Friday, April 12, 2019

ALREADY UPDATED: Was The Russia Hoax Really About Cyber Crimes?

No. But ...

CTH has a fascinating post up reporting on remarks today by Rod Rosenstein at the Metropolitan club of Washington. CTH quotes a Bloomberg story.

Here's the relevant entirety of the Bloomberg story:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Friday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report describes Russian cybercrimes during the 2016 election. 
The report, which is expected to be released soon, will clear up questions about the Russian campaign to interfere in the election President Donald Trump won, Rosenstein said in a speech given to a private group at the Metropolitan Club of Washington, according to three people in attendance. 
Rosenstein joked that his last day at the Department of Justice will be “one of these days,” the people said. He also said that it will take the U.S. some time to extradite WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange from the U.K. in order to prosecute him.

CTH sees this as the Deep State desperately trying to maintain the legitimacy of the Team Mueller extension of the Russian Hoax (i.e., Crossfire Hurricane), and quotes Barr's summary of the Mueller report to support his thesis:

In order for Mueller and Rosenstein to maintain the ‘Vast Russia Conspiracy Narrative’, which is tenuous at best, it is absolutely necessary to maintain the premise that Russia hacked -or attempted to hack- into the DNC servers.  Further, to maintain this premise the special counsel must inject WikiLeaks as the distribution hub for the Russian effort.

I think I can see this as the Deep State desperately trying to distract attention from what the CIA/FBI/DoJ were up to in trying to steer the 2016 election to Hillary. But I think that's about as far as this will go. CTH's further contention:

Mueller and Rosenstein’s special counsel was an extension of the original counterintelligence operation.  Mueller and Rosenstein need to preserve the predicate in order to avoid questions around why they continued and extended a fraudulent probe.

is much harder to swallow. I've seen absolutely nothing to indicate that the predicate for Crossfire Hurricane or its extension into the Team Mueller inquisition had much of anything to do with the Russian hacking narrative. Don't get me wrong. I understand that Team Mueller did try to tie that in to their narrative, just as it was a part of hte Steele dossier. My point is this: Crossfire Hurricane never gets off the ground without the main Manafort/Page story, which comes down to Putin's dirt on Hillary accumulated over the years in exchange for santions relief. The Wikileaks/Russian hacking narrative ended up focusing on Roger Stone/Corsi/Caputo, and that was pretty much ancillary to any predication for Crossfire Hurricane.

Therefore, I see this as more of an attempt to influence public perception, to maybe argue that the Russia Hoax was a well intentioned National Security effort against the evil Russkies that got out of control. But that presumes that the public will really care or pay attention to that narrative--threadbare as it is. Nor do I see how this can be turned into a Stay Out Of Jail card.

For my part, I like Rand Paul's idea, which takes into account that Assange could turn out to be pure dynamite in the American body politic:

Julian Assange should be let off the hook for releasing stolen material through his WikiLeaks website if he agrees to testify in person before lawmakers investigating his publication of Democratic Party documents, Sen. Rand Paul said in an interview published Wednesday.
“I think that he should be given immunity from prosecution in exchange for coming to the United States and testifying,” said Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican.
“I think he’s been someone who has released a lot of information, and you can debate whether or not any of that has caused harm, but I think really he has information that is probably pertinent to the hacking of the Democratic emails that would be nice to hear,” Mr. Paul told a writer for The Gateway Pundit site.

CTH sees that angle, too--at least in part:

Additionally, these comments by Rosenstein highlight the U.S. intelligence community need to throw a bag over Julian Assange; IF they are going to retain the premise that Mueller needs to justify the CIA/FBI predicate for the counterintelligence operation.
If Assange can disprove the Russia DNC hacking claims by the CIA (Brennan), ODNI (Clapper) and FBI (Strzok and Comey), which are more likely fraudulent justifications to execute the Trump campaign surveillance operation, then Assange becomes a risk that must be controlled/removed. 

The problem as I see it is, How exactly does the Deep State control Assange if he starts talking after being extradited to the US. Seems like a two edged sword to me? Desperation on the part of the Deep State.

UPDATE: Matt Taibbi has a very worthwhile article about l'affaire Assange: Taibbi: Why The Assange Arrest Should Scare All Reporters. It's worth reading in its entirety, but relevant for our purposes is the following passage:

Unfortunately, Assange’s case, and the very serious issues it raises, will be impacted in profound ways by things that took place long after the alleged offenses, specifically the Russiagate story. It’s why some reporters are less than concerned about the Assange case today. 
About that other thing, i.e. Assange’s role in the 2016 election: 
Not only did this case have nothing to do with Russiagate, but in one of the odder unreported details of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, he never interviewed or attempted to interview Assange. In fact, it appears none of the 2800 subpoenas, 500 witness interviews, and 500 search warrants in the Mueller probe targeted Assange or WikiLeaks. 
According to WikiLeaks, no one from Mueller’s office ever attempted to get a statement from Assange, any WikiLeaks employee, or any of Assange’s lawyers (the Office of Special Counsel declined comment for this story). A Senate committee did reach out to Assange last year about the possibility of testifying, but never followed up. 
As Pollock told me in February, “[Assange] has not been contacted by the OSC or the House.” There was a Senate inquiry, he said, but “it was only an exploratory conversation and has not resulted in any agreement for Mr. Assange to be interviewed.” 
Throughout the winter I asked officials and former prosecutors why officials wouldn’t be interested in at least getting a statement from a person ostensibly at the center of an all-consuming international controversy. There were many explanations offered, the least curious being that Assange’s earlier charges, assuming they existed, could pose legal and procedural obstacles. 
Now that Assange’s extant case has finally been made public, the concern on that score “dissipates,” as one legal expert put it today.
It will therefore be interesting to see if Assange is finally asked about Russiagate by someone in American officialdom. If he isn’t, that will be yet another curious detail in a case that gets stranger by the minute.

There's no question but that the Deep State is eager, even desperate to silence Assange.


  1. I predict the Mueller investigation asked no questions at all to anyone not in the Trump Campaign. It was an investigation that only attempted to verify the allegations in a one side manner.

    1. Certainly we've seen no evidence to the contrary, and this new direction won't change the perception that you present--that this wa totally one sided.

      IMO, the prosecution of Greg Craig doesn't change that either. He was collateral damage and useful for the pretense that it was a partisan witchhunt.

  2. Prior to being arrested, Assange made a dramatic statement about being an assassination target. That wasn't just posturing, he possesses knowledge and evidence that is highly damaging to Deep State interests within the US. But he is in a Catch 22. As long as this evidence stays hidden, he has leverage, but once revealed, he becomes open game. Also, Assange has already offered up "some" evidence in exchange for a limited pardon, but DOJ has refused this proffer. A dangerous game is afoot, and Assange is a pawn. In the game of Chess, sacrificing pawns is quite common.

    1. Are you sure you don't have it exactly backward? Maybe: "As long as this evidence stays hidden, he's open game, but once revealed, he has some leverage." Think about it. Maybe he needs to put out at least the outlines of his knowledge ASAP. Yes, it's a chess game, and we may both be over simplifying.

  3. Mr, Wauck,

    In one of your posts, you referred to Rod Rosenstein as a "cornered rat." By that reference, did you mean that he was panicked and was looking out for number one? Or do you think that he is bad actor?

    If I go with my gut, I think that Mueller is a bad actor, has something to hide for past activities, and was out to get the President. Rod, I'm not sure what to think. Sometimes I think that he is okay, sometimes I think he is just as bad as the rest.

    As you know, I read a lot of various commentators. Some subscribe to a theory that Rosenstein, Mueller, Sessions and others are/were running a sting to catch the bad guys. After all, DJT and Rod interviewed Mueller the day before the special counsel was appointed.

    Barr's praising of Mueller and Rosenstein adds to my confusion. Some Twitter commenters are even stating that Comey is a "white hat." Even the President occasionally praises Rod. I have come to know that the President is pretty sharp and this could be part of a strategy to keep the Deep State off balance.

    Aside here. Some DJT enthusiasts think that the President plays four dimensional chess. National Review and Bulwark types scoff at that. My take is that the President is a pretty good strategist.

    Again, my gut tells me Comey is a weasel, same as Mueller. Maybe DJT was willing to give a few of the actors a chance and once they betrayed him, he learned better. "Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on me"?

    I respect your opinion and wany to know what you think. I've asked you this in the past but now we know so much more information that has come out to inform your thinking.

    What say you? Thanks, as always. You're insight is so appreciated.

  4. Re RR--mostly the former: panicked, because he knew he'd been foolish in conspiring with McCabe and so no other way to get out of his fix with any sort of reputation than by appointing a Special Counsel. Even with that, according to John Dowd, he pretty much expected to be fired.

    He's a smart lawyer and when he talks purely legal stuff people should pay attention, but I'm afraid he wasn't the guy for the job. Especially not in the current political environment. Especially because he was compromised in the recent past in re the Uranium One case.

    I agree--no use for Comey, no use for Mueller. They come from a corrupt theory of prosecuting that has dragged our justice system into the swamp.

  5. I recommend this website for information about the alleged cyber crimes.

    Click on the links Part 1, Part 2, etc., and read them.

    To provide you a sample of the website's clear explanations, here are the first paragraphs:

    Unfortunately, not all Americans are computer geeks. That is one reason they have had trouble keeping all of these hacking stories, allegations, and investigations straight. There were three networks involved in the campaign, and at least two were allegedly hacked, according to more than one source, and FBI Director James Comey claimed a third one was hacked, probably by Russia and perhaps other state actors. Below is a review of all three servers and how they relate to the story of the election.

    Network One -- This is the Democratic National Committee (DNC) network. This will be the first network, which is usually referred to as a "server," that we will analyze in several parts. There are typically several servers operating on a network, such as a file server, an email server, a domain name server, etc. These are computers on the network with different tasks to perform, sometimes different operating systems driving them, and different programs performing work for the owners of the network. One server can perform more than one operation, and there are "virtual servers," which are nothing more than computer code that mimicks a physical server, which is that box-like computer in a rack that you can see. Several virtual servers can exist in one box, and they cannot be seen with the human eye.

    Network Two -- The Hillary Clinton for President Campaign's network -- This network is frequently confused with the DNC Network, since Hillary was a Democratic Party candidate. A candidate's campaign is supposed to be separate from the DNC, since there might be multiple candidates trying to get nominated for President, and the DNC is supposed to be neutral and not support any one of them over the others. Therefore, Hillary's campaign had its own network.

    Network Three -- The private network, or server(s), that Hillary ran separately from the State Department's dot gov domain. This network was not in compliance with State Department or Federal Government policy and eventually had several extremely top secret documents stored on it that are legally not permitted to be removed from their place of origin. We will cover this in depth. This is the "Email Scandal" that had a serious negative impact on the Hillary Clinton campaign. While the media called it an "Email Investigation," in reality it was an investigation into violations of 18 United States Code, Section 793, the Espionage Act. It was very serious as the "email" in question is not the kind of "email" most Americans receive.

    We will start with an analysis of all that is presently known about the hacking of Network One, the DNC Network.

    1. Thanks, Mike. I'll check it out.

    2. To me it makes sense. I've gone through the first five parts. Hopefully we're gonna find out the whole truth of all of this.

    3. I have read through Part 13, which is the last available part. I have only a pedestrian understanding of computer communications, but my understanding of the website's argument is as follows.

      Russians -- perhaps Russian Intelligence or perhaps the Russian petroleum industry -- had hacked into the DNC servers during mid-2015. The Russians did not "steal" (exfiltrate) any files. Rather, the Russians merely read them. Perhaps the Russians copied-and-pasted some of the files into Word documents or did screen-snapshots of files (see Part 10).

      The NSA became aware of this hack, but because the Russians did not exfiltrate any files, the NSA was not able to track the hacking activities back to the hackers in Russia.

      The NSA informed the FBI, which informed the DNC, but the NSA apparently asked the FBI to do such an ineffective manner that the DNC was likely to fail to respond effectively. In other words, the NSA was obligated to inform, through the FBI, the DNC, but the NSA preferred that the DNC fail to act, so that the NSA could continue to watch the Russians' hacking operation.

      Eventually, however, the DNC discovered the hacking and eventually hired CrowdStrike to deal with the problem. The NSA discovered the DNC's action and then secretly asked CrowdStrike to allow the Russians' hacking to continue. CrowdStrike complied with NSA's request, and so the Russians' searches of the DNC files continued for weeks.

      Eventually, on May 25, 2016 (see Part 11) exfiltrated a huge number of files from the DNC server. This was the moment that the NSA had been waiting for, and NSA was able to track the exfiltration to the Russian perpetrators

      Soon after May 25, 2016, the NSA told CrowdStrike to begin dealing effectively with the Russian hack.


      Part 6 is especially important. CrowdStrike explained to the DNC leadership that CrowdStrike would allow the hacking to continue because CrowdStrike intended to use a special CrowdStrike application to track the hacking back to the perpetrator. However, CrowdStrike did not really have such an application.

      The only organization in the world that is able to track a hacking operation to the perpetrator is the NSA, which has arranged with the communication-cable companies to embed such a unique NSA capability into the cable systems.

      Therefore, CrowdStrike informed the DNC truthfully that the hacking should be allowed to continue so that the perpetrator could be identified. However, CrowdStrike lied to the DNC that CrowdStrike itself had a computer application that could do so.

  6. Tx, Mike. As it stands, I got through Part 5, of course. I'll keep going. This whole thing is incredibly dodgy, IMO.