Posted on October 23 2018
Russia never stopped
Russia not our friend
Like many Americans, when I see certain news organizations write articles stating that Russia isn’t interfering in our politics...I tend to become increasingly skeptical about said “news organizations”
Last week The Daily Beast published the following Article (linked below). I had no reason to question, much less be skeptical of this news organization. So I tried to read the article and research with an unbiased opinion. The struggle was real. It took me four attempts to read the article. It was this particular paragraph that I struggled with the most:
But so far, Russia-watchers say the trolls haven’t delved into the nitty gritty of 35 Senate campaigns and 435 House races. Nor has the GRU engineered the type of damaging email dumps that tent-posted the 2016 election circus.
Given that embedded in the Daily Beast Exclusive is a September 27, 2018 article detailing Russia’s “new” weapon, XAgent, Xtunnel, and LoJax.
This isn’t me slamming the Daily Beast, okay maybe just a little...the fact they are using the 2016 interference as the litmus test, this does in fact minimize the ongoing cyber attacks. And sets up a false narrative that Russia isn’t so bad, see they aren’t meddling. When the facts indicate that Russia never stopped...in fact at this moment I’m confident Russia is ramping up their aggressive cyber attacks on our Country and those of our allies. To suggest otherwise is simply irresponsible. Given it gives Americans the false sense of security ergo relaxing our defenses. When we need to be ever so vigilant given the absence of actual presidential leadership. Just a thought, not a sermon, yet...operative word, yet.
For the purposes of this entry, I think it makes sense to start at the begining of Trump’s presidency, that will help build an informed foundation and makes it easier to put the numerous puzzle pieces scattered around in their proper place.
January 2017 declassified ODNI and ODNI-NIC Report:
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments. (emphasis added)
We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
In March of 2018 - Trump’s national security advisers warned him not to congratulate Putin. He did it anyway. As detailed by the Washington Post, article found here. It is almost as if Trump has the intellectual capacity & impulse control of a 4 year old. And perhaps I’m naive in thinking, god will he just grow up and rise to the dignity of the Office of the President of the United States? But every goddamn day is just another disappointment. To say Trump is loathsome I’d submit he’s worse than loathsome, he’s a narcissistic sociopath who is incapable of ever showing a modicum of decency much less exercise a level of restraint.
An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election. https://t.co/lcQTBi7CA1— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 20, 2018
In July of 2018 DNI Coats literally said “the red lights are blinking” and maybe the Daily Beast is Right that researchers are not seeing the same level of aggressive interference but to essentially say that everything is fine. Russia isn’t up in America’s grill, frankly it’s offensive and utterly irresponsible. To what end does the Daily Beast article help educate the ordinary American? How does their article comport with a running list of how Russia never went away. They are still attacking our democracy? In this Hudson Institute speech, specifically at the 8:29 marker DNI Coats states:
“All...of these disparate efforts shared a common purpose,to explo6 America’s openness in order to undermine our long term competitive advantage...Russia has been the most aggressive foreign actor. No question and they continue their efforts to undermine our democracy...in regard to the upcoming midterm elections, I think there may have been some confusion between what we are seeing compared to what we saw in 2016, as the DHS noted, ‘we are not yet seeing the kind of electoral interference in specific States and in voter databases that we experienced in 2016’...
...however we fully realize that we are just one click of the keyboard away from a similar situation repeating itself...therefore and moreover we are seeing aggressive att,ps to manipulate social media and to spread propaganda focused on hot button social issues that are intended to exasperate social and political divisions despite pubic statements from the Kremlin”
Shortly after the July 13, 2018 Indictment I wrote about the lack of presidential directive ordering the NSA, DIA, CIA, FBI, US-CyberCommand testifying before Congress.
In fact our NSA Chief told Congress that he has not been given a directive to thwart Russia’s ever increasing cyber-hybrid war against America.
Just pointing out the NSA went Senate Official back in February...no direct order from our so called Commander in Chief— SpicyFiles (@SpicyFiles) July 18, 2018
Admiral Rogers’ written testimony from the SASC Hearinghttps://t.co/flI7WxVRQv pic.twitter.com/su1jmdk4RO
Over the course of late 2017 to present, I’ve discussed the various datadumps by both Congress and Social Media Companies. Opining about what if any implications Russia has in sowing discord and interfering in our Democracy. It still vexes me that many Americans are either unwilling to admit that Russia never went away or they are willing to look the other way. I don’t know about you, but I’m in the “Russia attacked America, our Democracy, the heart of our elections” and they need to be punished camp. Last year the FBI Director Comey was spot on.
For reference of previous discussions, please see partial list below.
April 2018 Congressional Hearings, found here.
Let’s not forget on April 4, 2018 the Russian Government announced its *newly* created a straight up disinformation website which appears to be engaged in real time information warfare. See FAN official press release found here.
See ICANN data found here.
May 2018 HPSCI - Democrats document dump, found here.
June 2018 Concord, request for 75 years of Sources and Methods found here.
And let’s NOT forget the obsequious Helsinki summit. In which one shithole of a president made puppydog lovey eyes at his benefactor Daddy Vlad. I actually thought it was a joke that Trump winked at Putin. NOPE, see the Gaurdian’s tick-tock of the summit, found here. Also given we are -almost- in November post 4 months since The Helsinki FUBAR does any one actually know what Tump promised Putin? Funny how the Congress was so outraged and now their silence is deafening.
also in June of 2018 the OFFICE of the DIRECTOR of NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE published the following Cyber Threat, Cyber Espionage Report, see twitter thread below with links to the ODNI’s publications:
🚨Cyber economic espionage is but one facet of the much larger, global economic espionage challenge.— SpicyFiles (@SpicyFiles) July 31, 2018
🚨We look forward to engaging in the larger public discourse on mitigating the national economic harm
caused by these threats.
No mention of NK
cc @ericgarland @911CORLEBRA777 pic.twitter.com/AyF6Ngha2S
July 2018, House Democrats sound the Alarm that Russia is STILL interfering, here.
July 2018 Maria Butina Indictment found here.
July 2018 NRA, Kline Preston, Torshin & Dark Money found here.
The larger problem is the main stream media doesn’t want to talk about is Trump’s ongoing use of actual Russian Active Measures with a heavy side of self serving gas lighting. It’s almost as if Trump keeps repeating his lies in an effort to beat us, the American people in to submission. To wit my response is: I do not consent, I reject your disinformation and lies.
I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018
July 2018 Senate Committee Armed Services, CyberCommand found here. Regarding US CyberCommand, put a pin in this, I’ll come back to it at the end of this entry. But it should be noted CyberCommand and NSA started acting absent a directive.
September 2018 NRA & NRA-ILA, found here.
October 6 2018 Indictment Russia Doping:
Our Allies announce Indictments which implicated Russia, entry found here.
That particular entry happens to be one of my favorite because after months of waiting, it was the first time that our Government and those of our Allies actually linked China and Russia via XAgent aka Chopstick. For those of us who have followed Russia’s hybrid war, somewhat closely (as in my case) seeing Westinghouse Electric Corporation listed as a victim in the October 2018 indictment jogged something in my memory. Back in 2014 then Attorney General Holder announced the indictment of Chinese Nationals (for the first time in our Country’s history) Cyber-Espionage, see link to the original 2014 Indictment.
This is the 2014 DOJ Indictment, most overlooked that important “Chopstick” alias for XAgent but like I said some of us have been tracking the malware.— SpicyFiles (@SpicyFiles) October 9, 2018
This definitively links Russia & China
But I’m not a reporter...https://t.co/NJYX6ZSJLI
What was overlooked was, just a few days earlier Twitter released a massive datadump, see thread below,
Enabling further research of information operations on Twitter— SpicyFiles (@SpicyFiles) October 17, 2018
Erm....okay but still come on now... https://t.co/UkcX8Xm4Ax
Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova
Then on Friday October 18, 2018 the Justice Department announced:
HAPPY FRIDAY AMERICA— SpicyFiles (@SpicyFiles) October 19, 2018
She’s the chief accountant and includes upto May 2018
Russian National Charged with Interfering in U.S. Political System | USAO-EDVA | Department of Justice https://t.co/D0VxUvBcRJ
As the Criminal Complaint details, Project Lakhta’s mid-term budget far exceeded the previous 2016 budget:
Between 2016 and 2016, Project Lakhta's expenses were over $35 million and its operating budget was over $10 million...”information warfare against the United States."
What I found fascinating in the October 19th, Criminal Complaint, is this was clearly a Building block upon the previous indictments. More broadly based on the Complaint, Project Lakhta conspirators addressed numerous “hot button social & government issues” ranging from immigration to gun control (Parkland, Las Vegas and other mass shootings) and women's rights (Women’s March, Reproductive Rights, MeToo Movement), LGBTQ issues an other highly charged social issues to greatly inflame tensions between Americans.
But the new details of Social Media giants Facebook and Twitter working closely with investigators is in fact a welcomed sea change. Once again I’m struck by the amazing level and granularity, specificity the ‘response instructions” predicated on if you’re engaging a conservative or liberal. By all appearances Russia seems to have honed their craft of masking their indentities but also micro-targeting.
By far of all the criminal indictments and complaints this one appears to be the most detailed...”The financial documents she controlled include detailed expenses for activities in the United States, such as expenditures for activists, advertisements on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the purchase of proxy servers, and “promoting news postings on social networks.”
twitter accounts in Complaint:@CovfefeNationUS@KaniJJackson@johncopper16@amconvoice@thetrainguy13@JemiSHaaaZzz@wokeluisa— SpicyFiles (@SpicyFiles) October 19, 2018
Special Counsel Mueller
Perfect example of RUSSIA playing BOTH SIDES
See pages 32-38
The Justice Department’s Press Release is crystal clear, link to DOJ-OPA release found here.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia stated:
“The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions...demonstrates that federal law enforcement authorities will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of unlawful foreign influence activities whenever feasible, and that we will not stand by idly while foreign actors obstruct the lawful functions of our government. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their determined work on this case.”
Assistant Attorney General Demers:
This effort was not only designed to spread distrust towards candidates for US political office and the US political system in general, but also to defraud the United States by impeding the lawful functions of government agencies in administering relevant federal requirements...Our nation is built upon a hard-fought and unwavering commitment to democracy. Americans disagree in good faith on all manner of issues, and we will protect their right to do so. Unlawful foreign interference with these debates debases their democratic integrity, and we will make every effort to disrupt it and hold those involved accountable.”
As noted the Complaint was originally filed in the EDVA on September 27, 2018
But the October 1, 2018 AMENED ORDER TO SEAL...the rationale, specifically the following sentences peaked my curiosity;
would jeopardize the government’s coordination efforts relating to the foreign influence activities in which the defendant has alleged to have participated; having considered less drastic alternatives, and finding none would suffice to protect the government's legitimate interest in concluding the investigation...may disseminate copies of and information about these documents to other US Federal Agencies, Foreign Authorities and victims...” (emphasis added)
The same day as Khusyaynova’s Criminal Complaint was unsealed, Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections. Joint statement number 1915 reads in part:
We are concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran, to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies. These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision making in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections.
Elements of these campaigns can take many forms, including using social media to amplify divisive issues, sponsoring specific content in English-language media like RT and Sputnik, seeding disinformation through sympathetic spokespersons regarding political candidates and disseminating foreign propaganda.
American public, government officials and political candidates and their campaigns can mitigate adversarial efforts by following sound cyber security guidelines and being responsible consumers of information, in particular from social media platforms. For more information please see the DHS checklist and voter security information sheet or visit the FBI’s webpage on combating foreign influence.
And lastly earlier today the New York Times published the following article which essentially explained that the NSA in coordination with the US CyberCommand literally and figuratively sliding in to the DMs of IRA & Russia linked social media accounts to tell them, hey Comrades, we America can see what you’re doing...so knock it off.
Listen if US CyberCommand wants to slide into DMs to the Russian Linked accounts, oddly I’m okay with that.https://t.co/9gLHMJ7x9b— SpicyFiles (@SpicyFiles) October 23, 2018
Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the head of Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, hinted at the new cyberoperations this month as he noted that American adversaries are “looking to really take us on below that level of armed conflict” by sowing distrust in society and “attempt to disrupt our elections.”
“This is what great power competition looks like today, and it’s what we will look at as we look to the future,” he said during a panel discussion in Washington.
I should be back on a regular blogging schedule starting later this week. As I mentioned in early October I had pre-planned to be offline for several weeks, hence my intermittent blogging. At any rate I needed the break to recharge my battery and apprentice your patience. -Spicy Out
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