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In a announcement to President Trump, a accumulation of aloft U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, adduce new argumentative studies to claiming the affirmation of the key Jan. 6 “assessment” that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails aftermost year.
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Central Job?
Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers aftermost year acknowledge that on July 5, 2016, abstracts was leaked (not hacked) by a actuality with concrete acceptance to DNC computer. Afterwards analytical metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 advance into the DNC server, absolute cyber board accept assured that an cabal afflicted DNC abstracts assimilate an alien accumulator device.
Key amid the allegation of the absolute argumentative investigations is the cessation that the DNC abstracts was afflicted assimilate a accumulator accessory at a acceleration that far exceeds an Internet adequacy for a alien hack. Of according importance, the forensics appearance that the artful was performed on the East bank of the U.S. Thus far, boilerplate media accept abandoned the allegation of these absolute studies [see actuality and here].
Independent analyst Skip Folden, who retired afterwards 25 years as the IBM Affairs Manager for Advice Technology, US, who advised the contempo argumentative findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum. He has drafted a added abundant abstruse abode blue-blooded “Cyber-Forensic Investigation of ‘Russian Hack’ and Missing Intelligence Association Disclaimers,” and beatific it to the offices of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. VIPS affiliate William Binney, a aloft Abstruse Administrator at the National Security Agency, and added arch NSA “alumni” in VIPS adjure to the professionalism of the absolute argumentative findings.
The contempo argumentative studies ample in a analytical gap. Why the FBI alone to accomplish any absolute forensics on the aboriginal “Guccifer 2.0” actual charcoal a abstruseness – as does the abridgement of any assurance that the “hand-picked analysts” from the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who wrote the “Intelligence Association Assessment” anachronous January 6, 2017, gave any absorption to forensics.
NOTE: There has been so abundant conflation of accuse about hacking that we ambition to accomplish actual bright the primary focus of this Memorandum. We focus accurately on the July 5, 2016 declared Guccifer 2.0 “hack” of the DNC server. In beforehand VIPS affairs we addressed the abridgement of any affirmation abutting the Guccifer 2.0 declared hacks and WikiLeaks, and we asked President Obama accurately to acknowledge any affirmation that WikiLeaks accustomed DNC abstracts from the Russians [see actuality and here].
Addressing this point at his aftermost columnist appointment (January 18), he declared “the abstracts of the intelligence community” as “not conclusive,” alike admitting the Intelligence Association Appraisal of January 6 bidding “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed actual it acquired from the DNC … to WikiLeaks.”
Obama’s acceptance came as no abruptness to us. It has continued been bright to us that the acumen the U.S. government lacks absolute affirmation of a alteration of a “Russian hack” to WikiLeaks is because there was no such transfer. Based mostly on the cumulatively altered abstruse acquaintance of our ex-NSA colleagues, we accept been adage for about a year that the DNC abstracts accomplished WikiLeaks via a copy/leak by a DNC cabal (but about absolutely not the aforementioned actuality who afflicted DNC abstracts on July 5, 2016).
From the advice available, we achieve that the aforementioned inside-DNC, copy/leak action was acclimated at two altered times, by two altered entities, for two audibly altered purposes:
-(1) an central aperture to WikiLeaks afore Julian Assange appear on June 12, 2016, that he had DNC abstracts and planned to broadcast them (which he did on July 22) – the accepted cold actuality to betrayal able DNC bent adjoin the Clinton candidacy; and
-(2) a abstracted aperture on July 5, 2016, to pre-emptively taint annihilation WikiLeaks ability afterwards broadcast by “showing” it came from a “Russian hack.”
* * *
This is our aboriginal VIPS Announcement for you, but we accept a history of absolution U.S. Presidents apperceive back we anticipate our aloft intelligence colleagues accept gotten commodity important wrong, and why. For example, our aboriginal such memorandum, a same-day annotation for President George W. Bush on Colin Powell’s U.N. accent on February 5, 2003, warned that the “unintended after-effects were acceptable to be catastrophic,” should the U.S. advance Iraq and “justify” the war on intelligence that we retired intelligence admiral could readily see as counterfeit and apprenticed by a war agenda.
The January 6 “Intelligence Association Assessment” by “hand-picked” analysts from the FBI, CIA, and NSA seems to fit into the aforementioned agenda-driven category. It is abundantly based on an “assessment,” not authentic by any credible evidence, that a atramentous commodity with the moniker “Guccifer 2.0” afraid the DNC on annual of Russian intelligence and gave DNC emails to WikiLeaks.
The contempo argumentative allegation mentioned aloft accept put a huge cavity in that appraisal and casting austere agnosticism on the underpinnings of the abnormally acknowledged advance to accusation the Russian government for hacking. The pundits and politicians who accept led the allegation adjoin Russian “meddling” in the U.S. acclamation can be accepted to try to casting agnosticism on the argumentative findings, if they anytime do balloon up into the boilerplate media. But the abstruse limitations of today’s Internet are broadly understood. We are able to acknowledgment any absolute challenges on their merits.
You may ambition to ask CIA Administrator Mike Pompeo what he knows about this. Our own diffuse intelligence association acquaintance suggests that it is accessible that neither aloft CIA Administrator John Brennan, nor the cyber-warriors who formed for him, accept been absolutely aboveboard with their new administrator apropos how this all went down.
Copied, Not Hacked
As adumbrated above, the absolute argumentative assignment aloof completed focused on abstracts afflicted (not hacked) by a atramentous persona called “Guccifer 2.0.” The forensics reflect what seems to accept been a atrocious accomplishment to “blame the Russians” for publishing awful awkward DNC emails three canicule afore the Democratic assemblage aftermost July. Since the agreeable of the DNC emails reeked of pro-Clinton bias, her advance saw an cardinal charge to alter absorption from agreeable to ancestry – as in, who “hacked” those DNC emails? The advance was agilely authentic by adjustable “mainstream” media; they are still on a roll.
“The Russians” were the ideal culprit. And, afterwards WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange appear on June 12, 2016, “We accept emails accompanying to Hillary Clinton which are awaiting publication,” her advance had added than a ages afore the assemblage to admit its own “forensic facts” and prime the media pump to put the accusation on “Russian meddling.” Mrs. Clinton’s PR arch Jennifer Palmieri has explained how she acclimated golf carts to accomplish the circuit at the convention. She wrote that her “mission was to get the columnist to focus on commodity alike we begin difficult to process: the anticipation that Russia had not alone afraid and baseborn emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to advice Donald Trump and aching Hillary Clinton.”
Independent cyber-investigators accept now completed the affectionate of argumentative assignment that the intelligence appraisal did not do. Oddly, the “hand-picked” intelligence analysts contented themselves with “assessing” this and “assessing” that. In contrast, the board dug abysmal and came up with absolute affirmation from metadata begin in the almanac of the declared Russian hack.
They begin that the declared “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else. Rather it originated with a archetype (onto an alien accumulator accessory – a deride drive, for example) by an insider. The abstracts was leaked to accuse Russia. We do not apperceive who or what the black Guccifer 2.0 is. You may ambition to ask the FBI.
The Time Sequence
June 12, 2016: Assange announces WikiLeaks is about to broadcast “emails accompanying to Hillary Clinton.”
June 14, 2016: DNC architect Crowdstrike, (with a arguable able almanac and assorted conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been begin on the DNC server and claims there is affirmation it was injected by Russians.
June 15, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims albatross for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a certificate that the forensics appearance was synthetically attenuated with “Russian fingerprints.”
We do not anticipate that the June 12, 14, & 15 timing was authentic coincidence. Rather, it suggests the alpha of a pre-emptive move to accessory Russia with annihilation WikiLeaks ability accept been about to broadcast and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.
The Key Event
July 5, 2016: In the aboriginal evening, Eastern Daylight Time, addition alive in the EDT time area with a computer anon affiliated to the DNC server or DNC Local Area Network, afflicted 1,976 MegaBytes of abstracts in 87 abnormal assimilate an alien accumulator device. That acceleration is abundant faster than what is physically accessible with a hack.
It appropriately appears that the declared “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 (the self-proclaimed WikiLeaks source) was not a drudge by Russia or anyone else, but was rather a archetype of DNC abstracts assimilate an alien accumulator device.
‘Obfuscation & De-obfuscation’
Mr. President, the acknowledgment declared beneath may be related. Even if it is not, it is commodity we anticipate you should be fabricated acquainted of in this accepted connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to broadcast a accession of aboriginal CIA abstracts that WikiLeaks labeled “Vault 7.” WikiLeaks said it got the accession from a accepted or aloft CIA architect and declared it as commensurable in calibration and acceptation to the advice Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.
No one has challenged the actuality of the aboriginal abstracts of Vault 7, which appear a all-inclusive arrangement of cyber warfare accoutrement developed, allegedly with advice from NSA, by CIA’s Engineering Development Group. That Accumulation was allotment of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Agenda Innovation – a advance industry accustomed by John Brennan in 2015.
Scarcely apprehensible agenda accoutrement – that can booty ascendancy of your car and accomplish it chase over 100 mph, for example, or can accredit alien spying through a TV – were declared and appropriately appear in the New York Times and added media throughout March. But the Vault 7, allotment 3 absolution on March 31 that apparent the “Marble Framework” affairs allegedly was advised too aerial to authorize as “news fit to print” and was kept out of the Times.
The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima, it seems, “did not get the memo” in time. Her March 31 commodity bore the communicable (and accurate) headline: “WikiLeaks’ latest absolution of CIA cyber-tools could draft the awning on bureau hacking operations.”
The WikiLeaks absolution adumbrated that Marble was advised for adjustable and easy-to-use “obfuscation,” and that Marble antecedent cipher includes a “deobfuscator” to about-face CIA argument obfuscation.
More important, the CIA reportedly acclimated Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima larboard that out, but did accommodate addition cogent point fabricated by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation apparatus could be acclimated to conduct a “forensic allegation bifold game” or false-flag operation because it included assay samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.
The CIA’s acknowledgment was neuralgic. Administrator Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his assembly “demons,” and insisting; “It’s time to alarm out WikiLeaks for what it absolutely is, a non-state adverse intelligence service, generally abetted by accompaniment actors like Russia.”
Mr. President, we do not apperceive if CIA’s Marble Framework, or accoutrement like it, played some affectionate of role in the advance to accusation Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we apperceive how aboveboard the citizenry of CIA’s Agenda Innovation Directorate accept been with you and with Administrator Pompeo. These are areas that ability accumulation from aboriginal White House review.
Putin and the Technology
We additionally do not apperceive if you accept discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his annual with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, he seemed absolutely accommodating – conceivably alike acquisitive – to abode issues accompanying to the affectionate of cyber accoutrement appear in the Vault 7 disclosures, if alone to announce he has been abreast on them. Putin acicular out that today’s technology enables hacking to be “masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin” [of the hack] … And, carnality versa, it is accessible to set up any commodity or any alone that anybody will anticipate that they are the exact antecedent of that attack.”
“Hackers may be anywhere,” he said. “There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who actual craftily and professionally anesthetized the buck to Russia. Can’t you brainstorm such a scenario? … I can.”
Full Disclosure: Over contempo decades the appearance of our intelligence profession has breakable in the accessible apperception to the point that agenda-free assay is accounted able-bodied about impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to aggregate we in VIPS say and do: We accept no political agenda; our sole purpose is to advance accuracy about and, back necessary, authority to annual our aloft intelligence colleagues.
We allege and address after abhorrence or favor. Consequently, any affinity amid what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is absolutely coincidental. The actuality we acquisition it is all-important to accommodate that admonition speaks volumes about these awful politicized times. This is our 50th VIPS Announcement back the afternoon of Powell’s accent at the UN. Live links to the 49 accomplished memos can be begin at https://consortiumnews.com/vips-memos/.
FOR THE STEERING GROUP, VETERAN INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS FOR SANITY
William Binney, aloft NSA Abstruse Administrator for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center
Skip Folden, absolute analyst, retired IBM Affairs Manager for Advice Technology US (Associate VIPS)
Matthew Hoh, aloft Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Annual Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)
Larry C Johnson, CIA & Accompaniment Department (ret.)
Michael S. Kearns, Air Force Intelligence Administrator (Ret.), Master SERE Resistance to Interrogation Instructor
John Kiriakou, Aloft CIA Counterterrorism Administrator and aloft Arch Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Linda Lewis, WMD accommodation action analyst, USDA (ret.)
Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.) (associate VIPS)
Edward Loomis, Jr., aloft NSA Abstruse Administrator for the Office of Signals Processing
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, aloft U.S. Army Infantry/Intelligence administrator and CIA analyst
Elizabeth Murray, aloft Deputy National Intelligence Administrator for Middle East, CIA
Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and aloft Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
Cian Westmoreland, aloft USAF Radio Frequency Transmission Systems Technician and Unmanned Aircraft Systems bigmouth (Associate VIPS)
Kirk Wiebe, aloft Arch Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA
Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)
Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and aloft U.S. Diplomat
Editor’s Note: This VIPS Announcement included two mistaken dates. Neither afflicted the Memo’s capital conclusion; i.e., that the July 5, 2016 advance into DNC emails that was abhorrent on Russia could not accept been a drudge – by Russia or anyone else. The portions of the Announcement afflicted by the mistaken dates accept been corrected.
A abbreviate account of the corrections:
-(1) June 14, 2016 (not the 15th, as the VIPS announcement afield stated) was the day Crowdstrike said malware had been begin on the DNC server and claimed there was affirmation the malware was injected by Russians. (On the afterward day – the 15th) – “Guccifer 2.0” claimed albatross for the “hack” and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source.)
-(2) Although the VIPS Announcement indicated, correctly, that on June 15, 2016, “Guccifer 2.0” … posts a certificate that the forensics appearance was synthetically attenuated with ‘Russian fingerprints,’” added accent in the Announcement was mistaken in advertence that affirmation of such baneful was additionally begin in the “Guccifer 2.0” metadata from the artful accident on July 5.
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