On March 20th the enigma of an FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee. The subjects mainly included Russia’s interference with the 2016 US election and President Trump’s tweets alleging that that Obama administration had “wiretapped” Trump Tower. It was a fiery round of questions for both NSA’s Mike Rogers and FBI Director Comey, who in all honesty did not reveal much. Their hands were tied by both the fact they cannot testify classified information in an open session of Congress and DOJ policy stating they cannot comment with regards to ongoing investigations. Unless of course, it is the public’s best interest to be made aware of an investigation. With only 10 days before the election, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congressional Committee Chairmen announcing that the investigation into Hillary Clinton was re-opened. Only a few days later, Comey announced the FBI had gone through over 500,000 emails and determined that they did not add to the investigation, and the investigation was closed again. Those unprecedented moves by James Comey may have had more an impact on the 2016 election than any foreign agent could dream of. Another time Comey decided to invoke this privilege in order to make Congress and the American people aware there is an investigation into Russia’s attempt at meddling in our election.
It would be hard to deny Russia had tried to influence our democratic process. Any adversary of the United States or any group looking to destabilize our delicate democratic process we are sure would take the opportunity to do so. James Comey testified before Congress that Putin and the Kremlin did not try to help Trump win in the exact sense. They were so against Hillary Clinton, they did whatever they could to undermine her. Comey testified that Russia did not believe Trump would win, and have given up any hopes of having him as President. The Russia issue is still a hazy issue with not a lot of details, if there truly were any, due to their classified nature. The public, Congress, and possibly even President Trump are kept in the dark about what is going on with the counter-intelligence probe in Russia.
The one thing that started the Trump-Russia allegations were claims that Wikileaks was acting as an agent of the Kremlin. At first there were claims Wikileaks was given John Podesta’s emails from Russian hackers, then claims Russia was coordinating releases of Wikileaks, and then claims that Wikileaks is simply an agent of Putin. According to Director Comey, responding to questioning from ranking member Democrat Adam Schiff, that is not the case.
This is a question I think you can answer. Do you know whether the Russian intelligence service has dealt directly with WikiLeaks or whether they too used an intermediary?
We assessed they used some kind of cutout. They didn’t deal directly with WikiLeaks. In contrast to D.C. Leaks and Guccifer 2.0.
“They didn’t deal directly with Wikileaks.” That is all you need to know. That destroys the entire narrative that Russia “hacked” our election. Russia did not hack and give to Wikileaks. How Wikileaks acquired the leaks in unknown, but from what we can see within the Podesta emails, John Podesta responded to a phishing scam and his password was “p@ssword.”
As for the DNC Leaks and Guccifer 2.0, there is no exact proof the public is aware of that the Russians had been responsible for any hacking. Director Comey testified before Congress that the FBI has yet to recieve access to the hacked DNC machines.
Have you been able to — when did the DNC provide access for — to the FBI for your technical folks to review what happened?
Well we never got direct access to the machines themselves. The DNC in the spring of 2016 hired a firm that ultimately shared with us their forensics from their review of the system.
So director FBI notified the DNC early, before any information was put on Wikileaks and when — you have still been — never been given access to any of the technical or the physical machines that were — that were hacked by the Russians.
That’s correct although we got the forensics from the pros that they hired which — again, best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves, but this — my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute.
Yes, you read that right. To this day the FBI has not been given access to anything of the DNC’s that was hacked. The DNC instead contracted out to other firms that then determined that hackers and programs used to hack seemed to be of Russian origin. There was a breadcrumb trail of Russian hacking left, determined by cyber experts. Let’s assume that these contractors were neutral despite being paid by DNC and found Russian breadcrumbs in the alleged hack. There’s one issue with that: the CIA can plant evidence that hacks were done by another entity. Wikileaks revealed CIA methodology documents in their “Vault 7” release. The most eye-opening may have been the revelation of their UMBRAGE project. Canada Free Press explains
The Central Intelligence Agency now can mimic foreign intelligence agencies’ hack attacks by leaving electronic “fingerprints” creating the false impression of a foreign intrusion into computer networks, according to claims accompanying a new WikiLeaks document dump.
In other words, there may not be hard evidence that CIA operatives, say, used cyberspace to create a modern-day Reichstag fire to undermine the Trump administration, but it may be the case that the CIA has the technological capabilities to do such a thing, if it were so inclined.
According to WikiLeaks, “[t]he CIA’s Remote Devices Branch’s UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.”
With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from. UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.
So the narrative that yes, Wikileaks wasn’t a Russian agent, but other leaks were, is now in question. So where are we now? Knowing even less. Keep in the dark, chasing anonymous sources, waiting for documents to come out that will probably never be declassified.
There is an idea that some of the Podesta email releases were coordinated with Trump saying something or releasing emails 90 minutes after the Access Hollywood tape coming out. Even for many Trump supporters, the timing seemed suspect. Some have argued that Russian intelligence had many people going through the emails and getting the specific emails attention in the media. Being someone who frequents Reddit’s /r/The_Donald and has been to 4chan’s /pol/ before, I can verify that there were thousands of users going through the Wikileaks documents at a time. Using the Wikileaks search feature in order to go through keywords and filter through the thousands of documents, these users worked together in order to piece together relevant documents and then spread them across social media. It was amazing to see a collective group working together to expose Hillary Clinton and those around her. So this article points out that is it very probable given the proof in front of us that the narrative that Russia “hacked” into anything or had even the slightest hand in attempting to influence our election. It is also completely probable that they did all of what is claimed and more. All we can do is hope that the United States Government gives the public some clarity soon.