NEWSWATCH: “Leakgate Finds Its Joe McCarthy; On Trump-Russia links, Rep. Schiff tries to fool the public with randomness” – Wall Street Journal/HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.

Adam Schiff file photo, adapted from image at congress.gov

“… Schiff, a former prosecutor, … should know better than to treat ‘circumstantial evidence’ as a synonym for guilt by association. There isn’t room to detail the fantastically trivial basis for his portrayal of Trump pilot fish Roger Stone as an intimate of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and alleged hacker Guccifer 2.0, or the utter fatuity of his attempt to place pilot […]

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Why the Comey Hearing Was Frightening to a Russian

Gas Facility file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – March 21, 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. Monday’s hearing on Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election and the alleged contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin yielded inspiring news for […]

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Cyber Firm at Center of Russian Hacking Charges Misread Data

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Oleksiy Kuzmenko, Pete Cobus – WASHINGTON – March 21, 2017) [Text with links here voanews.com/a/crowdstrike-comey-russia-hack-dnc-clinton-trump/3776067.html] An influential British think tank and Ukraine’s military are disputing a report that the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has used to buttress its claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election. The CrowdStrike report, released in December, asserted that […]

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“How did the intelligence community know that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee? CrowdStrike told them so. From the March 20 House Intelligence Committee hearing …”

FBI Headquarters File Photo

How did the intelligence community know that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee?  CrowdStrike told them so. From the March 20 House Intelligence Committee hearing: Congressman Will HURD: Have you been able to — when did the DNC provide access for — to the FBI for your technical folks to review what happened? FBI Director COMEY: Well we never […]

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NEWSLINK: “Notes From the House Select Intelligence Hearing on Russia; In one of the most anticipated congressional hearings in years, James Comey and Mike Rogers took turns saying nothing” – Rolling Stone/Matt Taibbi

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

[DJ: To be contrasted with Michael McFaul’s enthusiastic minute-by-minute Twitter feed at @McFaul] “The hearing on Russia’s involvement with the American electoral process began with an army of reporters swarming ’round the committee heads: Republican chair Devin Nunes of the Fresno area, and Democrat and ranking member Adam Schiff of Los Angeles. … The two witnesses were top dogs from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Was Yahoo a sanctioned FSB operation or a rogue operation?” – Jeffrey Carr/Medium

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“… In 2014, Chinese cyber attacks were in the political spotlight in Washington leading up to a summit between Obama and Xi. Cybersecurity firms like Crowdstrike published attribution reports blaming the Chinese government and the Dept of Justice charged five PLA officers/hackers with acts of cyber espionage. In 2016 and 2017, Russian cyber attacks took the spotlight, with Crowdstrike and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Down the conspiracy rabbit hole” – Washington Post/Charles Krauthammer

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

“We learn … from Tuesday’s spectacular WikiLeaks dump that among the CIA’s various and nefarious cybertools is the capacity to simulate intrusion by a foreign power, the equivalent of planting phony fingerprints on a smoking gun. … Washington [is] caught up in one of its periodic conspiracy frenzies. Actually, two. One, anti-Trump, is that he and his campaign colluded with Russian […]

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Putin Aims to Undermine Western Democracies With Election Meddling, Experts Say

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Ken Bredemeier – March 9, 2017) WASHINGTON – Russian President Vladimir Putin is single-handedly trying to undermine democracy in the United States and Europe and rupture their decades-old NATO alliance by meddling in their elections, foreign affairs analysts and Estonia’s former president told a congressional hearing Thursday in Washington. One of the experts, Peter […]

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Contacts with Russian Embassy

File Photo of Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Adapted From Image at loc.gov

(Jack Matlock – jackmatlock.com – March 4, 2017) Jack Matlock is a career diplomat who served on the front lines of American diplomacy during the Cold War and was U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union when the Cold War ended. Our press seems to be in a feeding frenzy regarding contacts that President Trump’s supporters had with Russian Ambassador Sergei […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Advice to Trump: Beware of Russian Trolls; The recent stray spy ship and the fly-bys in the Black Sea are signs that the Kremlin is engaging in its favorite pastime: pushing America’s buttons” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Mark Galeotti

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

“Last week, a Russian spy ship … spent a few days loitering approximately 30 miles off the East Coast …. up to Connecticut … down to Virginia, generating … consternation …. in the wake … of a few other incidents that set off alarm bells … [it was] reported that #Russia had secretly deployed cruise missiles … in likely defiance […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Attacks FBI on Leakers of Russia Reports: ‘FIND NOW'” – Reuters

FBI Headquarters File Photo

… Trump criticized the FBI … for failing to stop leaks of national security information to the media and directed the agency to find those who pass on classified information. … amid media reports that the FBI has refused a White House request that it refutes recent stories …. The Federal Bureau of Investigation … did not answer a request […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin’s Political Meddling Revives Old KGB Tactics. Russia is returning to the playbook of the Cold War in its covert efforts to interfere with elections in the West.” – Wall Street Journal/Andrew Weiss

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Last month, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said that, during the 2016 election, the Kremlin had pulled off a ‘covert influence campaign’ that ‘was probably the most successful in recorded history.’ It has become accepted wisdom that Russia’s interference in the presidential campaign represents a fundamentally new sort of intrusion into a modern democracy’s inner workings. But the Kremlin’s efforts […]

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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

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“…. 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

Map of Germany

“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

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

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

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… 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.”

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“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

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“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”

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

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”

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“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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