Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspiracy

Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspiracy

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:37 am

Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspiracy Theory Is Debunked. Pro-Clinton mainstream media remains convinced there must be nefarious, pro-Kremlin incentives for anyone opposing her
by Michael Sainato
10/21/16

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Hillary Clinton. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In August 2016, Politico reported top Democrats held a conference call discussing damage control surrounding future releases from WikiLeaks, apparently deciding to collectively allege the leaks will include fabricated content. In a desperate and sloppy attempt to create a link between Russia and Donald Trump, Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald wrote an article titled “Dear Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, I am not Sidney Blumenthal.” The article claimed the publication Sputnik and Trump coordinated an attack on Hillary Clinton.

In reality, Sputnik news editor and Georgetown graduate Bill Moran rushed to publish a story about a WikiLeaks email in which Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal copy and pasted an Eichenwald article about Benghazi and sent it to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Moran misidentified the writer of the piece as Blumenthal, and quickly wrote and published a story about it. Trump tweeted the article, and cited it during a speech at a rally in Pennsylvania.

Once Sputnik became aware the article had misinterpreted the email, they removed it. Eichenwald, without researching what had happened, claimed Trump citing the article was proof of a conspiracy between Trump and Russia. Eichenwald’s article was used by Clinton partisans as evidence WikiLeaks had released fake documents.

Moran attempted to reach out to Eichenwald to correct his story. Eichenwald blocked him on Twitter, and the two engaged in bizarre correspondence via email, which was later published by Paste Magazine and confirmed as legitimate by Eichenwald.


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Adam H. Johnson ✔ @adamjohnsonNYC
Eichenwald tweeting out his story 37 times is how you know it's good
11:59 PM - 10 Oct 2016


According to the email thread, Eichenwald offered to help Moran find new work at The New Republic, in between threatening Moran if he went public that Eichenwald’s article is completely baseless. “Go public, and you’ll regret it,” Eichenwald wrote, according to Paste, which discusses whether Eichenwald’s correspondence equates to bribery and threats towards Moran.

“I guarantee you one thing: there is already a file on you in one of the security intelligence divisions of the FBI. You have been playing in a sandbox surrounded by very large, and mostly unseen, players, engaged in games you don’t recognize.” Eichenwald added, ““There are some things I know but I can’t tell you, but what I will say is that, as far as American intelligence agencies are concerned, the event involving this manipulated document is far from over,” he continued. “America is in the middle of a large-scale cyberwar with Russia; if you don’t know this, you need to read the coverage of what is going on, including the statements from the White House.”

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In reply to BillMoranWrites
Kurt Eichenwald @kurteichenwald 2m
@BillMoranWrites You think this is over.
you fraud? U think, now that I know what
u are, I'm going to walk away? Sorry
dude. Ur wrecked.


Cassandra Fairbanks ✔ @CassandraRules
Eichenwald is having a meltdown and appears to be threatening @BillMoranWrites. Wow.
9:26 AM - 20 Oct 2016


20 Oct
Cassandra Fairbanks ✔ @CassandraRules
Eichenwald is having a meltdown and appears to be threatening @BillMoranWrites. Wow. pic.twitter.com/EY1aEGHQOA


Cassandra Fairbanks ✔ @CassandraRules
Eichenwald has tweeted at @BillMoranWrites over 60 times in the last 40 minutes. Dude is losing his mind.
9:35 AM - 20 Oct 2016


Despite the veracity of Eichenwald’s article being challenged, Newsweek has not removed or amended the article to suggest it is entirely based on pure speculation, and that the evidence suggests the claims made in the article are false. But, shoddy journalism has become the norm this election year as mainstream media outlets resort to propping up Clinton’s candidacy, using Trump and Russia as convenient excuses for their overt bias.

Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:38 am

Did Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald Use Threats and Bribery to Silence a Young Journalist?
by Walker Bragman and Shane Ryan
October 19, 2016

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In retrospect, it sounds preposterous: A nationally recognized journalist publishes an article alleging a conspiracy between the Republican candidate for President of the United States and Russia, and, when his hyperbole is exposed in an email from a young journalist, allegedly attempts to intimidate and bribe that journalist in exchange for his silence. Nevertheless, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

The Backstory

Our story begins with the leak of thousands of pages of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta. Those documents, though available in their original source format, are posted as plain text and searchable via keywords.

One of them, sent by longtime Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal on November 21, 2015, and titled, “The Truth,” contained the text of an article written in Oct. 2015 by Kurt Eichenwald—our nationally recognized journalist—about Benghazi.

In the body was the following paragraph, quoting Eichenwald’s article:

One important point has been universally acknowledged by the nine previous reports about Benghazi: The attack was almost certainly preventable. Clinton was in charge of the State Department, and it failed to protect U.S. personnel at an American consulate in Libya. If the GOP wants to raise that as a talking point against her, it is legitimate.


Given the subject matter and author of the email, it was inevitable that the words would catch the eye of a 29-year-old journalist and Georgetown graduate named Bill Moran, who worked as the D.C. weekend bureau editor for Sputnik—the controversial news outlet owned by the Russian government-funded Rossiya Segodnya. Seeing that no other outlet had yet reported on the email, Moran acted fast. He didn’t realize it, but he was about to make a critical error that would end up costing him his job.

It began when he saw this tweet:

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Tennessee GOP @TEN_GOP
BOOM

Sidney Blumenthal says Hillary Clinton was negligent during #Benghazi:
This attack WAS certainly preventable!#PodestaEmails2:
11:38 AM - 10 Oct 2016


“I saw the Tennessee GOP twitter post (I think it is pretty safe to say that it isn’t an official Tennessee Republican Party account,” he told Paste, via email, “then searched ‘Blumenthal Benghazi’ on Twitter.” He found three other tweets pointing to the same block of text, searched the WikiLeaks email archive to verify that the text actually existed, and, in his own words, “botched it.” In his rush to put up the first story on the topic, he failed to realize that Blumenthal was quoting Eichenwald. His story painted the words as a revelation—evidence that Clinton staffers were admitting their culpability in Benghazi—when in actuality it was a small section of a Newsweek article that largely defended Clinton. Moran wrote about the mistake in his farewell post on Sputnik:

I was the sole staffer at the DC bureau due to the holiday. I wrote 12 stories in a 12-hour shift, assigned and edited five other stories from two writers submitting remotely, managed the front page graphics, monitored breaking news, and posted to Twitter every 10 minutes and Facebook every 20 minutes.

I was moving too fast and I made a mistake – a mistake that I remain embarrassed about making. I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette after scheduling our social media accounts, stopped halfway through, thought “why hasn’t anybody else picked this up?” gave the document a second review, realized my error, and proceeded to delete the story.


Sometime after the article had been taken down—it was up for just shy of 20 minutes—Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign caught wind of the “bombshell,” and Trump—never an assiduous fact-checker—repeated it almost verbatim at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, PA that night. Before long, the news made its way to Kurt Eichenwald.

Eichenwald's Response

Realizing that Russia’s government-owned media outlet had tweeted a factually incorrect article—or “propaganda,” as he called it—and seeing that Donald Trump had shared said article, the Newsweek writer’s gears began to turn. Without bothering to find out what had happened at Sputnik, Eichenwald wrote a piece in which he alleged a nefarious conspiracy between Russia and Trump to get the latter elected President of the United States.

Further, he heavily implied that the Sputnik story was not a mere accident, but a coordinated effort between Donald Trump and Russian agents to discredit Hillary Clinton. He called the “theory” that it was simply a mistake “absurd,”—citing unnamed U.S. intelligence sources to back him up, no less—and apparently never even considered the idea that Trump’s camp may have simply received the story the same way everyone else did—through a simple link. He went on to argue, falsely, that Sputnik or some Russian agent had manipulated one of the emails (rather than simply misreading it), and also misrepresented when and how the article was taken down.

The article, titled, “Dear Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, I Am Not Sidney Blumenthal,” went viral, and earned Eichenwald several appearances on national TV. His story was immediately picked up by the pro-Clinton crowd, who read it as evidence not only that Putin wanted Trump elected, but that Wikileaks had released “phony” documents. As we noted on Paste at the time—and we were not alone—there was no merit to this argument even before Moran came forward with the real story, and Eichenwald’s descent into pure red-scare hyperbole stands as one of the strangest and most irresponsible examples of mainstream journalism in a very strange and irresponsible year.

Moran published his original story on Columbus Day, a Monday, and by Wednesday the furor sparked by Eichenwald’s response had become so widespread that Moran was fired. (Sputnik would later offer him his job back, per Moran—an offer he refused.) In response, Moran reached out to Eichenwald via Twitter, where he was quickly blocked. But with the aid of his former co-worker Cassandra Fairbanks, he was able to touch base with Eichenwald through email.

In the email exchange that followed—sent to us by Moran, and confirmed as legitimate by Eichenwald—a story that was already odd became truly bizarre. What started as an argument of the facts ended, in our reading, with a combination of veiled threats and an offer for help getting a job at The New Republic that looked very much like a bribe. In the midst of this back-and-forth, the two spoke on the phone, and Moran’s characterization of that talk, written in a subsequent email, also describes the dynamic that emerged in the emails themselves:

Mr. Eichenwald, I considered much of what you said — some of which when I replayed in my head (the visa story, the “file”, and the question about me making foreign phone calls could be perceived as a threat of sorts mixed into a broader tapestry of a conversation with a variety of mixed motivations that I am not sure you have even come to grips with — wanting to help, but wanting the story to go away, wanting to warn but also wanting to intimidate.


The Emails

What follows is a point-by-point summary of the email exchange, made available to Paste, beginning with Eichenwald’s initial email.

—Eichenwald (fairly) questions how Moran found the story, while also informing him that “DNI” (Director of National Intelligence) has identified Sputnik as a “source of Russian disinformation for campaigns against other countries, and was specifically identified as being part of the current hacking/rumor spreading campaign targeting the United States.”

—Moran responds by rehashing the story of the publication, admitting it was “sloppy,” and reasserting that Eichenwald’s hyperbolic accusations of Russian interference are no less wrong.

—Eichenwald again claims that Moran “took an altered document” and printed it as fact. “You need to ask yourself,” he writes, “how does someone some like me who is deeply wired into the intelligence community know so fast that you had posted this?” He says that Moran’s firing is a good thing, “if you are who you claim to be,” and guarantees him that the FBI already has a file on him. “You have been playing in a sandbox surrounded by very large, and mostly unseen, players, engaged in games you don’t recognize.”

—This kind of vaguely ominous language continues, and is a theme of Eichenwald’s correspondence: “There are some things I know but I can’t tell you, but what I will say is that, as far as American intelligence agencies are concerned, the event involving this manipulated document is far from over.”

—After showing Moran, the stick, Eichenwald offers the carrot: “What I was going to discuss with you was places you should consider working in Washington — ones that won’t serve to taint your reputation for the rest of your career…if you want to move forward in a way that will actually provide you with future opportunities in journalism, I will talk to you about them.”

—Moran, seemingly unintimidated by Eichenwald’s shadowy implications, again argues his position that despite his mistake, they never received any contact from Eichenwald about the story, and that his editor only fired him because of the fallout from the Newsweek story—not the original gaffe. He lists the objectionable parts of Eichenwald’s story: “the claim of calling us, the claim that the story only came down after you reached out to us, the claim that we were the only possible source for the error, the claim that it was some broad conspiracy citing an intelligence source even though you know know otherwise…and everything else I laid out in the previous email.”

—Moran reiterates that he has no plans to back down, and threatens to go public and pursue legal action, despite his embarrassment at messing up the story. “Something should be done to make this whole thing right or at least better than it is now because where were real people impacted by what you did,” he wrote.

—”Okay William,” Eichenwald responds. “I guess the idea of helping you find other work through folks I know in Washington is pointless.” After a point-by-point rebuttal, he concludes with another vague threat: “I’m sorry you have shut down my ability to help you out. Finally, I would strongly advise you not to make false accusations against me based on what you think happened.”

—The two work out a time to speak on the phone, a conversation which eventually takes place, lasting just over an hour. In Moran’s notes on the call, he quotes Eichenwald as repeating that the “intelligence community” was monitoring both Sputnik and a separate Twitter account, which he holds responsible for the blowback (as opposed to his own story). He went on to say that everyone at Sputnik had an intelligence file on them, and asked if Moran had made any foreign phone calls that might have raised eyebrows. He went on to imply that Moran might have issues getting a re-entry visa into America if he ever traveled abroad, and then offered to help Moran “find a real job” to extricate him from the situation. He went on to say that both Sputnik and Russia Today have been targeted by the intelligence community, and will soon be subject to sanctions that aim at shutting them down for good.

—Moran’s next email, the following Monday, includes Rose McKimmie, Newsweek’s general counsel. He makes his intention to release a public statement on the affair known. He tells Eichenwald that he likely won’t go into the threats made against him, and will probably make it clear that he’s not accusing him of “malpractice in his initial reporting.” He writes: “You may ask why I would do this for an outlet — I am, frankly, not doing I for the outlet at all. My colleagues have been blistered with claims of treason, physical threats, and pictures of dead children sent to them. These are just ordinary reporters living in fear.” He offers Eichenwald a chance to issue a correction.

—Amazingly, with McKimmie still copied, Eichenwald brings up the potential of helping Moran get another job—yet making it clear that the way things are going, that offer is about to be retracted. “I will start off by saying that as I promised, I took you at your word that the events were as you described and reached out to The New Republic on your behalf. They have a political reporter’s job open. But at this point, I can’t attest to your wisdom anymore nor do I completely trust you…until now, I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and try to protect you from your determination to commit an act of permanent career suicide.”

—Despite “washing my hands of being a go-between with The New Republic,” Eichenwald still urges him to apply for the job, as it would make him “more credible.” He argues that going public will “accomplish nothing other than insure you never work in journalism again.” He says that his only motivation is “trying to protect you from yourself.” He then re-litigates the original argument, at great length.

—Next, he reverts to the threatening language—the “bad cop” persona—telling Moran that he could tie him to the Russians themselves: “Now, there is one alternative here,” Eichenwald writes. “I can write: ‘William Moran, the writer for Sputnik, said he based his article not on directives from the Russian government but on an anonymous tweet that used a clip of the image of the document. He said he accepted the anonymous tweeters’ description that this was from Blumenthal, and did so because he was rushed. However, as the government official with knowledge of the intelligence inquiry said, the original altered document that was tweeted onto the internet came from a location that has been identified as being connected to the Russian disinformation campaigns, and only the news outlet owned by the Russian government published an article based on it.”

—Eichenwald: “So tell me what to do: I will write the above statement into the article if that is what you want.” Here, the implication is clear—go public, and you’ll regret it.

—In a comic twist, he urges Rose McKimmie to tell “her client” not to force him to print that paragraph, as it will “destroy his reputation forever.” He doesn’t seem to realize that McKimmie is actually his lawyer, not Moran’s.

—Moran says he needs to think about his decision, at which point Eichenwald sends two more emails:

“One last friendly piece of advice: I wouldn’t waste time on the New Republic job. You’re qualified for it and these jobs disappear fast.”


And:

“Wait…I dropped a word in my last email. When I say ‘I wouldn’t waste time on New Republic,’ it was supposed to say, ‘I wouldn’t waste time on applying for’ — I mean do apply soon, because the job is great and it will disappear fast.


Even as he appears to back out, he dangles the possibility of career advancement, and all Moran has to do, seemingly, is remain silent.

Reaching Out to Eichenwald

We know how this ends: Despite the threats and the dangling offer of a better job, Moran ultimately decided to tell his story in Sputnik. Paste reached out to Eichenwald, and in a long and frustrating conversation, he repeated the claim that even if Moran wasn’t himself a Russian agent, he was the unwitting pawn of Russian agents. At one point, he said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, I never said I’d help him out with a job,” before enumerating how he did exactly that. The call also included rambling exchanges like this one:

Paste: If it was just an overworked kid working at the D.C. bureau of Sputnik who found something on Twitter related to wikileaks…if it is just that—

Eichenwald: He wants to say it was accident. He wants to say he printed Russian propaganda—which is what it is. He wants to say he printed Russian propaganda. In a Russian publication. He wants to say he did it by accident. Okay. I was perfectly willing to print [the threatened paragraph] knowing full well if I did so, he was admitting ‘I am a journalistically incompetent hack, and I want to put my name to it.’ If what he was saying was, “I had a source who called me and said this and I did a search of the article with a search device, like a ‘find’ thing, and it came up in PDF, and I didn’t do it by reading through the article.” Then it would have been no problem. You’re not confessing, it was not a career-ending act. I would have printed it no problem. But I was giving him a choice. If he had come back to me on Monday and said that’s what I want printed, okay. He has chosen to end his journalism career at any place but Sputnik. He printed online gossip as fact and called it an October surprise.


Eichenwald acknowledged that he did reach out to The New Republic on Moran’s behalf, but said did not have a contact there, and did not mention Moran by name. At no point did he admit what Moran had accused him of, which is the odd carrot-and-stick combination of threat and bribery.

“Bribe him for what?” Eichenwald asked. “I have written thousands of articles over many, many years. Why the hell would I care about adding in what he has to say [a reference to Moran’s entire article about how the mistake really happened]—Do you believe someone who says ‘I’m a journalist who fished anonymous stuff off the internet, published it as fact, called it the October surprise?”

Even when admitting he approached The New Republic, Eichenwald spun it as a favor, rather than an attempt at self-preservation. “I just feel bad for him,” he said. “He really doesn’t know what’s going on. He’s talking about his mortgage and he’s talking about his wife…”

When pressed as to why he opted to inject himself into a situation that he said was being handled by “lawyers,” Eichenwald took a minute before replying that he had reached out to Moran because “he was doing this tweeting that I had blocked him.”

And when asked whether the exchange where he floated the threat of publishing the paragraph tying Moran in with Russian agents (“career suicide,” per Eichenwald) was an outright threat should Moran go public, Eichenwald would only say that, “you are putting his conspiracy theories into that.”

“What everybody is saying is I should have been a sonofabitch, and destroyed the kid,” Eichenwald added. “If he had told me that’s what he wanted me to do…I guess I could be a cynical sonofabitch.”

The Question

The central question of this strange odyssey is this: Was Eichenwald guilty of using threats and bribery to coerce Moran into staying silent, fearing that the true story of plain human incompetence at Sputnik would undermine his own conspiracy theories?

Moran certainly thinks so. It will be up to each reader to judge whether Eichenwald’s exchange rises to that level—having read through the emails, it is Paste’s opinion that his language clearly meets, and exceeds, the standard of intimidation and coercion, from the sinister talk of an FBI intelligence file on Moran, to the redemptive possibility of a job at The New Republic. In fact, it reads very much like a classic interrogation tactic—scare the subject by painting a dark picture of the future, and then, when the outlook is sufficiently bleak, offer salvation. It goes without saying that this salvation is only possible if the subject cooperates with the interrogator.

The fact that Moran didn’t succumb to this tactic, despite his low status in comparison to Eichenwald, is almost astonishing. For him, a single (admittedly egregious) error came with an expensive price, and within this context it’s remarkable that he chose to go public rather than using Eichenwald’s influence to pursue a job at The New Republic or elsewhere. Seen in a broader light, it’s an act of courage, the consequences of which were already quite apparent to Moran. He said it best himself, in response to the threats of a man who had already gotten him fired, and was promising far worse:

“I am sure that I will be attacked and vilified — if not by you certainly by somebody else — by taking this harder road. This situation may very well — in fact, I bet it will — ruin my life. I have considered that reality and your words, Mr. Eichenwald, but a harsh reality does not make fact out of fiction. People deserve to know the truth — which is neither good nor bad, just not hysterical.”


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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:03 am

Dems Claim Next Wikileaks Release Will Include Fabricated Content. DNC would prefer another Cold War than admit bias for Clinton
by Michael Sainato

08/19/16

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After the fallout from the WikiLeaks release of nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, both the party and Hillary Clinton‘s campaign went into damage control mode. Four DNC staffers, including chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned—yet the Party itself has refused to meaningfully address the content of the leaks. Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the release an “embarrassment,” and while DNC issued a formal apology, most Democrats blame Russia.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook claimed the emails were leaked by the Kremlin to help Donald Trump, and Clinton herself later repeated the claim. Mainstream media outlets also parroted the line, as overt Clinton supporters and pro-Clinton journalists embarked on smear campaigns to portray Trump, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and all of The Intercept as stooges for Putin.

In a recent Op-Ed, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, noted this perception of Russia as an “implacable foe” is a self-fulfilling prophecy, reminiscent of the Cold War era. It’s also part of a foreign policy based on imperialism that has failed miserably for the U.S., as the political vacuums caused by recent intervention in Syria, Iraq, and Libya show. Yet, in anticipation of more damaging releases from WikiLeaks, the Democratic Party establishment is readying itself with more cries of Russian interference.

“Democratic leaders are putting out a warning that could help inoculate Hillary Clinton against an October cyber surprise: Any future mass leaks of embarrassing party emails might contain fake information inserted by Russian hackers,” reported Politico, based on a conference call between Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic Party leaders on how to strategize against future leaks.

The Democratic Party knows it’s been hacked—and how damaging that information can be. Their only defense now is to provide the public with some sort of plausible deniability to weather the negative publicity the release will create. Future leaks will likely be worse than the first DNC emails provided by WikiLeaks and, depending on the date of the release, the Democratic Party may not have much time to react before the general election.

Because the Clinton campaign’s claims of Russian interference worked so well in obfuscating the content of the emails, they have employed similar tactics to attack Trump and the Republican Party. While the Clinton campaign and mainstream media have illuminated any connections they can between Trump and Russia, they have dismissed entirely the substantial connections between the Clintons and Russia.

Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, founded a lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, with his brother Tony that registered earlier this year as a lobbyist for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. The same firm lobbied the State Department on behalf of the uranium company Uranium One, while Clinton served as secretary of state. During Clinton’s tenure, Uranium One gradually transitioned to Russian control while the company’s chairman donated over $2 million to the Clinton Foundation. Rather than genuinely being concerned about Russian influence, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party establishment are utilizing anti-Russian politics to manufacture support for their candidate.

Hyping an exaggerated Russian threat may succeed in inoculating Clinton from damage caused by any more WikiLeaks releases, but doing so poses a real, tangible threat to U.S.-Russia relations—to the point where they might revert back to the Cold War era.

“By announcing the return of great-power competition and preparing for a war with Russia, the United States and NATO are setting in motion forces that could, in the end, achieve precisely that outcome,” wrote Michael T. Klare in a July Nation piece. “This is not to say that Moscow is guiltless regarding the troubled environment along the eastern front, but surely Vladimir Putin has reason to claim that the NATO initiatives pose a substantially heightened threat to Russian security and so justify a corresponding Russian buildup. Any such moves will, of course, invite yet additional NATO deployments, followed by complementary Russian moves, and so on —until we’re right back in a Cold War–like situation.” Klare also notes that these buildups increase the likelihood of mistakes or miscalculations which could escalate these increasing tensions into actual military conflict or war.

The Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign are jeopardizing the safety of the United States by employing Russian fear tactics to shield Clinton from criticism. In doing so, they are also building a foundation for Clinton to gain consent from the public to start a conflict with Russia—not unlike the way the Iraq War began, based on falsified information and thoughtless cheerleading in the mainstream media.

Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:13 am

Democrats' new warning: Leaks could include Russian lies. The move could help inoculate Hillary Clinton against an October cyber surprise.
by Cory Bennett
08/17/16

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is warning that Russian security services have been known to doctor documents and images. | Getty

Democratic leaders are putting out a warning that could help inoculate Hillary Clinton against an October cyber surprise: Any future mass leaks of embarrassing party emails might contain fake information inserted by Russian hackers.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is among those sounding that alarm, echoing security experts who say Russian security services have been known to doctor documents and images or bury fictitious, damaging details amid genuine information. For hackers to resort to such tactics would be highly unusual, but security specialists say it’s a realistic extension of Moscow’s robust information warfare efforts.

Pelosi aired her concerns during a Saturday night conference call with Democratic lawmakers and aides who had been stung by a dump of their emails and phone numbers, according to a source on the call.

Democratic strategists say the party would be wise to trumpet warnings about faked leaks as it braces for the possibility of hackers releasing damaging information about Clinton or other candidates close to Election Day. Preemptively casting doubt on the leaks may be easier now than trying to mount a full response days before voters go to the polls.

“It is certainly a valid issue to raise, because clearly the people who are doing these attacks have a political agenda that’s against the Democratic Party,” said Anita Dunn, who was White House communications director in the early part of President Barack Obama’s first term.

If Russia is indeed attempting to destabilize Clinton’s candidacy through the widespread digital assault on Democratic institutions — as many researchers believe, and Democrats are alleging, but Moscow strongly denies — “why wouldn’t you want to raise the potential [for tampering]?” asked Dunn, now a partner at communications firm SKDKnickerbocker. “I think it’s only prudent for people to raise that possibility."

Republicans say Democrats are just trying to distract the public from the most important issue: the content of the leaks. They say the Democrats already tried to do that with the first batch of 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails that leaked in July, which forced the resignation of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz after showing that some DNC staffers had favored Clinton over primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“First, they made it all about Russia instead of the substance of what was actually in the emails,” said Matt Mackowiak, a veteran Republican strategist. Now, he added, “If there is a massive trove of emails or documents relating to the Clinton campaign or the Clinton Foundation … they may just say, ‘Look, the authenticity of the emails hasn’t been confirmed.’”

Intelligence officials — including NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — have long argued that data manipulation more broadly is a disturbing possibility, and potentially the next front in both cybercrime and the budding digital warfare between countries.

Last month, a bipartisan group of 32 national security experts at the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group warned of a specific type of fakery following the DNC hack, arguing that the suspected Russian hackers who struck the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee could “salt the files they release with plausible forgeries.”

In Saturday’s call, Pelosi was underlining a point made by cyber experts at CrowdStrike, the firm the party has hired to investigate the breaches at the DNC and the DCCC. The conference call was prompted by the late Friday release of DCCC spreadsheets containing nearly all House Democrats’ and staffers’ personal emails and phone numbers, which led to a flood of harassing emails and phone calls over the weekend.

In total, the hackers have reportedly infiltrated more than 100 party officials and groups, leaving progressives fearful that the entire Democratic Party apparatus is potentially compromised. During Saturday’s call, House members in competitive races voiced concerns about what damning information might be out there.

But hacking specialists say the most harmful information might not even be genuine.

“You may have material that’s 95 percent authentic, but 5 percent is modified, and you’ll never actually be able to prove a negative, that you never wrote what’s in that material,” CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch told POLITICO. “Even if you released the original email, how will you prove that it’s not doctored? It’s sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t."

Several Democratic operatives said they even expect fake information, though mixed with enough truth to cause damage.

“The most powerful lie contains truth,” said Craig Varoga, a D.C.-based Democratic strategist. “Whether it’s the devil or it's Russian intelligence services, they traffic in things that are true in order to put across a greater lie.”

Historically, it’s not unprecedented for intelligence agencies — including those in the U.S. — to release fake reports for propaganda purposes. The FBI’s COINTELPRO program infamously used forged documents and false news reports to discredit or harass dissenters during the 1950s and 1960s, including civil rights leaders, anti-war protesters and alleged communist organizations.

Hackers have adopted similar strategies.

In 2013, Syrian hackers backing embattled President Bashar Assad hijacked The Associated Press’ Twitter account, tweeting out falsified reports of two explosions at the White House that had injured Obama. The Dow plummeted in minutes, wiping out $136 billion in market value, according to Bloomberg. It stabilized shortly thereafter, once the report was revealed to be a hoax.

Russia has long been known for engaging in such propaganda warfare, going back to the days of the Soviet Union, when the KGB spread conspiracy theories about the FBI and CIA’s involvement in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. In the 1980s, the KGB planted newspaper articles alleging that the U.S. had invented HIV during a biological weapons research project.

The security agency also secretly helped an East German journalist write a book, “Who’s Who in the CIA,” that accurately outed numerous undercover CIA agents but also intentionally included a raft of people who were simply American officials stationed overseas, according to a former top Soviet security official.

In the weeks since the DNC email leaks, cyber specialists on Twitter have been circulating a passage from the memoirs of a former East German spymaster who wrote about the “creative” use of forgeries in conjunction with genuine leaks.

“Embarrassed by the publication of genuine but suppressed information, the targets were badly placed to defend themselves against the other, more damaging accusations that had been invented,” wrote Markus Wolf, who had headed East Germany’s foreign intelligence division for more than three decades. (On the other hand, he added that, “my principle was to stick as close to the truth as possible, especially when there was so much of it that could easily further the department’s aims.”)

In recent years, the Kremlin has adapted these tactics for a digital age.

The Kremlin was caught in 2014 manipulating satellite images to produce “proof” that Ukraine had shot down the Malaysia Airlines flight that was downed over Ukraine, killing 298 passengers. Last year, a Russian lawmaker’s staffer was exposed filming a fake war report, pretending to be near the front line in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow has seized territory.

“Standard Russian modus operandi,” said James Lewis, an international cyber policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, via email. “They’ve done it before in the Baltics and other parts of Europe: Leak a lot of real data and slip in some fakes (or more often, things that have been subtly modified rather than a complete fake).”

Digital forensics experts even noted that the metadata on some of the early documents leaked from the DNC — which included opposition research files — had been altered, although it didn’t appear that any content was compromised. But the discovery showed how easy such an edit would be.

“They have information warfare as a core tenet of what they do form a geopolitical perspective,” said Steve Ward, director of communications for digital security firm FireEye, which tracks many Russian hacking groups. “It’s really in their wheelhouse.”

But Ward and other digital security experts acknowledge that the exact scenario Pelosi was discussing would be novel, and that so far, hackers have had little incentive to manipulate leaked data. As anonymous digital actors, hackers already have the deck stacked against them when trying to expose information.

“You’ve got to suspend disbelief and trust the bad guys when you’re looking at this stuff,” Ward said. If they make just one discredited leak, hackers are “effectively losing the value of the operation by creating distrust with the data,” he added.

This leads many cyber experts to suspect that any release of faked emails, if it comes at all, would probably not come until days before the Nov. 8 election. At that point, the Democrats wouldn’t have time to definitively prove a forgery.

So it makes sense, strategists said, for Democrats to put the concept in the public’s mind now.

“What Pelosi is doing is making the response now,” said Brad Bannon, a longtime Democratic consultant. “Democrats do have their antenna up over this thing. They are anticipating.”

Eric Geller, Martin Matishak and Heather Caygle contributed to this report.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:18 am

The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia. Massive military exercises and a troop buildup on NATO’s eastern flank reflect a dangerous new strategy.
by Michael T. Klare
July 7, 2016

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Image
US Army soldiers deployed in Estonia (Reuters / Ints Kalnins)

For the first time in a quarter-century, the prospect of war—real war, war between the major powers—will be on the agenda of Western leaders when they meet at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, on July 8 and 9. Dominating the agenda in Warsaw (aside, of course, from the “Brexit” vote in the UK) will be discussion of plans to reinforce NATO’s “eastern flank”—the arc of former Soviet partners stretching from the Baltic states to the Black Sea that are now allied with the West but fear military assault by Moscow. Until recently, the prospect of such an attack was given little credence in strategic circles, but now many in NATO believe a major war is possible and that robust defensive measures are required.

In what is likely to be its most significant move, the Warsaw summit is expected to give formal approval to a plan to deploy four multinational battalions along the eastern flank—one each in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Although not deemed sufficient to stop a determined Russian assault, the four battalions would act as a “tripwire,” thrusting soldiers from numerous NATO countries into the line of fire and so ensuring a full-scale, alliance-wide response. This, it is claimed, will deter Russia from undertaking such a move in the first place or ensure its defeat should it be foolhardy enough to start a war.

The United States, of course, is deeply involved in these initiatives. Not only will it supply many of the troops for the four multinational battalions, but it is also taking many steps of its own to bolster NATO’s eastern flank. Spending on the Pentagon’s “European Reassurance Initiative” will quadruple, climbing from $789 million in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2017. Much of this additional funding will go to the deployment, on a rotating basis, of an additional armored-brigade combat team in northern Europe.

As a further indication of US and NATO determination to prepare for a possible war with Russia, the alliance recently conducted the largest war games in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War. Known as Anakonda 2016, the exercise involved some 31,000 troops (about half of them Americans) and thousands of combat vehicles from 24 nations in simulated battle maneuvers across the breadth of Poland. A parallel naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated “high-end maritime warfighting” in the Baltic Sea, including in waters near Kaliningrad, a heavily defended Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

All of this—the aggressive exercises, the NATO buildup, the added US troop deployments—reflects a new and dangerous strategic outlook in Washington. Whereas previously the strategic focus had been on terrorism and counterinsurgency, it has now shifted to conventional warfare among the major powers. “Today’s security environment is dramatically different than the one we’ve been engaged in for the last 25 years,” observed Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on February 2, when unveiling the Pentagon’s $583 billion budget for fiscal year 2017. Until recently, he explained, American forces had largely been primed to defeat insurgent and irregular forces, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now, however, the Pentagon was being readied for “a return to great-power competition,” including the possibility of all-out combat with “high-end enemies” like Russia and China.

By preparing for war, Washington and NATO are setting in motion forces that could achieve precisely that outcome.


The budgetary and force-deployment implications of this are enormous in their own right, but so is this embrace of “great-power competition” as a guiding star for US strategy. During the Cold War, it was widely assumed that the principal task of the US military was to prepare for all-out combat with the Soviet Union, and that such preparation must envision the likelihood of nuclear escalation. Since then, American forces have seen much horrible fighting in the Middle East and Afghanistan, but none of that has involved combat with another major power, and none entailed the risk of nuclear escalation—for which we should all be thankful. Now, however, Secretary Carter and his aides are seriously thinking about—and planning for—conflicts that would involve another major power and could escalate to the nuclear realm.

It’s hard to know where to begin when commenting on all this, given the atmosphere of Cold War hysteria. There is, first of all, the question of proportionality: are US and NATO moves on the eastern flank in keeping with the magnitude of the threat posed by Russia? Russian intervention in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is certainly provocative and repugnant, but cannot unequivocally be deemed a direct threat to NATO. Other Russian moves in the region, such as incursions by Russian ships and planes into the airspace and coastal waters of NATO members, are more worrisome, but appear to be more political messaging than a prelude to invasion. Basically, it’s very hard to imagine a scenario in which Russia would initiate an armed attack on NATO.

Then there is the matter of self-fulfilling prophecies. By announcing the return of great-power competition and preparing for a war with Russia, the United States and NATO are setting in motion forces that could, in the end, achieve precisely that outcome. This is not to say that Moscow is guiltless regarding the troubled environment along the eastern front, but surely Vladimir Putin has reason to claim that the NATO initiatives pose a substantially heightened threat to Russian security and so justify a corresponding Russian buildup. Any such moves will, of course, invite yet additional NATO deployments, followed by complementary Russian moves, and so on—until we’re right back in a Cold War–like situation.

Finally, there is the risk of accident, miscalculation, and escalation. This arises with particular severity in the case of US/NATO exercises on the edge of Russian territory, especially Kaliningrad. In all such actions, there is a constant danger that one side or the other will overreact to a perceived threat and take steps leading to combat and, conceivably, all-out war. When two Russian fighters flew within 30 feet of a US destroyer sailing in the Baltic Sea this past April, Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN that under US rules of engagement, the planes could have been shot down. Imagine where that could have led. Fortunately, the captain of the destroyer chose to exercise restraint and a serious incident was averted. But as more US and NATO forces are deployed on the edge of Russian territory and both sides engage in provocative military maneuvers, dangerous encounters of this sort are sure to increase in frequency, and the risk of their ending badly will only grow.

No doubt the NATO summit in Warsaw will be overshadowed to some degree by the UK’s Brexit vote and ensuing political turmoil in Europe. But as Western leaders settle down to business, they must not allow their inclination to “demonstrate unity” and “act resolutely” lead them to approve military moves that are inherently destabilizing. Surely it is possible to reassure the Baltic states and Poland without deploying many thousands of additional troops there and inviting an additional military buildup on the Russian side.

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the defense correspondent of The Nation.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:51 am

Dear Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, I Am Not Sidney Blumenthal
by Kurt Eichenwald
10/10/16

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Image
At one of his rallies, Trump trumpeted a faked document as proof that Clinton lied about Benghazi.
DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/GETTY


Updated | I am Sidney Blumenthal. At least, that is what Vladimir Putin—and, somehow, Donald Trump—seems to believe. And that should raise concerns not only about Moscow’s attempts to manipulate this election but also about how Trump came to push Russian disinformation to American voters.

An email from Blumenthal—a confidant of Hillary Clinton and a man, second only to George Soros, at the center of conservative conspiracy theories—turned up in the recent document dump by WikiLeaks. At a time when American intelligence believes Russian hackers are trying to interfere with the presidential election, records have recently been fed to WikiLeaks out of multiple organizations of the Democratic Party. But now that I have been brought into the whole mess—and transformed into Blumenthal—there is even more proof that the Russians are not only orchestrating this act of cyberwar but also really, really dumb.

The latest emerged thanks to the incompetence of Sputnik—the Russian online news and radio service established by the government-controlled news agency Rossiya Segodnya—which took words written by me and attributed them to Blumenthal.

The documents that WikiLeaks has unloaded recently have been emails out of the account of John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s election campaign. Almost as soon as the pilfered documents emerged, Sputnik was all over them and rapidly found (or probably already knew about before the WikiLeaks dump) a purportedly incriminating email from Blumenthal.

The email was amazing—it linked Boogie Man Blumenthal, Podesta and the topic of conservative political fever dreams, Benghazi. This, it seemed, was the smoking gun finally proving Clinton bore total responsibility for the attack on the American outpost in Libya in 2012. Sputnik even declared that the email might be the “October surprise” that could undermine Clinton’s campaign.

But the Russians had faked it all, taking a real document released by WikiLeaks and altering it to create a bogus story—one that ultimately was picked up by Trump himself. Since Newsweek first broke the story online, some journalists have speculated that the misrepresentation of the email may have merely been an error by an overworked Russian news agency. However, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the American intelligence agencies’ inquiry into the Russian hacking campaign, and who spoke on condition of anonymity, that theory is “absurd.”

Image
American intelligence officials have been warning that Russia is conducting an aggressive propaganda campaign to influence the election.
DAVID GOLDMAN/AP


A classified report submitted last summer to the congressional intelligence committees and a September 23 letter from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence specifically identify Sputnik as a central participant in a Russian disinformation campaign designed to use hacking and other techniques to interfere with the American election while strengthening Moscow’s global influence.

“Moscow appears to use monetary support in combination with other tools of Russian statecraft, including propaganda in local media, direct lobbying by the Russian Government, economic pressure, and military intimidation,” the letter says. “Russian trolls and other cyber actors post comments on the Internet, maintain blogs, challenge ‘pro-Western’ journalists and media narratives, and spread pro-Russian information on social media.”

Because of its important role in the Russian effort, Sputnik does not simply publish whatever it chooses, the government official tells Newsweek. Articles pertaining to politics in the United States and Europe require high-level review. It is not clear if Russian authorities conduct that review, the official says, but no article directly related to American politics would just be sloppily thrown into public view without careful consideration. (The article in question disappeared from the website shortly after Newsweek attempted to contact Sputnik about it.)

How these altered documents are disseminated can be quite complex. Sometimes, they will appear in one of the Russian media outlets used in disinformation campaigns. In other instances, the manipulated records are pushed out through a network of Russian bloggers, tweeters and others on social media, then picked up by publications in Moscow or other media outlets where the Kremlin maintains influence. From there, the goal is to have the false stories bandied about by more Russian bloggers or other disinformation participants on social media. The desired end result: The allegations are picked up in the West, usually first in Europe and then in the United States.

William Moran, the writer for Sputnik, said he based his article not on directives from the Russian government but on an anonymous tweet he saw on the internet that used an altered image of the document. He said he accepted the anonymous tweeter’s description that this was from Blumenthal, and did so because he was rushed. However, as the government official with knowledge of the intelligence inquiry said, the original altered document that was tweeted onto the internet came from a location that has been identified as being connected to the Russian disinformation campaigns, and only the news outlet controlled by the Russian government published an article based on it.

Both Trump and Clinton have been briefed on the scope of the Russian campaign, the official says, although he did not know if the role of Sputnik was specifically explained to them.

American officials have recently been predicting that manipulated documents would soon be appearing in outlets like Sputnik, which, until now, has been a source of some real records. On October 6, 16 former high-level intelligence officials, senators and other experts on national security released a cautionary letter about the methods that Russia uses in these campaigns.

“It is imperative that we focus on the broad disinformation campaign that is already underway,” the officials wrote. “What is taking place in the United States follows a well-known Russian playbook: First leak compelling and truthful information to gain credibility. The next step: release fake documents that look the same. This leaves a discredited actor in the position of denying the authenticity in the merciless court of public opinion, just weeks before an election.”

According to these officials, Russia has used these techniques in Estonia, Georgia, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Germany and now in the United States.

“The process has begun and stage has been set for the introduction of false information,” the national security experts wrote. “Altering stolen documents and introducing them to the public is not the stuff of spy movies. It is a proven tactic of Russian intelligence, and we expect it will happen here.”

Other altered documents have already been the basis of articles on Sputnik, the government official with knowledge of the intelligence agencies’ inquiries tells Newsweek. However, the Blumenthal email appears to be the first manipulated record to be publicly identified.

Image
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on September 21.
REUTERS/IVAN SEKRETAREV/POOL


To understand the full importance of the false Blumenthal story—and how much Putin and his Kremlin cronies must have been dancing with delight—I have to quote the top few paragraphs:

In a major revelation from the second batch of WikiLeaks emails from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta it was learned that Hillary's top confidante [sic] Sidney Blumenthal believed that the investigation into Benghazi was legitimate because it was "preventable" and the result of State Department negligence.

In an email titled "The Truth" from Hillary's top confidante Sidney Blumenthal, the adviser writing to undisclosed recipients said that "one important point that has been universally acknowledged by nine previous reports about Benghazi: The attack was almost certainly preventable" in what may turn out to be the big October surprise from the WikiLeaks release of emails from the account of Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta.


Then came the money quote:

"Clinton was in charge of the State Department, and it failed to protect U.S. personnel at an American consulate in Libya. If the GOP wants to raise that as a talking point against her, it is legitimate," said Blumenthal, putting to rest the Democratic Party talking point that the investigation into Clinton's management of the State Department at the time of the attack was nothing more than a partisan witch hunt.


Those words sounded really, really familiar. Really familiar. Like, so familiar they struck me as something I wrote. Because they were something I wrote.

The Russians were quoting two sentences from a 10,000-word piece I wrote for Newsweek, which Blumenthal had emailed to Podesta. There was no mistaking that Blumenthal was citing Newsweek—the magazine’s name and citations for photographs appeared throughout the attached article. In fact, the email was 75 pages long when printed out. The sentences quoted by the Russians were on page 19, following 22 different mentions that the words came from Newsweek.The Russians had carefully selected the “of course” paragraph, which mentions there were legitimate points of criticism regarding Clinton and Benghazi, all of which had been acknowledged in nine reports about the attack and by the former secretary of state herself. But that was hardly the point of the story, “Benghazi Biopsy: A Comprehensive Guide to One of America’s Worst Political Outrages.” The piece is about the obscene politicization of the assault that killed four Americans, and the article slammed the Republican Benghazi committee, which was engaged in a political show trial disguised as a congressional investigation—the 10th inquiry into the tragedy.

Here is the real summation of my article, which the Russians failed to quote:

The historical significance of this moment can hardly be overstated, and it seems many Republicans, Democrats and members of the media don’t fully understand the magnitude of what is taking place. The awesome power of government—one that allows officials to pore through almost anything they demand and compel anyone to talk or suffer the shame of taking the Fifth Amendment—has been unleashed for purely political purposes. It is impossible to review what the Benghazi committee has done as anything other than taxpayer-funded political research of the opposing party’s leading candidate for president. Comparisons from America’s past are rare. Richard Nixon’s attempts to use the IRS to investigate his perceived enemies come to mind. So does Senator Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting during the 1950s, with reckless accusations of treason leveled at members of the State Department, military generals and even the secretary of the Army.... The consequences, however, are worse than the manipulation of the electoral process. By using Benghazi for political advantage, the Republicans have communicated to global militants that, through even limited attacks involving relatively few casualties, they can potentially influence the direction of American elections.


This false story was reported only by the Russian-controlled agency (a reference appeared in a Turkish publication, but it was nothing but a link to the Sputnik article). So how did Donald Trump end up advancing the same falsehood put out by Putin’s mouthpiece?

At a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump spoke while holding a document in his hand. He told the assembled crowd that it was an email from Blumenthal, whom he called “sleazy Sidney.”“This just came out a little while ago,” Trump said. “I have to tell you this.”

And then he read the words from my article.

“He’s now admitting they could have done something about Benghazi,” Trump said, dropping the document to the floor.

“This just came out a little while ago.”

The crowd booed and chanted, “Lock her up!”

Image
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, October 10.
MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS


After Newsweek first published its article on Sputnik and the Blumenthal email, some reporters suggested that a tweet from an anonymous account may have been the source of the Russian article or Trump’s statement. An image attached to the tweet showed the sentences in question, but provided no indication that it came from an email. Based on the information from the government official with knowledge of the intelligence inquiries, Sputnik would never base a story it portrayed as the “October surprise” in the American election on a tweet with which it had no connection. The account in question is also quite unusual: It has put out an average of 285 tweets a day about American politics since it was created in February. (The account deleted the Blumenthal tweet on Monday.) The image from the tweet could have been anonymous propaganda by someone who searched through thousands of words to find sentences to attribute to Blumenthal. More troubling, it could have been distributed over social media as a step in the Russian effort to quote an altered email in Sputnik; that would match the tactics described by the government official who spoke to Newsweek. Either way, Trump spread the same story that the Russian government was pushing, whether by quoting propaganda whose origin he did not know or by using information that originated from Sputnik.

This is not funny. It is terrifying. The Russians engage in a sloppy disinformation effort and, before the day is out, the Republican nominee for president is standing on a stage reciting the same manufactured story as truth. How did this happen? Who in the Trump campaign fed him false allegations at the same time they were being advanced in a Russian disinformation campaign? (The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.)

Americans should be outraged. This totalitarian regime, engaged in what are arguably war crimes in Syria to protect its government puppet, is working to upend a democracy to the benefit of an American candidate who uttered positive comments just Sunday about the Kremlin's campaign on behalf of Bashar al-Assad. Trump’s arguments were an incomprehensible explication of the complex Syrian situation, which put him right on the side of the Iranians and Syrians, who are fighting to preserve the government that is the primary conduit of weapons used against Israel.

So no, Mr. Putin, I’m not Sidney Blumenthal. And now that you have been exposed once again, get the hell out of our election. And, Mr. Trump, you have some explaining to do about how you were so reckless.

This story has been updated to include information about Donald Trump's speech in Pennsylvania, a request for comment from the Trump campaign, details from the intelligence community about Sputnik and the techniques used in Russian disinformation campaigns, and details of an anonymous tweet that advanced the same propaganda as the Moscow news agency. It was also updated to include an explanation by the writer of the Sputnik article about his sourcing.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:59 am

Members of the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group Issue Statement on DNC Hack
by The Aspen Institute
Jul 28, 2016

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ASPEN, Colo., July 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 31 members of the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, a bipartisan group of homeland security and counterterrorism experts, have issued a statement on the recent Democratic National Committee hack:

Statement on the Democratic National Committee Hack
July 28, 2016

1. We cannot ignore news reports that the IT servers of the Democratic National Committee have been hacked, with some experts attributing the attacks to hackers affiliated with the Russian Government. Other reports claim that documents stolen in these hacks have been released publicly at the instigation of the Russian Government, and there is widespread speculation that the release may be an effort to influence the outcome of the US presidential election.

2. The facts remain to be conclusively determined, but the investigation of these events should have the highest priority. If true, this is an attack not on one party but on the integrity of American democracy. And it may not be the end of such attacks. It is not unthinkable that those responsible will steal and release more files, and even salt the files they release with plausible forgeries.

3. This is unacceptable. Our president should be chosen by American citizens, not by foreign adversaries or interests.

4. This is not a partisan issue. All parties should agree that foreign efforts to influence our elections through hacking and stealing confidential records must be deterred and thwarted through a strong and unified response.

5. Future action is required:

a. The president should ensure that the attacks are attributed and take prompt actions sufficient to hold those responsible accountable and deter foreign actors from pursuing such tactics in the future.

b. Election officials at every level of government should take this lesson to heart: our electoral process could be a target for reckless foreign governments and terrorist groups. The voting process is critical to our democracy and must be proof against such attacks or the threat of such attacks. Voting processes and results must receive security akin to that we expect for critical infrastructure.

c. Political parties and the federal government bear special responsibility for helping to prevent such intrusions in the future. What they have done in the past is clearly insufficient and threatens public confidence in the political process. Just as the federal government offers, and candidates routinely accept, Secret Service protection for their candidates, so too should campaigns and candidates be offered and accept assistance in securing their communications.

Signees of the Statement by the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group

Charles Allen
Former Under Secretary of Intelligence and Analysis
Department of Homeland Security

Stewart Baker
Former Assistant Secretary for Policy
Department of Homeland Security

Richard Ben-Veniste
Former Commissioner
National Commission on the Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

Peter Bergen
Director
National Security Studies Program
New America Foundation

William Bratton
Commissioner
New York City Police Department

Michael Chertoff
Former Secretary of Homeland Security

Raj De
Former General Counsel
National Security Agency

Clark Ervin
Former Inspector General
Department of Homeland Security

Jane Harman
President, Director and CEO
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Michael Hayden
Former Director
National Security Agency; Central Intelligence Agency

David Heyman
Former Assistant Secretary for Policy
Department of Homeland Security

Brian Michael Jenkins
Former Adviser
National Commission on Terrorism

Juliette Kayyem
Former Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs
Department of Homeland Security

John F. Kelly
Former Commander
US Southern Command

Michael Leiter
Former Director
National Counterterrorism Center

James Loy
Former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security

Christian Marrone
Former Chief of Staff
Department of Homeland Security

Paul McHale
Former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense
Department of Defense

John McLaughlin
Former Deputy and Acting Director
Central Intelligence Agency

Jeanne Meserve
Former Homeland Security Correspondent
CNN News

Michael Morell
Former Deputy Director
Central Intelligence Agency

Matt Olsen
Former Director
National Counterterrorism Center

Eric Olson
Former Commander
US Special Operations Command

John Pistole
Former Administrator
Transportation Security Administration

Jessica Stern
Fellow
FXB Center for Health and Human Rights
Harvard School of Public Health

Guy Swan
Former Commanding General
US Army North/Fifth Army

Frances Townsend
Former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

Starnes Walker
Former CTO & Technical Director
US Fleet Cyber Command
Former Director of Research
Department of Homeland Security

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Former Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:32 am

Hack of Democrats’ Accounts Was Wider Than Believed, Officials Say
by Eric Lichtblau and Eric Schmitt
August 10, 2016

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Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the Democratic National Convention last month. She resigned as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee after a trove of hacked internal emails was released. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — A Russian cyberattack that targeted Democratic politicians was bigger than it first appeared and breached the private email accounts of more than 100 party officials and groups, officials with knowledge of the case said Wednesday.

The widening scope of the attack has prompted the F.B.I. to broaden its investigation, and agents have begun notifying a long list of Democratic officials that the Russians may have breached their personal accounts.

The main targets appear to have been the personal email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s campaign officials and party operatives, along with a number of party organizations.

Officials have acknowledged that the Russian hackers gained access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, and to the Democratic National Committee, including a D.N.C. voter analytics program used by Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign.

But the hack now appears to have extended well beyond those groups, and organizations like the Democratic Governors’ Association may also have been affected, according to Democrats involved in the investigation. However, in a statement Thursday, the governors association said it “was informed that our analytics data was not compromised as part of the D.N.C. breach that affected the Clinton campaign.”

The group added that “we have no reason to believe that any D.G.A. emails were compromised by the D.N.C. breach.”


Democrats say they are bracing for the possibility that another batch of damaging or embarrassing internal material could become public before the November presidential election.

The attack has already proved politically damaging. On the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last month, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as D.N.C. chairwoman after WikiLeaks released a trove of hacked internal emails showing party officials eager for Mrs. Clinton to win the nomination over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

American intelligence agencies have said they have “high confidence” that the attack was the work of Russian intelligence agencies. It has injected a heavy dose of international intrigue into an already chaotic presidential campaign as Democrats have alleged that the Russians are trying to help tilt the election toward the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Trump stunned Democrats and Republicans when he said last month that he hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Mrs. Clinton’s email, and encouraged them to publish whatever they may have stolen, although he said later that he was being sarcastic.

Intelligence and law enforcement officials, however, are taking the issue seriously.


F.B.I. officials briefed staff members of House and Senate Intelligence Committees last week on the investigation into the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee. Briefings for other congressional committees are expected in the coming days.

Much of the briefing to the committee staff focused on the fact that American intelligence agencies have virtually no doubt that the Russian government was behind the theft, according to one staff member, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss elements of the confidential briefing.

The extension of the hack’s scope beyond the D.N.C. and the House Democratic committee added a troubling new element to the case, the staff member said.

American authorities remain uncertain whether the electronic break-in to the committee’s computer systems was intended as fairly routine cyberespionage or as part of an effort to manipulate the presidential election.

Russian motives are still an open question, said a federal law enforcement official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

There is no evidence so far that the theft penetrated the emails of lawmakers or staff members who serve on the Intelligence Committees, two staff members said.

The F.B.I. says it has no direct evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s private email server was hacked by the Russians or anyone else. But in June, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said that intruders had tried, and that any successful intruders were probably far too skilled to leave evidence of their intrusion behind. Law enforcement officials said he had the Russians in mind.

Mrs. Clinton’s aides were concerned about the possibility of an outside breach after a hacker calling himself “Guccifer” got into the email account in 2013 of Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidante of Mrs. Clinton’s who often emailed her on her private server, according to new documents released Wednesday.

Cheryl D. Mills, a lawyer and adviser for Mrs. Clinton, said she discussed the 2013 hack with the technician who ran Mrs. Clinton’s private server and considered “whether this event might affect Secretary Clinton’s email,” according to a written account Ms. Mills provided to Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that is suing the State Department.

So far, it does not appear that the Russian hackers sought or gained access to any computer systems used by Mr. Trump, who is known to avoid email, officials said.

Since news of the D.N.C. hack broke in June, a number of Democratic organizations have been scrubbing their files to determine what internal information might have been compromised. They have also been shoring up their cybersecurity defenses to guard against another attack.

An official with the D.N.C., speaking on condition of anonymity, said the committee took the threat very seriously, but would not comment on specific security steps taken.

WikiLeaks, the group that put out the D.N.C. emails publicly last month, interjected itself into the hacking case again this week when it offered a $20,000 reward for information on the shooting death last month of a former D.N.C. staff member, Seth Rich, outside his Washington home. His killing fueled speculation on the internet that he was somehow tied to the hacked emails, but the police have not given any credence to that speculation.

The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has made it clear that he would like to hurt Mrs. Clinton’s bid for the White House, opposing her candidacy on policy and personal grounds. He has hinted that he has more material about the presidential campaign that he could release.

Follow The New York Times’s politics and Washington coverage on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the First Draft politics newsletter.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:52 am

Twitter Comments
by Kurt Eichenwald
October 10, 11, 2016

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Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
Russia/Trump story put together late last night. Done a lot more reporting. More info coming soon. & if ur insane, seriously, take ur meds.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
The people going after my Russia story are either willfully ignorant or pure lying trolls. Strangest thing I have ever seen.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
OK...time for me to stop feeding the trolls. I am trying to make sense of people who are either dumb or so rage filled they wont read.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
Maybe I'm dense. What does Russian manipulating an email into a falsehood & Trump reciting the falsehood have to do with Bernie or Clinton?

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
4 those saying Russians "misread" email. It prints 75 pgs. It says "Newsweek" 22 times before the 2 sentences (on p.19) Russians lifted.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
Ive realized that almost everyone attacking my story is a Bernie supporter or left-wing. I thought it would be Trumpsters. This is bizarre.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
Seriously, Im reading some criticisms of my piece by some on the left, and they are not talking about what I wrote.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
Some seem to be struggling with the words of my piece. I am not saying wikileaks forged an email. Im saying the Russians manipulated it.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
Kurt Eichenwald Retweeted Donald J. Trump
Ummm....every poll? Anyone know what he is talking about?Kurt Eichenwald added,
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 11
.@ggreenwald: Washpost. "Timing of WikiLeaks release confirms (again) that it not a crusader 4 transparency but a willing agent of Kremlin"

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Russian gov manipulates email to @johnpodesta. Publishes disinformation. Takes it down. Trump recites false info.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Finished showing the links between Russian disinformation op & Trump, so now Im gonna go watch Manchurian Candidate.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
I like my Russian propaganda the old-fashioned way - uttered by Moscow, not by the GOP nominee for President

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
The Trump tapes are horrible. But that Trump obtained Russian disinformation and recited it as fact is terrifying.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Russia govnt falsified an email. Then Trump recited the falsified email at a rally. Only those two knew it. How?

Kurt Eichenwald Retweeted
NastyWoman ‏@Karoli Oct 10
So basically Trump and Sputnik had the same set of incorrect facts. Only them. Only Trump and a Russian propaganda outlet. Let it sink in

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
The Putin/Trump connection. One manufactures disinformation, w/in hours, the second is reading it at campaign rally.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
When Trump read Russian govnt disinformation about HRC at rally, the crowd yelled "lock her up!" How ironic.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Follow trail: Russia manipulates email, publishes on govnt media. No one else reports it. Trump reads it at rally.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Russian govt put out propaganda w/ bogus email. It ends up in Trumps hands hours later, where he reads it to crowd.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
How did Russian disinformation intended to upend election get into the hands of Donald Trump?

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Disinformation from Russian govnt ONLY appeared on govnt controled news. Trump recited as fact. Where did he get it?

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
What is the relationship between Trump campaign and Putin that led Trump to recite Russian disinformation at rally?

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Trump has to answer: How did he come to be reciting bogus info put out by Russian government at his campaign rally?

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
A candidate for President just recited false info from a Russian disinformation op as fact. How did Trump get it?

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
How did Donald Trump come to be reciting false info that ONLY appeared with Russian gov news agency as fact?

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Donald Trump pushed false story from a Russian disinformation campaign to voters at a rally.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
This morning, Russian govt news engaged in disinformation op. This afternoon, Trump recited same false info at rally

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
I have written some really disturbing stories about Donald Trump. The one that is minutes away is even leaving my mouth agape.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Vladimir Putin left a trail in his latest disinformation campaign. A very, very disturbing one. Details soon.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Really, really disturbing update coming soon on this story.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Jesus. I hear Trump just cited the bogus email where Russia attributed my words to HRC confidante. Anyone hear him say that? And..how odd.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Word's out. According to Putin, *I* am the October surprise. Thanks, Vlad!

Kurt Eichenwald Retweeted
Norman Ornstein ‏@NormOrnstein Oct 10
Norman Ornstein Retweeted Peter Whinn
The report of his first briefing, with unhinged Michael Flynn going out of control, was itself deeply disturbing. This is worseNorman Ornstein added,
Peter Whinn @petergene
I am shocked the Intelligence community didn't foresee that @realDonaldTrump is going to willfully and flagrantly lie about briefing info https://twitter.com/normornstein/status ... 0987462656

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
BTW, Mr. Putin: Did u really believe u could quote me, say it was Sid Blumenthal, & think no one would notice? Putz.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Russian govnt: Ur screw up with my piece proves ur engaged in cyberwar to upend US election. America will fight back

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
I hope @johnpodesta enjoyed article I wrote that Russia pulled out of his email and pretended came from HRC friend.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Im flattered Putin reads my articles. Itd be nice, though, if u didnt use them by lying in hopes of electing Trump.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
This pulls aside the lying misrepresentations of Russian govnt working with wikileaks. They cannot be believed.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
The bogus Russian govnt article putting my words in HRC confidante's mouth was rapidly picked up around the world.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
There is no better proof that @wikileaks is part of a Russian operation than Putin putting my words in others mouth.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Why is Russian news agency working SO HARD 2 help Trump by putting my words in someone else's mouth? Demand answers.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Folks: Wikileaks is compromised. Russia knew exactly where to look to take my words & put them in HRC friend's mouth

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
By quoting 2 sentences out of my 10,000 word piece, then attributing to Clinton friend, Putin tried to help Trump.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
As soon as Russian news agency realized I knew they took my words & put in HRC ally's mouth, they removed story.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
My words, supposedly out of @johnpodesta emails, are NOT Oct surprise. Russian govnt in its effort 2 help trump lied

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
If Russia takes @johnpodesta email, says its from Clinton friend, and then quotes me, they are messing w/ election.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Anyone who doubts wikileaks is working w/ Putin: read how my words falsely became those of a Clinton confidante.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Russian govt news agency called words of a Clinton confidant "the October surprise." They were my words. Putin lied.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
By releasing an email with my words -- and pretending they came from Clinton advisor - Putin has shown his hand.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
In @Newsweek: As part of campaign against HRC, Russian govnt put words from one of my articles in HRC friends mouth.

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald Oct 10
Coming up in a few minutes: My new story in @Newsweek on why Vladimir Putin is an idiot who slipped and let his campaign against HRC show.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:16 am

Clinton's campaign manager: Russia helping Trump
By Eric Bradner, CNN
July 25, 2016

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Philadelphia (CNN)Hillary Clinton's campaign manager is alleging that Russian hackers are leaking Democratic National Committee emails critical of Bernie Sanders in an effort to help Donald Trump win the election in November.

It comes on the heels of "changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian," Robby Mook told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday.

"I don't think it's coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and I think that's disturbing," he said.

The DNC has previously had its files hacked by an individual named "Guccifer 2.0" that may have had ties to the Russians.

Hackers stole opposition research on Donald Trump from the DNC's servers in mid-June. Two separate Russian intelligence-linked cyberattack groups were both in the DNC's networks.

Mook pointed to Trump's position on NATO -- that he wouldn't necessarily assist allies who haven't contributed enough financially to the organization -- and argued that position would aid Russia in Eastern Europe, as well.

"I think when you put all this together, it's a disturbing picture, and voters need to reflect on that," Mook said.

Trump's campaign seized on Mook's comments, using them to attack Clinton as a candidate who "will do and say anything" to win.

"What a joke," Trump senior communications adviser Jason Miller said in a statement. "This shows that Hillary Clinton will do and say anything to win the election and hold onto power in the rigged system."

Donald Trump Jr., the son of the Republican nominee, also bashed Mook's comments later on "State of the Union."

"It just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean they'll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie," Trump Jr. told Tapper. "It's disgusting. It's so phony. I watched him bumble through the interview."

He added "These lies and the perpetuating of nonsense to try to gain some political capital is outrageous and he should be ashamed of himself. If a Republican did that, they'd be calling for people to bring out the electric chair."

On CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort called any claims of Russian assistance to the Trump effort "absurd" when asked about it on the show.

"Donald Trump is talking about the failed leadership of the Obama administration," Manafort said. "I don't know anything about what you just said. You may know it. If you do, expose it. But to say you know -- i don't know what you're talking about. It is crazy."

Mook downplayed the possibility that the email release will rip open divides between supporters of Clinton and Sanders just before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia.

"The DNC needs to take appropriate steps, and I'm confident that they will," he said.
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