INTRODUCTION TO PART 2
This question has recently surfaced during the Congressional Hearings when former FBI Director James Comey testified, and later ones which included the testimonies of former DNC Chair Deborah Wasserman Schultz and former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson. Not only do the FBI and DHS leadership still insist that they attempted to get access to the DNC network to remove the alleged hackers, but that their agencies first warned the DNC of the alleged hack in August of 2015, eight months before the DNC hired the cybersecurity firm Crowd Strike to eliminate the hackers from their network and complete a forensic computer audit of the network servers and workstations. It was Crowd Strike that determined the hackers were Russian state operators. Neither the FBI nor the DHS were permitted access to the DNC network to perform any kind of analysis. The intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been acting on the findings of Crowd Strike since June 13, 2016 when the findings were made public. Since the position that the Russian government hacked the DNC network and the Hillary for America campaign organization, in order to secure the election of Donald Trump as President by publishing the emails through Wikileaks, our government, and the Mainstream Media, have been in a mode of perpetual confrontation with the Putin regime. At one point during the campaign, both governments were in the heightened level of nuclear war alert known as DEFCON 3. It is essential that the facts of this matter come completely to light so that a rational policy can be pursued to ensure the integrity of the election process while at the same time attempting to avoid nuclear war. This is not a situation that should be accompanied by some of the hysteria that has been exhibited, and is a far cry from the initial reporting of the alleged Russian hack that we covered in Part 1 of this series. None of the experts who offered opinions regarding the effects of the Russian hack in Ellen Nakashima's June 14, 2016 article in the Washington Post described the hack as any kind of serious threat to national security. Somehow, from June 14, 2016 to the present the story mutated into the Apocalyptic scenario in which we are now trapped. A hacking incident that officials once took in stride has become, in the wake of the election defeat of Hillary Clinton, into a reason for civil war inside the United States, and possible nuclear war with Russia outside the country. We will review possible reasons for this mutation of the story, along with an attempt to determine who is lying about when the DNC leadership learned that their network had been breached sometime in 2015.
HOW LIKELY IS IT THAT RUSSIA WAS TRYING TO GET TRUMP ELECTED PRESIDENT?
This analysis will attempt to put into perspective the probability that any Russian hack of the DNC was an attempt to help elect Donald Trump. We won't get into whether or not the Russians actually performed the hacks as we are private citizens and do not have access to the classified information that could help us determine the accuracy, and veracity, of such allegations against the Russian government. This analysis will go in directions most of the government and Mainstream Media allegations have not attempted to traverse. We are starting with a timeline of the events that has informed the government and MSM analyses. The timing of these events is critical, as most of them took place prior to either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton securing the nominations of their parties as President. The reader will find that this fact is among the most interesting.
The Story of the Opposition Research File of the DNC
What the government and MSM are telling us is that the Russian government was working to get Donald Trump elected President prior to Trump even getting the nomination of the Republican Party at their 2016 convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The Russians had to start their campaign to get Trump elected as much as 14 months prior to Trump achieving the nomination of the Republican Party. The DNC leadership, as we found in the Ellen Nakashima article, detected the hackers in their network in April 2016, and that the hackers had access to the DNC network as early as a year before, which would mean April 2015 if their estimates of having hackers in the DNC network for possibly one full year are accurate. (1) Now, without the nomination of the Republican Party, Trump could not be a viable candidate as no third party candidate has ever won election as President. By this analysis, Russia was attempting to get Trump elected for as much as 14 months prior to his winning the nomination. The question is just how confident, in April 2015, could the Russians be that Trump would even be nominated by the Republican Party let alone elected by the American people in November 2016? We all remember how the media kept reporting during the nomination campaign that the Republican Party leadership opposed Trump and were working to create an open convention that would challenge Trump's nomination on the convention floor and nominate a different candidate. Trump's nomination was not certain right up to the start of the convention, yet we are supposed to believe the Russians not only risked detection by hacking the DNC network, but they remained inside that network for at least one year. The original June 14, 2016 reports were that the Russians only stole one document which was the DNC's Oppoisition Research about Donald Trump. The Opposition Research document covered over 200 pages and included what could be damaging talking points against Trump, which would mean an uphill battle to get Trump elected if Trump even got nominated. Waiting in the wings was the infamous "Peegate Trump Dossier," which other Democrats had arranged to be gathered through the private research firm Fusion GPS. If the Russians hacked the DNC, and exfiltrated the large collection of opposition research held by the DNC, all they found were reasons to conclude that Trump could not be elected. This was what we were originally expected to believe on June 14, 2016 when the MSM and government told us the ONLY documents stolen by the Russians were the Opposition Research documents. We were not told initially that the Russians took any DNC emails, despite Julian Assange stating on British television, on June 12, 2016, that Wikileaks had the DNC emails and would publish them in July 2016, "coincident with the Democratic Party convention." We will address this Opposition Research and the "Peegate Trump Dossier" in a future part of this series about the hack of the DNC network. The Trump Dossier is the subject of an investigation by the Senate Judiciary Chair Charles Grassley (R-IA).
Part of the reason that the emails were not addressed in the original claims for what the alleged Russian hackers stole from the DNC network was likely the media's blanket coverage of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub alleged mass shooting. Incidents like the Orlando alleged mass shooting create a kind of "smoke grenade" effect in the foreground of daily news reports, especially on television. Everything but the alleged mass shooting is just "background noise." The hacking story took place behind the "smokescreen" that was Orlando Pulse. A great many news consumers paid attention to no other stories but the Pulse alleged shooting. during that period.
It is also significant that we were initially informed by the press that the alleged Russian hackers did not steal any of the DNC's database of the DONORS to the Democratic Party. This "Donor Information," would include personal and financial information of many "Very Important Persons" (VIPs), including billionaires, Hollywood celebrities, and MSM personalities that included some whose emails to DNC executives were published by Wikileaks. We will discuss the significance of the Donor Information in separate section of this report.
The Effect of the Wikileaks Emails on the Election
The story we know today, that the Russians gave the DNC emails to Wikileaks in July 2016 allegedly to get Trump elected, are not just challenged by the fact that the Russians could not be certain that Trump would be nominated by the Republicans. The theory is also challenged by the fact that the Russians could not be certain Trump could be elected in November 2016. We all remember the polls that, right up to days before the November election, were predicting an overwhelming victory by Hillary Clinton. If the Wikileaks emails were so devastating, why were all the polls and political experts predicting that Hillary Clinton would win the election in a landslide that would likely give the Democratic Party a majority in one, or both, houses of Congress? This scenario is so unlikely that, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, James Comey stated that the Russians were not trying to get Trump elected, but were just trying to "hurt Hillary Clinton," most likely because Putin blamed Hillary for demonstrations against him in Russia some years before the 2016 Presidential Election. For some reason, this statement by Comey has not been widely quoted in the MSM.
In order for the Wilileaks emails to have any effect on the outcome of the election, the Russians would have to know in advance that a large segment of the voting public would have to read the emails and come to the conclusion that they should vote for Donald Trump because of them. In order to ensure that a majority of the voting public read the Wikileaks emails, the Russians would have to arrange for a significant campaign in the MSM to get the voters to read the emails. Instead of the MSM encouraging the public accessing the Wikileaks emails, the MSM either ignored them, or told the public it was illegal for them to access the emails as they were stolen documents. For the entire Cold War the Russians were profiling the behavior of the American people, and would have to know that it would be difficult to get the American people to read about such minutae concerning some Presidential campaign. While the Russian television network, Russia Today (RT) did a little of this, the small viewership of RT limited its effect. To date, we have not seen any Internet traffic reports that could give us any notion of how many voters read the emails at all. I've made attempts to obtain such information, but no one has provided it. Without a detailed analysis of the traffic reports, there is no evidence that sufficient numbers of voters read them in order to influence the final result of the election. It is highly doubtful, given the apathy about politics shared by a majority of Americans, that the Wikileaks emails did very much to influence the election. There were other factors that would have had more influence on American voters, such as the following.
1. The increases in the premiums and deductibles of medical insurance policies under Obamacare caused great dissatisfaction among the electorate about a week before the election. Former President Clinton's remarks about how "crazy" this situation had become for small business people was recorded and used in pro-Trump commercials on YouTube right up until Election Day.
2. The James Comey letter to Congress about a new investigation of Hillary Clinton's State Department emails, that included classified information of the highest secrecy. That this investigation was part of the investigation of Anthony Weiner's sexually charged emails and Internet communications with underage girls. would produce far more interest in the public than any political issues.
3. In an interview with a young woman who had family members who are undocumented aliens, President Obama stated that undocumented aliens would not be hampered in casting votes, and that undocumented aliens become citizens once in the voting booth.
4. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote while winning only approximately 60 counties out of over 3,100 counties comprising all 50 states.
The Wikileaks emails had minimal impact on the election results, particularly how the 18% of the Undecided voters cast their ballots, as reflected in the Edison Research findings.(2)
The Erosion of Crowd Strike's Finding that the Russians Hacked the DNC
In addition to the facts noted above, we also have the fact that Crowd Strike has recently had to abandon the keystone of their forensic analysis that the Russians hacked the DNC. Crowd Strike's conclusion rested on the analysis that the Russians' activities in exfiltrating data from the DNC matched the Russian hack of the Ukrainian Army's computers that were used in targeting a certain type of howitzer used by their artillery units. The Ukraininan authorities subsequently refuted that the Russians ever hacked their targeting computers. In addition to this error of analysis, we have the inital Crowd Strike report that the alleged Russian hackers only stole the DNC's opposition research file about Donald Trump. Crowd Strike did not mention emails or Donor Information being stolen by alleged Russian hackers, but the story of the Russian hack later mutated to include those documents in those stolen by the Russians. In my opinion, it was simply assumed that, since the Russians stole the Opposition Research documents, therefore the Russians would automatically be blamed for any other documents that would subsequently be added to the list of those stolen. However, since the foundation of the Crowd Strike analysis that established the Russians as the perpetrators of the DNC hack has been refuted, the analysis that the Russians were responsible for all the stolen emails and the stolen Donor Information, is also refuted. If the Russians did it, an entirely new investigation will have to be undertaken to prove it.
As of now, it is an open question just who is responsible for the theft and publication of the confidential DNC documents and Donor Information. The DNC's opposition research was published on Gawker and The Smoking Gun by Guccifer 2.0, who has been accused of being a Russian hacker; however, if Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian hacker someone will have to explain why Guccifer 2.0 would damage the Russian government's "chosen candidate," Donald J. Trump, by publishing the DNC's opposition research file, which contained only damaging information about Trump prior to his even being nominated by the Republican Party. (3)
As we can see now, there is a problem with the entire Russian story. The fact that the theft of the DNC emails and the donor information was so casually placed on the Russians, after Crowd Strike failed to include those documents in the original list of those exfiltrated by the alleged Russian hackers, indicates that the claim the thefts were all done by Russian hackers is just an assumption. "Since the Russians stole A, they stole B and C, too." Actually, we don't know if Russians stole A, B, or C. People just tell us they did., and their stories keep mutating such as abitrarily adding the emails and donor information to what "the Russians" stole.
A New Analysis: The Emails As a Weapon to Influence the Democratic Party Nomination and Help Bernie Sanders
In actuality, we have no way of determining the level of impact the DNC emails had on the election with the exception of the protests surrounding the nomination of Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia in July 2016. The DNC emails included evidence that the DNC colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign, and some MSM journalists and pundits, to deny the nomination to Senator Bernie Sanders. The result of this information included protests against Clinton's nomination on the streets of Philadelphia during the convention. Now, this might have helped Trump, at least during the early days of the campaign prior to the release of NBC's archived recording of Trump's vulgar references to women in a past conversation with Billy Bush, but what we need to look at is the timeline of these events to determine what the actual motive was of those who stole the DNC emails and released them to Wikileaks.
First, the DNC emails were turned over to Wikileaks some time prior to the Democratic Party's convention. Julian Assange first revealed Wikileaks' possession of the emails in a June 12, 2016 broadcast on British television. Those who stole the emails, and gave them to Wikileaks, did this at least one month prior to both parties' conventions. This is evidence that the motive of the hackers was to impact the Democratic Party's nomination of a Presidential candidate, not to impact the general election. This analysis makes perfect sense. The persons who stole the DNC emails, and turned them over to Wikileaks, were trying to derail Hillary's attempt to obtain the nomination. The emails documented how Hillary Clinton colluded with both the DNC and the Mainstream Media (MSM) to derail Sanders' attempt to win the nomination. Whoever gave the emails to Wikileaks wanted them released to the public to influence the vote of the convention delegates at the Democratic Party convention by proving Sanders had been cheated. If the emails had been released in June, or earlier, the emails might have had a greater impact on the convention. Whether or not that would have led to Sanders being nominated is unknown, but it is my opinion that the nomination of Sanders was the main motivation for the release of the DNC emails to Wikileaks. The hackers, or leakers, could not control when Assange would decide to release them, which was too late to produce a revolt against Clinton's nomination on the floor of the convention.
If the Russians stole the emails, and gave them to Wikileaks, it is more likely they did it to help Bernie Sanders get the nomination, and not to help Trump get elected, as Trump had not yet been nominated. A secondary reason would be to discredit Hillary Clinton by exposing her collusion with the DNC and the Mainstream Media (MSM) to defeat the challenge by Bernie Sanders. Trump's nomination was still in doubt as late as June 2016. This is, again, only my opinion, but it is a reasonable opinion based upon the known evidence. Only the release of more factual evidence will determine which analysis is correct. As of now, I am satisfied that my analysis is the most realistic considering all of the known facts, particularly that the emails were made available to Wikileaks at least one month prior to the convention, which suggests the perpetrators, whether or not they were Russians, were attempting to control the outcome of the Democratic nomination, and not the general election. Only Assange's decision to wait until the convention started to make the emails public ruined such a scenario, but the hackers could not have known Assange would wait that long to publish the DNC emails.
(NEW INFORMATION AS OF July 17, 2017) Yes, the "drip, drip, drip" of information of all kinds keeps right on happening. We are waiting to deal with the Trump, Junior revelations until the Fifth Part of this series as more keeps coming out. )---In the Sunday Greensburg, Pennsylvania Tribune-Review of July, 16, 2017 we have an editorial describing recently discovered information about Russian Active Measures covert operations inside the United States that dates back years. Republican Members of Congress (MCs) Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Randy Weber (R-TX) quote a former Secretary General of NATO who accused Russian intelligence of funneling money to US environmental organizations working against the fracking of shale gas. In one of her formerly private speeches in 2014, Hillary Clinton described "phony environmental groups" who are "funded by Russians" to denounce fracking. The Russians have a reason to do this as they have a lucrative monopoly of supplying natural gas to the countries to the west of Russia. Recently, President Trump offered to ship some of our natural gas, which is in surplus thanks to fracking operations, to Europe to challenge the Russian advantage in that key resource. If the Russians backed Trump in the election, his fracking policies do not reflect what appear to be the Russian policy of ending the fracking in the United States. The one major party candidate for Presidential nomination that was most likely to eliminate fracking was Bernie Sanders. It appears that both Trump and Clinton were not opposed to continued fracking. This strengthens our earlier analysis that indicates if the Russians stole the DNC emails, and leaked them to Wikileaks, it was to help Sanders win the Democratic Party's nomination for President, and not to elect pro-fracking Hillary, or pro-fracking Trump. Other sources for this information include a Washington Times article. Money, through the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, is the main motivation. There is enough dough sloshing around Gazprom for the Gazprom executives to buy an FSB (former KGB) covert operation outside the normal Russian government chain of command.
Final Analysis of the Russian Hack Theory
Given the facts that the DNC was allegedly hacked over a year before Trump was even nominated; that Trump's ability to win the Republican nomination was seriously questioned by the MSM almost up to the first ballot at the convention; that the Russian government could not control such events as the release of the damaging "hot mike" vulgar remarks about women by Trump to Billy Bush some years before the election campaign; and that the Russians were not even initially accused of stealing any emails from the DNC network even after Assange made Wikileaks' possession of the emails public; it is highly unlikely that the Russian government hacked the DNC in order to help Trump get elected. Frankly, I doubt that there even was a Russian hack of the DNC, barring the release of any classified data that might actually prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Russians actually hacked the DNC. Recently, facts were brought to light that further damaged the analysis that the Russians committed the hack, if there was a hack at all. This has to do with some setbacks suffered by the only cybersecurity experts to have performed any forensic analysis of the DNC network, Crowd Strike. This will be covered in the last section of this article. Suffice it to say for now, the foundation of the theory of a Russian hack rested on Crowd Strike analyses and conclusions that have since been refuted. We no longer know who is responsible for the hack of the DNC, if anyone hacked the DNC. After all, insiders with access to the DNC network could have removed the emails and delivered them to Wikileaks. Some individuals involved in the document transfer to Wikileaks have testified that insiders provided the documents, not Russian hackers.
WHO IS LYING? EMPLOYING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DNC DONOR INFORMATION TO THE ANALYSIS
We are now locked in a debate about when the DNC first learned they were hacked, whether or not the hack was done by Russian state hackers. The DNC's Deborah Wasserman-Schultz insists that the DNC was not warned about the hack by either the FBI or DHS, and that the DNC learned of the hack in April 2016 by their own efforts. Further, the DNC reacted immediately by hiring Crowd Strike and eliminating the hackers from their network by the weekend beforfe the hack was made public by the DNC on June 13, 2016. Jeh Johnson, former Director of DHS claims the DHS attempted to provide help to the DNC in eliminating the hackers in August 2015, and patching vulnerabilities in the DNC network to avoid future hacks. James Comey, former Director of the FBI, has made similar allegations that the DNC rejected FBI help in eliminating the hackers, and that the FBI told the DNC about the hack in August 2015. Is there any way to determine just which party is telling the truth about this incident? Perhaps there is. Since we are not privy to any of the classified information that might shed sufficient light on this question to provide a certain answer, we must use what facts we possess now to make a preliminary analysis.
In Ellen Nakashima's June 14, 2016 article about the alleged Russian hack of the DNC, we have more than one assuarance given by DNC executives, such as Wasserman-Schultz, that the DNC's database of donor information was not hacked, and that the information was secure. In any breach, it is expected that the institution storing sensitive personal, medical, or financial information react to the breach in a timely manner, and that the damage be limited to the extent that is reasonably possible. Anything short of this standard would indicate negiligence on the part of those responsible, in this case the DNC executives. It defies reason to assume that DNC executives would completely ignore a serious report from federal law enforcement that their network was breached for a period of eight months, from August 2015 until April 2016. To do so would subject the DNC, and its executives, with civil lawsuits, and perhaps criminal complaints. Of course, there is also the distinct possibility that the level of donations would be negatively affected by a breach that went on for eight months while the DNC did nothing. The notion that the DNC could be this careless with future levels of donations is beyond any rational comprehension.
The DNC claimed, and James Comey appeared to agree, that the FBI failed to make contact with the proper level of authority when the FBI attempted to warn the DNC of the hack. (3) Rather than go right to the top, the FBI contacted lower level personnel, such as the Help Desk manager. Comey suggested that it might have been better if DNC executives had been contacted first. In the meantime, Jeh Johnson continues to testify that the DNC barred DHS access to help eliminate the hackers and patch vulnerabilities in the DNC network. The FBI stating that they might not have contacted the proper level of officials in the DNC lends credence to the conclusion that it is not the DNC executives who are lying about when they realized they might be hacked. Again, it is highly unlikely that the DNC would not respond immediately to a hack of its network, given the Donor Information present in databases in the DNC network. A good way for donations to dry up, and for the DNC to get sued for significant amounts, would be to let hackers run around in their network for a staggering eight months. This would be legally indefensible particularly after being alerted to the hack by the FBI back in August 2015. In my opinion, because of the presence of donor information on the DNC network, it is not reasonable to conclude, with the information we have to date, that the DNC executives waited eight months to respond to a hack.
While Deborah Wasserman-Schultz likely lied about several things, such as being neutral in the Clinton-Sanders battle for the nomination, Wasserman-Schultz is not lying about when she found out the DNC network was hacked. Wasserman-Schultz learned of the hack, for the first time, in April 2016, and knew nothing about what the FBI and DHS (and probably the National Security Agency) knew about the hack in August 2015. Comey's testimony that the FBI did not warn DNC executives directly also serves as evidence that Wasserman-Schutz is telling the truth about when DNC executives became cognizant of a breach in their network.
In the meantime, FBI and DHS complaints that the DNC denied them access to the servers on the DNC network made it impossible for them to analyze the hack are all irrelevant. No one needs direct access to the servers to make an analysis of what the Audit and Event logs of the servers could tell forensic auditors about the hack. The Audit and Event logs can be copied to discs or flash drives and analyzed without access to the network. There has been no testimony that either the FBI or DHS requested copies of the Audit and Event logs, or the firewall logs, of the DNC network. The FBI was content to rely on the work product of Crowd Strike since access to the network was denied to them. At least that was their stated position, without referring to the fact analyzing the logs of servers and the firewall does not require direct access to the network. Another obvious reason for the FBI accepting Crowd Strike's work product is that Shawn Henry, former FBI head of cybersecurity, was a founder of Crowd Strike.
NEXT: PART 3 OF THE DNC NETWORK AFFAIR--"THE PIED PIPER CANDIDATE 'STRATEGY'"
Part 3 will address who worked hardest to get Trump nominated. I will give you a hint. It wasn't Vladimir Putin.