TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Federal Security Service Board

(Kremlin.ru – February 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin took part in an annual expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Board to discuss the FSB’s results for 2016 and the priority tasks for ensuring Russia’s national security. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. These annual FSB Board meetings give us a chance to meet and not only thoroughly analyse […]

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NEWSLINK: “It’s the Russians! … or Is it? Cold War Rhetoric in the Digital Age” – ICIT/James Scott

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“…. Western systems lack the security and resiliency to withstand foreign compromise. Moreover, Incident Response techniques and processes are not comprehensive or holistic enough to definitively attribute an incident to a specific threat actor from the multitude of script kiddies, hacktivists, lone-wolf threat actors, cyber-criminals, cyber-jihadists, hail-mary threats, and nation-state sponsored advanced persistent threats (APTs), who all possess the means, […]

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President Trump’s Boris Yeltsin Moment

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – February 15, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. President Donald Trump is irritated about the media furor surrounding the departure of his national security adviser. “The real scandal here is that classified information is […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Two explosive reports on Trump and Russia. Zero on-the-record sources.” – Washington Post/Callum Borchers

Satellite Dishes

“… Which is it? Is the media making up fake nonsense? Or is the intelligence community leaking real information? …. anonymity invariably promotes skepticism about sources’ motives. The Times wrote that ‘all of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.’ That makes sense; it also makes sense to wonder whether […]

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Interfax: Claims of Snowden’s possible extradition to U.S. absurd – Russian Foreign Ministry

Edward Snowden file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 15 (Interfax) – The Russian Foreign Ministry has dismissed reports by several media organizations on the possibility that Russia could extradite former CIA employee Edward Snowden to the United States as a ‘gift’ to new U.S. President Donald Trump as absurd. “The Russian side has already commented at various levels on the absurdity of such a claim,” Russian […]

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Interfax: Lifting of some restrictions from FSB confirms Trump’s intention to normalize relations with Russia – former FSB Director Kovalyov

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax) – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s decision to drop some restrictions imposed earlier on the issuance of licenses and permits to export computer technologies to Russia shows that the Donald Trump administration is consistent in its efforts to normalize cooperation with Russia, Nikolai Kovalyov, a State Duma deputy and former head of the Federal Security […]

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NEWSLINK: “German intelligence finds no evidence of Russian meddling; But authorities warned Russia has been on a ‘confrontational path’ since 2014 and its media is ‘hostile.'” – PoliticoEU/ESTHER KING

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“A year-long investigation into potential Russian interference with German politics has failed to uncover evidence of Kremlin-backed meddling, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Monday. German intelligence authorities found no concrete proof of disinformation campaigns targeting the government and have decided against publishing the 50-page report to avoid further straining relations with Moscow, according to SZ. …”

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NEWSLINK: “U.S. Preps for Infowar on Russia” – DailyBeast/Tim Mak

Satellite Dishes

“While President Trump is still defending Vladimir Putin in public, American policymakers have finally awoken to Russian intervention in the U.S. democratic process-and are pumping tens of millions into a counter-propaganda initiative”

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VIDEO NEWSLINK: “Center For The National Interest (CFTNI) panel discussion on U.S.-Russian relations” – C-SPAN

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VIDEO: Center For The National Interest (CFTNI) panel discussion on U.S.-#Russian relations.  Panelists talked about Russian #hacking and the 2016 presidential election. Panelists included Dmitri Simes and former George W. Bush administration officials George Beebe and Paul Saunders. They spoke about the conclusions of the intelligence community report on Russian hacking and called for a more comprehensive investigation into the […]

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Catching up on the Russian interference in the election story

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Read Masha Gessen in the New York Review of Books: https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/01/09/russia-trump-election-flawed-intelligence/ Also the work of cyber security expert Jeffery Carr at Medium: https://medium.com/@jeffreycarr The work of Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/staff/glenn-greenwald/ A few interesting facts. NSA had only “moderate confidence” rather than “high confidence.” And NSA is the only group that could have hard evidence of a Russian connection. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Lawmakers Want Documents on Russia Election Probe” – Reuters

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee called on the Trump administration … to provide them with … documents related to the investigation of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The request may be an effort to avoid a repeat of an unusual document access arrangement made between the Senate Intelligence Committee and CIA to review information related to enhanced […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Simple Reason Russia and America Keep Inching towards Crisis” – The National Interest/Ted Galen Carpenter

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Tensions between the United States and Russia rose rapidly during the final months of the Obama administration. Symbolizing that trend is the new deployment of three thousand U.S. troops along with tanks and other military hardware in eastern Poland, directly on [the] border with Russia. … Long gone was the hope Obama expressed early in his presidency for a ‘reset’ […]

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NBC VIDEO: Watch Full Interview With Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(NBC News –  Jan. 12, 2016 – nbcnews.com/video/watch-full-interview-with-kremlin-spokesman-dmitry-peskov-853603395519) Watch Full Interview With Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov NBC News’ Bill Neely talks to Dmitry Peskov about hacking, President Putin and Donald Trump. [featured image is file photo]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian tech expert named in Trump report says US intelligence never contacted him” – McClatchy/KEVIN G. HALL, TIM JOHNSON

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A #Russian venture capitalist and tech expert whose name and company are mentioned in the now-notorious document alleging connections between the Donald #Trump campaign and Russian #hackers says no #intelligence officers have ever contacted him about the accusations, which he says are false. * * * #XBT, owner of Dallas-based enterprise-hosting company #Webzilla, is run by a successful Russian tech […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Intelligence panel chair asks why Democrats denied FBI access after Russian hacking (excerpt)” – McClatchy/ANNA DOUGLAS

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

… [Senator Richard] Burr wanted to know why the Democratic National Committee didn’t give the FBI direct access to servers and devices that had been compromised in a cyberattack. FBI Director James Comey told Burr the agency and its investigators had made ‘multiple requests at different levels’ for access to DNC infrastructure and John Podesta’s devices for the purposes of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them” – New York Times/Andrew Higgins

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“… steeled by a dozen years in the Soviet gulag, decades of sparring with the KGB. and a bout of near fatal heart disease … Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and … Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride. But he got knocked sideways when British police officers … informed him that they […]

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NEWSLINK: “Lessons From Russia: Verify Everything, Don’t Publish Rumors” – New York Times/Masha Gessen

Satellite Dishes

“… I was the editor of a monthly magazine and wanted the journalist to expand his report for my publication. ‘I made it up,’ he said breezily when I called him. That could mean several things. He could indeed have made the story up. Alternatively, he could have been lying when he said he had made it up. Maybe he […]

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Golden Skepticism; Wild allegations in unverified Trump dossier fail to impress Kremlin critics and supporters alike

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – January 12, 2017) In the past 24 hours, on both sides of the Atlantic, the Internet has exploded in incredulity, responding to an unverified dossier published by BuzzFeed News, describing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged relationship with the Kremlin. The 35-page report features several salacious and uncorroborated claims about Trump’s ties to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why Are the Trump Allegations Hanging Around When They Haven’t Been Substantiated?” – Lawfare/Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittes

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“What is one to make of the apparent inability of press and government alike to verify the allegations in the Trump dossier combined with the cache of documents’ apparent staying power? The unverified allegations against Donald Trump are not just salacious, they are specific. These are facts which should be verifiable as either true or false. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Comey: DNC denied FBI’s requests for access to hacked servers” – The Hill

FBI Headquarters Building file photo

“The FBI requested direct access to the … DNC … hacked computer servers but was denied, Director James Comey told lawmakers …. The bureau made ‘multiple requests at different levels’ … but ultimately struck an agreement with the DNC that a ‘highly respected private company’ would get access and share what it found with investigators. ‘We’d always prefer to have […]

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Six Problems With U.S. Intel on the Russian Hacks

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – January 9, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. [from Facebook: January 9, 2017 Andrew Kuchins Andrew Kuchins is Senior Fellow and research professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies (CERES) […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Media Chief Dismisses U.S. Report on Propaganda Efforts” – Wall Street Journal

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

Head of RT news channel calls American intelligence assessment on election interference ‘comedy hit of the year’

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Ellen Mickiewicz: “RT”

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Subject: RT Date: Sun, 8 Jan 2017 19:59:35 -0500 From: Ellen Mickiewicz <ellen.mickiewicz@gmail.com> Ellen Mickiewicz, James R. Shepley Emeritus Professor of Public Policy and Political Science Duke University The Report from the U.S. Intelligence Community is notable for its factual mistakes and misleading conclusions. Whether misleading is deliberate or simply lack of information they could have accessed is not known. […]

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VIDEO: Russia’s election intervention is ‘new reality, new weapon’

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(PBS Newshour – January 7, 2017) [Click here for transcript] On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold a meeting about the intelligence report released this week that concludes the Russian government tried to influence the U.S. election. To break down what is in the report and what to expect, senior national security reporter at The Wall […]

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A DEEP DIVE INTO THE OBAMA RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN DNC HACK (AND THEFT AND HARASSMENT)

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Subject: A DEEP DIVE INTO THE OBAMA RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN DNC HACK (AND THEFT AND HARASSMENT) Date: Sat, 7 Jan 2017 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> A DEEP DIVE INTO THE OBAMA RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN DNC HACK (AND THEFT AND HARASSMENT) BY Andrei Liakhov [Andrei Liakhov has over 20 years of experience with leading international law firms, private companies and government […]

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NEWSLINK Buzzfeed: “DNC: That Fight With FBI Over Hacked Servers Was All A Misunderstanding. Democratic Party officials say the public spat over their hacked servers was a miscommunication.”

FBI Headquarters Building file photo

“The Democratic National Committee downplayed its public spat with the FBI on Friday over why federal investigators did not independently examine their servers breached by Russian cyberspies, saying it was a misunderstanding that didn’t have anything to do with lingering political tensions between the two. …”

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NEWSLINK Wired: “FBI SAYS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WOULDN’T LET AGENTS SEE THE HACKED EMAIL SERVERS”

FBI Headquarters Building file photo

“… In a statement to WIRED, a senior FBI law enforcement official wrote in an email Thursday that ‘The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated.’ This contrasts with what DNC deputy communications director Eric Walker told Buzzfeed […]

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NEWSLINK DailyBeast: “U.S. Spy Report Blames Putin for Hacks, But Doesn’t Back It Up. The long-awaited public report on Russia’s role in the DNC hack accused the Kremlin of working to elect Trump-without providing much new information to prove it.”

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“U.S. spy chiefs presented their case at Trump Tower on Friday that Russia was behind the hacks that rocked the 2016 presidential election. But they didn’t help themselves by releasing a strongly-worded report that is scant on new evidence-and is, in some cases, a literal rehash of outdated information. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “FBI, Dems bicker over investigation of hacked servers” – The Hill/KATIE BO WILLIAMS

FBI Headquarters Building file photo

“… The DNC told Buzzfeed in a statement published Wednesday that the FBI never requested access to its servers after they were breached. … a senior law enforcement official disputed that characterization … ‘The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why doubts still cloud Russian hacking allegations; Evidence that the government has presented so far linking Russian operatives to the DNC hack is questionable, fueling skepticism and doubt about Moscow’s role.” – Christian Science Monitor/Paul F. Roberts

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“Since the White House blamed #Russia for hacking US political organizations to undermine the presidential election, administration critics, skeptics, and cybersecurity experts have pushed the government to reveal its evidence. … much of what has come out of Washington … has only raised more questions about the government’s claims. A joint analysis of recent hacking activity by the FBI and […]

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Leonid Bershidsky: U.S. Intelligence Got the Wrong Cyber Bear

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – January 2, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. [Text with links here bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-02/u-s-intelligence-got-the-wrong-cyber-bear] The “Russian hacking” story in the U.S. has gone too far. That it’s not based on any solid public evidence, and […]

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NEWSLINK Forbes/Kalev Leetaru: “‘Fake News’ And How The Washington Post Rewrote Its Story On Russian Hacking Of The Power Grid”

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On Friday the Washington Post sparked a wave of fear when it ran the breathless headline “Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, U.S. officials say.” The lead sentence offered “A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according […]

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NEWSLINK Russian and Eurasian Politics/Gordon Hahn: “Russia, America, and Interference in Domestic Politics: Comparative Context”

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“It is important to note that any interference by either side is a violation of the Helsinki Final Act, which forbids signatory-states from interfering in the domestic politics of other signatory-states. Both Russia and the U.S. are signatory-states. This article needs further elaboration to define what constitutes ‘interference in domestic politics’ and to determine remedies and punishments for such interference. […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Why has a Moscow restaurant been named after Stalin’s secret service?”

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

“In December 2016, a restaurant in central Moscow changed its name to NKVD, an abbreviation closely associated with the bloody period of Stalin’s Terror of the 1930s. Human rights activists are outraged, Stalin supporters are rejoicing, while experts point out that the proprietors have just come up with a cynical way of making money through provocation.”

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NEWSLINK Foreign Policy Magazine/Oliver Carroll: “Putin’s Masterstroke of Nonretaliation. In refusing to expel U.S. diplomats in response to President Obama’s sanctions, the Russian leader pulled another fast one on the White House.”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

“It was one of the most heavily anticipated diplomatic moves of the year, but when it came down to it, the Obama administration’s decision to expel 35 embassy staff, close two compounds, and impose sanctions on top intelligence chiefs caught Russia off guard. The move was virtually unprecedented in the post-Cold War world. But that was the point. It was […]

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[White House] Press Call on the Administration Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – December 29, 2016) Via Conference Call 2:42 P.M EST MR. STROH: Thank you very much and, everyone, thanks for joining our call this afternoon. This will be a background press conference call on the administration response to #Russian malicious #cyber activity and harassment. I will introduce the senior administration officials […]

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FACT SHEET: Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – December 29, 2016) Today, President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. Russia’s cyber activities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in U.S. democratic institutions, sow doubt about […]

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Statement by the President on Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – December 29, 2016) Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election. These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary […]

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Russian Banking System Safe From Cyber-Threats — Central Bank Head

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 28, 2016) Russian Central Bank Head Elvira Nabiullina said that Russia’s banking system is protected against cyber-threats in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel. “I should say that our banking system currently has an adequate level of protection against cyber threats,” she said. Nabiullina also said the Central Bank has created a […]

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Obama Options on Russian Hacks Range From Covert to Military

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Nafeesa Syeed – December 28, 2016) President Barack Obama has vowed that the U.S. will respond to Russian hacking undertaken during the U.S. presidential campaign. Yet the public may never hear about it. During his presidency, Obama favored a policy of deterrence when it came to responding to cyber attacks, in what U.S. officials call “naming […]

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Leonid Bershidsky/Bloomberg: “Why I Still Don’t Buy the Russian Hacking Story”

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – December 22, 2016) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. I’m willing to believe that Russia sought to hack the U.S. election, but I still find the evidence lacking. That skepticism applies to the latest sensation […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Don’t be so sure Russia hacked the Clinton emails” – Reuters/James Bamford

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… as both sides begin arming their cyberweapons, it is critical for the public to be confident that the evidence is really there, and to understand the potential consequences of a tit-for-tat cyberwar escalating into a real war. … there is little doubt about Russian cyber fingerprints in various U.S. campaign activities. Moscow, like Washington, has long spied on such […]

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NEWSLINK The Nation: “Declassify the Evidence of Russian Hacking! The debate over possible intervention in the election should be based on publicly disclosed evidence, not unverifiable, anonymous leaks.”

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“… What is clear is that WikiLeaks managed to obtain a trove of often embarrassing and self-serving e-mails written by DNC officials, Clinton campaign operatives, and media elites. But exactly how did it obtain them? Were they leaked, as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims, or were they deliberately stolen by Russian hackers? We still don’t know for sure. What we […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Hackers and American Hacks; The CIA that misjudged Putin for years is now sure of his motives” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of CIA Seal on Floor

Somewhere in the Kremlin … Putin must be laughing. The Russian strongman almost certainly sought to undermine public confidence in American democracy … and as the Obama Administration leaves town it is playing into his hands. … the real story behind … reports that U.S. intelligence services have concluded that Russia intervened to assist … Trump’s presidential campaign. … attributed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Updates Plan to Counter Cyberattacks and Foreign Influence” – New York Times

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The Kremlin published a new plan … against what it described as stepped-up cyberattacks and ‘information-psychological’ methods by foreign intelligence agencies …. updat[ing] a similar information security doctrine put in place by … Putin in 2000. … American officials have mulled retaliating against Russia for … hacking before the presidential election …. The 16-page document sketches out … threats … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware: The #Russian bear is getting bolder” – Washington Post

Europe Map

… In #NATO member #Hungary, #Russian agents have been fingered for training with a #neoNazi militia; in … #Monte­negro … on the verge of joining the transatlantic alliance, #Moscow is accused of plotting a violent #coup. … In Hungary … [there was] a gunfight … between police and the leader of the National Front movement …. Police … discovered large […]

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The Hacking Must Go On

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 16, 2016) The U.S. election may be over, but Russia is still hacking the United States. But the goal appears to have shifted from sowing chaos to gathering intelligence — at least for the time being. According to cybersecurity experts, the November 9 attacks was carried out by the hacking group known […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian bribery probe widens amid reports of Kremlin power struggle” – Washington Post/David Filipov

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Russia’s state-run news agency reported … more officials could be targeted in the corruption probe that has already led to the arrest of the … economic development minister. Other news reports … name[d] names, all of them of officials close to … Medvedev, leader of the so-called liberals, who tend to favor a smaller state role in society and […]

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The Loyalty of Fear; Putin sends a message to the elite with the arrest of Russia’s economic development minister

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Mikhail Fishman – November 16, 2016) It was an awkward, dramatic national moment for Russia: a bonafide minister of the federal government standing in court as the defendant, facing corruption charges and promising his cooperation to prosecutors, pleading to be released on bail. The hearing ended slightly anticlimactically, with a decision to place […]

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