Jan 17

DNI: Putin Led Cyber, Propaganda Effort to Elect Trump, Denigrate Clinton

Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a massive propaganda and cyber operation aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton and getting Donald Trump elected, the top U.S. intelligence agencies said in a remarkable yet unshocking report released on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin tours RT facilities. Image: DNI

Russian President Vladimir Putin tours RT facilities. Image: DNI

The 25-page dossier from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stopped short of saying the Russians succeeded at influencing the outcome of the election, noting that the report did not attempt to make an assessment on that front. But it makes the case that “Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.”

“We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks,” the DNI report reads.

The report is a quick and fascinating read. One example: It includes a fairly detailed appendix which concludes that the U.S.-based but Kremlin-financed media outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) is little more than a propaganda machine controlled by Russian intelligence agencies.

“Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls,'” reads the report.

The DNI report is remarkable for several reasons. First, it publicly accuses Russia’s President of trying to meddle with the U.S. election and to hack both political parties. Also, as The New York Times observed, it offers “a virtually unheard-of, real-time revelation by the American intelligence agencies that undermined the legitimacy of the president who is about to direct them.”

However, those who’ve been clamoring for more technical evidence to support a conclusion that Russian intelligence agencies were behind the phishing, malware attacks and email leaks at The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign likely will be unmoved by this report. Those details will remain safely hidden from public view in the classified version of the report.

Last week, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint report (PDF) on some of the malware and Internet resources used in the DNC intrusion. But many experts criticized it as a poorly-written, jumbled collection of threat indicators and digital clues that didn’t all quite lead where they should.

Others were perplexed by the high confidence level the agencies assigned to the findings in their unclassified report, noting that neither the FBI nor DHS examined the DNC hard drives that were compromised in the break-in (that work was done by private security firm Crowdstrike).

Former black-hat hacker turned Wired and Daily Beast contributing editor Kevin Poulsen slammed the FBI/DHS report as “so aimless that it muddies the clear public evidence that Russia hacked the Democratic Party to affect the election, and so wrong it enables the Trump-friendly conspiracy theorists trying to explain away that evidence.”

Granted, trying to reconstruct a digital crime scene absent some of the most important pieces of evidence is a bit like attempting to assemble a jigsaw puzzle with only half of the pieces. But as digital forensics and security expert Jonanthan Zdziarksi noted via Twitter last night, good old fashioned spying and human intelligence seems to have played a bigger role in pinning the DNC hack on the Russians.

“The DNI report subtly implied that more weight was put on our intelligence coming from espionage operations than on cyber warfare,” Zdziarski wrote. “As someone who’s publicly called out the FBI over misleading the public and the court system, I believe the DNI report to be reliable. I also believe @CrowdStrike’s findings to be reliable based on the people there and their experience with threat intelligence.”

Key findings from the DNI report.

Key findings from the DNI report.

My take? Virtually nothing in the DNI report is dispositive of anything in the FBI/DHS report. In other words, the DNI report probably won’t change anyone’s minds. I’m sure that many smart U.S. intelligence analysts spent a great deal of time on this, but none of it was particularly surprising at all: The DNI report describes precisely the kind of cloak and dagger stuff that one might expect the Kremlin to be doing to the United States, day-in and day-out.

What makes these kinds of cyber espionage and propaganda campaigns so worthwhile is that even if the Kremlin cannot always get its favorite candidate elected, Moscow may still consider it a success if it can continuously sow doubt in the minds of Americans about the legitimacy of the U.S. election process and other tenets of democracy.

It’s also exactly the sort of thing the U.S. government has been doing to other countries for decades. In fact, the U.S. has done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a database amassed by political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University, writes Nina Agrawal for The Los Angeles Times.

Anyone shocked by the Kremlin-funded news station RT in all of this probably never heard of Voice of America, a U.S. government-funded news service that broadcast the American response to Soviet propaganda during the Cold War.

President-elect Trump has publicly mocked American intelligence assessments that Russia meddled with the U.S. election on his behalf, and said recently that he doubts the U.S. government can be certain it was hackers backed by the Russian government who hacked and leaked emails from the DNC.

Mr. Trump issued a statement last night only loosely acknowledging Russian involvement, saying that “while Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat [sic] National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with the voting machines.”

Trump also has called for a review of the nation’s plans to stop cyberattacks, which he said will be completed within 90 days of his taking office on Jan. 20.

“Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks,” Trump said. “I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority.”

Time will tell if Mr. Trump’s team can do anything to slow the frequency of data breaches in the United States. But I hope we can all learn from this report. It’s open season out there for sure, but there are some fairly simple, immutable truths that each of us should keep in mind, truths that apply equally to political parties, organizations and corporations alike:

-If you connect it to the Internet, someone will try to hack it.

-If what you put on the Internet has value, someone will invest time and effort to steal it.

-Even if what is stolen does not have immediate value to the thief, he can easily find buyers for it.

-The price he secures for it will almost certainly be a tiny slice of its true worth to the victim.

-Organizations and individuals unwilling to spend a small fraction of what those assets are worth to secure them against cybercrooks can expect to eventually be relieved of said assets.

“We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes,” the DNI report concludes.

Yeah, no kidding. The question is: Will political and corporate leaders begin applying those lessons to their own operations, and gird themselves for full-on, 24/7 cyberattacks from every direction, before, during and after each election? How many more examples do we need to understand that maybe we’re really not taking this cybersecurity stuff seriously enough given what’s at stake?

The DNI report is available here (PDF).

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  1. Let the partisan rhetoric begin. Hold on, let me make a bag of popcorn first.

    • Better make that popcorn with extra butter, too…

    • Russia is bad. They should not have hacked the DNC. We should have kept the American people in the dark, they didn’t need to know about all the DNC’s dirty laundry, and Hillary should have been president. Why expose the DNC at all, does the increase in transparency benefit democracy? No! It only benefits democracy if Hillary wins.

      • By all accounts the RNC and trump campaigns were also hacked. Why is that information not available? If someone is being blackmailed, we need disclosure for our safety. Put country before party.

        • Its not going to be addressed since the Democrats whine louder. Another finger pointing, temper tantrum event. Spoiled brats.

          Never mind the issue arises about Top Secret emails leaked. Compromise of debate questions, A cabinet that refused to correctly handle the situation.

          They complain that the hacks cost them the election – sure they did – but at the epic level of a lot of corporations around the United States. In the last three to five years there has been a marked increase in cyber warfare. For the democrats who thought they’d never become a victim, and take your information seriously, you were simply…..wrong. Don’t look at trends, or risks, just keep that attitude and that 14 year old that could have – or did get in, might as well do it again when they are 18. Add in the Department of State hack, Tricare, OPM breach and everything else. The democrats way of running security ended they way it should have – an epic failure.

          The democrats need to look in the mirror and realize that their tactics may have worked a decade ago, but with the crappy health care and gaping undelivered promises from this 8 year train wreck. The only thing that is going to hurt is digging out of the billions of debt this cabinet dug. Its the worst of all presidencies combined. THAT in itself is a need for change.

          It boiled down to pi$$ poor security. They KNEW an election was coming. They failed miserably in the pre-planning stage, having little to know forward looking abilities what so ever. They need to Stop pointing fingers and making excuses ( the norm) and look internally and try to clean their act up.

          The news said the democrats had a boatload of electoral votes. Fistfuls. They sat on their…. laurels thinking if trump went for the vote, they’d win by the electoral college. Trump ripped that rug out from under their feet and strategically won the election by uncharacteristic measures.

          Eleven more days and then we will see how the United States should be ran – with or without the help of the temper tantrum party.

        • Julian Assange at WikiLeaks said they had trouble finding anything more shocking than what was coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth every second day.

    • What is the difference between Woodward and Bernstein revealing a Presidential coverup and Wikileaks revealing that Secretary Clinton violated the law by exposing secure information to the world? If the DNC conspired against Bernie Sanders and the truth is learned, is that not more significant than the idea of a foreign power trying to hack US interests? In fact, our government is always trying to hack foreign countries and they are always trying to hack us. The OMP hack that revealed personal information on 20 million government employees was much worse…but not as politically charged.

      Can we actually trust that there is something approaching evidence in the classified part of that report? Much of the 25 pages is old news and revelations of hundreds of Tor exit nodes among IP addresses supposedly used by Russians tell me that they really have nothing of real value. Like the initial 13 page report it seems that throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks is the rule of the day.

      It appears that this “tempest in a tea pot” is intended to force soon-to-be-President Trump into an admission that Russia gifted him the election. It also seems that the Democrats and their appointees in the intelligence agencies want to force Trump into some kind of war with Russia, thus taking his focus off of the domestic issues he intends to take on.

      Face it, the DNC and the Hilary computer and Podesta computer were all wide open to the world. The information revealed was true…just like the information against Nixon and his cronies. Wikileaks and Deep Throat gave us truth. I guess the truth hurts? Get over it Democrats! You don’t want a scandal, stop your scandalous behavior!

      • The fact the Hillary Clinton’s hands are dirty does not change or excuse the actions of the Russian government. Get your head out of the sand, this is about supporting America, not a particular candidate or political party.

        • Mark, please read of past hacks by the kbg against the usa and vise versa then wake up from your delusional idealism. The Russians have owned windows and the us gov from its inception and i suspect even before the mainstream Internet arrival.

        • “The fact the Hillary Clinton’s hands are dirty does not change or excuse the actions of the Russian government. Get your head out of the sand, this is about supporting America, not a particular candidate or political party.”

          Mainstream media – “Woodward, Bernstein, and Ellsberg, great job, you are heroes! Whoever revealed Dem corruption – BAD, end of the world!”

          I am totally nonpartisan in thanking the Russians (or whoever; after the Iraq WMD lies along with lies under oath to Congress and so very many other documented lies found in so very many history books, I trust our “intel” community as far as I can throw it; you’ve blown it; you have zero credibility with me until you provide technical details as would be found on THIS site before making claims rather than just accusations), I thank you for providing free to the taxpayer and COMPLETE Freedom of Information Act materials without redactions, even the ones Clinton was wanting to hide from FOIA on her personal server, and hope that when there is corrupt behavior by ANY political party you do the same in the future. This is actually why BOTH major parties are so upset. They don’t want their back room influence peddling and dirty tricks to be revealed.

          For the history of massive US interference in the politics and affairs of other countries, please read:

          All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror

          Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

          Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon

          No wonder the world looks upon us huge hypocrites.

    • Unsurprisingly, this is the first thoughtful and balanced article on the topic that I have read.

  2. so what exactly did Russia do? -electronically add votes to Trump?
    -oh, but she got more votes.. including from the many illegals in Calif, and numerous voting places.
    -did they hack emails?
    Well what was in those emails that could have harmed her, the DNC, the Clinton Foundation?
    Was the content of their own emails so bad people were appalled by the CONTENT of them?
    -was her private server so and 50,000 emails so easy to hack a high schooler could have gotten in?
    -Did the Russians help her get a private server so she could use the State Dept. to siphon off and extort $$$ from other countries for the Clinton Foundation?
    ….. but wait, the NSA hacks every single email and electronic communication…

    • “so what exactly did Russia do? -electronically add votes to Trump?
      -oh, but she got more votes.. including from the many illegals in Calif, and numerous voting places.”

      Why is it only that Trump voters are making the claim that this has anything to do with vote count?

      The only thing stated and believed is that there was obvious meddling in the media and through their proxy with Wikileaks and various state sponsored hackers that breached the DNC and GOP, but only leaked DNC findings (that themselves had nothing improper.)

      • Julian Assange at WikiLeaks said they DID have findings on the GOP, but what they had was less shocking than the average day of Trump quotes.

  3. I would very much like to see an analysis of all posts from RT in the past year that were picked up by other sites (blogs, news, social media… the whole smash) to see just how much propaganda was spread, how far it got, and which parts got the most traction/attention.

    Given the dearth of critical thinking and knee-jerk reactions from people lately, this is really scary stuff.

    • I totally agree! Propaganda campaigns are only as influential as the amount of viewers they reach.

      It would be interesting to see just how far into non-Russian media RT and Sputnik’s ‘false news’ have spread…

  4. Your analysis is right on!

    The intelligence agencies are in a bit of a catch-22 … if they disclose their sources and methods, they become ineffective; if they don’t disclose them, they lose credibility (and become ineffective).

  5. The U.S. intelligence community at least has shown Russia’s means and motive, if nothing else.
    Great reporting, Krabs.

    • Means and move which has existed and is well known for the last 150 years.

      Nothing new, this is nothing more than a distraction from the REAL issue, which is the massive amount of corruption in the DNC and anything tied to the Clintons.

  6. Brian I would suggest that you might as well show everyone exactly how this happened. The phishing email is available in the wikileaks. This was a simple phishing email.

    I could have done this at age 13, easily.

    In fact I did do this around that age, with more skill and sophistication than these ones.

    As for guccifer … He is a 20 year old romanian dude. He is not a spetnaz agent in the basement of the kremlin.

    This article is better than your last one, I will say.

    As you say, it all comes down to whether you make a faith based assumption that “the Ruskis did it” or whether you “clamor for evidence”, and as you say, that is why the arguments are not changing minds.

    It might have been the Russians, of course we cannot rule it out. But it is absurd for anyone to claim they know for sure, based on the publicly available info.

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Eh? But obongo does not believe in the rule of law, he believes in african style primitive dictatorship.

    • Thanks for your comment. I added a link to the phishing email. Good idea. Not saying it wasn’t a decent targeted phishing attack. Just that they should have expected it.

      • You’re right they should have suspected it would happen…my home computer is more secure than the DNC for crying out loud…if you stick your foot out in traffic with a sandal on it, don’t get your panties in a wad when it gets ran over. Who opens an email from some one they don’t know with an attachment, who sets up servers to not scan it first for Viruses and Malware. The DNC so stupid on a level so grand it’s incomprehensible.

      • Phishing attacks seeking credentials as in the Gmail attack on the Democrats can be stopped by provision of a unique key set for each user for authentication.

    • “But obongo does not believe in the rule of law, he believes in african style primitive dictatorship.”

      So who is obongo? Your name for President Obama?

      Normally proper nouns are capitalized, but perhaps the white sheet you are wearing obscured your vision.

  7. The spooks in the TLA’s have been lying to us for years but this time “it’s the truth.” The only thing I believe is we’ll never know the truth.

  8. Nice reporting!

    I think nobody should have been surprised by the sole fact that there was a (massive) propaganda campaign. After all, all candidates did so as well 😉

    What I found particular interesting in the report, was the footnote on page 6. This footnote states that Annex A was originally published after the 2012 elections. So at first glance, it seemed that the majority of the reporting (at least in page count) is already an old report.

    So my main question is: why are this activities now all of a sudden a problem and did nobody mentioned this in the aftermath of the 2012 elections?

  9. Even though this is a YouTube of RT, just listen to the questions that come up. These are questions that every
    American citizen should be asking.


  10. Based on response from other experts/media, even those critical of Russia and/or Putin, ODNI report has been highly criticized as it provides no new information and, somehow, manages to make ODNI look even worse by spending a third of the report on copy-pasted outdated (2012) RT claims which they didn’t even bother taking time to update.

  11. I find it interesting that the NSA weighed in with “Moderate”in their assessment. This would be the organization that I would expect to have the data, and they were less than full on in their assessment which is interesting. The other interesting thing in the report is the Annex which is RT data from 2012 and the Obama Campaign time frame. Does this mean the Russians favored Obama and were successful? I guess if I was going to pull up boilerplate to bulk up the report for credibility sake, I would have taken something out of the file that wasn’t this stale. Understand the need to protect sources and methods but this piece of work is pretty disappointing.

  12. If the report had explained how the Russians convinced Hillary Clinton not to campaign in Wisconsin, that they brainwashed her staff to order those buses of SEIU field activists headed for Michigan to turn around and go back to Iowa, or show proof that Fancy Bear and/or Cozy Bear put DNC emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop (which as we know prompted James Comey’s letter), then I can be convinced.

    But I couldn’t find any of that in the report.

  13. I am a nobody…but I find it ironical that everyone is more concerned with who hacked what…rather than the content of what was hacked..If the DNC or RNC had not said what they did or tried to manipulate the elections themselves in their emails etc. what value would the hacking have?…Again its the spin of the media on who the bad guys really were…

    For some reason I tend to believe the Russians more than I do the US Media…FBI/CIA/DHS/NSA…etc…they all act as if they NEVER did the same thing…Give me a F*&$ing break…Yeah the Russians may have hacked the US…but who is the blame for that…The Obama admin…perhaps if BHO and his admin had spent more time and $$$ protecting the US infrastructure rather than spending $$$ on golf course fees and vacations…we, the US, would be in a better position…security wise….BHO has been a complete failure…Clinton was and would have been a failure as well…I am 70+ years old…do you think I think I can change your thinking…NO…but its you that has to suffer where your headed with all this propaganda..

    Pay attention to where that ring is on the merry-go -round…don’t be distracted

  14. Oh, well. I suppose it helps to balance against the help that Clinton (and her husband before her) got from the Chinese. For example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_United_States_campaign_finance_controversy

  15. Good to see some more informed take than the mass media.

    I wasn’t impressed with the Jar Report, I wasn’t impressed by this report, I wasn’t impressed that over 40% of the IP addresses “released” were Tor exit points.

    I don’t think most elected reps around the world understand the Internet adequately to pass legislation.

    Most news I see on the Internet is fundamentally wrong, from my perspective.

    In short I think we’re on our own on this. We need to form our own opinions.

    Some ignorant person trying to censor the Internet makes things harder, not easier. (IF it somewhat works, it makes it harder to check what nonsense the “thought engineers” are trying to pull.)

    • You hit that on the nail head! I got a feeling that even if the CIA got data beyond the TOR points, they would not and could not reveal their methods anyway – so bringing it up as actionable intelligence is about as useful as to whether there was WDM in Iraq.

  16. how come ,usa security is so weak? why its like countries like latvia,estonia and finland secured, you can not steal from bank accounts there, just there is no ways.
    and other things like cyber police is very strong,so how come usa keeping cyber door opened? how come
    its fact that goverment can stop everything what they want.
    now in uk coming voice verification system soon…this is other joke,criminals allready are equiped and they will record the real person voice, to be honest all this is joke.
    try to to do any cybercrime in russia.. police will haunt you down and will beat you up real bad. so in russia is allmost impossible to do any crime at all. same thing in ukraine,you take from wron person you will be tied up in forest lol
    its just funny how the usa can not do anything about it?

  17. Good write up, Krabs.

    Based on all of this highly-publicized hacking over the last year, do you think it’s an issue that will continue to be spotlighted such as it is now? There are PLENTY of things that I would assume could be leaked about what’s going on…

    Will we be reading about every Poliician that has his email hijacked? Or, will this (political debate) slowly dissipate over the coming months.

    I mean, OPM was a big deal (kind of). But it only stayed in the news for maybe a month or two before everyone was bored with it. The Target, Home Depot, and Sony breaches affected several times more of the “general populace” than this did (per se) and on a more personal level.

    Furthermore, why is it that this has caught the attention of so many people in such a dramatic way? Intelligence, counter-intelligence, espionage, and hacking isn’t really “new” news and has been around for ever.

    I personally can’t understand why this is such a hot topic for everyone to debate. [Arguably] this happens regularly and shouldn’t be a surprise nor all that concerning.

    • “OPM was a big deal (kind of)”

      You are right it was a big deal, but not just kind of. The OPM breach should be considered the most devastating breach in US History and all other breaches fail in comparison. The amount of PII data contained in the OPM Breach far exceeds the PII contents of Target or Home Depot or even the hack on Sony. I would like for you to go look up “Single Scope Background Investigation” and then google Standard Form 86, shortened to SF86 for ease of googling. You will see the amount of data that is required in a SSBI to gain a Top Secret Clearance. The form is long, and when they check your background they not only go to the people you list, but they ask those people if there is anyone else the investigator can talk to, and it continues. So please do not downplay the OPM Data Breach.

      • Quite the opposite. Although you can’t necessarily “read” the sarcasm in my comment, it was there.

        I completely agree with you on the severity of the OPM breach. The results of that data being ex-filtrated will not be known for quite some time, if nothing more than to store the names of people in a large, [already populated] database on a Chinese server.

        My point in mentioning OPM, Target, and etc. was to point out that in terms of objective “results” those breaches were ‘devastating’ in comparison; yet this has much more comprehensive “coverage”.

        My main point throughout this whole scene from an overly dramatic play-scene is that it is dramatically blown out of proportion. Target, OPM, and etc. didn’t fit into a Political narrative whereas Russia meddling in a Democratic Election does… specifically ‘this’ election.

  18. rox, I can only be in complete agreement with Binney as you.
    First, when an ex-NSA employee stated ” the NSA has all of Hillary’s emails”. He was correct! The Fed /Military spend very serious dollars on people and equipment to stay ahead. The presently employed Intelligence heads are liars at the least. And there are federal laws that shall be applied to these traitors that create “false” data , and or statements as this directly impinges the ability to thwart any comers that attack our National Security.
    Trump asked the question: Why did Intelligence brief/release to NBC before him (Trump) We know. And ye,s these bastards at NBC can be arrested and held under The Espionage Act -I believe.

    • @C/od

      A couple things…

      First, the Government does spend countless, billions of dollars [trying] to stay ahead. But sometimes, as you mentioned, people lie, and/or the intel is incorrect or mis-representative of correctness.

      For example: WMD’s in Iraq. We never found them although very credible and substantial intelligence data suggested they were there.

      Another example: 9/11. We had substantial and credible data suggesting that there was going to be a major terrorist attack, but could not prevent it from happening.

      I think the problem here isn’t necessarily that our heads of intelligence are “lying”. But more so that they have a metric butt-load of intelligence data which is suggesting that their conclusion is correct.

      Could it be wrong? Yes. Is it wrong? Not according to them, who just so happen to be our most credible and legitimate source.

      The problem the US has with intelligence of any form in 2016 is the amount of intelligence data they have. US Intelligence Agencies are incredibly good at gathering information. Lots and lots of information. But when thaey aggregate that data, a picture is built that can point them in the wrong direction or cause them to over emphasize a menial detail.

      Key here being, yes, the Russains did do as the Intelligence report suggests. US Intelligence has enough credible and substantial data to prove that is correct. However, the agenda of the sources of information outside of the intelligence report is different. Wrong, right, or indifferent, the agenda is the problem. That and the fact that the Intelligence Agencies are being forced to respond to political agendas rather than focusing on collecting, aggregating, and providing correct information [in this case].

  19. Just supposing that the Russian govt broke into DNC.org, stole email and other data, and then broadcast it through a third party. What does that data say about the DNC? Ethics? Morals? Betrayal? Conspiracies against The Bern? I think the DNC has some soul searching to do.

  20. We seem to forget the 146million Russians living under the info system Putin has set up.
    If you think USA is a victim spare a thought for all those greater victims in Russia.

  21. (Although I’m sure Brian would agree) Why is it that it is okay for the US State Department to apparently hand taxpayer-funded grants, worth $350,000, to the OneVoice Movement; which is an anti-Bibi movement against Netanyahu, and has tirelessly been trying to sabotage his political campaigns; but on the other hand, any suspected Russian meddling in our institutions is so terrible??!!

    I mean Podesta’s password was “password” for crying out loud! Now if you don’t believe that – then why are they making such a stink over something Julian Assange published in the first place? Either it is fact or not is the first major question – how it was obtained is another, but I have already addressed the latter in the first part of this comment. You have to ask yourselves about all this hand wringing of the discovery of the truth – which is worse? – the way they got the truth, or the content of the data that has been admitted as the truth? I thought Americans were for Truth, Justice, and the American way? Are truth and justice antithetical?

  22. columbus_via LA

    Three points:
    1) Yes, the US government has been interfering in foreign elections since 1946, often violently. Too bad this tidbit (minus the violence part) didn’t appear until mid-article.
    2) Yes RT is a pro-Russian government propaganda tool. So are most American “information” media: if not just through actual intent, then at least through sheer laziness and ineptitude. The latter fact never made the cut here.
    3) Throughout all of this saga, hacks are implicitly conflated with leaks: which goes a long way toward creating a victim mythology around the Clinton campaign and its operatives. Which also sustains the misdirection away from the facts that were actually revealed by the leaks.

    • 3) Throughout all of this saga, hacks are implicitly conflated with leaks: which goes a long way toward creating a victim mythology around the Clinton campaign and its operatives. Which also sustains the misdirection away from the facts that were actually revealed by the leaks.


  23. I did not then, nor do I feel now that Putin (or anything Russian) influenced my vote at all. I see no reason for me to give any consideration to whatever desire may be felt by any outside government when it concerns my vote (whatever that vote may be).

    This is a non-issue. I don’t care what Putin thinks, feels, or wants. He is not an American citizen. He has no say in the matter.

    I know who the Clintons are (atleast well enough for this). I did not need Putin to do anything to suggest that Clinton was a bad choice. I already knew she was a bad choice. Clinton would never have been given my vote. No matter what else might have happened. I would not have voted for Clinton even if Trump were not part of the equation.

    This entire thing is completely ridiculous. Who cares what Putin wants? Clinton did herself in. She failed. Influence by the Russian government (or any other government) was not needed. She failed. It is not about anyone ‘cozying up to Trump’. That is all just bs.

    Ok, so there might be proof somewhere that Putin exerted some influence. Putin is not the person in Washing running illegal email servers. Putin is not the one trying to hide decades of illegal activity from the voting public. Putin is also not the one running for president. Clinton had a job to do. That job was to convince enough of the American voting population that she should be president. She failed. Trump succeeded in this. He did not succeed because of anything Putin did. Trump succeeded because of what Trump did and because of what Clinton did.

  24. What bothers me is the “holier then thou” attitude in all this. A couple of comments sort of hit at this, but it may be easier to name the countries we (the US) have NOT interfered with than to name the ones we have.

  25. Wow. And yet again the report AND Intelligence Director Clapper say they have NO evidence and NO proof that any vote or vote total were changed. So it seems that only low information people would think this happened.

    • columbus_via LA

      I can think of no more despicable character in the present regime than the pathological liar Clapper. A pox–make that the terminal “clap”–on him!!

  26. Unless people change it is forward over the cliff.


    Extinction is forever.

  27. Im sorry Krebs but this story is Bias as hell .. With very little proof if any .. Not impressed at all ..

    Better stick with some Script kiddies ..

  28. Compared to the reportsabout the Saddams’s weapons of mass destruction, how much is this report reliable?

  29. I’d had a point to the list of “immutable truths” at the end of the article:

    If you use voting machines instead of votes on paper, everybody will be able to whine that the vote was altered, without any possibility for both parts of proving or denying it.