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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Why the Comey Hearing Was Frightening to a Russian

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(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 …”

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

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“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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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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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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NEWSLINK: “Stealth Wars: US-Russian Cyber Wars and the Future of International Security” – Russian and Eurasian Politics/Gordon M. Hahn

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“It increasingly appears that we have an unraveling of the hasty view put forward by the waning Washington consensus in media, academia and pre-Trump government circles regarding the exceptionalism of Russian cyber warfare and its alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hilllary Clinton’s and John Podesta’s email servers. First, the U.S. intelligence reports on these alleged Russian […]

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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: “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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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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And Then Putin Came For The West

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 17, 2016) First he went after the domestic opposition. When Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin five years ago, he launched a massive crackdown on dissent, jailing opposition leaders, staging a series of show trials, and cracking down on social media. He called them fifth columnists and tools of the West. Outside […]

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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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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

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(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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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.”

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“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”

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“… 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

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“… 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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NEWSWATCH: “Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation” – Washington Post

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As federal officials investigate suspicious Internet activity found last week on a Vermont utility computer, they are finding evidence that the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target … the utility …. An employee at Burlington Electric Department was checking his Yahoo email account … and triggered an alert indicating … his computer had connected to […]

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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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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.”

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“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

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(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

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(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

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(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

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(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

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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: “Let’s get the facts right on foreign involvement in our elections; America needs a bipartisan investigation into the extent of foreign involvement in the 2016 elections” – Washington Post/Michael McFaul

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… we know that Russian actors stole data from people working at the Democratic National Committee. We know that another foreign actor, WikiLeaks, published data stolen from the DNC …. We also know that WikiLeaks and others published data stolen from John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman …. We also know that Russian hackers were probing computers that contained information on […]

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NEWSLINK DailyBeast: “Sorry, Hillary Clinton Fans. There’s ‘Zero Evidence’ of Election Hacking.”

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“Democrats cried hallelujah when computer scientists reportedly pressed Hillary Clinton ask for recounts. But even those experts say an election hack is beyond unlikely.”

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NEWSLINK New York Times: “U.S. Officials Defend Integrity of Vote, Despite Hacking Fears”

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

“The Obama administration said … that despite Russian attempts to undermine the presidential election, it has concluded that the results ‘accurately reflect the will of the American people.’”

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