Official Special Investigation Into Trump Thread

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Adam Jensen:
WaPo came out with an article saying that Trump can't pardon himself: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/no-trump-cant-pardon-himself-the-constitution-tells-us-so/2017/07/21/f3445d74-6e49-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?utm_term=.f85c92003ccb

Hopefully they're right.

I actually disagree with that article. Firstly, it cites an English common law precedent from 1610 that both predates the writing of the Constitution and would have been nullified by said Constitution and the attendant military revolt and declaration of independence, which severed the US legal system from that of Britain. That makes it entirely uncertain that the precedent can still be said to apply. It no doubt exists as a general principle, but there is a distinction in law between principle and precedent.

It also makes the argument that because the pardon does not cover cases of impeachment, and because impeachment does not preclude or prevent criminal conviction, therefore the pardon cannot be used to pardon the criminal acts of impeached officers, which is insane moon logic as far as I'm concerned. It would only make sense if impeachment was a procedure solely for removing the President from office, but it isn't. Impeachment is a general political procedure for removing any elected official who commits a crime. It is totally possible to impeach someone and then have the President pardon them to shield them from prosecution.

There's also the argument that the clemency power turns the President into a kind of "super-judge," thus binding him by the ethics constraints of a regular judge, which I feel is nonsense as well. First, there's a difference between a judge finding someone to be innocent and a presidential pardon. The pardon provides a reprieve from any prosecution or punishment of a crime; the judgement finds someone innocent of a crime.

Secondly, it would be super weird to interpret the Constitution as framing the President as the ultimate authority over the judiciary, even if such an interpretation did bind him to a judge's ethical constraints. Separation of powers exists for a reason, and I find it frankly bizarre to argue that the President cannot pardon himself because he is a super-judge and therefore subject to judicial ethics because if he was a super-judge, he would have to have authority over other judges, and if he had authority over other judges, then surely he could pardon himself? Who's going to tell him he can't? The other judges won't because he overrules them. What do judicial ethics matter if the judge in question cannot be bound to those ethics because he has no judicial superior to prosecute him?

The article also makes the observation that the presidential pardon originates with sovereign pardons, and no sovereign has ever pardoned himself for a crime, but I find that flawed too, because no sovereign from that era would consider themselves subject to criminal law. Ironically, for an absolute monarch of the 17th or 18th centuries to pardon himself would be to admit that it was possible for a king to commit a crime, something they all very strenuously disagreed with. Charles I famously refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the court that put him on trial on the basis that he was the King and they could go fuck themselves (he ended up being executed, so...checkmate?) The real reason sovereigns have never needed to pardon themselves is because sovereigns either ignore the law and get their head chopped off or ignore the law and continue to rule because fuck you, that's why, he's the King.

bastardofmelbourne:
I actually disagree with that article. Firstly, it cites an English common law precedent from 1610 that both predates the writing of the Constitution and would have been nullified by said Constitution and the attendant military revolt and declaration of independence, which severed the US legal system from that of Britain. That makes it entirely uncertain that the precedent can still be said to apply. It no doubt exists as a general principle, but there is a distinction in law between principle and precedent.

It also makes the argument that because the pardon does not cover cases of impeachment, and because impeachment does not preclude or prevent criminal conviction, therefore the pardon cannot be used to pardon the criminal acts of impeached officers, which is insane moon logic as far as I'm concerned. It would only make sense if impeachment was a procedure solely for removing the President from office, but it isn't. Impeachment is a general political procedure for removing any elected official who commits a crime. It is totally possible to impeach someone and then have the President pardon them to shield them from prosecution.

There's also the argument that the clemency power turns the President into a kind of "super-judge," thus binding him by the ethics constraints of a regular judge, which I feel is nonsense as well. First, there's a difference between a judge finding someone to be innocent and a presidential pardon. The pardon provides a reprieve from any prosecution or punishment of a crime; the judgement finds someone innocent of a crime.

Secondly, it would be super weird to interpret the Constitution as framing the President as the ultimate authority over the judiciary, even if such an interpretation did bind him to a judge's ethical constraints. Separation of powers exists for a reason, and I find it frankly bizarre to argue that the President cannot pardon himself because he is a super-judge and therefore subject to judicial ethics because if he was a super-judge, he would have to have authority over other judges, and if he had authority over other judges, then surely he could pardon himself? Who's going to tell him he can't? The other judges won't because he overrules them. What do judicial ethics matter if the judge in question cannot be bound to those ethics because he has no judicial superior to prosecute him?

The article also makes the observation that the presidential pardon originates with sovereign pardons, and no sovereign has ever pardoned himself for a crime, but I find that flawed too, because no sovereign from that era would consider themselves subject to criminal law. Ironically, for an absolute monarch of the 17th or 18th centuries to pardon himself would be to admit that it was possible for a king to commit a crime, something they all very strenuously disagreed with. Charles I famously refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the court that put him on trial on the basis that he was the King and they could go fuck themselves (he ended up being executed, so...checkmate?) The real reason sovereigns have never needed to pardon themselves is because sovereigns either ignore the law and get their head chopped off or ignore the law and continue to rule because fuck you, that's why, he's the King.

I'm not deeply versed in the current philosophical and legal arguments surrounding constitutional law, so I'm honestly not sure who's right in this. However, I have to wonder if the issue is a matter of the "self" in the self-pardon. Essentially, if an U.S. President had the legal power to pardon himself for crimes (or potential crimes) that occurred during his term, then I would have expected Nixon to have done it for himself. Somehow I think that the idea still holds sway that you can get pardoned by a President for just about any crime, it's just that a President cannot do so for themselves. They require their successor (who, given the structure of the American political system is going to be a member of the same party and likely someone who can be counted on watching your back) who steps in as President to do so.

The President of the United States has the power to pardon people, in all manner of crimes except for one. That is impeachment. The President cannot pardon impeachment. http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/2/essays/89/pardon-power

Also, as stated by the Supreme Court, accepting a pardon means that you, the pardon recipient, have committed a crime and are publicly confessing to the crime.

So, how does this affect Trump? He's not charged with any crimes, he's being investigated. If he attempts to pardon any member of his staff (or himself), his staff would be confessing to whatever crimes the pardon is for. But that would require criminal charges to be brought up. Now, if charges of impeachment are brought up, then the Presidential Pardon Power is useless. Absolutely useless.

InsanityRequiem:
The President of the United States has the power to pardon people, in all manner of crimes except for one. That is impeachment. The President cannot pardon impeachment. http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/2/essays/89/pardon-power

Also, as stated by the Supreme Court, accepting a pardon means that you, the pardon recipient, have committed a crime and are publicly confessing to the crime.

So, how does this affect Trump? He?s not charged with any crimes, he?s being investigated. If he attempts to pardon any member of his staff (or himself), his staff would be confessing to whatever crimes the pardon is for. But that would require criminal charges to be brought up. Now, if charges of impeachment are brought up, then the Presidential Pardon Power is useless. Absolutely useless.

I was under the impression that it would be useless against an impeachment, however, not against criminal charges after the impeachment. If he pardons himself, it does nothing to help him from impeachment, but will be a " get out of jail free card" for being charged with treason ect. Now if he pardons Flynn or his family ect, there is the possibility that they can no longer plead the 5th and be forced to answer all questions before congress since there is no worry of going to jail for testifying. If they refused to testify before congress, they then could be jailed until they agree to testify, as they would not be jailed due to what they were pardoned for.

For example:

For example, it could potentially remove federal legal jeopardy in a manner that may defeat an assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

Were Trump to pardon his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, tomorrow, Congress might be able to get a court order requiring Flynn to testify before the committees because he no longer faces federal criminal prosecution. That court order or resulting congressional contempt finding, in turn, could theoretically be enforced by coercive contempt (i.e., jailing until such time as the witness provides ordered testimony).

Because coercion serves process integrity goals rather than criminal goals, that enforcement power probably could not be defeated by another presidential pardon.

http://www.newsweek.com/can-trump-pardon-flynn-kushner-donald-jr-manafort-can-he-pardon-himself-639652

Now of course if the president does pardon himself, the supreme court may actually rule against him due to seeing it as a violation of the spirit of the law. They have been known in the past in ruling for or against things due to their interpretation of "the spirit of the law" However, It would be a legal pain in the ass to have to go this route.

This is what people should expect however, when they elect a con man to an office that is designed for the one person in the entire US that should be trusted enough with the lives of everyone and their futures. This office as not designed with the fail-safes for the scenario of a criminal or foreign organization to take control over it, as they were trusting the entirety of the people AND the Electoral college to prevent that from ever happening. I see this as they indeed failed and did not properly vet the guy and allowed the highest office to be comprised due to becoming too complacent and thinking that this could not or would not happen since it had not previously. In other words, they slacked off at their job and now have created a situation where someone who is not only unfit, but also tremendously corrupt to be in control of National security, the military, the nuclear codes, the economy, and all of the over site and regulatory organizations that are in place to protect the people and their futures.

I kept hearing repeatedly throughout the campaign " but they won't let that happen" and did not understand that he is in control of the people who are supposed to prevent that from happening, as they have seen with him firing the Attorney General, 46 attorneys, the FBI, and now attacking the special counsel all the while having his own people interfere in congress. He has the ability to determine who those people are and if they do not do what he says, he cans them and gets another person. He can do that as many times as he pleases until he receives the results he likes. Hopefully people are now realizing how serious this really is and how difficult it really is to stop these things once they are set in motion.

So, the Washington Post reported on Monday that the erroneous initial statement that had been made by Don Trump Jr., (the one preceding his eventual disclosure of the emails, etc, etc, when he realized he was caught dead to rights,) was actually influenced by none other than President Donald Trump, who overrode the judgement of his advisers- who had been pushing for 'full disclosure' from the start- in favor of a statement personally dictated by, again, President Donald Trump. This was the statement that had originally tried insisting the primary purpose of the meeting was the adoption of Russian children, and not a campaign matter, something that was found to be misleading pretty soon after.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-dictated-sons-misleading-statement-on-meeting-with-russian-lawyer/2017/07/31/04c94f96-73ae-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?utm_term=.e98e20328913

Now, I initially sat on this because I wanted to wait to see which direction this fell in; if it would be confirmed, denied, or just kind of wallow in that in-between space where it gets neither conclusively proven nor disproven. But a statement given by our newest Press Secretary has me leaning towards the former. In it, she states the following;

"The statement that Don Jr. issued is true," Sanders said during Tuesday's press briefing. "There's no inaccuracy in the statement. The president weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information he had, this is all discussion of frankly no consequence. There was no follow up. It was disclosed to the proper parties, which is how the New York Times found out about it to begin with."

My emphasis there. See, there doesn't seem to be any attempt to outright deny or refute it- perhaps because if it is true, and they claim it isn't, they have this embarrassing tendency to get caught in the lie really fast- and is instead framing this as a father offering guidance and support to his son. Let's sidestep the fact that this son is nearing, what, his forties? Let's also sidestep the fact that this would directly contradict claims made by President Trump's own legal counsel. Ultimately, because the statements were made to reporters, this wouldn't fall under obstruction of justice; it WOULD, however, if this false statement was also given to more official organizations like the FBI or the Senate.

Where the chips fall on this largely remains to be seen. Kind of feeling like his administration is just going to bull right through it per the usual, likely while screaming 'Something Something Fake News Something Real Leaks!'

***

On another note, the bill I spoke of ages ago that a) imposed new sanctions against North Korea, Iran, and Russia, the last of whom for their alleged 2016 election interference, passed through the final leg of its journey, and was signed into law by President Trump. This is the same bill that also takes a lot of control over those sanctions away from the President, preventing him from easing or removing Russian sanctions without the approval of, iirc, Congress.

Before anyone applauds Trump too loudly, worth noting two things; first, unlike the maligned health care bill or the often deeply partisan bills that draw clear lines in the sand, this bill received broad support from both sides of the aisle. Whether Democrat or Republican, there appeared to be common ground in getting authority over sanctions out of the President's hands, and ultimately if Trump had refused to sign the bill, there was enough support to simply override his veto.

Second, Trump released a statement along with his signing pretty much slamming the bill. Interestingly, Trump's consistent kid-gloves approach to talking about Russia seems to be firmly in place, I'll link an image to the statement below.

image

SeventhSigil:

"The statement that Don Jr. issued is true," Sanders said during Tuesday's press briefing. "There's no inaccuracy in the statement. The president weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information he had, this is all discussion of frankly no consequence. There was no follow up. It was disclosed to the proper parties, which is how the New York Times found out about it to begin with."

It's "of no consequence" that his lawyer, and by extension him, lied to everyone about something that is currently under investigation? What the hell is wrong with these pod people?

On a related note, this is worth looking over.

Bill Browder's Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee
"I hope that my story will help you understand the methods of Russian operatives in Washington and how they use U.S. enablers to achieve major foreign policy goals without disclosing those interests," Browder writes.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/bill-browders-testimony-to-the-senate-judiciary-committee/534864/

So, today sources at Wall Street Journal have said that A grand Jury has been called by the Mueller team. For those who don't know, a Grand Jury (which is only in the US and Liberia), which is made of average citizens, looks at Evidence presented by a court to see if there is enough evidence to begin a Criminal Trial. No Prosecutor would call for a Grand Jury unless they think there is enough evidence to start a Trial.

A huge step indeed, if true, but then Reuters declared that the Jury has issued Subpoena's with regards to the July 2016 meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russians. If this is true, then Trump should absolutely be worried, and we might actually be seeing the end of the Trump Administration. I think we should all be prepared for President Pence, and whoever his VP will be.

Oh crapppppp this is going to get super ugly. You only need one person in the panel to be an hardcore republican/Trump fan to derail the entire things since they'll just claim all the evidence are fake.

Can you imagine the shitstorm that would happen if Trump was actually impeached? Everyone who think the "elite" are out there to screw them over and that Trump genuinely tries to protect them will try to start a civil war.

Meiam:
Oh crapppppp this is going to get super ugly. You only need one person in the panel to be an hardcore republican/Trump fan to derail the entire things since they'll just claim all the evidence are fake.

Can you imagine the shitstorm that would happen if Trump was actually impeached? Everyone who think the "elite" are out there to screw them over and that Trump genuinely tries to protect them will try to start a civil war.

I believe you only need 75% to move forward.

Also, in the history of the US over 160,000 Grad Juries have been called. 11 did not produce a charge. I'll let you calculate those odds.

The grand jury is a critically important step forward for the Mueller investigation; not because of what the jury can or will do, but because it permits Mueller to subpoena documents and compel witnesses to testify under oath.

These are both super important. The first, because the main defence of a government caught in the act is to stonewall the investigation and destroy as much evidence as possible; see the "shredder party" held by Oliver North as the Iran-Contra scandal broke. North literally admitted to destroying evidence to hamper the investigation, but was never successfully convicted simply because the evidence had been destroyed. There is a real chance of that scenario repeating itself with Trump, and so the evidence needs to be subpoeanaed ASAP.

The second is important because witnesses obviously cannot lie under oath lest they be found guilty of perjury, and the Trump administration is simply the most dishonest administration in history. They don't just lie about ordinary things, like whether the NSA is spying on anyone or whether Iraq has WMDs; they lie about irrelevant things, like crowd sizes and electoral vote margins and whether or not the Boy Scouts liked Trump's Jamboree speech. If a Trump surrogate is called to testify, they will be stuck between lying to please Trump and later being caught for perjury or telling the truth and losing Trump's favour. And if Trump himself is called to testify, he's as good as fucked, because the man cannot speak for five minutes without lying.

BloatedGuppy:
Also, in the history of the US over 160,000 Grad Juries have been called. 11 did not produce a charge. I'll let you calculate those odds.

The problem with grand juries is that they are not actually adjudicating the case. They are determining whether there is probable cause to bring charges. That's why they indict so often, and that's why I'm leery of the actual impact of a grand jury's finding; more important is the freedom that the grand jury procedure offers Mueller in his investigation.

In unrelated Trump News: the transcripts of Trump's infamous phone calls to the Prime Minister of Australia and the President of Mexico have been leaked, in an unprecedent disclosure that cannot be attributed to anyone other than the intelligence services or the White House itself. The transcripts do not contain any sensitive information, but they paint an extremely unflattering picture of Trump, who comes off as...kind of a shitty negotiator, really; he basically folds and gives both Australia and Mexico what they want, although with Turnbull he makes sure to quit in a huff. Of note: Trump insisting almost plaintively that "I have to have Mexico pay for the wall - I have to," as if that would actually convince Mexico to foot the bill.

Now, I said earlier that these leaked transcripts are "unpredecented," and they really fucking are. Conversations between world leaders are expected to be confidential in the details, but both parties usually release a little sanitised summary of the major talking points afterwards. This is critically important for negotiation; leaders need to be able to talk frankly with one another without fear of saying something that would earn political backlash at home. Leaking these transcripts proves Trump a liar once again, but it also upsets a very important unspoken rule of international politics. No world leader will be able to speak frankly to Trump in the future for fear that the transcript may be leaked at a later date. They may not speak frankly to any US president in the foreseeable future.

And this principle has been upended to accomplish...not a lot, overall. The transcripts embarrass Trump, but when has Trump proved susceptible to embarrasment? They prove him a liar, but who didn't already think he was lying about the calls? Only his supporters believed him, and they will continue to believe him when he insists that these transcripts are fabricated. All the Washington Post has really accomplished is to throw Trump more ammunition to bitch about leakers. 99% of the time, the "leaks" Trump condemns are just gossip - or if not gossip, actual evidence of ongoing shenanigans in the White House, such as Trump dictating his son's account of a meeting with Russian government lawyers, or encouraging Fox News to publicise the Seth Rich story. But this is different. This is a genuine leak, and it is genuinely bad that it was leaked. There was nothing substantial in the transcripts to justify the leaks, just confirmation of what everyone already knew; that Trump had lied about the content of the phone calls. And it's a precedent that will hamper both Trump and his successors in negotiations with world leaders - and more importantly, one that will hamper the leaders of other nations when negotiating with an increasingly-unreliable United States.

The administration keeps digging that hole ceaselessly;

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/07/donald-trump-russia-dossier-christopher-steele-devin-nunes

Breaking News! Paul Manafort, Trump's Campaign Advisor, had his home raided by the FBI on July 26th, as a part of the Special Investigation on Russian Hacking/Influence/Collusion of the 2016 Election.

I have a feeling Manafort (and Michael Flynn) are going to be in jail, or out on bond, by the end of the year...

Relevant: some choice tidbits from a rich article.

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year's DNC Hack

Former NSA experts say it wasn't a hack at all, but a leak-- an inside job by someone with access to the DNC's system.

By Patrick Lawrence

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call "Russiagate." This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

*There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee's system on July 5 last year-- not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak-- a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC's system. This casts serious doubt on the initial "hack," as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

*Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source-- claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.

"A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer," Folden said. "Based on the data we now have, what we've been calling a hack is impossible." Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. "Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance," he wrote. "Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB?2 flash device (thumb drive)."

Time stamps in the metadata indicate the download occurred somewhere on the East Coast of the United States?not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone.

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between?but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator's findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads?conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like?degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA's cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also "de-obfuscate" what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC's computer servers?an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC's employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

So let's maybe not trust anything "American intelligence agencies" say they have "high confidence" in. There's a reason it was sketchy as all get out: they were lying.

I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies.

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden's answer: impossible based on the data. "The laws of physics don't lie," Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. "It's QED, theorem demonstrated," William Binney said in response to my question. "There's no evidence out there to get me to change my mind." When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, "I've looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn't do the work. That's the 10 percent. I'm a scientist."

Take nothing for granted.

Seanchaidh:
Relevant: some choice tidbits from a rich article.

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year's DNC Hack

Former NSA experts say it wasn't a hack at all, but a leak-- an inside job by someone with access to the DNC's system.

By Patrick Lawrence

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call "Russiagate." This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

*There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee's system on July 5 last year-- not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak-- a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC's system. This casts serious doubt on the initial "hack," as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

*Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source-- claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.

"A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer," Folden said. "Based on the data we now have, what we've been calling a hack is impossible." Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. "Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance," he wrote. "Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB?2 flash device (thumb drive)."

Time stamps in the metadata indicate the download occurred somewhere on the East Coast of the United States?not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone.

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between?but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator's findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads?conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like?degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA's cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also "de-obfuscate" what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC's computer servers?an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC's employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

So let's maybe not trust anything "American intelligence agencies" say they have "high confidence" in. There's a reason it was sketchy as all get out: they were lying.

I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies.

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden?s answer: impossible based on the data. "The laws of physics don't lie," Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. "It's QED, theorem demonstrated," William Binney said in response to my question. "There's no evidence out there to get me to change my mind." When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, "I've looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn't do the work. That's the 10 percent. I?m a scientist."

Take nothing for granted.

So just to clarify something for me. The article seems to indicate that the relevant metadata was 'unlocked and analyzed' by one of the anonymous contributors to the project, (anonymity here not just applying to the public, but also the news outlet, and even the project itself, i.e. nobody knows who the person was beyond that he probably lives on the West Coast,) but was the proverbial key to unlock the metadata simply provided by this contributor, or was he the actual source of the aforementioned analysis and data unlocked by it? The same goes for the CIA's cyber-tool bit, as it would appear that confirmation such a tool was used has come from, again, an entirely anonymous contributor, this one possibly living in England. The article described Folden as acting more as a liaison to these individuals than anything else, and the rest appear to be getting interviewed about the findings, rather than having put any legwork into, er, finding them.

To sum up my question, are the anonymous sources simply providing the methodology with which to access the relevant metadata, or is that actual metadata coming from them?

SeventhSigil:

Seanchaidh:
Relevant: some choice tidbits from a rich article.

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year's DNC Hack

Former NSA experts say it wasn't a hack at all, but a leak-- an inside job by someone with access to the DNC's system.

By Patrick Lawrence

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call "Russiagate." This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

*There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee's system on July 5 last year-- not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak-- a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC's system. This casts serious doubt on the initial "hack," as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

*Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source-- claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.

"A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer," Folden said. "Based on the data we now have, what we've been calling a hack is impossible." Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. "Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance," he wrote. "Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB?2 flash device (thumb drive)."

Time stamps in the metadata indicate the download occurred somewhere on the East Coast of the United States?not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone.

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between?but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator's findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads?conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like?degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA's cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also "de-obfuscate" what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC's computer servers?an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC's employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

So let's maybe not trust anything "American intelligence agencies" say they have "high confidence" in. There's a reason it was sketchy as all get out: they were lying.

I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies.

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden?s answer: impossible based on the data. "The laws of physics don't lie," Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. "It's QED, theorem demonstrated," William Binney said in response to my question. "There's no evidence out there to get me to change my mind." When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, "I've looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn't do the work. That's the 10 percent. I?m a scientist."

Take nothing for granted.

So just to clarify something for me. The article seems to indicate that the relevant metadata was 'unlocked and analyzed' by one of the anonymous contributors to the project, (anonymity here not just applying to the public, but also the news outlet, and even the project itself, i.e. nobody knows who the person was beyond that he probably lives on the West Coast,) but was the proverbial key to unlock the metadata simply provided by this contributor, or was he the actual source of the aforementioned analysis and data unlocked by it? The same goes for the CIA's cyber-tool bit, as it would appear that confirmation such a tool was used has come from, again, an entirely anonymous contributor, this one possibly living in England. The article described Folden as acting more as a liaison to these individuals than anything else, and the rest appear to be getting interviewed about the findings, rather than having put any legwork into, er, finding them.

To sum up my question, are the anonymous sources simply providing the methodology with which to access the relevant metadata, or is that actual metadata coming from them?

I have problems with the transfer rate argument, namely that the actual speeds they claim are impossible don't seem to take into account fiber connections, high speed VPNs, or a last mile connection points where the information hit a closer point before leaving the country. In this point alone There's a lot of assumptions and conclusion jumping that makes me question the bias and accuracy of the other points, the forensicator report I've seen before and the two people I know with IT experience say it's full of shit so it makes me question the other anonymous sources here.

Even taken at face value, the transfer rate argument doesn't actually disprove a hack or even a Russian hack as the time zone arguement is nonsense and the idea that a foreign government can be discounted simply because the data didn't go straight to Eastern Europe as if somehow hackers sponsored by a world power have to do everything from their own country rather than using proxies or really even having agents present in the country or just friendly access and transfer points.

I don't take the CIA and Crowdstrike's assessment for granted as the only possible answer, but neither do I find this alternate explanation particularly persuasive. That even my limited tech knowledge is raising red flags and spotting obvious agenda pushing makes me question the validity of these anonymous sources and analysis. It sure as fuck isn't a conclusive alternate explanation that blows the "official" one out of the water.

Seanchaidh:
Relevant: some choice tidbits from a rich article.

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

I have to be frank: that article is bullshit.

The only substantial, non-anonymous source in the article is this memo from a group of retired intelligence professionals. The memo concerns itself exclusively with the alleged "Guccifer 2.0" hacks, so named because the hacker was impersonating the original Guccifer, a Romanian hacker who is currently in US federal custody. The memo states that the authors believe Guccifer 2.0 was not responsible for the hacks he had claimed responsibility for.

This is unsurprising. Guccifer 2.0 was a fraud; what information he did leak was unconnected to the DNC email leak and was probably obtained somewhere else. He was unable to speak in his supposedly-native tongue of Romanian, and he later claimed to possess evidence of financial corruption at the Clinton Foundation that was quickly revealed to be a rather transparent fake cobbled together from existing documents that had already been made public.

In short; yes, Guccifer 2.0 probably didn't hack the DNC. To the extent that he was involved at all, it was either as an attention-seeking cybercriminal claiming credit after the fact or as a Russian government actor posing as an existing Romanian hacker so as to provide an alternative explanation for the leaks.

The article takes the thrust of the memo - that Guccifer 2.0 was lying - and then spins it into a dismissal of the entire campaign of hacks, including Podesta's email hacks, which were separate to the DNC hacks. It literally says 'Do we even know that John Podesta's e-mail was in fact "phished"?'

Yes. We do. We have the phishing email sent to Podesta, and we have the emails leaked from people in Podesta's office talking about the phishing email.

I welcome skepticism, and I provide it back in turn. I am skeptical of this article. It is very long and it is written to appear convincing from a technical standpoint, but much of it is leaps in logic and reasoning that make no sense. For example, pointing to Crowdstrike's testimony and countering it with the allegation about an impossible transfer rate - a fact that sounds real persuasive if you think that all the hackers were uploading directly from the DNC to fucking Moscow, which they certainly weren't doing - and then dismissing everything else Crowdstrike has said on the basis of the counterargument which has been "proven."

The article's author seems to think the DNC invented Guccifer to cast blame on the Russians, which - if true - would represent an absurd double-bluff on the the DNC's part because Guccifer insisted he was unconnected to the Russians. If Guccifer was created by the DNC to cast guilt on Russia, why would he insist that he acted independently of Russia? To the extent that I even understand the article, its conclusions make no sense.

bastardofmelbourne:
If Guccifer was created by the DNC to cast guilt on Russia, why would he insist that he acted independently of Russia?

You really can't think of a plausible reason? Would you be more or less likely to believe he was working principally for Russia if he insisted that it's imperative you believe that he was working for Russia?

To put it another way: is an admission that he's working for Russia as easily consistent with the narrative that he actually is than a denial?

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
If Guccifer was created by the DNC to cast guilt on Russia, why would he insist that he acted independently of Russia?

You really can't think of a plausible reason? Would you be more or less likely to believe he was working principally for Russia if he insisted that it's imperative you believe that he was working for Russia?

To put it another way: is an admission that he's working for Russia as easily consistent with the narrative that he actually is than a denial?

We're saying that a DNC whose handling of cybersecurity matters was so incompetent that they allowed vast quantities of information to be leaked and published was simultaneously clever enough to orchestrate a complex and technical double-bluff by which they left breadcrumbs pointing to Russia in the metadata of the email correspondence between Guccifer 2.0 and The Hill, while also having Guccifer 2.0 state very firmly and repeatedly that he - not Russia - was the culprit and that the intelligence community was lying and could not be trusted, all in order to frame Russia.

This scenario is absurd.

bastardofmelbourne:

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
If Guccifer was created by the DNC to cast guilt on Russia, why would he insist that he acted independently of Russia?

You really can't think of a plausible reason? Would you be more or less likely to believe he was working principally for Russia if he insisted that it's imperative you believe that he was working for Russia?

To put it another way: is an admission that he's working for Russia as easily consistent with the narrative that he actually is than a denial?

We're saying that a DNC whose handling of cybersecurity matters was so incompetent that they allowed vast quantities of information to be leaked and published

Why does this require incompetence?

bastardofmelbourne:
was simultaneously clever enough to orchestrate a complex and technical double-bluff by which they left breadcrumbs pointing to Russia in the metadata of the email correspondence between Guccifer 2.0 and The Hill, while also having Guccifer 2.0 state very firmly and repeatedly that he - not Russia - was the culprit and that the intelligence community was lying and could not be trusted, all in order to frame Russia.

This scenario is absurd.

-> Claim you're responsible for a hack. Use Russian things to hide your identity. Do it from Russia, even, why not? Claim you're not Russian.

"Leaving a trail of breadcrumbs in the metadata" makes it sound technically sophisticated, but in this case it just means using Russian language stuff, maybe even being in Russia-- it's not like these are incredibly difficult things to just go and do. You could have a plan about as simple as "we know a Russian IT guy somewhere in Europe" and this would be a predictable result of that. Claim to know a language he doesn't know, make a flimsy case against the idea you want people to believe.

Far from absurd, this scenario is hardly even interesting. This could have been accomplished by literally one guy. Indeed, in both understandings of events, it was. Do you really think the DNC wouldn't have access to Russian speakers who could act like a Russian pretending to be Romanian? This doesn't even sound difficult.

Seanchaidh:
Why does this require incompetence?

We're simultaneously assuming that the DNC was incompetent enough, divided enough, and lax enough to allow an insider to leak confidential information from hundreds of email accounts and that they were competent enough to arrange some kind of false-flag double-bluff conspiracy operation intended to cover up their initial incompetence.

I don't really see a situation where Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is both a blundering buffoon and a criminal mastermind.

Seanchaidh:
-> Claim you're responsible for a hack. Use Russian things to hide your identity. Do it from Russia, even, why not? Claim you're not Russian.

"Leaving a trail of breadcrumbs in the metadata" makes it sound technically sophisticated, but in this case it just means using Russian language stuff, maybe even being in Russia-- it's not like these are incredibly difficult things to just go and do. You could have a plan about as simple as "we know a Russian IT guy somewhere in Europe" and this would be a predictable result of that. Claim to know a language he doesn't know, make a flimsy case against the idea you want people to believe.

You misunderstand. I'm sure it is possible for an American to pretend to be a Russian pretending to be a Romanian. What I am saying is that it is retarded. It's Bond villain planning; the plan only works if you can predict exactly what the other side is going to do with 100% certainty, and if they don't do that, you've screwed yourself.

Like, say the Hill never checked the metadata on the email or made the connection to a Russian-language VPN. Say they got Guccifer's story, went "hey, that's a fucking story," and then published it, like Buzzfeed and the Steele dossier. What then? The DNC has just provided the media with a culprit who is not Russian and who casts reasonable doubt on the whole story they're trying to push. If I was a PR guy and I suggested that idea, I would fire myself immediately.

I could use the same logic to argue that you're a Hillary Clinton plant whose purpose it is to regularly criticise Hillary Clinton online in order to further entrench the views of her supporters. That's dumb. Am I a Russian plant, arguing that the Russians hacked the DNC in order to convince you that they didn't do that?

You're basically alleging that the DNC and Hillary Clinton put out fake news criticising themselves in order to get the sympathy of the public. It's insane. No-one actually does that. In real life, when Raoul Silva lets himself get captured so that he can assassinate M, he stays captured, because you can't hinge your entire plan on your enemies being exactly as smart as you want them to be and no smarter.

Seanchaidh:
Far from absurd, this scenario is hardly even interesting. This could have been accomplished by literally one guy. Indeed, in both understandings of events, it was.

I understood that the point being made by the authors of the memo cited in the article was that Guccifer 2.0 couldn't have been responsible for the DNC email hack, and that fact - combined with the argument that the stolen data was uploaded at a very high transfer speed that would be impossible to accomplish from Russia - was the basis of the argument that the DNC emails were leaked by an insider and not stolen by a Russian hacker.

There are problems with that scenario. Firstly, Guccifer 2.0 not being involved in the hacking does not mean that no hacking occurred; it means that one of the people who claimed to have hacked the DNC servers probably didn't actually do so. The transfer speed argument may be correct in a limited sense; it would be impossible to work at that transfer speed...if the data was being sent straight from the DNC to Moscow. It probably wasn't doing that; it would've been done through a shell game of compromised servers, because directly transferring data from Washington to Moscow is a great way to get caught. The speeds described in the memo are completely possible for a transfer to another East Coast server.

The only scenario in which this was all accomplished by one guy is the one where we take Guccifer at his word and trust him when he says that he hacked the DNC and gave the emails to Wikileaks. In the scenario put forward by the article, where Guccifer is a DNC fiction, there was no hacking to begin with. In the scenario put forward by the authors of the memo, there was hacking/leaking and neither Guccifer nor Russia were responsible. In the scenario put forward by the US intelligence community, there was hacking, Russia did it, and Guccifer was either an opportunistic braggart or a Russian government employee.

Seanchaidh:
Do you really think the DNC wouldn't have access to Russian speakers who could act like a Russian pretending to be Romanian? This doesn't even sound difficult.

...it doesn't? It sounds pretty hard to me.

And if all of this was true, wouldn't the hypothetical DNC employee who pretended to be a Russian pretending to be a Romanian be basically sitting on the story of the century? Clinton lost the election; the DNC leadership got gutted; all his bosses are no longer in a position to threaten him. What's his reason to stay quiet instead of selling his story to Fox News for half a million dollars?

Edit: Apparently, I'm not the only reader who had trouble figuring out what the fuck the Nation article was saying.

bastardofmelbourne:

Edit: Apparently, I'm not the only reader who had trouble figuring out what the fuck the Nation article was saying.

Hmm.

NYMag:
among other things, it would contradict the near-unanimous opinion of U.S. intelligence agencies, and raise some very serious questions about their objectivity and neutrality.

Or in other words: "situation normal: all fucked up"

Also, it should read "'high confidence assertion' of a group of people selected (by what criteria we don't know) out of some number of U.S. intelligence agencies" rather than "near-unanimous opinion..."

Seanchaidh:
Hmm.

I feel as though I should reproduce the entire quote:

NYMag:
Conclusive proof, or even strong evidence, that the DNC emails were leaked by an insider and not by Russian-sponsored hackers would indeed be a huge story - among other things, it would contradict the near-unanimous opinion of U.S. intelligence agencies, and raise some very serious questions about their objectivity and neutrality.

But this article is neither conclusive proof nor strong evidence. It's the extremely long-winded product of a crank, and it's been getting attention only because it appears in a respected left-wing publication like The Nation. Anyone hoping to read it for careful reporting and clear explanation is going to come away disappointed, however.

It mirrors my own opinion. If this article provided conclusive proof that the DNC emails were leaked by an insider, it would be a game-changer. The article does not do that. The article is a mess of pseudo-jargon and speculation.

It draws attention to the memo at the core of its argument, which is fair and appropriate, because that memo is valuable; it's the dissenting opinion of other intelligence professionals. But it exaggerates the impact of that memo vastly out of proportion, glosses over its flaws, and repeatedly points to the qualifications of its authors as evidence of its veracity while simultaneously pointing to the qualifications of the current intelligence community as evidence of their deception.

Like, think about it. The author goes "these people are spies, you can't trust them!" and then a paragraph later he points to the spies who are his sources and goes "these people are spies, they know what they're talking about!"

It's poppycock and balderdash, if you'll pardon my French.

bastardofmelbourne:
Like, think about it. The author goes "these people are spies, you can't trust them!" and then a paragraph later he points to the spies who are his sources and goes "these people are spies, they know what they're talking about!"

You seem to be conflating expertise with trustworthiness. They aren't the same thing.

Seanchaidh:
Take nothing for granted.

This is hilarious.

I mean it's hilarious, because shit like this is written for people who are so technically illiterate that they will actually believe it. Throw in some techno jargon in and you're golden. Jesus Christ what a stupid "analysis". They even use the speed of copying the data as an argument why it couldn't be done over the internet. Almost 2Gb in 87 seconds? Must have been an inside job! I'd be laughing, but there are people stupid enough to think that's a real argument. It's like the "analysis" was conducted by some old as fuck mongoloids who still think that 56k modems are a thing.

Goes to show how successful propaganda can be when you're dealing with people ignorant on the subject.

Adam Jensen:
This is hilarious.

I mean it's hilarious, because shit like this is written for people who are so technically illiterate that they will actually believe it.

Like the Crowdstrike report?

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
Like, think about it. The author goes "these people are spies, you can't trust them!" and then a paragraph later he points to the spies who are his sources and goes "these people are spies, they know what they're talking about!"

You seem to be conflating expertise with trustworthiness. They aren't the same thing.

...but that's exactly what the article you linked, and the people involved in the project it details, does.

Look at the sources used in this; what does literally anybody attached to the project using their real name know about them? Ummmm they've displayed expertise! ...that's about it, but it's enough to trust them, at least by their reasoning. I asked you earlier if the sources had simply provided a means to access the underlying metadata stored within publicly accessible information, or if they were actually the source of said metadata; as I haven't been able to find any indication that it's the former, it does suggest that there is a complete lack of independent verification. Certainly, the cited members of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity don't appear to have provided verification, they've merely been asked to comment on the conclusions drawn by these analyses, thus the article's specific phrasing; "Impossible Based On The Data." Thus Loomis' quote "Ten Percent Because I Didn't Do The Work." Bit.

The folks involved in this, such as Folden, are blatantly conflating expertise with trustworthiness, because expertise is literally the only thing they have to go on when it comes to folks like Forensicator and Adam Carter. =P Even a news reporter remotely worth his salt would take more care to vet an anonymous source than the people in this article have.

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
Like, think about it. The author goes "these people are spies, you can't trust them!" and then a paragraph later he points to the spies who are his sources and goes "these people are spies, they know what they're talking about!"

You seem to be conflating expertise with trustworthiness. They aren't the same thing.

That's true; I am. So is the author of the article.

Why should I trust the word of a retired CIA analyst over a currently employed CIA analyst? If I can dismiss the expertise of the latter by saying "he's from the CIA," then why am I accepting the expertise of the former? He's also from the CIA. Are we trusting spies or not trusting spies?

Yes, you ought to be skeptical of what spies say. No, you should not be selectively skeptical. The author is asking us to place our trust in the spies that agree with him and not the ones who don't, and that kind of thing trips my bullshit alarm.

bastardofmelbourne:

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
Like, think about it. The author goes "these people are spies, you can't trust them!" and then a paragraph later he points to the spies who are his sources and goes "these people are spies, they know what they're talking about!"

You seem to be conflating expertise with trustworthiness. They aren't the same thing.

That's true; I am. So is the author of the article.

Why should I trust the word of a retired CIA analyst over a currently employed CIA analyst? If I can dismiss the expertise of the latter by saying "he's from the CIA," then why am I accepting the expertise of the former? He's also from the CIA. Are we trusting spies or not trusting spies?

Yes, you ought to be skeptical of what spies say. No, you should not be selectively skeptical. The author is asking us to place our trust in the spies that agree with him and not the ones who don't, and that kind of thing trips my bullshit alarm.

"The article asks me to trust one and not the other. That smells bad, so I'm going to trust the other and not the one"?

Be skeptical of both!

Seanchaidh:
Relevant: some choice tidbits from a rich article.

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

This article, and the VIPS letter it's based on, are largely bullshit for a variety of reasons, but I'll just name one that I think is especially relevant to the audience and readership of this site.

From the article (emphasis mine):
"Forensicator?s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate?the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC?s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds."

"No internet service provider"? Holy fucking shit that is complete nonsense. Many internet service providers offer gamer-focused broadband packages that top the 22.7 megabytes (or approximately 180 Mbps), and they have for a while. I'm not sure where speedtest gets its data from, but my local service provider RCN has been offering 330Mbps since 2014. And for fuck's sake, Comcast introduced 2 Gigabit service in 2015.

And that's discounting the fact that if it was a state-sponsored Russian group that hacked the DNC, they undoubtedly would be well resourced and have access to infrastructure and computing power that would give them blazing speeds in order to exfiltrate data as quick as possible (among other needs). I guarantee you Equation Group and TAO have those resources as well.

What a ridiculous fucking claim.

Also, this: "Folden is effectively the VIPS group?s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter.

So the Nation is in the business of repeating claims from anonymous people who's identities they haven't verified? Who the hell are "The Forensicator" and Adam Carter, and why should we trust them?

Exley97:
"No internet service provider"? Holy fucking shit that is complete nonsense. Many internet service providers offer gamer-focused broadband packages that top the 22.7 megabytes (or approximately 180 Mbps), and they have for a while. I'm not sure where speedtest gets its data from, but my local service provider RCN has been offering 330Mbps since 2014. And for fuck's sake, Comcast introduced 2 Gigabit service in 2015.

And that's discounting the fact that if it was a state-sponsored Russian group that hacked the DNC, they undoubtedly would be well resourced and have access to infrastructure and computing power that would give them blazing speeds in order to exfiltrate data as quick as possible (among other needs). I guarantee you Equation Group and TAO have those resources as well.

There's also the fact that in developed nations that aren't the US, super-high-speed internet is the standard rather than the exception. Mostly because the US is the only nation that tries to privatize everything and weeps bitter tears for the CEOs who have to put off buying their 4th yacht until next year.

Also, this: "Folden is effectively the VIPS group?s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter.

So the Nation is in the business of repeating claims from anonymous people who's identities they haven't verified? Who the hell are "The Forensicator" and Adam Carter, and why should we trust them?

I too wonder why I should trust the word of anyone who self-applies the title, "The Forensicator," and not just because he appears to be one of those insufferable assholes who think their first name is The.

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:

Seanchaidh:

You seem to be conflating expertise with trustworthiness. They aren't the same thing.

That's true; I am. So is the author of the article.

Why should I trust the word of a retired CIA analyst over a currently employed CIA analyst? If I can dismiss the expertise of the latter by saying "he's from the CIA," then why am I accepting the expertise of the former? He's also from the CIA. Are we trusting spies or not trusting spies?

Yes, you ought to be skeptical of what spies say. No, you should not be selectively skeptical. The author is asking us to place our trust in the spies that agree with him and not the ones who don't, and that kind of thing trips my bullshit alarm.

"The article asks me to trust one and not the other. That smells bad, so I'm going to trust the other and not the one"?

Be skeptical of both!

Skepticism is not created equal, I do not have the same level of skepticism when the NOAA publishes a report on airplane contrails and their effect on global warming versus the skepticism I have when someone tells me that airplane contrails are actually mind control chemicals released by the government to push the gay agenda.

While not nearly as extreme in this circumstance, on one hand I've got a government and a private third party backed report that has a methodology I can at least consistently verify even if I lack the same data and I have the public names and reputations of said entities backing that up, as well as multiple failure points where someone could have exposed a deception as well as a few needlessly complex failure points if we are presupposing the second article's assertion, i.e. that the hack story is a coverup for an internal leak.

On the other hand we've got a report asserted in part by a party that obfuscates their data even more than the government, part of the sources risking none of its reputation beyond an anonymous handle, and makes assertions that are factually wrong and are blatant enough that its easy to spot even to people that only have a casual interest in Internet technology.

I have as much skepticism for the former as I do for any official narrative pushed by large shady entities, I have a lot more skepticism for wild proclamations of coverup and conspiracy that can't even be assed to try and look less shady than said entities through sources so anonymous even the journalist doesn't know them, and can't even be bothered to avoid factually incorrect assertions, I have a lot more skepticism for the latter than I do the former.

bastardofmelbourne:

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
Like, think about it. The author goes "these people are spies, you can't trust them!" and then a paragraph later he points to the spies who are his sources and goes "these people are spies, they know what they're talking about!"

You seem to be conflating expertise with trustworthiness. They aren't the same thing.

That's true; I am. So is the author of the article.

Why should I trust the word of a retired CIA analyst over a currently employed CIA analyst? If I can dismiss the expertise of the latter by saying "he's from the CIA," then why am I accepting the expertise of the former? He's also from the CIA. Are we trusting spies or not trusting spies?

Yes, you ought to be skeptical of what spies say. No, you should not be selectively skeptical. The author is asking us to place our trust in the spies that agree with him and not the ones who don't, and that kind of thing trips my bullshit alarm.

I'll throw this in real quick. VIPS isn't a joke organization, and people like William Binney are *highly* respected across many circles (privacy, internet policy, infosec, etc.). I'd normally trust the judgment and experience of Binney and his ilk, except...

...the report is presenting verifiably false info, and it makes leaps of logic that a number of respect infosec professionals have toron to shreds. I have not idea why VIPS saw fit to publish this letter or base their findings on research from some random dude named "The Forensicator" or why they did consult with other subject matter experts to verify the data and conclusions before sending a public letter to the President of the United States.

But they did, and they look like fools for doing it. So it's not about trusting one intelligence official over another in this case. It's about knowing that, for example, ISPs in the US do and have offered high speed 200 mbps service, despite what the Forensicator claims. As I said, Binney is the real deal. But he and VIPS fucked up BADLY here.

So it's been this long and there is still no proof? Did everyone figure out it was a lie or is this horse still being assaulted.

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