose does the G2 “pre-release” blogpost serve from their point of view? The e-mails are already at Wikileaks and are about to be released. The content of the e-mails is explosive and might sway the election. Suddenly, somebody calling himself G2 steps in with (1) a claim of responsibility, (2) some fairly innocuous e-mails which prove some level of access to the DNC servers, and (3) the “Russian whiskers” inserted into WORD document metadata. Oh, and G2 also unloads the DNC’s opposition research file on Trump.

      If the purpose was to build interest in the upcoming Wikileaks release, it would make more sense to insert one of the damaging e-mails rather than some meaningless ones. If the purpose was to help Trump, why include the DNC’s Trump opposition research in this public release? If you want the Wikileaks release to have maximum credibility and influence, why claim to be a hacker (even if you really are one) rather than allow people to assume you are a leaker? This only makes sense as misdirection. G2 is trying to distract from the Wikileaks release and blunt its effect on the election.

      If G2 is the Russians (which is still possible), then the Russians are actually trying to help Clinton, not Trump. If G2 is not the Russians, it is somebody else with access to the DNC servers who is trying to limit damage to Clinton from the Wikileaks release (and hurt Trump by suggesting the Russians favor him).

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

        And concerning his bumbling, the “Felix Edwardovich [dzerzhinsky]” is a double bungle. Impossible to believe that a Russian operative would be so obvious. As Steve McIntyre pointed out, this name is the Russian equivalent to J. Edgar [Hoover].

        The “Guccifer 2” nomen was no doubt chosen to trade on the notoriety of the most famous of hackers and help generate interest; this operation is foremost a publicity venture meant to sway the multitudes.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

          Correction: should be “Edmundovich”, not Edwardovich.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Indeed, if G2 was the source of the Wikileaks, why anticipate their release with his own post? To put it another way, why deal with Wikileaks at all, if you try to scoop them? It makes sense only if the G2 persona was most interested in establishing himself as the hacker. This sets up the next step: his exposure as a Russian operative via his bumbling.

  26. MikeN
    Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 1:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    1) News of a coming leak came out a few days before the CrowdStrike discovery. Is it possible CrowdStrike was commissioned to bring in the Russia angle ahead of the leak?

    2) This is contradicted by the April 19 timeline, also the date of Waco and Oklahoma City bombing. It strengthens my theory that Hillary’s use of a private server caused the security breach at State Department and later OPM.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Assange’s announcement came on June 12. The WaPo story announcing DNC attribution to Russia came on June 14.

      I agree that there is reason to speculate that APT28 might have first gotten into the Hillary server.

      One of the reasons why DNC couldn’t push the Russia angle too hard in June and July was that Russian hacking of the Hillary server was still in the air. The Comey dispensation in early July came while details of the DNC hack were not known. (The story was in the wild, but not “evidence”)

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 4:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Good point. This all transpired while Comey was writing out Hillary’s Get Out of Prison Free card. A big complication. Would not be politic to push Russian hacking memes overly much lest questions be asked.

  27. jddohio
    Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 4:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In an earlier post on Sept. 3, I discussed the past involvement of the US in interfering in elections. A good article was written in the Washington Post about the past history and the effectiveness of various interventions in elections. Can’t get it out of moderation, so will summarize here. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/09/07/sure-the-u-s-and-russia-often-meddle-in-foreign-elections-does-it-matter/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.4d364b3a8cb5

    1. One out of 9 elections from the 1940s to the beginning of the 21st century were interfered with by the US or Russia.

    2. Covert interventions are less effective than overt ones. (Means that Ob*ma’s intervention could have been more serious than the Wikileaks release)

    JD

  28. Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 5:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, can I suggest a timeline would help the thought processes? If somebody created this would you append it to the post? Perhaps you could ask for volunteers to help assemble segments broken up by some means.

  29. Frank
    Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 3:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve asks: in Climategate, UK police and counterintelligence tried for 3 years without being able to draw any conclusions about the hacker, even with the server in their possession, even though Mr FOIA was a lone individual with an interest in climate disputes.

    Does it make sense that Russian intel, carrying out an operation in which blowback would have very bad consequences, would leave a trail that could be attributed in a couple of hours? That their tradecraft was so much worse than Mr FOIA?

    If Mr FIOA engaged in spearfishing and used hacking software like today’s, I’d say that you are correct and the police’s failure to track Mr. FIOA down tells us something important about the ability of the FBI to identity the DNC hacker. Did Mr. FOIA enter the UEA server using the same methods as the hacker of the DNC server? The DNC hackers were also present for many weeks, when their activities were being monitored by Crowdstrike. If I remember correctly, Mr. FIOA said he was presented with an unanticipated opportunity (a security lapse?). The UEA wasn’t a logical target for a sophisticated attack.

    Respectfully, Frank

    • Tony
      Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 12:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Frank, not long after Climategate, one of the climna3is at UEA left a wad of things at an unsecured sever location (reported at WUWT … From memory it was discovered by Watt’s who then sent the unfortunate fool a warning note to secure his data. MrFOIA could possibly have been presented with such an opportunity for as we know those ‘academics’ at the University of Easy Access are not that smart.

  30. mpainter
    Posted Sep 7, 2017 at 8:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Equifax has had a data breach. Personal information on over 150 million individuals hacked: SSN, account data, all the goodies. Anyone who trusts in data bank security is a future victim.

  31. AntonyIndia
    Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 6:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Two men of about the same age and line of work – private US cyber security contractors:
    * Dmitri Alperovitch, born in 1980 in Moscow, Russia; he now resides and is naturalized in the US. Treated as a respectable hero by most in the US Establishment; makes big money at present and can fly around the globe at will.
    * Edward Snowden, born in 1983 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina US and now without nationality and confided under special visa restrictions to part of Russia. Treated as a disrespectable traitor by most in the US Establishment; lost all his money and freedom.

    Which one is closer to Truth? For me a pretty clear case.

    • Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 5:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      There has never been an admitted self-inflicted misinformation from official US authority. (Benghazi was “fog of war.”) As long as the establishment can protect their perfect record any such accusations fall lame as crazy talk.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 10:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Perfect record? Iraki WMD could’nt be found by UN & US combined in 2003, although the US had assisted Saddam Hussein earlier with chemical weapons and Pakistan had offered nuclear technology (CIA knowing). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction#2003_Iraq_War
        Now we have Syria being accused by the West/Nethanyahu of having/using chemical weapons without solid proof. Iran is struggling for one nuke.
        North Korea and Pakistan on the other hand actually obtained many long range nuclear missiles under the “watchful” eyes of the CIA.
        For cyber security Snowden showed the offensive power of the NSA but also the lack of interest in defense, even in assisting US companies. PR China has robbed the US blind of technology, while recently the DNC was hacked at least on three places – Hillary’s secret closet server, Podesta’s mail and the central DNC server.
        Not my definition of perfect.

        Perfect for who??

        • Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

          Of course intelligence is imperfect. I meant their record in resisting the temptation to do domestic ops. If the Iraqi WMD had been an intentional false assessment there would have been a ready cover story, like it got shipped to Syria. (It actually may well have.) I also meant it tongue-in-cheek.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

          US agencies and domestic spying; see this time line. 9/11 did the trick: https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/timeline

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 1:07 AM | Permalink

          US Federal “security” agencies used the 9/11 incident as a launchpad to enhance their financial and spy powers over all US citizens; maybe they can twist the Clinton/DNC leaks to fire a stage 2 internal power grab…

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 4:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

        It came out in 2013 that the NSA spied on the German parliament and its leader Angela Merkel. At first she was upset that her phone had been hacked by “friends” but after she blocked vital witness Edward Snowden to testify in Germany and went soft on the NSA. http://www.dw.com/en/merkel-testifies-on-nsa-spying-affair/a-37576690
        She didn’t allow her phone to be forensically examined.

  32. hunter
    Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 6:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What seems interesting is that the DNC hack was part of a major successful campaign by the Pakistani secret service via willing fools in the democratic party leadership and Congress, where a Pakistani family was allowed the highest levels of computer access to democratic party members in Congress under very murky employment and relationships with Debbie Wasserman Schulz. .
    That said, Assange has been adamant for quite some time that the DNC hacks were internal leaks.
    But if the data was stolen by insiders, what is the difference?

    • MikeN
      Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 3:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Hunter, there has been a new wrinkle in the story. It looks like the Pakistani fellow gave the government DWS’s hard drive, hiding it in a small room in the Capitol with his ID.

  33. AntonyIndia
    Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 5:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Crowdstrike’s DNC breach attribution to Russia in May 2016 was supported by some other cyber security peers.

    One of them was ailing FireEye, founded by Pakistani Ashar Aziz in 2004. He resigned on September 9th 2016. Before him on May 5th CEO David DeWalt (ex Mcafee) resigned. Was it just bad financials or something else behind this? Next FireEye got hacked themselves https://edgylabs.com/cyber-security-firm-hacked-intelligence-analysts-information-leaked/

  34. MikeN
    Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 3:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    OT: Steve, any idea what Scott Adams is talking about with regards to Mann’s temperature data is proprietary?

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 3:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Scott Adams completely misunderstands the fact situation regarding Mann. He seems to have misunderstood assertions in the Tim Ball case, which themselves are poorly framed. As you know, there is no such thing as “Mann’s temperature data”. At various points, Mann refused to provide relevant data and methodology. Most of it was forced out long ago. At one point, Mann claimed that his code was “proprietary” and refused to disclose it. LAter he grudgingly disclosed some of it.

      From Adams’ persuasion perspective, he’s got lots of details wrong, but main point right. Refusal to provide data and/or code where relevant left a very bad impression with anyone who encountered the dispute and “persuaded” people to be skeptical. Gavin Schmidt recognized early on just how counterproductive such tactics were, but data obstruction continued anyway. (Think Gergis, for example).

      • MikeN
        Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 6:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I’d forgotten about the code dispute. By the time I was following this, he had all his code on his website. I point people out the code for Mann 08, that it is not flipping proxies the way they are suggesting should happen(which Mann is implying in his ‘bizarre’ reply), and crimestop occurs.

  35. paul courtney
    Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 2:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to our host for covering this and reminding us of the laughable attribution to Russia in climategate. One other thing the two stories have in common- No matter how laughable the lie, the American press will not cover it. “The Russians” story was a Podesta production and the press well knows it, but they kept running with it ’til something better came along (Charlottesville). Now they’ve moved on, and the smoking gun could be revealed (say, Rich did it and Hillary has powder residue), our progressive press will ignore it.

  36. MikeN
    Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 8:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    From Judicial Watch:

    On August 18, 2009, confidential assistant Monica Hanley provided Abedin with laptop and fob (a physical device that provides a login code) logins and passwords to log onto a laptop, as well as a secure State Department website at https://one.state.gov. Included were a PIN number and instructions on how to access her email from the secure State Department website. Abedin forwarded this information to her unsecure account.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 15, 2017 at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I recall that there was an email in which Hillary didn’t know the password to her phone and needed an assistant on hand to help her.

      I thought that this would be a logical retort to worries about Trump with the nuclear codes: that Hillary would have had to contact Huma Abedin for them.

      • MikeN
        Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 8:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I’m also surprised how little people noticed this. Part of the problem with Hillary is she couldn’t use a computer e-mail with password, and they had to different things in her office.
        Trump did bring up in debate that she couldn’t identify the markings on classified documents.

  37. Ivan Jankovic
    Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 1:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, I think you will soon be a valued guest at Russia Today, and Alex Jones’ show as well. 🙂

  38. Ivan Jankovic
    Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 1:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “the role of Dmitri Alperovitch and Crowdstrike, who are uniquely responsible for the attribution of the DNC hack to Russia”

    False. The Crowdstrike attribution to Russian military intelligence was confirmed by multiple competing cyber security groups, including Mandiant, Fidelis, Secure Works,ThreatConnect..Also, the same group that hacked DNC previously hacked German Bundestag (attributed to Russian intelligence by Germans in 2015), Estonian stock-market, and tried to penetrate American state department, White House and Joint Chiefs.

    Apart from that, all signs point to Seth Rich inside job conspiracy…

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 3:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Puh-leeze. Only Alperovitch and Crowdstrike had access to the DNC server. They refused access to the FBI. Crowdstrike operated the DNC server for 6 weeks before notifying the FBI. The other firms only got samples chosen by Crowdstrike. Crowdstrike’s role was unique, as I said. In the Reality Winner release, NSA could only weakly link APT28 to Russian intelligence. So the connection is hardly “confirmed”.

      Have these various firms all attributed Guccifer 2 to Russian military intelligence? If so, how? Most of the “evidence” supposedly linking Guccifer 2 to Russia is implausible.

      Also we don’t know who gave the DNC emails to Wikileaks. If it was Guccifer 2, evidence connecting him to Russian military intelligence is flimsy.

      There is no evidence linking APT28 to Wikileaks. I recall an assertion from US intel community that they were going to identify intermediaries, but they never did.

      My position on this is pretty much the same as Jeffrey Carr’s: if the US intel community provided actual evidence supporting attribution to Russia, I would not regard that as contradicting anything that I’ve said. However, their failure to do so makes me suspicious that they don’t have any evidence beyond the flimsy stuff in public domain.

      • Ivan Jankovic
        Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 5:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

        1. Crowdstrike was first to attribute hack to Russians MUCH BEFORE the email leaks. At the moment the attribution was made nobody had any idea why Russians did it. The prevailing theory for weeks was that they wanted just to lift the DNC opposition research on Trump to better understand him. So, guys from Srowdstrike were that good to predict that Putin will actually weaponize the emails to help Trump?

        2. What about German Bundestag, targeted by the same hacker group and attributed to Russians by German government, with NO INPUT from Crowdstrike? Was that all also done by Seth Rich or some other mysterious DNC “insider”?
        http://www.zeit.de/digital/2017-05/cyberattack-bundestag-angela-merkel-fancy-bear-hacker-russia

        3. What about John Podesta’s email? Was that also an inside job by Seth Rich? Who had done that?
        hint: attribution NOT by Crowdstrike
        https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mg7xjb/how-hackers-broke-into-john-podesta-and-colin-powells-gmail-accounts

        4. What about hacking the American voter roles and electoral infrastructure in 39 states? Also Seth Rich? Hint; (NO Crowdstrike attribution either)
        https://www.vox.com/world/2017/6/13/15791744/russia-election-39-states-hack-putin-trump-sessions

        5. What about hacking RNC? Russian comrades seem to have RNC hacked as well, but did not release any material. It is actually unknown what exactly and how much did they stole, but IC claim they were behind the hack. Also Seth Rich, ya think?

        https://www.wired.com/2017/01/russia-hacked-older-republican-emails-fbi-director-says/

        6. Did Seth Rich also hacked Emanuel Macron’s campaign emails in France? No, Fancy Bear again, NOT attributed by Crowdstrike.
        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/08/macron-hackers-linked-to-russian-affiliated-group-behind-us-attack

        7. Did Seth Rich hacked dozens of DC think tanks?

        You are becoming more and more a sad embodiment of left-wing propaganda about climate skeptics as wild-eyed conspiracy theorists. Whenever I or anyone else refers to your stellar work in climate science the answer will be: ah, Steve M. “Assad chemical weapons truther” and “DNC truther”.

      • Ivan Jankovic
        Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 6:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “Have these various firms all attributed Guccifer 2 to Russian military intelligence? If so, how?

        yes, they did. At least three of them, independently.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cyber-researchers-confirm-russian-government-hack-of-democratic-national-committee/2016/06/20/e7375bc0-3719-11e6-9ccd-d6005beac8b3_story.html?utm_term=.1265be31a6b4

        • webdatadev
          Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

          First of all, Washington Post reporting is meaningless with regards to non-fiction topics. That, at least, has been established beyond a doubt.

          Secondly, Crowdstrike provided samples of malware that it said were taken from the DNC server, so there was no “independent” analysis, and none of it was applied to Guccifer2 the person.

          Third, the presence of malware which exists on approx. 50% of all organizations’ internal networks already, and is available to hackers everywhere, is not enough to make a state actor attribution.

          Fourth, the presence of Russian malware, if it was that, does not mean it was necessarily used to supply WikiLeaks with the leaked material.

          Fifth, all of the WikiLeaks material consisted of emails from 8 DNC members. There WAS NO NEED for the use of malware to extract this material, and in fact, such malware would not necessarily have helped to obtain the email credentials that were used to access the message that were stored on Google’s servers (not the DNC’s). Only a keylogger on the user’s machine would have likely done the job, and Invincea, which analyzed the binary (NOT the decompiled source code) of the X-Tunnel software, concluded there was only a 19% chance that it had that capability.

          Why go to all the trouble of installing and using malware, when a spear-phishing email spoofing a Google message would do just as well to obtain DNC staff email credentials?

      • Ivan Jankovic
        Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 6:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

        1. Crowdstrike was first to attribute hack to Russians MUCH BEFORE the email leaks by Wikileaks. At the moment the attribution was made nobody had any idea why Russians did it. The prevailing theory for weeks was that they wanted just to lift the DNC opposition research on Trump to better understand him. So, guys from Crowdstrike were that good to predict that Putin will actually weaponize the emails to help Trump?

        2. What about German Bundestag, targeted by the same hacker group and attributed to Russians by German government, with NO INPUT from Crowdstrike? Was that all also done by Seth Rich or some other mysterious DNC “insider”?
        http://www.zeit.de/digital/2017-05/cyberattack-bundestag-angela-merkel-fancy-bear-hacker-russia

        3. What about John Podesta’s email? Was that also an inside job by Seth Rich? Who had done that?
        hint: attribution NOT by Crowdstrike
        https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mg7xjb/how-hackers-broke-into-john-podesta-and-colin-powells-gmail-accounts

        4. What about hacking the American voter roles and electoral infrastructure in 39 states? Also Seth Rich? Hint; (NO Crowdstrike attribution either)
        https://www.vox.com/world/2017/6/13/15791744/russia-election-39-states-hack-putin-trump-sessions

        5. What about hacking RNC? Russian comrades seem to have RNC hacked as well, but did not release any material. It is actually unknown what exactly and how much did they stole, but IC claim they were behind the hack. Also Seth Rich, ya think?

        https://www.wired.com/2017/01/russia-hacked-older-republican-emails-fbi-director-says/

        6. Did Seth Rich also hacked Emanuel Macron’s campaign emails in France? No, Fancy Bear again, NOT attributed by Crowdstrike.
        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/08/macron-hackers-linked-to-russian-affiliated-group-behind-us-attack

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

          So, if it was not “Seth Rich,” it had to be “the Russians?”

          You should follow up on that.

          “So, guys from Crowdstrike were that good to predict that Putin will actually weaponize the emails to help Trump?”

          Crowdstrike announcing “opposition research” was accessed conforms with Guccifer 2’s release, not Wikileaks emails, which Crowdstrike did not predict would be released. I’m uncertain if the emails were on DNC servers at all, which would mean any linking to the malware found on DNC servers is totally irrelevant to the email leak.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 9:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “ThreatConnect uses the Crowdstrike blog article as a basis for conducting further research into the DNC breach and identifies additional infrastructure.” https://www.threatconnect.com/blog/tapping-into-democratic-national-committee/
        “Michael Buratowski, a senior executive at Fidelis, said in a blog post Monday.” Dead link: http://www.threatgeek.com/2016/06/dnc_update.html
        Flimsy material.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

          Here is Micheal Buratowski of Fidelis at ABC news July 25 th 2016: ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’ Russians Hacked DNC, Analyst Says’ http://abcnews.go.com/International/reasonable-doubt-russians-hacked-dnc-analyst/story?id=40863292

          “In the sense it was so complex, it would have taken a lot — it would have had to have been a very elaborate scheme to try and pin it on somebody else,” he said.

          “It was the keyboards that gave them away. Russian hackers, typing on keyboards configured in Cyrillic and doing it in a time zone consistent with Moscow, created the “eloquent” code that breached the computers of the Democratic National Committee”
          “Buratowski said IP addresses linked to the attack were associated with Russian servers.”

          If this is complex evidence that Russian governmental agencies were the sole hackers of the DNC than Buratowwski and anybody echoing him is a joker, unless the the Russian FSB and GRU cyber divisions are packed with first time amateurs.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 2:31 AM | Permalink

          “…first time amateurs”

          Yes, the whole Russian attribution assumes that their operatives were clumsy amateurs. That sort of simple mindedness is what sustains the myth of Russian “interference”.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

          my theory on attribution is that Russian intel services carrying out a high-risk covert operation under direct orders from Putin would have computer skills equal to or exceeding Mr FOIA, whose skills are understood by Climate Audit readers.

        • Ivan Jankovic
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

          I posted a longer reply to Steve with 7 or 8 links but for some reason it’s “in moderation” for mroe than 24 hours.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

          multi-link replies generally get caught up in spam hardware. Released manually.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

          They’re only “amateurs” for certain if they intended the “Russian Whiskers” metadata to be irrefutable over time. As it happened the Russian whiskers were very successful, and conveniently used by politicized or totally incompetent elements in the US government. The American media complied, reporting the words “felix edmundovich” as proof of a Russian connection rather than proof of an obvious fake attempt to make a Russian connection.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

          my theory on attribution is that Russian intel services carrying out a high-risk covert operation under direct orders from Putin would have computer skills equal to or exceeding Mr FOIA, whose skills are understood by Climate Audit readers.

          Do you think that Microsoft has computer skills equal to or exceeding Mr FOIA? What about the endless series of bugs in their code that result in malware attacks. Do you think that an intelligence service would be capable of creating an operating system of the scope that Microsoft does? Why then does Microsoft have a program of automatic updates to fix security holes in their OSs. Microsoft recently downloaded Windows 10 to my computer. I now get messages and notification from them touting the features and speed of their web browser Edge. The only trouble with that for me is that the copy of Edge that Microsoft downloaded for me does not work. So Microsoft has undoubtedly software skills that are as good or better than any intelligence service in the world. Yet the copy of software they provided me does not work. Do not overestimate the quality of software.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

          all I’m saying is that one should presume competence as a starting point. If someone pointlessly cut-and-pastes oppo research from its original word document into a second word document, whose language options have been changed to Russian and whose user name is changed to the Russian J. Edgar Hoover, I think that you have to assume that it was intentionally (for some still obscure reason) and not through the equivalent of a Windows defect

    • bmcburney
      Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 9:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Ivan,

      You say “the same group that attacked the DNC previously attacked . . .”

      I am not an expert on hacking but my understanding is that there is no evidence that the same group was involved in all of these attacks. The evidence only shows that the same coding tools were used. But once a particular piece of coding is used in a hacking attack it becomes available to others, and then many others, as it is propagates through the internet. That is why responsible cyber security firms do not attempt attribution. The “bear” tools might have originally been Russian but they now available to anyone.

      Is there some other way to identify the group(s) which did these various attacks other than by “their” code?

  39. Ivan Jankovic
    Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 2:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “the role of Dmitri Alperovitch and Crowdstrike, who are uniquely responsible for the attribution of the DNC hack to Russia”

    This is categorically false. The Crowdstrike attribution to Russian military intelligence was confirmed by multiple competing cyber security firms, including Mandiant, Fidelis, Secure Works,ThreatConnect..Also, the same group that hacked DNC previously hacked German Bundestag (attributed to Russian intelligence by Germans in 2015), Estonian stock-market, and tried to penetrate American state department, White House and Joint Chiefs.

    Apart from that, all signs point to Seth Rich inside job…

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 4:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Apart from that, Julian Assange and Craig Murray maintain that the DNC Wikileaks material was downloaded, not hacked, by an insider who had legal access to the computer and that there were none Russians involved. So who should we believe? You, or Wikileaks?

    • bmcburney
      Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 9:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Ivan,

      The phrase “uniquely responsible” does not necessarily imply that Crowdstrike was the only cyber security firm to make the attribution. In context, I read the phrase as indicating that that all the evidence used in any attribution to the Russians was provided by Crowdstrike. As such, the statement is undeniably true (at least as to available evidence).

      In my experience, the opinions of some cyber security experts are . . . flexible. It is always necessary to examine the underlying evidence to find the basis of those opinions.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

        McBurney, you say “It is always necessary to examine the underlying evidence to find the basis of those opinions.”

        ###

        How very much like climate science is computer forensics and _interpretive_opinion based on such forensics.
        Note that Ivan put no links to the many opinions contrary to CrowdStrike’s. Perhaps he is unaware of them.

        Ivan also seems unaware that repeated comments on this thread have emphasized the need to have the computer hard drive in order to make a complete forensics examination.

  40. JTK551
    Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 4:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Either he lied to Congress on March 20 about the Jan 6 meeting being classified or he leaked classified information. Perhaps both.

    Or he was mistaken. Trump put out a press release about Jan 6 meeting, and maybe Comey was not aware of same until he was preparing for his testimony. And rules binding govt employees would no longer apply.

    given the extremely close friendship between Mueller and Comey, Mueller’s conflict of interest is greater than the minuscule supposed “conflict of interest” which caused Sessions to recuse.

    I’ve seen no evidence that the two were extremely close friends. And the conflict of interest in investigating the campaigns alleged contacts is a clear conflict of interest for somebody part of the campaign. There is no conflict between Mueller and Comey. The Justice dept can prosecute Comey if he did anything illegal.

    If you re-read Comey’s memos and put yourself in Trump’s shoes as incoming CEO, I see nothing troubling in Trump’s comments to Comey.

    He wasn’t a CEO, he was President of the US. And as such, the comments are deeply troubling.

    • MikeN
      Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 8:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

      In recommending prosecution or whether illegal acts have occurred, Mueller will have to evaluate Comey’s credibility and motivation. His personal and professional dealings will influence that.

    • Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 3:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

      And as President of the USA, he *is* the Chief Executive Officer (of the USA’s Federal Government and only said Federal Government).

  41. mpainter
    Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 5:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    JTK :”..the comments are deeply disturbing.”
    ###
    Please tell how,specifically. Please give the comments that disturb you, and why.

    • Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 9:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      These are alleged comments in notes made by a high level former administration official preparing for a possible dismissal and needing political cover.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 5:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

      JTK does not answer. Perhaps the deep disturbance passed.

  42. JTK551
    Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 8:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In recommending prosecution or whether illegal acts have occurred, Mueller will have to evaluate Comey’s credibility and motivation. His personal and professional dealings will influence that.

    But there is nothing that prevents the DOJ from prosecuting. It’s not like they’ve gone out of business since Mueller was appointed.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 16, 2017 at 9:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

      What, specifically, troubles you about Trump’s comments? Can you not say?

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

      that’s a different issue. Again, it is impossible to imagine a prosecutor in a murder case, who was also a close personal associate of the key eye-witness, not recusing himself. Not recusing would taint the proceedings. Obvious in a murder case, but seemingly not when anti-Trump passions are inflamed.

  43. Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Whoever G2 is the most obvious purpose of G2 attention getting is to divert attention from the DNC hack and onto the attacker. Declaring the hack and bringing attention to the crime and perpetrator, rather than the content of the emails, feeds into the desired focus of the victim target. The perpetrator must then be assumed to be too blind to see that he is accomplishing the opposite his goals by making himself the story.

    If G2 is Russia trying to plant the individual hacker false flag they did a worse than amateur job.

    G2 is an admitted criminal with a false identity therefore G2’s overt claims will naturally be taken very skeptically, if not a reverse barometer.

    G2 claims that he is a Romanian practically with a Russian accent. The documents are that G2 supplies are not embarrassing to his target and in some cases not part of the WL dump. The documents have clumsily created Russian fingerprints, changing the metadata author name to Felix Dzerzhinsky , the first head of the Soviet secret police.

    G2 comes out at just the time we know that the DNC would be bracing for the email publication and must have spent days planning how to counter the narrative.

    Roger Stone, a high profile conservative and favorite butt of Democrat’s scorn, is chosen by G2 to be elevated to the headlines by being contacted by G2.

    All the forensics of the G2 twitter, email and other accounts have similarities to Fancy Bear/APT28. So either G2 is a Russia, which stupidly provided a trail to their own door or it is Crowdstrike making a false flag for the DNC. Which makes more sense?

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 12:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Ron Graf, I believe that it was Felix Edmundovich, the given names of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, that were the names used, but still a dead giveaway and an all too obvious flag. My sense tells me that this ruse was carefully calculated as something that would get widespread circulation in the MSM with much credulity.

      Also, thanks for mentioning the Stone episode. This seems as another stunt carefully calculated for publicity. I agree with McBurney that G2 was not concerned about getting nabbed, but was a publicity hound. This behavior does match your typical Wikileaker.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Rather,..does _not_ match your typical Wikileaker.

  44. JTK551
    Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 5:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Again, it is impossible to imagine a prosecutor in a murder case, who was also a close personal associate of the key eye-witness, not recusing himself.

    Why? Doesn’t seem relevant to me. And I don’t think anybody has established that it is “close” anyway. Nor “the key witness”.

    https://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/standards/ProsecutionFunctionFourthEdition.html

    Standard 3-1.7 Conflicts of Interest

    A juror, or Congressman, or Senator, maybe. But the Prosecutor merely presents the case, and it is up to others to judge the honesty of the witness. The defense is free to point out any relationship if they think it is relevant.

    • chuckrr
      Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 6:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

      So you don’t think Sessions should have recused himself. Just like Trump

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 6:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Ha! I think Sessions screwed Trump, intentionally. If I were Trump, I would look for another AG. If he replaced Sessions, he would regain control of the DoJ and Mueller would be terminated.

        • chuckrr
          Posted Sep 17, 2017 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

          I think it’s more likely Trump was right about Seessions…. if it’s true he called him an idiot. And I think Sessions probably realized trump was right. Which is why he didn’t resign when Trump humiliated him.

  45. JTK551
    Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 12:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    So you don’t think Sessions should have recused himself.

    That follows from nothing I posted. If you had bothered to view the link, you would have seen:

    The prosecutor should not participate in a matter in which the prosecutor previously participated, personally and substantially, as a non-prosecutor, unless the appropriate government office, and when necessary a former client, gives informed consent confirmed in writing.

    • chuckrr
      Posted Sep 18, 2017 at 4:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “But the Prosecutor merely presents the case, and it is up to others to judge the honesty of the witness. The defense is free to point out any relationship if they think it is relevant.”…Sessions represents the prosecution as does Mueller But you can cherry pick your conflicts of interest so it’s all good

      • JTK551
        Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 9:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t cherry pick anything. I linked to and quoted from the American Bar Association on Prosecutorial conflicts of interest. Sessions / Russia situation is covered. Mueller / Comey situation is not.

        Sorry that doesn’t fit your world view.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

          the ABA manual didn’t contemplate the specific fact situation in which a special counsel is best friends with star witness. Given that purpose of appointing special counsel is to avoid both impropriety and appearance of impropriety, it’s hard to provide in advance for such a situation. Nonetheless, the general prohibition against conflict and appearance of conflict apply unequivocally in my opinion.

          Here’s an article discussing opinions of experienced lawyers:
          http://www.worldtribune.com/lawyers-weigh-in-on-ethics-of-comey-being-star-witness-for-best-friends-probe/

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          Steve: Your article was interesting, but not particularly applicable to the current situation. Most prosecutors work for large offices where it is easy to exchange one prosecutor from another to avoid conflict. That isn’t the case with a special counsel. Given the intelligence aspects, Rosenstein needed someone who already had the security clearances needed to start work immediately, which limited his field of candidates. And someone with stature willing to abandon his lucrative position to work for the government. There were limited choices and all probably had potential drawbacks.

          If DT is ever indicted, it will first be by the House of Representatives in the form of impeachment. Mueller likely won’t be present as prosecutor. Ken Starr provided the House Judiciary Committee with a report of his findings and never testified. Comey has appeared and may appear in the future as a witness, but he won’t be questioned by Mueller. So their personal relationship will only impact the words in whatever report Mueller may submits.

          In Nixon’s case, the grand jury – under the prompting of the special prosecutor – indicted many members of the administration and named one “unindicted co-conspirator”. So, if DT were impeached, some day we could in theory see Mueller questioning Comey in a courtroom in front of defendant DT. However, that is in the far distant future. My guess is that Mueller will have turned over his responsibilities to someone else long before things get that far. Mueller is 73 and his career won’t benefit from the opportunity to question DT on the witness stand.

          Will a prejudiced report from Mueller strongly influence the House Judiciary Committee, or the House or the Senate? Probably not. The founders recognized that impeachment is a political, not legal, procedure. The “jury” doesn’t decide only on the basis of the evidence presented; they start with biases. Could bias in Mueller’s report change key votes? Maybe. Mueller could emphasize or ignore evidence that supports or contradicts Comey’s written memos. Even so, that evidence will be well known.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

          As the truth about Comey emerges, he becomes less and less a witness of reliable, disinterested testimony. Mueller’s position will become every more uncomfortable and untenable. The DoJ types understand this. His crew of Hillary fans must be pretty glum. Let’s see what other acts of desperation Mueller commits.

        • JTK551
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

          the ABA manual didn’t contemplate the specific fact situation in which a special counsel is best friends with star witness.

          Again, I’ll repeat, because you keep doing so: There is no evidence that the two are best friends. Nor is Comey a “star witness”.

          Secondly, citing a right wing web-site who picked 5 anonymous legal beagles still only produced, according to their characterization, “The verdict came back mixed”.

          Third, you provide NO evidence that the ABA didn’t envision such a situation. I think that maybe they don’t consider that necessarily a conflict. And you haven’t articulated such a case.

          Given that purpose of appointing special counsel is to avoid both impropriety and appearance of impropriety,

          No, it is not. The point of a special counsel is, as your cited article points out, “the whole purpose of the special counsel is to have a prosecutor from outside the government and outside of the normal chain of command because inherent conflicts render the Justice Department incapable of handling it.”

          The DOJ falls under the Executive branch in the US system of govt. If there is evidence of wrongdoing at the top levels of the executive branch, including the President, the President has the power to inhibit the investigation. The Congress always has the power to investigate and impeach, but many citizens would rather impeachment be a last resort, and a non-political process be used to investigate potential Executive misconduct first.

          Special counsels also have their own downsides, but I know of no reasonable Constitutional alternative outside of impeachment.

          I agree conflict of interests issues should apply, but I see none, nor have you articulated any. And remember, Trump chose to keep Comey when he took office, appointed Sessions and appointed Rosenstein. And he can still fire the latter two and Mueller.

        • JTK551
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

          In case anybody wonders why I described the World Tribune as right wing, here are their self-described partners:

          DrudgeReport.com
          The Washington Times
          Hoover Institution
          Geostrategy-Direct.com
          GertzFile.com
          Breitbart.com
          Hudson Institute
          WorldNetDaily
          East-Asia-Intel.com

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

          Greg Jarrett of Fox just levelled a 45 gun broadside at Sessions. I agree with it and Jarrett has the background to bring well qualified judgment. Could be Sessions is on shakey ground as Jarrett probably echoes Trump’s views. If Sessions goes, no more recusal, no more Special Counsel.

          That’s one way to flick Mueller off the board. Another way is to force his resignation. Trump will soon be in a position to do that as the case against Comey builds, and it will. Mueller also has other conflicts. So Trump can replace Mueller or he can do entirely away with the office of Special Counsel by getting rid of Sessions.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

          mpainter comments:

          If Sessions goes, no more recusal, no more Special Counsel

          You are neglecting Rosenstein and the effort in Congress to protect teh special counsel.

          Remember what happened when Trump fired Comey. He assured his Russian guests in the Whitehouse that the pressure was off him in the Russia investigation. We all know how that worked out

          Anyway, we all remember Archibald Cox

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

          There is no doubt that Jeff Sessions wants very much to be Attorney General. This is the office where he can accomplish much more of his own personal views than ever possible as a senator. So perhaps he can work out a deal with Trump, whom he has undoubtedly wronged. The solution: Jeff Sessions consults elsewhere and decides that his recusal was unneeded and reverses the recusal and dismisses Mueller. Sessions would take a lot of heat, but that is the price of his remaining. Trump will give all support of his office. But Trump is unhappy with Sessions, and something is going to happen, imo.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

          There is a third possibility: get rid of Rosenstein. The Special Counsel is his doing. If Sessions fires Rosenstein, Trump can appoint an Acting Deputy Attorney General who can then dismiss Mueller and refer the investigation back to the FBI, where it belongs. My point in discussing this in these last three comments is that Trump has plenty of options in disposing of Mueller, whom I expect to be removed by next year.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

          In all of this it is important to realize that the law on a Special Prosecutor expired in 1999 and the present Special Counsel is appointed through a protocol established by Janet Reno. So Mueller has no legal basis of support other than a formalized DoJ procedural protocol. This is rather flimsy, as he knows.

        • chuckrr
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

          Ha…if only we could all separate our world view from our arguments like you do.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 10:55 PM | Permalink

          Let’s not forget the DoJ Inspector General, who started an investigation of Comey in January, eight (!) months ago. That report is due and it will put a great, heavy cudgel into the hands of Trump. This report could be what Trump is waiting for. The name James Comey will be a byword for corruption in later years.

          Mueller imagines to make a John Dean of James Comey. Wishful thinker.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 3:09 AM | Permalink

          If Trump fires Sessions, then his new attorney general would have to be confirmed by the Senate. The Senate will insist on protecting Mueller’s investigation.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

          But his acting Attorney General will not.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

          An acting AG is time limited, and Trump will get no AG confirmed if Mueller is fired.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

          What are you saying? The Acting Attorney General has tenure until the Senate approves Trump’s choice, however long the process takes. If the Senate refuses approval, then Trump submits a new candidate. But all the while the DoJ will have an Acting AG.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

          mpainter: You and others are engaging in a lot of wishful thinking that isn’t supported by evidence. When ClimateAudit dealt only with science, our host preferred evidence, not opinion.

          “Let’s not forget the DoJ Inspector General, who started an investigation of Comey in January, eight (!) months ago. That report is due and it will put a great, heavy cudgel into the hands of Trump. This report could be what Trump is waiting for. The name James Comey will be a byword for corruption in later years. Mueller imagines to make a John Dean of James Comey. Wishful thinker.”

          We don’t know what the DoJ report will conclude, but any report begun in January will deal first with Comey’s behavior in the email investigation. Actions during the Trump administration may or may not be covered. We don’t know whether Comey’s rational for those actions will be presented or refuted. Only then will we will know what credible evidence exists (outside the blogosphere) that could blunt Comey’s impact. No matter what Mueller or the Inspector General say about Comey, all of the evidence supporting and impeaching Comey will be in front of Congress.

          For the record, John Dean went to jail for his actions in Watergate and was disbarred. I doubt Mueller or Comey want another John Dean. FWIW, the Whitehouse tapes showed that Dean’s famous Senate testimony was riddled with errors, because he (unlike Comey) hadn’t documented what happened as it happened.

          Your dreams continues:

          “As the truth about Comey emerges, he becomes less and less a witness of reliable, disinterested testimony. Mueller’s position will become every more uncomfortable and untenable. The DoJ types understand this. His crew of Hillary fans must be pretty glum. Let’s see what other acts of desperation Mueller commits.”

          Mueller’s team has announced it is indicting Paul Manafort and is presenting evidence to another Grand Jury about Michael Flynn. Proving crimes were committed and that DT knew about them is any essential prerequisite for any charge of obstruction of justice. I suspect Mueller’s are thrilled with their rapid progress. Even with Dean’s help, I understand Cox hadn’t indicted anyone before he was fired after six months of investigation.

          “That’s one way to flick Mueller off the board. Another way is to force his resignation. Trump will soon be in a position to do that as the case against Comey builds, and it will. Mueller also has other conflicts. So Trump can replace Mueller or he can do entirely away with the office of Special Counsel by getting rid of Sessions.”

          Nixon’s AG and dAG resigned rather then fire Archibald Cox. The DoJ’s #3, Bork, fired Cox – which later probably cost him a seat on the Supreme Court. Trump has tried to publicly humiliate Sessions. It isn’t clear who – if anyone – in the “Deep State” will fire Mueller for DT; except perhaps a secretary or janitor. (It would be interesting to know if a resignation can be made effective whenever the Senate approves a replacement. The alternative might be a leaderless DoJ.)

          Rosenstein promised that Mueller would not imitate Kenneth Starr and take the investigation far afield – say into a Moscow bedroom. So I suspect Rosenstein would rein in or fire Mueller if he exceeds his charter. How far does that charter extend? I suspect that Mueller could be interested in looking into DT’s financial arrangements with various Russians. DT likely won’t put up with that kind of a “witch hunt”/”fishing expedition” or anything that threatens his family.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

          Trump is not Nixon; he has committed no crimes; the Russian “interference” is so far invention based on CrowdStrike’s dubious claims.

          Try not to get over excited. See my latest comment. Mueller has no standing under the law, DoJ protocol only.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 12:40 AM | Permalink

          There was a law passed in the 90s that limits Acting positions in the executive branch, both in terms of time in office and actions that can be performed. This was ignored by Clinton with some workarounds, that arguably should have been another count of impeachment.

          My point is that if Trump chooses to fire Mueller by firing Sessions, then he will never get an AG confirmed by the Senate. Sessions is a major point in Trump’s favor with his voters, so Trump will have traded getting rid of Mueller for losing both establishment Republicans and base Trump voters.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 1:05 AM | Permalink

          Trump doesn’t need the Senate, should it be so remiss as to withhold confirmation of his candidate. But, the Senate ordinarily does not act out of spite.

          You continue to miss the point. An Acting AG is all Trump needs: “Principle Officer” see U.S. Constitution.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

          Also, Congressional clowns who seek to infringe the power of the President by modifying Constitutional powers through acts of congress will be ignored, and appropriately so. It is the duty of the President, per oath of office, to pay no regard to such antics.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

          An editorial request: I’d prefer not to discuss theoretical powers of Trump versus Mueller, as there are lots of practical limits.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

          Mpainter wrote: “Mueller has no standing under the law, DoJ protocol only.”

          This is incorrect. Scooter Libby challenged the legal authority of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to bring charges against him. A lower court decided against him based on Morrison v Olson, the case when the Supreme Court decided that the Independent Counsel Act (expired 1999) was constitutional.

          The President’s “absolute authority” is also constrained by the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. All of these laws are administered by the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC), a permanent independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency outside the President’s control. As with Special Counsels, all of these limitations on executive authority MUST BE unconstitutional, too.

          Likewise, there are about 70 Inspectors General in the executive branch who operate independently of the line of authority of other members of the executive branch. IGs also report findings to Congress. A DoS Inspector General submitted a complaint to the DoJ about HRC’s email practices, something that Ob*ma would have quietly blocked if the could. A DoJ Inspector General helped uncover the IRS’s mishandling of charitable status for Tea Party organizations. The whole concept of an IG or a Special Counsel is an unconstitutional limitation on the president’s authority.

          Then we have the independent federal agencies: The Federal Reserve, FTC, FEC, CFTC, CFPB, FCC, NLRB, NTSB, SEC, etc., all with some independence from the president. As with Special Counsel, the limited independence of these organizations must also be unconstitutional.

          Or, maybe it is time for mpainter to recognize that presidents are not omnipotent dictators of the executive branch – at least not in real world. All of this apparatus exists because earlier presidents abused their power, so Congress placed restriction on the President’s power. However, the president is the head of the executive branch. As with Special Counsels, he can probably fire the leaders of most of these agencies, though sometimes cause is required. What he can’t do is put someone new in charge of these agencies who will carry out his orders – without the consent of the Senate.

          When asked about the government created at the constitutional convention, Ben Franklin said that would be a republic – if we can keep it. Presidents attempting to place themselves and their allies beyond the reach of the law are the biggest threat to a Republic.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

          Frank, what I meant was that the office of Special Counsel has no statutory basis. The DoJ protocol which established it can be revoked by the AG or President and the matter returned to the FBI.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

          mpainter: “what I meant was that the office of Special Counsel has no statutory basis. The DoJ protocol which established it can be revoked by the AG or President and the matter returned to the FBI.”

          Our justice system operates on the basis of a long history of precedents (back to English common law) in addition to statutes. Since Watergate, there has been a desire on the part of those out of power (and all sides have been out of power) to move politically sensitive prosecutions outside the control of political appointees. The downside has been that independent prosecutors have infinite time and money to pursue even the smallest offenses in hopes of getting someone to testify against the higher ups. No one wants more Ken Starr’s. Congress doesn’t know how to write a statute that will provide independence, but minimize excess, so we are currently operating under guidelines, but not laws.

          The great thing about Mueller is that he seems to be moving forward quickly to see what he can prove to a grand jury and then in the courtroom. I think he knows that the people want these questions resulted quickly, even if that means that minor transgressions go unpunished. If no one can be convicted of something serious, then DT couldn’t have obstructed justice. Maybe all this will be over in a year.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

          For the truth about Mueller see the link provided by JD at the end of the comments.

    • MikeN
      Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 9:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve, perhaps it seems theoretical now, but it was only a month ago when Congress was pushing a bill to protect Mueller, and Trump was objecting.

  46. TAG
    Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 6:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The US indicted two members of the Russian intelligence service FSB and a Kazakh-Canadian man for hacking into the Yahoo accounts of American and Russian government officials, Russian journalists and employees of private companies. The Canadian man is in custody.

    Given this information, how does the Russian explanation of the DNC hack as well as the Podesta hack stand up?

  47. JTK551
    Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 9:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with it and Jarrett has the background to bring well qualified judgment.

    LOL.

    Jarrett in June:

    He [Sessions] broke no laws, breached no ethical rules, and “colluded” with no one.

    Jarrett in September:

    The president was entitled to know the truth, but Sessions actively hid it from him. Sessions’ deception deprived him of Trump’s confidence and trust which are essential to the job of Attorney General. This ethical impropriety renders him unfit to serve.

    I guess “well qualified judgment” is another issue on which we disagree.

  48. JTK551
    Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 9:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/07/19/wait-why-is-trump-surprised-jeff-sessions-recused-himself-from-the-russia-investigation/?utm_term=.827b5556232c

    Several months earlier, at Sessions’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Sessions whether he would recuse himself from any hypothetical investigation into the Trump campaign. At the time, the FBI hadn’t publicly confirmed it was investigating whether the Trump campaign helped Russia meddle in the 2016 election.

    Sessions replied: “I would review it and try to do the right thing as to whether or not it should stay within the jurisdiction of the attorney general or not.”

    So, all the BS about Sessions blindsiding Trump is hilarious. Unless, of course, Trump had the understanding that Sessions was lying under oath.

    And let’s not forget Rosenstein. Sessions recused himself (not the DOJ) on March 2. Rosenstein was Trump’s pick for Deputy AG. His pick. And he could have withdrawn him and replaced him with another toady if he saw fit. He didn’t. Trump is nowhere a victim in this. The buck stops with him.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

      it’s not easy to sympathize with Trump, particularly now that he’s been totally co-opted on foreign policy by the neocons. However, on the narrow issues of Comey and Russia, I have considerable sympathy for him. Comey lied to and misled him from the beginning. Trump was right to fire him. In my opinion, there’s lots of evidence of questionable conduct and analyses by US intel community in connection with Russia, but zero evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign to hack the DNC. Levering these unsupported allegations into an open-ended investigation of financial affairs going back long before the election campaign seems more like House of Cards than a functional democracy.

      • TAG
        Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 7:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve McIntyre commented

        it’s not easy to sympathize with Trump, particularly now that he’s been totally co-opted on foreign policy by the neocons.

        The neocon project was the spread of democratic ideals through regime change. Trump’s speech at the UN specifically disclaimed this and touted “sovereignty” as the solution to all problems. His campaign speeches were full of this rhetoric. His campaign speeches were full of criticism of foreign wars but he also talked of “bombing the ***” out of ISIS and isolating Iran. His hostile attitude to Cuba and Venezuela are no surprise. He was against foreign wars but supported specific ones during his campaign. Trump has not been taken over by neocons. His policies are incoherent

        • Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

          “His policies are incoherent”

          Or, they are a return to flexible response. Trump is putting bad actors on notice that there is a new sheriff in town coupled with a warning that intervention will be only for extreme cases and with no nation building add-on goals. If you call the sheriff for help you might get military response if it’s deemed in USA interest, but no new roads or schools. Trump is anti-neocon.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

          is there any basis for US accusations that Iran has sponsored terrorism in Syria? As someone who’s been watching the war for about 9 months, it seems to me that Iran, like Russia, is supporting government in its battles against terrorism and, rather than sponsoring terrorism, is fighting hard against ISIS and AlQaeda. On this point, it seems that both Trump and Tillerson have adopted State Department talking points. But what are the allegations based on?

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

          Trump is obviously being steered now by Kushner who in turn is guided by Nethanyahu. As Iran supports Hezbollah and Hamas it becomes automatically the enemy for Nethanyahu. Shia Iran also stands up to Sunni KSA, the U$ pillar in the ME.
          For a moment pause at the weirdness of that situation: a Shia regime supports Sunnis @ Hamas; Shia are a minority just like Jews or Alawits in the ME & the world.

        • Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

          There has been spotty reporting from journalists in Syria forever, but particularly since the uprising. But from what I’ve seen of the last 6 years it started as an “Arab spring” movement against Assad that Clinton-Ob*ma DOS supported by calling for Assad to leave. But instead Assad cracked down with military force. Concurrently, Iran’s disaffected Sunni combatants that had been tossed out by “the surge” and the “awakening” used the destabilized Syria as a refuge and staging area to maintain and radicalize a guerrilla army along with Jihadi groups. They fought Assad to take turf and eventually expanded back to Iraq after US left. Both Russia and Iran support Assad as a trusted client. Assad has always seen the “Arab spring” enemy as the bigger existential threat and thus put main focus on them which allowed ISIS to grow. The Assad fight against ISIS is secondary to the domestic uprising which for years has been almost extinguished, too weak to gain US support. But with the US intervention to fight ISIS the US also has been trying to protect the uprising from Russia-Syrian attack. Have you ever played the game Risk? It’s very much like that.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

          Steve, they can’t be State Department talking points, because State is very supportive of the Iran Deal, and Rex is pushing their line. They are in revolt against Trump’s statements on Iran.

          I haven’t seen Iran supporting terrorism in Syria, but generally supporting elsewhere. Perhaps they are referring to Hezbollah operating in Syria, though that is with tacit US support at this point.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

          Or, they are a return to flexible response. Trump is putting bad actors on notice that there is a new sheriff in town coupled with a warning that intervention will be only for extreme cases and with no nation building add-on goals. If you call the sheriff for help you might get military response if it’s deemed in USA interest, but no new roads or schools. Trump is anti-neocon.

          How is Cuba an extreme case? What is he saying about Cuba that cannot be explained as anything other than democracy promotion and nation building? How is Venezuela any different. Why are these places under teh control of bad actors and others aren’t?

          Do be more specific, do you think that Trump understands the Iran nuclear deal and the rationale behind it that made it acceptable to Europe, Russia and China? He didn’t understand either the Senate of the House health care bills. He had a big celebration in the Rose Garden for the House bill and then said that it was a “mean bill”. He doesn’t understand the current Graham-Cassidy bill but to be fair it appears that Graham, Cassidy and the Republican Senate conference do not either.

          Do you think that there is a coherent philosophy underlying Trump’s foreign policy doctrine or any other of his policies?

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

          “Do you think that deal is working when they are supporting terrorists everywhere, from Lebanon to Yemen to Syria to Iraq? ” Nikki Haley

          Of these, I think only Lebanon would qualify. Hezbollah is backed by Iran, with some saying that both it and Hamas are creations of Iranian regime.
          Yemen’s leaders were backed by Iran when they took over, and Saudis have been fighting to oust them. Perhaps they have been listed as terrorists somewhere, but likely typical war activities were involved.

      • Frank
        Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 5:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve asks: is there any basis for US accusations that Iran has sponsored terrorism in Syria? As someone who’s been watching the war for about 9 months, it seems to me that Iran, like Russia, is supporting government in its battles against terrorism and, rather than sponsoring terrorism, is fighting hard against ISIS and AlQaeda. On this point, it seems that both Trump and Tillerson have adopted State Department talking points. But what are the allegations based on?

        I thought your question would be simple to answer, but it is not.

        Terrorism is defined in Title 22 Chapter 38 U.S. Code § 2656f as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” Wikipedia has an article on the subject. It includes the possibility of defining state actions against its own citizens as terrorism.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_terrorism

        So the answer to your question depends on how one defines terrorism. Syria’s treatment of its rebellious citizens has been extremely inhumane, but their actions may not fit your definition of terrorism. Syria’s poison gas attacks on civilian areas almost certainly qualify as terrorism (assuming our assessment of who gassed whom is correct). Some might say that other actions of the Syrian army (such as indiscriminate attacks on unarmed civilians with barrel bombs) amount to terrorism. Distinguishing between Syria’s actions and those of its Hezbollah, Iranian and Russian allies is difficult, but I don’t remember reading many allegations of terrorist action in Syria by these allies. Russian bombs did knocked out the last hospitals in the rebel-held areas of Aleppo.

        The Syrian civil war has multiple sides: the Syrian government army (with its Hezbollah, Iranian and Russian allies), the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and its Sunni allies, supported by Turkey and other Sunni states, the YPG or Syrian Democratic Forces (a multi-ethnic coalition opposing the government led by Kurds), the Al-Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) and ISIS. The FSA began as a coalition peaceful protesters challenging an oppressive government during the 2011 Arab Spring and deserters from the Syrian army. Sunni Islam was certainly an important factor in the initial opposition to the Shia/Alewite government, but few belonged to radical groups that might be termed terrorists. As many as 60,000 Syrians had died in the first 1.5 years of the civil war, when the primary opponents were the Syrian government and the FSA and Al Nusra and ISIS were minor players. During this period, Western journalists were welcomed in areas controlled by the opposition. After that, Islamic fanatics made most areas too dangerous.

        The Syrian government and their Russian allies call everyone opposing the government “terrorists”. However, their main focus has been the FSA, the only real rivals for political power in Syria. The FSA probably spends about half their time fighting ISIS and Al Nusra, but some elements of the FSA have deserted to ISIS and Al Nusra and the loyalty of other Islamist elements is uncertain. With Russian assistance, the government has now put the FSA on the defensive and eliminated any prospect that they can win a military or diplomatic victory. Turkey calls the YPG “Kurdish terrorists” and will never allow them to dominate Syria. Nevertheless, the current offensive that is has captured most of ISIS’s capital at Raqaa is a YPG operation, organized and supported by the US. (The YPG is supposed to evacuate this Sunni Arab city once ISIS is gone.)

        Are Russia and Iran fighting terrorists in Syrian? Yes, when it suits their purposes. They are also fighting the FSA and the YPG, which are fighting ISIS and Al Nusra. The Russia and Iran’s sole interest is preserving the Shia/Alawite minority government in Syria from any opposition, terrorist or non-terrorist. Since ISIS and Al Qaeda are unacceptable to the West, they are not the biggest threat to Assad. DT has now withdrawn all American assistance to the FSA (without bothering to try to extract any concessions from the Russians).

        (Iran has been on the top of the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism for decades, but that isn’t based on its actions in Syria. And non-state-sponsored terrorism might be the bigger threat today.)

        • Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

          Frank: “DT has now withdrawn all American assistance to the FSA (without bothering to try to extract any concessions from the Russians).”

          The previous administration support was very weak. DT’s support of the FSA includes drawing a true red line against chemical weapon use and fighting their’s and our common enemy of ISIS. By the time DT took office the FSA had already been mostly decimated or defected to other groups.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

          Ron: It is hard to what is happening with the FSA. The map and website below is keeping track of the Syrian Civil War. Significant areas controlled by Syrian rebels (as opposed to those aligned with the Kurds and ISIS) rebel-held areas, but the comments indicate that Al Qaeda affiliates are present in most of these areas. The red triangles show cities controlled by Al Qaeda affiliates. Given the Sunni-Shia conflict that is driving most of the Syrian civil war, it is not surprising that Islamism is a dominant force in rebel-held areas. (This has been a key problem since the Syrian rebellion began and in Libya before then.) However, our withdrawal leaves Al Qaeda and radical Islamic supporters from outside Syria as the only sponsors of these rebels. We probably ended Western influence (the Arab Spring) and handed over large numbers of fighters and territory to full control by Al Qaeda. One could debate how much less than full control there was before this happened.

          In any case, I expected “The Art of the Deal” to get something in return. Our effort might have been minor, but ramping it up was a viable threat. Getting involved again is not. What we want is to see the Russian effort against the rebels directed towards Al Qaeda and ISIS and not the rebels that might someday nucleate an alternative regime to Assad. They are/were the biggest threat to Assad and the main target of Russia and Iran. This will leave ISIS and Al Qaeda in control of lots of territory when a ceasefire is signed.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

          Frank, I’ve been watching Syrian closely for about 9 months. To my knowledge, FSA mainly exists on the internet or outside Syria, but FSA factions control virtually nothing on the ground. Idlib is controlled by Al Qaeda (presently HTS) and Ahrar al-Sham, a Syrian Taliban rather than FSA. Also, it seems that factions have, from time to time, opportunistically temporarily identified as FSA to get US armaments and money but were really jihadi e.g. Nour al-Zinki. Much, if not most, US armaments supplied to “FSA” has ended up with AlQaeda or ISIS.

          There’s a sparsely settle region in south Syria near al-Tanf that is nominally held by FSA mercenaries supported by US out of Jordan. But most of them were relocated to the US attempt to occupy eastern Syria. The territory will be mopped up the Syrian govt when they turn their attention to it. Right now, their priority is clearly to recover the Syrian oil fields in eastern Syria before the US seizes them (illegally in my opinion.)

          I think that one has to distinguish the early history of the dispute from the period when Russia and Iran have been involved (Sep 2015 on for Russia.) I’ve seen opposing perspectives on the degree of violence in the early stages of the insurgency. But regardless, the Russians only became involved when Damascus was at real risk of being occupied by ISIS and the government falling. The US priority at the time was regime change and neither Obama nor Kerry seemed to have been particularly bothered by ISIS taking over from the Assad government. Russia, which had serious internal Islamist problems, was reasonably very concerned about the prospect of an ISIS-AlQaeda regime emerging close to its southern border. It also had a long-standing alliance with Syria and, according to Putin’s speeches, went to the assistance of the country, not Assad personally. Obama snickered at the time at the “quagmire” that Russia was getting itself into. The US had already spent a couple of years supposedly bombing ISIS, which prospered and expanded territory nonetheless (presumably because US had no ground game other than funding jihadis). However, the Russian intervention had the opposite effect: they saved the people and country of Syria from ISIS. The Syrian army has become a very effective force against ISIS, particularly the Tiger Forces. Throughout, Israel has played a dangerous game – supporting ISIS and AlQaeda in the hopes of a balkanized Syria. Their strategy clearly backfired, since ISIS’ days are numbered, following which the government will clean up Idlib – an outcome that Israel seems to be desperately trying to sabotage.

          It’s hard to figure out what the US is trying to do. Despite bellicose language, during 2017, the Trump admin seems to have cut down funding and arms supplies to jihadis (thus reducing arms supply to ISIS who ended up with US armaments) and has tried to coordinate on the ground with Russia. It seems like the US wants to end up with military bases in east Syria and to divide Syria. This will earn bitter hatred of the US to no useful purpose that I can see.

          Its best course of action, in my opinion, would be to walk away from all past posturing, ask Russia and Syria what help, if any, that they want in removing ISIS from the rest of Syria, and, if they didn’t want any help, go home, while offering to answer the call if they needed help.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 23, 2017 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

          FSA leader visits US

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

          For Bushco money laundering, see below. For Ford-Nixon pardon deal, see John Ehrlichman’s memoir. He pooh–poohed the public version that Frank cites. He was Nixon’s right hand man for domestic affairs, and old Nixon associate. He said Nixon would never have resigned without a firm understanding with Ford. I believe that. Others believe what is ladled out to the public. Their choice.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 25, 2017 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

          Steve writes: “To my knowledge, FSA mainly exists on the internet or outside Syria, but FSA factions control virtually nothing on the ground.”

          I did some more reading, and am forced to agree with you. All of the “Anti-Assad Rebels” (ed circles) on the map above in the northern half of the country are Islamic groups supported by Saudi Arabia. Whatever non-secular Sunni Arabs remain in the north may have joined the Kurdish alliance. The situation is nearly as bad in the south. The last time the FSA was mentioned in any battle reports was 2014. I’m not exactly sure what distinguishes Saudi supported Islamists from those affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS: lack of support for terrorism?

          I’ll never understand how a rebellion that began in Syrian cities with some conception of democracy and individual rights ended up in the hands of tribal Islamists who favor authoritarians administering sharia law. The only thing worse than an authoritarian government is an authoritarian government backed by the moral authority of religion. An authoritarian government claiming to “save people’s souls” is far more dangerous than one claiming to bring prosperity. With dozens of Sunni and Shia sects in a variety of minority religions, there is no single version of sharia law that a country can unite around or use without modification in today’s world. Given that the FSA is probably gone, perhaps a multi-ethnic alliance like the SDR is the only thing worth supporting.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 25, 2017 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

          not sure what you mean by “SDR” presumably “SDF”, the US-backed and funded faction? As I understand it, it’s not really “multi-ethnic”, but originally and largely Kurds, who have their own agenda that is not necessarily consistent with most of the country. The government controls about 75% of the population; SDF a small rump only.

          SDF’s allegiance with and association with the US may make it more palatable in the US, but in a Syria where, in the DeZ general’s words, “every family has at least one martyr”, association with the US (who are perceived as promoting the destructive Syrian insurgency for its own purposes) will hardly provide the basis for any sort of coalition.

          My understanding is that most of the non-jihadi opposition within Syria long ago joined into a national government with Assad and that the war has engendered very powerful loyalty and resolve within Syria. If they come out the other end, my guess is that Assad will be locally regarded as a hero, even while being condemned by US think thanks and media as a “war criminal”.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 25, 2017 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

          I’ll never understand how a rebellion that began in Syrian cities with some conception of democracy and individual rights ended up in the hands of tribal Islamists who favor authoritarians administering sharia law.

          it’s an interesting question that I’ve wondered about. Ehsani22 has a recent podcast on his reflections as a Syrian. He places much/most of the blame on 1) the mere act of taking up arms against the government, as opposed to Gandhi-MLK peaceful resistance; 2) the entry of foreign jihadis hardened in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere, unwisely welcomed by the opposition.

          Added to this is the supply of arms and funding by the US, Gulf States and the west. Arms began flowing from Benghazi to Syria as early as October 2011, either organized by or with the knowledge of the CIA in Benghazi. (It’s hard not to think about some sort of connection with subsequent killing of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi, but the Obama administration was obviously not very forthcoming about what was going on.)

        • Posted Sep 25, 2017 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          If they come out the other end, my guess is that Assad will be locally regarded as a hero, even while being condemned by US think thanks and media as a “war criminal”.

          Putting the words “war criminal” in quotation marks implies Assad is not one. I don’t know if that was your intent, but I think it’s worth being clear here. Assad is a war criminal. There are no ifs, and ors buts. Assad is a war criminal and should be recognized as such.

          That will remain true even if he maintains power support.

      • JTK551
        Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 9:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

        However, on the narrow issues of Comey and Russia, I have considerable sympathy for him. Comey lied to and misled him from the beginning. Trump was right to fire him.

        I don’t think Comey lied to the President. It was Trump’s firing of Comey that set into motion the appt. of a special counsel. Trump certainly had the right to fire Comey, but he is also responsible for the results.

        Although the FBI director works at the pleasure of the President, he doesn’t work for the President. He works for the US govt.

        I don’t think the issue is specifically collusion in hacking the DNC, but a more general collusion.

        Yes, as I said before, the special prosecutor and related offices, such as the Independent Counsel, have clear downsides. We spend billions of dollars on election campaigns, then umpteen millions protecting the President and his family and subordinates, and then umpteen millions chasing them around trying to indict or impeach them. But each component has a rationality to it. If you have a better idea, I’m all ears.

        Levering these unsupported allegations into an open-ended investigation of financial affairs going back long before the election campaign seems more like House of Cards than a functional democracy.

        And yet Trump is, in the end, responsible for this outcome. He and his family and businesses are a walking conflict of interest where they are at now. Much ado after the election about the fact that there was no legal prohibition against (for Constitutional separation of powers reasons) allowing those to persist. But just because they weren’t prohibited, doesn’t mean they will be ignored or have no effect. Trump chose not to disclose his tax returns, but doesn’t mean investigators will ignore them.

        He doesn’t seem to grasp what the President’s role is. He doesn’t understand, as Bannon clearly points out, that the govt consists of institutions which have roles of their own. He gets to choose, subject to Senate confirmation, who will lead these institutions, but neither the leaders nor the institutions are there to service his needs or wants. They serve the nation.

        Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon believes the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey by President Trump was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history.”

        The way Bannon sees it, he tells Rose, the FBI is an institution, and swapping out the head of that institution wouldn’t change its approach to the Russian investigation. Moreover, Bannon acknowledges that, had Comey still been at the helm of the FBI, special prosecutor Robert Mueller would have never been put in charge of the investigation.

        “I don’t think there’s any doubt that if James Comey had not been fired, we would not have a special counsel,” Bannon says.

        • JTK551
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

          http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/20/politics/preet-bharara-podcast-trump-firing/index.html

          Bharara added: “To my knowledge, Donald Trump did not reach out to any other US attorney, and none has come forward to say they got a phone call — it seemed like it was just me.”

          Bharara went about his job for a month and a half before he got another direct call from Trump on March 9. But this time was different. Trump was now the President. Bharara said what was especially notable about the date of the call was that at the time there had been much many cries from multiple corners to investigate aspects of Trump’s business dealings and other ethics issues.

          “I have reason to believe later that nobody knew that Donald Trump was calling me from the Oval Office,” Bharara said. “I’m not saying he was going to tell me to do something I shouldn’t do, but I thought even the phone call was a problem.”

          Bharara said he mulled over how to react to the call. He considered having someone listen in to the call but said it didn’t seem proper. He even considered recording the phone conversation but said he ultimately decided it was “a bridge too far.”

          So instead, he decided to decline the call completely, and called back the President’s office to let them know.

          Less than 20 hours later, Bharara said, he was asked to resign.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

          Trump’s mistakes do not include firing Comey. He should have fired him first day. Comey had no other purpose than to undermine Trump.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

          JTK “He doesn’t seem to grasp what the President’s role is. He doesn’t understand, as Bannon clearly points out, that the govt consists of institutions which have roles of their own. He gets to choose, subject to Senate confirmation, who will lead these institutions, but neither the leaders nor the institutions are there to service his needs or wants. They serve the nation.”

          Mostly wrong. For instance, according to wikipedia “The Director can be removed from office by the President.[6] Since the Director serves “at the pleasure of the President”, the removal from office can be either with or without cause.” Obama ignored the rule of law by not only massively failing to enforce immigration laws under the guise of prosecutorial discretion but actively encouraging illegal immigration. His AG, Holder, dismissed a voter intimidation lawsuit (filed against a Black person) that was so clearly meritorious that the defendant didn’t even fight it.

          The interest of the nation is supposed to be upheld by the voters who elect officeholders who then exercise their discretion as to how the law is to be enforced. The grain of truth in your statement that the institutions serve the nation is premised upon the assumption that notwithstanding different viewpoints, there is enough of a shared vision of values that office holders will respect those with different viewpoints and sometimes put the interests of the nation above their own partisan ends. However, that has been shredded over the last 9 years by Obama’s complete disrespect for the rule of law and the Democrats demonization of those who do not accept leftwing ideology — most clearly evidenced by Clinton’s use of the very hateful term “deplorables.” Additionally, there is little evidence that Trump has respect for the concept of the rule of law.

          JD

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

          JD, I entirely agree with you on the corrosive role of Obama admin. US media were on holiday for 8 years.

        • JTK551
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

          Mostly wrong. For instance, according to wikipedia “The Director can be removed from office by the President.[6] Since the Director serves “at the pleasure of the President”, the removal from office can be either with or without cause.”

          Actually, I was totally correct. I said:

          Although the FBI director works at the pleasure of the President, he doesn’t work for the President. He works for the US govt.

          The power to fire Comey isn’t at issue. It is Trump’s and his supporters unwillingness to accept the consequences. Just because he had the power to do so, doesn’t mean it was a wise move.

          I didn’t offer the opinion of Clinton, or Obama or Democrats to that effect. But one Steve Bannon.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

          JTK551 “Although the FBI director works at the pleasure of the President, he doesn’t work for the President. He works for the US govt.”

          Theoretically true, but a distinction without a difference. If Trump can fire the FBI Director for any reason, in a real, practical sense, the Director is functionally Trump’s employee. Trump can fire the Director for no reason. Bannon is not a constitutional or legal authority. He can say whatever he wants, but it doesn’t make it accurate.

          JD

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          JTK, in all of the times you commented on this blog, you never before had anything good to say about,…ahem, Stephen K. Bannon.

          What’s changed your mind about this erstwhile presidential advisor? How you hang on his words, although never before.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

          I base my statement that Comey lied to and misled Trump on a careful parsing of the documents. I haven’t written up the very long story, but it’s based on careful parsing, rather than preconception. Until I document this view, I cannot reasonably expect anyone’s mind to be changed. But I’m saying it as someone who’s careful.

          Whether it was prudent for Trump to fire Comey is a different issue. Bannon’s judgement on this point is probably unarguable.

        • JTK551
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

          Theoretically true, but a distinction without a difference. If Trump can fire the FBI Director for any reason, in a real, practical sense, the Director is functionally Trump’s employee.

          Maybe for you and Trump, but not for most people, including Republicans. I offer Bannon’s words, not as any proof that I am correct, but only to show that one needn’t be a leftist, or Democrat or Global Warming advocate or Trump hater to think Trump largely shot himself in the foot.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

          one tactic which I think that Trump ought to have employed against the cabal ranged against him is to declassify broad swaths of information and documents pertaining to the so-called Russian hack and the intel agency assessments. The Obama admin intel assessments hid behind classification. I’m personally doubtful that there are any sources or methods at risk from the classification. Alternatively, even if there is some damage, it would be offset from the benefit of sunshine. I think that there’s a huge upside to Trump in showing the weakness of the intel community documents and the degree to which they were sucked in by the Steele dossier. It would also enable him to let the large online community examine material for themselves, rather than have everything filtered through the Mueller dossier.

          I’m sure that his lawyers would oppose such a tactic, but letting Mueller have the first word will make this into House of Cards.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

          jddohio comments:

          If Trump can fire the FBI Director for any reason, in a real, practical sense, the Director is functionally Trump’s employee.

          The Congress can impeach and convict the President for any reason. Does that mean that the President serves at the pleasure of the Congress and is essentially its employee. Or is the congressional impeachment power limited by the Constitution to allow for an independent executive.

          In teh same way, does teh Department of Justice constitutionally operate at arm’s length from the political aspects of the presidency and violations of that constitutional relationship constitute grounds fro impeachment. The Nixon smoking gun tape clearly indicates that.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

          Under statute does is “general collusion” a prosecutable offense? If you know the answer, be sure to convey that information to Mueller.

          Trump fired Comey because Comey would not tell the public that Trump was not under investigation. Anyone who believes that Trump fired Comey to end or hinder the RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA bullcrap is an idiot.

          Bannon is wrong. This russia crap will blow over and the firing of Comey will amount to a nit in the grand scheme of things.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

          Sorry, should read:
          Under what statute is “general collusion” a prosecutable offense?

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

          TAG “In teh same way, does teh Department of Justice constitutionally operate at arm’s length from the political aspects of the presidency and violations of that constitutional relationship constitute grounds fro impeachment.”

          Definitely wrong. Ob*ma AG Holder sanctioned voter suppression by failing to follow through with the lawsuit against the black man who intimidated other voters. If that had come before Congress, it would have almost certainly required the continuation of the lawsuit. Because prosecutions are (correctly) viewed as being within the authority of the President and his functional employee, the AG, there was no institutional push back on this extremely bad prosecutorial decision.

          TAG “The Congress can impeach and convict the President for any reason. Does that mean that the President serves at the pleasure of the Congress and is essentially its employee.” Pretty much the way it practically works.

          TAG “Or is the congressional impeachment power limited by the Constitution to allow for an independent executive.” Federal courts have no power to review impeachment decisions. From Wikipedia interpreting the Nixon v. US case: “The majority opinion (the court’s decision was unanimous, but four separate opinions were published) held that the courts may not review the impeachment and trial of a federal officer because the Constitution reserves that function to a coordinate political branch. Article I. Sec. 3 of the Constitution gave the Senate the “sole power to try all impeachments.” The US Constitution states: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” So, the Constitution does not limit the impeachment powers of the different branches of Congress.

          So, you as have many people, project your own sense of justice into what you believe the law and Constitution require. It would help the level of discourse if people would actually check what the law is before simply assuming that there version of the law is correct.

          JD

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

          JD, what are your views on Rosenstein and his decision to establish a Special Counsel? The investigations were in the FBI under Comey. What does Comey leaving have to do with it all?

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

          jddohio: The president’s ability to fire (with or without cause) top officials in the executive branch does not give him the power to hired someone who will follow his orders. That requires Senate approval.

          A contentious firing draws attention to the objectives of the President. If Congress doesn’t approve or is concerned, they won’t cooperate. Or they ask questions such as: If the President ever does X, will you do Y? If the President later asks for X, his nominee can say: “I promised Congress under oath that I would do Y and I intend to keep my word. If the President pressures him into avoiding Y, then the veracity of his statements is challenged and grounds for censure or impeachment of that official might be laid.

        • JTK551
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

          The Obama admin intel assessments hid behind classification. I’m personally doubtful that there are any sources or methods at risk from the classification.

          I thought the same about Hilary’s emails. Yet Obama didn’t unclassify them for her benefit. We can each deduce why based on our biases.

          There were rumours that some of the Top Secret stuff was links to articles in the NYTimes. It isn’t Top Secret that the DOD has a drone program. It is that the CIA has one, although the Times has written about it.

          Anybody with interest in over classification issues might check in with the Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

          jddohio commented:

          TAG “In teh same way, does teh Department of Justice constitutionally operate at arm’s length from the political aspects of the presidency and violations of that constitutional relationship constitute grounds fro impeachment.”

          Definitely wrong. Ob*ma AG Holder sanctioned voter suppression by failing to follow through with the lawsuit against the black man who intimidated other voters. If that had come before Congress, it would have almost certainly required the continuation of the lawsuit. Because prosecutions are (correctly) viewed as being within the authority of the President and his functional employee, the AG, there was no institutional push back on this extremely bad prosecutorial decision.

          The House impeachment committee apparently disagreed with this. The Nixon smoking gun tape proved that he conspired with Haldeman to interfere in the FBI investigation of the Watergate burglars. This was grounds for impeachment. A president has the power to direct the Department of Justice. He cannot do it to obstruct justice on pain of impeachment and criminal prosecution.

          “The majority opinion (the court’s decision was unanimous, but four separate opinions were published) held that the courts may not review the impeachment and trial of a federal officer because the Constitution reserves that function to a coordinate political branch. Article I. Sec. 3 of the Constitution gave the Senate the “sole power to try all impeachments.” The US Constitution states: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” So, the Constitution does not limit the impeachment powers of the different branches of Congress.

          One of Nixon’s Watergate lawyers made the point on television, at the time, that the Congress could impeach a president because they did not like the way he parted his hair. Does this mean that the president is subordinate to the Congress and serves at its pleasure with the constraint being the necessary 2/3 majority to convict. We most certainly saw this during the Clinton impeachment process. The impeachment was a purely political project of teh hair parting variety. This did violate a constitutional norm that the various branches should view each other as co-equal.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

          TAG, does the President work for Congress?

          If they actually removed a President sometime, then the answer would be yes. Requiring a 2/3 vote means the practical chances of it happening is close to 0.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

          Steve, I agree 100%. Declassify all of the information and ignore the fallout. The benefits will surpass any damage by far. I regard the IC as another sprawling, out of control bureaucracy that does as much harm as good.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

          TAG “The House impeachment committee apparently disagreed with this.”

          The impeachment committee is not a court and does not make legal judgments. It is just a bunch of politicians who decided (with good reason that appears quaint today in light of Clinton’s misdeeds and the general degeneration of the political process in the US) that they didn’t like what Nixon did. Nixon was never convicted. He resigned. I said upthread that impeachment was essentially a political process. Nothing you have said disproves that. You have no clue what you are talking about, so I will not bother to respond to any more of your posts.

          JD

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

          Frank: “The president’s ability to fire (with or without cause) top officials in the executive branch does not give him the power to hired someone who will follow his orders. That requires Senate approval.”

          This is a nonsensical statement. No one knows what a federal employee will do once hired. Once hired the employee can follow the orders of the President or go his own way. The President can fire the employee or tolerate him. If Congress dislikes the way the President handles his executive branch employees, it can put all sorts of legitimate pressure on the President. However, currently with respect to Comey and virtually all other high level executive branch employees, once they are hired the President can fire them at his pleasure. If Congress dislikes that circumstance, it can write legislation limiting the President’s authority. That could then be subject to separation of powers arguments.

          With respect to Comey, the subject of this post, Trump could fire him any time. (The same with respect to the person in the DOJ who hired the independent counsel) The general point being that arguments about potential legal issues with Trump’s firing of Comey are 99% garbage. In the political arena, Congress, if it wishes, can do any number of things to counter what Trump has done. That is a totally different process than a legal challenge to the Trump firing.

          People with no knowledge of the law or the division of political powers between Congress and the President, keep making erroneous statements about the law. They don’t understand that a large amount of the control of prominent, contentious federal employees is, under the Constitution delegated to the political process. If Trump wants to fire someone and take the heat, he has the legal right to do so.

          JD

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

          mpainter “JD, what are your views on Rosenstein and his decision to establish a Special Counsel? The investigations were in the FBI under Comey. What does Comey leaving have to do with it all?”

          If the right person is appointed, special counsels can help resolve contentious issues. The hiring of a special counsel is simply a political act to resolve questions of bias and lack of effort that could occur by people working directly under a specific presidential administration.

          I think that Mueller (who was substantially responsible for illegally putting Arthur Anderson out of business) is an awful choice and is doing an awful job. He doesn’t even attempt to make an appearance of being fair by virtue of his hiring of many Clinton and Democratic supporters. Apparently some Republicans have told Trump he will face significant problems if Mueller is fired. Otherwise, based on Trump’s public statements of his displeasure with the special counsel, Mueller would already be gone.

          JD

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

          jddohio commented:

          TAG “The House impeachment committee apparently disagreed with this.”

          The impeachment committee is not a court and does not make legal judgments. It is just a bunch of politicians who decided (with good reason that appears quaint today in light of Clinton’s misdeeds and the general degeneration of the political process in the US) that they didn’t like what Nixon did. Nixon was never convicted. He resigned. I said upthread that impeachment was essentially a political process. Nothing you have said disproves that. You have no clue what you are talking about, so I will not bother to respond to any more of your posts.

          Well, President Ford and his advisers must have thought that there was some merit to the argument that Nixon broke the law since he issued a pardon to Nixon. Nixon later proclaimed that if a president did something that that made it legal but at the time he accepted the pardon which indicated an acceptance of guilt.

          I also think it is a remarkable concept to believe that a bunch of politicians cannot make law. I thought that that was what the legislative branch is supposed to do. At least they seem to agree with me in that they pass bills that the courts regard as law up to and including amendments to the constitution

          Presidents ahve constitutional powers to do certain things. They do not ahve teh power to break teh law in doing so

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 5:22 AM | Permalink

          Poor TAG. Ford’s pardon of Nixon was political; he justified it politically, it was a pre-emptive blanket pardon that mentioned no specific crime. But you won’t understand that, either.

          Ford removed from his administration any political fallout from a drawn out, acerbic and contentious controversy.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

          Nixon described his views on the powers of the presidency in the famous David Frost interview. To my mind, it sounds quite similar to some the views I see being expressed here.

          Frost: … So what in a sense, you’re saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

          Nixon: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

          The relevant part of the interview is at:

          http://landmarkcases.org/en/Page/722/Nixons_Views_on_Presidential_Power_Excerpts_from_a_1977_Interview_with_David_Frost

          Nixon has some reasoning that a president may take extraordinary actions in time of national peril and, of course, that the appropriateness of these actions should be determined by the president

          Nixon: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they’re in an impossible position.

          Frost: So, that in other words, really you were saying in that answer, really, between the burglary and murder, again, there’s no subtle way to say that there was murder of a dissenter in this country because I don’t know any evidence to that effect at all. But, the point is: just the dividing line, is that in fact, the dividing line is the president’s judgment?

          Nixon: Yes, and the dividing line and, just so that one does not get the impression, that a president can run amok in this country and get away with it, we have to have in mind that a president has to come up before the electorate. We also have to have in mind, that a president has to get appropriations from the Congress. We have to have in mind, for example, that as far as the CIA’s covert operations are concerned, as far as the FBI’s covert operations are concerned, through the years, they have been disclosed on a very, very limited basis to trusted members of Congress. I don’t know whether it can be done today or not

          Exactly how the electorate can know to restrain a president running amok if the actions are covert and known only to trusted members of Congress is something of a problem. Nixon fired Archibald Cox to prevent the electorate from knowing.

          What we can see here is a rationalization for a presidency that is above the law

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

          TAG, as a practical matter, the POTUS has constitutional powers that enable him to acts that would be a crime if done by any other citizen.

          Nixon, an attorney and a politician with vast experience in the federal government as a congressman, senator, vice president, and president knows what he is talking about. Thanks for presenting his views.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

          I’ve made an editorial decision to place any further discussions of Nixon precedents or presidential prerogatives into everlasting suspense.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

          A president may have the constitutional power to do certain acts. He can be convicted of a crime if he uses a constitutional power in an illegal manner. I find it difficult to understand why this is not universally obvious.

          President Ford pardoned Nixon which indicated that it was his opinion that Nixon had committed crimes in teh Watergate affair. Nixon accepted the pardon which carries with it an imputation of guilt and as such Nixon acknowledged that he was guilty of some crimes.

          The Supreme Court wrote about this in the Burdick decision of 1915

          https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/236/79/case.html

          This brings us to the differences between legislative immunity and a pardon. They are substantial. The latter carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it. The former has no such imputation or confession. It is tantamount to the silence of the witness. It is noncommittal. It is the unobtrusive act of the law given protection against a sinister use of his testimony, not like a pardon, requiring him to confess his guilt in order to avoid a conviction of it

          Gerald Ford used Burdick to justify his pardon decision

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burdick_v._United_States

          After Gerald Ford left the White House in 1977, intimates said that the former President privately justified his pardon of Richard Nixon by carrying in his wallet a portion of the text of the Burdick decision that suggested that a pardon carries an imputation of guilt and that acceptance carries a confession of guilt. Legal scholars have questioned whether that portion of Burdick is meaningful or merely dicta.[3] President Ford made reference to the Burdick decision in his post-pardon written statement furnished to the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives on October 17, 1974.[4] However, said reference related only to the portion of Burdick that supported the proposition that the Constitution does not limit the pardon power to cases of convicted offenders or even indicted offenders.[5]

          As an example at the state level, a governor has the power to appoint someone to a vacant Senate seat. Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich was charged and convicted of “to obtain personal gain … through the corrupt use” of that power by attempting to sell the seat.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

          TAG, I conclude that you do not want to understand. Your security blanket is the idea that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice and that Mueller will put him in prison for it. You Trump haters delude yourselves for the comfort thus afforded.

          A sitting president may not be prosecuted for a federal crime, even one committed before his office. If he is removed from office, or resigns, then he can be prosecuted.

          Nixon made a deal with Ford: I resign, then you pardon me. Otherwise, I shall be forced to defend myself against impeachment in Congress which offers the appropriate venue for constitutional questions. Ford saw the logic and made the deal.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

          “A sitting president may not be prosecuted for a federal crime, even one committed before his office.”

          ####
          That is, without his acquiescence in the prosecution.

        • jddohio
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

          As a supplement to my comments upthread about Mueller doing an awful job, I will link this article that documents his brass-knuckle tactics. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/22/mueller-team-under-fire-for-brass-knuckle-tactics-in-bid-to-squeeze-manafort.html

          JD

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

          TAG, you might find it worthwhile to read Andy McCarthy’s writings at National Review’s site.
          If the President illegally uses his Constitutional powers, he could not be convicted for it. I’m not sure what that means. Perhaps you meant ‘improperly’? Even if it is within his powers, he could still be impeached. For example, if the President kept pardoning people when they murder his political opponents(let’s ignore he can’t pardon for state crimes).

          ‘If the President does it, then it is not illegal.’
          It would be limited to the President’s Constitutional powers, but this is correct to a degree.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

          I see you linked to the source material for Frost/Nixon. The film was motivated by Nixon hatred. The reality was Frost was frustrated that Nixon ran circles around him. Nixon was a producer so he had an incentive to make things interesting to sell the interview.

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

          Comey and Trump were in an awkward situation. Trump knwws that Comey’s reopening of the email investigation may have helped with the election, so he may have thought Comey was favorably disposed towards him. Then comes the Steele disclosure, news of the Russia investigation and refusal to pledge loyalty.

          No attorney working for DT wants his client talking to a prosecutor without him being present. When Comey told DT he wasn’t under investigation, I’m sure he didn’t add something like: “However, if we can get Flynn, Manafort, or someone else to talk, you might be under investigation. Eventually Trump discusses the subject with his personal lawyer or the White House Counsel, and they go nuts: Exactly what did you say to Comey? That could become obstruction of justice. You may not know what Flynn or Manafort have done and what they will say about your involvement. Mr. Comey is your ENEMY! Don’t talk with him without my being present! Don’t tweet about it! (Advice that Trump ignores.) No wonder Trump feels betrayed; their relationship was fraught with potential conflicts of interest.

          Any attorney watching out for DT’s interests knows he doesn’t know where (if anywhere) there are land mines. Who met with Russians and what really happened? Who said what to DT? Often, attorneys don’t want to know the true answers to these questions because their clients may lie about it under oath. Ethics don’t allow attorneys to knowingly help their clients lie. Paranoia takes over.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

          My reading of the chronology is very different. Although the Steele dossier only became public in January, I am certain that early memoranda from the dossier were in the hands of the CIA and FBI by early August at the latest and that they were instrumental in opening up multi-pronged investigations of the Trump campaign and FISA warrants. As I read Comey’s evidence, it was not true that they were “not investigating” Trump himself. They were investigating everything about the Trump campaign. Comey discussed with his associates whether he should tell Trump that he was not being investigated. Some of his associates dissented (on the correct grounds that Trump was practically being investigated even if no case number had been issued on him personally.) Rather than Comey giving Trump a candid rundown of the situation on January 6, Comey tricked Trump. Comey voluntarily told Trump that he was not investigation and that he was showing Trump the Steele dossier in order that he be better prepared for the sorts of allegations that could come out against him. Comey and/or an associate then leaked to CNN that Trump had been briefed on the Steele dossier, which then was reported. The dossier itself was too unsubstantiated and toxic to report, but the fact that the FBI had briefed Trump on the dossier was a hook that the media could report.

          Comey later refused to answer questions from the House Intel Committee on who was at the briefing of Trump on the Steele dossier as being classified. Had he revealed that he was the only person present, the House Intel questioning would have gone a different way. Despite telling the House Intel Committee that he could not reveal details since classified, Comey then revealed those details and more in his leaks and written and oral evidence.

          It’s a long and disgraceful story. I have nothing but contempt for Comey.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

          Please do.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

          mpainter commented:

          A sitting president may not be prosecuted for a federal crime, even one committed before his office. If he is removed from office, or resigns, then he can be prosecuted.

          MikeN commented

          AG, you might find it worthwhile to read Andy McCarthy’s writings at National Review’s site.
          If the President illegally uses his Constitutional powers, he could not be convicted for it. I’m not sure what that means. Perhaps you meant ‘improperly’? Even if it is within his powers, he could still be impeached. For example, if the President kept pardoning people when they murder his political opponents(let’s ignore he can’t pardon for state crimes).

          jddohio commented:

          With respect to Comey, the subject of this post, Trump could fire him any time. (The same with respect to the person in the DOJ who hired the independent counsel) The general point being that arguments about potential legal issues with Trump’s firing of Comey are 99% garbage. In the political arena, Congress, if it wishes, can do any number of things to counter what Trump has done. That is a totally different process than a legal challenge to the Trump firing.

          People with no knowledge of the law or the division of political powers between Congress and the President, keep making erroneous statements about the law. They don’t understand that a large amount of the control of prominent, contentious federal employees is, under the Constitution delegated to the political process. If Trump wants to fire someone and take the heat, he has the legal right to do so.

          Trump’s lawyers have also argued that the president has teh constitutional power to fire Comey at will and then so the reason he did it is irrelevant.

          So there is disagreement on this even among Trump supporters.

          Personally, I would find it very surprising that a President could, for one example, openly take bribes and that that would be above the law. The president would not be subject to the criminal law.

          That Ford pardoned Nixon and Nixon accepted the pardon is for me proof that a president is subject to the criminal law. More force is added to this argument by the outrage that greeted Ford’s pardon at the time.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

          TAG, I don’t see a contradiction between these quotes you present. The firing of Comey is not a criminal act. Some are arguing it is obstruction of justice to either fire him or direct him to drop an investigation, or fire him for not doing so. I don’t think anyone has said it is not within Trump’s power to fire him.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

          Comey told both Trump and Congress that Trump is not personally under investigation. Somehow this detail did not get leaked.

          However, he then testified to Congress publicly that Trump was under investigation, or at least gave that impression.

          http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448513/trump-comey-fbi-director-was-fired-misleading-public

  49. mpainter
    Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 4:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    My own view is that Sessions deliberately blindsided Trump. I think Trump feels the same. Trump has made some missteps in the swamp, and Sessions is another.
    Trump is a novice in Washington. But Sessions has made a mistake because Trump will get rid of him when the time is right, I think.

    Trump has another approach: he can make a public issue of Mueller’s conflicts of interest. Tweet, Tweet. This issue has the potential of cutting the ground from under Mueller. When Mueller is exposed, call Sessions in and tell him to cure himself or resign. I bet Sessions would get well.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 6:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Sessions is Trump’s puppy dog. He wouldn’t do anything to deliberately hurt The Donald.
      They will be together for a long time. Don’t believe everything you read from the many mindless creatures on right wing blogs.

    • MikeN
      Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 9:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I think what would be needed is for a Senator or Congressman to question Sessions in one of his appearances about his recusal. Does it extend to letting underlings ignore Justice Department regulations? Keep pushing and you are likely to see Sessions push Rosenstein to issue a proper statement about Mueller’s investigation. He has yet to name a criminal investigation as required by law.

  50. AntonyIndia
    Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 11:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia” “GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said.” (Steele?) https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/13/british-spies-first-to-spot-trump-team-links-russia
    Next: “EXCLUSIVE: Six U.S Agencies Conspired to Illegally Wiretap Trump; British Intel Used as NSA Front to Spy on Campaign” http://truepundit.com/exclusive-six-u-s-agencies-conspired-to-illegally-wiretap-trump-british-intel-used-as-front-to-spy-on-campaign-for-nsa/

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 12:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

      The U.S. Constitution:

      “He may require the opinion, in writing of the Principle Officer of each of the executive departments upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices and he shall have the power to grant reprieve and pardon.”

      Trump: “Report on the progress of the Special Counsel.”
      Sessions : “oh, no, Mr. President, I may not; I’ve recused myself.”

      Trump: “Report on the progress of the Special Counsel”
      Rosenstein: “Oh, no, Mr. President, to do so is forbidden by Department protocol.”

      Trump: “Report on the progress of the Special Counsel”
      Mueller: “…..?”

      Trump can sweep this claptrap aside with a wave of his hand.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 12:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

      IF GCHQ was involved that way, it was against their own policies:

      “Does GCHQ ask foreign organisations to do things that would be illegal under UK law?
      No. Our foreign relationships are built on the policy that no partner ever asks another to do something that they themselves cannot lawfully do. Procedures are in place to ensure that GCHQ’s work is compliant with domestic law, particularly its Human Rights obligations.” https://www.gchq.gov.uk/features/faqs

  51. Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 6:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I didn’t see this post when it first went live, which I regret. It’s narrative seems rather confused. To begin:

    In many accounts of the incident (e.g. Wikipedia here), it’s been reported that “both groups of intruders were successfully expelled from the systems within hours after detection”. This was not the case, as Ritter pointed out: data continued to be exfiltrated AFTER the installation of Crowdstrike software, including the emails that ultimately brought down Wasserman-Schultz:

    The Wikipedia article in question does in fact say that, but I couldn’t find anything in any of the sources it cited which support the claim. Of the five sources cited, the only things relevant to the issue of how long it took Crodwstrike to expel the intruders I could find were these two paragraphs in two different articles:

    It began ominously. Nearly two months earlier, in April, the Democrats had noticed that something was wrong in their networks. Then, in early May, the DNC called in CrowdStrike, a security firm that specializes in countering advanced network threats. After deploying their tools on the DNC’s machines, and after about two hours of work, CrowdStrike found “two sophisticated adversaries” on the Committee’s network. The two groups were well-known in the security industry as “APT 28” and “APT 29.” APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat—usually jargon for spies.I did

    Within 24 hours, CrowdStrike had installed software on the DNC’s computers so that it could analyze data that could indicate who had gained access, when and how.

    Neither of these supports what Wikipedia says. While other locations may have reported this as well like said in this post, Wikipedia itself has only this note from the user who wrote the claim:

    The events were a little mixed up and possibly conflated and the second sentence was very confusing. I have cleared things up in agreement with the rest of this section. This section has turned out really well!)

    Nobody on Wikipedia has seemed to pay any attention to it. I suspect the fact he provided five sources cause people to just assume they supported what he claimed. With that in mind, consider what Scott Ritter asks:

    Moreover, the performance of CrowdStrike’s other premier product, Overwatch, in the DNC breach leaves much to be desired. Was CrowdStrike aware that the hackers continued to exfiltrate data (some of which ultimately proved to be the undoing of the DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the entire DNC staff) throughout the month of May 2016, while Overwatch was engaged?

    Well, yes. Of course Crodwstrike was. Look at this this portion of Ritter’s narrative:

    larmed by what Falcon had uncovered, Alperovitch made a phone call to Shawn Henry, a former senior FBI official who had headed CrowdStrike’s incident response capability since being recruited straight from retirement in 2012. Henry and his team deployed an intelligence tool, Falcon Overwatch, to assist in what CrowdStrike terms “the incident response engagement.” According to CrowdStrike, Falcon Overwatch is a 24/7 global operations center staffed by “an elite group of cyber intrusion detection analysts and investigators” who hunt for adversary activity and malware in a client’s server.
    “The OverWatch team saw activity as it occurred with ‘over the shoulder’ observation of ‘hands on keyboard’ as command line activity occurred,” Henry recalled in a company after-action report. “This real-time information provided the CrowdStrike Services team with additional indicators of compromise to examine, which in turn helped reveal what the attackers were trying to accomplish.”

    But CrowdStrike had to proceed carefully. If the humans behind either Cozy Bear or Fancy Bear detected that their respective hacks had been discovered, they would be able to cover their tracks and, worse, burrow so deep into the DNC server system it could never be deemed secure.
    CrowdStrike, however, had built its corporate reputation on being more proactive than reactive when it came to cyber security. Using what it called Enterprise Adversary Assessment, CrowdStrike sought not only to locate the perpetrator of the attack, but also track them back into their systems and prevent them from ever returning. One of the tools CrowdStrike advertised in this regard involves so-called “attractive data” that had been tagged with tracking malware and placed in the compromised server. Once the hacker fell for the trap, and exfiltrated the file in question, CrowdStrike would be able to follow it back through the adversary’s network, helping build a picture of the adversary’s infrastructure, and hopefully identify what data had been previously stolen and where it resided.

    Regardless of what some user on Wikipedia has written, or what may have been reported elsewhere, the purpose of Crowdstrike installing its Overwatch software was not to expel the intruders. The purpose was to monitor the intrusion to gain information. Saying:

    There were no fewer than 14409 emails in the Wikileaks archive dating after Crowdstrike’s installation of its security software. In fact, more emails were hacked after Crowdstrike’s discovery on May 6 than before. Whatever actions were taken by Crowdstrike on May 6, they did nothing to stem the exfiltration of emails from the DNC.

    Is like saying police officers following criminals who committed a robbery in order to find their accomplices/hideout didn’t stop the criminals. It is true in a literal sense, but it misses the point so badly as to mislead readers. Similarly, this:

    Hiring Crowdstrike to watch the exfiltration of data can hardly be what the DNC had in mind.

    Is just wrong. Had Crowdstrike simply expelled the intruders right from the start, it would have been able to glean less information about those intruders and what they had stolen. Perhaps that information was not worth the costs of allowing the intruders continued access, but choosing to monitor hackers for a period of time before expelling is completely normal. It is unquestionable Crowdstrike would have informed the DNC it was doing this.

    Claiming a security company doing something which is completely normal in the industry, with the full knowledge of its customer, means we must question the competence of that company is silly.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

      “Had Crowdstrike simply expelled the intruders right from the start, it would been able to glean less information about those intruders and what they had stolen.”
      ####
      And what information did they glean, pray tell? That ATP 28 & 29 struck. Please explain how that helped the DNC.

      Also, please explain how it helped the DNC to have additional information exfiltrated, keeping in mind that their “cleaning” operations on June 10 stopped the hackers. And have they caught/identified the thieves? If their purpose was to watch thieves steal, then why the final cleaning operations?

      Finally, “…and what they had stolen” while they sat and watched the theft. So, what is their complaint?

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Brandon, my post was inspired to a considerable extent by the television ads about “security monitor” watching a bank robbery but not doing anything about it. To the extent that your criticism of the post is that Crowdstrike’s failure to immediately stop the security breach was standard tactics within the industry, thus making my criticism a cheap shot, I think that I’m entitled to re-iterate my questioning of the tactics, even if standard. Given that over 50% of the published emails were exfiltrated under Crowdstrike’s watch, including the most damaging, the tactics were clearly unwise.

        • Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

          Questioning the decision is fine. I find it odd they would have waited as long as they did. I have my own view on it which I won’t go into here (suffice to say it does not paint CrowdStrike in a good light), but what bothers me is simply the use of misleading/false statements to advance viewpoint. For instance, in this paragraph:

          There were no fewer than 14409 emails in the Wikileaks archive dating after Crowdstrike’s installation of its security software. In fact, more emails were hacked after Crowdstrike’s discovery on May 6 than before. Whatever actions were taken by Crowdstrike on May 6, they did nothing to stem the exfiltration of emails from the DNC.

          You say, “Whatever actions were taken… did nothing to” stop the intrusion. While that is literally true, it is misleading as it fails to note those actions were not intended to stop anything. This paragraph:

          Nor does the razor-sharp end-date of noon May 25 tie into reported dates of Crowdstrike security measures? Does this reflect an editorial decision during the curation of the hacked emails or something else?

          Again, Crowdstrike monitored the situation for a period of time. Failing to inform readers of this means they miss out on an entirely plausible explanation. It may well be that the 25th was when Crowdstrike decided to put a stop to the intrusion. Posing a mystery to readers without informing them of such an obvious (albeit only potential) explanation is guaranteed to mislead them.

          I don’t imagine that was your intent. As I said in my comment, the narrative of this post seemed confused. People often wrongfoot and/or mislead others out of ignorance/confusion rather than malice.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

          It is kind of Brandon to allow that one may be ignorant or confused, rather than malicious.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 8:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I too am unaware of any information gleaned by Crowdstrike other than that APT28, APT29 were in the premises. They didn’t catch anyone.

        Also recall that Crowdstrike’s initial article stated that certain forms of information had not been exfiltrated. Guccifer 2’s initial and bizarre appearance spent a lot of energy challenging and purporting to disprove Crowdstrike’s claims.

        • Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

          You might want to consider your two paragraphs in how they relate to one another. One of the primary reasons not to boot an unauthorized user in a system is doing so can hinder your efforts to figure out just how much access they managed to obtain. If someone defaces a website, do you immediately kick them out? Maybe. Or maybe you monitor their activity to see if they also managed to gain access to resources beyond the sandboxed VM your webserver is running on.

          This was a serious network breach that involved multiple intruders. Taking some time to monitor the situation to try to figure out what resources were compromised is normal. In this case, taking at least 19 days seems quite excessive to me. But what if it had been 12 days? Or a week? Or three days? How long a period of time is reasonable to monitor intruders to try to figure out who they are, what they have stolen and what resources they have compromised? I can’t draw a clear line between what would and would not be reasonable time to wait. I don’t think any of us can. (FWIW: My best guess would be about a week.)

          When considering that question, remember this. Booting the obvious intrusion into a network/device doesn’t mean you have solved the problem. If you don’t do a thorough job of securing things, the intruder may come back via some other means.

        • MikeN
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

          If they were doing that, then I would expect a noticeable decline in the quality of the e-mails that were posted to Wikileaks after CrowdStrike’s incursion, as well as some juicy ones that might tempt the intruder to look elsewhere.

      • Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 8:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

        mpainter, I don’t know what information they gleaned from it as I have no access to such things. It doesn’t matter though. Whether or not the decision to wait “paid off” in the end does not determine whether or not the decision was wise. And even if the decision was unwise, bad calls gets made. Claiming Crowdstrike made a bad call on taking this gamble is not the same as confidingly claiming what it did was completely ridiculous and contrary to what its customers would have wanted.

        Quite frankly, I doubt you have any actual interest in the answers to your question. This seems like rhetoric aimed at petty point scoring. If I am mistaken, I apologize, but what you’ve said simply has no bearing on what I explained.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 9:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Brandon, I pay attention to names that are chosen for business purposes. I ask “Why the name CrowdStrike?”

        The question of what was achieved has something to do with initial purpose. The questions I asked which you complain were rhetorical are aimed at the fundamental purpose of the CrowdStrike (there’s that funny name again).

        If I were in the DNC shoes, I would think “How wonderful if we could catch Trump trying to break into our server. Our own Watergate!”

        The attribution to Russia is only guesswork, given a boost by employment of the word “bear”.
        I accept your apology.

        • Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

          mpainter, that is an… interesting line of thought. I can’t imagine i have anything to contribute to it though.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

          I have learned not accept at presented face value that which is accompanied by a great deal of publicity, contrived and otherwise, especially concerning politics.
          I can understand that some others might not share that trait, Brandon.

        • Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

          mpainter, while you may wish to makes thinly disguised insults, I cannot say the level of trust you have for public proclamations holds any interest for me. I doubt it holds any interest for anyone else who might read this exchange. Absent some substantive contribution on your part, I believe I will simply refrain from responding to you from here on.

    • Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 7:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Brandon, have you seen anyone besides G2 claim that Cozy Bear had inadvertently been expelled by a “reboot” of a DNC server that it was on? In any case does this seem plausible to you that an APT of Cozy Bear sophistication was knocked out of the system inadvertently? If not, then Fancy Bear’s independent fresh breach points to a second actor. Right?

      • Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 9:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Ron Graf, I can’t say that I’ve seen that claim repeated elsewhere. It is possible for such things to happen during an intrusion as an intrusion can rely on a specific weakness in a specific spot which can be disrupted by small things. I’m skeptical of it having happened here as I’d expect the intruders to use their initial access to leverage greater control, but absent more information as to what all happened, I wouldn’t hazard a guess.

        What I will say is I have no doubt the two groups acted independently. There is no incentive for them to work together on something like this, and there are many potential disincentives.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 8:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Brandon, you said:

      Regardless of what some user on Wikipedia has written, or what may have been reported elsewhere, the purpose of Crowdstrike installing its Overwatch software was not to expel the intruders. The purpose was to monitor the intrusion to gain information

      I’ve now had a chance to revisit some early articles. In the WaPo article in which DNC and Crowdstrike announced the “Russian” penetration of DNC, Wasserman Schultz said that the “DNC leadership acted quickly after the intrusion’s discovery to contain the damage” and “moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders”, not that they let them continue to exfiltrate documents so that they could watch them.

      The security of our system is critical to our operation and to the confidence of the campaigns and state parties we work with,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), the DNC chairwoman. “When we discovered the intrusion, we treated this like the serious incident it is and reached out to CrowdStrike immediately. Our team moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network.”

      So even if it’s a common tactic to set a watching brief on intruders, the DNC claimed originally to have promptly kicked out the intruders. That the key emails were sent after Crowdstrike was on the scene is an interesting outcome.

      • Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 10:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Do you have any evidence Crowdstrike took longer to secure the network than was necessary? My personal belief is they did as I struggle to imagine why it’d take them weeks to do so, but given the general lack of specific information/evidence, I can’t claim to know Crowdstrike took an unreasonable amount of time.

        The amount of time taken to expel the intruders is certainly interesting and worth discussing, but one shouldn’t conflate Crowdstrike apparently taking 19 days to expel the intruders with proof Crowdstrike did anything wrong. If 19 days is an unreasonable amount of time to expel intruders from the network then it makes sense to criticize Crowdstrike for taking (at least) that long. But you can’t establish 19 days was too long by leaving out details which clarify what Crowdstrike did and/or the amount of time it took Crowdstrike to resolve the problem.

        Here is a question which you ought to be asking: How much time would it reasonably take to examine/monitor a network like the DNC’s in order to determine the extent the network had been breached, what material from the network had been exfiltrated, what resources/devices had been compromised and design a plan to respond to the intrusion in order to secure the network and deal with the potential consequences of the breach?

        Regardless of what the answer to that question is and how it compares to Crowdstrike’s actual response time, until the question is examined, people are doing nothing to show Crowdstrike’s response was inadequate. All they’re doing is relying on rhetoric and cheap jabs.

        Given what has been shown thus far, why would it be unreasonable for a reader to think, “19 days seems like a reasonable amount of time to figure out how to secure the network”?

        • Ed Snack
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, i work peripherally in this field, and I don’t think you understand the issues. Had CrowdStrike detected an intrusion and left it in place to “observe”, there’s one think that they WOULD do, and that’s warn the DNC that their server is compromised and warn them not to send potentially damaging material. That the majority of the really “interesting” stuff gleaned form the DNC came after the supposed initial detection suggests to me one of several things:

          1. CS didn’t detect at the time they said; or
          2.They did detect it but (almost unheard of), failed to tell the DNC;
          3. They detected it, told the DNC, who ignored it.

          Actually, in an email system, you implement immediate firewall blocking rules and relay via a third party so the server is inaccessible from the outside. You change ALL passwords for all accounts; and you sanitise your server by a backup of all the mail files and re-install from scratch. Inconvenient, but clear and quite quick.

          Frankly, I suspect that there is a lot of mistruths and misdirection being put about, and in common with these sorts of cases, actual final attribution my not be possible with certainty.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

          there’s one think that they WOULD do, and that’s warn the DNC that their server is compromised and warn them not to send potentially damaging material

          it’s too bad that Mueller appears to be entirely ignoring the DNC hack itself and is so entirely partisan.

      • Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 11:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

        In reviewing my comments here, I’ve noticed my initial comment was unclear to the point of inaccuracy on why you might monitor intruders in a situation like this as I said:

        Is just wrong. Had Crowdstrike simply expelled the intruders right from the start, it would have been able to glean less information about those intruders and what they had stolen.

        I should have said “attempted to expel the intruders right away.” If Crowdstrike knew with certainty it could eliminate the intrusion to the network within the first few hours, it should have. However, there is no way it could have known that with certainty in such little time. It could have expelled intruders in the sense of terminating specific connections (if any were active at the time) and things like that, but that wouldn’t mean the network was then secure.

        I believe I made this point clear in my follow-up comments, but by both my inaccurate phrasing and decision to say “what they had stolen” rather than “what they had stolen/compromised” in my initial comment, I may have prevented people from understanding the situation.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 23, 2017 at 2:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Brandon, it seems that you are missing something important. I suggest that you read the Wassermann quote again and ruminate a while.

      • Jaap Titulaer
        Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 7:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve, you said:

        I’ve now had a chance to revisit some early articles. In the WaPo article in which DNC and Crowdstrike announced the “Russian” penetration of DNC, Wasserman Schultz said that the “DNC leadership acted quickly after the intrusion’s discovery to contain the damage” and “moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders”, not that they let them continue to exfiltrate documents so that they could watch them.

        Quite right. Now think a little further.
        Perhaps when they said this, they didn’t yet know what Wiki Leaks would publish?
        That works for the case when they really created (or just used) the hacking story in order to hide the fact that there was in fact a leak.

        But let’s assume that there really was a hack by APT28. Then why the delays?

        WaPo article 2016-06-14:

        Some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer cleanup campaign, the committee officials and experts said.

        Past weekend so 11-12 June 2016

        WaPo 2016-06-14:

        DNC leaders were tipped to the hack in late April. Chief executive Amy Dacey got a call from her operations chief saying that their information technology team had noticed some unusual network activity.

        So 2016-04-30 at the latest.

        Let’s review the timestamps, as the binaries tend to be made fairly shortly before (and can’t be made after) the intrusion:
        X-Tunnel#1 Compilation Timestamp 2016-04-25 10:58:38, IP probably used was 45.32.129.185
        X-Tunnel#2 Compilation Timestamp 2016-05-05 09:20:08, IP switched to 23.227.196.217

        So about a week after the DNC & CS knew about the intrusion, the intruders simply installed a slightly updated version of their tunnel software? Oh well shit happens. This is possible when you miss something I guess …, but wait a minute, that doesn’t correspond with “moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders”.

        They didn’t report what happened in any meaningful detail, but assuming that they are telling the truth, be it incomplete, that tells me that the actual story may be quite different.
        Here is one option: it is that by the end of the week CS thought that they had neutralized the threat and could now openly start blocking that IP of the 1st tunnel. As a counter reaction a new version of X-Tunnel was deployed the very next day by the intruders.
        Question then becomes when did the DNC & CS realize that the intruders were back (or had never really left…)?
        Perhaps they didn’t notice until many days or even weeks later? Hence their ‘monitoring’ story.
        That could explain a lot of the delays and also some of their lack of clarity and of their reluctance to allow outsiders come to help them: they had dropped the ball.

        But this is just one of the options of course …

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

          That chronology works like a champ. I didn’t realize that the two X-Tunnel hashes represented two different compilations of X-Tunnel. The May 5, 2016 compilation date is a finger in Crowdstrike’s eye.

          The APT28 repertoire includes other malware which is commonly reported. Do you have theories on why that wasn’t in the Crowdstrike inventory? Wouldn’t such other malware have been required to place the second X-Tunnel version.

          Can you explain to me the underlying process. I take it that Crowdstrike archived the malicious code somewhere such that Virus Total and other authorized people could analyse it in a sandbox. Is that correct?

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

          CrowdStrike submitted binary samples to various security companies. The submission to VirusTotal was perhaps also done by them, IDK.

          The other typical APT28 malware was X-Agent/CHOPSTICK. Only one sample was reported by CS (see Bears in the Midst, bottom).

          No other malware was reported by CS in their reports, usually there are others, especially in the earlier stages (and those are mostly binaries and well known to belong to APT28. Once X-Agent is installed the early stage downloaders are no longer needed. But they usually will have been there, perhaps CS couldn’t find them?

          Now X-Agent could be the one that was refreshing the X-Tunnel install.
          And it also refreshed itself I’m afraid (if we are to believe the compile time of the binary. See below. Latest version was compiled May 10th, and installed (probably) quickly thereafter…

          SHA256: fd39d2837b30e7233bc54598ff51bdc2f8c418fa5b94dea2cadb24cf40f395e5
          Win32 DLL
          PE32+ executable for MS Windows (DLL) (console) Mono/.Net assembly
          Compilation timestamp: 2016-05-10 23:26:20

          By the way: “it is a Win32 DLL file for the Windows command line subsystem that targets 64bit architectures” , in case you are wondering what a 32-bit DLL is doing in the PE envelop of a 64-bit DLL.

          Based on the VirusTotal report and the Invincea report it is a 32-bit DLL which is being presented to the 64-bit Windows OS as being a 64-bit DLL.
          Probably because it is hiding as if it is part of the OS: “Service Backup ESE data for Microsoft(R) Windows(R), 5.0.4421.4331, esert.dll, Microsoft Corporation., esert.dll, Microsoft Windows Operating System, 5.0.4421.4331”

          That was what I was wondering about those X-Tunnel ones as well: perhaps those are also 32-bit DLLs wrapped into a 64-bit binary, in order to escape detection (because 32-bit software is normal on client PC’s, but not preferred on servers).

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

          too many links I guess, second try

          CrowdStrike submitted binary samples to various security companies. The submission to VirusTotal was perhaps also done by them, IDK.

          The other typical APT28 malware was X-Agent/CHOPSTICK. Only one sample was reported by CS (see Bears in the Midst, bottom).
          No other malware was reported by CS in their reports, usually there are others, especially in the earlier stages (and those are mostly binaries and well known to belong to APT28. Once X-Agent is installed the early stage downloaders are no longer needed. But they usually will have been there, perhaps CS couldn’t find them?

          Now X-Agent could be the one that was refreshing the X-Tunnel install.
          And it also refreshed itself I’m afraid (if we are to believe the compile time of the binary. See below. Latest version was compiled May 10th, and installed (probably) quickly thereafter…

          SHA256: fd39d2837b30e7233bc54598ff51bdc2f8c418fa5b94dea2cadb24cf40f395e5
          Win32 DLL
          PE32+ executable for MS Windows (DLL) (console) Mono/.Net assembly
          Compilation timestamp: 2016-05-10 23:26:20

          By the way: “it is a Win32 DLL file for the Windows command line subsystem that targets 64bit architectures” , in case you are wondering what a 32-bit DLL is doing in the PE envelop of a 64-bit DLL.

          Based on the VirusTotal report and the Invincea report it is a 32-bit DLL which is being presented to the 64-bit Windows OS as being a 64-bit DLL.
          Probably because it is hiding as if it is part of the OS: “Service Backup ESE data for Microsoft(R) Windows(R), 5.0.4421.4331, esert.dll, Microsoft Corporation., esert.dll, Microsoft Windows Operating System, 5.0.4421.4331”

          Not sure whether this X-Agent is simply 32-bit code (it calls 32-bit DLLs, so can’t be run inside a 64-bit process) which is compiled in such a way that it looks like a 64-bit DLL (but properly notifies the OS of this) or whether this is a 32-bit DLL wrapped in a 64-bit DLL.
          That was what I was wondering about those X-Tunnel ones as well: perhaps those are also 32-bit DLLs wrapped into a 64-bit binary, in order to escape detection (because 32-bit software is normal on client PC’s, but not preferred on servers).

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

          oops now it’s a double post, except for the added clarification

          Another thing, a bit odd: the reported external filename was twain64.dll (scanner SW), so it was ‘hiding’ like that, but the information presented when inspected was that it was esert.dll (some kind of backup SW and part of the Microsoft OS).
          The correct file on a 64 bit OS is called twain_32.dll.

          Also one of the strings left in readable format says ‘splm.dll’. SPLM happens to be another name for X-Agent/XAgent/CHOPSTICK.
          Just the name ‘splm.dll’ itself should cause an anti-virus agent to flag it as suspect IMHO (but then this just occurs inside the DLL).
          See ESET on Sednit (APT28), Oct 2014: Sednit espionage group now using custom exploit kit. Scroll down to Payload, that describes X-Agent, but at the time is called SPLM.

          Both of these eases detection and strengthens the case of wanting to be detected.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

          Jaap, you said:
          “Now X-Agent could be the one that was refreshing the X-Tunnel install. And it also refreshed itself I’m afraid (if we are to believe the compile time of the binary. See below. Latest version was compiled May 10th, and installed (probably) quickly thereafter…”

          When you say X-Agent could “refresh itself” – do you mean that the new version of X-AGent was compiled externally and dropped into the target using the installed version of X-Agent with the new version replacing the old version somehow. Do I understand correctly?

          Is it odd that no Sofacy hashes are reported?

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

          When you say X-Agent could “refresh itself” – do you mean that the new version of X-AGent was compiled externally and dropped into the target using the installed version of X-Agent with the new version replacing the old version somehow. Do I understand correctly?

          Yes. X-Agent is the main control center, it is an extensible & modular RAT / swiss army knife. It can download and install additional modules, but can also download and install additional external tools, and even update itself.

          There are also earlier stage downloaders part of the APT28/Sednit/Sofacy toolset. They likely were still there. These are apparently less user friendly, and can only do a small part of what X-Agent can do, but are usually used to install X-Agent itself, at least the first time.
          So they can also be used to install a newer version of X-Agent, if need be.

          ESET (eset-sednit-full.pdf), page 26:

          Seduploader’s payload is a downloader used by Sednit’s operators as reconnaissance malware. If the victim is considered interesting, Seduploader is instructed to download a spying backdoor, like Sedreco or Xagent.

          This one is either the first or a close second, i.e. either this one is installed directly from webpage or email, or there is first an earlier stage down-loader which then can download and install Seduploader.

          Next is then (usually) either Sedreco (aka AZZY) or XAgent (aka CHOPSTICK or SPLM). But because the later tends to be customized for the target it will be compiled only after reconnaissance and thereafter installed. So they may also install Sedreco as well.

          For an overview of the steps see page 40 of eset-sednit-full.pdf.

          Seduploader and downdelph is 1st stage malware, Sedreco and XAgent is second stage malware whereas tools like XTunnel (aka XAPS) are merely helper software (same for Mimikatz etc, which is used by all hacker groups).

          ESET: “Xtunnel is a network proxy tool that can relay any kind of network traffic between a C&C server on the Internet and an endpoint computer inside a local network. … An Xtunnel infected machine serves as a network pivot to contact machines that are normally unreachable from the Internet.”
          ESET: “Xagent is a modular backdoor with spying functionalities such as keystroke logging and file ex-filtration.”
          With XAgent the hackers can take over the computer like with any kind of remote access tools, i.e. as if you are using a directly connected screen and keyboard. And it has many utilities. Some by default or per-compiled for target, others can be added later.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

          it seems odd that X-Tunnel would use an obsolete and hackable version of SSL. I I dont know if the following questions make sense, but here they are anyway:

          Wouldn’t NSA or someone have hacked APT28’s SSL if it was using the version vulnerable to Heartbleed. Wouldn’t that make it easy for someone to appropriate all of APT28’s methodology? And re-deploy if they wanted?

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

          Is it odd that no Sofacy hashes are reported?

          I’m not sure what you mean. Sofacy (aka APT28, Fancy Bear etc) is the name for the group, for the toolset, and sometimes used for some of the individual components (in older reports).

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

          I meant the first-stage uploader from which (as I understand) the group draws its name. Google reported many more examples of first-stage infection than X-Agent infection. Would the original uploader have been erased by X-Agent?

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

          it seems odd that X-Tunnel would use an obsolete and hackable version of SSL. I I dont know if the following questions make sense, but here they are anyway:

          Wouldn’t NSA or someone have hacked APT28’s SSL if it was using the version vulnerable to Heartbleed. Wouldn’t that make it easy for someone to appropriate all of APT28’s methodology? And re-deploy if they wanted?

          Perhaps. That has been speculated about.
          E.g.:
          Reddit: Has the version of X-Agent malware used in DNC hack been publicly available since Summer 2015?

          But it would require that he C2 server also was using an outdated OpenSSL version. And the source would have to be on that server. Binaries certainly, but source code?
          Of course making binaries for all Linux flavors is tiresome, so it could be that for the UNIX/Linux versions the source was actually on such a server. Then deployed, compiled and installed, the *NIX way…

          In the case of X-Agent the Linux source is apparently quite helpful, as the corresponding windows calls are visible and merely commented out. So perhaps in that way one could get a mostly complete working copy.
          The rest (missing bits) you would have to figure out based on a decompiled binary,
          So it’s either simple (comment out the Linux system calls and uncomment the Windows OS calls), or quite a bit more work.

          If that is how X-Agent code was leaked, that can also have happened with the code of some of the other parts of their tool-set…

  52. JTK551
    Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve: But I’m saying it as someone who’s careful.

    As somebody who has done a very good job with this blog in the Climate arena, I think you have certainly earned the benefit of the doubt that you’ll have a more detailed argument coming.

    I’ll look forward to it.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 4:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      thanks for the vote of confidence. Dealing with political matters is obviously rather perilous but I’m trying to adhere to the documents as much as possible.

      • Frank
        Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 2:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I always appreciated you intolerance of pure opinion and speculation about motivations. It tended to focus attention on what the data said.

  53. TAG
    Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 3:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From the Lawfare blog at Foreign Policy magazine:

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/09/20/10-things-to-hate-about-robert-mueller/?utm_content=buffer39e83&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Some commentary about the suitability of Robert Mueller to lead the investigation and his handling of the investigation. It does comment on the “friendship” between Mueller and Comey among other things.

    • JTK551
      Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 8:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      TAG,

      Thanks for the laugh.

  54. mpainter
    Posted Sep 22, 2017 at 6:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Without encouragement from you, I would not have posted. Of my comments, 90% can be verified from various sources. The rest is my own personal understanding based on experience. But please delete the comments, really, I should not have posted them.
    This is the problem,: people are unbelieving of the scope of corruption in this country. So be it.

  55. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 7, 2017 at 9:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This story picked up by Daily Caller http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/07/most-wikileaks-emails-werent-even-written-until-after-dnc-knew-it-was-hacked/

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