Showing posts with label Hacking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hacking. Show all posts

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Intercept Discloses Top-Secret NSA Document On Russia Hacking Aimed At US Voting System

The report details an operation targeting voter registration in 2016.

By Ben Dreyfuss

On Monday, the Intercept published a classified internal NSA document noting that Russian military intelligence mounted an operation to hack at least one US voting software supplier—which provided software related to voter registration files—in the months prior to last year’s presidential contest. It has previously been reported that Russia attempted to hack into voter registration systems, but this NSA document provides details of how one such operation occurred.

According to the Intercept:
The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the US election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed US government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.
While the document provides a rare window into the NSA’s understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking, it does not show the underlying “raw” intelligence on which the analysis is based. A US intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive.
The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into US voting systems than was previously understood. It states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document:
Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.
Go read the whole thing.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information On Clinton

A meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr. was held at Trump Tower in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.

The meeting was also attended by his campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner only recently disclosed the meeting, though not its content, in confidential government documents described to The New York Times.

The Times reported the existence of the meeting on Saturday. But in subsequent interviews, the advisers and others revealed the motivation behind it.

The meeting — at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican nomination — points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.

And while Trump has been dogged by revelations of undisclosed meetings between his associates and the Russians, the episode at Trump Tower is the first such confirmed private meeting involving members of his inner circle during the campaign — as well as the first one known to have included his eldest son. It came at an inflection point in the campaign, when Donald Trump Jr., who served as an adviser and a surrogate, was ascendant and Mr. Manafort was consolidating power.

It is unclear whether the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, actually produced the promised compromising information about Mrs. Clinton. But the people interviewed by The Times about the meeting said the expectation was that she would do so.

In a statement on Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. said he had met with the Russian lawyer at the request of an acquaintance. “After pleasantries were exchanged,” he said, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”

He said she then turned the conversation to adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. The law so enraged President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children.

“It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,” Mr. Trump said.

When he was first asked about the meeting on Saturday, he said only that it was primarily about adoptions and mentioned nothing about Mrs. Clinton.
President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, also attended the meeting last year at Trump Tower. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the president’s lawyer, said on Sunday that “Trump was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.”

Lawyers and spokesmen for Mr. Kushner and Mr. Manafort did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In his statement, Donald Trump Jr. said he asked Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner to attend, but did not tell them what the meeting was about.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian hackers and propagandists worked to tip the election toward Donald J. Trump, in part by stealing and then providing to WikiLeaks internal Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails that were embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton. WikiLeaks began releasing the material on July 22.

A special prosecutor and congressional committees are now investigating the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with the Russians. Mr. Trump has disputed that, but the investigation has cast a shadow over his administration.

Mr. Trump has also equivocated on whether the Russians were solely responsible for the hacking. On Sunday, two days after his first meeting as president with Mr. Putin, Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post: “I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion.....” He also tweeted that they had “discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded...””

On Sunday morning on Fox News, the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, described the Trump Tower meeting as a “big nothing burger.”

“Talking about issues of foreign policy, issues related to our place in the world, issues important to the American people is not unusual,” he said.

But Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, one of the panels investigating Russian election interference, said he wanted to question “everyone that was at that meeting.”

“There’s no reason for this Russian government advocate to be meeting with Paul Manafort or with Mr. Kushner or the president’s son if it wasn’t about the campaign and Russia policy,” Mr. Schiff said after the initial Times report.

Ms. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer invited to the Trump Tower meeting, is best known for mounting a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act.

The adoption impasse is a frequently used talking point for opponents of the act. Ms. Veselnitskaya’s campaign against the law has also included attempts to discredit the man after whom it was named, Sergei L. Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor who died in 2009 in mysterious circumstances in a Russian prison after exposing one of the biggest corruption scandals during Mr. Putin’s rule.
Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul J. Manafort, at the Republican National Convention in July 2016 in Cleveland. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
Ms. Veselnitskaya’s clients include state-owned businesses and a senior government official’s son, whose company was under investigation in the United States at the time of the meeting. Her activities and associations had previously drawn the attention of the F.B.I., according to a former senior law enforcement official.

Ms. Veselnitskaya said in a statement on Saturday that “nothing at all about the presidential campaign” was discussed. She recalled that after about 10 minutes, either Mr. Kushner or Mr. Manafort walked out.

She said she had “never acted on behalf of the Russian government” and “never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government.”

The Trump Tower meeting was disclosed to government officials in recent days, when Mr. Kushner, who is also a senior White House aide, filed a revised version of a form required to obtain a security clearance.

The Times reported in April that he had failed to disclose any foreign contacts, including meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States and the head of a Russian state bank. Failure to report such contacts can result in a loss of access to classified information and even, if information is knowingly falsified or concealed, in imprisonment.

Mr. Kushner’s advisers said at the time that the omissions were an error, and that he had immediately notified the F.B.I. that he would be revising the filing.

In a statement on Saturday, Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said: “He has since submitted this information, including that during the campaign and transition, he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition. Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr. As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows.”

Mr. Manafort, the former campaign chairman, also recently disclosed the meeting, and Donald Trump Jr.’s role in organizing it, to congressional investigators who had questions about his foreign contacts, according to people familiar with the events. Neither Mr. Manafort nor Mr. Kushner was required to disclose the content of the meeting.

A spokesman for Mr. Manafort declined to comment.

Since the president took office, Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric have assumed day-to-day control of their father’s real estate empire. Because he does not serve in the administration and does not have a security clearance, Donald Trump Jr. was not required to disclose his foreign contacts.

Federal and congressional investigators have not publicly asked for any records that would require his disclosure of Russian contacts.

Ms. Veselnitskaya is a formidable operator with a history of pushing the Kremlin’s agenda. Most notable is her campaign against the Magnitsky Act, which provoked a Cold War-style, tit-for-tat dispute with the Kremlin when President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2012.

Under the law, about 44 Russian citizens have been put on a list that allows the United States to seize their American assets and deny them visas. The United States asserts that many of them are connected to the fraud exposed by Mr. Magnitsky, who after being jailed for more than a year was found dead in his cell. A Russian human rights panel found that he had been assaulted. To critics of Mr. Putin, Mr. Magnitsky, in death, became a symbol of corruption and brutality in the Russian state.
An infuriated Mr. Putin has called the law an “outrageous act,” and, in addition to banning American adoptions, he compiled what became known as an “anti-Magnitsky” blacklist of United States citizens.

Among those blacklisted was Preet Bharara, then the United States attorney in Manhattan, who led notable convictions of Russian arms and drug dealers. Mr. Bharara was abruptly fired in March, after previously being asked to stay on by President Trump.

One of Ms. Veselnitskaya’s clients is Denis Katsyv, the Russian owner of Prevezon Holdings, an investment company based in Cyprus. He is the son of Petr Katsyv, the vice president of the state-owned Russian Railways and a former deputy governor of the Moscow region. In a civil forfeiture case prosecuted by Mr. Bharara’s office, the Justice Department alleged that Prevezon had helped launder money linked to the $230 million corruption scheme exposed by Mr. Magnitsky by putting it in New York real estate and bank accounts. Prevezon recently settled the case for $6 million without admitting wrongdoing.

Ms. Veselnitskaya and her client also hired a team of political and legal operatives to press the case for repeal. And they tried but failed to keep Mr. Magnitsky’s name off a new law that takes aim at human-rights abusers across the globe. The team included Rinat Akhmetshin, an √©migr√© to the United States who once served as a Soviet military officer and who has been called a Russian political gun for hire. Fusion GPS, a consulting firm that produced an intelligence dossier that contained unverified allegations about Mr. Trump, was also hired to do research for Prevezon.

Ms. Veselnitskaya was also deeply involved in the making of a film that disputes the widely accepted version of Mr. Magnitsky’s life and death. In the film and in her statement, she said the true culprit of the fraud was William F. Browder, an American-born financier who hired Mr. Magnitsky to investigate the fraud after three of his investment funds companies in Russia were seized.

Mr. Browder called the film a state-sponsored smear campaign.

“She’s not just some private lawyer,” Mr. Browder said of Ms. Veselnitskaya. “She is a tool of the Russian government.”

John O. Brennan, a former C.I.A. director, testified in May that he had been concerned last year by Russian government efforts to contact and manipulate members of Mr. Trump’s campaign. “Russian intelligence agencies do not hesitate at all to use private companies and Russian persons who are unaffiliated with the Russian government to support their objectives,” he said.

The F.B.I. began a counterintelligence investigation last year into Russian contacts with any Trump associates. Agents focused on Mr. Manafort and a pair of advisers, Carter Page and Roger J. Stone Jr.

Among those now under investigation is Michael T. Flynn, who was forced to resign as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser after it became known that he had falsely denied speaking to the Russian ambassador about sanctions imposed by the Obama administration over the election hacking.

Congress later discovered that Mr. Flynn had been paid more than $65,000 by companies linked to Russia, and that he had failed to disclose those payments when he renewed his security clearance and underwent an additional background check to join the White House staff.

In May, the president fired the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, who days later provided information about a meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House. According to Mr. Comey, the president asked him to end the bureau’s investigation into Mr. Flynn; Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied making such a request. Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, was then appointed as special counsel.

The status of Mr. Mueller’s investigation is not clear, but he has assembled a veteran team of prosecutors and agents to dig into any possible collusion.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. 

Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent.

Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/obama-putin-election-hacking/?utm_term=.12a31b9dd507&hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_russiaobama-banner-7a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

2016 election is officially illegitimate. TIME: Hackers Altered Voter Rolls

http://time.com/4828306/russian-hacking-election-widespread-private-data/

Election Hackers Altered Voter Rolls, Stole Private Data, Officials Say
Massimo Calabresi - Jun 22, 2017

The hacking of state and local election databases in 2016 was more extensive than previously reported, including at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers, current and former officials tell TIME.

In one case, investigators found there had been a manipulation of voter data in a county database but the alterations were discovered and rectified, two sources familiar with the matter tell TIME. Investigators have not identified whether the hackers in that case were Russian agents.

The fact that private data was stolen from states is separately providing investigators a previously unreported line of inquiry in the probes into Russian attempts to influence the election. In Illinois, more than 90% of the nearly 90,000 records stolen by Russian state actors contained drivers license numbers, and a quarter contained the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers, according to Ken Menzel, the General Counsel of the State Board of Elections.

Congressional investigators are probing whether any of this stolen private information made its way to the Trump campaign, two sources familiar with the investigations tell TIME.

“If any campaign, Trump or otherwise, used inappropriate data the questions are, How did they get it? From whom? And with what level of knowledge?” the former top Democratic staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, Michael Bahar, tells TIME. “That is a crux of the investigation."

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Trump Is Already Guilty Of Aiding Putin's Attack On America

The Trump-Russia scandal is the subject of multiple investigations that may or may not unearth new revelations, but this much is already certain:

Donald Trump is guilty.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Comey’s FBI Computer Illegally Accessed: Data Given To Russian Diplomats

Exclusive: Sources close to the intelligence community report that Director Comey’s FBI computer was illegally accessed immediately after he was dismissed from his post. They further report that ‘removable media’ was used in the commission of this crime. ‘Removable media’ is a category describing physical devices that can be placed into a computer, either to download information or to upload it, such as a memory card, a USB stick, a removable hard drive, a thumb drive or similar items.

Sources further report that a person or persons allied to Donald Trump passed data accessed from Director Comey’s computer to Russian diplomats. It is not known when or how this took place. A piece of removable media containing all the data in question has been recovered from hostile actors, sources say, and is now in the possession of the Justice Department.

Director Comey is said to have known in advance that Mr. Trump would dismiss him. He took careful steps, these sources say, to leave not only a paper trail as we have seen in the story of the ‘Comey Memo’ but also a digital one. Director Comey’s own primary work computer, and other computers in and around his former office, were fitted with sophisticated intelligence community software allowing the Justice Department to see precisely how and when they were attacked.
comey fired
The official Foreign Ministry of Russia’s Twitter account posted a tweet showing Foreign Minister Lavarov laughing with Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State who has won the Order of Friendship of Vladimir Putin, over Director Comey’s firing, on the day Donald Trump hosted the Russians in the White House and verbally gave them top-secret allied intelligence, later published by the Russian news agency Tass.

White House sources say Trump has already discussed his resignation more than once. Perhaps when he discovers that the justice and intelligence communities are well aware he breached Director Comey’s computer and handed FBI data to Russia, he may decide to spare the nation further trauma and resign.

If he becomes President, Mike Pence will be unable to pardon Donald Trump for any crimes at the state level.

More on this story as we receive it.

https://patribotics.blog/2017/05/17/comeys-fbi-computer-illegally-accessed-data-given-to-russian-diplomats/

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Why The Sally Yates Hearing Was Very Bad News For The Trump White House

The president just lost his favorite piece of spin for countering the Russia scandal.



The much-anticipated Senate hearing on Monday afternoon with former acting attorney general Sally Yates and former director of national intelligence James Clapper confirmed an important point: the Russia story still poses tremendous trouble for President Donald Trump and his crew.

Yates recounted a disturbing tale. She recalled that on January 26, she requested and received a meeting with Don McGahn, Trump's White House counsel. At the time, Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials were saying that ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's national security adviser, had not spoken the month before with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, about the sanctions then-President Barack Obama had imposed on the Russians as punishment for Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. Yates' Justice Department had evidence—presumably intercepts of Flynn's communications with Kislyak—that showed this assertion was flat-out false.

At that meeting, Yates shared two pressing concerns with McGahn: that Flynn had lied to the vice president and that Flynn could now be blackmailed by the Russians because they knew he had lied about his conversations with Kislyak. As Yates told the members of the Senate subcommittee on crime and terrorism, "To state the obvious: you don't want your national security adviser compromised by the Russians." She and McGahn also discussed whether Flynn had violated any laws.

The next day, McGahn asked Yates to return to the White House, and they had another discussion. According to Yates, McGahn asked whether it would interfere with the FBI's ongoing investigation of Flynn if the White House took action regarding this matter. No, Yates said she told him. The FBI had already interviewed Flynn. And Yates explained to the senators that she had assumed that the White House would not sit on the information she presented McGahn and do nothing.

But that's what the White House did. McGahn in that second meeting did ask if the White House could review the evidence the Justice Department had. She agreed to make it available. (Yates testified that she did not know whether this material was ever reviewed by the White House. She was fired at that point because she would not support Trump's Muslim travel ban.) Whether McGahn examined that evidence about Flynn, the White House did not take action against him. It stood by Flynn. He remained in the job, hiring staff for the National Security Council and participating in key policy decision-making.

On February 9, the Washington Post revealed that Flynn had indeed spoken with Kislyak about the sanctions. And still the Trump White House backed him up. Four days later, Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump White House official, declared that Trump still had "full confidence" in Flynn. The next day—as a media firestorm continued—Trump fired him. Still, the day after he canned Flynn, Trump declared, "Gen. Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he has been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it, the fake media in many cases. And I think it is really a sad thing that he was treated so badly." Trump displayed no concern about Flynn's misconduct.

The conclusion from Yates' testimony was clear: Trump didn't dump Flynn until the Kislyak matter became a public scandal and embarrassment. The Justice Department warning—hey, your national security adviser could be compromised by the foreign government that just intervened in the American presidential campaign—appeared to have had no impact on Trump's actions regarding Flynn. Imagine what Republicans would say if a President Hillary Clinton retained as national security adviser a person who could be blackmailed by Moscow.

The subcommittee's hearing was also inconvenient for Trump and his supporters on another key topic: it destroyed one of their favorite talking points.

On March 5, Clapper was interviewed by NBC News' Chuck Todd on Meet the Press and asked if there was any evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. "Not to my knowledge," Clapper replied. Since then, Trump and his champions have cited Clapper to say there is no there there with the Russia story. Trump on March 20 tweeted, "James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. The story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!" White House press secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly deployed this Clapper statement to insist there was no collusion.

At Monday's hearing, Clapper pulled this rug out from under the White House and its comrades. He noted that it was standard policy for the FBI not to share with him details about ongoing counterintelligence investigations. And he said he had not been aware of the FBI's investigation of contacts between Trump associates and Russia that FBI director James Comey revealed weeks ago at a House intelligence committee hearing. Consequently, when Clapper told Todd that he was not familiar with any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, he was speaking accurately. But he essentially told the Senate subcommittee that he was not in a position to know for certain. This piece of spin should now be buried. Trump can no longer hide behind this one Clapper statement.

Clapper also dropped another piece of information disquieting for the Trump camp. Last month, the Guardian reported that British intelligence in late 2015 collected intelligence on suspicious interactions between Trump associates and known or suspected Russian agents and passed this information to to the United States "as part of a routine exchange of information." Asked about this report, Clapper said it was "accurate." He added, "The specifics are quite sensitive." This may well have been the first public confirmation from an intelligence community leader that US intelligence agencies have possessed secret information about ties between Trump's circle and Moscow. (Comey testified that the FBI's counterintelligence investigation of links between Trump associates and Russian began in late July 2016.)

So this hearing indicated that the Trump White House protected a national security adviser who lied and who could be compromised by Moscow, that Trump can no longer cite Clapper to claim there was no collusion, and that US intelligence had sensitive information on interactions between Trump associates and possible Russian agents as early as late 2015. Still, most of the Republicans on the panel focused on leaks and "unmasking"—not the main issues at hand. They collectively pounded more on Yates for her action regarding the Muslim travel ban than on Moscow for its covert operation to subvert the 2016 election to help Trump.

This Senate subcommittee, which is chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), is not mounting a full investigation comparable to the inquiry being conducted by the Senate intelligence committee (and presumably the hobbled House intelligence committee). It has far less staff, and its jurisdiction is limited. But this hearing demonstrated that serious inquiry can expand the public knowledge of the Trump-Russia scandal—and that there remains much more to examine and unearth.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Majority Want Trump To Resign If His Campaign Colluded With Russia

If the Trump campaign worked with Russia to sway the 2016 election, the American people want the president to start packing his bags.

By Sean Colarossi

If it turns out that Donald Trump’s campaign did, indeed, work with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in last fall’s presidential election, a majority of the country – 53 percent – thinks the president should resign.

According to the explosive new poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP), which debuted Wednesday night on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, the American people said – by a 14-point margin – that Trump should step down if there was collusion.



Another result revealed on Maddow’s program found that a plurality of the country believes Trump’s campaign did, in fact, work with Russia to swing the 2016 election in his favor.

If you’re keeping score at home: The American people think both that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia and that the president should resign as a result.

While there is endless political polling released on a weekly basis asking about hypothetical scenarios, what should be terrifying to the White House is that the explosive Russia scandal is just one more investigation or one more small piece of evidence away from making the questions posed in the PPP survey a reality.

At that point, the president will have to face a country that doesn’t just believe he isn’t doing a good job, as polls repeatedly suggest, but also that he should no longer have the job at all.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Republicans tried to hide payments to Russia-linked intel firm for dirt-digging on Hillary Clinton

By David Ferguson

The Republican National Committee (RNC) tried to conceal payments it made during the 2016 election to a shadowy intelligence-gathering firm for opposition research against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Politico reported on Friday that the RNC paid $41,500 to the Hamilton Trading Group, a Virginia-based private company run by former CIA operatives. The agency worked with a former Russian spy to hunt for information that would show conflicts of interest between Clinton’s role as Secretary of State and her interests as a private citizen and leader of the Clinton Foundation.

Observers in politics and intelligence noted that it would be odd for the RNC to make payments to Hamilton Trading given that the group specializes in matters pertaining to Russia.

“RNC officials and the president and co-founder of Hamilton Trading Group, an ex-CIA officer named Ben Wickham, insisted the payments, which eventually totaled $41,500, had nothing to do with Russia,” wrote Politico’s Kenneth P. Vogel and Eli Stokols.

Wickham and the RNC initially claimed that the payments were in return for building and security analyses of RNC headquarters in Washington.

“But RNC officials now acknowledge that most of the cash — $34,100 — went towards intelligence-style reports that sought to prove conflicts of interest between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and her family’s foundation,” Politico said.

HTG produced two dossiers, both of which attempted to make a case that Clinton directed U.S. interventions in Bulgaria and Israel on behalf of energy firms that donated to the Clinton Foundation, said individuals familiar with the documents.

Wickham told Politico in a Thursday interview that he floated the building inspection story because “any other work we may have done for them” was covered under a nondisclosure agreement.

“I’m not denying that I wasn’t totally forthcoming, but I’m telling you why,” Wickham told Politico.

“The security stuff that we did, which is legitimate, was not covered by any kind of a confidentiality agreement, so I can discuss that.”

Last June, when the RNC filed financial disclosures with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), a $3,400 payment to Hamilton attracted attention because the firm is not known for building security consultations, but rather for espionage work related to Russia.

“Adding to the intrigue are the firm’s intelligence connections in Russia, where it was known to perform background checks and provide security services for American officials and companies,” said Politico.

The job was handed to former KGB agent Gennady Vasilenko, who declined to comment on the matter.

Wickham denied that his firm looked into any connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, saying he has “never had any contact with … Trump or Manafort or their people.” Politico said the RNC has produced documents detailing a list of Clinton-related issues it tasked Hamilton Trading with researching.

He said that while his firm is not well-known for building security, it did an assessment for the RNC to protect against a “McVeigh-type” bombing attack or a gun-wielding intruder like the San Bernardino mass shooting.

“We certainly are not widely known, as we have always been a two- to three-man company and have done little advertising,” Wickham said, adding that the firm has done anti-terror security consultations for Amtrak and the International Monetary Fund’s offices in Moscow.

The Russia Scandal Takes A Mind-Blowing Turn That Could Destroy The Republican Party

It wasn't Donald Trump alone who had ties to the Russians during the 2016 campaign. It turns out that the Republican National Committee used a firm with ties to Russian intelligence to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton.

By Sarah Jones

This is truly mind-blowing.

Perhaps you’ve been wondering how establishment Republicans were so happy ignoring the looming treason scandal of their President. It very well could be because they, too, have something Russian to hide.

So it wasn’t Donald Trump alone who had ties to the Russians during the 2016 campaign. It turns out that the Republican National Committee used a firm with ties to Russian intelligence to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The RNC used former CIA officers’ firm the Hamilton Trading Group, which has “particular expertise” in Russia, to dig up dirt on Clinton according to a Politico report.

“RNC officials and the president and co-founder of Hamilton Trading Group, an ex-CIA officer named Ben Wickham, insisted the payments, which eventually totaled $41,500, had nothing to do with Russia,” Kenneth P. Vogel and Eli Stokols reported.

The RNC claimed the payments were for “security.”

“But RNC officials now acknowledge that most of the cash$34,100 — went towards intelligence-style reports that sought to prove conflicts of interest between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and her family’s foundation.”

Oh.

So the RNC was perfectly comfortable working with a firm that raised eyebrows for its Russian connections, at a time when the intelligence community was telling them that Russia was interfering in the U.S. election.

To say this again, as Putin has bragged about information warfare as the new war, a major U.S. political party sided with a country that declared information warfare, or war if you will, on the U.S.A.

Yes, it is an act of war, it is meant to destroy western democracy in the end.

Russia uses “rigged polls and fake news to sway foreign elections,” the Wall Street Journal reported, on a dossier showing an example of how Russia operated in Bulgaria.

The entire Republican Party had strange ties to a government at war with this country, the country to which Republicans are supposed to be loyal.

Strange things are afloat. No wonder Congressional Republicans are doing everything they can to ignore the screaming treason of the White House. They are quite possibly in on it themselves.

If this scandal comes to a head, that is to say if the intelligence community turns on the Republican Party in an effort to force them to deal with the possible collusion with a hostile foreign power in the White House, the Russia scandal could bring down the Republican Party for a generation.

Republicans should be smart here; this will come out. They should get on the right side of history before it’s too late. Sadly, this party’s elected officials have shown little allegiance to their country.

What is going on here is a scandal that will go down in history. One of two major parties in the U.S. system working with a foreign power that has declared war on the U.S.A. That is not to say they colluded with Russia to bring the U.S. down, but they did work with them as Russia was attacking the election, an act of war. That much is in evidence.

The collusion evidence, the circumstantial collusion evidence, in this case could be as simple as Republicans knew Russians were attacking the U.S. elections when they worked with this firm with ties to Russian intelligence. To be clear, there is not public evidence of direct collusion in terms of quid pro quo right now. There is evidence that the RNC was deceptive about their connections with Russian intelligence in this regard, and that they had it during the campaign.

The fact that the head of the RNC at the time is now in the Trump White House is even more troubling, as Trump has hired people at all points whose contacts with the Russians during the election have already caused one of them to be fired and another to step down from overseeing an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.

This should now be amended to the Republican Party’s ties to Russia. Lucky for them, they are in power of both branches of government and trying to get their Supreme Court nominee in as the last gatekeeper in a checks and balances system. The only way this scandal is going to come out is through the intelligence community leaking to the press.

And that’s why Republicans are so outraged about leaks.

But this is not Republicans trying to protect our national security secrets. This is Republicans trying to make sure they cover up the fact that Russia has eyes and ears in the situation room, and has access to our national secrets because of Trump and the GOP.

It was true that going to the extremist corner they did, Republicans could not win a national election without cheating. They knew this, everyone knew this. So it was a shock when Donald Trump, the most extreme of the extreme, won.

But now, it’s not such a shock because it wasn’t won without cheating. It was won with the help of a hostile, aggressive government whose goal is to bring the U.S. down in order to kill the hope of democracy.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Felek's redNAND-free Wii U Hacking Guide

Noob Friendly / Kid Friendly / Idiot Friendly
WIP - Work In Progress, ToDo: Add vWii hacking guide, Add Credits, Brazilian Method, CBHC Installation
PSA: Don't use Wii U.guide!

Before we start [You need]:
  • SDCard [4GB, for Brazillian Method you need 16GB minimum]
  • PC/Laptop with SDCard reader
  • Brain. I don't take responsibility for your brick​
In this guide we'll cover:
  1. Blocking Updates [Using TitleDNS!]
  2. Browserhax [Homebrew Launcher+Files]
  3. Mocha CFW set up [redNAND free!]
  4. Haxchi Installation [Offline Homebrew Solution!]
  5. Brazilian Method [DLC, Updates, Games]
  6. ColdBootHaxChi Installation [Optional, CFW on boot!]

Friday, March 10, 2017

Moscow's work didn't end on Nov. 8, 2016

Rachel Maddow Says Helping Trump Become POTUS Was Only The Beginning Of Russia’s Operation
 
Maddow says there is growing evidence that Moscow's work didn't end on Nov. 8, 2016 – that was only the opening act. 


The MSNBC star said events that have unfolded during Trump’s time in office show that “Russia may now be reaping its reward, maybe getting what it wants out of the United States government as payback for running the successful op that helped install the new head of the American government.”



During the opening of her show, Maddow said that it’s one thing for the Trump campaign and its officials to meet and seemingly work with the Russians during the campaign – but it’s becoming apparent that the election may have just been the opening act of Moscow’s operation.

The new developments that Wikileaks – the same folks that worked with the Russians to expose hacked DNC emails last year – released a trove of classified CIA material is further proof, Maddow says, that the Russians are likely still trying to meddle in U.S. affairs at the direction of Vladimir Putin. Instead of influencing an election, the goal now seems to be disrupting and undermining U.S. intelligence agencies.

Like usual, there is a connection between the latest WikiLeaks release and the President of the United States.

As Maddow pointed out, Trump supporter Nigel Farage, who recently had dinner with Trump, met with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange just two days after the classified CIA information was reportedly released by the organization. When asked why he was visiting Assange, Farage said he “couldn’t remember.”

While the focus is rightfully on Russia’s involvement in last year’s election and what connection the Russians had with the Trump campaign, it’s also important to consider that Moscow now may be influencing our government. In other words, the election may have just been the beginning.

Maddow brings that point home:
The Russian government attacked our election. The Russian government was in contact with multiple Trump campaign sources while they were doing it. Russian nemeses in the American government – U.S. State Department, CIA – are not faring well since Donald Trump came to power. Is the operation that Russia started during the campaign, is it over? Or are they still running it? Are we still in this now?
It’s unsettling to consider the possibility that Russia, after helping put Donald Trump in the White House, is still influencing U.S. affairs. But there is mounting evidence that Moscow’s work didn’t end on Nov. 8, 2016 – that was only the beginning.

Rednecked, Racist Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Won't Rule Out Using Mafia Law To Go After Legal Marijuana


http://www.alternet.org/drugs/attorney-general-sessions-rule-out-using-mafia-law-go-after-legal-marijuana

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rachel Maddow Drops Major Reality Check: Trump-Russia Collusion Looks Increasingly Likely

The MSNBC host told America to "get back to the main point," which is that it's slowly looking like the Trump campaign was working with Russia to topple Hillary Clinton.

On MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday, the liberal superstar dropped another Russian reality check on viewers, telling America to “get back to the main point,” which is that it’s slowly looking like the Trump campaign was working with Russia to topple Hillary Clinton last year.

In her opening segment, Maddow focused on a so-far unsubstantiated dossier released in January that details damning links between Trump and high-ranking Russian officials. While Trump and his apologists try to muddy the waters, point fingers, and deny any wrongdoing, more and more of that controversial dossier has become verified as truth.

As Maddow said, pieces from that document continue to fall into place, which is slowly raising the likelihood that Russia and Trump’s campaign worked together.

Rachel Maddow notes that while the dossier of intelligence about Donald Trump ties to Russia remains unconfirmed, pieces of it have checked out upon investigation by the press, though the primary government investigators are former Trump campaign officials.



Maddow said:
Forget all the salacious personal stuff. Forget all the stuff that made the White House so mad when this was published. The bottom line of this dossier, the bottom line allegation, the point of it is that the Trump campaign didn’t just benefit from Russia interfering in our presidential campaign. The point of this is that they colluded, they helped, they were in on it. The money quote from this dossier is, “The operation had been conducted with the full knowledge of Trump and senior members of his campaign team.” That’s basically what this whole dossier alleges – that the Trump folks were in on it.  There were multiple people close to Trump, involved in the Trump campaign, who were in contact with the Russian government about the Russian government’s attacks on Hillary Clinton, while those attacks were happening, while Russia was waging these attacks. Overall, yes, we still have to describe this as a sheaf of uncorroborated allegations, but little pieces supporting that bottom line thesis really do keep falling in line.
Maddow then listed the series of Russian revelations – and secret meetings between Trump associates and the Russian officials – that have come out over the past several weeks, despite initial claims from the president that nobody on his team met with the Russians during the campaign.

It turns out that more than a half-dozen Trump associates are linked to Russia, including Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, J.D. Gordon, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Michael Cohen.

As Maddow noted in her coverage, it was reported by Politico on Tuesday that one of those associates, Carter Page, was given permission by the Trump campaign last year to make a visit to Russia in the heat of the 2016 election cycle.

The president himself even met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before giving a campaign speech last year.

All of these bits of information are turning what was previous an unverified dossier into a credible document implicating Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in what would be the biggest political scandal in U.S. history.

Even though there is so much going on in our politics right now, much of it disturbing and distracting, we must not lose focus on this scandal.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Intel Community Is Sabotaging Trump! - Warns Notable DEMOCRAT

Dennis Kucinich explains the recent national security moves that were made and how it might drastically affect the future.

Jimmy Dore breaks it down.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

INTEL CHIEFS PRESENTED TRUMP WITH CLAIMS OF RUSSIAN EFFORTS TO COMPROMISE HIM PER CNN

By DemocratSinceBirth

 Suggestion they have compromising information on him !!!

Communications between Trump and Russian officials.

This is beyond huge !!!

Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him
By Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper and Carl Bernstein, CNN
Updated 5:15 PM ET, Tue January 10, 2017

(CNN) Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump. 

The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs -- Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers. 

One reason the nation's intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN. 

These senior intelligence officials also included the synopsis to demonstrate that Russia had compiled information potentially harmful to both political parties, but only released information damaging to Hillary Clinton and Democrats. This synopsis was not an official part of the report from the intelligence community case about Russian hacks, but some officials said it augmented the evidence that Moscow intended to harm Clinton's candidacy and help Trump's, several officials with knowledge of the briefings tell CNN. 

The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials

Sources tell CNN that these same allegations about communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians, mentioned in classified briefings for congressional leaders last year, prompted then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to send a letter to FBI Director Comey in October, in which he wrote, "It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government -- a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States." 

CNN has confirmed that the synopsis was included in the documents that were presented to Mr. Trump but cannot confirm if it was discussed in his meeting with the intelligence chiefs.
The Trump transition team declined repeated requests for comment. 

CNN has reviewed a 35-page compilation of the memos, from which the two-page synopsis was drawn. The memos originated as opposition research, first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats. At this point, CNN is not reporting on details of the memos, as it has not independently corroborated the specific allegations. But, in preparing this story, CNN has spoken to multiple high ranking intelligence, administration, congressional and law enforcement officials, as well as foreign officials and others in the private sector with direct knowledge of the memos.

Some of the memos were circulating as far back as last summer. What has changed since then is that US intelligence agencies have now checked out the former British intelligence operative and his vast network throughout Europe and find him and his sources to be credible enough to include some of the information in the presentations to the President and President-elect a few days ago. 

On the same day that the President-elect was briefed by the intelligence community, the top four Congressional leaders, and chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees -- the so-called "Gang of Eight" -- were also provided a summary of the memos regarding Mr. Trump, according to law enforcement, intelligence and administration sources. 

The two-page summary was written without the detailed specifics and information about sources and methods included in the memos by the former British intelligence official. That said, the synopsis was considered so sensitive it was not included in the classified report about Russian hacking that was more widely distributed, but rather in an annex only shared at the most senior levels of the government: President Obama, the President-elect, and the eight Congressional leaders.

CNN has also learned that on December 9, Senator John McCain gave a full copy of the memos -- dated from June through December, 2016 -- to FBI Director James Comey. McCain became aware of the memos from a former British diplomat who had been posted in Moscow. But the FBI had already been given a set of the memos compiled up to August 2016, when the former MI6 agent presented them to an FBI official in Rome, according to national security officials. 

The raw memos on which the synopsis is based were prepared by the former MI6 agent, who was posted in Russia in the 1990s and now runs a private intelligence gathering firm. His investigations related to Mr. Trump were initially funded by groups and donors supporting Republican opponents of Mr. Trump during the GOP primaries, multiple sources confirmed to CNN. Those sources also said that once Mr. Trump became the nominee, further investigation was funded by groups and donors supporting Hillary Clinton.

Spokespeople for the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment. Officials who spoke to CNN declined to do so on the record given the classified nature of the material.
Some of the allegations were first reported publicly in Mother Jones one week before the election.

One high level administration official told CNN, "I have a sense the outgoing administration and intelligence community is setting down the pieces so this must be investigated seriously and run down. I think concern was to be sure that whatever information was out there is put into the system so it is evaluated as it should be and acted upon as necessary."

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/10/politics/donald-trump-intelligence-report-russia/index.html

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Russian hack of US election

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/us/politics/us-formally-accuses-russia-of-stealing-dnc-emails.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/12/politics/russian-hack-donald-trump-2016-election/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/stop-trying-to-hush-up-the-truth-about-election-hacking/2017/01/04/bf8c286a-d2ac-11e6-9cb0-54ab630851e8_story.html?utm_term=.63e20e26680f

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/us/politics/russia-hack-report.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/01/russian-hacking-trump/510689/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/intelligence-officials-to-testify-as-senate-examines-russian-hacking-1483612205

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-cyber-idUSKBN14Q1T8

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-intelligence-report-russia-unclassified-hacking-report-donald-trump-us-election-read-a7513986.html

https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/06/intel-report-on-hacking-says-russian-interference-with-us-election-was-boldest-yet/

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/us/politics/russian-hack-report.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-intelligence-report-russia-unclassified-hacking-report-donald-trump-us-election-read-a7513986.html

https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/06/us-releases-report-linking-russia-to-election-hacks/

http://www.vox.com/world/2017/1/6/14194986/russia-hack-intelligence-report-election-trump

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/us/politics/donald-trump-wall-hack-russia.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38528329

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/intelligence-chiefs-expected-in-new-york-to-brief-trump-on-russian-hacking/2017/01/06/5f591416-d41a-11e6-9cb0-54ab630851e8_story.html?utm_term=.13425e9ebf6e

http://www.npr.org/2017/01/06/508520414/on-intelligence-and-election-hacking-trump-and-his-team-continue-to-miss-the-poi

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-russia-cyber-hack-vladimir-putin-president-barack-obama-fbi-cia-intelligence-briefing-a7513966.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-01-06/u-s-says-putin-ordered-russian-hacking-during-the-2016-election

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38538002

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Latest guides for 3DS hacking up to firmware 11.2

With the recent 33c3 concluding at the end of last year, came numerous exploit announcements for the 3DS scene, many of which have since been implemented and are in working stable condition. Two of those exploits being soundhax and fasthax, both developed by Ned Will, a prominent hacker of the 3DS scene.
Alongside these many exploits and developers, the 3DS scene also consists of many involved and active community members, which can be noted from the active discussions on their sub-reddit along with the rapid development rate of recent releases.
As of this writing, it is now possible to downgrade all current N3DS models and most O3DS models based on firmware version, using the combos of waithax/svchax/safefirmhax or fasthax/safefirmhax, keep in mind fasthax is still in alpha, well technically beta, though not officially beta as of this writing, but it should be soon, thanks to an active community, many users have implemented and compiled their own versions of the exploit and have had great success for many users in the process of downgrading/installing a9lh+cfw of choice.
Starting with 3DS models firmware 11.1 and lower, fasthax doesn’t support firmwares below 11.2, but there is waithax, which provided you have the patience as the name says, to wait, works flawlessly. A guide for 3DS models below firmware 11.2 can be found here:
Since Plailect has both updated links and instructions.
For 3DS models on firmware 11.2, things get a little complex. Users of these systems can follow reddit user Aurolei’s guide, using a custom fasthax/safefirmhax compiled binary file, that works with any entry point, same as prior.


Keen warning that this current implementation may be unstable as it is not an official stable release, but a community release for those eagers users who would like to downgrade and install the a9lh exploit alongside Luma3DS/NTR or whichever customer firmware of choice is preferred. I have personally downgraded two of my own systems using both exploits and their respectful guides, with absolutely no trouble, exact step by step instructions must be followed, or user errors are likely to cause unnecessary conflicts and errors.
Custom guide can be found here:
Aurolei’s Guide
Downgrades can take around 2+ hours, so time and patience are key.