Saturday, July 30, 2016

Did the Russians Do It?

The Democratic National Committee and others have blamed the Russians for the hack of their embarrassing emails which Wikileaks released just before the convention. They've tried to blame this on Vladimir Putin's alleged desire to influence the election in Donald Trump's favor.

Our intelligence agencies, however, aren't playing along. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said this week that he's not ready to conclude that the Russians were behind the hack, and Debkafile offered four reasons why they conclude that it was "almost certainly not carried out by the GRU's cyber warfare branch, contrary to assertions by senior DNC officials who fix the blame on Russian intelligence."

Here are Debkafile's four. Readers can judge for themselves how persuasive they are:
  1. Russia’s cyber warfare system is still mostly a "black hole" for the West. Although it is highly effective, very little is known about its methods of operation, organizational structures, scale of cooperation with counterparts in other countries, and the tools and resources at its disposal.
    Had any branch of Russian intelligence been responsible for hacking the Democratic party’s servers, no obvious signatures, such as the terms "Fancy Bear" and “Cozy Bear” that were discovered, would have been left behind for investigators to find.
  2. Intelligence organizations, including those of Russia, are usually fully focused on seeking security, strategic and economic data. It is hard to see Russian military intelligence, whose resources are stretched, expending time and manpower on digging out the DNC's views of Bernie Sanders’ religiosity.
  3. Then, too, CrowdStrike’s claim to have cracked the case in two hours is hardly credible. Getting to the bottom of an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) calls for extra-powerful computers, working in conjunction with the internet service provider (ISP), and consuming weeks, if not months of analysis.
  4. Attributing the hacking attack to the Russians provided US agencies with a convenient reminder that the most notorious leaker of classified US documents, Edward Snowden, still lives safe from prosecution in Russian exile, and that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, remains in asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in Britain.
They conclude that the emails may even have been leaked by a party source:
The true identity of the hacker that sent the cat among the Democratic party pigeons, at the most damaging moment for Hillary Clinton, remains the subject of conjecture for lack of firm proof. The leading suspects may well be one or more of her party opponents.
In any case, Wikileaks has claimed that there are more revelations on the way. It should make for an interesting August.