Russia

Report: Senior Russian officials “celebrated” Trump’s victory

Featured image The Washington Post reports that American intelligence agencies intercepted communications showing that senior officials in the Russian government “celebrated Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton as a geopolitical win for Moscow.” The Post says the communications also show that “Russian officials congratulated themselves on the outcome.” Celebrating would mean that the officials in question wanted Trump to win. Congratulations would suggest that Russia tried to help him win. Without seeing »

Trump Is Right: Intelligence Agencies Leak Like a Sieve

Featured image Someone in the U.S. intelligence community–if it has been reported exactly who, I haven’t seen it–has prepared a 50-page report on, among other things, alleged Russian efforts to “meddle” with the 2016 presidential election. That report was delivered to President Obama today, and will go to Donald Trump tomorrow. Naturally, it took only a matter of hours for the Washington Post to be briefed on the report’s contents. One point, »

Ishmael Jones: From Russia with doubt

Featured image The pseudonymous Ishmael Jones is a former CIA case officer and author of The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture. He writes with a timely comment on the current intelligence controversy that is reaching a fever pitch. Mr. Jones advises that his commentary has been reviewed and approved by the CIA’s publications review board. He writes: CIA intelligence reporting stating that the Russian government hacked the presidential election »

Evidence for Russian Involvement In DNC Hack Is Nonexistent

Featured image The Obama administration insists that Russia’s government was behind the penetration of the Democratic National Committee’s email system (even though it admits that the intrusion was not carried out by the government itself). The administration released a report that purportedly provided evidence in support of this claim, but even an amateur like me could see that the report was surprisingly weak. Then the experts started to weigh in. Their verdict »

Is “Grizzly Steppe” Really a Russian Operation?

Featured image I wrote here about the Obama administration’s underwhelming report, purporting to show that the malware that infected the Democratic National Committee’s email system was planted by Russia. The report is unimpressive in part because it consists mostly of pedestrian advice to IT professionals about computer security. This is the report’s description of the “Grizzly Steppe” malware: Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) IOCs associated with RIS cyber actors are provided within the »

Washington Post Blows Story on Vermont Utility, Russia

Featured image The Washington Post trumpeted a story that initially was headlined “Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont.” The story was obviously intended to contribute to the “election hacking” hysteria that the Democrats have ginned up, arising from the intrusion by persons unknown into Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s email account. But the Post blew the story: it turned out that malware was found on a laptop owned by Burlington »

“Grizzly Steppe”: Is This a Joke?

Featured image The Obama administration is retaliating against Russia for hacking into Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s email account. It would have been much better if the administration had reacted when Russia hacked into the White House’s and State Department’s computers in 2014, but, as Glenn Reynolds says, at that time only national security was at stake, while now, it’s something really important: the Democratic Party’s power. So yesterday the administration released its long-anticipated report »

Trump’s response to Obama’s Russian hacking sanctions

Featured image Donald Trump has issued a brief statement about President Obama’s decision to take retaliatory measures against Russia in response to its alleged hacking of DNC and John Podesta email accounts. Trump said: It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to »

Obama Orders Sanctions On Russia. But Why Now?

Featured image Today, while on vacation in Hawaii, President Obama announced mild sanctions against Russia, which he attributed to Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election, and also to unspecified harassment of U.S. diplomats. The Associated Press reports: In a sweeping response to election hacking and other meddlesome behavior, President Barack Obama on Thursday sanctioned Russian intelligence services and their top officials, kicked out 35 Russian officials and closed down two »

Russian Hackery for Hacks [With Comment by John]

Featured image In case you missed it last Friday in the run-up to Christmas, Brian Kennedy of the American Strategy Group offered up an extremely lucid analysis of the complete absurdity of the thesis that Putin’s Russia hacked into our election process with the deliberate intent to help Donald Trump win. To be sure, Trump’s equivocal statements about Putin lend some superficial plausibility to this idea—if you’re six years old. Or a »

About that “typo”

Featured image Last week the New York Times published a long story by three of their top reporters on the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and Podesta emails. In a good summary of one thread of the article, Ed Rogers notes the “Keystone Cops-worthy episode” when the FBI sought to alert the DNC: [I]t turns out the FBI repeatedly called the DNC beginning in September 2015 to warn them about hacking »

Persuading Marco

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Sen. Marco Rubio is being lobbied by former vice president Dick Cheney and others who are trying to persuade him to support the nomination of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Rubio has expressed displeasure with the Tillerson selection because of the Exxon-Mobil man’s ties with Vladimir Putin. If Rubio opposes Tillerson, his vote could sink the nomination in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which »

Obama to Putin: Cut It Out!

Featured image Barack Obama has spent the last eight years resisting the idea that Russia is an adversary of the United States. First we had the “reset”; next the cancellation of the Eastern European missile shield; then we had Obama assuring President Medvedev that he would be able to give away the store, but the Russians would need to wait for his second term; and then the presidential debate where Obama mocked »

The hackers & the hacks

Featured image The Washington Post and New York Times have created a post-election furor with stories citing unnamed intelligence sources promoting a certain line on Russian hacking of the DNC and John Podesta email accounts. Podesta now takes to the pages of the Washington Post to call out the FBI. Podesta’s gmail account appears to have been hacked via a simple phishing scam with no evident connection to Russia. The phishing scam »

Poll: Republican voters less hostile to Putin these days

Featured image In July 2014, Vladimir Putin’s net favorability rating among Republicans was minus 64 points, according to an Economist/YouGov poll (reported by the Washington Post). Now, according to the same source, it is only minus 16. What has happened in the past two and half years that might affect how one views Putin? I can think of three things. First, Putin’s forces have taken a major role in perpetrating the atrocity »

How not to respond to Russian cyber meddling

Featured image Let’s say you’re Vladimir Putin and your agents caused hacking of the emails of John Podesta and the DNC. If U.S. intelligence officials concluded that you were responsible for the hacking, what reaction would you want from the U.S. government? My guess is that Putin would want the U.S. to be reacting just about the way it is now. He would want the president officially to accuse Russia of meddling »

Circular meetings, Obama style

Featured image The New York Times stokes the hysteria over the crisis of the republic fomented by the left over successful Russian hacking of Democratic targets. The Times story today carries the byline of three senior reporters. The Times injects echoes of Watergate with a photograph at the top of the story that illustrates a point in the text: “Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the »