CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1176

Post by Addie » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:48 pm

The Atlantic
What Russian Journalists Uncovered About Russian Election Meddling ...

Here’s a rundown of what we learned from the Russian press this year:
In an updated edition of their book, The Red Web, Russian journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan—veteran reporters on the Russian secret services—revealed how and when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the attack on the American election. It happened, according to Soldatov and Borogan, at a meeting in April between Putin and a small inner circle of his national security advisors, most of them former KGB officers. Putin’s decision was also reportedly an emotional, knee-jerk one, in retaliation to the release of the Panama Papers, which implicated him. Because of Putin’s highly conspirological mindset, he apparently blamed Goldman Sachs and Hillary Clinton for the release of the embarrassing information, Soldatov and Borogan reported.

An October report from the Russian business media outlet RBC explained in great detail how the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, also known as the “troll factory,” operated during the 2016 election. The report, authored by two Russian journalists, detailed the funding, budget, operating methods, and tactics, of the 100 trolls who spent 2016 populating American social media sites with divisive commentary and imitating civil rights groups. The report showed how the Agency was financed through its owner, Putin’s court caterer Yevgeny Prigozhin. It also detailed the reach of various politically inflammatory posts. It showed, for example, how the Agency produced over 20 Facebook posts that gathered over a million unique views each.

That same month, TVRain, Russia’s last independent television network, interviewed “Maxim,” a man who had worked as a troll at this factory. He revealed that the factory was largely staffed by college students from the prestigious St. Petersburg State University, Russia’s #2 university; their majors included international relations, linguistics, and journalism. They were, in other words, young, educated, worldly, and urban—the very cohort Americans imagine would rise up against someone like Putin. Instead, they worked in the factory, making nearly double the average Russian’s salary, sowing discord on Twitter, Facebook, and in the comments sections of various websites. They were instructed not to mention Russia, but instead to focus on issues that divided Americans, like guns and race. They learned their subject matter by reading Americans’ social media posts and by watching House of Cards, effectively weaponizing American culture and openness.

Last week, TVRain ran a written interview with Konstantin Kozlovsky, who is currently in a Russian prison for hacking into various Russian banks. He confessed to hacking the DNC and to creating the viruses Lurk and Wanna Cry, the latter of which is responsible for a ransomware attack that paralyzed computer networks across the world. Kozlovsky told the journalists how he had been entrapped and blackmailed into working for the FSB, the main Russian security agency, nearly a decade ago. He said that when he hacked into the servers of the DNC, he purposely left behind a calling card: a data file with the number of his visa to the Caribbean Island of St. Martin, as well as his passport number. Kozlovsky also said that he was arrested now because the FSB wanted “to hide the digital traces” of what he did. (It’s worth noting that many of these claims are unverified.)

Earlier this month, the Bell, a scrappy upstart website based outside of Russia, published a detailed exposé by the legendary Russian investigative journalist Svetlana Reiter about the four Russian men—two of them high-ranking FSB cyber warriors—arrested in Moscow last December in connection with the 2016 election hack. Reiter delved into the mystery of why the men were charged with, of all things, passing information to the CIA about the Russian cyber-attack. According to Reiter, they had been set up by a rival faction in Russian military intelligence, the GRU. The rivalry, which Soldatov and Borogan had also reported on, centered on securing both the prestige and budgetary funds that came with penetrating U.S. government cyber-defenses. This had previously been the exclusive domain of the FSB—once run by Putin—and the GRU was trying to muscle in on the FSB’s territory and money. A side effect of this internal rivalry, Reiter concluded, was how the Americans discovered the hack.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1177

Post by Addie » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:47 am

Business Insider - Natasha Bertrand: Meet the Russia specialist who worked on 2 of Fusion GPS' most controversial projects


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1178

Post by Addie » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:32 pm

Reuters
Dutch intelligence agency spied on Russian hacking group: media

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD spied on the Russian group believed to be behind the hack of the Democratic Party ahead of U.S. elections, local media reported on Thursday.

Current affairs program Nieuwsuur and newspaper de Volkskrant based the story on several anonymous intelligence sources in the Netherlands and the United States.

The Moscow-based group known as Cozy Bear is widely suspected of hacking the Democratic Party and is believed to be linked to the Russian government.

Agents with the AIVD gained access to the group’s headquarters and between 2014 and 2017 passed along information to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, the report said.

The Dutch intelligence may have contributed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election race, the report said.
Adding:
Mother Jones - Kevin Drum: New Report Says Dutch Have Absolute Proof Russia Was Behind 2016 Election Hacking
Ars Technica: Candid camera: Dutch hacked Russians hacking DNC, including security cameras

AIVD shared data on "Cozy Bear" with US, helping thwart 2014 State Department hack.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1179

Post by Addie » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:03 pm

WSJ
Russian Programmer Detained in Spain Has Been Extradited to U.S.

Spanish authorities said Friday that an alleged Russian cybercriminal they detained last year at Washington’s request has been extradited to the U.S., a move likely to anger Kremlin officials, who say Russian citizens are being hunted down.

Russian programmer Pyotr Levashov —who the U.S. Justice Department says is one of the world’s most sophisticated hackers—was handed to U.S. Marshals, Spain’s National Police said.

The Justice Department and Mr. Levashov’s Spanish lawyer didn’t respond to requests for comment. During court proceedings, the 37-year-old Russian had fought against his possible extradition, saying he feared he would be drugged and tortured once in U.S. custody.

Mr. Levashov was arrested in April while vacationing in Spain with his wife and son. At the time, U.S. authorities accused him of operating a vast network of compromised computers for malicious purposes. The Justice Department said Mr. Levashov allegedly spread a potent malware known as Kelihos since about 2010, harvesting login credentials, and gaining control of hundreds of thousands of computers.

Spain’s National Court approved Mr. Levashov’s extradition to the U.S. in October, rejecting a counter-extradition claim filed by Russia.

U.S. authorities have dismissed speculation that Mr. Levashov’s case was related to investigations into alleged foreign interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. Still, it is emblematic of a series of extradition battles pitting Washington against Moscow in third countries.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1180

Post by Addie » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:37 am

Cross-posting

New York Times
U.S. Spies, Seeking to Retrieve Cyberweapons, Paid Russian Peddling Trump Secrets

BERLIN — After months of secret negotiations, a shadowy Russian bilked American spies out of $100,000 last year, promising to deliver stolen National Security Agency cyberweapons in a deal that he insisted would also include compromising material on President Trump, according to American and European intelligence officials.

The cash, delivered in a suitcase to a Berlin hotel room in September, was intended as the first installment of a $1 million payout, according to American officials, the Russian and communications reviewed by The New York Times. The theft of the secret hacking tools had been devastating to the N.S.A., and the agency was struggling to get a full inventory of what was missing.

Several American intelligence officials said they made clear that they did not want the Trump material from the Russian, who was suspected of having murky ties to Russian intelligence and to Eastern European cybercriminals. He claimed the information would link the president and his associates to Russia. Instead of providing the hacking tools, the Russian produced unverified and possibly fabricated information involving Mr. Trump and others, including bank records, emails and purported Russian intelligence data.

The United States intelligence officials said they cut off the deal because they were wary of being entangled in a Russian operation to create discord inside the American government. They were also fearful of political fallout in Washington if they were seen to be buying scurrilous information on the president.
Adding: h/t Guppy
gupwalla wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:12 pm
Statement from CIA office of public affairs:

"The people swindled here were James Risen and Matt Rosenberg. The fictional story that CIA was bilked out of $100,000 is patently false."



Rosenberg is doubling down in the comments. We didn't say CIA was source of the funds, said it was back channels, etc etc blah blah.

Spooks who talk to the press are working an agenda, and good reporters ought to reflect on that before publishing.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1181

Post by Addie » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:13 am

I posted a small part of this in the congress section the other day, but I think it's worth having it in full.

Feinstein.senate.gov
Analysis Refutes Criminal Referral of Christopher Steele
Feb 09 2018

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released a minority view analysis on behalf of all Judiciary Committee Democrats of the Christopher Steele criminal referral sent last month by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). A classified memo that accompanied the criminal referral was declassified this week.

“The criminal referral of Christopher Steele has nothing to do with accountability,” Feinstein said. “Clearly its goals included undermining the FBI and Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, attacking Christopher Steele and deflecting attention from collusion and obstruction of justice investigations.”

“Not a single revelation in the Steele dossier has been refuted. Unfortunately, the claims in the criminal referral rely on classified information, so it’s difficult to fully repudiate them here. However, as much as possible using unclassified information, the following points lay out the flaws in the criminal referral.”

The following analysis rebuts a series of claims in the Grassley-Graham criminal referral:

1. The criminal referral is not based on any allegation that Steele lied or misrepresented facts about Carter Page or what is included in the Steele dossier. In fact, neither provide any evidence that any of the information in Steele’s dossier is wrong. Instead, the referral is limited to a single baseless allegation: that Steele lied about his contacts with the press.

2. The criminal referral omits key facts. The Department of Justice has provided documents regarding its interactions with Mr. Steele to the Judiciary Committee both before and after the criminal referral was made. Despite this, the Majority did not modify the criminal referral and pressed forward with its original claims, which do not take into account the additional information provided after the initial January 4 referral.

Instead of providing a comprehensive analysis, the criminal referral selectively focuses on some facts while omitting others.

For example, the criminal referral includes incomplete and misleading allegations regarding an October 19, 2016, report that Mr. Steele received from a “friend of the Clintons.”[1]

The criminal referral alleges that Mr. Steele was using this additional reporting from “the Clinton friend” as the basis for his own work – implying there was no independent investigative work done by Steele. The criminal referral fails to address the fact that 14 of the 17 memos in the Steele dossier published by Buzzfeed were created by Mr. Steele before this October 19 report. It would have been impossible for Mr. Steele to include information that he received in an October 19 report from “a friend of the Clintons” in his 14 earlier reports, which date back to June 20, 2016.

3. The criminal referral fails to make a case that Christopher Steele lied to the FBI. The referral states that “it appears that either Mr. Steele lied to the FBI or the British court, or that the classified documents reviewed by the Committee contain materially false statements.”[2] These allegations are made regarding Mr. Steele’s interactions with the press and whether he lied about those interactions to the FBI.

18 U.S.C. § 1001, the legal authority cited by the criminal referral, provides that: “[W]hoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” shall be punished accordingly.

Importantly, the criminal referral fails to identify when, if ever, Mr. Steele was asked about and provided a materially false statement about his press contacts.

Tellingly, it also fails to explain any circumstances which would have required Mr. Steele to seek the FBI’s permission to speak to the press or to disclose if he had done so.

Rather, the criminal referral cites occasions where Mr. Steele spoke to the press at the end of September 2016. Specifically, it focuses on a Yahoo News article written by Michael Isikoff.

If Mr. Steele had been asked by the FBI about his contacts with Mr. Isikoff for this September article, and if he had spoken with this reporter, then he should have disclosed that fact.[3] But the criminal referral provides no evidence that Steele was ever asked about the Isikoff article, or if asked that he lied.

It is also important to note, that in October 2016, the FBI learned that Mr. Steele had disclosed “his relationship with the FBI” to a reporter, David Corn.[4] Because of this, the FBI then suspended its relationship with Mr. Steele and informed the FISA court of these developments in its renewal requests.[5]

The FBI made clear, however, that it still considered Steele’s reporting to be reliable regardless of his contacts with the press.[6]

The FISA court granted three renewals after having been informed of Steele’s contacts with the press.[7]

4. Christopher Steele is a respected and reliable expert on Russia. He served more than 20 years as an intelligence officer with the British intelligence service MI6, and worked in Moscow under diplomatic cover from 1990 to 1993.[8] Mr. Steele has a history of providing useful information that has assisted law enforcement in criminal investigations.

For example, in 2010, Mr. Steele gave information to the FBI that led to indictments of several officials from the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the termination of the organization’s president, Sepp Blatter.[9] Citing U.S. officials, Reuters noted that Steele’s work on the FIFA matter “lent credence to his reporting on Trump’s entanglements in Russia.”[10]

Reports also indicate that between 2013 and 2016, Steele collaborated successfully with the FBI’s Eurasian Joint Organized Crime Squad on Russia- and Ukraine-related matters.[11] According to the Washington Post, “Steele was known for the quality of his past work and for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence.”[12]

5. Mr. Steele came forward voluntarily out of concern for U.S. national security. In early July 2016, Mr. Steele shared with the FBI what he viewed as alarming information about Russian interference in the 2016 election and a potentially compromised candidate. [13]

Specifically, Mr. Simpson testified under oath to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that Mr. Steele said, “I'm a former intelligence officer, and we're your closest ally. You know, I have obligations, professional obligations. If there's a national security emergency or possible national security issue, I should report it.” … “And I [Simpson] said: ‘So you're telling me that you think this is serious enough that it needs to be reported to law enforcement, and that you're confident enough in your sources, it's your professional judgment and your professional obligation, that you should report this to the FBI?’ And he [Steele] said, ‘Yes.’”[14]

6. The criminal referral contains no new information. All the information in the criminal referral was already available to the FBI and the Department of Justice.

In fact, the referral relies on publicly available information and information that was provided to Congress from DOJ and the FBI.

7. The facts about Carter Page are not disputed. As has been widely reported, the FBI was aware of Page’s extensive connections to Russia several years before he joined the Trump campaign. In fact, the FBI determined in 2013 that Russian intelligence operatives had been attempting to recruit him and warned Mr. Page about this.[15] That same year, Mr. Page reportedly described himself as an “informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin.”[16] Page continued to cultivate Russian investments and business[17] – something that the FBI believed could be used by Russia to cultivate him as a source.[18]

On March 21, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump named Page to his foreign policy team.[19] In July 2016, and with the approval of Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Page traveled to Moscow to speak at the New Economic School.[20] During his trip, Mr. Page emailed the Trump campaign about “some incredible insights and outreach I’ve received from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential Administration here.” [21]

That same month, Mr. Steele reported that Russia and the Trump campaign “had a mutual interest in defeating Democratic presidential candidate HILLARY CLINTON, whom President PUTIN apparently both hated and feared.” Mr. Steele reported that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was using “foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries” between the campaign and Russia and that Mr. Page had meetings with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Presidential Administration official Igor Divyekin.[22]

During his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Page denied meeting with Mr. Sechin or Mr. Divyekin. He did admit, however, that he met with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Arkady Dvorkovich.[23] He also admitted meeting with Andrey Baranov – a close associate of Mr. Sechin.[24] And, in December 2016, after the election, Mr. Page went back to Moscow and again met with high-ranking Russian officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Rosneft executive Andrey Baranov.[25]

None of these facts are disputed in the Grassley-Graham criminal referral.

CONCLUSION

In June 2016, Mr. Steele began uncovering information indicating that Russia was interfering in the U.S. presidential election, and that the Trump campaign might be assisting Russia in its efforts.[26] Under any circumstances, the right thing to do would be to go to law enforcement and turn over this information. And that is exactly what Mr. Steele did.

Steele’s reporting was deemed reliable by the FBI. The FISA court granted three renewals of the FISA warrant on Carter Page after learning of Mr. Steele’s contacts with the press, a fact that did not cause the FBI to question the reliability of his underlying reporting.

The President’s decision to declassify and release the Nunes memo has confirmed that the Russia investigation started because of another Trump campaign foreign policy advisor – George Papadopoulos – who was told in April that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of thousands of emails.[27] Unlike Mr. Steele, Mr. Papadopoulos did not affirmatively share what he had learned with the FBI.

This Committee should dedicate its resources and attention to getting to the bottom of exactly what Russia did during the 2016 election and who was involved – not attacking voluntary sources and the nation’s leading law enforcement agencies.

###

[1] Memorandum from Hon. Charles E. Grassley and Hon. Lindsey O. Graham to Hon. Rod J. Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Jan. 4, 2018, at 6 (hereinafter “Grassley/Graham Memo”).

[2] Grassley/Graham Memo, at 1.

[3]United States v. Worthington, 822 F.2d 315, 310 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 944 (1987) (A false or fictitious statement or representation is an assertion that is untrue when made or when used, and that is known by the person making it to be untrue); see also United States v. Anderson, 579 F.2d 455 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 980 (1978); United States v. Race, 632 F.2d 1114 (4th Cir. 1980) (If a defendant’s statement, or the government’s question requiring an answer, is ambiguous, it is incumbent on the government to negate any reasonable interpretation that could make the defendant’s statement factually correct).

[4]Memorandum from HPSCI Majority Staff to HPSCI Majority Members, “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Jan. 18, 2018, at 2 (hereinafter “Nunes Memo”).

[5] Nunes Memo, Jan. 18, 2018, at 2-3; Grassley/Graham Memo, at 4.

[6] Grassley/Graham Memo, at 4.

[7] Grassley/Graham Memo, at 4; Nunes Memo, Jan. 18, 2018, at 1.

[8] Vanity Fair, “How Ex-Spy Christopher Steele Compiled His Explosive Trump-Russia Dossier,” Apr. 2017; see also The Guardian, “How Trump walked into Putin’s web,” Nov. 15, 2017.

[9] Washington Post, “The British spy behind the Trump dossier helped the FBI bust FIFA,” Jan. 13, 2017.

[10] Reuters, “Former MI6 spy known to U.S. agencies is author of reports on Trump in Russia,” Jan. 12, 2017.

[11] Business Insider, “Congressional and FBI investigators are homing in on the Trump-Russia dossier,” Oct. 5, 2017.

[12] Washington Post, “FBI once planned to pay former British spy who authored controversial Trump dossier,” Feb. 28, 2017.

[13] Senate Judiciary Committee Interview of Glenn Simpson, Aug. 22, 2017, at 159, 164-65, 167.

[14] HPSCI Interview of Glenn Simpson, Nov. 14, 2017, at 60-61.

[15] New York Times, “Russian Spies Tried to Recruit Carter Page Before He Advised Trump,” Apr. 4, 2017.

[16] Time, “Carter Page Touted Kremlin Contacts in 2013 Letter,” Feb. 4, 2018.

[17] Bloomberg, “Trump’s New Russia Adviser Has Deep Ties to Kremlin’s Gazprom,” Mar. 30, 2016.

[18] Complaint at 13, U.S. v. Evgeny Buryakov, CA No. 15-cr-00073 (filed Jan. 23, 2015).

[19] Washington Post, “A transcript of Donald Trump’s meeting with the Washington Post editorial board,” Mar. 21, 2016.

[20] HPSCI Interview of Carter Page, Nov. 2, 2017, at 19; see also Politico, “Trump campaign approved adviser’s trip to Moscow,” Mar. 7, 2017.

[21] HPSCI Interview of Carter Page, Nov. 2, 2017, at 40.

[22] Company Intelligence Reports, 2016/094 and 2016/095, July 2016; Senate Judiciary Committee Interview of Glenn Simpson, at 235-36.

[23] HPSCI Interview of Carter Page, Nov. 2, 2017, at 12.

[24] Id. at 105.

[25] Id. at 119.

[26] Company Intelligence Reports, June 20, 2016 through Dec. 13, 2016.

[27] Nunes Memo, Jan. 18, 2018, at 4.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1182

Post by pipistrelle » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:12 am

What I have gotten out of the whole Steele business: A British citizen has more concern for U.S. security than the U.S. president or the majority of the U.S. Congress. Or one-third of the U.S. citizenry.

I felt safer during the air raid drills of the Cold War.



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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1183

Post by Addie » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:15 pm

Foreign Policy
Former Senior FBI Official Is Leading BuzzFeeds Effort to Verify Trump Dossier

Anthony Ferrante coordinated the U.S. government’s response to Russian election interference. Now he’s helping a news site defend itself from a Russian billionaire’s lawsuit.

For the last six months, a team led by a former top FBI and White House cybersecurity official has been traveling the globe on a secret mission to verify parts of the Trump dossier, according to four sources familiar with different aspects of the ongoing probe.

Their client: BuzzFeed, the news organization that first published the dossier on U.S. President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, which is now being sued over its explosive allegations.

The investigation, being conducted by FTI Consulting, is running in parallel to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in Kremlin-directed efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. With the special counsel probe under wraps, the BuzzFeed court case could represent the first public airing of an investigation into the veracity of some of the dossier’s claims.
FTI is a Washington-based business advisory firm that specializes in areas ranging from corporate litigation to forensic accounting, and it is a frequent post-government landing pad for FBI officials.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1184

Post by Addie » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:17 am

Politico
Russia pushes more ‘deep state’ hashtags

After the success of the viral #ReleaseTheMemo campaign, Russian-influenced Twitter accounts are test-running other hashtags designed to stoke anger, particularly among supporters of President Donald Trump, against “deep state” forces, according to analysts at Hamilton 68, a website that tracks Russian-influenced Twitter accounts.

Last weekend, a host of new hashtags trended in the network of accounts monitored by Hamilton 68, including #fisagate, #obamadeepstate, #wethepeopledemandjustice, #thememorevealsthecoup and even #obamaslegacyisobamagate.

None of those have taken hold, but the flurry of new efforts indicated to Bret Schafer, an analyst for the Alliance for Security Democracy, which runs Hamilton 68, that the Russians would continue to push issues related to the “deep state.”

“There’s still a ton of activity,” Schafer said. “It does look like they’re looking for the next hashtag. … They’re clearly looking for the next step in this process.” ...

“The activity around this hashtag was different in that it was much more concentrated, amplified and extended,” Morgan said. “I think it’s a good case study in what it looks like when somebody really turns on the machine and how vulnerable, frankly, Twitter still is to having its platform co-opted by someone who wants to push a particular narrative.”


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1185

Post by Addie » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:22 am

The New Yorker - Jane Meyer
Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier

How the ex-spy tried to warn the world about Trump’s ties to Russia. ...

Within a few weeks, two or three of Steele’s long-standing collectors came back with reports drawn from Orbis’s larger network of sources. Steele looked at the material and, according to people familiar with the matter, asked himself, “Oh, my God—what is this?” He called in Burrows, who was normally unflappable. Burrows realized that they had a problem. As Simpson later put it, “We threw out a line in the water, and Moby-Dick came back.” ...

More significant, in hindsight, than the sexual details were claims that the Kremlin and Trump were politically colluding in the 2016 campaign. The Russians were described as having cultivated Trump and traded favors with him “for at least 5 years.” Putin was described as backing Trump in order to “sow discord and disunity both within the U.S.” and within the transatlantic alliance. The report claimed that, although Trump had not signed any real-estate-development deals, he and his top associates had repeatedly accepted intelligence from the Kremlin on Hillary Clinton and other political rivals. The allegations were astounding—and improbable. They could constitute treason even if they were only partly true.

According to people familiar with the matter, as Steele began to assemble the first of seventeen memos, which became the dossier, Burrows expressed reservations about including the golden-showers allegation. He had a cautious temperament, and worried about the impact that the sensational item might have. But Steele argued that it would be dishonest and distorting to cherry-pick details, and that the possibility of a potential American President being subject to blackmail was too important to hide. “That’s classic Steele,” his longtime friend told me. “He’s so straight.”

In a fateful decision, Steele chose to include everything. People familiar with the matter say that Steele knew he could either shred the incendiary information or carry on. If he kept investigating, and then alerted officials who he thought should know about his findings, he feared that his life—and, indeed, the life of anyone who touched the dossier—would never be the same.

At the time, Steele figured that almost nobody would ever see the raw intelligence. The credibility of Steele’s dossier has been much debated, but few realize that it was a compilation of contemporaneous interviews rather than a finished product. Orbis was just a subcontractor, and Steele and Burrows reasoned that Fusion could, if it wished, process the findings into an edited report for the ultimate client. So Orbis left it up to Fusion to make the judgment calls about what to leave in, and to decide whether to add caveats and source notes of the kind that accompany most government intelligence reports.

John Sipher spent twenty-eight years as a clandestine officer in the C.I.A., and ran the agency’s Russia program before retiring, in 2014. He said of Steele’s memos, “This is source material, not expert opinion.” Sipher has described the dossier as “generally credible,” although not correct in every detail. He said, “People have misunderstood that it’s a collection of dots, not a connecting of the dots. But it provided the first narrative saying what Russia might be up to.” Alexander Vershbow, a U.S. Ambassador to Russia under George W. Bush, told me, “In intelligence, you evaluate your sources as best you can, but it’s not like journalism, where you try to get more than one source to confirm something. In the intelligence business, you don’t pretend you’re a hundred per cent accurate. If you’re seventy or eighty per cent accurate, that makes you one of the best.”
Adding:
Business Insider: British intelligence reportedly told the CIA months before the election that Trump's campaign had illicit contacts with Russia


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1186

Post by AndyinPA » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:44 am

I've looked at the article, but bookmarked it for later reading as it's long (as her pieces often are). An interesting tidbit that I couldn't find just scanning is on the Crooks and Liars site this morning.

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/03/bomb ... ys-kremlin
One subject that Steele is believed to have discussed with Mueller’s investigators is a memo that he wrote in late November, 2016, after his contract with Fusion had ended. This memo, which did not surface publicly with the others, is shorter than the rest, and is based on one source, described as “a senior Russian official.” The official said that he was merely relaying talk circulating in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but what he’d heard was astonishing: people were saying that the Kremlin had intervened to block Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of State, Mitt Romney. (During Romney’s run for the White House in 2012, he was notably hawkish on Russia, calling it the single greatest threat to the U.S.) The memo said that the Kremlin, through unspecified channels, had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions, and who would coöperate on security issues of interest to Russia, such as the conflict in Syria. If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over U.S. foreign policy—and an incoming President.



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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1187

Post by Addie » Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:24 am

Daily Beast
Report: Poisoned Russian Spy May Have Worked on Trump Dossier

The mystery of the former Russian agent who was poisoned with a nerve agent in a small English city on Sunday is getting more complex by the day. The Telegraph reported Thursday that Sergei Skripal—who remains in a critical condition in hospital alongside his daughter and a British police officer—was in close contact with a security consultant who worked for Christopher Steele, the former British agent who compiled the infamous Trump dossier. The newspaper refused to name the consultant, but reported that a LinkedIn page deleted in the past few days stated that he was based in Salisbury—where the attempted murder took place—and had previously done work for Orbis Business Intelligence, which is run by Steele. The Telegraph report states: “If the Kremlin believed that Col. Skripal might have helped with the compilation of the dossier, it could explain the motive for the assassination attempt in Salisbury town center.” On Wednesday, Valery Morozov—a former construction magnate who fled Russia—told Channel 4 News that Skripal was not retired and met with military intelligence officers every month.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1188

Post by Dolly » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:11 am

Russian embassy: Poisoned spy was actually working for MI6

Russia's government claimed Thursday morning that a former Russian spy that British authorities say was poisoned with a nerve agent in the U.K. on Sunday was actually a British spy working for the country's MI6 intelligence bureau.

In a tweet from the Russian Embassy in London, the country's government claimed that Sergei Skripal, who was saved from a poisoning attempt alongside his daughter over the weekend "was actually a British spy, working for MI6."
Russian Embassy, UK

@RussianEmbassy
He was actually a British spy, working for MI6

3:50 AM - Mar 8, 2018

The embassy offered no evidence to support the claim. Scotland Yard announced this week that the incident is being treated as a "major incident" and confirmed that the two were poisoned with a nerve agent, declining to name the specific type used.

“This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent,” said Mark Rowley, Britain’s top police official for counterterrorism and international security.

Skripal was one of four Russians exchanged for 10 “sleeper” agents placed by the Russian government in the U.S. in 2010. In 2006, he was sentenced to 13 years in jail for identifying other Russian agents operating around Europe to MI6. <SNIP>
http://thehill.com/policy/international ... ritish-spy


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1189

Post by Addie » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:57 pm

This is the stuff that makes me dizzy, but our math head Fogbowzers might be interested.
ResearchGate: Updated, Expanded and Corrected Affidavit Version: U.S. 2016 Unadjusted Exit Poll Discrepancies Fit Chronic Republican Vote – Count Rigging, not Random Statistical, Patterns


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1190

Post by Addie » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:57 am

The Verge
Facebook suspended Donald Trump’s data operations team for misusing people’s personal information

Cambridge Analytica played a key role in the 2016 presidential election campaign

Facebook said late Friday that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies around data collection and retention. The companies, which ran data operations for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, are widely credited with helping Trump more effectively target voters on Facebook than his rival, Hillary Clinton. While the exact nature of their role remains somewhat mysterious, Facebook’s disclosure suggests that the company improperly obtained user data that could have given it an unfair advantage in reaching voters.

Facebook said it cannot determine whether or how the data in question could have been used in conjunction with election ad campaigns. Cambridge Analytica did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a blog post, Facebook deputy general counsel Paul Grewal laid out how SCL came into possession of the user data. In 2015, Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge, created an app named “thisisyourdigitallife” that promised to predict aspects of users’ personalities. About 270,000 people downloaded it and logged in through Facebook, giving Kogan access to information about their city of residence, Facebook content they had liked, and information about their friends.

Kogan passed the data to SCL and a man named Christopher Wylie from a data harvesting firm known as Eunoia Technologies, in violation of Facebook rules that prevent app developers from giving away or selling users’ personal information. Facebook learned of the violation that year and removed his app from Facebook. It also asked Kogan and his associates to certify that they had destroyed the improperly collected data. Everyone said that they did. ...

“Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted,” Grewal wrote. “We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made. We are suspending SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information.” ...

The Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in June 2016 to run its data operations. Separately, it had hired a digital marketing firm named Giles-Parscale to run its online advertising campaigns. Parscale designed the ads; Cambridge data helped Parscale to target voters. Sean Illing laid out the connection at Vox ...


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1191

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:39 am

I was curious to find out if Aleksandr Kogan, who changed his last name to Spectre, was born in Russia. (Kogan/Spectre was apparently originally hired by supporters of Ted Cruz and segued with them to Trump.) His background is murky. The only person who identified him as Russian born was Louise Mensch. Mensch is, as we know, utterly unreliable.

Aleksandr is an atypical spelling of Alexander and has a Russian ring to it. Kogan/Spectre's areas of study -- which I would abbreivate as psychometric happiness -- fit nicely into an area of psychological warfare that a country like Russia would be interested in.



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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1192

Post by Addie » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:43 am

New York Times
How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions

LONDON — As the upstart voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica prepared to wade into the 2014 American midterm elections, it had a problem.

The firm had secured a $15 million investment from Robert Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, and wooed his political adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, with the promise of tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior. But it did not have the data to make its new products work.

So the firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission, according to former Cambridge employees, associates and documents, making it one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history. The breach allowed the company to exploit the private social media activity of a huge swath of the American electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016.

An examination by The New York Times and The Observer of London reveals how Cambridge Analytica’s drive to bring to market a potentially powerful new weapon put the firm — and wealthy conservative investors seeking to reshape politics — under scrutiny from investigators and lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic. ...

In Britain, Cambridge Analytica is facing intertwined investigations by Parliament and government regulators, who are scrutinizing possible data privacy violations and allegations that it performed illegal work on the “Brexit” campaign. In the United States, Mr. Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah, a board member, Mr. Bannon and Mr. Nix received warnings from their lawyer that it was illegal to employ foreigners in political campaigns, according to company documents and former employees. ...

All the scrutiny appears to have damaged Cambridge Analytica’s political business. No American campaigns or “super PACs” have yet reported paying the company for work in the 2018 midterms, and it is unclear whether Cambridge will be asked to join Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign.
Adding:
The Guardian: Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

Whistleblower describes how firm linked to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon compiled user data to target American voters
Vox: Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1193

Post by Chilidog » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:29 pm

Sterngard Friegen wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:39 am
I was curious to find out if Aleksandr Kogan, who changed his last name to Spectre, was born in Russia. (Kogan/Spectre was apparently originally hired by supporters of Ted Cruz and segued with them to Trump.) His background is murky. The only person who identified him as Russian born was Louise Mensch. Mensch is, as we know, utterly unreliable.

Aleksandr is an atypical spelling of Alexander and has a Russian ring to it. Kogan/Spectre's areas of study -- which I would abbreivate as psychometric happiness -- fit nicely into an area of psychological warfare that a country like Russia would be interested in.
Aleksander is also Polish



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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1194

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:40 pm

Well, it's spelled "Aleksandr" without the final "E." And that fine website "Behind the Name" says its Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian: https://www.behindthename.com/name/aleksandr

Kogan appears to be a Russian/Tajikistani name, based on this Wikipedia article for the unrelated "Alexander Kogan": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Kogan



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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1195

Post by Addie » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:54 pm

The Guardian: Cambridge Analytica: links to Moscow oil firm and St Petersburg university ...

He said the St Petersburg position emerged by chance on a social visit. A native Russian speaker, Kogan was born in Moldova and brought up in Moscow until he was seven, when his family emigrated to the US, where he later obtained citizenship.
Sterngard Friegen wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:39 am
I was curious to find out if Aleksandr Kogan, who changed his last name to Spectre, was born in Russia. (Kogan/Spectre was apparently originally hired by supporters of Ted Cruz and segued with them to Trump.) His background is murky. The only person who identified him as Russian born was Louise Mensch. Mensch is, as we know, utterly unreliable.

Aleksandr is an atypical spelling of Alexander and has a Russian ring to it. Kogan/Spectre's areas of study -- which I would abbreivate as psychometric happiness -- fit nicely into an area of psychological warfare that a country like Russia would be interested in.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1196

Post by Addie » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:31 am

WaPo
Trump campaign consultant took data about millions of users without their knowledge ...

After launching its services for congressional candidates in the 2014 cycle, Cambridge Analytica made a dramatic public entry into U.S. presidential politics in 2015, working on what was touted at the time as a groundbreaking voter outreach effort on behalf of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). At first, Cruz campaign officials credited Cambridge’s “psychographic targeting” techniques — including its use of Facebook data — with elevating Cruz to the top tier of presidential hopefuls. But later, some officials expressed disappointment in some of Cambridge’s work.

The company initially surveyed more than 150,000 households across the country and scored respondents using five basic traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Cruz campaign officials said the company developed its correlations in part by using data from Facebook that included subscribers’ likes. That data helped make the Cambridge data particularly powerful, campaign officials said at the time.

Cambridge’s work for the Cruz campaign ultimately proved uneven, according to campaign officials, who said that while the firm’s data scientists were impressive, the psychographic analysis did not bear fruit as hoped.

Cambridge Analytica then moved on to serve as the Trump campaign’s data-science provider. While company officials said they did not have sufficient time to employ psychographics in that campaign, they did data modeling and polling that showed Trump’s strength in the industrial Midwest, shaping a homestretch strategy that led to his upset wins in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Adding:
Fast Company: Trump’s Data Gurus Are Now Turning Their Attention To Your TV


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1197

Post by Addie » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:49 am

The Hill
Ex-Obama official says he warned of Russian trolls in 2014

A former Obama administration official says that the government could have done more to prevent Russian trolls from interfering in the 2016 election.

Brett Bruen, the White House’s director of global engagement from 2013 to 2015, says in an interview published Monday that he warned the National Security Council in 2014 of the possibility of attacks from Russian trolls after he witnessed Moscow use similar tactics to interfere in Ukraine’s 2014 election.

“I was sitting in the Situation Room saying, ‘Why do we continue to look at this as an issue that only concerns Ukraine, that only concerns Eastern Europe? This is something that's going to march across Western Europe. This is something that's going to march over to our shores, and we need to be ready,’” Bruen told CNN. ...

After his involvement in the task force, Bruen told the State Department that a similar initiative should be implemented in the U.S. but the department failed to act, he said.

Around the time Bruen proposed his plan, Russia had already set up the Internet Research Agency, the troll farm that it would use to interfere in the 2016 election via social media.

According to Bruen, the State Department — and specifically Victoria Nuland, then the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs — failed to recognize the threat and didn’t consider his proposals.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1198

Post by Addie » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:01 pm

Gizmodo
AggregateIQ Created Cambridge Analytica's Election Software, and Here’s the Proof

A little-known Canadian data firm ensnared by an international investigation into alleged wrongdoing during the Brexit campaign created an election software platform marketed by Cambridge Analytica, according to a batch of internal files obtained exclusively by Gizmodo.

Discovered by a security researcher last week, the files confirm that AggregateIQ, a British Columbia-based data firm, developed the technology Cambridge Analytica sold to clients for millions of dollars during the 2016 US presidential election. Hundreds if not thousands of pages of code, as well as detailed notes signed by AggregateIQ staff, wholly substantiate recent reports that Cambridge Analytica’s software platform was not its own creation.

What’s more, the files reveal that AggregateIQ—also known as “AIQ”—is the developer behind campaign apps created for Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, as well as a Ukrainian steel magnate named Serhiy Taruta, head the country’s newly formed Osnova party.

Other records show the firm once pitched an app to Breitbart News, the far-right website funded by hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer—Cambridge Analytica’s principal investor—and are currently contracted by WPA Intelligence, a US-based consultancy founded by Republican pollster Chris Wilson, who was director of digital strategy for Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1199

Post by Estiveo » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:47 pm

It's almost as if there were some sort of vast, right-wing conspiracy. Who woulda ever figured it would be allied with the Russians?


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Re: CIA assessment: Russia helped Trump win & Senate knew it

#1200

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:53 pm

Addie wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:54 pm
The Guardian: Cambridge Analytica: links to Moscow oil firm and St Petersburg university ...

He said the St Petersburg position emerged by chance on a social visit. A native Russian speaker, Kogan was born in Moldova and brought up in Moscow until he was seven, when his family emigrated to the US, where he later obtained citizenship.
Sterngard Friegen wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:39 am
I was curious to find out if Aleksandr Kogan, who changed his last name to Spectre, was born in Russia. (Kogan/Spectre was apparently originally hired by supporters of Ted Cruz and segued with them to Trump.) His background is murky. The only person who identified him as Russian born was Louise Mensch. Mensch is, as we know, utterly unreliable.

Aleksandr is an atypical spelling of Alexander and has a Russian ring to it. Kogan/Spectre's areas of study -- which I would abbreivate as psychometric happiness -- fit nicely into an area of psychological warfare that a country like Russia would be interested in.
I missed this until now. Thanks, Addie,.

Scrape enough and the Russian connection always seems to be there.



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