Maybe it’s time to drop this whole Russian hacker thing and focus on the content of the emails exposed by Wikileaks…
While all of the mainstream media and anonymous CIA sources claim that Russia was behind the hacks of the emails from the Democratic National Committee and top Clinton aide John Podesta, the truth has been revealed to be completely different.
By way of background, top American intelligence veterans say that it was a leak, not a hack.
A New York Times report on Monday alluding to “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” leading the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers with the goal of tipping the election to Donald J. Trump” is, sadly, evidence-free. This is no surprise, because harder evidence of a technical nature points to an inside leak, not hacking – by Russians or anyone else.
Monday’s Washington Post reports that Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has joined other senators in calling for a bipartisan investigation of suspected cyber-intrusion by Russia. Reading our short memo could save the Senate from endemic partisanship, expense and unnecessary delay.
In what follows, we draw on decades of senior-level experience – with emphasis on cyber-intelligence and security – to cut through uninformed, largely partisan fog. Far from hiding behind anonymity, we are proud to speak out with the hope of gaining an audience appropriate to what we merit – given our long labors in government and other areas of technology. And corny though it may sound these days, our ethos as intelligence professionals remains, simply, to tell it like it is – without fear or favor.
We have gone through the various claims about hacking. For us, it is child’s play to dismiss them. The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack. Here’s the difference between leaking and hacking:
Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization and gives it to some other person or organization, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did.
Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or any other cyber-protection system and then extracts data.
All signs point to leaking, not hacking. If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know it – and know both sender and recipient.
In short, since leaking requires physically removing data – on a thumb drive, for example – the only way such data can be copied and removed, with no electronic trace of what has left the server, is via a physical storage device – Washington’s Blog
Even the head of U.S. intelligence – James Clapper – testified on Monday that the connection between Russia and Wikileaks is weak. And U.S. intelligence agencies are now refusing to brief the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on whether or not Russia was actually the source of the Wikileaks documents.
And the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements and Russian atomic weapons”) – told Washington’s Blog that the Democratic emails were leaked by either NSA insiders or DNC insiders.
The former intelligence analyst, British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, and chancellor of the University of Dundee (Craig Murray) revealed earlier this week that the Podesta leak and the DNC leak were leaked by two different insiders, that both of the leakers were Americans with no ties to Russia, and that one was from the American intelligence services.
Subsequently, Murray revealed further details on the leaks.
Specifically, in an interview with Scott Horton on Tuesday, Murray said that – because John Podesta’s company is a registered lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government – the NSA and other intelligence agencies were monitoring their emails as a matter of course.
Murray said that an insider from an American intelligence service (read: NSA) leaked the Podesta emails to Wikileaks. Indeed, an intermediary to the NSA whistleblower handed the emails to Murray in a park in Washington, D.C.
Murray said that Wikileaks head Julian Assange tells him that the leaker of the DNC emails was a DNC insider.
When asked if Seth Rich was the DNC leaker, Murray responded that he doesn’t know … but that it’s possible that Rich was murdered because someone thought that he was the source of the DNC leak. –ZeroHedge
Watch this short interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and John Pilger. Pay close attention to Assange’s reaction when Pilger asks if he’s suggesting Seth Rich was the leaker.
Watch Assange’s reaction to Pilger’s question during the same interview in slow motion (below). What do you think? Is he nodding in agreement to his question about Seth Rich?
Again, NSA is able to identify both the sender and recipient when hacking is involved. Thanks largely to the material released by Edward Snowden, we can provide a full picture of NSA’s extensive domestic data-collection network including Upstream programs like Fairview, Stormbrew and Blarney. These include at least 30 companies in the U.S. operating the fiber networks that carry the Public Switched Telephone Network as well as the World Wide Web. This gives NSA unparalleled access to data flowing within the U.S. and data going out to the rest of the world, as well as data transiting the U.S.
In other words, any data that is passed from the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or of Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) – or any other server in the U.S. – is collected by the NSA. These data transfers carry destination addresses in what are called packets, which enable the transfer to be traced and followed through the network.
The bottom line is that the NSA would know where and how any “hacked” emails from the DNC, HRC or any other servers were routed through the network. This process can sometimes require a closer look into the routing to sort out intermediate clients, but in the end sender and recipient can be traced across the network.
The various ways in which usually anonymous spokespeople for U.S. intelligence agencies are equivocating – saying things like “our best guess” or “our opinion” or “our estimate” etc. – shows that the emails alleged to have been “hacked” cannot be traced across the network. Given NSA’s extensive trace capability, we conclude that DNC and HRC servers alleged to have been hacked were, in fact, not hacked.
The evidence that should be there is absent; otherwise, it would surely be brought forward, since this could be done without any danger to sources and methods. Thus, we conclude that the emails were leaked by an insider – as was the case with Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Such an insider could be anyone in a government department or agency with access to NSA databases, or perhaps someone within the DNC.