September 1, 2017
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Russia Card Collapses, but the Deep State Pushes it Even Harder
I have been saving some items about the “Russians Did It!” accusation for two weeks now, hoping to send them out as a means of enabling readers to see and comprehend a bit more comprehensively what the Mainstream Media, including Fox (with the exception of Tucker Carlson), continue to obfuscate and do their best to hide.
A couple of weeks ago, on August 12—the very day of the Charlottesville event—I wrote the following about the charges of Russian collusion in the November 2016 elections, that this whole “Russians Did It” investigation was little more than:
….a political strategy employed by a shell-shocked and furious Hillary campaign and by the array of Deep State forces, and, that, in fact, it is one of the most immense and grotesque frauds ever committed on the American citizenry. And that means, of course, that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his practically unlimited powers to investigate almost anything dealing with Donald Trump and his staff, including events and dealings dating back for decades, is also based on a fraud, a witch hunt supposedly intended to examine any Russian collusion. In fact, it is and is becoming a wide-open assault, without boundaries or restraints, on the president and his administration….”
Each day this conclusion becomes more evident and more demonstrable, but each day the Mainstream Media, abetted by its minions in the Democratic Party (as well as many in the Republican Party) continue to ramp up their frenetic and unbridled assault on the Trump administration and its agenda.
The desperation and willingness of the Deep State to employ any tactic, to say anything they consider useful whether truthful or not, to engage in any type of character assassination, rumor-mongering, and, yes, eventually, the misuse and abuse of the Special Counsel’s nearly unlimited powers (and financial resources), is, or should be, patently clear for any reasonable and level-headed person to see. Yet, their zealous campaign to weaken, possibly eject, this president, or to at the very least, derail completely his agenda, continues unabated, with a fury unconnected to reality, an hysteria bubbling up out of a created counter-reality.
Of the major networks CNN and MSNBC have, by far, been the worst in these assaults. Since the election last year, as I have pointed out—and as you have surely noticed—all the major networks, CNN especially, have basically removed their masks of “objectivity,” or as they say in this part of eastern Wake County, “gone whole hog” in such efforts. “News” content has seamlessly floated over into on-screen punditry, and frenetic ideological punditry has become “news.” And all abetted by the ironclad ukase laid down by the Deep State establishment, which not only controls and sets the narrative, but decides just how far even most “opposition” Republicans can get away with before the leash is pulled back hard.
Just this past week, CNN came out breathlessly with two new “revelations.” The first was that—horror of horrors!—a group of conservative American Christians [I actually know a few of them] had had some preliminary contacts with Russian Christians in 2016, and that the American group had attempted to interest the Trump campaign in the contact. Although nothing actually came from it, voila!, there it was, sure and palpable “evidence” of “collusion” with the Russians, and no doubt with that Beast of the Apocalypse, Vladimir Putin, himself!
Then, came the news that executives in the Trump hotel organization had continued to negotiate with the city fathers of Moscow concerning a possible construction of a Trump hotel in that city. Again, nothing came of it, apparently negotiations ending by late January 2016. Yet, CNN and the Mainstream Media went on for several days screaming loudly that Trump had “lied” when he said in February 2016 that he had no business interests in Russia. “See,” they blasted, “he did have interests there…and no doubt, he may have had much more—just let Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation keep going for another, say, seven years, and there is just bound to be something!”
The utter desperation manifested in these crude attempts to undercut and eventually oust the president would be laughable in a more sane and sensible period of our history, but, tragically, we do not live in such an epoch. Rather, decades of disinformation, ideological miseducation, and the poisoning of our political and cultural environment, have led to a situation where millions of our fellow citizens have literally been brainwashed…and where the managerial Deep State calls the shots.
I have termed, and I think rightly so, what we see before us, a kind of lunacy, a madness, that is increasingly visible: just watch and listen, if you will, to some of those leftist Democrat representatives of the Deep State who sometimes show up, all the time on CNN and oftentimes on Fox. On the faces of so many of those individuals, often in their eyes, there is a bizarre glazed-over look, a kind of expression that strikes me as unnatural, holding back an inner fanaticism and bile that is barely restrained, ready to explode at a moment’s notice. And their narratives when spewed forth are constructed on that passion and fury and an unrequited “hope” that “something” will eventually turn up. They are certain that there is “something” there, because, basically, they want there to be “something” there.
Thus, their frenzy and madness and burning hatred make up for the lack of facts, the inability to discover any substantial support for their argument. And, thus, rather than finally admitting that their argument is false, nugatory and based on nothing but a political lie, they double down even harder, and as they do, they lose contact with reality. They descend into a kind of lunacy.
And the Special Counsel investigation continues, and every indication exists that with Robert Mueller now partnering with zealously anti-Trump leftist Democrat attorneys in New York, that that investigation will stretch back decades to find anything and everything that in any way can be used to impugn, attack, dislodge, weaken, and/or expel the president. And all the while, additional information about the aborted Hillary Clinton “investigation” points not only to an immense cover-up there, but actions that may well have involved criminality and real international collusion with a foreign power (Ukraine).
This morning, then, I send on items that would normally cast the entire Russian collusion investigation into serious doubt, indeed, undercut it completely. First, there is a commentary on the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity [VIPS] report which challenges—I would say destroys—the infamous January intelligence community assessment and its use of the totally discredited, made up “dossier” about activities of Donald Trump and his staff in Russia. Secondly, I pass on the VIPS Summary Memo, itself, addressed to President Trump.
Even were there no political involvement whatsoever, the technical and scientific analysis reported therein would be sufficient to, at the very least, call into extreme question the entire basis for the seemingly endless investigations in Congress and by the Special Counsel. But politics does play a role, and, in fact, it is the reason for and on which this entire fraudulent exercise is being enacted. And that exercise, that effort by Congressional committees and by Robert Mueller and his zealously-dedicated anti-Trump Democrat attorneys, abetted and pushed unrelentingly by the media, is—as I wrote earlier—an immense and grotesque fraud committed on the American people, with the intent to undo the November election and overturn the verdict of the citizenry of this nation. It is nothing less than a real and palpable coup d’etat by the Deep State.
HAS RUSSIAGATE FINALLY BEEN SOLVED?
As part of what many are calling a “,” the mainstream media and establishment politicians have for months insisted the 2016 presidential election was skewed by Russian interference, some broadening the allegation to claim the president colluded with a foreign intelligence service. Two recent developments, however, may have finally laid the case to rest.
Late last month the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) organization issued a directly challenging the findings of a key that concluded the Russians interfered in the 2016 election. The memo cited an independent investigation which found evidence inconsistent with Russian culpability, instead suggesting an insider leak. “Forensic studies of ‘Russian hacking’ into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia,” the memo said in its executive summary [emphasis in original].
Most important among the investigation’s findings is the fact that DNC files were first copied to a system with Eastern timezone settings in effect, raising the likelihood that the transfer took place within the United States, somewhere near the East Coast, not remotely from overseas. Moreover, the high speed of the file transfer from the DNC system suggests the transfer had to be done by somebody with either physical access to the system, or access to a LAN network tied to it. “The DNC data was copied onto a storage device ,” the VIPS memo said, which is the only plausible avenue by which a Russian hacker could obtain the data [emphasis in original]. The conclusions of the independent investigation are supported by several former intelligence agents and cyber experts, including Skip Folden, a retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US and NSA Technical Director-turned-whistleblower Bill Binney.
Finally, the independent investigation cited by the VIPS memo concludes there were two separate file transfers from the DNC systems: the first likely an insider making illicit access, but the second—which would eventually find its way into the hands of “Gufficer 2.0,” the actor with alleged ties to Russia who claimed to have hacked the DNC—was copied to an external storage device and fabricated “telltale signs” of Russian involvement were artificially inserted into the data.
Last week, however, a new piece of the puzzle which corroborates what was previously as a conspiracy theory: according to award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the murdered 27-year-old DNC data programmer Seth Rich indeed the man behind the DNC leak. In of a phone conversation between Hersh and Ed Butowsky, a high-profile political donor and GOP functionary who took interest in the Seth Rich story, Hersh, citing a FBI report, states categorically that Rich leaked the DNC material to Wikileaks. “[Rich] had submitted a series of documents—of emails—some juicy emails from the DNC […] All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, you know, I’m sure dozens of emails and said ‘I want money,’” Hersh said. “Then later Wikileaks did get the password—[Rich] had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do, I mean you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know, he was certainly not a dumb kid.”
Hersh said he didn’t actually see the FBI report in question with his own eyes, but had a trusted source relay its contents.
“I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I write a lot of stuff,” Hersh told Butowsky. “I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me.” The veteran reporter, however, does not believe Rich was murdered for his involvement in the leak, stating the staffer lived in a “rough neighborhood” and on a street where several similar violent crimes had been carried out in the past.
Murdered for what he knew or not, perhaps the strangest aspect of the story is what happened soon after the Hersh-Butowsky audio was leaked. Despite the existence of an of the conversation which very clearly captures what was said, Hersh bizarrely denies having made any of the above claims about Rich.
When the GOP donor Hersh to plead with him to publicly come forward with what he knew, the journalist denied up and down, accusing Butowsky of having a bad memory:
EB: I am curious why you haven’t approached the house committee telling them what you were read by your FBI friend related to Seth Rich that you in turn read to me. Based on all your work, it appears that you care about the truth. Even though, as you said you couldn’t get a second, shouldn’t you tell them so they could use their powers to determine the truth?
SH: Ed–you have a lousy memory…I was not read anything by my FBI friend..I have no firsthand information and I really wish you would stop telling others information that you think I have…please stop relaying information that you do not have right…and that I have no reason to believe is accurate…
EB: I know it isn’t first hand knowledge but you clearly said, my memory is perfect, that you had a friend at the FBI who read / told you what was in the file on Seth Rich and I wonder why you aren’t helping your country and sharing that information on who it was?
One possible explanation behind Hersh’s denial is that he may be working on a story pertaining to the Rich case and doesn’t want to publicize anything before it’s finished, which could potentially spook sensitive sources and compromise the story.
Regardless, what Hersh said cannot be taken back or simply waved away. Not only does it confirm long-held suspicions that the staffer had something to do with the leak (WikiLeaks even for information that would lead to the conviction of Rich’s killer), it is very consistent with the conclusions of the VIPS memo published last month.
Further corroboration comes from retired British diplomat and whistleblower Craig Murray, who to have personally made contact with the leaker, or a go-between, on behalf of WikiLeaks in a wooded area near American University in Washington D.C. While he not have met the leaker himself, Murray insists the source of the leaks was a disgruntled DNC employee, not a hacker. The retired diplomat’s claim initially emerged in a published in December 2016, but Murray the newspaper misquoted him, making it look like Murray played a bigger part in the leak than he really did. “The material, I think, was already safely with WikiLeaks before I got there in September,” Murray said. “I had a small role to play.”
While the Russian hacking narrative has run into several in recent months, the pieces of an alternative explanation appear to be falling neatly into place.
A working theory: A DNC staffer angry over the afforded Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took it upon himself to access DNC servers and attempt to obtain any information that could hurt the Clinton campaign. When the DNC discovered what had happened, unknown actors quickly worked to preempt the insider leak with one of their own, except this leak would be laced with fake Russian “fingerprints,” implicating our nuclear-armed rival in election interference and stoking a months-long witch hunt. The doctored data would be relayed through a foreign intermediary, the infamous Guccifer 2.0, creating a gap of plausible deniability between the DNC and the alleged Russian hacker.
Further, the DNC would hire a cyber security firm, CrowdStrike, to “investigate” and rubber-stamp the Russia accusation—mind you, a cyber security firm with a track record of (particularly in blaming Russia for cyber attacks) and a Russian ex-pat co-founder who also happens to be a at a establishment think tank that’s given long-standing support to not only Democrats, but . The DNC then prevented the FBI from accessing the DNC servers directly, forcing all subsequent intelligence assessments to rely on CrowdStrike’s untrustworthy analysis fingering Russia.
What began as a disparate set of data points is slowly adding up into a coherent alternative account; one that has nothing to do with foreign hacking, but instead an irate American fed up with the Big Corruption ubiquitous within his country’s major political parties. The staffer’s act of conscience would be parlayed by less benevolent forces into a scare story used to bludgeon a president who, during his campaign, consistently spoke of improving relations with Russia.
Indeed, what has been termed the New Cold War is equally sensational and dishonest as the first, and is accompanied by what Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo calls a “.”
“[T]he new McCarthyism underscores the cynicism, opportunism, and downright viciousness of our political class, and especially the media, which has done nothing to question and everything to bolster the Russophobic propaganda put out there by self-serving lobbyists and politicians,” Raimondo observed. “It truly is a sickening sight, made all the more so by the self-professed ‘liberalism’ of those who are in the vanguard of this revolting trend.”
The same trend is behind the attempt to paint Russia as an aggressor and smear the president as an agent of the Kremlin. Powerful interests both within and outside government—from looking for an excuse for their electoral loss, to who wish to harm Russian interests, to defense contractors have lined up to make detente impossible.
Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence
July 24, 2017
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.
Editor’s Note: This VIPS Memo included two mistaken dates. Neither affected the Memo’s main conclusion; i.e., that the July 5, 2016 intrusion into DNC emails that was blamed on Russia could not have been a hack – by Russia or anyone else. The portions of the Memo affected by the mistaken dates have been corrected.
A short explanation of the corrections:
-(1) June 14, 2016 (not the 15th, as the VIPS memo erroneously stated) was the day Crowdstrike said malware had been found on the DNC server and claimed there was evidence the malware was injected by Russians. (On the following day – the 15th) – “Guccifer 2.0” claimed responsibility for the “hack” and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source.)
-(2) Although the VIPS Memo indicated, correctly, that on June 15, 2016, “Guccifer 2.0” … posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with ‘Russian fingerprints,’” other language in the Memo was mistaken in indicating that evidence of such tainting was also found in the “Guccifer 2.0” metadata from the copying event on July 5.
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.
NOTE: There has been so much conflation of charges about hacking that we wish to make very clear the primary focus of this Memorandum. We focus specifically on the July 5, 2016 alleged Guccifer 2.0 “hack” of the DNC server. In earlier VIPS memoranda we addressed the lack of any evidence connecting the Guccifer 2.0 alleged hacks and WikiLeaks, and we asked President Obama specifically to disclose any evidence that WikiLeaks received DNC data from the Russians [see here and here].
Addressing this point at his last press conference (January 18), he described “the conclusions of the intelligence community” as “not conclusive,” even though the Intelligence Community Assessment of January 6 expressed “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the DNC … to WikiLeaks.”
Obama’s admission came as no surprise to us. It has long been clear to us that the reason the U.S. government lacks conclusive evidence of a transfer of a “Russian hack” to WikiLeaks is because there was no such transfer. Based mostly on the cumulatively unique technical experience of our ex-NSA colleagues, we have been saying for almost a year that the DNC data reached WikiLeaks via a copy/leak by a DNC insider (but almost certainly not the same person who copied DNC data on July 5, 2016).
From the information available, we conclude that the same inside-DNC, copy/leak process was used at two different times, by two different entities, for two distinctly different purposes:
-(1) an inside leak to WikiLeaks before Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016, that he had DNC documents and planned to publish them (which he did on July 22) – the presumed objective being to expose strong DNC bias toward the Clinton candidacy; and
-(2) a separate leak on July 5, 2016, to pre-emptively taint anything WikiLeaks might later publish by “showing” it came from a “Russian hack.”
* * *
This is our first VIPS Memorandum for you, but we have a history of letting U.S. Presidents know when we think our former intelligence colleagues have gotten something important wrong, and why. For example, our first such memorandum, a same-day commentary for President George W. Bush on Colin Powell’s U.N. speech on February 5, 2003, warned that the “unintended consequences were likely to be catastrophic,” should the U.S. attack Iraq and “justify” the war on intelligence that we retired intelligence officers could readily see as fraudulent and driven by a war
The January 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” by “hand-picked” analysts from the FBI, CIA, and NSA seems to fit into the same agenda-driven category. It is largely based on an “assessment,” not supported by any apparent evidence, that a shadowy entity with the moniker “Guccifer 2.0” hacked the DNC on behalf of Russian intelligence and gave DNC emails to WikiLeaks.
The recent forensic findings mentioned above have put a huge dent in that assessment and cast serious doubt on the underpinnings of the extraordinarily successful campaign to blame the Russian government for hacking. The pundits and politicians who have led the charge against Russian “meddling” in the U.S. election can be expected to try to cast doubt on the forensic findings, if they ever do bubble up into the mainstream media. But the technical limitations of today’s Internet are widely understood. We are prepared to answer any substantive challenges on their merits.
You may wish to ask CIA Director Mike Pompeo what he knows about this. Our own lengthy intelligence community experience suggests that it is possible that neither former CIA Director John Brennan, nor the cyber-warriors who worked for him, have been completely candid with their new director regarding how this all went down.
Copied, Not Hacked
As indicated above, the independent forensic work just completed focused on data copied (not hacked) by a shadowy persona named “Guccifer 2.0.” The forensics reflect what seems to have been a desperate effort to “blame the Russians” for publishing highly embarrassing DNC emails three days before the Democratic convention last July. Since the content of the DNC emails reeked of pro-Clinton bias, her campaign saw an overriding need to divert attention from content to provenance – as in, who “hacked” those DNC emails? The campaign was enthusiastically supported by compliant “mainstream” media; they are still on a roll.
“The Russians” were the ideal culprit. And, after WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016, “We have emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” her campaign had more than a month before the convention to insert its own “forensic facts” and prime the media pump to put the blame on “Russian meddling.” Mrs. Clinton’s PR chief Jennifer Palmieri has explained how she used golf carts to make the rounds at the convention. She wrote that her “mission was to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.”
Independent cyber-investigators have now completed the kind of forensic work that the intelligence assessment did not do. Oddly, the “hand-picked” intelligence analysts contented themselves with “assessing” this and “assessing” that. In contrast, the investigators dug deep and came up with verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of the alleged Russian hack.
They found that the purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else. Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider. The data was leaked to implicate Russia. We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI.
The Time Sequence
June 12, 2016: Assange announces WikiLeaks is about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.”
June 14, 2016: DNC contractor Crowdstrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.
June 15, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”
We do not think that the June 12, 14, & 15 timing was pure coincidence. Rather, it suggests the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.
The Key Event
July 5, 2016: In the early evening, Eastern Daylight Time, someone working in the EDT time zone with a computer directly connected to the DNC server or DNC Local Area Network, copied 1,976 MegaBytes of data in 87 seconds onto an external storage device. That speed is much faster than what is physically possible with a hack.
It thus appears that the purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 (the self-proclaimed WikiLeaks source) was not a hack by Russia or anyone else, but was rather a copy of DNC data onto an external storage device.
“Obfuscation & De-obfuscation”
Mr. President, the disclosure described below may be related. Even if it is not, it is something we think you should be made aware of in this general connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to publish a trove of original CIA documents that WikiLeaks labeled “Vault 7.” WikiLeaks said it got the trove from a current or former CIA contractor and described it as comparable in scale and significance to the information Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.
No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA’s Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015.
Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the “Marble Framework” program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as “news fit to print” and was kept out of the Times.
The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima, it seems, “did not get the memo” in time. Her March 31 article bore the catching (and accurate) headline: “WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.”
The WikiLeaks release indicated that Marble was designed for flexible and easy-to-use “obfuscation,” and that Marble source code includes a “deobfuscator” to reverse CIA text obfuscation.
More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a “forensic attribution double game” or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.
The CIA’s reaction was neuralgic. Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates “demons,” and insisting; “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia.”
Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review.
Putin and the Technology
We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be “masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin” [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.”
“Hackers may be anywhere,” he said. “There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.”
Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.
We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental. The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times. This is our 50th VIPS Memorandum since the afternoon of Powell’s speech at the UN. Live links to the 49 past memos can be found at https://consortiumnews.com/vips-memos/.
FOR THE STEERING GROUP, VETERAN INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS FOR SANITY
William Binney, former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center
Skip Folden, independent analyst, retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US (Associate VIPS)
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)
Larry C Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
Michael S. Kearns, Air Force Intelligence Officer (Ret.), Master SERE Resistance to Interrogation Instructor
John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)
Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.) (associate VIPS)
Edward Loomis, Jr., former NSA Technical Director for the Office of Signals Processing
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst
Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA
Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
Cian Westmoreland, former USAF Radio Frequency Transmission Systems Technician and Unmanned Aircraft Systems whistleblower (Associate VIPS)
Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA
Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)
Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat