Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intelligence

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:19 am

‘US intel community lost professional discipline’: Ex-NSA tech director on ‘Russia hacking’ report
by Jim Urquhart
Reuters
7 Jan, 2017
© Jim Urquhart / Reuters

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The undisguised and clearly politically motivated report on the alleged 2016 US “election hack” displays a severe lack of “professional discipline” in the intelligence community, former NSA technical director and whistleblower William Edward Binney told RT.

While the report is full of allegations, it clearly lacks proof and even the wording used in the report points out that the authors have been playing a guessing game, Binney believes.

“I see a lot of allegations in what I’ve read so far of the report, but certainly it’s kind of light on proof of anything… They should’ve included at least some evidence of what they are asserting. And they haven’t done any of that, ” Binney said.

The motivation behind the report is a desire of some in US political circles to incite a “new cold war,” with Russia, according to Binney. The intelligence agencies are eager to push an anti-Russian agenda simply because a big confrontation promises a funding bonanza, the former NSA Technical Director said.

“My thinking all along is that there has been a move over here by members, some of the members in Congress, and by others, primarily I think the Democratic Party, but the Republicans are a part of this too, trying to start up a new Cold War,” Binney told RT.

“And the reason of course they want to do that is because that will the military, industrial, intelligence complex get more money. That simply means that if you start a new Cold War that means trillions of dollars being taken from taxpayers to pay for advanced weaponry, more spying, more spies, all kinds of activities by these intelligence agencies.”


The report veers off the “hacking” narrative and rather surprisingly, but flatteringly, focuses on RT and its activities in social media especially, which supposedly somehow helped Donald Trump to win the election.

“It’s another attempt to prejudice the issue for the American public. It’s the whole point of it I think. Otherwise they would have presented evidence like if there were things that RT reported that weren’t true, then they should have said that this is not true, and show what is true,” said Binney. “But they’re not even doing that. And in fact the whole idea is not really looking for truth and facts …”

It is a part of the “repetition from multiple directions until it’s believable” tactic used against Russia and Russian media. The repetition usually comes simultaneously from multiple “supposedly authoritative sources,” such as Congressmen, MSM citing anonymous security sources, intelligence agencies, until everyone stops questioning it, Binney believes.


The whole situation is dangerous for the US itself, since it exposes serious immaturity in the intelligence services, which have basically lost the ability to perform their primary duties.

“Basically it means that our intelligence community has lost the professional discipline of an intelligence function. And this is very dangerous. That’s why I’m an advocate for what president-elect Trump is doing by challenging what they are saying, because they need to be challenged,” Binney told RT.

“Because they are not being professional and disciplined in what they’re doing. That’s why they can’t stop any of these terrorist attacks. They are really good, the FBI is anyway, in entrapping people but it’s not in stopping real attacks.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:24 am

On Washington's hacking hysteria – what would Freud say?
by John Wight
7 Jan, 2017

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The Democratic Party and its supporters within the Washington political establishment are having serious problems grappling with the concept of democracy.

Since losing the US presidential election, they’ve been floundering around trying to blame Russia, WikiLeaks, Jill Stein, their own Electoral College, indeed everyone and everything except the people who decided to cast their vote in favor of Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton on November 11.

In this endeavor, they are enjoying the support of the CIA and, they claim, the sixteen other agencies that make up the country’s bloated intelligence community. Digressing for a moment here, what do those seventeen separate intelligence agencies actually do? Whatever their role is, it hasn’t had much to do with fighting terrorism, what with the rise of ISIS and Al-Qaeda in recent years. Perhaps they’ve been too busy interfering in the internal affairs of other countries to fight terrorism.


If we’re going by the historical record, then interfering in other countries’ internal affairs is precisely what they’ve been up to. Their ignoble history in this respect was documented back in October, in the pages of the Washington Post no less, with reporter Ishaan Tharoor reminding us of Washington’s role when it comes to “interfering [with] and sometimes interrupting the workings of democracies elsewhere.”

As he writes:

“It [the US] has occupied and intervened militarily in a whole swath of countries in the Caribbean and Latin America and fomented coups against democratically elected populists.

The most infamous episodes include the ousting of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 – whose government was replaced by an authoritarian monarchy favourable to Washington – the removal and assassination of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba in 1961, and the violent toppling of socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende, whose government was swept aside in 1973 by a military coup led by the ruthless Gen. Augusto Pinochet.”


Overlooked in the brief history outlined by Mr Tharoor is the more recent role of US government officials and politicians in the coup that toppled the democratically elected Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich at the beginning of 2014. Imagine the furore that would have been unleashed if Russian officials and politicians had dared do something similar in Mexico or Canada.

The point is that the US has made a virtue of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries over generations – supporting and/or organizing military coups, election fraud, and covertly funding political campaigns, groups, and parties all over the world in line with its own strategic and geopolitical interests.

US author and historian William Blum puts it’s like this: “The United States is not concerned with this thing called ‘democracy,’ no matter how many times every American president uses the word each time he opens his mouth... Since 1945 the US has attempted to overthrow more than fifty governments, most of which were democratically elected, and grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least thirty countries.”

Turning to the specific allegations and the resulting hysteria whipped up over Russia’s alleged role in hacking the servers of officials within the Democratic Party, no concrete evidence for this has yet been provided. All we’ve had instead is bald assertion. On the other side of the argument, meanwhile, contradicting the hacking allegations, we have former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange, former CIA officer Ray McGovern, along with a group of former US intelligence officers and officials known as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). All of the aforementioned claim that the emails in question were not hacked by Russia – they were leaked from within Washington.

In a recent interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, when asked if Russia or anybody associated with Russia provided WikiLeaks with the emails, Julian Assange stated that “Our source is not a state party. So the answer for our interactions is no.”

Later in the same interview, Hannity asked him: “Can you say to the American people unequivocally that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta's emails – can you tell the American people 1,000 percent you did not get it from Russia?” To which Assange replied: “We can say and we have said repeatedly over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party.”


This of course begs the question of who may have leaked the emails and why. Here Hannity put to Assange the claim of his friend, former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, that “somebody that you are friendly with actually was handed the documents at American University in a wooded area by a disgruntled Democrat who felt betrayed because they, the revelations, showed that Bernie Sanders had been betrayed and they didn't like the corruption of the Clinton Foundation.”

Julian Assange neither confirmed nor denied the veracity of this claim.

So this leaves us pondering the motive behind the allegations being leveled at Russia. In so doing, it is hard to escape the Freudian concept of psychological projection; in other words, the “operation of expelling feelings or wishes the individual finds wholly unacceptable – too shameful, too obscene, too dangerous – by attributing them to another.”

Given its long and shameful history of interference in the democracy and internal and sovereign affairs of other countries, are we witnessing a discredited and exposed Washington machine projecting the same shameful activity onto Russia?

It is a question that answers itself.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:28 am

US Intel Agencies Try to Strong-Arm Trump into War With Russia
by Mike Whitney
January 10, 2017

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Powerful elites are using the credibility of the US Intelligence agencies to demonize Russia and prepare the country for war. This is the real meaning of the “Russia hacking” story which, as yet, has not produced any hard evidence of Russian complicity.

Last week’s 25-page report, that was released by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, illustrates to what extent intelligence is being “fixed around the policy”. Just as the CIA generated false information related to Weapons of Mass Destruction to soften public resistance to war with Iraq, so too, the spurious allegations in the DNI’s politically-motivated report are designed to depict Russia as a growing threat to US national security. The timing of the report has less to do with the election of Donald Trump as President than it does with critical developments in Syria where the Russian military has defeated US-proxies in Syria’s industrial hub, Aleppo, rolling back Washington’s 15-year War of Terror and derailing the imperialist plan to control vital resources and pipeline corridors across the Middle East and Central Asia. Russia has become the main obstacle to Washington achieving its strategic vision of pivoting to Asia and maintaining its dominant role into the next century. The Intelligence Community has been coerced into compromising its credibility to incite fear of Russia and to advance the geopolitical ambitions of deep state powerbrokers.

The “Russia hacking” flap shows how far the Intel agencies have veered from their original mandate, which is to impartially gather and analyze information that may be vital to US national security. As we have seen in the last two weeks, the leaders of these organizations feel free to offer opinions on issues that clearly conflict with those of the new President-elect. Trump has stated repeatedly that he wants to reduce tensions and reset relations with Russia, but that policy is being sabotaged by members of the intelligence community, particularly CIA Director John Brennan who appeared just last week on PBS Newshour with Judy Woodruff. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

“We see that there are still a lot of actions that Russia is undertaking that undermine the principles of democracy in so many countries. What has happened in our recent election is not new. The Russians have engaged in trying to manipulate elections in Europe for a number of years…

the Russians tried to interfere in our electoral process recently, and were actively involved in that. And that is something that we can’t countenance.” (“Interview with CIA Director John Brennan”, PBS Newshour)


Brennan, of course, provided no evidence for his claims nor did he mention the hundreds of CIA interventions around the world. But Brennan’s accusations are less important than the fact that his appearance on a nationwide broadcast identifies him as a political advocate for policies that conflict with those of the new president. Do we really want unelected intelligence officials — whose job it is to provide the president with sensitive information related to national security – to assume a partisan role in shaping policy? And why would Brennan – whose is supposed to “serve at the pleasure of the president”– accept an invitation to offer his views on Russia when he knew they would be damaging to the new administration?

Powerful people behind the scenes are obviously pushing the heads of these intelligence agencies to stick to their ‘anti-Moscow’ narrative to force Trump to abandon his plan for peaceful relations with Moscow. Brennan isn’t calling the shots and neither are Clapper or Comey. They’re all merely agents serving the interests of establishment plutocrats whose geopolitical agenda doesn’t jibe with that of the incoming administration. If that wasn’t the case, then why would the Intelligence Community stake its reputation on such thin gruel as this Russian hacking gibberish? It doesn’t make any sense. The people who launched this campaign are either supremely arrogant or extremely desperate. Which is it? Here’s an excerpt from an article by veteran journalist Robert Parry sums it up like this in an article at Consortium News:

“The DNI report amounted to a compendium of reasons to suspect that Russia was the source of the information – built largely on the argument that Russia had a motive for doing so because of its disdain for Democratic nominee Clinton and the potential for friendlier relations with Republican nominee Trump.

But the case, as presented, is one-sided and lacks any actual proof. Further, the continued use of the word “assesses” – as in the U.S. intelligence community “assesses” that Russia is guilty – suggests that the underlying classified information also may be less than conclusive because, in intelligence-world-speak, “assesses” often means “guesses.” (“US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia ‘Hack’”, Robert Parry, Consortium News)


Bottom line: Brennan and his fellow spooks have nothing. The report is little more than a catalogue of unfounded assumptions, baseless speculation and uncorroborated conjecture. In colloquial parlance, it’s bullshit, 100 percent, unalloyed Russophobic horse-manure. In fact, the authors admit as much in the transcript itself when they say:

“Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”


What kind of kooky admission is that? So the entire report could be BS but we’re supposed to believe that Putin flipped the election? Is that it???

What’s really going on here? Why have the Intelligence agencies savaged their credibility just to convince people that Russia is up to no good?

The Russia hacking story has more to do with recent developments in Syria than it does with delegitimizing Donald Trump. Aleppo was a real wake up call for the US foreign policy establishment which is beginning to realize that their plans for the next century have been gravely undermined by Russia’s military involvement in Syria. Aleppo represents the first time that an armed coalition of allied states (Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah) have actively engaged US jihadist-proxies and soundly beat them to a pulp. The stunning triumph in Aleppo has spurred hope among the vassal states that Washington’s bloody military juggernaut can be repelled, rolled back and defeated. And if Washington’s CIA-armed, trained and funded jihadists can be repelled, then the elitist plan to project US power into Central Asia to dominate the world’s most populous and prosperous region, will probably fail. In other words, the outcome in Aleppo has cast doubts on Uncle Sam’s ability to successfully execute its pivot to Asia.

That’s why the Intel agencies have been employed to shape public perceptions on Russia. Their job is to prepare the American people for an escalation of hostilities between the two nuclear-armed superpowers. US powerbrokers are determined to intensify the conflict and reverse facts on the ground. (Recent articles by elites at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institute reveal that they are as committed to partitioning Syria as ever.) Washington wants to reassert its exceptional role as the uncontested steward of global security and the lone ‘unipolar’ world power.

That’s what this whole “hacking” fiasco is about. The big shots who run the country are trying to strong-arm ‘the Donald’ into carrying their water so the depredations can continue and Central Asia can be transformed into a gigantic Washington-dominated corporate free trade zone where the Big Money calls the shots and Capital reigns supreme. That’s their dreamstate, Capitalist Valhalla.

They just need Trump to get-with-the-program so the bloodletting can continue apace.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Information Clearing House editorial policy.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:42 am

The Deep State Goes to War With President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer
by Glenn Greenwald
January 11 2017

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IN JANUARY 1961, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this specific threat to democracy: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” That warning was issued prior to the decade-long escalation of the Vietnam War, three more decades of Cold War mania, and the post-9/11 era, all of which radically expanded that unelected faction’s power even further.

This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News.”

Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss, as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry, and damaging those behaviors might be.

The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest. There is a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combating those threats: from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience. All of those strategies have periodically proven themselves effective in times of political crisis or authoritarian overreach.

But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.

Beyond all that, there is no bigger favor that Trump opponents can do for him than attacking him with such lowly, shabby, obvious shams, recruiting large media outlets to lead the way. When it comes time to expose actual Trump corruption and criminality, who is going to believe the people and institutions who have demonstrated they are willing to endorse any assertions no matter how factually baseless, who deploy any journalistic tactic no matter how unreliable and removed from basic means of ensuring accuracy?

All of these toxic ingredients were on full display yesterday as the Deep State unleashed its tawdriest and most aggressive assault yet on Trump: vesting credibility in and then causing the public disclosure of a completely unvetted and unverified document, compiled by a paid, anonymous operative while he was working for both GOP and Democratic opponents of Trump, accusing Trump of a wide range of crimes, corrupt acts, and salacious private conduct. The reaction to all of this illustrates that while the Trump presidency poses grave dangers, so, too, do those who are increasingly unhinged in their flailing, slapdash, and destructive attempts to undermine it.

FOR MONTHS, THE CIA, with unprecedented clarity, overtly threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and sought to defeat Donald Trump. In August, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell announced his endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.
by Michael J. Morrell
August 5, 2016

During a 33-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, I served presidents of both parties — three Republicans and three Democrats. I was at President George W. Bush’s side when we were attacked on Sept. 11; as deputy director of the agency, I was with President Obama when we killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.

I am neither a registered Democrat nor a registered Republican. In my 40 years of voting, I have pulled the lever for candidates of both parties. As a government official, I have always been silent about my preference for president.

No longer. On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. Between now and then, I will do everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president.

Two strongly held beliefs have brought me to this decision. First, Mrs. Clinton is highly qualified to be commander in chief. I trust she will deliver on the most important duty of a president — keeping our nation safe. Second, Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.

I spent four years working with Mrs. Clinton when she was secretary of state, most often in the White House Situation Room. In these critically important meetings, I found her to be prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument.

I also saw the secretary’s commitment to our nation’s security; her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world for the country to remain secure and prosperous; her understanding that diplomacy can be effective only if the country is perceived as willing and able to use force if necessary; and, most important, her capacity to make the most difficult decision of all — whether to put young American women and men in harm’s way.

Mrs. Clinton was an early advocate of the raid that brought Bin Laden to justice, in opposition to some of her most important colleagues on the National Security Council. During the early debates about how we should respond to the Syrian civil war, she was a strong proponent of a more aggressive approach, one that might have prevented the Islamic State from gaining a foothold in Syria.


I never saw her bring politics into the Situation Room. In fact, I saw the opposite. When some wanted to delay the Bin Laden raid by one day because the White House Correspondents Dinner might be disrupted, she said, “Screw the White House Correspondents Dinner.”

In sharp contrast to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.

These traits include his obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition, his refusal to change his views based on new information, his routine carelessness with the facts, his unwillingness to listen to others and his lack of respect for the rule of law.


The dangers that flow from Mr. Trump’s character are not just risks that would emerge if he became president. It is already damaging our national security.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated.

Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States.

In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.


Mr. Trump has also undermined security with his call for barring Muslims from entering the country. This position, which so clearly contradicts the foundational values of our nation, plays into the hands of the jihadist narrative that our fight against terrorism is a war between religions.

In fact, many Muslim Americans play critical roles in protecting our country, including the man, whom I cannot identify, who ran the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center for nearly a decade and who I believe is most responsible for keeping America safe since the Sept. 11 attacks.

My training as an intelligence officer taught me to call it as I see it. This is what I did for the C.I.A. This is what I am doing now. Our nation will be much safer with Hillary Clinton as president.

Michael J. Morell was the acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013.


The CIA and NSA director under George W. Bush, Gen. Michael Hayden, also endorsed Clinton and went to the Washington Post to warn, in the week before the election, that “Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin,” adding that Trump is “the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”

Former CIA chief: Trump is Russia’s useful fool
by Michael V. Hayden
November 3, 2016

Michael V. Hayden, a principal at the Chertoff Group and visiting professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, was director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 and the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009.

I know I’m not the first to notice this, but Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin.

There has always been a sympathetic authoritarian chord between the Republican presidential nominee and the Russian president. Both are on record as admiring The Strong Leader. They’ve even complimented one another on the trait. Putin could have been humming along when Trump was claiming “I alone can fix it” during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. Maybe he was.

Each seems to have a pretty conspiratorial view of the world, too. Putin comes by his naturally. He’s a product of a KGB Marxist philosophy where “the other” — any other — is reflexively identified as hostile and created by immutable forces of history, something to be feared and ultimately crushed.

At a rally in Springfield, Ohio, Oct. 27, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he wished the U.S. “actually got along with Russia” so they could defeat the Islamic State together. (The Washington Post)

Trump seems to view business a bit that way. At least I don’t recall a lot of win-win vocabulary when he touts his dealmaking skills.

At the political level, Trump sees quite a few powerful “others” in the American electoral process: a corrupt media, international banks, unrestricted immigrants, a variety of globalists, free-traders and (at least some) Muslims. It’s a list Putin could second or, in some cases, jail or worse.

Sounding simultaneously populist and a little bit the conspiratorial Marxist, Trump has claimed that these unseen forces could rig the U.S. election. It’s a theme that Putin is happy to echo. Indeed, it’s a theme that his intelligence services are happy to actively propagate.

And in that case, the American presidential candidate routinely comes to the defense of his Russian soul mate. In the face of a high-confidence judgment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and then weaponized embarrassing emails to sow confusion here, the man who would be president has declared: “Our country has no idea,” “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. . . . It could also be lots of other people” and “They always blame Russia.”

Rejecting a fact-based intelligence assessment — not because of compelling contrarian data, but because it is inconsistent with a preexisting worldview — that’s the stuff of ideological authoritarianism, not pragmatic democracy. And it is frightening.

Trump also echoes Putin when it comes to Syria and the Islamic State, or ISIS. Here he follows the Moscow line that we and the Russians have common purpose and that Russia and Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad (and Iran) are “killing ISIS.”

Actually, they are not. They are bucking up the Assad regime that, if anyone is keeping score, has killed more innocents than the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate, have combined.
And the attractiveness of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda to Sunni Muslims is a direct byproduct of the depredations of the Assad regime — the regime that Russia saved from collapse a year ago.

It’s a little complicated, I suppose, but not so hard that it explains or justifies the willful ignorance that Trump seems to display. His second debate formulation — “I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS” — is precisely the formulation that the Syrian president has been attempting to craft. “It’s me or the terrorists” has been his false dilemma. It’s hard to explain how the candidate of a major American political party could have gotten there, especially after receiving classified intelligence briefings.

Perhaps some of this is explained by the murky ties of some on team Trump to things Russian. There is certainly a history there, and perhaps a comfort level as well.

Former campaign manager Paul Manafort did consulting work for the now-discredited but decidedly pro-Russian regime of Viktor Yanokovych in Ukraine, and recent revelations in Kiev have stoked questions about whether Manafort should have registered here as working on behalf of a foreign power.

Manafort denies any role in July’s successful effort to suppress a Republican platform pledge to provide lethal defensive weapons to the Ukrainians in their continuing battle against separatists and the Russian army. Although it’s clear that the suppression was initiated by Trump staffers, Trump has denied any personal responsibility for it. The whole episode was too quickly forgotten; it begs explanation.

Then there’s Carter Page, an adviser with intermittent contacts with the campaign, but with deep ties to Russian money, oil and gas, who has blamed aggressive Western policies for the mess in the Ukraine and what he describes as the “so-called annexation of Crimea.” So-called?

And what about the money? Although Trump has said, “I have zero investments in Russia,” his son Donald Jr. conceded in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets . . . we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Absent more detailed data (such as tax returns), who knows?

We have really never seen anything like this. Former acting CIA director Michael Morell says that Putin has cleverly recruited Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.

I’d prefer another term drawn from the arcana of the Soviet era: polezni durak. That’s the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.

That’s a pretty harsh term, and Trump supporters will no doubt be offended. But, frankly, it’s the most benign interpretation of all this that I can come up with right now.


It is not hard to understand why the CIA preferred Clinton over Trump. Clinton was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria and was eager to expand that war, while Trump denounced it. Clinton clearly wanted a harder line than Obama took against the CIA’s long-standing foes in Moscow, while Trump wanted improved relations and greater cooperation. In general, Clinton defended and intended to extend the decades-long international military order on which the CIA and Pentagon’s preeminence depends, while Trump — through a still-uncertain mix of instability and extremist conviction — posed a threat to it.

Whatever one’s views are on those debates, it is the democratic framework — the presidential election, the confirmation process, congressional leaders, judicial proceedings, citizen activism and protest, civil disobedience — that should determine how they are resolved. All of those policy disputes were debated out in the open; the public heard them; and Trump won. Nobody should crave the rule of Deep State overlords.

Yet craving Deep State rule is exactly what prominent Democratic operatives and media figures are doing. Any doubt about that is now dispelled. Just last week, Chuck Schumer issued a warning to Trump, telling Rachel Maddow that Trump was being “really dumb” by challenging the unelected intelligence community because of all the ways they possess to destroy those who dare to stand up to them:

Kyle Griffin ✔ @kylegriffin1
Chuck Schumer on Trump's tweet hitting intel community: "He's being really dumb to do this."
8:24 PM - 3 Jan 2017


And last night, many Democrats openly embraced and celebrated what was, so plainly, an attempt by the Deep State to sabotage an elected official who had defied it: ironically, its own form of blackmail.

BACK IN OCTOBER, a political operative and former employee of the British intelligence agency MI6 was being paid by Democrats to dig up dirt on Trump (before that, he was paid by anti-Trump Republicans). He tried to convince countless media outlets to publish a long memo he had written filled with explosive accusations about Trump’s treason, business corruption, and sexual escapades, with the overarching theme that Trump was in servitude to Moscow because they were blackmailing and bribing him.

Despite how many had it, no media outlets published it. That was because these were anonymous claims unaccompanied by any evidence at all, and even in this more permissive new media environment, nobody was willing to be journalistically associated with it. As the New York Times’ Executive Editor Dean Baquet put it last night, he would not publish these “totally unsubstantiated” allegations because “we, like others, investigated the allegations and haven’t corroborated them, and we felt we’re not in the business of publishing things we can’t stand by.”

The closest this operative got to success was convincing Mother Jones’s David Corn to publish an October 31 article reporting that “a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country” claims that “he provided the [FBI] with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump.”

But because this was just an anonymous claim unaccompanied by any evidence or any specifics (which Corn withheld), it made very little impact. All of that changed yesterday. Why?

What changed was the intelligence community’s resolution to cause this all to become public and to be viewed as credible. In December, John McCain provided a copy of this report to the FBI and demanded they take it seriously.

At some point last week, the chiefs of the intelligence agencies decided to declare that this ex-British intelligence operative was “credible” enough that his allegations warranted briefing both Trump and Obama about them, thus stamping some sort of vague, indirect, and deniable official approval on these accusations. Someone — by all appearances, numerous officials — then went to CNN to tell the network they had done this, causing CNN to go on air and, in the gravest of tones, announce the “Breaking News” that “the nation’s top intelligence officials” briefed Obama and Trump that Russia had compiled information that “compromised President-elect Trump.”

CNN refused to specify what these allegations were on the ground that it could not “verify” them. But with this document in the hands of multiple media outlets, it was only a matter of time — a small amount of time — before someone would step up and publish the whole thing. BuzzFeed quickly obliged, airing all of the unvetted, anonymous claims about Trump.

Its editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, published a memo explaining that decision, saying that — although there was “serious reason to doubt the allegations” — BuzzFeed in general “errs on the side of publication” and “Americans can make up their own minds about the allegations.”
Publishing this document predictably produced massive traffic (and thus profit) for the site, with millions of people viewing the article and presumably reading the “dossier.”

BuzzFeedNEWS
TRENDING
2,588,070 VIEWS
These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties to Russia
A dossier, compiled by a person who has claimed to be a former British intelligence official, alleges Russia has compromising information on Trump. The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.


One can certainly object to BuzzFeed’s decision and, as the New York Times noted this morning, many journalists are doing so. It’s almost impossible to imagine a scenario where it’s justifiable for a news outlet to publish a totally anonymous, unverified, unvetted document filled with scurrilous and inflammatory allegations about which its own editor-in-chief says there “is serious reason to doubt the allegations,” on the ground that they want to leave it to the public to decide whether to believe it.

But even if one believes there is no such case where that is justified, yesterday’s circumstances presented the most compelling scenario possible for doing this. Once CNN strongly hinted at these allegations, it left it to the public imagination to conjure up the dirt Russia allegedly had to blackmail and control Trump. By publishing these accusations, BuzzFeed ended that speculation. More importantly, it allowed everyone to see how dubious this document is, one the CIA and CNN had elevated into some sort of grave national security threat.

ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER it was published, the farcical nature of the “dossier” manifested. Not only was its author anonymous, but he was paid by Democrats (and, before that, by Trump’s GOP adversaries) to dig up dirt on Trump. Worse, he himself cited no evidence of any kind but instead relied on a string of other anonymous people in Russia he claims told him these things. Worse still, the document was filled with amateur errors.

Heidi N Moore
Listen, it stinks to high heaven. No sourcing, no details, misspellings and geographical mistakes. No one would trust this.


While many of the claims are inherently unverified, some can be confirmed. One such claim — that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen secretly traveled to Prague in August to meet with Russian officials — was strongly denied by Cohen, who insisted he had never been to Prague in his life (Prague is the same place that foreign intelligence officials claimed, in 2001, was the site of a nonexistent meeting between Iraqi officials and 9/11 hijackers, which contributed to 70 percent of Americans believing, as late as the fall of 2003, that Saddam personally planned the 9/11 attack). This morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that “the FBI has found no evidence that [Cohen] traveled to the Czech Republic.”

None of this stopped Democratic operatives and prominent media figures from treating these totally unverified and unvetted allegations as grave revelations. From Vox’s Zack Beauchamp:

Zack Beauchamp ✔ @zackbeauchamp
Good god
3:39 PM - 10 Jan 2017

10 Jan
Zack Beauchamp ✔ @zackbeauchamp
Good god pic.twitter.com/BiGqkiobA1

Zack Beauchamp ✔ @zackbeauchamp
Look, don't take anything in this dossier as gospel. But it's definitely evidence in favor of some pretty extraordinary claims.

3:44 PM - 10 Jan 2017


BuzzFeed’s Borzou Daragahi posted a long series of tweets discussing the profound consequences of these revelations, only occasionally remembering to insert the rather important journalistic caveat “if true” in his meditations:

10 Jan
Borzou Daragahi ✔ @borzou
These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia https://www.buzzfeed.com/kenbensinger/t ... .gpbGWQZlN … via @kenbensinger

Borzou Daragahi ✔ @borzou
Whoa. So guessing the press conference tomorrow is off. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents ... tions.html … pic.twitter.com/VEa44PeICe
4:12 PM - 10 Jan 2017 · İstanbul, Türkiye

10 Jan
Borzou Daragahi ✔ @borzou
Extraordinary alleged details about extent of Trump campaign cooperation with Putin. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents ... tions.html … pic.twitter.com/GNH9hIybYM

Borzou Daragahi ✔ @borzou
Stunning and believable narrative in leaked docs describing alleged rift in Kremlin over meddling in US elections /b]
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents ... tions.html … pic.twitter.com/qY2TuSM5Fc
4:26 PM - 10 Jan 2017 · İstanbul, Türkiye

10 Jan
Borzou Daragahi ✔ @borzou
Stunning and believable narrative in leaked docs describing alleged rift in Kremlin over meddling in US elections https://www.documentcloud.org/documents ... tions.html … pic.twitter.com/qY2TuSM5Fc

Borzou Daragahi ✔ @borzou
According to raw intel file, Kremlin info ops regarded Trump, @DrJillStein, LaRouche and @GenFlynn all potential assets in war vs Clinton pic.twitter.com/3fxTcqUIUL
4:33 PM - 10 Jan 2017 · İstanbul, Türkiye

10 Jan
Borzou Daragahi ✔ @borzou
According to raw intel file, Kremlin info ops regarded Trump, @DrJillStein, LaRouche and @GenFlynn all potential assets in war vs Clinton pic.twitter.com/3fxTcqUIUL

[b]Borzou Daragahi ✔ @borzou
Bombshell if true: Trump lawyer @MichaelCohen212 & Kremlin reps allegedly held clandestine August meeting in Prague
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html … pic.twitter.com/7FBZjJyXMq
4:40 PM - 10 Jan 2017 · İstanbul, Türkiye


Meanwhile, liberal commentator Rebecca Solnit declared this to be a “smoking gun” that proves Trump’s “treason,” while Daily Kos’s Markos Moulitsas sounded the same theme:

Rebecca Solnit
11 hrs The New York Times
Jesus fucking Christ. This gun isn't smoking. It's burst into flame. "The memos describe several purported meetings during the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump representatives and Russian officials to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman, John D. Podesta." This is the evidence that the election was corrupted by the Trump team's collusion with a foreign power, and it seems very very very likely Trump knew. Treason.


Markos Moulitsas ✔ @markos
With CNN confirming that intelligence chiefs consider this report credible, it's about time to start using the word "treason"

4:25 PM - 10 Jan 2017


While some Democrats sounded notes of caution — party loyalist Josh Marshall commendably urged: “I would say in reviewing raw, extremely raw ‘intel,’ people shld retain their skepticism even if they rightly think Trump is the worst” — the overwhelming reaction was the same as all the other instances where the CIA and its allies released unverified claims about Trump and Russia: instant embrace of the evidence-free assertions as Truth, combined with proclamations that they demonstrated Trump’s status as a traitor (with anyone expressing skepticism designated a Kremlin agent or stooge).

THERE IS A real danger here that this maneuver could harshly backfire, to the great benefit of Trump and to the great detriment of those who want to oppose him. If any of the significant claims in this “dossier” turn out to be provably false — such as Cohen’s trip to Prague — many people will conclude, with Trump’s encouragement, that large media outlets (CNN and BuzzFeed) and anti-Trump factions inside the government (CIA) are deploying “Fake News” to destroy him. In the eyes of many people, that will forever discredit — render impotent — future journalistic exposés that are based on actual, corroborated wrongdoing.

Beyond that, the threat posed by submitting ourselves to the CIA and empowering it to reign supreme outside of the democratic process is — as Eisenhower warned — an even more severe danger. The threat of being ruled by unaccountable and unelected entities is self-evident and grave. That’s especially true when the entity behind which so many are rallying is one with a long and deliberate history of lying, propaganda, war crimes, torture, and the worst atrocities imaginable.

All of the claims about Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and ties to Trump should be fully investigated by a credible body, and the evidence publicly disclosed to the fullest extent possible. As my colleague Sam Biddle argued last week after disclosure of the farcical intelligence community report on Russian hacking — one that even Putin’s foes mocked as a bad joke — the utter lack of evidence for these allegations means “we need an independent, resolute inquiry.” But until then, assertions that are unaccompanied by evidence and disseminated anonymously should be treated with the utmost skepticism — not lavished with convenience-driven gullibility.

Most important of all, the legitimate and effective tactics for opposing Trump are being utterly drowned by these irrational, desperate, ad hoc crusades that have no cogent strategy and make his opponents appear increasingly devoid of reason and gravity. Right now, Trump’s opponents are behaving as media critic Adam Johnson described: as ideological jellyfish, floating around aimlessly and lost, desperately latching on to whatever barge randomly passes by.

There are solutions to Trump. They involve reasoned strategizing and patient focus on issues people actually care about. Whatever those solutions are, venerating the intelligence community, begging for its intervention, and equating its dark and dirty assertions as Truth are most certainly not among them. Doing that cannot possibly achieve any good and is already doing much harm.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:09 am

Spy Agencies Investigating Claims Trump Advisers Worked With Russian Agents: The unverified allegations—including a claim Russia has material that could be used to blackmail Mr. Trump—were deemed sufficiently significant to brief the president-elect
by Shane Harris, Devlin Barrett and Alan Cullison
Jan. 10, 2017

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U.S. intelligence agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have spent months trying to substantiate explosive claims, compiled by a former Western intelligence official, that Russian government operatives engaged in an extensive conspiracy with advisers to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and employees of his company, people familiar with the matter said.

The unverified allegations—including a claim Russia has material that could be used to blackmail Mr. Trump—were deemed sufficiently significant by senior intelligence officials to summarize them in a two-page addendum to the classified briefing President-elect Trump received last Friday about Russian efforts to influence the U.S. presidential campaign, the people said.

“FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” Mr. Trump tweeted after the allegations surfaced publicly Tuesday evening.

U.S. officials confirmed that a summary of the information had been given to Mr. Trump. They said sharing of such unverified information was taken out of an abundance of caution that the incoming president should be aware of allegations being made against him that could become public—a decision intelligence experts backed. President Barack Obama received the same information, officials said. The agencies are continuing to investigate the claims, the people familiar with the matter said.

“I can picture how difficult a decision this must have been,” former CIA Director Michael Hayden said of the decision to inform Mr. Trump. “But if we had this data, others may have had this data too. And regardless of truth or falsity, I can see why they thought the president-elect should know.”

Among the allegations, contained in a set of confidential memos written by the former official, are that Mr. Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, met with Kremlin officials and discussed how to arrange cash payments to hackers working under Moscow’s direction against the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. The FBI has found no evidence that he traveled to the Czech Republic, where the meeting allegedly took place in August of last year, officials said.

Mr. Cohen, in an interview, denied any such meeting. He said in an interview Tuesday evening that he had never been contacted by the FBI or any other U.S. agency on these issues.
He said Mr. Trump has also not contacted him about them. Mr. Cohen said he previously knew about the allegations because he had been contacted about them by journalists.

The former official who compiled the dossier works for a private investigations company and was hired by both Republicans and Democrats​ to investigate Mr. Trump, according to one official close to the matter. His reports have circulated for months among law enforcement and intelligence agencies as well as congressional offices and news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal. While U.S. agencies have been unable to verify the allegations, the former official who produced the report has a long and respected track record among intelligence officials. The Journal hasn’t been able to verify the allegations.

The memos have been the subject of intense interest, despite the difficulty that officials have had corroborating the allegations, which also include claims that Russian officials have evidence of Mr. Trump engaged in sexual acts with prostitutes and have held the information in reserve as potential blackmail.

The memos were published in full online Tuesday evening, amid the latest twist in a months long feud between the intelligence community and Mr. Trump over the question of whether and why Russia interfered with the U.S. election.

Before last week’s briefing, the heads of the intelligence agencies spent hours testifying before the Senate about their evidence, which showed that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an extensive hacking campaign and leaks of private emails, principally directed at Democrats, in a bid to help Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump had expressed skepticism about the claims. After the briefing he received Friday, he toned down his rhetoric and seemed to allow that the Russians had engaged in hacking, though he later added that it was important for the U.S. to maintain good relations with Russia.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied involvement in election-related hacking or trying to influence the U.S. presidential election.

The revelations about the unsubstantiated allegations could complicate a week in which several of Mr. Trump’s highest-level cabinet officials face confirmation hearings before the Senate and when Mr. Trump, on Wednesday morning, is scheduled to give his first press conference since July.

Top lawmakers already have inquired publicly about the kinds of issues described in the memos.

In a hearing Tuesday with four top intelligence officials, Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), asked FBI Director James Comey if the bureau had investigated whether individuals close to the Trump campaign have any links to Russians. Mr. Comey declined to answer, saying he couldn’t confirm or deny if an investigation had begun.

CNN first reported that officials had given the allegations to Mr. Trump.

“The story as presented by CNN lacks any accuracy and is yet another attempt to discredit Mr. Trump’s landslide victory in this election,” said Mr. Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump won the electoral college but lost the popular vote to Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Cohen said that there is “zero truth” to the idea that there has been any relationship between the Trump Organization and the Russian government or any ongoing communications during the campaign between the Trump campaign and Russian affiliates.

A Russian official who was alleged to have met with Mr. Cohen in Prague, Oleg Solodukhin, also denied any such meeting took place, calling the report “some kind of misunderstanding.”


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) said that he hadn’t seen the memos and that they hadn’t been discussed in a briefing on Tuesday for the heads of the intelligence committees and top lawmakers from the House and Senate, the so-called Gang of Eight.

“It should not be a surprise to anyone that the Russians are always looking for dirt on any politician,” he told reporters.

“That wouldn’t be news.”

Asked how damaging the implications could be to Mr. Trump, Mr. Nunes said. “I would not jump to any conclusions here.

This seems maybe taken a little out of context.”

Mr. Nunes is one of the lawmakers working with Mr. Trump’s transition team.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland, Mr. Trump’s picks for national security adviser and deputy national security adviser respectively, declined to comment on the reports.

The memos appear to have been a subject of interest in Congress since last fall. In an Oct. 30 letter, then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) wrote to Mr. Comey accusing him of “a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information.’’

Mr. Reid wrote that Mr. Comey had publicized any potentially damaging information about Hillary Clinton, while behaving very differently regarding Mr. Trump.

“You possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government,’’ Mr. Reid wrote. “The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public.’’


Asked to comment on the revelation of the memos, a representative of Mr. Reid said his “letters and statements speak for themselves.”

On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) suggested in a television appearance that the U.S. government was probing whether or not Russian operatives coordinated with people linked to U.S. political campaigns.

Asked on NBC’s Meet The Press whether there was such an investigation, Mr. Graham replied: "I believe that it’s happening. But you need to talk to them because I don’t want to speak for them.’’
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:58 am

The Steele Dossier or the Hitler Diaries Mark II
by Craig Murray
11 Jan, 2017

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The mainstream media’s extreme enthusiasm for the Hitler Diaries shows their rush to embrace any forgery if it is big and astonishing enough. For the Guardian to lead with such an obvious forgery as the Trump “commercial intelligence reports” is the final evidence of the demise of that newspaper’s journalistic values.

We are now told that the reports were written by Mr Christopher Steele, an ex-MI6 man, for Orbis Business Intelligence. Here are a short list of six impossible things we are asked to believe before breakfast:

1) Vladimir Putin had a five year (later stated as eight year) plan to run Donald Trump as a “Manchurian candidate” for President and Trump was an active and knowing partner in Putin’s scheme.

2) Hillary Clinton is so stupid and unaware that she held compromising conversations over telephone lines whilst in Russia itself.

3) Trump’s lawyer/adviser Mr Cohen was so stupid he held meetings in Prague with the hacker/groups themselves in person to arrange payment, along with senior officials of the Russian security services. The NSA, CIA and FBI are so incompetent they did not monitor this meeting, and somehow the NSA failed to pick up on the electronic and telephone communications involved in organising it. Therefore Mr Cohen was never questioned over this alleged and improbable serious criminal activity.

4) A private company had minute by minute intelligence on the Manchurian Candidate scheme and all the indictable illegal activity that was going on, which the CIA/NSA/GCHQ/MI6 did not have, despite their specific tasking and enormous technical, staff and financial resources amounting between them to over 150,000 staff and the availability of hundreds of billons of dollars to do nothing but this.

5) A private western company is able to run a state level intelligence operation in Russia for years, continually interviewing senior security sources and people personally close to Putin, without being caught by the Russian security services – despite the fact the latter are brilliant enough to install a Manchurian candidate as President of the USA. This private western company can for example secretly interview staff in top Moscow hotels – which they themselves say are Russian security service controlled – without the staff being too scared to speak to them or ending up dead. They can continually pump Putin’s friends for information and get it.

6) Donald Trump’s real interest is his vast financial commitment in China, and he has little investment in Russia, according to the reports. Yet he spent the entire election campaign advocating closer ties with Russia and demonising and antagonising China.

Michael Cohen has now stated he has never been to Prague in his life. If that is true the extremely weak credibility of the entire forgery collapses in total. What is more, contrary to the claims of the Guardian and Washington Post that the material is “unverifiable”, the veracity of it could be tested extremely easily by the most basic journalism, ie asking Mr Cohen who has produced his passport. The editors of the Washington Post and the Guardian are guilty of pushing as blazing front page news the most blatant forgery to serve their own political ends, without carrying out the absolutely basic journalistic checks which would easily prove the forgery. Those editors must resign.

The Guardian has published a hagiography in which it clarifies he cannot travel to Russia himself and that he depends on second party contacts to interview third parties. It also confirms that much of the “information” is bought. Contacts who sell you information will of course invent the kind of thing you want to hear to increase their income. That was the fundamental problem with much of the intelligence on Iraqi WMD. Highly paid contacts, through also paid third parties, were inventing intelligence to sell.

There is of course an extra level of venial inaccuracy here because unlike an MI6 officer, Steele himself was then flogging the information for cash. Nobody in the mainstream media has asked the most important question of all. What was the charlatan Christopher Steele paid for this dossier?

As forgeries go, this is really not in the least convincing. It was very obviously not written seriatim on the dates stated but forged as a collection and with hindsight. I might add I do not include the golden showers among the impossible aspects. I have no idea if it is true and neither do I care. Given Trump’s wealth and history, I think we can say with confidence that he has indulged whatever his sexual preferences might be all over the world and not just in Russia. It seems most improbable he would succumb to blackmail over it and not brazen it out. I suppose it could be taken as the sole example of trickledown theory actually working.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:26 am

Part 1 of 2

The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.
by Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane
December 13, 2016

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WASHINGTON — When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.

His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.

Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for “the Dukes” and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks — in part because he wasn’t certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor.

“I had no way of differentiating the call I just received from a prank call,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo, obtained by The New York Times, that detailed his contact with the F.B.I.

It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.

Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones.

An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.

The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.

Even Mr. Podesta, a savvy Washington insider who had written a 2014 report on cyberprivacy for President Obama, did not truly understand the gravity of the hacking.

From: Charles Delavan <cdelavan@hillaryclinton.com>
Date: March 19, 2016 at 9:54:05 AM EDT
To: Sara Latham <slatham@hillaryclinton.com>, Shane Hable <shable@hillaryclinton.com>
Subject: Re: Someone has your password

Sara,

This is a legitimate email. John needs to change his password immediately, and ensure that two-factor authentication is turned on his account.

He can go to this link: https://myaccount.google.com/security to do both. It is absolutely imperative that this is done ASAP.

Charles Delavan, a Clinton campaign aide, incorrectly legitimized a phishing email sent to the personal account of John D. Podesta, the campaign chairman.


By last summer, Democrats watched in helpless fury as their private emails and confidential documents appeared online day after day — procured by Russian intelligence agents, posted on WikiLeaks and other websites, then eagerly reported on by the American media, including The Times. Mr. Trump gleefully cited many of the purloined emails on the campaign trail.

The fallout included the resignations of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the D.N.C., and most of her top party aides. Leading Democrats were sidelined at the height of the campaign, silenced by revelations of embarrassing emails or consumed by the scramble to deal with the hacking. Though little-noticed by the public, confidential documents taken by the Russian hackers from the D.N.C.’s sister organization, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, turned up in congressional races in a dozen states, tainting some of them with accusations of scandal.

In recent days, a skeptical president-elect, the nation’s intelligence agencies and the two major parties have become embroiled in an extraordinary public dispute over what evidence exists that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

"Talk to Emile and he'll give you the Seneca right around the first of the year."

"What's significant about the first of the year?"

"The tithing is gonna really go on the increase, come January 1."

"Tithing?"

"Yeah, the dime that the state's workin' on for lettin' the Agency's operation go on here," Seal answered. "You didn't think somethin' this big could be goin' on without havin' to pay for it. Shit, you were in Southeast Asia. Didn't you tell me we had to pay some fuckin' prince in Laos every time the Air Force dropped a bomb there? You see it's all the same, just one fuckin' banana republic after another."

The "dime" Seal referred to was the 10 percent being charged the CIA by high Arkansas state officials for allowing the Agency to operate in Arkansas. The word tithing Terry had learned back in his Sunday school days in the Nazarene Church. The term meant 10 per cent of your money would be given the church and, in return, as the Bible proclaimed, you would get it back 10 fold. And this was undoubtedly true for the CIA.

Arkansas was providing cover for the Agency's illegal airplane modifications, Contra training operations, arms shipments and, from what Seal revealed, ways to invest the black money that was being made from its gun-running to Central America. So that's why the singer Glen Campbell called Arkansas the "land of opportunity."

***

Here he was at the core. Like Dorothy, he had looked behind the curtain and seen the true "Wizard."

Here was what seemed a strange alliance. A state run by Democrats in bed with a Republican administration in Washington, and both conspiring to evade Congress' prohibition against aiding or abetting the Contras. It was so steeped with hypocrisy.

Was the CIA the invisible force that had the power to compromise these political pillars of the nation?

Were these same invisible forces orbiting only in Arkansas or throughout the nation? He wondered. But why limit it to the nation? Perhaps the world functioned under one control. Could that control be the CIA? Was there a secret alliance of agents worldwide who operate as they please?

Religion, he had come to realize, was a form of social control. Was politics as well? Was it just a game like professional sports, simply to divert public attention from what was really happening? Was it all just a placebo?

While driving back to OSI, Terry was strangely quiet and withdrawn. He was feeling manipulated by the social order he had been raised to obey, and now he had doubts about his previous motivations in life.

"You're awfully quiet, Terry-san," Sawahata said after a few minutes.

"Aki I've got to ask you a question. It's funny I've never asked, considering all the time we've spent together. Are you a Republican or a Democrat."

"I am a political atheist. I work for the CIA."

"What does that mean?"

"That means Agency is politics. Agency is the government. Everything else is just puppets, a big game, Terry-san. You did not know that?"

If Terry Reed was not a liability before, he certainly was now. Those who see behind the curtain are always a threat. It was like someone telling the Pope in the 1300s that the world was really round and that it did, indeed, revolve around the sun, rather than the other way around.

***

The five waiting men were clearly taken aback when Governor Bill Clinton stepped from the vehicle with his aide, Bob Nash, and led the entourage into the World War II ammunition storage bunker that would serve as the meeting place.

In a low tone, Cathey turned to Terry and said: "Shit! I was afraid he'd show up. That'll certainly upset our agenda. I'm glad Johnson is here. He'll be able to handle him."

The waiting group of five had expected Nash, but not his boss, Arkansas' Commander-in-Chief, Bill Clinton. By his mere appearance, Clinton was risking exposure of his involvement in unauthorized covert operations. But he seemed desperate.

The meeting had been called at Camp Robinson, an Army facility outside Little Rock, to get some problems ironed out. In addition to the governor and his aide, the "guest list" included Max Gomez (Felix Rodriguez), John Cathey (Oliver North), resident CIA agent Akihide Sawahata, Agency subcontractor Terry Reed -- and the man in charge, the one who would call the shots. He called himself Robert Johnson.

Johnson had been sent from Washington to chair this very delicate operational briefing that would hopefully extricate the Agency from its entanglement in what was becoming a messy situation in Arkansas....

Cathey began the briefing.

"Governor Clinton," he said switching to his toastmaster tone, "I'm glad you could attend tonight's meeting with us. We're both surprised and honored. Bobby (Nash) didn't inform us you would be attending ... However, let's get down to it....

Terry viewed this meeting as his initiation into the inner circle. But this impromptu appearance by Governor Clinton, however, would expose Terry to yet more things that he had no "need to know." It would also confirm his suspicions that operations in Arkansas were being run with Clinton's full knowledge....

"Gentlemen," Cathey said, "this meeting is classified Top-Secret. The items discussed here should be relayed to no one who does not have an operational need to know. I repeat Top-Secret. There are to be no notes taken."...

Johnson, Cathey said, was the personal representative of CIA Director William Casey and had been sent to chair the meeting. Casey was too important to show his face, Terry assumed. But he felt honored, and yet surprised, to find he'd been dealing with someone so closely connected to the Director of Central Intelligence, the top of the intelligence pyramid.

"Thank you," Johnson said. "As Mr. Cathey mentioned, I am the emissary of Mr. Casey, who for obvious security reasons could not attend.
We are at a major junction of our Central American support program. And I am here to tie up a few loose ends. As you are all aware, the severity of the charges that could be brought against us if this operation becomes public ... well, I don't need to remind you of what Benjamin Franklin said as he and our founding fathers framed the Declaration of Independence ..."

Cathey interrupted. "Yeah, but hanging is a much more humane way of doing things than what Congress will put us through if any of this leaks out." This marked the only time during the briefing that laughter was heard.

"This is true," Johnson replied. "And therefore, Governor Clinton, I'm going to find it necessary to divide this meeting into groups so that we don't unnecessarily expose classified data to those who don't have an absolute need to know. We can first discuss any old business that concerns either "Centaur Rose" or "Jade Bridge", and I think that you will agree that afterwards you and Mr. Nash will have to excuse yourselves ..."

Clinton was visibly indignant, giving the angry appearance of someone not accustomed to being treated in such a condescending manner.

"It seems someone in Washington has made decisions without much consulting with either myself or my aide here, Mr. Nash. And I'd like to express my concern about the possible exposure my state has as you guys skedaddle out of here to Mexico. I feel somewhat naked and compromised. You're right, there are definitely some loose ends!"...

Nash interjected: "Sir, Governor Clinton's concerns are that there may be some loose ends cropping up from the Mena operation in general. As you know, we have had our Arkansas State Police intelligence division riding herd on the project. And that has been no simple task. Even with some of our ASP officers undercover over there, we couldn't have gained any real inside knowledge had it not been for Mr. Reed's ability to report it directly to me. This thing about Barry Seal getting Governor Clinton's brother involved is what's got us all upset. I mean, as we speak, there's an investigation going on that could spill over onto some very influential people here in Arkansas, and people very close to the governor personally ..."

Johnson looked like he was getting irritated. Clinton had not been scheduled to be there and his original agenda now was being discarded.

"Hold on!" Johnson shot back. "Calm down! Mr. Casey is fully in charge here. Don't you old boys get it. Just tell me what has to be taken care of, or who needs to be taken care of, and I'll fix it for you!"

Johnson boasted to the group that Attorney General Edwin Meese, by arranging the appointment of J. Michael Fitzhugh as U.S. Attorney in Western Arkansas, had effectively stonewalled the ongoing money laundering investigations in Mena where the Contra training operations had been centered. It was his impression, Johnson said, that everything was now "kosher" and the "containment" was still in place. Operations "Rose" and "Bridge" had not been exposed because federal law-enforcement agencies had been effectively neutralized. But Johnson said he was now concerned that the "drug" investigation there might expand beyond his control and unmask the residue of black operations.

Now the meeting was starting to turn into a shouting match, Terry quietly observed that Clinton appeared on the verge of losing his well-rehearsed, statesman-like demeanor. Stopping investigations around Mena had helped the CIA and its bosses in Washington, but it had not solved any of the governor's local political problems. And these same problems were threatening to unveil the Mena operations.

It was the spring of 1986, just over a month after Barry Seal's assassination in Louisiana. Clinton was facing a very tough and dirty reelection campaign. His Republican opponent was certain to be ex-Governor Frank White, the only man who had ever defeated Clinton. The newspapers were filled with stories about Clinton's brother, who had been convicted and served time from federal drug trafficking charges, giving White the dirt he needed to launch a serious and damaging political attack.

Roger Clinton had "rolled over" and turned informant, enabling the Feds to begin an investigation of investment banker Dan Lasater, a close personal friend and campaign contributor of Clinton's. This investigation, it was clear, could spill over into Lasater's firm, possibly exposing CIA money-laundering and other possible illegal activities. [1]

The investigation of Clinton's brother had been carried out largely by disloyal state police officials who were backing White, and without Clinton's knowledge, when the inquiry was first initiated. Terry wondered whether a "coup" was building? Clinton was clearly in big political trouble, and his demeanor now was not the cool and composed man people saw on television. Perhaps the CIA and the Reagan administration wanted another "presidente," a Republican one, in its banana republic?

Rumors were also running wild that the bond underwriting business, in which Lasater was a major figure, had been used to launder drug money. In addition, candidate White had another big issue to run with. He would charge later that Clinton was directing choice state legal work as bond counsel to the prestigious Rose Law firm, where his wife, Hillary, was a senior partner. And Clinton had to be fearful that exposure of the Mena operations would be the death blow to his reelection hopes. And, if that weren't enough ammunition, the governor was also facing a possible state budgetary shortfall of more than $200 million.

By his comments, the governor's political problems and his potential exposure were clearly on his mind. Clinton showed his contempt for the young man from Washington as he lost his composure, jumped to his feet and shouted: "Getting my brother arrested and bringing down the Arkansas bond business in the process isn't my idea of kosher! You gents live a long way from here. Your meddling in our affairs here is gonna carry long-term exposure for me! I mean us. And what are we supposed to do, just pretend nothing happened?" He was angry.

"Exactly, pretend nothing's happened," Johnson snapped back. "It's just like the commercial, you're in good hands with Allstate. Only in this case, it's the CIA." Johnson paused, took a deep breath, and continued. "Mr. Clinton, Bill, if you will, some of those loose ends you refer to here were definitely brought on by your own people, don't you agree? I mean your brother didn't have to start shoving Mr. Seal's drugs up his nose and your friend, Lasater, has been flaunting his new wealth as if he's trying to bring you down. We're having to control the SEC and the IRS just to keep him afloat.

"Our deal with you was to help 'reconstruct the South,''' Johnson sniped, using a term Southerners hate, since it reminds them of the post-Civil War Yankee dominance of the South. "We didn't plan on Arkansas becoming more difficult to deal with than most banana republics. This has turned out to be almost comical."

"Bobby! Don't sit here on your black ass and take this Yankee shit!" Clinton yelled at Nash in an appeal for support. "Tell him about Seal bribing those federal agents!" It was getting to resemble a verbal tennis match as volleys were being lobbed, each one with more intensity. From the comment about Seal, Terry concluded that Clinton did in fact have his own intelligence network, too.

"Why, Mr. Clinton, with racial slurs like that, the federal government could terminate educational busing aid here," Johnson wryly shot back. "I thought Arkansas was an equal opportunity employer!"

Nash touched the governor's arm, coaxing him back into his chair.

Johnson continued, "The deal we made was to launder our money through your bond business. What we didn't plan on was you and your token nigger here to start taking yourselves seriously and purposely shrinking our laundry."

"What do you mean by shrinking the laundry?!" Clinton asked still shouting. By now, Clinton's face was flushed with anger.

To the CIA, Arkansas had to be a money-launderers' heaven. To understand why, one must realize that intelligence agencies have the same problem as drug traffickers. To launder cash, a trafficker must either find a bank willing to break the law by not filing the documentation required for cash deposits, or go offshore where reporting requirements are less strict. Like traffickers, once offshore, the CIA must use wire transfers to get their money into the U.S., but at great risk of detection.

The trafficker, having broken the law to make his money, has no legal recourse if his banker double-crossed him. In other words, it's an insecure investment, which pays low interest, if any.

Arkansas offered the CIA something money launderers are rarely able to achieve, a secure business environment containing a banking industry where vast amounts of money move around unnoticed as part of the normal course of business. Through its substantial bond underwriting activities, the state had a huge cash flow that could allow dirty and clean money to co-mingle without detection. All they were lacking was the "dirty banker" to cooperate with them by ignoring the federal banking laws.

And that they found within the Clinton administration. This "banker" was none other than the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority, or ADFA, which was a creation of, and directly under the control of, the governor's office. Its official mandate was to loan money to businesses either already in or coming to Arkansas in order to develop an industrial base for new jobs that Clinton had made the centerpiece of his administration. ADFA, was in effect, a bank making preferred loans.

But, from what Terry had learned from Seal and Sawahata, that was not all ADFA was doing. ADFA, in effect a state investment bank, was being "capitalized" by large cash transfusions that the Agency was taking great pains to hide.

"No paper, no trail," seemed to be the dominate doctrine of the Agency's activities since, by design, cash dropped from an airplane in a duffel bag is not the standard way of transferring money.

ADFA was designed to compete for the profits generated by the bond issues necessary to industrialize Arkansas. The old Arkansas Industrial Development Commission that Clinton had inherited had no money of its own, and was forced to send prospective clients seeking industrial development loans to the established, privately-run investment banking industry in Little Rock. The state could be very selective in its referral business, however, and those who received the state's business stood to profit handsomely.

This insider referral business was alive and well when Terry moved to Arkansas, and he saw Seth Ward's son-in-law, Finis Shellnut, jockey for a position to reap these profits by going to work for Lasater, who was getting the lion's share of the secret sweetheart deals.

Before ADFA's creation, the state sent preferred business directly to investment banking firms like Lasater's. All that was needed for money-laundering was the firm's silence and a source of cash, which, in this case, the CIA provided. The heads of these firms were a coterie of wealthy and well-connected people who got even richer by doing what comes natural in Arkansas, "The Natural State" as it's called ..... dealing incestuously under the table.

Arkansas desperately needed new businesses -- and so did the CIA. It had plenty of black money, but that alone was not enough. "You can't kill an enemy by lobbing dollars at him" was the phrase Cathey had used with Terry to explain the CIA's dilemma of having the monetary resources to fund the Contras, but no legal way to deliver it directly. The Agency was barred by Congress from converting the cash into weapons and training the Contras needed on the battlefield, at least not through traditional Department of Defense suppliers.

Under Director William Casey's plan, the CIA needed other companies that would be a source of secretly-produced weapons that would find their way into the hands of the Contras. These selected businesses needed payment to perform these services for the CIA, and that cash came to them conveniently in a legal and undetectable manner, through ADFA, in the form of industrial development loans backed by tax-free development bonds. The CIA should have been showing a profit through accrued interest on their secured investments. But a problem had arisen. As Johnson had said, the "laundry" was shrinking.

And Johnson was not happy about that as evidenced by the way he was firing back at Clinton. It was apparent that Johnson knew Clinton and his people had not abided by his agreement with the Agency.

"Our deal was for you to have 10 per cent of the profits, not 10 per cent of the gross," Johnson sternly admonished Clinton.

"This has turned into a feeding frenzy by your good ole boy sharks, and you've had a hand in it, too, Mr. Clinton. Just ask your Mr. Nash to produce a business card. I'll bet it reads Arkansas Development and Finance Authority. We know what's been going on. Our people are professionals; they're not stupid. They didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, as you guys say. This ADFA of yours is double-dipping. Our deal with you was to launder our money. You get 10 per cent after costs and after post-tax profits. No one agreed for you to start loaning our money out to your friends through your ADFA so that they could buy machinery to build our guns. That wasn't the deal. Mr. Sawahata tells me that one of ADFA's first customers was some parking meter company that got several million in ... how shall we say it ... in preferred loans.

"Dammit, we bought a whole gun company, lock, stock and barrel and shipped the whole thing down here for you. And Mr. Reed even helped set it up. You people go and screw us by setting up some subcontractors that weren't even authorized by us. Shit, people who didn't even have security clearances. That's why we're pulling the operation out of Arkansas. It's become a liability for us. We don't need live liabilities."....

Clinton had paused for a moment to ponder Johnson's words. "What do ya' mean, live liabilities?" he demanded.

"There's no such thing as a dead liability. It's an oxymoron, get it? Oh, or didn't you Rhodes Scholars study things like that?" Johnson snapped.

"What! Are you threatenin' us? Because if ya' are ..."

Johnson stared down at the table, again took a deep breath, and paused. It appeared he wanted to elevate the tone of the disintegrating exchange.

"Calm down and listen," Johnson said. "We are all in this together. We all have our personal agendas ... but let's not forget, both the Vice President and Mr. Casey want this operation to be a success. We need to get these assets and resources in place and get them self-sustaining and prospering on their own while we have the chance. This is a golden opportunity. The timing is right. We have communists taking over a country in this hemisphere. We must all pull together and play as a team. This is no time for lone wolves. Mr. Seal is an example of what happens to lone wolves. They just don't survive in the modern world of intelligence.

"I'm not here to threaten you. But there have been mistakes. The Mena operation survived undetected and unexposed only because Mr. Seal carried with him a falsely created, high-level profile of a drugrunner. All the cops in the country were trying to investigate a drug operation. That put the police in a position where we could control them. We fed them what we wanted to feed them, when we wanted to feed them; it was our restaurant and our menu. Seal was himself a diversion. It was perfect until your brother started free-enterprising and now we have to shut it down. It's as simple as that. Mr. Seal was a good agent and it's a shame he's dead. But, hopefully, our new operation will build on Seal's success in sustaining our Contra support effort while goddamn Congress dilly dallies around as the Russians take over Nicaragua."

Clinton just glared back. "That was a good sermon, but what can you specifically do to end this investigation concerning my brother and the bond business?"

"Your brother needed to go to jail," Johnson said staring at the governor. "As governor you should intervene and make things as painless as possible now. As far as the money investigation goes, Mr. Meese is intervening right now. There will be no money investigation. The U.S. attorney's office (in Little Rock) is 'getting religion' as we speak. *

"There may be nothing we can do about your friend Lasater's drug problem. I suggest that he and everyone else caught with their pants down take the bad along with the good and do a little time -- as your brother has. It's a shame. But bartenders shouldn't drink. If some of our people are going to be in the drug business as a cover, they should do as Mrs. Reagan says and 'just say no'."

Johnson had applied the balm and now the massage began. "Bill, you are Mr. Casey's fair-haired boy. But you do have competition for the job you seek. We would never put all our eggs in one basket. You and your state have been our greatest asset. The beauty of this, as you know, is that you're a Democrat, and with our ability to influence both parties, this country can get beyond partisan gridlock. Mr. Casey wanted me to pass on to you that unless you fuck up and do something stupid, you're No. 1 on the short list for a shot at the job you've always wanted.

Image
Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush with CIA Director William Casey at the White House on Feb. 11, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Library)


"That's pretty heady stuff, Bill. So why don't you help us keep a lid on this and we'll all be promoted together. You and guys like us are the fathers of the new government. Hell, we're the new covenant."

Clinton, having been stroked, seemed satisfied that the cover-up was expanding to, at least, protect the bond business. Like Lyndon Johnson, Clinton had learned that politics is the "art of the possible." He had not gotten everything he wanted, but he was at least walking away whole.

It appeared to Terry that Johnson had won the debate. Clinton and his administration had no grounds to complain about the Agency terminating its operation. Too many errors had been made. The young governor seemed to recognize he had lost, for now, and didn't want to continue the argument in front of the others.

"Bobby, I guess you and I should excuse ourselves," Clinton said while turning to his aide. "These gentlemen have other pressing business and besides, we don't have a need to know ... nor do I think we want to know."

When Clinton exited the bunker, Terry took a moment to absorb what had happened. Clinton had been treated badly in front of the others. Terry had certainly underestimated Johnson, the man he had sized up initially as a mere errand boy for Casey. His youthful demeanor had been misleading. He was clearly a skilled hatchet man. But Terry felt somewhat embarrassed for the governor. Johnson had effectively neutralized the governor of Arkansas' argument by simply changing the subject, and what a subject it was!

Was he hearing that the presidency is offered to a few groomed men, men groomed by the CIA?

Who was this guy, "Johnson," who so easily manipulated Bill Clinton? He made Bill Clinton, on his own turf, appear to be under the control of an invisible force. Up until now, Terry had known Johnson only as the lawyer for Southern Air Transport. He was obviously a lot more than that. He was beginning to take on the mannerisms of a Viceroy and Clinton was certainly showing his obedience to authority and paying the price for fealty. Clinton was compromised....

-- Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA: How the Presidency was Co-opted by the CIA, by Terry Reed & John Cummings


Many of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides believe that the Russian assault had a profound impact on the election, while conceding that other factors — Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate; her private email server; the public statements of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, about her handling of classified information — were also important.

While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

For the people whose emails were stolen, this new form of political sabotage has left a trail of shock and professional damage. Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a key Clinton supporter, recalls walking into the busy Clinton transition offices, humiliated to see her face on television screens as pundits discussed a leaked email in which she had called Mrs. Clinton’s instincts “suboptimal.”

“It was just a sucker punch to the gut every day,” Ms. Tanden said. “It was the worst professional experience of my life.”

The United States, too, has carried out cyberattacks, and in decades past the C.I.A. tried to subvert foreign elections. But the Russian attack is increasingly understood across the political spectrum as an ominous historic landmark — with one notable exception: Mr. Trump has rejected the findings of the intelligence agencies he will soon oversee as “ridiculous,” insisting that the hacker may be American, or Chinese, but that “they have no idea.”

Mr. Trump cited the reported disagreements between the agencies about whether Mr. Putin intended to help elect him. On Tuesday, a Russian government spokesman echoed Mr. Trump’s scorn.

“This tale of ‘hacks’ resembles a banal brawl between American security officials over spheres of influence,” Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on Facebook.

Over the weekend, four prominent senators — two Republicans and two Democrats — joined forces to pledge an investigation while pointedly ignoring Mr. Trump’s skeptical claims.

“Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks,” said Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed.

“This cannot become a partisan issue,” they said. “The stakes are too high for our country.”
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:02 am

Part 2 of 2

A Target for Break-Ins

Sitting in the basement of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, below a wall-size 2012 portrait of a smiling Barack Obama, is a 1960s-era filing cabinet missing the handle on the bottom drawer. Only a framed newspaper story hanging on the wall hints at the importance of this aged piece of office furniture.

“GOP Security Aide Among 5 Arrested in Bugging Affair,” reads the headline from the front page of The Washington Post on June 19, 1972, with the bylines of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Andrew Brown, 37, the technology director at the D.N.C., was born after that famous break-in. But as he began to plan for this year’s election cycle, he was well aware that the D.N.C. could become a break-in target again.

There were aspirations to ensure that the D.N.C. was well protected against cyberintruders — and then there was the reality, Mr. Brown and his bosses at the organization acknowledged: The D.N.C. was a nonprofit group, dependent on donations, with a fraction of the security budget that a corporation its size would have.

“There was never enough money to do everything we needed to do,” Mr. Brown said.

The D.N.C. had a standard email spam-filtering service, intended to block phishing attacks and malware created to resemble legitimate email. But when Russian hackers started in on the D.N.C., the committee did not have the most advanced systems in place to track suspicious traffic, internal D.N.C. memos show.

Mr. Tamene, who reports to Mr. Brown and fielded the call from the F.B.I. agent, was not a full-time D.N.C. employee; he works for a Chicago-based contracting firm called The MIS Department. He was left to figure out, largely on his own, how to respond — and even whether the man who had called in to the D.N.C. switchboard was really an F.B.I. agent.

“The F.B.I. thinks the D.N.C. has at least one compromised computer on its network and the F.B.I. wanted to know if the D.N.C. is aware, and if so, what the D.N.C. is doing about it,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo about his contacts with the F.B.I. He added that “the Special Agent told me to look for a specific type of malware dubbed ‘Dukes’ by the U.S. intelligence community and in cybersecurity circles.”

Part of the problem was that Special Agent Hawkins did not show up in person at the D.N.C. Nor could he email anyone there, as that risked alerting the hackers that the F.B.I. knew they were in the system.

On September 2015, a call was transferred from the main DNC switchboard to the Help Desk; I was handed the phone by a Help Desk staff member who stated that the FBI was looking for the person in charge of technology at the DNC. I took the call, and learned that the FBI thinks the DNC has at least one compromised computer on its network and that the FBI wanted to know if the DNC is aware, and if so, what the DNC is doing about it. I asked if the person calling, who stated he was Special Agent [DELETE] can provide me with the means of identifying whom he claims to be. He did not provide me with an adequate response, but I did stay on the phone and talked about potential risks to the DNC, without giving him any identifiable information about the DNC, its personnel, or its assets. I did say that the DNC has, in the past, received phishing attack attempts, and ransom-ware type of attacks. The Special Agent told me to look for a specific type of malware dubbed “dukes” by the US intelligence community and in cyber-security circles.

An internal memo by Yared Tamene, a tech-support contractor at the D.N.C., expressed uncertainty about the identity of Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the F.B.I., who called to inform him of the breach.


Mr. Tamene’s initial scan of the D.N.C. system — using his less-than-optimal tools and incomplete targeting information from the F.B.I. — found nothing. So when Special Agent Hawkins called repeatedly in October, leaving voice mail messages for Mr. Tamene, urging him to call back, “I did not return his calls, as I had nothing to report,” Mr. Tamene explained in his memo.

In November, Special Agent Hawkins called with more ominous news. A D.N.C. computer was “calling home, where home meant Russia,” Mr. Tamene’s memo says, referring to software sending information to Moscow. “SA Hawkins added that the F.B.I. thinks that this calling home behavior could be the result of a state-sponsored attack.”

Mr. Brown knew that Mr. Tamene, who declined to comment, was fielding calls from the F.B.I. But he was tied up on a different problem: evidence suggesting that the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s main Democratic opponent, had improperly gained access to her campaign data.

Ms. Wasserman Schultz, then the D.N.C.’s chairwoman, and Amy Dacey, then its chief executive, said in interviews that neither of them was notified about the early reports that the committee’s system had likely been compromised.

Shawn Henry, who once led the F.B.I.’s cyber division and is now president of CrowdStrike Services, the cybersecurity firm retained by the D.N.C. in April, said he was baffled that the F.B.I. did not call a more senior official at the D.N.C. or send an agent in person to the party headquarters to try to force a more vigorous response.

“We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana,” Mr. Henry said. “We are talking about an office that is half a mile from the F.B.I. office that is getting the notification.”

“This is not a mom-and-pop delicatessen or a local library. This is a critical piece of the U.S. infrastructure because it relates to our electoral process, our elected officials, our legislative process, our executive process,” he added. “To me it is a high-level, serious issue, and if after a couple of months you don’t see any results, somebody ought to raise that to a higher level.”

The F.B.I. declined to comment on the agency’s handling of the hack. “The F.B.I. takes very seriously any compromise of public and private sector systems,” it said in a statement, adding that agents “will continue to share information” to help targets “safeguard their systems against the actions of persistent cybercriminals.”

By March, Mr. Tamene and his team had met at least twice in person with the F.B.I. and concluded that Agent Hawkins was really a federal employee. But then the situation took a dire turn.

A second team of Russian-affiliated hackers began to target the D.N.C. and other players in the political world, particularly Democrats. Billy Rinehart, a former D.N.C. regional field director who was then working for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, got an odd email warning from Google.

“Someone just used your password to try to sign into your Google account,” the March 22 email said, adding that the sign-in attempt had occurred in Ukraine. “Google stopped this sign-in attempt. You should change your password immediately.”

Mr. Rinehart was in Hawaii at the time. He remembers checking his email at 4 a.m. for messages from East Coast associates. Without thinking much about the notification, he clicked on the “change password” button and half asleep, as best he can remember, he typed in a new password.

Google
Someone has your password
Hi William
Someone just used your password to try to sign in to your Google Account [DELETE]@gmail.com.
Details
Tuesday, 22 March, 14:9:25 UTC
IP Address: 134.249.139.239
Location: Ukraine
Google stopped this sign-in attempt. You should change your password immediately.
CHANGE PASSWORD
Best,
The Gmail Team

A screenshot of the phishing email that Billy Rinehart clicked on, unknowingly giving Russian hackers access to his account. The New York Times has redacted Mr. Rinehart’s email address.


What he did not know until months later is that he had just given the Russian hackers access to his email account.

Hundreds of similar phishing emails were being sent to American political targets, including an identical email sent on March 19 to Mr. Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign. Given how many emails Mr. Podesta received through this personal email account, several aides also had access to it, and one of them noticed the warning email, sending it to a computer technician to make sure it was legitimate before anyone clicked on the “change password” button.

“This is a legitimate email,” Charles Delavan, a Clinton campaign aide, replied to another of Mr. Podesta’s aides, who had noticed the alert. “John needs to change his password immediately.”

With another click, a decade of emails that Mr. Podesta maintained in his Gmail account — a total of about 60,000 — were unlocked for the Russian hackers. Mr. Delavan, in an interview, said that his bad advice was a result of a typo: He knew this was a phishing attack, as the campaign was getting dozens of them. He said he had meant to type that it was an “illegitimate” email, an error that he said has plagued him ever since.

During this second wave, the hackers also gained access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then, through a virtual private network connection, to the main computer network of the D.N.C.

The F.B.I. observed this surge of activity as well, again reaching out to Mr. Tamene to warn him. Yet Mr. Tamene still saw no reason to be alarmed: He found copies of the phishing emails in the D.N.C.’s spam filter. But he had no reason, he said, to believe that the computer systems had been infiltrated.

One bit of progress had finally been made by the middle of April: The D.N.C., seven months after it had first been warned, finally installed a “robust set of monitoring tools,” Mr. Tamene’s internal memo says.

Honing Stealthy Tactics

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

But for years, the Russians stayed largely out of the headlines, thanks to the Chinese — who took bigger risks, and often got caught. They stole the designs for the F-35 fighter jet, corporate secrets for rolling steel, even the blueprints for gas pipelines that supply much of the United States. And during the 2008 presidential election cycle, Chinese intelligence hacked into the campaigns of Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, making off with internal position papers and communications. But they didn’t publish any of it.

The Russians had not gone away, of course. “They were just a lot more stealthy,” said Kevin Mandia, a former Air Force intelligence officer who spent most of his days fighting off Russian cyberattacks before founding Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm that is now a division of FireEye — and the company the Clinton campaign brought in to secure its own systems.

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

But American officials did not imagine that the Russians would dare try those techniques inside the United States. They were largely focused on preventing what former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned was an approaching “cyber Pearl Harbor” — a shutdown of the power grid or cellphone networks.

But in 2014 and 2015, a Russian hacking group began systematically targeting the State Department, the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Each time, they eventually met with some form of success,” Michael Sulmeyer, a former cyberexpert for the secretary of defense, and Ben Buchanan, now both of the Harvard Cyber Security Project, wrote recently in a soon-to-be published paper for the Carnegie Endowment.

The Russians grew stealthier and stealthier, tricking government computers into sending out data while disguising the electronic “command and control” messages that set off alarms for anyone looking for malicious actions. The State Department was so crippled that it repeatedly closed its systems to throw out the intruders. At one point, officials traveling to Vienna with Secretary of State John Kerry for the Iran nuclear negotiations had to set up commercial Gmail accounts just to communicate with one another and with reporters traveling with them.

2016 ELECTION HACKING COVERAGE

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

So the Russians escalated again — breaking into systems not just for espionage, but to publish or broadcast what they found, known as “doxing” in the cyberworld.

It was a brazen change in tactics, moving the Russians from espionage to influence operations. In February 2014, they broadcast an intercepted phone call between Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state who handles Russian affairs and has a contentious relationship with Mr. Putin, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the United States ambassador to Ukraine. Ms. Nuland was heard describing a little-known American effort to broker a deal in Ukraine, then in political turmoil.

They were not the only ones on whom the Russians used the steal-and-leak strategy. The Open Society Foundation, run by George Soros, was a major target, and when its documents were released, some turned out to have been altered to make it appear as if the foundation was financing Russian opposition members.

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

The attacks “were not fully integrated military operations,” Mr. Sulmeyer said. But they showed an increasing boldness.

Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear

The day before the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in April, Ms. Dacey, the D.N.C.’s chief executive, was preparing for a night of parties when she got an urgent phone call.

With the new monitoring system in place, Mr. Tamene had examined administrative logs of the D.N.C.’s computer system and found something very suspicious: An unauthorized person, with administrator-level security status, had gained access to the D.N.C.’s computers.

“Not sure it is related to what the F.B.I. has been noticing,” said one internal D.N.C. email sent on April 29. “The D.N.C. may have been hacked in a serious way this week, with password theft, etc.”

No one knew just how bad the breach was — but it was clear that a lot more than a single filing cabinet worth of materials might have been taken. A secret committee was immediately created, including Ms. Dacey, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Brown and Michael Sussmann, a former cybercrimes prosecutor at the Department of Justice who now works at Perkins Coie, the Washington law firm that handles D.N.C. political matters.

“Three most important questions,” Mr. Sussmann wrote to his clients the night the break-in was confirmed. “1) What data was accessed? 2) How was it done? 3) How do we stop it?”

Mr. Sussmann instructed his clients not to use D.N.C. email because they had just one opportunity to lock the hackers out — an effort that could be foiled if the hackers knew that the D.N.C. was on to them.

“You only get one chance to raise the drawbridge,” Mr. Sussmann said. “If the adversaries know you are aware of their presence, they will take steps to burrow in, or erase the logs that show they were present.”

On Apr 29, 2016, at 8:05 PM [DELETE] wrote:

Sussman [DELETE]

Not sure if it is related to what the FBI has been noticing, but [DELETE] at the DNC now believes that the DNC may have been hacked in a serious way this week, with password theft etc. They are taking immediate protective measures and looking to see if they can learn more tonight about what has happened and what might have been accessed.

Michael Sussmann, a Washington lawyer and former cybercrime prosecutor at the Justice Department, received an email in late April confirming that the D.N.C.’s computer system had been compromised.


The D.N.C. immediately hired CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm, to scan its computers, identify the intruders and build a new computer and telephone system from scratch. Within a day, CrowdStrike confirmed that the intrusion had originated in Russia, Mr. Sussmann said.

The work that such companies do is a computer version of old-fashioned crime scene investigation, with fingerprints, bullet casings and DNA swabs replaced by an electronic trail that can be just as incriminating. And just as police detectives learn to identify the telltale methods of a veteran burglar, so CrowdStrike investigators recognized the distinctive handiwork of Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear.

Those are CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

It was Cozy Bear, CrowdStrike concluded, that first penetrated the D.N.C. in the summer of 2015, by sending spear-phishing emails to a long list of American government agencies, Washington nonprofits and government contractors. Whenever someone clicked on a phishing message, the Russians would enter the network, “exfiltrate” documents of interest and stockpile them for intelligence purposes.

“Once they got into the D.N.C., they found the data valuable and decided to continue the operation,” said Mr. Alperovitch, who was born in Russia and moved to the United States as a teenager.

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

Attribution, as the skill of identifying a cyberattacker is known, is more art than science. It is often impossible to name an attacker with absolute certainty. But over time, by accumulating a reference library of hacking techniques and targets, it is possible to spot repeat offenders. Fancy Bear, for instance, has gone after military and political targets in Ukraine and Georgia, and at NATO installations.

That largely rules out cybercriminals and most countries, Mr. Alperovitch said. “There’s no plausible actor that has an interest in all those victims other than Russia,” he said. Another clue: The Russian hacking groups tended to be active during working hours in the Moscow time zone.

To their astonishment, Mr. Alperovitch said, CrowdStrike experts found signs that the two Russian hacking groups had not coordinated their attacks. Fancy Bear, apparently not knowing that Cozy Bear had been rummaging in D.N.C. files for months, took many of the same documents.

In the six weeks after CrowdStrike’s arrival, in total secrecy, the computer system at the D.N.C. was replaced. For a weekend, email and phones were shut off; employees were told it was a system upgrade. All laptops were turned in and the hard drives wiped clean, with the uninfected information on them imaged to new drives.

Though D.N.C. officials had learned that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had been infected, too, they did not notify their sister organization, which was in the same building, because they were afraid that it would leak.

All of this work took place as the bitter contest for the Democratic nomination continued to play out between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders, and it was already causing a major distraction for Ms. Wasserman Schultz and the D.N.C.’s chief executive.

“This was not a bump in the road — bumps in the road happen all the time,” she said in an interview. “Two different Russian spy agencies had hacked into our network and stolen our property. And we did not yet know what they had taken. But we knew they had very broad access to our network. There was a tremendous amount of uncertainty. And it was chilling.”

The D.N.C. executives and their lawyer had their first formal meeting with senior F.B.I. officials in mid-June, nine months after the bureau’s first call to the tech-support contractor. Among the early requests at that meeting, according to participants: that the federal government make a quick “attribution” formally blaming actors with ties to Russian government for the attack to make clear that it was not routine hacking but foreign espionage.

“You have a presidential election underway here and you know that the Russians have hacked into the D.N.C.,” Mr. Sussmann said, recalling the message to the F.B.I. “We need to tell the American public that. And soon.”

The Media’s Role

In mid-June, on Mr. Sussmann’s advice, D.N.C. leaders decided to take a bold step. Concerned that word of the hacking might leak, they decided to go public in The Washington Post with the news that the committee had been attacked. That way, they figured, they could get ahead of the story, win a little sympathy from voters for being victimized by Russian hackers and refocus on the campaign.

But the very next day, a new, deeply unsettling shock awaited them. Someone calling himself Guccifer 2.0 appeared on the web, claiming to be the D.N.C. hacker — and he posted a confidential committee document detailing Mr. Trump’s record and half a dozen other documents to prove his bona fides.

Donald Trump Report
Democratic National Committee
Submitted: 12/19/15

GUCCIFER 2.0 @GUCCIFER_2
#Guccifer2 #DNC’s servers hacked by a lone hacker. #Trump report https://guccifer2.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/dnc/
9:51 AM - 20 Jun 2016


“And it’s just a tiny part of all docs I downloaded from the Democrats networks,” he wrote. Then something more ominous: “The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to WikiLeaks. They will publish them soon.”

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

Guccifer 2.0 borrowed the moniker of an earlier hacker, a Romanian who called himself Guccifer and was jailed for breaking into the personal computers of former President George W. Bush, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other notables. This new attacker seemed intent on showing that the D.N.C.’s cyberexperts at CrowdStrike were wrong to blame Russia. Guccifer 2.0 called himself a “lone hacker” and mocked CrowdStrike for calling the attackers “sophisticated.”

But online investigators quickly undercut his story. On a whim, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a writer for Motherboard, the tech and culture site of Vice, tried to contact Guccifer 2.0 by direct message on Twitter.

“Surprisingly, he answered right away,” Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai said. But whoever was on the other end seemed to be mocking him. “I asked him why he did it, and he said he wanted to expose the Illuminati. He called himself a Gucci lover. And he said he was Romanian.”

That gave Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai an idea. Using Google Translate, he sent the purported hacker some questions in Romanian. The answers came back in Romanian. But when he was offline, Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai checked with a couple of native speakers, who told him Guccifer 2.0 had apparently been using Google Translate as well — and was clearly not the Romanian he claimed to be.

Cyberresearchers found other clues pointing to Russia. Microsoft Word documents posted by Guccifer 2.0 had been edited by someone calling himself, in Russian, Felix Edmundovich — an obvious nom de guerre honoring the founder of the Soviet secret police, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky. Bad links in the texts were marked by warnings in Russian, generated by what was clearly a Russian-language version of Word.

When Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai managed to engage Guccifer 2.0 over a period of weeks, he found that his interlocutor’s tone and manner changed. “At first he was careless and colloquial. Weeks later, he was curt and more calculating,” he said. “It seemed like a group of people, and a very sloppy attempt to cover up.”

Computer experts drew the same conclusion about DCLeaks.com, a site that sprang up in June, claiming to be the work of “hacktivists” but posting more stolen documents. It, too, seemed to be a clumsy front for the same Russians who had stolen the documents. Notably, the website was registered in April, suggesting that the Russian hacking team planned well in advance to make public what it stole.

In addition to what Guccifer 2.0 published on his site, he provided material directly on request to some bloggers and publications. The steady flow of Guccifer 2.0 documents constantly undercut Democratic messaging efforts. On July 6, 12 days before the Republican National Convention began in Cleveland, Guccifer released the D.N.C.’s battle plan and budget for countering it. For Republican operatives, it was insider gold.

Then WikiLeaks, a far more established outlet, began to publish the hacked material — just as Guccifer 2.0 had promised. On July 22, three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks dumped out 44,053 D.N.C. emails with 17,761 attachments. Some of the messages made clear that some D.N.C. officials favored Mrs. Clinton over her progressive challenger, Mr. Sanders.

That was no shock; Mr. Sanders, after all, had been an independent socialist, not a Democrat, during his long career in Congress, while Mrs. Clinton had been one of the party’s stars for decades. But the emails, some of them crude or insulting, infuriated Sanders delegates as they arrived in Philadelphia. Ms. Wasserman Schultz resigned under pressure on the eve of the convention where she had planned to preside.

Mr. Trump, by now the Republican nominee, expressed delight at the continuing jolts to his opponent, and he began to use Twitter and his stump speeches to highlight the WikiLeaks releases. On July 25, he sent out a lighthearted tweet: “The new joke in town,” he wrote, “is that Russia leaked the disastrous D.N.C. e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.”

But WikiLeaks was far from finished. On Oct. 7, a month before the election, the site began the serial publication of thousands of private emails to and from Mr. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager.

The same day, the United States formally accused the Russian government of being behind the hackings, in a joint statement by the director of national intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, and Mr. Trump suffered his worst blow to date, with the release of a recording in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women.

The Podesta emails were nowhere near as sensational as the Trump video. But, released by WikiLeaks day after day over the last month of the campaign, they provided material for countless news reports. They disclosed the contents of Mrs. Clinton’s speeches to large banks, which she had refused to release. They exposed tensions inside the campaign, including disagreements over donations to the Clinton Foundation that staff members thought might look bad for the candidate and Ms. Tanden’s complaint that Mrs. Clinton’s instincts were “suboptimal.”

“I was just mortified,” Ms. Tanden said in an interview. Her emails were released on the eve of one of the presidential debates, she recalled. “I put my hands over my head and said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me.’” Though she had regularly appeared on television to support Mrs. Clinton, she canceled her appearances because all the questions were about what she had said in the emails.

Ms. Tanden, like other Democrats whose messages became public, said it was obvious to her that WikiLeaks was trying its best to damage the Clinton campaign. “If you care about transparency, you put all the emails out at once,” she said. “But they wanted to hurt her. So they put them out 1,800 to 3,000 a day.”

The Trump campaign knew in advance about WikiLeaks’ plans. Days before the Podesta email release began, Roger Stone, a Republican operative working with the Trump campaign, sent out an excited tweet about what was coming.

Roger Stone @RogerJStoneJr
Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.
9:52 PM - 1 Oct 2016


But in an interview, Mr. Stone said he had no role in the leaks; he had just heard from an American with ties to WikiLeaks that damning emails were coming.

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

In a series of email exchanges, Mr. Assange refused to say anything about WikiLeaks’ source for the hacked material. He denied that he had made his animus toward Mrs. Clinton clear in public statements (“False. But what is this? Junior high?”) or that the site had timed the releases for maximum negative effect on her campaign. “WikiLeaks makes its decisions based on newsworthiness, including for its recent epic scoops,” he wrote.

Mr. Assange disputed the conclusion of the Oct. 7 statement from the intelligence agencies that the leaks were “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

“This is false,” he wrote. “As the disclosing party we know that this was not the intent. Publishers publishing newsworthy information during an election is part of a free election.”

But asked whether he believed the leaks were one reason for Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Assange seemed happy to take credit. “Americans extensively engaged with our publications,” he wrote. “According to Facebook statistics WikiLeaks was the most referenced political topic during October.”

Though Mr. Assange did not say so, WikiLeaks’ best defense may be the conduct of the mainstream American media. Every major publication, including The Times, published multiple stories citing the D.N.C. and Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks, becoming a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

“What was really surprising to me?” Ms. Tanden said. “I could not believe that reporters were covering it.”

Devising a Government Response

Inside the White House, as Mr. Obama’s advisers debated their response, their conversation turned to North Korea.

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

But a formal “attribution report” still had not been forwarded to the president.

“It took forever,” one senior administration official said, complaining about the pace at which the intelligence assessments moved through the system.

In August a group that called itself the “Shadow Brokers” published a set of software tools that looked like what the N.S.A. uses to break into foreign computer networks and install “implants,” malware that can be used for surveillance or attack. The code came from the Tailored Access Operations unit of the N.S.A., a secretive group that mastered the arts of surveillance and cyberwar.

The assumption — still unproved — was that the code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

The N.S.A. said nothing. But by late August, Admiral Rogers, its director, was pressing for a more muscular response to the Russians. In his role as director of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, he proposed a series of potential counter-cyberstrikes.

While officials will not discuss them in detail, the possible counterstrikes reportedly included operations that would turn the tables on Mr. Putin, exposing his financial links to Russia’s oligarchs, and punching holes in the Russian internet to allow dissidents to get their message out. Pentagon officials judged the measures too unsubtle and ordered up their own set of options.

But in the end, none of those were formally presented to the president.

In a series of “deputies meetings” run by Avril Haines, the deputy national security adviser and a former deputy director of the C.I.A., several officials warned that an overreaction by the administration would play into Mr. Putin’s hands.

“If we went to Defcon 4,” one frequent participant in Ms. Haines’s meetings said, using a phrase from the Cold War days of warnings of war, “we would be saying to the public that we didn’t have confidence in the integrity of our voting system.”

Even something seemingly straightforward — using the president’s executive powers, bolstered after the Sony incident, to place economic and travel sanctions on cyberattackers — seemed too risky.

“No one was all that eager to impose costs before Election Day,” said another participant in the classified meeting. “Any retaliatory measures were seen through the prism of what would happen on Election Day.”

Instead, when Mr. Obama’s national security team reconvened after summer vacation, the focus turned to a crash effort to secure the nation’s voting machines and voter-registration rolls from hacking. The scenario they discussed most frequently — one that turned out not to be an issue — was a narrow vote in favor of Mrs. Clinton, followed by a declaration by Mr. Trump that the vote was “rigged” and more leaks intended to undercut her legitimacy.

Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman of the D.N.C., became increasingly frustrated as the clock continued to run down on the presidential election — and still there was no broad public condemnation by the White House, or Republican Party leaders, of the attack as an act of foreign espionage.

Ms. Brazile even reached out to Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, urging him twice in private conversations and in a letter to join her in condemning the attacks — an offer he declined to take up.

“We just kept hearing the government would respond, the government would respond,” she said. “Once upon a time, if a foreign government interfered with our election we would respond as a nation, not as a political party.”

But Mr. Obama did decide that he would deliver a warning to Mr. Putin in person at a Group of 20 summit meeting in Hangzhou, China, the last time they would be in the same place while Mr. Obama was still in office. When the two men met for a tense pull-aside, Mr. Obama explicitly warned Mr. Putin of a strong American response if there was continued effort to influence the election or manipulate the vote, according to White House officials who were not present for the one-on-one meeting.

Later that day, Mr. Obama made a rare reference to America’s own offensive cybercapacity, which he has almost never talked about. “Frankly, both offensively and defensively, we have more capacity,” he told reporters.

But when it came time to make a public assertion of Russia’s role in early October, it was made in a written statement from the director of national intelligence and the secretary of homeland security. It was far less dramatic than the president’s appearance in the press room two years before to directly accuse the North Koreans of attacking Sony.

The reference in the statement to hackings on “political organizations,” officials now say, encompassed a hacking on data stored by the Republicans as well. Two senior officials say the forensic evidence was accompanied by “human and technical” sources in Russia, which appears to mean that the United States’ implants or taps in Russian computer and phone networks helped confirm the country’s role.

But that may not be known for decades, until the secrets are declassified.

A week later Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sent out to transmit a public warning to Mr. Putin: The United States will retaliate “at the time of our choosing. And under the circumstances that have the greatest impact.”

Later, after Mr. Biden said he was not concerned that Russia could “fundamentally alter the election,” he was asked whether the American public would know if the message to Mr. Putin had been sent.

“Hope not,” Mr. Biden responded.

Some of his former colleagues think that was the wrong answer. An American counterstrike, said Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the C.I.A. under Mr. Obama, has “got to be overt. It needs to be seen.”

A covert response would significantly limit the deterrence effect, he added. “If you can’t see it, it’s not going to deter the Chinese and North Koreans and Iranians and others.”

The Obama administration says it still has more than 30 days to do exactly that.

The Next Target

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.”

But Russia has by no means forgotten its American target. On the day after the presidential election, the cybersecurity company Volexity reported five new waves of phishing emails, evidently from Cozy Bear, aimed at think tanks and nonprofits in the United States.

One of them purported to be from Harvard University, attaching a fake paper. Its title: “Why American Elections Are Flawed.”

Correction: December 13, 2016
Editors’ Note: An earlier version of the main photograph with this article, of a filing cabinet and computer at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, should not have been published. The photographer had removed a framed image from the wall over the filing cabinet — showing a Washington Post Watergate front page — because it was causing glare with the lighting. The new version shows the scene as it normally appears, with the framed newspaper page in place.


Kitty Bennett contributed research.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:58 pm

Beating or Driving
by Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News
December 5, 1874

Image
THE PLEASURES OF SHOOTING.
AFTER LUNCHEON THE "BEATING" IS A LITTLE WILD.
[Michael J. Morell, Michael V. Hayden, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Hunters; Donald Trump, Tiger]


Beating or Driving. – – In some forests it may be advisable to beat for large game, and I have often made large bags by taking my station at the head of a ravine, and making the line of beaters drive the animals towards me. Previous to beating, the ground should be reconnoitred, and a good deal of judgment is required in selecting a position that commands the different runs up which the animals may come, and it is absolutely necessary to maintain the strictest silence, and remain as much as possible concealed. It is very unadvisable on these occasions to fire random shots, at very long ranges, as the chances are that the report of your rifle may prevent other game from coming near you, and you lose a fair chance. Great care must be taken, also, not to fire in the direction of the beaters.

The most certain information as to the presence of tigers, or indeed any of the feline race, is given by monkeys, who directly be stirs given their well-known cry of alarm, as a warning to the unwary, and continue making a harsh shrieking noise as long as he remains in sight. The peculiarly discordant cry of the kola balloo, or solitary jackal, also frequently betrays his whereabouts, as this animal, who, from old age or infirmities, is incapacitated from hunting with his fellows, lives upon what the tiger leaves, and gives notice to his master of any stray cattle that might serve him as a meal.

In central India, where trained elephants are tolerably numerous, the dense covers are beaten with a line of elephants, and many tigers are thus brought to bag, the sportsman being either mounted in howdahs on elephants or posted on some elevated ground, towards which the game is driven. A good steady khakar elephant costs about 300 pounds to buy in the first instance and about 80 rupees a month to keep, so that very few military men possess them; consequently coolies hired by the day are generally employed as beaters, every other man in the line having a fire arm of some kind, or a tom-tom.

The line of beaters, keeping up a perpetual noise, rouse the tiger from his lair and drive him past the ambuscades, behind which the sportsman lay hidden. When it is possible, elevated grounds should be selected for these posts, which command an extensive view of the country roundabout, and watchers should be posted in trees round about the lair to signalize when the animal breaks, and which direction he is making for. These must keep a careful watch, for a tiger that has been hunted before grows very cunning, and when alarmed, instead of breaking boldly forth, skulks from bush to bush and creeps along very close to the ground, taking advantage of every patch of cover that lies in his way. Sometimes when the bush is very thick, and he lies close, it is advisable to use rockets to scare him, and make him break into the open.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:01 pm

The king's beaters: Hunts and beaters
by http://en.parcoalpimarittime.it/

How did the kings of the House of Savoy hunt? Simple: minimum effort and maximum effect. These were guaranteed by the technique of "beating", where the game (chamois or ibex) was surrounded and pushed forward to an agreed place. The animals were flushed out by the batteurs, the beaters and forced to converge on the hunting hides, where the sovereigns were waiting with their guns ready to open fire.

The beaters, were chosen among the stronger people in the valley and Alpine soldiers on leave. If the hunt itself was to start at daybreak, the beaters' work started at night: they were divided into groups led by a gamekeeper, they climbed to the passes and peaks above the hunters. At the agreed time, like a procession of noisy ants, the beaters came down shouting and firing in the air, to flush the animals out and make them converge on the nobles waiting lower down.

In fact this "beating from above" soon turned out to be inefficient and was replaced by "beating from below". Chamois by nature tend to flee uphill in the face of danger, and in doing this many animals managed to breech the line of beaters effectively escaping the royal bullets. So it was decided to move the hides higher up the mountains and force the chamois up: this way seeking a way out they were running towards the king's guns.

The beaters' task hid insidious perils. Many documents describe hunting in foul weather, rain, snow, wind or poor visibility. The risk of falling, getting lost or hypothermia were everyday hazards, not to mention falling stones dislodged by the runaway herds of animals. In the last twelve years hunting, from 1901 to 1913, three beaters lost their lives and two more were slightly wounded.

In Umberto I's reign, the number of beaters employed per season varied between 120 and 300, according to the number of hunts organised and the area to beat at each drive. They received ten lire per day, around fifty lire per year, excluding the occasions when king Umberto chose to give them double pay for their services. With Vittorio Emanuele III the number of beaters increased considerably: from 1907 for every beat there were 300-350 people. In the summer of 1906 Vittorio Emanuele III took the record for the number of animals bagged: over 400 in a single season!

In 1914 with the end of the chamois hunts the role of beater quickly disappeared. Many in the valley saw an important source of income disappear, as did the labourers working on the yearly upkeep of paths and the traders in the valley, who supplied material and equipment to the royal household: it was the sun setting on a small hunting world.
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