Deconstructing The Almighty Russian Hackers Myth

Authored by Patrick Armstrong via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Sometimes things can be made more complicated than they really are.

And such is the case with the story that the Russian government hacked the Democratic National Committee so as to help Trump become president.

In July 2016 Wikileaks released a number of documents showing that the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president had been rigged. A month earlier the DNC had announced it had been "hacked" and the cybersecurity company it hired announced that the Russians had done it – one of the reasons they gave was that the hackers had helpfully left the name of the Polish founder of the Soviet security forces as a clue.

Since then, this story has been broadly accepted and it has spun on and on for eighteen months. But it doesn't really make any sense.

Let us pretend that Moscow wanted Trump to win. Let us further pretend that Moscow thought that there was a chance that he could win despite the fact that almost all news outlets, pollsters and pundits were completely confident that he could not. And let us pretend that Moscow thought that, with its thumb on the scale, Trump could make it. And, the fourth if, let us pretend that Moscow decided to put its thumb on the scale.

How to do it? Let us pretend (number five) that the strategy was to try and discredit Clinton. Let us further assume (this assumption is the one that's probably true) that Moscow has very good electronic intelligence capacities. So, we imagine the scene in headquarters as they look for an approach; they quickly find one that is very good, a second that is pretty good and a third area that is worth digging around in.

The Russians would know all about the Uranium One matter where, as even the Clinton-friendly NYT admitted, "a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation". It would be very easy for them to package this as a case of Secretary of State Clinton selling US policy for personal profit. Russian intelligence organisations would have a great deal of true information and would find it easy to manufacture material to fill in any gaps in the story. Presented as a case of corruption and near treason, the story could have done a great deal of damage to her. And, given that it had happened six years earlier, all the details would have been known and ready to be used. It would have been a very powerful attack that even the complaint media would have had difficulty ignoring.

We know, and it's very likely that the Russians did too, that she ran a private e-mail server on which there were thousands and thousands of official communications. The server was very insecure and we can assume that Russia's signals intelligence (and everyone else's, for that matter) had penetrated it. Think of all the real material from that source that could be revealed or twisted to make a scandal. That would make quite a campaign. Further, it is a reasonable assumption that Russian intelligence would have some of the thousands of e-mails that were "bleached". There would be enough material for a months-long campaign of leaks.

Finally, Hillary Clinton has been in public life for many years and there would have been ample opportunities, and, many would say, ample material in her scandal-plagued career, for the construction of many campaigns to weaken her appeal.

So, a preliminary look would suggest that there were several angles of attack of which Uranium One would be the easiest and most effective.

But, failing that, or as a supplement to that, there was plenty of embarrassing and incriminating material in her illicit private server.

Now we have to pretend (number six), contrary to the universal practice of security organs in all times and places, that the (always assumed in the story to be implacably hostile) Russians would decide to forgo the chance of compromising a future POTUS in favour of a harebrained scheme to get another elected.

But we're supposed to believe that they did. The Russians, the story goes, with all this potential material, with a solid hit with Uranium One, decide instead to expose the finagling inside the Democratic Party structure. And to expose it too late to make any difference. As I said at the beginning, sometimes things are easier to understand when you, as it were, turn them upside down.

In the middle of June 2016 the DNC admits that its documents have been obtained – a "hack" they insist – and almost immediately, "Guccifer 2.0" pops up to claim responsibility and the DNC's experts (Crowdstrike) claim Russia was behind it. A month passes before Wikileaks releases the first batch of DNC documents showing the extent of the manipulation of the process by Clinton – who had, according to most counts – already secured the nomination about two weeks before. A couple of days before the release, Trump gets the Republican nomination and a couple of days after that Clinton easily wins the Democratic nomination by a thousand-vote majority.

So, the first thing that should have occurred to the observer (but didn't) was, if the Russians had had this incriminating evidence that the Democratic Party nomination had been fixed in Clinton's favour, wouldn't it have been more useful to put it out at a time when Sanders who was, after all, the swindled one, might have been able to do something about it? Instead those supposedly clever Russian state hackers dropped the news out at a time when it made very little difference. No difference in fact: Clinton got the nomination and there was no comeback from Sanders' people.

So, the "Russian hackers" made their arrow, shot it, hit the target and... no one cared. The people who devoutly believe in the Russian hacking story now have to explain (but don't) why the Russian state, apparently so determined to bring Clinton down, didn't immediately hit her with the Uranium One documents and anything else they had that could feed the flames of scandal.

But, as we all know, they didn't. While long rumoured, and even briefly reported on, we only learned of Uranium One in a big way in October 2017 and the fact that her server contained Special Access material (the very highest classified secrets) was confirmed authoritatively only in November 2017. If the Russian had really had this sort of information and the hostility to Clinton that we're incessantly told that they had, two years earlier would have been the time.

So, on the one hand we are supposed to believe that the Russian government is so clever that it can hack anything, has innumerable social media trolls that influence elections and referendums around the world ("control the American mind"), drives a "fake news" campaign at a fraction of the cost but with far greater effectiveness than the massed legions of the Western media, is a threat to practically everything we hold sacred... but is too stupid to get it right. Possessing great and powerful secrets and a stunningly powerful machine to spread them, it chooses to fire a damp squib too late to make any difference and passes up the chance to have a compromised US president for it to control.

In other words, it's nonsense: we don't really need the forensics of VIPS; we don't need to argue with people who say it's fake news about Seth Rich, or that Assange is a Putinbot, or carefully ignore Murray. Those efforts are useful enough but they're not necessary. In any case, the Russia story is a Gish gallop and a whole academy of wise men and women couldn't keep up with the latest. (Robert Parry bravely attempts to list the most prominent ones from the Vermont power facility, through all 17 agencies to 14th not 4th.)

Just common sense will do it: if the Russians had wanted to bring Hillary Clinton down, they had far more powerful charges which they could have detonated much earlier. It is not plausible that all they had was the rigging evidence and that they then deployed it too late to have an effect.

Or, maybe they're not so all-competent in which case all the other stuff we've had shoved down our throats for months about "Russian information warfare" is even bigger nonsense.

Comments

Singelguy ParticularlySt… Sat, 12/16/2017 - 06:53 Permalink

I don’t know where you got that impression but Russia is certainly not way behind in tech. Russia has the top coders and hackers in the world. It has been often reported that Russia’s military technology is a generation ahead of the USA (there is no corrupt MIC to pay off). Even NASA has to use Russian rockets to get people to and from the ISS. America may exceed in social media (as if that is important) and consumption platforms. Oh, I almost forgot media and fake news.

In reply to by ParticularlySt…

zorba THE GREEK bobcatz Fri, 12/15/2017 - 23:25 Permalink

The Democrats used their media connections to ensure that Trump got the nomination because they believed that Trump was the only Republican candidate that tainted Hillary could beat. For Christ's sake, he was recorded saying he could grab a woman's pussy and get away with it. No fucking brainer, what woman would vote for him. No women votes=no contest. Now they want to blame the Russians for their loss and not the fact that they cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination and that Bernie would have defeated Trump in the elections. The Democratic party screwed themselves and they have no one but themselves to blame. Any moron that believes that it was Russian interference that swayed the election is uninformed and because of their total ignorance, is a danger to freedom and enemy of the people. That includes my two adult daughters who get all their information from the liberal media. 

In reply to by bobcatz

ThePhantom Throat-warbler… Sat, 12/16/2017 - 01:16 Permalink

they would sooner call the cops and testify in court as to your mental illness than look at what you have to present... they call themselves "Democrats". This is my family.... and my story. This is scary as fuck . I hope to god the truth comes out and these people are shamed to the end of earth... These people are very dangerous.. led by propaganda and having NO DOUBT in their minds that THEY are the holders of ULTIMATE TRUTH.... and will do anything to destroy this dully elected president. if they come to control the POLICE STATE.. the old game is over in a big way, and another just begun. this is for real

In reply to by Throat-warbler…

khnum Fri, 12/15/2017 - 22:52 Permalink

An advanced cyber warfare unit from Russia,Israel or China probably wouldn't leave any traces and if they did the NSA is the only outfit Im aware of that could figure it out,one year later there is no evidence because there is no evidence.

Atomic Nixon khnum Mon, 12/18/2017 - 04:46 Permalink

They knew they were there, could catch glimpses, still couldn't pin them or track them.  Yeah, Russian hackers are good.  It's generational.  Dad grew up fucking the system, now junior IS the system.  https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/07/how-elite-hacker… So these guys couldn't get the current email list for the Clinton campaign, used 2008 version.  Used 2-year-old "please donate!" level RAT warez, didn't bother getting the update.  Totally forgot what a VPN is, and how to spoof an IP address.  Well you know.... everyone has off days. 

In reply to by khnum

serotonindumptruck Fri, 12/15/2017 - 22:53 Permalink

I get it.Americans are expected to believe that the Russians are the worst thing to happen to the world since Adolph Hitler, when he killed six hundred gigazillion jews in the holohoax.So now Americans are expected to send their sons and daughters off to be killed in a senseless war for the Chosen Ones.

MuffDiver69 Fri, 12/15/2017 - 23:02 Permalink

Meanwhile at the exact same time the Clinton campaign has admitted paying a former British spy who’s “expertise” was Russia, who then payed “Russian” high ups to dish “dirt” on Trump. That’s admitted collusion with “Russians” and not some fucking fairy tale bullshit..

Tom Green Swedish Fri, 12/15/2017 - 23:09 Permalink

Yes of course the Russian story is all bullshit. Along with every other last article I've read in the last 10 years and for the most part the world in general. They keep trying to outdo each other and its really lame. First we somehow managed to have a black president. Now being black is cool - its the best in the world to be black. Then we should have ahad a woman president. It's better to be a woman right?  Most male jobs are being displaced by foreign workers, while the crap office jobs that can't be outsourced are still protected - which are usually dominated by females.The first one who establishes a company to outsource stupid office work done by women will rake in mad cash.Also, it is not ok to be a white male. It is very very bad. EOM.

Cardinal Fang Fri, 12/15/2017 - 23:30 Permalink

Look, I am ok with most Russians, but what if the Russians were blackmailing the Clintons with all the nefarious shit they (Clintons) were doing?

Then a home brew server with no security would be the perfect way to 'drop' classified information to the Russkies. You could make the case that the US Secretary of State's email traffic is all classified information regardless of subject matter. Anyone with ComSec background knows this. So none of it should have been available to anybody, let alone what? Five years worth of traffic?

And the added benefit was an FBI that was so enamored of the Clintons that they whitewashed the whole affair.

I mean, the premise in this article is that the Russians wouldn't/couldn't blackmail the Clintons.

I don't buy that for a fucking second.

zob2020 Singelguy Sat, 12/16/2017 - 07:43 Permalink

Hillary was by every measure far more desirable as president for ANY foreign government willing to use bribes to purchase each and every national and military secret or industrial advatage. She would happily havesold all the iff codes, all military secrets, every single piece of technology and patent along with all the natural resources such as ground waters and added in every national park as bonus.Hell with enough money she would hand over the nuclear arsenal, disarm the military and invite russian military bases to manage the united states like a colony.Compared to that, Trump was a catastrophy for Putin.

In reply to by Singelguy

CatInTheHat Sat, 12/16/2017 - 00:05 Permalink

After seeing what we all did in REAL TIME, ONLY THE MOST IDIOTIC FOOLS could believe this shit.I was on The Hill page on FB. I had shared one of the articles from ZEROHEDGE today and they BLOCKED IT. The article about the FBI, Strszok, text messages letters from Senators asking questions etc, and even when you spell it out to these people they call you a troll a Russian bot, etc. Most Americans are INDEPENDENTS. And ya pray to JESUS that the majority of Americans are truly NOT THAT FUCKING STUPID.These people are so filled with stupidity it hurts.But the hill wants to keep it that way Today NPR PATHOLOGIZED Trump's desire for wanting a good relationship with Russia, calling Russia a hostile state and basically imolying that Trump is an idiot and doesn't get how complicated foreign policy is .I can't stand Trump but tell me what the FUCK is wrong with wanting to approach other countries with diplomacy?.It's the US THAT IS HOSTILE, NOT RUSSIA.WHO HAS BEEN AT WARS OF AGGRESSION THE LAST SIXTEEN YEARS?.OH, THSTS RIGHT! SAUDI ARABIA IN YEMEN, ISRAHELL IN LEBANON AND IN GAZA AND THE US IN, WELL ALL OVER THE FUCKING UNIVERSE..Not Russia, Iran or China.

gregga777 CatInTheHat Sat, 12/16/2017 - 00:25 Permalink

"WHO HAS BEEN AT WARS OF AGGRESSION THE LAST SIXTEEN YEARS?.OH, THSTS RIGHT! SAUDI ARABIA IN YEMEN, ISRAHELL IN LEBANON AND IN GAZA AND THE US IN, WELL ALL OVER THE FUCKING UNIVERSE."

The standard Zionist tactic, ala SAUL ALINSKY "Rules For Radicals", is to accuse your opponents of being guilty of committing your own crimes. Hitlery "the Rotten Rodent" Clinton almost perfected that tactic but she used it far too many times and significant numbers of Americans became immunized to it.

Hitlery conspired with Russians to transfer 20% of US uranium mining assets to Russia. Therefore, her comrades and fellow travelers in the 17 three-letter American Gestapo (Geheimstatspolizei) / KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti) agencies accused President Trump of conspiring with Russians. And so,on and so forth.

In reply to by CatInTheHat

gregga777 Sat, 12/16/2017 - 00:18 Permalink

The genesis of the Russian hacking narrative is really quite simple and transparent:

Obunghole "The Magic Hafrican", Hitlery "the Rotten Rodent" Clinton, the Demon-Marxist Nazionale Kommittee and the 17 three-letter Gestapo (Geheimstatspolizei) / KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti) agencies all conspired to:

* transfer US Uranium assets to Russia with Russians paying Hitlery and her KKK (Klinton Krime Klan) at least $145 MILLION;
* elect Hitlery "the Rotten Rodent" Clinton President in 2016 and many, many other T R E A S O N O U S crimes against the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America;
* Then, in T R U E Alinsky "Rules For Radicals" fashion, they accused Donald J. Trump of their own T R E A S O N O U S criminal collusion with Russians.

Fortunately, they lost and the training wheels are coming off the entire charade. Hopefully, it will lead them all to the gallows, guillotines, firing squads, electric chairs and/or gas chambers. Preferably all of the above for each of them, you know, just to make sure.

gregga777 Sat, 12/16/2017 - 00:34 Permalink

Expecting objectivity and truth from the Anglo-Zionist FAKE NEWS Media is like expecting to survive sleeping with rattlesnakes. Just look at the pass they always give to war crimes committed by their racist pals in Apartheid Israel.

Free Man gregga777 Sat, 12/16/2017 - 00:55 Permalink

All the Leftist / Zionist liars use the 'holocau$t' fraud as a shield.The 'holocaust' storyline is one of the most easily debunked narratives ever contrived. That is why those who question it are arrested and persecuted. That is why violent, racist, & privileged Jewish supremacists demand censorship. What sort of truth is it that denies free speech and the freedom to seek the truth? Truth needs no protection from scrutiny.Only liars demand censorship.The '6M Jews, 5M others, & gas chambers' are scientifically impossible frauds. see the 'holocaust' scam debunked here:http://codoh.comNo name calling, level playing field debate here:http://forum.codoh.com

In reply to by gregga777

gregga777 Sat, 12/16/2017 - 00:43 Permalink

Hitlery hands down wins the "Most Treasonous American of All Time" award despite competing against very stiff competition. You know, the likes of the Rosenbergs, Benedict Arnold, the Walker Spy Ring, etc.

LoveTruth Sat, 12/16/2017 - 01:08 Permalink

Russia has one big advantage to US, almost no negroids and latinos, which means higher average IQ. Other big advantages for Russia, no feminism and no homosexual corruption of society. These are very important things for the average white man to feel that he lives in a normal country. More and more people in US believe US is a declining power. Well, we all know that all empires start falling when when they get morally corrupted within.

Mzhen Sat, 12/16/2017 - 01:12 Permalink

"Shawn Henry is the president of CrowdStrike Services and CSO and a retired executive assistant director of the FBI. Henry, who served in three FBI field offices and at the bureau’s headquarters, is credited with boosting the FBI’s computer crime and cybersecurity investigative capabilities. He oversaw computer crime investigations spanning the globe, including denial-of-service attacks, bank and corporate breaches, and state-sponsored intrusions."https://www.crowdstrike.com/executive-team/September 16, 2010 --"Shawn Henry has been named the new executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, Director Robert S. Mueller, III announced yesterday."http://blog.executivebiz.com/2010/09/shawn-henry-to-head-fbi-cyber-crim…

WTFUD Sat, 12/16/2017 - 06:01 Permalink

I have categorical evidence that Moscow is the capital of Russia, and moreover, that Russia has WMD's. This and other evidence i've compiled in a dossier for Buzzfeed to disseminate.

Singelguy Sat, 12/16/2017 - 06:37 Permalink

Assuming for a moment that the Russians have all the capabilities outlined in this article, and had all the evidence to crucify Hillary, why would they not work to get her elected? Once she was president Putin could have blackmailed her to get the sanctions dropped, end the war in Syria, etc. That would be far more effective than helping Trump win since he was an unknown quantity. The Russians are certainly not stupid.

opport.knocks Sat, 12/16/2017 - 08:12 Permalink

Yawn - any rational person already knew this.The DNC leak was a Mossad operation plain and simple. They assisted Seth Rich. I doubt very much that Seth Rich is dead, likely in Tel Aviv getting a new identity.Then they decide to make Russia, their sworn enemy over the attempt to topple Assad, the fall guy.Then distraction and deflection agents like Alex Jones and George Webb, chasing the Awans and leading folks down whatever other rabbit holes to keep folks off the scent.And who is DJT's biggest $$ backer, zionists Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Nice Jew-ruse-sell-em embassy you bought there Shelly.