Friday, July 27, 2018

Too Bad It Takes 75 Years To Release This Kind Of Thing


No Puppet by Chip Proser

We have elections coming up in less than three months and change-- and then another presidential cycle in 2020. It's not so much that we need to know about how the Russians stole the election for Trump-- like in a gossip kind of way-- but that we have the information so we can prevent it from happening again. The House Republicans have already turned down financing underwriting any fixes to make sure it doesn't happen. I wouldn't be surprised if they voted for the funds to guarantee that it does.

Michael Harriot, yesterday for Root: Evidence Shows Hackers Changed Votes in the 2016 Election But No One Will Admit It.
{D]espite what Donald Trump, the Kremlin’s Executive in Charge of U.S. Operations, would have you believe, every credible intelligence source agrees that Russian hackers, under direct instructions from our sidepiece president, Vladimir Putin, interfered with the 2016 presidential elections. The evidence shows this is true.

But when it comes to whether or not Russian operatives actually changed votes or voter rolls, no one will admit to it, regardless of the mountain of circumstantial evidence.

According to the New York Times, Trump has seen text messages from Russian officers, emails from agents in the United States and “information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.”

So far, most of the news has focused on the “disinformation” part of the narrative-- that Russia posted misleading ads on Facebook and spread propaganda on other social media outlets. We know Soviet agents paid protesters and created false news reports.

Aside from the widely known Twitter bots, the hacking part has been largely underreported-- mostly because of the difficult-to-explain technological intricacies of the story and the vastness of the Soviet effort.

U.S. officials will admit that Vladimir Putin interfered with the 2016 election. They don’t specifically deny that Russian operatives altered votes. They will only say they cannot confirm that fact. They will say that there is no conclusive evidence to support it.

That is simply not true.

When one dissects the publicly available information on Putin’s state-sanctioned campaign to elect Donald Trump, the same evidence that supports the intelligence community’s assertion that Russia wanted to elect Donald Trump also points to the inescapable fact Soviet actors most likely changed votes.

In September 2017, the Department of Homeland Security notified 21 state election organizations that Russia had targeted their election systems before the 2016 election. Then they said 39. Then they said 50.

The New York Times said that being targeted did not mean that “sensitive voter data was manipulated or that results were changed,” adding: “A hacker targeting a system without getting inside is similar to a burglar circling a house, checking for unlocked doors and windows.”

We were left knowing that Russia attempted to break into almost half of America’s voter databases, but the DHS assured the public that they had no evidence that any of the systems were actually compromised.

That was a lie.

When Bradley Moss, a cybersecurity lawyer, won a freedom of information suit against the U.S. government for data on the Russian hacks, the documents revealed that Russia actually got inside the voting systems of seven states, including 4 of the 5 largest states in terms of electoral votes-- California (55) Texas (38) Florida (29) and Illinois (20).

U.S. intelligence officials disputed the claim at first. But days later, on Feb. 18, DHS acknowledged that seven states were actually breached, and Homeland Security didn’t inform the individual states until eight months after the election, according to NBC.

Yet, in recanting its initial lie, a statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the intelligence community’s assessment “found that Russian actors did not compromise vote-tallying systems. That assessment has not changed.”

Those states have vehemently denied that any votes were changed in the 2016 elections. Then again most of the states had no idea their systems had been penetrated until they were specifically told.

In fact, 6 of the 7 states still deny that their systems were ever breached.

But we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that these systems were targeted and breached. We know that Russian actors got inside. We know the DHS withheld information about this for nearly a year-- not only from the public but from the individual states. Illinois admits that hackers unsuccessfully attempted to alter and delete voters rolls but the intruders were unsuccessful, partly because the state has a decentralized system.

But what if there was a state who, unlike Illinois, had voter data, voting-machine information and election rolls on one central computer?

That’s exactly what happened in Georgia.

When the DHS notified state election officials that Russians had targeted election systems, Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp was the lone state official who refused help from intelligence officials, according to Politico.

Around the time of the 21-state breach, a technician at the Center for Election Systems, the Georgia firm that handles the state’s election data, computers and training, found a hole in the election system’s server that would have allowed anyone to download or alter the database that included every voter in the state. He also found PDF files with the instructions, all the passwords and software files for the system that allowed poll workers to verify registered voters.

Moreover, in a since-unsealed indictment, the FBI discovered that two Russian military officers, Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev and Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, conspired to hack into U.S. election systems in October 2016.

Georgia was one of the states listed.

“These sophisticated agents certainly [would have known] that Georgia’s entire election programming and management system, including private voter data, was on a single central computer managed by Secretary of State Kemp’s contract agent at Kennesaw State University,” Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, told Politico.

Aside from circumstantial evidence, it is impossible to know if ballots cast by Georgia voters were changed because the state does not require a post-election audit. Even if it did, an audit might not be possible because the state does not require voting machines to have paper ballots.

But we know Georgia uses some of the most hackable voting machines and runs its election on a system that was breached. In February, when the Center for American Progress graded each state on election security, Georgia earned a D.

The only logical explanation that could possibly explain why Russians did not change votes in Georgia is to somehow believe an international cabal of hackers got into the system, found instructions, voter registrations and passwords to voting machines and yet somehow decided not to do it, just because.

Marks says Georgia’s systems would have been an “ideal” target for Russian hackers because the state doesn’t use a system with a paper trail so there is no way to audit the system. Of course, a diligent eye could have inspected Georgia’s system or compared the saved backups with the hacked server.

But when Marks’ organization sued for data to see whether or not the state’s elections systems had been penetrated, Kennesaw State University, the college that houses the Center for Election Systems, wiped the servers clean.

Then they wiped the servers’ backups clean.

But is it possible to hack an actual voting machine and change votes?

At the 2017 Def Con computer security conference, perhaps the biggest gathering of hackers in the world, organizers challenged attendees to hack into a variety of 30 different voting machines used by election officials around the country.

Within 24 hours they hacked every one.

A 16-year-old hacker broke into as ExpressPoll voting machine used by Georgia in 45 minutes. Another cyberhacker showed how he could change votes in the WINvote machine used in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Mississippi, with only a computer, a mouse and a Microsoft Word document, as long as he had the password. But the hacker soon discovered that WINvote machines all had the same password.

The password, which could not be changed, was (you might want to take a deep breath) “abcde.”

A recent report by the New York Times detailed how a Pennsylvania auditor checking his state’s voting system found remote access software on the system that tallies votes. Electronic Systems & Software, the company that makes those machines, is the biggest voting machine manufacturer in America.

To be clear, this was not a voting machine. The system that counts votes had software installed that allowed a person who was not on the scene to gain access to the voting results. But the strangest part of this revelation was why the machine was being audited in the first place:

Pennsylvania voters complained that the ES&S machines were changing or “flipping” votes.

We know Russia has the capability to do this.

On Monday, the DHS announced that Russian hackers had gained access to U.S. electric utility control rooms. The breach made it possible for the intruders to cause blackouts, steal data, learn about the inner workings of the equipment and even create a backdoor, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Intercept recently released National Security Agency documents that show that Putin-connected actors also breached voting-machine manufacturers days prior to the 2016 election.

...We know, from Vladimir Putin’s own words, that he wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. We know that Russian agents interfered. The entire intelligence community agrees that Russia targeted the election systems in at least 21 states and breached the barriers in at least 8 states.

Every single source agrees that Russian could have changed votes. We know it is not a difficult task. We know it is so easy, even a 16-year-old could do it. Every single shred of publicly available evidence says Russian hackers would have altered voter rolls and votes.

Yet, we are supposed to believe that Vladimir Putin concocted this vast, Soviet-sponsored effort that included propaganda, computer experts, spies and an international ring of hackers, but when he was actually successful at breaking into voting systems, all they did was look around and change nothing?

We are supposed to believe the circumstantial evidence that shows Russians interfered but not the circumstantial evidence that shows they changed votes? There will never be any direct evidence. The only other alternative is to believe that the entire plot was an exercise.

We know that hackers attempted to change voter rolls and hack voting machines at least once, but we are supposed to believe that it wasn’t widespread. The people who tell us this, the individual states, had no idea they were hacked until they were told. And the people who told the states, lied at first, but we are supposed to trust them now?
Skeptical? A majority of Americans are. Late yesterday Andrew Desiderio and Kevin Poulsen reported that official Russian hackers have a target in November: Claire McCaskill. Did Trump tell Putin to target her when they met behind closed doors in Helsinki? Would that shock you? "The Russian intelligence agency behind the 2016 election cyberattacks," they reported, "targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill as she began her 2018 re-election campaign in earnest, a Daily Beast forensic analysis reveals. That makes the Missouri Democrat the first identified target of the Kremlin’s 2018 election interference. McCaskill, who has been highly critical of Russia over the years, is widely considered to be among the most vulnerable Senate Democrats facing re-election this year as Republicans hope to hold their slim majority in the Senate. In 2016, President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by almost 20 points in the senator’s home state of Missouri."

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At 8:30 PM, Blogger edmondo said...


Still can't get over the fact that the Dems nominated the only person in the world who could lose to a game show host, huh?

It wasn't the Russians who put Trump in the Oval Office, it was the Democrats.

At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DUH! and BFD.

The Nazis gooned several elections, probably using those same hacking strategies, before.

And the democraps gooned some of their 2016 primaries plus the nomination process to make sure their gal would become the nom and lose to whomever the Nazis nom'd.

And our courts have found in no fewer than 3 cases at various levels that actually counting votes should not be done because, and this is true, IT MIGHT HARM THE LOSER WHO WAS NAMED THE WINNER. Wanna guess which party "won" and would have been harmed?

And after all of these atrocities, NOBODY gave a flying fuck. Not even the hapless democrap dipshits who probably won but were named the loser.

All this polling of voters... seems pretty pointless and a total waste of time and money. Why don't you just call the chairman of ES&S and vlad putin. They'll know for sure who the winner will be.

And americans will be just fine with it that way... clearly.

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard a great deal of blathering verbiage claiming proof of vote tampering, and even more that the Russians are behind it. To steal a slogan from advertising, SHOW ME THE VOTEFAX! WE already know WHO is accused. Show us WHAT they did, WHEN they did it, HOW they did it, and who benefitted.

Right now, were I on a jury trying this case, I'd have to vote to acquit. The gloves don't fit.

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OJ was guilty.

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Procopius said...

At first I thought this was an piece by Alex Jones, but I see it's attributed to some jamoke named Michael Harriott. I assume he's employed by the Democratic National Committee. One of the first things he writes that makes me stop reading is, "The evidence overwhelmingly shows..." Then he goes on with a long list of things that supposedly are shown by "the evidence," but somehow or other he never tells us where this evidence is to be found. He refers to people I have never heard of who have made accusations, but none of them have provided evidence, either. He says,"According to the New York Times, Trump has seen text messages from Russian officers, emails from agents in the United States and “information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.” If this statement is true (I do not consider the NYT a reliable source) then John Brennan is guilty of exposing the most valuable intelligence asset since the State Department broke the Japanese diplomatic code in 1940.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger opit said...

What Procupius said. " never tells us where this evidence is to be found." And that is really the money quote in all this jackassery. There is no evidence. Just noise. Given that, it really is what the disparaged orange top said : a witch hunt. All the rest is empire building on a bed of sand.


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