Political Fiction in an Age of Televised Lies

John W. Whitehead, President of the Rutherford Institute, writes for the Huffington Post:

Politics is entertainment. It is a heavily scripted, tightly choreographed, star-studded, ratings-driven, mass-marketed, costly exercise in how to sell a product—in this case, a presidential candidate—to dazzled consumers who will choose image over substance almost every time.

This year’s presidential election, much like every other election in recent years, is what historian Daniel Boorstin referred to as a “pseudo-event“: manufactured, contrived, confected and devoid of any intrinsic value save the value of being advertised. It is the end result of a culture that is moving away from substance toward sensationalism in an era of mass media.

As author Noam Chomsky rightly observed, “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.” In other words, we’re being sold a carefully crafted product by a monied elite who are masters in the art of making the public believe that they need exactly what is being sold to them, whether it’s the latest high-tech gadget, the hottest toy, or the most charismatic politician.

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Hillary Clinton and Her Hawks

Gareth Porter writes for Consortium News:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at NATO conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 4 (Official Defense Department photo)As Hillary Clinton begins her final charge for the White House, her advisers are already recommending air strikes and other new military measures against the Assad regime in Syria.

The clear signals of Clinton’s readiness to go to war appears to be aimed at influencing the course of the war in Syria as well as U.S. policy over the remaining six months of the Obama administration. (She also may be hoping to corral the votes of Republican neoconservatives concerned about Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.)

Last month, the think tank run by Michele Flournoy, the former Defense Department official considered to be most likely to be Clinton’s choice to be Secretary of Defense, explicitly called for “limited military strikes” against the Assad regime.

And earlier this month Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary and CIA Director, who has been advising candidate Clinton, declared in an interview that the next president would have to increase the number of Special Forces and carry out air strikes to help “moderate” groups against President Bashal al-Assad. (When Panetta gave a belligerent speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, he was interrupted by chants from the delegates on the floor of “no more war!”

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“No More War”: Protesters Disrupt Ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta’s DNC Speech

Protests on the floor of the convention continued on Wednesday. They reached a peak when former CIA Director Leon Panetta took the stage. While Panetta was criticizing Donald Trump’s appeal to the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, many delegates started chanting “No more war!” (Democracy Now!)

Hillary Clinton Admits Lying About Sniper Fire During 1996 Bosnia Trip

The Obama Administration Has Brokered More Weapons Sales Than Any Other Administration Since World War II

William D. Hartung, author of Prophets of War, writes for TomDispatch:

Lockheed F-35 Jet AustraliaWhen American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year, you’d expect to hear about it. Not so with the global arms trade. It’s good for one or two stories a year in the mainstream media, usually when the annual statistics on the state of the business come out.

It’s not that no one writes about aspects of the arms trade. There are occasional pieces that, for example, take note of the impact of US weapons transfers, including cluster bombs, to Saudi Arabia, or of the disastrous dispensation of weaponry to US allies in Syria, or of foreign sales of the costly, controversial F-35 combat aircraft. And once in a while, if a foreign leader meets with the president, US arms sales to his or her country might generate an article or two. But the sheer size of the American arms trade, the politics that drive it, the companies that profit from it, and its devastating global impacts are rarely discussed, much less analyzed in any depth.

So here’s a question that’s puzzled me for years (and I’m something of an arms wonk): Why do other major US exports—from Hollywood movies to Midwestern grain shipments to Boeing airliners—garner regular coverage while trends in weapons exports remain in relative obscurity? Are we ashamed of standing essentially alone as the world’s number one arms dealer, or is our Weapons “R” Us role such a commonplace that we take it for granted, like death or taxes?

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Chelsea Manning faces solitary confinement and charges after suicide attempt

Nicky Woolf reports for The Guardian:

Chelsea Manning may face charges relating to a suicide attempt this year, which could lead to indefinite solitary confinement or transferral to a maximum-security facility, according to a civil rights group.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced on Thursday that Manning, who is serving a 35-year sentence in military custody for leaking state secrets to the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks, was under investigation for three charges related to her 5 July suicide attempt: “resisting the force cell move team”, “prohibited property”, and “conduct which threatens”.

Manning confirmed through her lawyers in July that she was receiving medical care after having tried to take her own life.

If convicted of these new “administrative offenses”, she faces punishment that could include solitary confinement for the rest of her sentence, reclassification as a maximum-security prisoner, and an addition of nine years to her sentence. It might also negate her possibility of parole, according to the ACLU.

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Hillary Clinton is demolishing Donald Trump among hedge-fund donors

John Carney and Anupreeta Das report for Market Watch:

Hedge funds are playing a far bigger role in 2016 than in past elections—and Hillary Clinton has been the single biggest beneficiary.

Owners and employees of hedge funds have made $122.7 million in campaign contributions this election cycle, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics—more than twice what they gave in the entire 2012 cycle and nearly 14% of total money donated from all sources so far.

The lines around what constitutes a hedge fund aren’t always clear in the data, or in the financial industry. But the numbers are stark. The top five contributors to pro-Clinton groups are employees or owners of private investment funds, according to federal data released last week and compiled by OpenSecrets.org, the center’s website. The data show seven financial firms alone have generated nearly $48.5 million for groups working on Clinton’s behalf.

The total for Donald Trump: About $19,000.

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After Lying Low, Deep-Pocketed Clinton Donors Return to the Fore

Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick report for The New York Times:

In a luxury suite high above the convention floor, some of the Democratic Party’s most generous patrons sipped cocktails and caught up with old friends, tuning out Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Monday as he bashed Wall Street in an arena named after one of the country’s largest banks.

On Tuesday, when Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee of a major party, a handful of drug companies and health insurers made sure to echo the theme, paying to sponsor an “Inspiring Women” panel featuring Democratic congresswomen.

And in the vaulted marble bar of the Ritz-Carlton downtown, wealthy givers congregated in force for cocktails and glad-handing as protesters thronged just outside to voice their unhappiness with Wall Street, big money in politics and Mrs. Clinton herself.

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Hillary Clinton’s Economic Justice Incompatible with Her Corporate Relationships: Interview with Bill Curry

Sharmini Peries speaks to Bill Curry, former counsellor to Bill Clinton’s White House and columnist for Salon, who responds to Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech by saying that progressives must focus on building an independent political movement. (The Real News)

Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Role in Honduras: Interview with Greg Grandin

Amy Goodman speaks to Greg Grandin, professor of Latin American history at New York University. His most recent article for The Nation is headlined: Eat, Pray, Starve: What Tim Kaine Didn’t Learn During His Time in Honduras(Democracy Now!)

The DNC Protests You Didn’t See on TV: Sanders Delegates Chant and Walk Out on Clinton Speech

Protests continued on the floor of the convention, as chants of “No more war” could be heard throughout the evening. Some delegates walked off the floor of the DNC in protest. Democracy Now! was on the floor when protests began as retired four-star Marine General John Allen took the stage. (Democracy Now!)

U.S. Media’s Coverage of Donald Trump: Interview with Adam Johnson

Scott Horton speaks to Adam Johnson, a regular contributor to both AlterNet and Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), about the U.S. media’s repeated vilification of Donald Trump (in words and images), and the implications that Trump is Vladimir Putin’s puppet president in waiting. (Scott Horton Show)

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE…

Edward Snowden Is Not Down With WikiLeaks’ Methods

David Meyer reports for Fortune:

WikiLeaks is on a bit of a roll at the moment, most notoriously with its release of thousands of emails and even voicemail recordings from the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic party’s donors.

It has also recently released emails from Turkey’s ruling party, prompting WikiLeaks’ blockage in that country, and tweeted out a link to an unredacted database of most female Turkish voters.

And Edward Snowden, the famous National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, thinks Julian Assange’s whistleblowing pipeline is taking things too far.

“Democratizing information has never been more vital, and WikiLeaks has helped,” he tweeted. “But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake.”

WikiLeaks lashed back, accusing Snowden of opportunism in the hope of winning a pardon from Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. It also said that curation should not include “censorship of ruling party cash flows.”

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Will Hillary Clinton Flip-Flop Again on TPP? Interview with Joseph Stiglitz

Amy Goodman speaks to Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Columbia University professor and chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute. Stiglitz is an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s policy team and talks about whether or not she would support the Trans-Pacific Partnership if she was elected U.S. President. (Democracy Now!)

Hillary the Hawk: A History

Micah Zenko writes for Foreign Policy:

Hillary the Hawk: A History Whoever is elected on Nov. 8 will be a war president on day one, with the power and autonomy to undertake destabilizing shows of force, drone strikes, special operations raids and ever-deepening military interventions. Today, combat troop deployments are routinely made by executive branch spokespeople, decisions to back open-ended air wars in places like Yemen by “partners” like Saudi Arabia are announced via press release, and congressional oversight hearings largely boil down to legislators pleading with commanders to ask for more troops and looser rules of engagement.

And much of this probably suits Hillary Clinton just fine.

Unlike Donald Trump, who has wildly shifting positions and alleged “secret” plans to defeat the Islamic State, Clinton has an extensive track record upon which one can evaluate her likely positions. By any reasonable measure, Clinton qualifies as a hawk, if a nuanced one. Though she has opposed uses of force that she believed were a bad idea, she has consistently endorsed starting new wars and expanding others.

Consider seven prominent situations in which she has had to decide whether to support the use of American military force.

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‘Slave-Gate’ Joins Bill O’Reilly and Fox News’s Ugly History of Race-Baiting

Lloyd Grove reports for The Daily Beast:

Fearless Falklands War correspondent Bill O’Reilly is an ace reporter whose nose for news also placed him at the front door of a shadowy JFK assassination figure at the very moment the guy was committing suicide with a shotgun, but also (alas) an innocent victim years ago of a frivolous sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a scheming female producer—if only in his own self-justifying fantasies and fabrications.

Now he has added once again to his fictional record of excellence.

O’Reilly’s latest journalistic exploit—deigning to lecture Michelle Obama on the facts of slavery in America—comes just as his employer, Fox News, is painfully clearing away the smoking rubble of an asteroid strike: fired anchor Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the conservative-leaning cable network’s powerful founder and chairman, Roger Ailes, and Ailes’s shocking forced resignation last week in a cloud of scandal.

But you see, the 66-year-old uber-popular Fox News personality—who has slapped his name on a series of best-selling confections (Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, etc.) largely researched and written by a co-author, Martin Dugard—is something of a history scholar, at least in his own mind.

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The Democrats fell for Trump’s Russian email-hack bait

Jake Novak writes for CNBC:

[…] Instead of ignoring the story or simply scoffing at the obvious distracting attack, the Clinton campaign has fallen into the same kind of trap all those Republican candidates Trump defeated in the primaries fell for: misdirection. Most of the news media seems to have fallen for it, too, as the tone of most of the stories covering Trump’s comments seem to indicate this could be the serious gaffe everyone was expecting Trump to make in this election.

Trump’s ability to steal headlines with outrageous comments and survive the process is well-documented, but no one seems to have come up with an antidote for it. And, as for trying to make Russia into some kind of villain here and thus tainting Trump for any connection to that country or it’s leader Vladimir Putin, ask Mitt Romney how much the voters care about Russia. He found out the answer the hard way in 2012, didn’t he?

And guess what no one is talking about right now? All those “historic” stories about Clinton being the first woman to win a major party nomination are off the news sites now. Major lead-up stories to President Obama’s big speech at the convention on Wednesday night are almost non-existent now. And no one is talking about Clinton running mate Tim Kaine‘s speech tonight at all.

Advantage Trump.

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Trump, Putin and the DNC Hack: Interview with Jeffrey Carr

Scott Horton recently spoke to Jeffrey Carr, a cyber intelligence expert and CEO of Taia Global, Inc., about his fact-checking of Josh Marshall’s TalkingPointsMemo article that claims a close alliance between Trump and Putin, and why the individuals blaming Russia for the DNC email hack are more motivated by politics than solid evidence. (Scott Horton Show)

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW…

DNC Leak Shows Mechanics of a Slanted Campaign

Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone:

As is sadly the case with most political stories these days, whether or not you care about the so-called “DNC leak” probably depends on which candidate you supported in the primaries.

If you supported Hillary Clinton, it probably won’t bother you that the Democratic National Committee is revealed in these documents to have essentially acted as an arm of the Clinton campaign during the contested primary season.

Most people guessed at this anyway. But it wasn’t until these documents were dumped last week under mysterious circumstances that the extent to which the party both advocated for Hillary and against her opponent Bernie Sanders was made plain.

Nowhere is the discrepancy on greater display than in an episode involving the DNC’s reaction to a May 2nd article by Politico reporters Ken Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf, which itself pointed at a backdoor advantage for the Clinton campaign.

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How the Democrats left the door wide open for Donald Trump

Adam Barnett writes for Open Democracy:

  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in July 2016. Credit: Evan Vucci / AP/Press AssoNow that the Republican Party has chosen a coiffured gargoyle as its nominee for president, the panicked eyes of the world turn to the Democrats, who have just selected Hillary Clinton at their national convention in Philadelphia. Author and historian Thomas Frank has seen his fair share of party conventions, having covered US politics for over 25 years. I spoke to him recently about his new book Listen, Liberal and the state of the union ahead of November’s election.

“The Democrats are not a Left party,” he tells me. “In fact there really isn’t one in the US.” Frank’s book is no broadside against liberals by a weary defector, but a Left critique of the Democratic Party. He charts its mutation over recent decades from being a workers party into the party of the ‘professional class’ – the experts, bankers, academics and tech-masters, who imagine themselves the natural winners of the great American lottery.

Frank names Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as typical specimens – and since we spoke, the president has expressed an interest in working with“Silicon Valley and venture capital” after leaving office…

How is this reflected in the country’s two-party system? “They represent two different hierarchies of power,” Frank explains. “One, the Republicans, who represent business and the hierarchy of money – the Koch brothers and the 1% – and the Democrats, who represent the hierarchy of status, the professional class. One is the Wall Street Journal, the other is the New York Times.”

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The U.S. Has Been Meddling In Other Countries’ Elections For A Century, It Doesn’t Feel Good

Ryan Grim and Arthur Delany write for The Huffington Post:

[…] Meddling in foreign politics is a great American pastime, and one that Clinton has some familiarity with. For more than 100 years, without any significant break, the U.S. has been doing whatever it can to influence the outcome of elections ― up to and including assassinating politicians it has found unfriendly.

The Clinton camp disagrees that whatever happened in Honduras is on the same level as what Russia is up to. “There’s simply no equivalency here,” said Clinton spokesperson Jesse Lehrich. Which is true: the U.S. has meddled in far more foreign elections than vice versa.

The U.S. penchant for meddling in Latin American politics is something Sanders and Clinton disagreed sharply about in a March debate. “I think the United States should be working with governments around the world, not get involved in regime change,” Sanders said. “And all of these actions, by the way, in Latin America, brought forth a lot of very strong anti-American sentiments.”

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Donald Trump is hosting a Reddit AMA during the Democratic National Convention

Adi Robertson reports for The Verge:

Reddit has become a significant platform for campaigning over the past few years. Obama became one of the first major political figures to hold an AMA during the 2012 election season; unlike Trump’s upcoming AMA, his session took place on the official, general-interest r/IAmA subreddit. Likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton showed up on the site earlier this year. Trump has an extremely active Reddit fanbase, albeit one that has been strained by infighting over racism and moderation issues.

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Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails

Ashley Parker reports for The New York Times:

Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially encouraging an adversarial foreign power’s cyberspying on a secretary of state’s correspondence.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras during a press conference. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which American intelligence agencies have told the White House they have “high confidence” was the work of the Russian government.

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Assange, Avowed Foe of Clinton, Timed Email Release for Democratic Convention

Charlie Savage writes for The New York Times:

Six weeks before the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks published an archive of hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of the Democratic convention, the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, foreshadowed the release — and made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency.

Mr. Assange’s remarks in a June 12 interview underscored that for all the drama of the discord that the disclosures have sown among supporters of Bernie Sanders — and of the unproven speculation that the Russian government provided the hacked data to WikiLeaks in order to help Donald J. Trump — the disclosures are also the latest chapter in the long-running tale of Mr. Assange’s battles with the Obama administration.

In the interview, Mr. Assange told a British television host, Robert Peston of the ITV network, that his organization had obtained “emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” which he pronounced “great.” He also suggested that he not only opposed her candidacy on policy grounds, but also saw her as a personal foe.

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Buildup to Rio 2016 part of a chaotic and shameful tradition of Olympic hosts

David Goldblatt, author of The Games: A Global History of the Olympics, writes for The Guardian:

The final days of preparation before the first modern Games in Athens in 1896 offered many of the tropes that still structure Olympic coverage a century later. Rumours persisted that the stadium would not be ready on time, leading to a furious exchange of letters in The Times. The New York Times correspondent came to dig for dirt and found it. “There were plenty of old tin cans and rubbish scattered where once the silver Ulysses sparkled to the sea: the grove of Academe reminded me of picturesque bits in shanty town.”

The refurbished stadium for the 1920 Antwerp Games, started just 15 months beforehand, was finished perilously late. The French occupation of the Ruhr and the flooding of the Seine in the winter of 1923 put Paris 1924 in question. The architect of the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic complex was harried in the local press for shady practices and sweetheart deals. Los Angeles 1932 was held in the very depth of the great depression. All feel remarkably familiar stories, not just from the distant past but from pretty much every Olympic Games since Atlanta 1996.

Yet in April 2014 John Coates, a visiting member of the IOC, declared the preparations for the Rio Games “the worst ever”. Two years later, the already disastrous state of affairs has been conjoined with Brazil’s sharpest ever economic slowdown, the impeachment of the president by a corrupt parliament, the nation’s most explosive corruption investigation which is cutting a scythe through the political and business classes, and the threat of the Zika virus. To this has now been added the Russian doping scandal and the IOC’s hapless response to it. Coates’s case looks strong but how exactly do the Rio Olympics match up to the past?

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Trump as the Reagan Reboot

JP Sottile writes for Consortium News:

The conventional wisdom says Donald Trump has turned presidential politics into a reality show. It’s an understandable diagnosis, particularly given his intentionally brassy persona and the professional wrestling-style antics he used to dispatch a motley crew of also-rans on this way to victory. Both were on display in Cleveland where — with the name “Trump” towering over him — the sole survivor triumphantly claimed the ultimate prize at the end of a year-long series

If nothing else, this “reality show as politics” narrative helps pundits make sense of a candidacy they couldn’t predict and the establishment couldn’t control. It affords them the cold comfort of categorizing Trump as something totally new and completely foreign to American politics. But in America’s celebrity-obsessed matrix of infotainment, clickbait-n-switch “news” and the instant iBranding of everything,  the more apt description of Trump’s presidential potboiler is not the reality show … it’s the Hollywood reboot.

The “reboot” is the movie industry’s unimaginative answer to an increasingly cutthroat competition for both market share and brand relevance in an ever-more cynical marketplace (which sure sounds like the current political landscape). These 2.0 versions of anything and everything come at a time when the public’s sensibilities are dulled, their views are deeply jaded and their attention is divided by a dizzying array of on-demand options. In response, Hollywood seeks out proven hooks in the hope that garishly repackaged nostalgia will net a bountiful return on their mega-budget investments.

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In Hacked D.N.C. Emails, a Glimpse of How Big Money Works

Nicholas Confessore and Steve Eder report for The New York Times:

[…] The leaked cache also included thousands of emails exchanged by Democratic officials and party fund-raisers, revealing in rarely seen detail the elaborate, ingratiating and often bluntly transactional exchanges necessary to harvest hundreds of millions of dollars from the party’s wealthy donor class.

The emails capture a world where seating charts are arranged with dollar totals in mind, where a White House celebration of gay pride is a thinly disguised occasion for rewarding wealthy donors and where physical proximity to the president is the most precious of currencies.

In a statement, Amy Dacey, the chief executive of the Democratic committee, said the party had “engaged a record number of people in the political process” and “adhered to the highest of standards.”

The emails reflect the struggles of midlevel staff members in a demanding environment, seeking to bring in money at a steady clip while balancing demands from donors and party officials.

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If Russian Intelligence Did Hack the DNC, the NSA Would Know, Snowden Says

Robert Mackey writes for The Intercept:

[…] Since very few of us are cybersecurity experts, and the Iraq debacle is a reminder of how dangerous it can be to put blind faith in experts whose claims might reinforce our own political positions, there is also the question of who we can trust to provide reliable evidence.

One expert in the field, who is well aware of the evidence-gathering capabilities of the U.S. government, is Edward Snowden, the former Central Intelligence Agency technician and National Security Agency whistleblower who exposed the extent of mass surveillance and has been given temporary asylum in Russia.

“If Russia hacked the #DNC, they should be condemned for it,” Snowden wrote on Twitter on Monday, with a link to a 2015 report on the U.S. government’s response to the hacking of Sony Pictures. In that case, he noted, “the FBI presented evidence” for its conclusion that North Korea was responsible for the hacking and subsequent release of internal emails. (The FBI is now investigating the breach of the DNC’s network, which officials told the Daily Beast they first made the committee aware of in April.)

What’s more, Snowden added, the NSA has tools that should make it possible to trace the source of the hack. Even though the Director of National Intelligence usually opposes making such evidence public, he argued, this is a case in which the agency should do so, if only to discourage future attacks.

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All Signs Point to Russia Being Behind the DNC Hack

Thomas Rid writes for VICE Motherboard:

The forensic evidence linking the DNC breach to known Russian operations is very strong. On June 20, two competing cybersecurity companies, Mandiant (part of FireEye) and Fidelis, confirmed CrowdStrike’s initial findings that Russian intelligence indeed hacked Clinton’s campaign. The forensic evidence that links network breaches to known groups is solid: used and reused tools, methods, infrastructure, even unique encryption keys. For example: in late March the attackers registered a domain with a typo—misdepatrment[.]com—to look suspiciously like the company hired by the DNC to manage its network, MIS Department. They then linked this deceptive domain to a long-known APT 28 so-called X-Tunnel command-and-control IP address, 45.32.129[.]185.

One of the strongest pieces of evidence linking GRU to the DNC hack is the equivalent of identical fingerprints found in two burglarized buildings: a reused command-and-control address—176.31.112[.]10—that was hard coded in a piece of malware found both in the German parliament as well as on the DNC’s servers. Russian military intelligence was identified by the German domestic security agency BfV as the actor responsible for the Bundestag breach. The infrastructure behind the fake MIS Department domain was also linked to the Berlin intrusion through at least one other element, a shared SSL certificate.

The evidence linking the Guccifer 2.0 account to the same Russian operators is not as solid, yet a deception operation—a GRU false flag, in technical jargon—is still highly likely. Intelligence operatives and cybersecurity professionals long knew that such false flags were becoming more common. One noteworthy example was the sabotage of France’s TV5 Monde station on 9/10 April 2015, initially claimed by the mysterious “CyberCaliphate,” a group allegedly linked to ISIS. Then, in June, the French authorities suspected the same infamous APT 28 group behind the TV5 Monde breach, in preparation since January of that year. But the DNC deception is the most detailed and most significant case study so far. The technical details are as remarkable as its strategic context.

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Did Russia Really Hack the DNC to Support Trump?

Paul D. Shinkman reports for U.S. News & World Report:

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Forum for Strategic Initiatives July 21, 2016 in Mosow, Russia. The recent hacks of the Democratic National Committee computer system and subsequent leak of its emails fits within a tidy narrative: Russian President Vladimir Putin is pleased with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump‘s friendly rhetoric toward Moscow and offered him a political boost.

Hillary Clinton‘s representatives were quick to apply this logic as a partial explanation for a scandal that undercut the process that confirmed the former secretary of state as her party’s presumed presidential nominee just days before the Democratic National Convention was set to begin.

[…] And it could be true. Russia’s hackers, both governmental and otherwise, are among the world’s best. Implicated in June in two separate attacks on the DNC computer network, Russian government-backed cyberthieves could have been in a position to forward the tens of thousands of Democratic Party emails they retrieved to WikiLeaks, which distributed the documents online over the weekend. Some, however, believe the most obvious answer may not be the right one when dealing with Russia.

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