I’ve been reading the unclassified report on the DNC hacking. Given my previous posts on the subject, first here and then here, I was interested in what they said about the disclosure of the information. Here are their claims (emphasis mine):
Public Disclosure of Russian-Collected Data.
We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 20 persona, DCLeaks.com, and Wikileaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets.
• Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be an independent Romanian hacker, made multiple contradictory statements and false claims about his likely Russian identity throughout the election. Press reporting suggests more than one person claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 interacted with journalists.
• Content that we assess was taken from e-mail accounts targeted by the GRU in March 2016 appeared on DCLeaks..com starting in June.
We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks. Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.
• In early September, Putin said publicly it was important the DNC data was exposed to WikiLeaks, calling the search for the source of the leaks a distraction and denying Russian “state-level” involvement.
When I got that far I said whoa, cowboy, stop and consider—this is the very first piece of publicly available information they’ve presented to back up the claim that the Russians gave data to Wikileaks. And here they have Putin himself publicly praising the actions of Wikileaks. What could be more damning than hearing it from the horses mouth?
Well, being a naturally suspicious fellow, I looked up the full transcript of what Putin said in the interview in early September. Here’s what he actually said about the DNC hacking, which is both very interesting and very different from what they would have us believe. This is the entirety of Putin’s comments about the DNC hack:
MICKLETHWAIT: Very quickly: the other accusation you’ve faced — or that they’ve said a lot — is that people connected with Russia or backed by Russia were the people who hacked into the Democratic Party’s database. Is that, you would also say that is completely untrue?
PUTIN: No, I don’t know anything about that. You know how many hackers there are today and they act so delicately and precisely that they can leave their mark at the necessary time and place or even not their own mark, camouflaging their activity as that of some other hackers from other territories or countries. It’s an extremely difficult thing to check, if it’s even possible to check. At any rate, we definitely don’t do this at the state level.
And then, listen, does it even matter who hacked this data from the campaign headquarters of Mrs. Clinton? Is that really important? The important thing is the content that was given to the public. There should be a discussion about this, and there’s no need to distract the public’s attention from the essence of the problem by raising some side issues connected with the search for who did it.
But I want to tell you again, I don’t know anything about it, and on a state level Russia has never done this. And to be honest, I couldn’t even imagine that this sort of information is interesting to American society — specifically that the campaign headquarters worked in the interests of one of the candidates, in this case Mrs. Clinton, rather than equally for all of the Democratic Party candidates. It would simply not even occur to me that this could be interesting to anyone. So even from this point of view, we couldn’t have officially penetrated it.
You understand, to do that you need to have a finger on the pulse and understand the specifics of domestic political life in the U.S. I’m not sure that even our Foreign Ministry experts are sensitive enough.
First point … did you find the word “WikiLeaks” in Putin’s comments? Because I sure didn’t … let’s look at the claim of the US intelligence report again. They said:
Putin said publicly it was important the DNC data was exposed to WikiLeaks
In fact, Putin did NOT say that, nor did he say anything even remotely like that. Putin didn’t mention WikiLeaks anywhere in the interview, not once. Search it yourself.
Instead, what Putin said was “the important thing is the content”, which means something entirely different. The intelligence agencies are being deceptive, misleading, and untruthful in this claim, and are banking on our blindly swallowing their fairy tale about Putin praising WikiLeaks … not gonna happen.
Man, I hate it when people lie like that about the small stuff. Yes, it’s just small stuff, but you see, they’re telling us “There’s big stuff, but we can’t show it to you, it’s classified at the sooper-dooper double-secret level, you’ll just have to trust us” … then they lie to us about the small stuff.
How can we trust them about the big stuff after they’ve lied about the small stuff?
In any case, the intelligence agencies lying about what Putin said, that’s just cheap mudslinging. The only good thing I can say about it is another of my rules of thumb, which says:
When a man starts slinging mud … it’s a sure sign he’s out of real ammunition.
If they had real ammunition against Wikileaks, they’d be firing i.
Now, here’s what I find to be the most curious part of Putin’s answer to the question. It’s the part where he says:
But I want to tell you again, I don’t know anything about it, and on a state level Russia has never done this. And to be honest, I couldn’t even imagine that this sort of information is interesting to American society — specifically that the campaign headquarters worked in the interests of one of the candidates, in this case Mrs. Clinton, rather than equally for all of the Democratic Party candidates. It would simply not even occur to me that this could be interesting to anyone.
How odd, and how very revealing of the vast gulf between Russia and the US. In Putin’s mind, if there is a Democratic campaign headquarters, of course they would work in favor of one candidate over another! It’s not even questioned, it’s no surprise at all, that’s how the power structure works in Russia. I guess it’s true what they say … “In Russia, you don’t pick a party. In Russia, the Party picks you!”
There’s more to unpack in the report, but that will do for now. Everyone should remember that DNI James Clapper flat-out lied under oath to the US Congress about the NSA spying on all of us, and had to go back and apologize for his lies … so nobody should be surprised that he is lying to us now about Putin and WikiLeaks.
My best to everyone,
Yes, I’ve said it before: Please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE REFERRING TO in your comment, so we can all understand what you’re talking about.