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
May 9, 2019 – Who Were the Mueller Report’s Hired Guns?
By: Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations
“Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent more than $732,000 on outside contractors, including private investigators and researchers, records show, but his office refuses to say who they were. While it’s not unusual for special government offices to outsource for services such as computer support, Mueller also hired contractors to compile “investigative reports” and other “information.”
The arrangement has led congressional investigators, government watchdog groups and others to speculate that the private investigators and researchers who worked for the special counsel’s office might have included Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS, the private research firm that hired Steele to produce the Russia collusion dossier for the Clinton campaign.
They suspect the dossier creators may have been involved in Mueller’s operation – and even had a hand in his final report – because the special counsel sent his team to London to meet with Steele within a few months of taking over the Russia collusion investigation in 2017. Also, Mueller’s lead prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, had shared information he received from Fusion with the media.
Raising additional suspicions, Mueller’s report recycles the general allegations leveled in the dossier. And taking a page from earlier surveillance-warrant applications in the Russia investigation, it cites as supporting evidence several articles – including one by Yahoo! News – that used Steele and Fusion as sources.
Mueller even kept alive one of the dossier’s most obscene accusations – that Moscow had “compromising tapes” of Trump with Russian hookers – by slipping into a footnote an October 2016 text Trump lawyer Michael Cohen received from a “Russian businessman,” who cryptically intimated, “Stopped flow of tapes from Russia.” Lawyers for the businessman, Giorgi Rtskhiladze (who is actually a Georgian-American), are demanding a retraction of the footnote, arguing Mueller omitted the part of his text where he said he did not believe the rumor about the tapes, for which no evidence has ever surfaced.
Mueller’s reliance on the Steele dossier is raising questions because it occurred long after FBI Director James B. Comey described the dossier as “salacious and unverified.”
U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the report should be renamed “The Mueller Dossier,” because he says it contains a lot of similar innuendo. Even though Mueller failed to corroborate key allegations leveled in the dossier, Nunes said his report twists key facts to put a collusion gloss on events. He also asserted that it selectively quotes from Trump campaign emails and omits exculpatory information in ways that cast the campaign’s activities in the most sinister light.
Steele’s 17-memo dossier alleged that the Trump campaign was involved in “a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Russian government to rig the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor. It claimed this conspiracy “was managed on the Trump side by Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, who was using foreign policy adviser Carter Page and others as intermediaries.” Specifically, the dossier accused Page of secretly meeting with Kremlin officials in July 2016 to hatch a plot to release dirt on Hillary Clinton. And it accused Manafort of being corrupted by Russian President Vladimir Putin through his puppets in the Ukraine.
Likewise, Mueller’s report focuses on Manafort and Page and whether they “committed crimes by colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”
Though the investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government, the Mueller report implies there may be a kernel of truth to the dossier’s charges.
“In July 2016, Campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page traveled in his personal capacity to Moscow and gave the keynote address at the New Economic School,” according to the section on him. “Page had lived and worked in Russia between 2003 and 2007. After returning to the United States, Page became acquainted with at least two Russian intelligence officers, one of whom was later charged in 2015 with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Russia.”
Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, heads to a news conference at RIA Novosti news agency in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Page said he was in Moscow on a visit to meet with businessmen and politicians.
Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow and his advocacy for pro-Russian foreign policy drew media attention,” Mueller’s narrative continued. “July 2016 was also the month WikiLeaks first released emails stolen by the GRU [Russian intelligence] from the DNC.”
“Page acknowledged that he understood that the individuals he has associated with were members of the Russian intelligence services,” the report added, implying that Page in the 2015 case (referenced above) knowingly cavorted with Russian spies, which echoes charges Steele made in his dossier.
But federal court records make it clear that Page did not know that those men were Russian agents.
Mueller also left out of his report a detail RealClearInvestigations has previously reported: that Page was a cooperating witness in the case in question, helping the FBI eventually put a Russian agent behind bars in 2016. Nor did Mueller see fit to include in his report another exculpatory detail revealed in agent Gregory Mohaghan’s complaint and reported earlier by RCI — namely, that the Russians privately referred to Page as “an idiot” who was unworthy of recruitment.
Excluding such details is curious, given that the Mueller report quotes from the same FBI complaint and cites it in its footnotes. Similarly, in its section dealing with Manafort, the Mueller report echoes the dossier’s claims that the Trump campaign chairman was in cahoots with the Kremlin, even though Mueller never charged him with conspiring to collude with Russia.
The special prosecutor’s report indicated that one of Manafort’s Kremlin handlers was Konstantin Kilimnik.
“Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election,” it said. “That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. It also included discussion of ‘battleground’ states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.”
Except that this wouldn’t have been an unusual conversation: Kilimnik was a longtime Manafort employee who ran the Ukraine office of his lobbying firm. Footnotes in Mueller’s report show that Manafort shared campaign information to impress a former business partner, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was suing him over financial losses. Mueller failed to tie the information exchange to Russian espionage. He also failed to mention that Deripaska is an FBI informant.
Mueller’s team worked closely with dossier author Steele, a long-retired British intelligence officer who worked for the Clinton campaign. Mueller’s investigators went to London to consult with Steele for at least two days in September 2017 while apparently using his dossier as an investigative road map and central theory to his collusion case. Steele now runs a private research and consulting firm in London, Orbis Business Intelligence.
It’s not clear if Mueller’s office paid Steele, but recently released FBI records show the bureau previously made a number of payments to him, and at one point during the 2016 campaign offered him $50,000 to continue his dossier research. Steele was also paid through the Clinton campaign, earning $168,000 for his work on the dossier.
Expenditure statements show that the Special Counsel’s Office outsourced “investigative reports” and “information” to third-party contractors during Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian “collusion” during the 2016 presidential election.
Over the past few months, Mueller’s office has rejected several formal requests from RealClearInvestigations for contract details, including who was hired and how much they were paid.
Washington-based Judicial Watch suspects Mueller’s office may have farmed out work to the private Washington research firm Fusion GPS or its subcontractor Steele, both of whom were paid by the Clinton camp during the 2016 presidential election. Several law enforcement and Hill sources who spoke with RCI also believe Steele and Fusion GPS were deputized in the investigation.
The government watchdog group has requested that the Justice Department turn over the contracting records, along with all budget requests Mueller submitted to the attorney general during his nearly two-year investigation. It’s also requested all communications between the Special Counsel’s Office and the private contractors it used.
A Judicial Watch spokesman said its Freedom of Information Act request is pending.
Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined comment when asked specifically if Mueller’s team hired or collaborated with Fusion GPS or any of its subcontractors. Mueller took over the FBI’s Russia probe in May 2017, whereupon he hired many of the agents who handled Steele and pored over his dossier.
For the first reporting period ending Sept. 30, 2017, and covering just four months, the Special Counsel’s Office reported paying $867 to unnamed contractors for “investigative reports/information,” along with $3,554 in “miscellaneous” payments to contractors.
In the next reporting period ending March 31, 2018, the office stopped breaking out investigative reports and information as a separate line item, lumping such contractual services under the category “Other,” which accounted for a total of $10,812, or more than 4% of the total spending on outside contracts.
For the six months ending Dona – the latest reporting period for which there is data – Mueller’s office showed a total of $310,732 in payments to outside contractors. For the first time, it did not break out such expenses into subcategories, though it noted that the lion’s share of the $310,000 was spent on “IT services.”
Mueller concluded his investigation and delivered his final report in March. The next expenditure report, for the period October 2018-March 2019, will cover contract work directly tied to compiling the report.
Asked if the contracting details were classified, Carr demurred. If the information is not deemed classified, it must be made public, Judicial Watch maintains.
Republican critics on the Hill say Mueller’s written narrative was slanted to give the impression there still might be something to the dossier’s most salacious allegations, even though Mueller found no evidence corroborating them or establishing that Trump or his campaign coordinated or cooperated with Russian meddling in the election.
“Whoever wrote the report leaves you with the idea there’s still something to all the allegations of collusion that were first promoted by the dossier,” said a witness who was interviewed by Mueller’s investigators late in the probe and is referenced in the report.
In a section on Donald Trump Jr., moreover, the report gives the misimpression that the president’s oldest son was collaborating with WikiLeaks on the release of the Clinton campaign emails.
“Donald Trump Jr. had direct electronic communications with WikiLeaks during the campaign period,” it stated.
In fact, Trump got an unsolicited message through his Twitter account from WikiLeaks. He described the outreach as “weird” in an email to senior Trump campaign staff at the time. Other contemporaneous messages make it clear he had no advance knowledge about any Clinton emails released by WikiLeaks.
The FBI first began receiving memos from Steele’s dossier in early July 2016 and used the documents as the foJeundation for its October 2016 application for a warrant to wiretap the private communications of Page. These milestones are missing from the Mueller report’s chronology of events. In fact, neither Steele nor his dossier is mentioned by name anywhere in the first half of the report dealing with collusion, though their allegations are hashed out.
Some Mueller critics are focused on the role played by his top prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter with longstanding ties to Steele and Fusion GPS.
“Weissman had a lot to do with the way the report was written,” said author Jerome Corsi, who, as a friend of Trump confidant Roger Stone, was targeted by Mueller. “That’s why it’s basically a political document.”
Corsi said he spent more than 40 hours with Mueller’s prosecutors and investigators, who grilled him about possible ties to WikiLeaks but never charged him with a crime.
Formerly a top Justice Department official under Obama, Weissmann not only donated to Clinton’s presidential campaign but also attended her election-night party in New York City in November 2016. Three months earlier, he was briefed on Steele’s dossier and other dirt provided by the Clinton contractor and paid FBI informant. In early 2017, Weissmann helped advance the Russia collusion narrative by personally sharing Steele’s and Fusion’s dirt on Trump and his advisers with Washington reporters.
In an April 2017 meeting he arranged at his office, Weissmann gave guidance to four Associated Press reporters who were investigating Manafort, according to internal FBI documents.
Among other things, they discussed rumors that Manafort used “some of the money from shell companies to buy expensive suits.” A month later, Weissmann became the lead prosecutor handling the Manafort case for Mueller. His February 2018 indictment of Manafort highlights, among other things, the Trump adviser’s taste for expensive suits.
Attempts to reach Weissmann for comment were unsuccessful.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said there are signs Mueller may have hired “researchers” like Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who worked with Steele on the dossier, along with Edward Baumgartner and Nellie Ohr, who have worked for Fusion GPS, which originally hired Steele in June 2016 after contracting with the Clinton campaign.
“I ran into Glenn at the 2017 Aspen Security [Forum], and I distinctly remember him leaning in and claiming he was working for the government,” said one associate, who wished to remain anonymous.
Congressional investigators say Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, has been feeding Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate investigative tips regarding Trump and his associates, including Manafort.
In 2017, for instance, he urged Democrats specifically to look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank, which has financed some of Trump’s businesses, because he suspected some of the funding may have been laundered through Russia.
Around the time Simpson began coordinating with Democratic investigators looking into Trump’s bank records, Mueller subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for financial records for Manafort and other individuals affiliated with Trump.
Simpson did not return calls and emails seeking comment.
Founded by the journalist-turned-opposition researcher, Fusion has rehired Steele to continue his anti-Trump work with millions of dollars in left-wing funding from The Democracy Integrity Project, a Washington-based nonprofit started in 2017 by former FBI analyst Daniel Jones, who also worked for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
In March 2017, Jones met with FBI agents to provide them data he collected from IT specialists he hired to analyze web traffic between servers maintained by the Trump Organization and a Russian bank mentioned in the dossier. The traffic turned out to be innocuous marketing emails, or spam. (RealClearInvestigations, 5/09/2019)
(This and all other original articles created by RealClearInvestigations may be republished for free with attribution. These terms do not apply to outside articles linked on the site.)
- Andrew Weissmann
- Carter Page
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton campaign
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Devin Nunes
- Donald Trump Jr.
- Edward Baumgartner
- Fusion GPS
- Glenn Simpson
- Gregory Mohaghan
- House Intelligence Committee
- Jerome Corsi
- Konstantin Kilimnik
- May 2019
- Michael Cohen
- Mueller Report
- Nellie Ohr
- Oleg Deripaska
- Paul Manafort
- private contractors
- Robert Mueller
- Russia collusion
April 11, 2019 – Hillary Clinton says newly arrested Julian Assange needs to “answer for what he has done”
“Hillary Clinton said on Thursday newly arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange needs to “answer for what he has done.” The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former US secretary of state weighed in on Assange at an event in New York for her and husband Bill Clinton’s speaking tour. Clinton also joked that Assange was the only foreigner who US President Donald Trump’s administration would “welcome” into the country. WikiLeaks‘ publication of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers during the 2016 election season hurt Clinton’s presidential campaign. Assange was arrested by British police on Thursday at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had been holed up for nearly seven years under political asylum. The US has charged him with conspiring with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer at the Pentagon.”
February 27, 2019 – Cohen testifies Trump had prior knowledge of Wikileaks release of the DNC emails…and so did the rest of the world
(…) “Cohen came to the hearing loaded for bear, alleging in the opening minutes that Trump knew in advance that WikiLeaks planned in July 2016 to release a batch of emails damaging to Hillary Clinton.
Cohen testified that he overheard a phone call from Trump’s longtime friend and confidante Roger Stone in which Stone, in July 2016, allegedly informed Trump he had spoken by telephone with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and learned that the anti-secrecy group would be publishing a “massive dump” of Clinton emails within days.
Cohen said he could hear the call because Trump had put Stone on speaker phone — a common practice of Trump’s, he said — and estimated that the call took place on July 18 or 19. Prosecutors have said that WikiLeaks confirmed to an online persona operated by Russian military intelligence officers on July 18 that it had received “the 1GB or so archive” of stolen material and would make the documents public that week.” (Washington Post, 2/28/2019)
While Cohen is still testifying, Wikileaks tweets about Julian Assange discussing their plan to republish Clinton’s emails in March, 2016. The State Department originally published Clinton’s emails in an unsearchable format. Wikileaks was kind enough to reformat the emails to make them searchable.
Julian Assange was also interviewed on June 12, 2016, stating he would soon be releasing emails related to Hillary Clinton, long before the presumable phone call Michael Cohen overheard between President Trump and Roger Stone.
— Free Thought (@FreeThought84) February 27, 2019
Matt Taibbi understands the entire world knew about the upcoming Wikileaks release, long before the phone call Michael Cohen claims he overheard in July, 2016.
Jimmy Dore breaks it down:
December 11, 2018 – DNC threatens press freedom and Wikileaks pushes back hard
Jimmy Dore explains how the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against Wikileaks, is a threat against freedom of the press and our First Amendment rights.
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)
May 2018 – WikiLeaks veteran flips on Assange for immunity
“A WikiLeaks volunteer and friend of Chelsea Manning agreed to cooperate with the US Justice Department and appear in front of an Alexandria, VA grand jury in exchange for immunity [in May 2018], reports the Daily Beast.
“I decided to cooperate in exchange for immunity,” said David House – a computer science graduate and political activist who previously refused to testify against Julian Assange in 2011, only to be subpoenaed last May for an encore appearance in front of a grand jury that’s been investigating the WikiLeaks founder for almost nine years.
“You know, I’m walking around on the street out here. I’m not in an embassy,” he added.
House spoke briefly with prosecutors and then testified for about 90 minutes in front of the grand jury, he said. “They wanted to know about my meetings with Assange, they wanted to know broadly about what we talked about,” he recalled. Prosecutors seemed particularly interested in the potential for collateral damage in some of Assange’s leaks. The identities of some American collaborators were exposed in Assange’s release of State Department cables and Army field reports from Afghanistan, which triggered internal debate and led to the departure of some of WikiLeaks’ key staffers early on. –Daily Beast
“They showed me chat logs in which I was arguing vehemently with him about releasing documents that would leave people vulnerable and put people’s lives at risk,” said House. “That was the only thing they put in front of my face that made me think, ‘This may be what they’re going after him for.’”
Chelsea Manning, meanwhile has refused to comply with a March 5 subpoena in the same case – making good on a vow to fight the subpoena in court.
“I am not going to contribute to a process that I feel is dangerous and could potentially place me in a position where I am forced to backtrack on the truth,” Manning told the New York Times.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 3/02/2019)
March 31, 2017 – WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations
“WikiLeaks’ latest disclosure of CIA cyber-tools reveals a technique used by the agency to hide its digital tracks, potentially blowing the cover on current and past hacking operations aimed at gathering intelligence on terrorists and other foreign targets.
The release Friday of the CIA’s “Marble Framework” comes less than a month after the WikiLeaks dumped onto the Internet a trove of files — dubbed “Vault 7” — that described the type of malware and methods the CIA uses to gain access to targets’ phones, computers and other electronic devices.
“This appears to be one of the most technically damaging leaks ever done by WikiLeaks, as it seems designed to directly disrupt ongoing CIA operations and attribute previous operations,” said Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California at Berkeley.
The material includes the secret source code of an “obfuscation” technique used by the CIA so its malware can evade detection by anti-virus systems. The technique is used by all professional hackers, whether they work for the National Security Agency, Moscow’s FSB security agency or the Chinese military. But because the code contains a specific algorithm — a digital fingerprint of sorts — it can now be used to identify CIA hacking operations that had previously been detected but not attributed.” (Read more: Washington Post, 3/31/2017)
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.“
WikiLeaks promises a new phase of releases related to the US presidential election.
Wikileaks announces on Twitter that “We commence phase 3 of our US election coverage next week.” This comes only nine days before the US presidential election.
There are no further details or clues regarding what “phase 3” will be. Presumably, the first phase was the posting of 20,00 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails in July 2016, and the second phase was the posting of thousands of emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta starting in early October 2016, which is still continuing. (The Hill, 10/30/2016)