May 31, 2019 – The DOJ admits the FBI has never seen an unredacted version of the Crowdstrike report on the DNC Russian hacking claim
“The foundation for the Russian election interference narrative is built on the claim of Russians hacking the servers of the Democrat National Committee (DNC), and subsequently releasing damaging emails that showed the DNC worked to help Hillary Clinton and eliminate Bernie Sanders.
Despite the Russian ‘hacking’ claim the DOJ previously admitted the DNC would not let FBI investigators review the DNC server. Instead the DNC provided the FBI with analysis of a technical review done through a cyber-security contract with Crowdstrike.
The narrative around the DNC hack claim was always sketchy; many people believe the DNC email data was downloaded onto a flash drive and leaked. In a court filing (full pdf below) the scale of sketchy has increased exponentially.
Suspecting they could prove the Russian hacking claim was false, lawyers representing Roger Stone requested the full Crowdstrike report on the DNC hack. When the DOJ responded to the Stone motion they made a rather significant admission. Not only did the FBI not review the DNC server, the FBI/DOJ never even saw the Crowdstrike report.
Yes, that is correct. The FBI and DOJ were only allowed to see a “draft” report prepared by Crowdstrike, and that report was redacted… and that redacted draft is the “last version of the report produced”; meaning, there are no unredacted & final versions.
This means the FBI and DOJ, and all of the downstream claims by the intelligence apparatus; including the December 2016 Joint Analysis Report and January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, all the way to the Weissmann/Mueller report and the continued claims therein; were based on the official intelligence agencies of the U.S. government and the U.S. Department of Justice taking the word of a hired contractor for the Democrat party….. despite their inability to examine the server and/or actually see an unredacted technical forensic report from the investigating contractor.
The entire apparatus of the U.S. government just took their word for it…
…and used the claim therein as an official position…
…which led to a subsequent government claim, in court, of absolute certainty that Russia hacked the DNC.
Think about that for a few minutes.
The full intelligence apparatus of the United States government is relying on a report they have never even been allowed to see or confirm; that was created by a paid contractor for a political victim that would not allow the FBI to investigate their claim.
The DNC server issue is foundation, and cornerstone, of the U.S. government’s position on “Russia hacking” and the election interference narrative; and that narrative is based on zero factual evidence to affirm the U.S. government’s position.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 6/15/2019)
May 16, 2019 – The “Steele” dossier source who falsely claimed there was a Russian Consulate in Miami was ALSO a source for the Moscow “pee tape”
A partial Twitter thread by independent researcher, Undercover Huber @JohnWHuber:
“The “Steele” dossier source who falsely claimed there was a Russian Consulate in Miami was ALSO a source for the Moscow “pee tape” AND **the key source** alleging an “extensive conspiracy” between the Trump campaign & Russia involving Manafort and Page 🚨
Christopher Steele tells State Dept. Official Kathleen Kavalec on Oct 11 2016 that a “human/technical operation run out of Moscow targeting the election” is “hacking” and “recruiting” and “payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian Consulate in Miami.”
Kavalec (likely after a cursory search) says “It is important to note there is no Russian Consulate in Miami.” 🚨
This is critical to the credibility of Steele’s source for this “payments to hackers” allegation: if they’re wrong about “Miami” what *else* are they wrong about? 🤔
N.B: Kavalec was right: at the time, the Russian Consulate in Florida was 450 km away from Miami, in Tampa (apparently in the same building as the US Commerce Dept.) – literally a 60 second Google search would have shown that this allegation about payments from “Miami” was false.
(FYI: These notes from Kavalec are immediately forwarded to Stephen Laycock in FBI Counterintelligence, who then passes them on to Peter Strzok (note: the Page FISA is generated out of the Counterespionage section [CD4] of the Counterintelligence division, which Strzok supervises.)
Here is the part of Steele’s dossier about the “Miami” payments to “cyber operators” (i.e. hackers) “based in the U.S.” and it is attributed to…
…”SOURCE E” 🚨
(“Miami” is not mentioned anywhere else in the dossier except attributed to Source E)
Source E also “confirms” the Trump/hookers “pee tape” allegations and provides an introduction to a Ritz-Carlton hotel employee for validation of this kompromat allegation.
Steele even tells Kavalec that he’s only “persuaded the story about the prostitutes is accurate” *BECAUSE OF SOURCE E*. The same guy who doesn’t know where the Russian Consulate is in Florida? Yep, he’s the Pee Tape confirmation.
Reminder: Intel sources called Steele “meticulous” with a “formidable record.”
Back to Source E. He is *also* the primary source for “Steele’s” explosive claim of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between [Trump] and the Russian leadership”, which is managed by Paul Manafort via @carterwpage, including the DNC hacking/release to Wikileaks. 🚨
That allegation of a conspiracy involving Page and members of the Trump campaign to interfere in the election in “coordination” with Russia is what the FBI/DOJ swore they believed to the FISA court. “Conspiracy” is also the exact word needed to implicate potential federal crimes.
- The FBI should have known there was no Russian Consulate in Miami *themselves*, when they attempted to verify the dossier claims
- Even if the FBI didn’t try and properly verify the dossier (likely), Kavalec told the FBI this fact explicitly *BEFORE THE FISA*
- So, Steele’s SOURCE E for the “Miami” payments is giving Steele FALSE information, either mistakenly, or worse: deliberately
- The next logical source verification step once the FBI realizes this is to check all of the *other* allegations made by SOURCE E as they’re also suspect
There is no evidence that the FBI/DOJ even tried to verify the dossier before the FISA, and no evidence they even informed the FISC that SOURCE E was potentially unreliable after the first FISA was sought.
And it gets worse… (Read more: Undercover Huber, 5/16/2019)
(Timeline editor’s note: We believe there are several timeline entries that suggest Cody Shearer could be Source E. You can find his tag archive HERE:)
- Carter Page
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Cody Shearer
- DNC hack
- FBI Counterintelligence Division
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FISA application
- Kathleen Kavalec
- May 2019
- Moscow pee tape
- Paul Manafort
- payments to hackers
- Peter Strzok
- Ritz-Carlton Moscow
- Russia collusion
- Russian Miami Consulate
- Source E
- Stephen Laycock
- Trump campaign
November 28, 2018 – Opinion: The Guardian’s Manafort story looks like an effort to create Trump Collusion Narrative Three
By: Margot Cleveland
“On Tuesday The Guardian ran an exclusive claiming that “Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign.” According to The Guardian, Manafort met with the WikiLeaks’ founder at the embassy three times—in 2013, 2015, and in spring 2016.
While acknowledging that the purpose of the claimed meeting is unknown, The Guardian implies Manafort’s supposed March 2016 secret rendezvous concerned WikiLeaks’ role in releasing the hacked Democratic National Committee emails. “The revelation could shed new light on the sequence of events in the run-up to summer 2016, when WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of emails hacked by the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency,” The Guardian wrote.”
(…) “what is clear is that The Guardian’s story was read round the world. Major media outlets quickly regurgitated the tale that “Manafort held secret talks with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange around the time he joined Trump’s campaign.”
The timing of Tuesday’s story suggests a concerted effort to craft a new Trump collusion narrative. Just the day before, in a court filing, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team claimed Manafort violated his plea agreement by lying to federal agents “on a variety of subject matters” that would be detailed later in a sentencing submission.
Manafort, who pleaded guilty earlier this year in a Washington D.C. federal court to two criminal counts related to foreign lobbying, denies lying to the FBI or the special counsel’s office, but The Guardian’s story now gives the public cause to imagine that Manafort’s purported prevarication concerned his supposed meeting with Assange in March 2016.
Tuesday also saw CNN contributor Carl Bernstein furthering the narrative that Manafort served as the Russia connection. According to the former Watergate reporter, Mueller’s team is investigating a 2017 meeting between Manafort and the Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. Bernstein reported that “according to a source with personal knowledge of the matter,” the special counsel is inquiring whether Manafort discussed WikiLeaks or Assange when he met with Moreno.
While CNN acknowledged that Moreno had previously stated that his 2017 meeting with Manafort involved a group of Chinese investors hoping to privatize the country’s electrical services, the goal of Bernstein’s source seems clear: to connect Manafort to Assange. That goal coincides with the story pushed by The Guardian’s two unnamed sources.
Here, the public would be wise to remember that The Guardian’s story represents the third attempt to connect the Trump campaign to the Russian hacking of the DNC emails in an effort to convince the American public that the Republican presidential candidate colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.” (Read more: The Federalist, 11/28/2018)
August 30, 2018 – An internal Fusion GPS report undercuts Clinton/Steele dossier allegation against Russian executive
“In an effort to bolster the Steele dossier, Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the infamous report, tapped one of its contractors to investigate a Russian businessman accused of hacking Democrats’ computer systems.
But that contractor, a Russia expert named Edward Baumgartner, came back with something that was perhaps disappointing to Fusion GPS. According to an internal Fusion GPS report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, Baumgartner’s Russian sources painted the Russian, Aleksej Gubarev, in largely positive terms. Unlikely, the sources claimed, had Gubarev taken part in the hacking operation, as former British spy Christopher Steele claimed in his dossier.
“Our interviews of people familiar with Gubarev paint a picture of a relatively well-known person in the IT sector with an entirely positive reputation as a successful self-made entrepreneur,” reads the five-page report, which was provided as evidence in a lawsuit that Gubarev filed against BuzzFeed News.
“Our sources were uncertain about Gubarev’s alleged ties to the hacking and collection of compromising material on Trump. Their lack of certainty is entirely understandable given the highly secretive nature of intelligence work, on the one hand, and the technical difficulty of establishing someone’s potential ties to hacking.”
A lawyer for Gubarev pressed Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch about the Baumgartner report during an Aug. 30, 2018, deposition. Fritsch confirmed Baumgartner, a Fusion GPS contractor who speaks Russian, filed the report, which is labeled “PRIVILEGED & CONFIDENTIAL.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/15/2019)
October 24, 2017 – Trump urges CIA director Mike Pompeo to meet with former NSA official, William Binney
“CIA Director Mike Pompeo met late last month with a former U.S. intelligence official who has become an advocate for a disputed theory that the theft of the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the 2016 presidential campaign was an inside job, rather than a hack by Russian intelligence.
Pompeo met on October 24 with William Binney, a former National Security Agency official-turned-whistleblower who co-authored an analysis published by a group of former intelligence officials that challenges the U.S. intelligence community’s official assessment that Russian intelligence was behind last year’s theft of data from DNC computers. Binney and the other former officials argue that the DNC data was “leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to the DNC’s computer system.
In an interview with The Intercept, Binney said Pompeo told him that President Donald Trump had urged the CIA director to meet with Binney to discuss his assessment that the DNC data theft was an inside job. During their hour-long meeting at CIA headquarters, Pompeo said Trump told him that if Pompeo “want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” Binney said.
A senior intelligence source confirmed that Pompeo met with Binney to discuss his analysis, and that the CIA director held the meeting at Trump’s urging. The Intercept’s account of the meeting is based on interviews with Binney, the senior intelligence source, a colleague who accompanied Binney to CIA headquarters, and others who Binney told about the meeting. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment. “As a general matter, we do not comment on the Director’s schedule,” said Dean Boyd, director of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs.” (The Intercept, 11/07/2017)
July 24, 2017 – Intel vets challenge ‘Russia Hack’ evidence
In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, cite new forensic studies to challenge the claim of the key Jan. 6 “assessment” that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last year.
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?
Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer. After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device.
Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying was performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].
Independent analyst Skip Folden, who retired after 25 years as the IBM Program Manager for Information Technology, US, who examined the recent forensic findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum. He has drafted a more detailed technical report titled “Cyber-Forensic Investigation of ‘Russian Hack’ and Missing Intelligence Community Disclaimers,” and sent it to the offices of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. VIPS member William Binney, a former Technical Director at the National Security Agency, and other senior NSA “alumni” in VIPS attest to the professionalism of the independent forensic findings.
The recent forensic studies fill in a critical gap. Why the FBI neglected to perform any independent forensics on the original “Guccifer 2.0” material remains a mystery – as does the lack of any sign that the “hand-picked analysts” from the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who wrote the “Intelligence Community Assessment” dated January 6, 2017, gave any attention to forensics.” (Read more: Consortium News, 7/24/2017)
February 2017 – Comey intervenes to kill a limited immunity deal arranged between the DOJ and Julian Assange
(…) “This yarn begins in January 2017 when Assange’s legal team approached Waldman — known for his government connections — to see if the new Trump administration would negotiate with the WikiLeaks founder, holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy. They hoped Waldman, a former Clinton Justice Department official, might navigate the U.S. law enforcement bureaucracy and find the right people to engage.”
(…) “Assange had a bargaining chip: The U.S. government knew he had a massive trove of documents from classified CIA computers, identifying sensitive assets and chronicling the agency’s offensive cyber warfare weapons.
Waldman contacted Ohr, a Justice official he’d met during the Russia election case. They talked by phone and encrypted text messages in early January, then met Feb. 3, 2017, in Washington, records show. In between, Waldman met three times with Assange in London.”
(…) “Ohr consulted his chain of command and the intelligence community about what appeared to be an extraordinary overture that raised hopes the government could negotiate what Assange would release and what he might redact, to protect the names of exposed U.S. officials.
Assange made clear through the lawyer that he would never compromise his sources, or stop publishing information, but was willing to consider concessions like redactions.”
(…) “The shuttle diplomacy soon resulted in an informal offer — known in government parlance as a “Queen for a Day” proffer — in which Assange identified what he wanted and what he might give.
“Subject to adequate and binding protections, including but not limited to an acceptable immunity and safe passage agreement, Mr. Assange welcomes the opportunity to discuss with the U.S. government risk mitigation approaches relating to CIA documents in WikiLeaks’ possession or control, such as the redaction of agency personnel in hostile jurisdictions and foreign espionage risks to WikiLeaks staff,” Waldman wrote Laufman on March 28, 2017.
Not included in the written proffer was an additional offer from Assange: He was willing to discuss technical evidence ruling out certain parties in the controversial leak of Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 election. The U.S. government believes those emails were hacked by Russia; Assange insists they did not come from Moscow.
“Mr. Assange offered to provide technical evidence and discussion regarding who did not engage in the DNC releases,” Waldman told me. “Finally, he offered his technical expertise to the U.S. government to help address what he perceived as clear flaws in security systems that led to the loss of the U.S. cyber weapons program.”
(…) “But an unexpected intervention by Comey — relayed through Warner — soured the negotiations, multiple sources tell me. Assange eventually unleashed a series of leaks that U.S. officials say damaged their cyber warfare capabilities for a long time to come.
What U.S. officials did not fully comprehend was that an earlier event weighed heavily on the Assange team’s distrust of U.S. intentions.
Just a few days after the negotiations opened in mid-February, Waldman reached out to Sen. Warner; the lawyer wanted to see if Senate Intelligence Committee staff wanted any contact with Assange, to ask about Russia or other issues.
Warner engaged with Waldman over encrypted text messages, then reached out to Comey. A few days later, Warner contacted Waldman with an unexpected plea.
“He told me he had just talked with Comey and that, while the government was appreciative of my efforts, my instructions were to stand down, to end the discussions with Assange,” Waldman told me. Waldman offered contemporaneous documents to show he memorialized Warner’s exact words.” (Read more: The Hill, 6/25/2018)
December 30, 2016 – The credibility of cyber firm Crowdstrike, claiming Russia hacked the DNC, comes under serious question
“The cyber security firm hired to inspect the DNC hack and determine who was responsible is a firm called Crowdstrike. Its conclusion that Russia was responsible was released last year, but several people began to call its analysis into question upon further inspection.
Jeffrey Carr was one of the most prominent cynics, and as he noted in his December post, FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report: A Fatally Flawed Effort:
The FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report (JAR) “Grizzly Steppe” was released yesterday as part of the White House’s response to alleged Russian government interference in the 2016 election process. It adds nothing to the call for evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC, the DCCC, the email accounts of Democratic party officials, or for delivering the content of those hacks to Wikileaks.
It merely listed every threat group ever reported on by a commercial cybersecurity company that is suspected of being Russian-made and lumped them under the heading of Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) without providing any supporting evidence that such a connection exists.
Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words — malware deployed is malware enjoyed!
If ESET could do it, so can others. It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.
If the White House had unclassified evidence that tied officials in the Russian government to the DNC attack, they would have presented it by now. The fact that they didn’t means either that the evidence doesn’t exist or that it is classified.
If it’s classified, an independent commission should review it because this entire assignment of blame against the Russian government is looking more and more like a domestic political operation run by the White House that relied heavily on questionable intelligence generated by a for-profit cybersecurity firm with a vested interest in selling “attribution-as-a-service”.
Nevertheless, countless people, including the entirety of the corporate media, put total faith in the analysis of Crowdstrike despite the fact that the FBI was denied access to perform its own analysis. Which makes me wonder, did the U.S. government do any real analysis of its own on the DNC hack, or did it just copy/paste Crowdstrike?
As The Hill reported in January:
The FBI requested direct access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) hacked computer servers but was denied, Director James Comey told lawmakers on Tuesday.
The bureau made “multiple requests at different levels,” according to Comey, but ultimately struck an agreement with the DNC that a “highly respected private company” would get access and share what it found with investigators.
“We’d always prefer to have access hands-on ourselves if that’s possible,” Comey said, noting that he didn’t know why the DNC rebuffed the FBI’s request.
This is nuts. Are all U.S. government agencies simply listening to what Crowdstike said in coming to their “independent” conclusions that Russia hacked the DNC? If so, that’s a huge problem. Particularly considering what Voice of America published yesterday in a piece titled, Cyber Firm at Center of Russian Hacking Charges Misread Data:
An influential British think tank and Ukraine’s military are disputing a report that the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has used to buttress its claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election.
The CrowdStrike report, released in December, asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists.
But the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened.
The challenges to CrowdStrike’s credibility are significant because the firm was the first to link last year’s hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors, and because CrowdStrike co-founder Dimiti Alperovitch has trumpeted its Ukraine report as more evidence of Russian election tampering.“
October 15, 2016 – Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon, publishes a video on Twitter, accusing Trump of colluding with Russia
September 9, 2016 – Clinton presidential running mate, Tim Kaine, suggests Trump encouraged Russia to hack the DNC
Clinton presidential running mate Tim Kaine, associates Trump and Russia with the DNC hack during a CBS This Morning interview on September 9, 2016.
Yet, according to the New York Times and details provided in the DNC’s lawsuit against Russia and the Trump campaign, Russia’s alleged cyberattack on the DNC began just weeks after Trump announced his candidacy for president in June 2015.