Another Reason to Avoid Rushing on Russia’s Election Role

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 20, 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. In January, the U.S. intelligence community accused the Kremlin of aiding Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and refused to reveal the evidence that led to the claim […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Is Russia Testing Trump?” – New York Times/ MICHAEL J. MORELL, EVELYN FARKAS

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“This week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is making his first diplomatic visit to Russia, where he’s likely to press Moscow on its handling of Syria, which he has called ‘incompetent.’ … Tillerson should recognize that Russia’s involvement in Syria is only one example of the increasingly active, and disruptive, role that … Putin has been playing on the world stage … […]

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AUDIO: Podcast: Scott Horton Talks To Cybersecurity expert Jeffery Carr on Russia Hacking

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(ScottHorton.org – Interview with Jefferey Carr – April 7, 2017) Click here: scotthorton.org/interviews/4717-jeffrey-carr-on-the-pushback-against-crowdstrikes-claims-of-russian-election-hacking/ Jeffrey Carr, an international cybersecurity consultant, discusses the low evidentiary standard the US government and media has used to make very serious accusations about Russian hacking of Ukrainian military software and, by extension, the DNC emails. Carr says that CrowdStrike’s cybersecurity report – the basis for all […]

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NEWSLINK: “Cybersecurity experts who were first to conclude that Putin hacked presidential election ABANDON some of their claims against Russia – and refuse to co-operate with Congress” – The Daily Mail (UK)/ Alana Goodman

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“… the first expert company to make a link between the #DNC hacks and the #Kremlin is facing a damaging series of questions over its credibility …. #Cybersecurity firm #CrowdStrike has had to retract portions of a report supporting its allegations of #Russian #cyberattacks – and is also refusing to address #Congress about its findings on Moscow’s #election hacking. CrowdStrike […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Susan Rice Keeps Her Mask On; The press corps buys her story that ‘unmasking’ was no big deal” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of Susan Rice and Barack Hussein Obama in St. Petersburg Russia, with Mural of St. Petersburg Scene in Background, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Susan Rice returned to the friendly confines of MSNBC … to respond to softball questions about the news that the #Obama national security adviser had ‘unmasked’ the identity of at least one member of the #Trump transition team … surveilled by U.S. #intelligence. … all the more imperative to hear her under oath before #Congress. … Rice didn’t deny that she had sought […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Does Obama Think of the Russia Story? The only reasonable conclusion: Not much.” – Wall Street Journal/JAMES FREEMAN

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Schiff … and Maddow are convinced [of] … more than circumstantial evidence of collusion between the … Trump campaign and the Russian government. But … Obama doesn’t see it that way, judging from … comments before and after leaving the White House. It’s a reasonable guess [Obama] has seen more relevant intelligence on this issue than they have. * * * … the Trump White House […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Schiff: Still no ‘definitive’ link between Russia, Trump campaign” – Fox News

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

“The top Democrat on the House committee investigating the ever-expanding probe into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential race said … that panel members still have no ‘definitive’ evidence that the Trump campaign was working with Moscow to defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. … the FBI as well as the House and Senate intelligence committees are investigating the matter, which includes […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Devin Nunes Knows. Team Obama was spying broadly on the incoming administration” – Wall Street Journal/Kimberley Strassel

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“We’ve known since early February that a call by former national security adviser Mike Flynn to the Russian ambassador was monitored by U.S. intelligence. … Flynn’s name was revealed and leaked to the press, along with the substance of his conversation. … Nunes’s own intelligence sources informed him that documents showed further collection of information about, and unmasking of, Trump transition officials. … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia experts paint sinister picture of meddling in U.S. election” – AP

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“Russian experts painted a sinister picture of Russian meddling in the 2016 election Thursday, telling the Senate intelligence committee about fake news, cyber trolls, smear campaigns and even slayings they say could have ties to the Kremlin. The hearing focused on tactics Moscow is thought to employ in spreading disinformation to influence the opinions of Americans and U.S. policy. There […]

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Cyber Firm Rewrites Part of Disputed Russian Hacking Report

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(Voice of America – voanews.com – Oleksiy Kuzmenko and Pete Cobus – WASHINGTON, March 25, 2017) U.S. #cybersecurity firm #CrowdStrike has revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of #Russian #hacking during last year’s American presidential election campaign. The shift followed a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank. In December, […]

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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

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(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: “Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion” – The Intercept/Glenn Greenwald

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“… The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies … there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they […]

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NEWSLINK: “From Russia, with Panic; Cozy bears, unsourced hacks-and a Silicon Valley shakedown” – The Baffler/Yasha Levine

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“… It seemed like a plotline from a vintage James Bond film. From his Moscow lair, Vladimir Putin struck up an alliance with Julian Assange to mount a massive cyber-offensive to discredit Hillary Clinton and her retinue of loyal Democratic Party operatives in the eyes of the American public. The plot was full of twists and turns and hair-raising tangents, […]

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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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David Johnson: How we got here: one theory

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Just for arguments sake here’s one speculative hypothesis about how we got to where we are today vis-a-vis the “Russian hacking” story. In the context of the 2016 highly emotional presidential election pitting Clinton vs. Trump there was a concerted effort on the part of Clinton-partisans to try to make the central campaign theme an expose of alleged Trump-Russia connections. […]

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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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NEWSLINK: “Why We Must Oppose the Kremlin-Baiting Against Trump; The Russia-connected allegations have created an atmosphere of hysteria amounting to McCarthyism” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

Satellite Dishes

“The bipartisan, nearly full-political-spectrum tsunami of factually unverified allegations that President Trump has been seditiously ‘compromised’ by the Kremlin, with scarcely any nonpartisan pushback from influential political or media sources, is deeply alarming. Begun by the Clinton campaign in mid-2016, and exemplified now by New York Times columnists (who write of a ‘Trump-Putin regime’ in Washington), strident MSNBC hosts, and […]

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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

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“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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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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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: “Inside the belly of Russia’s ‘propaganda machine’: A visit to RT news channel; US security services have fingered the channel as a key player in the Kremlin’s efforts to sway Western politics. But inside its offices, RT seems a far cry from what the US says it is – and what it aspires to be.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Satellite Dishes

… The network appears to have changed focus about five years ago to become more about promoting the Russian point of view on international affairs, and much less about covering Russia per se. It also became a platform for coverage of social problems in Western societies, government malfeasance, corporate non-accountability, and the dysfunctions of democracy that often contrasts in tone, […]

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Ukraine’s Survival Strategy for the Trump Era

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – January 17, 2017) For Ukraine, Jan. 20 is a scarier date than perhaps for any other country: It may be about to lose the U.S. support that has allowed it to stay afloat in the face of #Russian hostility and economic disaster. The Ukrainian elite is divided between two competing strategies in response. […]

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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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NEWSLINK: “Team Trump on Russia: Words and Actions” – Russia Matters

Donald Trump

“U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has picked his Cabinet members, Cabinet-level officials and advisors. Here is a snapshot of their positions on and ties with Russia. This is a work in progress that will evolve throughout the month of January. In our initial post on Jan. 9, we focused on Cabinet picks who have had direct dealings with Russia or a […]

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PBS VIDEO: What kind of threat does Russia pose to the U.S.?

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(PBS Newshour – pbs.org/newshour/bb/kind-threat-russia-pose-u-s/ – January 12, 2017) President-elect Trump has said he would like to improve relations with Russia. But his choice for defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis, views Russia as America’s number one threat. What’s the reality of the White House-Kremlin dynamic? Steve Inskeep discusses with Evelyn Farkas, a former Defense Department official, and Michael McFaul, former U.S. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Twenty years ago, Russians loved the US. Where did it all go wrong? In the immediate post-Soviet era, Russians held the US in high esteem. But that started to change amid economic woes and Western adventurism in the Balkans and Middle East.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

“… Time magazine’s July 15, 1996, cover. … depicts Russian President Boris Yeltsin, recently reelected … grinning and clutching an American flag under the headline ‘Yanks to the Rescue!’ The story tells of a group of high-powered US political consultants who were secretly brought to Russia amid the hard-fought presidential elections of 1996, in which a beleaguered Mr. Yeltsin was […]

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

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“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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[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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