Comey on Russiagate: Where’s the Proof?

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Top Tier Gear USA

ICReportHacking

In his testimony before the Senate intelligence committee Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey said there was “no fuzz” regarding the claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle,” Comey said in his testimony. “They did it with purpose, they did it with sophistication, they did it with overwhelming technical efforts. It was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government; there is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community, and the members of this committee have seen that intelligence, its not a close call. That happened.”

Yet if there’s such “slam dunk” evidence, why can’t the public see it?

Surely Comey cannot be referring to the two Intelligence Community (IC) assessments released in December 2016 and January of this year—to date the most substantive official pronouncements on the matter—which by no means warrant such certainty from the former FBI director.

Retired CIA and DIA officer Phil Giraldi described both reports as “a lot of sometimes wild speculation and judgments based on fragmentary information,” and a “mish-mash of soft facts combined with plenty of opinion and maybe even a bit of good old Cold War-style politics.”

The first of the two reports, entitled “Grizzly Steppe: Russian Malicious Cyber Activity,” is heavy on accusations, but weak on proof. The report essentially tells readers to take the IC’s word that Russia hacked into DNC servers, and then proceeds to explain with cartoon diagrams how a particular hacking method is carried out.

This is akin to asserting “John Smith killed John Doe,” and as proof presenting a cartoon diagram explaining how one goes about firing a rifle. It does not at all implicate John Smith, but merely shows one way Smith, or somebody, could have committed the crime.

The disclaimer attached to the December report is also perhaps illustrative of its quality :

This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise.

The closest the report comes to attributing responsibility to Russian state actors is the bare assertion that what the IC identifies as “Advanced Persistent Threat” groups 28 and 29 are somehow connected to Russian intelligence.

Indeed, as cyber security expert Jeffrey Carr has explained, attributing responsibility to a particular actor for a cyber attack is nearly impossible, especially in light of the knowledge that the CIA is able to fabricate fingerprints that point back to whatever actor they choose.

“Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it,” Carr wrote in response to the December report. “It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words — malware deployed is malware enjoyed!”

One serious blunder regarding the attribution of a hacker came with a report from Crowdstrike, the private firm initially hired by the DNC to investigate the hacking allegation. Also published in December 2016, Crowdstrike’s report concluded that one of the same groups implicated in hacking the U.S. election on behalf of the Russians was also involved in hacking a smartphone application used by the Ukrainian military.

Crowdstrike’s claims were demolished by a March report from Voice of America, exposing the firm’s analysis as fatally flawed and sloppy. Yet Crowdstrike and the American Intelligence Community would build upon those conclusions, taking them as a starting point in the investigation into election-tampering.

It should be clear from this alone that intelligence assessments are not always what they seem.

The second IC report released in January, while much longer than the first, still fails to back its assertions with factual evidence. The report expands its scope beyond hacking to posit a full-blown influence operation, including the use of Russian state-owned media, such as Russia Today, to sway the opinion of American voters.

This comes off more as an attempt to throw everything at the reader besides the kitchen sink, offering distractions from the original allegation of cyber attacks directed at changing the outcome of the American election.

Soon after the January report was published, investigative reporter Robert Parry commented:

[T]he case, as presented, is one-sided and lacks any actual proof. Further, the continued use of the word “assesses”—as in the U.S. intelligence community “assesses” that Russia is guilty – suggests that the underlying classified information also may be less than conclusive because, in intelligence-world-speak, “assesses” often means “guesses.”

The DNI report admits as much, saying, “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”

Perhaps the recent Intercept scoop on a new NSA leaker will elucidate more evidence in this case, however already there are reasons to be skeptical of that story.

So did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, as Comey asserts with such confidence? A neutral observer should regard this as a possibility—but where’s the proof?

The Intelligence Community ought to treat the American people as adults and present a sober, objective case detailing all the evidence that both supports and cuts against their conclusion of Russian guilt.

Until that day—which, sadly, may never come—the matter can only be interpreted as a farce.

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Contributed by Will Porter of The Daily Sheeple.

Will Porter is a staff writer and reporter for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up – follow Will’s work at our Facebook or Twitter.

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  • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

    We live in an age where proof isn’t necessarily needed for something to be perceived as true. It only requires enough blind advocates who WANT to believe it and that is where the elites control over the MSM and the public (re)education system comes in. Their efforts at thought direction and control have borne abundant fruit and is evidenced by the way in which the Sheeple can be heard repeating, verbatim, the words of MSM members. It is likely that each person on this site knows at least one person like this. They have no original, nor in-depth, thoughts regarding popular and divisive issues of the day. They are content to be told what to think by the voices emanating from their tv, radio or computer. Life is so much easier when you don’t have to strain your grey matter in an attempt to decipher all the doublespeak, lies, misdirection and recognize the predictive programming you’ve fallen prey to. Its much nicer and more comfortable to toe the current pop culture line so that you don’t become engaged in uncomfortable, awkward disagreements with others whom you want to be liked by. Its empowering to know that your view is the most common and that makes you feel like an accepted member of society. It’s so much simpler to just fall in line and “think” like everyone else and accept your role as one of the Borg. It’s easier to be assimilated….

    • Cynical Old Bastard

      Very nice.

      I know numerous people like that. Some worse than others.

      I’ve pretty much stopped associating with folks because of it. And you damned sure can’t take me in public… unless you simply can’t be embarrassed. I have a defective mind to mouth filter. It always was glitchy. Now it’s just plain broke.

      LMAO. I’m the little kid who speaks the truth, no matter how embarrassing it is, except that I have a more highly developed vocabulary now… and no Momma to smack my mouth bloody.

      • Phil_Ossifer

        You, too? We need to remain vigilant because, if the SJWs and their ilk have their way, pretty soon critical thinking will be classified as a form of hate crime.

        • Cynical Old Bastard

          Pretty near there as it is.

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      • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

        When I was young, I thought my filter was plugged up or something. . .

        So, I took it out to clean it, like I would with an air filter.
        I accidentally dropped it in the sink, it went down the drain, and I haven’t seen it since.

        • I’ve heard of losing a ring down the drain, but a filter?:-)

        • Cynical Old Bastard

          Meh. They’re over-rated anyways.

          How ya been, brother? Hiatus from lunacy?

      • You should have been an investigative reporter. I was, and those same characteristics got my stories onto NPR several times. It also very nearly got me assaulted by the manager of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant.

    • NonYo Business

      Thank you Randy… I like critical thinkers. NSA tools pretty much mean that digital forensic evidence is now untrustworthy at best.

      • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

        Agreed. I fear that forensics has become, in many ways, a tool with which to create guilt rather than determine it. Add to that the governments ability to surreptitiously gain access to someone’s computer and install malware & whatever else they desire, and they can make criminals out of anyone they see as hostile to their cause. Orwell must be writhing in agony in the afterlife, knowing that so much of what he predicted came true….and worse.

    • It is much easier to ignore meaninglessness if it really doesn’t affect one anyway.

  • Phil_Ossifer

    The whole thing can be summed up by the “disclaimer” in the DHS report: “This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.” In other words…we know this report is total bullshit and we need to protect ourselves in case there’s a Congressional inquiry. If they had real, hard evidence for what’s in the report, why do they need a disclaimer that essentially says, “We made most or all of this up?”

  • NonYo Business

    The NSA has tools that allow it to infect devices with no trace and leave “evidence” that a totally different computer/IP address touched the device instead. Meaning… that their “proof” or lack thereof is meaningless.

  • SP_88

    So basically this is nothing more than a smear campaign with zero evidence to support any of it. It’s basically fake news, all of it. So what else is new. The ones complaining the most about fake news are the ones pushing the most fake news.
    No surprise there. Until the MSM is shut down or forced out of business, they will always be nothing more than a bunch of fake news outlets.
    As long as there is an ever increasing number of people who are waking up and realizing that the mainstream media and establishment politicians are all liars, we are getting ahead.

  • Meltonmark

    Once again I ask – who runs America? The elected government or the secret police?