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Two Days after Julian Assange Threatened Don Jr, Accused Vault 7 Leaker Joshua Schulte Took to Tor – emptywheel

Two Days after Julian Assange Threatened Don Jr, Accused Vault 7 Leaker Joshua Schulte Took to Tor

Two Days after Julian Assange Threatened Don Jr, Accused Vault 7 Leaker Joshua Schulte Took to Tor

June 20, 2018/43 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Cybersecurity, emptywheel, Leak Investigations, WikiLeaks /by emptywheel

Monday, the government rolled out a superseding indictment for former NSA and CIA hacker Joshua Schulte, accusing him (obliquely) of leaking the CIA’s hacking tools that became the Vault 7 release from Wikileaks. The filings in his docket (as would the search warrants his series of defense attorneys would have seen) make it clear that the investigation into him, launched just days after the first CIA release, was always about the CIA leak. But when the government took his computer last spring, they found thousands of child porn pictures dating back to 2009. It took the government over three months and a sexual assault indictment in VA to convince a judge to revoke his bail last December, and then another six months to solidify the leaking charges they had been investigating him from the start.

But the case appears to have taken a key turn on November 16, 2017, when he did something — it’s not clear what — on the Tor network. While there are several things that might explain why he chose to put his release at risk by accessing Tor that day, it’s notable that it occurred two days after Julian Assange tweeted publicly to Donald Trump Jr that he’d still be happy to be Australian Ambassador to the US, implicitly threatening to release more CIA hacking tools.

Schulte was, from days after the initial Vault 7 release, apparently the prime suspect to be the leaker. As such, the government was always interested in what Schulte was doing on Tor. In response to a warrant to Google served in March 2017, the government found him searching, on May 8, 2016, for how to set up a Tor bridge (Schulte has been justifiably mocked for truly abysmal OpSec, and Googling how to set up a bridge is one example). That was right in the middle of the time he was deleting logs from his CIA computer to hide what he was doing on it.

When he was granted bail, he was prohibited from accessing computers. But because the government had arrested him on child porn charges and remained coy (in spite of serial hold-ups with his attorneys regarding clearance to see the small number of classified files the government found on his computer) about the Vault 7 interest, the discussions of how skilled he was with a computer remained fairly oblique. But in their finally successful motion to revoke Schulte’s bail, the government revealed that Schulte had not only accessed his email (via his roommate, Schulte’s lawyer would later claim), but had accessed Tor five times in the previous month, on November 16, 17, 26, and 30, and on December 5, 2017, which appears to be when the government nudged Virginia to get NYPD to arrest him on a sexual assault charge tied to raping a passed out acquaintance at his home in VA in 2015.

Perhaps the most obvious explanation for why Schulte accessed Tor starting on November 16, 2017, is that he was trying to learn about the assault charges filed in VA the day before.

But there is a more interesting explanation.

As you recall, back in November 2017, some outlets began to publish a bunch of previously undisclosed DMs between Don Jr and Wikileaks. Most attention focused on Wikileaks providing Don Jr access to an anti-Trump site during the election. But I was most interested in Julian Assange’s December 16, 2016 “offer” to be Australian Ambassador to the US — basically a request for payback for his help getting Trump elected.

Hi Don. Hope you’re doing well! In relation to Mr. Assange: Obama/Clinton placed pressure on Sweden, UK and Australia (his home country) to illicitly go after Mr. Assange. It would be real easy and helpful for your dad to suggest that Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC “That’s a really smart tough guy and the most famous australian you have! ” or something similar. They won’t do it, but it will send the right signals to Australia, UK + Sweden to start following the law and stop bending it to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons. 12/16/16 12:38PM

In the wake of the releases, on November 14, 2017, Assange tweeted out a follow-up.

As I noted at the time, the offer included an implicit threat: by referencing “Vault 8,” the name Wikileaks had given to its sole release, on November 9, 2017 of an actual CIA exploit (as opposed to the documentation that Wikileaks had previously released), Assange was threatening to dump more hacking tools, as Shadow Brokers had done before it. Not long after, Ecuador gave Assange its first warning to stop meddling in other countries politics, explicitly pointing to his involvement in the Catalan referendum but also pointing to his tampering with other countries. That warning became an initial ban on visitors and Internet access in March of this year followed by a more formal one on May 10, 2018 that remains in place.

There’s a reason I think those Tor accesses may actually be tied to Assange’s implicit threat. In January of this year, when his then lawyer Jacob Kaplan made a bid to renew bail, he offered an excuse for those Tor accesses. He claimed Schulte was using Tor to research the diaries on his experience in the criminal justice system.

In this case, the reason why TOR was accessed was because Mr. Schulte is writing articles, conducting research and writing articles about the criminal justice system and what he has been through, and he does not want the government looking over his shoulder and seeing what exactly he is searching.

Someone posted those diaries to a Facebook account titled “John Galt’s Defense Fund” on April 20, 2018 (in addition to being an accused rapist and child porn fan, Schulte’s public postings show him to be an anti-Obama racist and an Ayn Rand worshiping libertarian).

Yesterday, Wikileaks linked those diaries, which strikes me as an attempt to corroborate the alibi Schulte has offered for his access to Tor last November.

The government seems to have let Schulte remain free for much of 2017, perhaps in search of evidence to implicate him in the Vault 7 release. Whether it was a response to a second indictment or to Assange’s implicit threats to Don Jr, Schulte’s use of Tor last year (and, surely, the testimony of the roommate he was using as a go-between) may have been one of the keys to getting the proof the government had been searching for since March 2017.

Whatever it is, both Wikileaks and Schulte would like you to believe he did nothing more nefarious than research due process websites when he put his bail at risk by accessing Tor last year. I find that a dubious claim.


2009: IRC discussions of child porn

2011 and 2012: Google searches for child porn

April 2015: Rapes a woman (possibly partner) who is passed out and takes pictures of it

March to June 2016: Schulte deleting logs of access to CIA computer

May 8, 2016: Schulte Googles how to set up a Tor bridge

November 2016: Leaves CIA, moves to NY, works for Bloomberg

December 16, 2016: Assange DM to Don Jr about becoming Ambassador

Hi Don. Hope you’re doing well! In relation to Mr. Assange: Obama/Clinton placed pressure on Sweden, UK and Australia (his home country) to illicitly go after Mr. Assange. It would be real easy and helpful for your dad to suggest that Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC “That’s a really smart tough guy and the most famous australian you have! ” or something similar. They won’t do it, but it will send the right signals to Australia, UK + Sweden to start following the law and stop bending it to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons. 12/16/16 12:38PM

February 4, 2017: Wikileaks starts prepping Vault 7

March 7, 2017: Wikileaks starts releasing Vault 7

March 13, 2017: Google search warrant

March 20, 2017: Search (including of cell phone, from which passwords to his desktop obtained)

June 2017: Interview

August 17, 2017: Dana Rohrabacher tries to broker deal for Assange with Trump

August 23, 2017: Arrest affidavit

August 24, 2017: Arraignment

THE COURT: Well, it sounds like, based on the interview, that he knew what the government was looking at.

MR. LAROCHE: That wasn’t the basis of the interview, your Honor.

MR. KOSS: I think it was either two or three [interviews]. I think it was three occasions. I was there on all three, including one of which where we handed over the telephone and unblocked the password to the phone, which they did not have, and gave that to them. And as I said, I have been in constant contact with the three assistant U.S. attorneys working on this matter literally on a weekly basis for the last 4, 5, 6 months. And any time Mr. Schulte even thought about traveling, I provided them an itinerary. I cleared it with them first and made sure it was okay. On any occasion that they said they might want him close so that he could speak to them, I cancelled the travel and rescheduled it so that we would be available if they needed him at any given time.

October 2, 2017: Bail hearing

MR. LAROCHE: Well, I believe there still is a danger because it’s not just computers, your Honor, but electronic devices are all over society and easy to procure and this type of defendant having the type of knowledge he has does in terms of accessing things — so he has expertise and not only just generally computers but using things such as wiping tools that would allow him to access certain website and leave no trace of it. Those can be done from not just a computer but from other electronic devices.

But the child pornography itself is located on the defendant’s desktop computer. They can be accessed irrespective of those servers. So if all the government had was this desktop computer, we could recover the child pornography. So I think this idea that numerous people had access to the serves and potentially could have put it there, is simply a red herring. This was on the defendant’s desktop computer. And the location where it was found, this sub-folder within several layers of encryption, there were other personal information of the defendant in that area. There was his bank accounts. I think there was even a resume for the defendant where he was storing this information. And the passwords that were used to get into that location, those passwords were the same passwords the defendant used to access his bank account, to access various other accounts that are related to him. So this idea that he shared them with other people, the government just strongly disagrees.

October 11, 2017: Schulte lawyer Spiro withdraws

October 24, 2017: At Trump’s request Bill Binney meets with Mike Pompeo to offer alternate theory of the DNC hack

November 8, 2017: Status hearing

SMITH: I believe the government has told us that there’s more data in this case than in any other like case that they have prosecuted.

MR. STANSBURY: Let me just clarify that part first. We proposed this just in an abundance of caution given the defendant’s former employer and the fact that — and I meant to flag this before. I apologize now for not. There’s a small body of documents that were found in the defendant’s residence that were taken from his former employer that might implicate some classified issues. We have been in the process of having those reviewed and I think we’re going to be in a position to produce those in the next probably few days. But we wanted to just make sure that we were acting out of an abundance of caution in case any SEPA [sic] issues come about in the case. I don’t expect them too at this point but we wanted to do that out of an abundance of caution.

November 9, 2017: Wikileaks publishes Vault 8 exploit

November 14, 2017: Assange posts Vault 8 Ambassador follow-up

November 14, 2017: Arrest warrant in VA

November 15, 2017: Charged in Loudon County for sexual assault

November 16, 2017: Use of Tor

November 17, 2017: Use of Tor

November 26, 2017: Use of Tor

November 29, 2017: Abundance of caution, attorney should obtain clearance

November 30, 2017: Use of Tor

December 5, 2017: Use of Tor, Smith withdraws

December 7, 2017: NYPD arrests on VA warrant for sexual assault

December 12, 2017: Move for detention, including description of email and Tor access

Separately, since the defendant was released on bail, the Government has obtained evidence that he has been using the Internet. First, the Government has obtained data from the service provider for the defendant’s email account (the “Schulte Email Account”), which shows that the account has regularly been logged into and out of since the defendant was released on bail, most recently on the evening of December 6, 2017. Notably, the IP address used to access the Schulte Email Account is almost always the same IP address associated with the broadband internet account for the defendant’s apartment (the “Broadband Account”)—i.e., the account used by Schulte in the apartment to access the Internet via a Wi-Fi network. Moreover, data from the Broadband Account shows that on November 16, 2017, the Broadband Account was used to access the “TOR” network, that is, a network that allows for anonymous communications on the Internet via a worldwide network of linked computer servers, and multiple layers of data encryption. The Broadband Account shows that additional TOR connections were made again on November 17, 26, 30, and December 5.

[snip]

First, there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has violated a release condition—namely, the condition that he shall not use the Internet without express authorization from Pretrial Services to do so. As explained above, data obtained from the Schulte Email Account and the Broadband Account strongly suggests that the defendant has been using the Internet since shortly after his release on bail. Especially troubling is the defendant’s apparent use on five occasions of the TOR network. TOR networks enable anonymous communications over the Internet and could be used to download or view child pornography without detection. Indeed, the defendant has a history of using TOR networks. The defendant’s Google searches obtained in this investigation show that on May 8, 2016, the defendant conducted multiple searches related to the use of TOR to anonymously transfer encrypted data on the Internet. In particular, the defendant had searched for “setup for relay,” “test bridge relay,” and “tor relay vs bridge.” Each of these searches returned information regarding the use of interconnected computers on TOR to convey information, or the use of a computer to serve as the gateway (or bridge) into the TOR network.

December 14, 2017: US custody in NY

MR. KAPLAN: Well, your Honor, we’ve obtained the discovery given to prior counsel, and I’ve started to go through that. In addition, there was one other issue which I believe was raised at our prior conference, which was a security clearance for counsel to go through some of the national security evidence that might be present in the case.

While most of the national security stuff does not involve the charges, the actual charges against Mr. Schulte, the basis for the search warrants in this case involve national security.

So I’m starting the process with their office to hopefully get clearance to go through some of the information on that with an eye towards possibly a Franks motion going forward. So I would ask for more time just to get that rolling.

January 8, 2018: Bail appeal hearing

MR. KAPLAN: Judge, on the last court date, when we left, the idea was that we had consented to detention with the understanding that Mr. Schulte would be sent down to Virginia to face charges based on a Virginia warrant. None of that happened. Virginia never came to get him. Virginia just didn’t do anything in this case. But before I address the bail issues, I think it’s important that this Court hear the full story of how we actually get here. At one of the previous court appearances, I believe it was the November 8th date, this Court asked why the defense attorney in this case would need security clearance. And the answer that was given by one of the prosecutors, I believe, was that there was some top secret government information that was found in Mr. Schulte’s apartment, and that out of an abundance of caution it would be prudent that the defense attorney get clearance. But I don’t think that’s entirely accurate.

While the current indictment charges Mr. Schulte with child pornography, this case comes out of a much broader perspective. In March of 2017, there was the WikiLeaks leak, where 8,000 CIA documents were leaked on the Internet. The FBI believed that Mr. Schulte was involved in that leak. As part of their investigation, they obtained numerous search warrants for Mr. Schulte’s phone, for his computers, and other items, in order to establish the connection between Mr. Schulte and the WikiLeaks leak.

As we will discuss later in motion practice, we believe that many of the facts relied on to get the search warrants were just flat inaccurate and not true, and part of our belief is because later on, in the third or fourth search warrant applications, they said some of the facts that we mentioned earlier were not accurate. So we will address this in a Franks motion going forward, but what I think is important for the Court is, in April or May of 2017, the government had full access to his computers and his phone, and they found the child pornography in this case, but what they didn’t find was any connection to the WikiLeaks investigation. Since that point, from May going forward, although they later argued he was a danger to the community, they let him out; they let him travel. There was no concern at all. That changed when they arrested him in August on the child pornography case.

[snip]

The second basis that the government had in its letter for detaining Mr. Schulte was the usage of computers. In the government’s letter, they note how, if you search the IP address for Mr. Schulte’s apartment, they found numerous log-ons to his Gmail account, in clear violation of this court’s order. But what the government’s letter doesn’t mention is that Mr. Schulte had a roommate, his cousin, Shane Presnall, and this roommate, who the government and pretrial services knew about, was allowed to have a computer.

And more than that, based on numerous conversations, at least two conversations between pretrial services, John Moscato, Josh Schulte and Shane Presnall, it was Shane’s understanding that pretrial services allowed him to check Mr. Schulte’s e-mail and to do searches for him on the Internet, with the idea that Josh Schulte himself would not have access to the computer.

And the government gave 14 pages of log-on information to establish this point. And, Judge, we have gone through all 14 pages, and every single access and log-in corresponds to a time that Shane Presnall is in the apartment. His computer has facial recognition, it has an alphanumeric code, and there is no point when Josh Schulte is left himself with the computer without Shane being there, and that was their understanding.

LAROCHE: And part of that investigation is analyzing whether and to what extent TOR was used in transmitting classified information. So the fact that the defendant is now, while on pretrial release, using TOR from his apartment, when he was explicitly told not to use the Internet, is extremely troubling and suggests that he did willfully violate his bail conditions.

KAPLAN: In this case, the reason why TOR was accessed was because Mr. Schulte is writing articles, conducting research and writing articles about the criminal justice system and what he has been through, and he does not want the government looking over his shoulder and seeing what exactly he is searching.

LAROCHE: Because there is a classified document that is located on the defendant’s computer, it is extremely difficult, and we have determined not possible, to remove that document forensically and still provide an accurate copy of the desktop computer to the defendant.

So in those circumstances, defense counsel is going to require a top secret clearance in order to view these materials. It’s my understanding that that process is ongoing, and we have asked them to expedite it. As soon as the defendant’s application is in, we believe he will get an interim classification to review this material within approximately two to three weeks. Unfortunately, that hasn’t occurred yet. So the defendant still does not have access to that particular aspect of discovery. So we are working through that as quickly as we can.

January 17, 2018: Bail appeal denied

March 15, 2018: Sabrina Shroff appointed

March 28, 2018: Initial ban of Internet access and visitors for Assange

April 20, 2018: Schulte’s diaries (ostensibly the purpose of using Tor) posted

May 10, 2018: Ecuador bans visitors for Assange

May 16, 18, 2018: Documents placed in vault

May 16, 2018: Schulte Facebook site starts legal defense fund

June 18, 2018: Schulte superseding indictment

June 19, 2018: Wikileaks posts links to diary

https://www.emptywheel.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Screen-Shot-2017-11-16-at-3.46.37-PM.png 309 446 emptywheel https://www.emptywheel.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Logo-Web.png emptywheel2018-06-20 10:23:142018-06-20 10:49:01Two Days after Julian Assange Threatened Don Jr, Accused Vault 7 Leaker Joshua Schulte Took to Tor
43 replies
  1. orionATL says: June 20, 2018 at 10:42 am

    this individual case is too complicated to absorb quickly but one thing seems clear, julian assange has really put his foot in it now. i wonder how much longer he can expect to be protected by any “i’m a journalist” claim?

    it seems reasonable to wonder, too, if president trump might act to  protect assange from the doj.

  2. Trip says: June 20, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks for putting and keeping all of this shit together. Finally got mine together to send a donation. Thanks for all the work.

  3. Willis Warren says: June 20, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Ok, I pounded through all your writings on this, which predate my discovery of the site (from Nate Silver’s link).

    I’m getting up to speed on Hillary’s history with Assange, but here’s what I don’t get:  at what point did the Russkies start funding/working with Assange?  And at what point did the Russkies start hating Hillary?  If you put that at the release of the Panama Papers, then does this all make sense?  I’m probably talking to myself here, as I’ll work this out soon

    • orionATL says: June 20, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      i too have to read and then try to make sense.

      i think you will find that the enmity between clinton and putin dates to her time as secretary of state. there are lots of popular explanations. one has to do with clinton publicly criticizing russian electoral politics when putin ran for president a second time.

      • Willis Warren says: June 20, 2018 at 12:53 pm

        There’s not a lot about that in the wikileaks state dept dump, though.  I’m leaning more towards the Panama Papers, which would throw the timeline for wikileaks for a loop, UNLESS, the Russkies had funded the state dept dump and Clinton retaliated with PP.  That makes more sense.

    • earlofhuntingdon says: June 20, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      Apart from anything during Bill’s tenure that the Russians might vicariously blame Hillary for, the Russians distaste for her predates the release of the Panama Papers.  She was modestly critical of the Russians during her time as Sec. State.  Vlad, being the good agent runner he has always been, never forgives or forgets.

      That Trump has so consistently and abjectly pursued Russian interests since, overtly since at least the GOP convention platform issue in 2016, and before that with his staffing choices, has already more than repaid Vlad’s confidence in him.

      Not that that would get Trump off the hook, assuming he ever wanted to be off it. (There’s the continuing issue of whether and to what extent Russian support provides Trump the financing that keeps his property business afloat.) Once a tool, always a tool.

      • Willis Warren says: June 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm

        (Bill) Clinton basically allowed the Oligarchs to steal Russia, though.  There’s some weird shit with the Russkies recruiting the religious right back in 1995, released recently by buzzfeed or whoever.  The picture I’m getting is that the cold war never really stopped and that the Russians have dipped into that vein when convenient.

        What I’ve been working on the side is this Dugin/fascist stuff that seems to be some sort of planned strategy to infiltrate Western democracies.  There’s a hell of a lot of there there.

        [search.wikileaks.org]

        • earlofhuntingdon says: June 20, 2018 at 1:07 pm

          Much of the neoliberalization of Russia after the fall of Communism can be laid at the feet of the private sector.  Jeffrey Sachs is their poster boy.  A lot of people were vying for the top of the heap.  That Putin came out on top I don’t think was a foregone conclusion.

          Yea, I think there’s a lot to unpack in the Russian assisted global rise of neofascism. Unpacking it would be well worth your time.

          • JAAG says: June 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm

            Putin’s Kleptocracy is a great book.  The KGB were the existing international network immediately after soviet times, hence KGB could move money and goods in and out when no one else was setup to do it.  Putin started capital flight by asking east germans to send him stereo equipment when he was in a a minor officer in Dresden.

            Interestingly, Finland seems to have been a route for capital flight and the Ukrainians helped often.

            Putin’s animosity towards the Clintons is going to be a crucial historical question going forward.  I think Putin believed that the CIA was fomenting unrest in Maidan, possibly he thought the USA was helping Berezhovsky hep the Ukrainians.  Boris B. was one of the first London suicides and was too open about stoking fires in Maidan.  If the Ukrainians could get a decent standard of living in ten years, like, say Poles, then who knows what could happen in Moscow.   I think that was seen as an existential threat to Putin.

            My .02

    • emptywheel says: June 20, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      This is an area where I disagree with earl.

      Putin hated Hillary for several actions she took at SoS, and they are somewhat understandable.

      First, he blamed her for dissent in 2011 and 2012. Putin is right that that dissent was the purpose of Hillary’s policies. Ironically, it’s part of the double edged sword that is Tor. Here’s a provocative piece from Jack Goldsmith that I think addresses the conflicts with the Hillary type agenda.

      Hillary’s SoS also got RU to abstain from the Libya vote in 2011, based on a promise we weren’t engaged in regime change. We were.

      That’s why Hillary (and Petraeus’) policies in Syria were a line in the sand for Putin, particularly given that Assad is a more cherished client than Qaddafi was.

      The fact of the matter is that Hillary pursued regime change (and her aides remained around to do same in Ukraine). Loathe Putin all you want — he has earned it. But understand, too, that even ignoring Bill’s expansion of NATO, Putin regarded Hillary’s embrace of regime change as a threat to key RU interests and largely defined a threat to him. He acted accordingly.

      • Trip says: June 20, 2018 at 3:01 pm

        Wasn’t the US funding protests against Putin in Russia? I think this was one of his allegations against Clinton, which rings true as there are non-profits that promote democracy across the globe. Syria is an important geopolitical position for Russia, but Putin has recently been willing to let go of Syria, for other offers (in Israeli news). I think Putin’s beef was the US wanting regime change in Russia.  On the one hand, it’s none of our business, but that’s never stopped us. On the other, Putin is a major dick to his own people and has been a duplicitous douche in dealing with the US and Europe. He has his own imperialistic goals.

        For what it’s worth, going back years, the Kremlin and the far right (Koch branch) in the US have been aligned on several fronts. So hating Clinton versus liking the alternative is also a consideration.

      • Willis Warren says: June 20, 2018 at 3:05 pm

        Here, I found it

        [www.theguardian.com]

        Speaking to supporters on Thursday, Putin accused Clinton of giving “the signal” to opposition leaders, who are expected to gather with tens of thousands of supporters for a protest on Saturday. He rejected Clinton’s repeated criticism of a parliamentary vote last weekend that gave Putin’s United Russia party nearly 50% of the vote amid widespread reports of fraud.

      • orionATL says: June 20, 2018 at 11:07 pm

        emptywheel wrote –

        “The fact of the matter is that Hillary pursued regime change (and her aides remained around to do same in Ukraine). Loathe Putin all you want — he has earned it. But understand, too, that even ignoring Bill’s expansion of NATO, Putin regarded Hillary’s embrace of regime change as a threat to key RU interests and largely defined a threat to him. He acted accordingly.”

        for the record, i think hillary clinton was a very competent, hard working and accomplished secretary of state. her most important, long-lasting work may have been persistently speaking out over her 4-year tenure for women in world societies. not surprisingly, this contribution is rarely pointed out by her political opponents.

        as for sec clinton’s dealings with russia, the russian government and especially the russian military (whose role i rarely see discussed) as well as president putin, would obviously consider the actions of a democratic president, obama, combined with his sectetary of state’s experience and tough-mindedness toward that russian election, when making plans to interfer digitally and when looking for american political allies in the 2016 american presidential election.

        as for the russian government’s interference in the 2016 election, it makes most sense to me to consider it tit-for-tat for clinton’s public criticism of the 2011 election in russia. in that contest, putin won a minority of votes (48‰?) accompanied by lots of criticism of voter fraud, and then won back the presidency on a vote of the duma.

        [www.politico.com]

        as for “regime change”, that was a charge that putin leveled against the u. s. and clinton. it was also a peculiar political pejorative that some political opponents of clinton leveled against her in the 2016 democratic primary. it seems reasonable to say that the u. s. “pursued regime change” in iraq and in afghanistan by using its military power to swap out one set of power holders for its own chosen power holders.

        the u. s. did not do this in libya. it used allied air power and american weaponry to cancel out ghadiffi air power and thus helped the ghadffi opposition to get rid of that leadervs 40 year reign. as i recall, the u. s. then asked the libyans if they wanted help in establishing a new order, the answer was effectively “no”.

        • orionATL says: June 21, 2018 at 8:18 am

          in terms of the project at hand, determing if there was cooperation between the trump campaign and the russian government, the idea that getting rid of ghadaffi in libya and the obama admin’s creation of a cyber command may have freightened putin and his government into planning a series of attacks on western european solidarity beginning, i believe, in 2012 in estonia, continuing in naturally fertile eastern europe, and ending with the destruction of british ties with the eu and the defeat of a democratic party candidate in the u. s. in 2016, a russian response to the “regime change” putin detected in libya (which was a nato/u. s. air military operation) offers a wider framework for understanding what happened in the u. s. in 2016. trump, his closest advisors (bannon, sessions) and those voters ro whom he appealed would have been obvious natural allies for the russians to cultivate.

          did the russian military thru its own cyber command play a significant role in the defeat of the democratic candidate? we know the gru was involved in some of the key computer thefts.

          we already know a good deal about the civilian side of the attack. the russian fsb (fbi) was involved (i am assuming the fsb is operated under civilian control). further, there has been much suggestive info placing individuals with traceable ties to putin in a communications network that interacted with trump campaign officials. russian cia-types may have been u. s. based, on-the-ground spotters for russian efforts. they may have cooperated with some republican operatives. as has been suggested here by pinc, that effort might have been based or begun in florida.

          this is all speculation based on gross data from news stories including the emptywheel website. i have no idea if detailed info would support the speculation.

          • orionATL says: June 21, 2018 at 9:56 am

            or to put it more succintly, given the abberant nature of candidate trump (ignorant and sociopathic), the intense loyalty and antipathy of his supporters for government as it existed, and the historical willingness of the republican party to use foreign assistance in elections, the trump campaign must have seemed a natural ally to the russian government, with obvious opportunity for military or/and civilian intervention (with or without campaign cooperation).

            the end result was that the russian government instituted a regime change in the u. s presidency :))

            • orionATL says: June 21, 2018 at 1:39 pm

              i should add just so its clear that when i speak of regime change immediately above, i am not speaking of a change in party from democrat to republican. i am refering to a change from the way past american presidents – g.h.w. bush, bill clinton, g. w. bush, and barack obama – have responded to the russian gov, with either sanctions or with promises of cooperation depending on russian behavior, vs the way president donald trump has responded and, the way candidaye trump talked during the campaign. it is this complete change in attitude and response of an american president toward the current russian government that is the regime change. i don’t have much doubt the russian government understood this change was likely when they began their campaign in the u. s. against candidate clinton whom i think they well understood would be a tough customer to deal with.

              whatever happened to the ancient republican campaign slogan about any democrat candidate being weak on national security?

        • DMM says: June 22, 2018 at 11:58 am

          While I agree with a lot of what you say here, the notion that the US did not effect regime change in Libya is bald hawk-interventionist shilling garbage, intentionally deceptive in parsing differences (to Iraq, for God’s sake!) that are meaningless to the question of regime change.

          I mean, Clinton herself proudly declared, “We came, we saw, he died.” There is no credible doubting our intent and effect there simply.

          As for its effect, and its meaning in the context of evaluating Sec. Clinton as its main proponent in the Obama Administration, it was a  fundamental error, significantly discrediting to her entire tenure. It  destroyed Libya and set its neighbors on fire (and any belief that US “help” would have established a stable new regime is folly). Millions are now much worse off, and resulting instability could present severe problems in the region for a long time to come, as it tends to do.

          Its value now is as a monumental lesson in the immeasurable value of diplomacy and international credibility, and yet another reminder how profoundly short-sighted interventionist regime change and leaving a power void is.

          • orionATL says: June 23, 2018 at 9:05 pm

            “regime change” usually has a particular meaning, some military or political power source, such as the u. s. in iraq or the u. s. in afghanistan, gets rid of a group in power, e. g., sadaam hussein and company, and then substitutes its own power group in place, e. g., the coaliton provision government and then al-maliki. u. s. support for this effort has required an extended u. s. stay of 15 years and in excess of a trillion dollars. the rise of the isil and u. s. need to counter it led to additional destruction andcecpense.

            by contrast in libya the u. s. arranged for a u. s. supported air attack on ghadaffi’s planes and tanks. it left ground fighting to libyans (doubtless with some arms support). ghadaffi’s forces could could not match the opposition and ghadaffi was captured and shot. the u. s. did not then impose a regime of its chosing on libya. it offered help in cresting a government if libya wanted. libbya declined that offer. the county since has struggled thru a time with a weak central government.

            as for your commentb

            “… the notion that the US did not effect regime change in Libya is bald hawk-interventionist shilling garbage, intentionally deceptive in parsing differences (to Iraq, for God’s sake!) that are meaningless to the question of regime change…” that is the kind of comment one would expect from a committed ideologue. it completely negates your “while i completrly agree…” balarney.

            ideologues are not very helpful in solving problems.

      • Sabrina says: June 21, 2018 at 5:09 am

        EW, cannot thank you enough for that link. I have never really realized how nuanced cyber operations are between the US and globally, especially with respect to differing social values.

        It’s incredibly early in the am currently so I don’t really have any complicated thoughts, other than just being amazed (and saddened) that US policy of free speech and a deregulated internet, while admirable on its face, has fallen prey to loopholes that have been exploited only due to the policy itself. The irony is staggering. The fact that the Cold War has seemingly continued in an altered form and has been incredibly effective at using US policies against its own populace is both terrible and, in a way, an incredible achievement for Russia, in a truly Machiavellian sense.

        I think HRC was generally a very well-meaning, competent politician and I would have voted for her if I lived in the US; however, this is a clear example of perhaps not seeing the forest for the trees from the Clinton administration all the way through to Obama’s two terms. Fascinating. Thank you for sharing.

    • Watson says: June 20, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      HRC compared Putin to Hitler in the context of Ukraine, saying that we should be ‘tougher’ and impose more costs on them; and she was in the camp that viewed Obama and Kerry as wimps for not making an effort to impose no-fly-zones in Syria after Russia began an aerial bombing campaign there in late 2015.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says: June 20, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Trump may not know how to spell fell at her show, but he loves it when a room full of Senators and cabinet members give it to him on live television.

    I assume that Sen. Cornyn and his compatriots feel that they are giving Trump a way out of the corner he painted himself into with his separate-and-terrorize at the border policy.  And that their collective servicing of his ego will get him to back off.

    More likely, they are giving him what he wants and what he used his Miller-inspired border policy for:  attention, an election issue with legs, and the promise of immigration legislation that passes the Miller test. That will only encourage him to take equally cruel and drastic measures in future.

    That legislation close to what Steve Miller would find acceptable – even if short of a line of people impaled on crosses along the entire SW border –  would not pass the Senate is a feature.  It enhances the utility of the GOP’s blame the Dems (for GOP misconduct) theme for November.  This GOP never fails to fall for the Lucy-with-football gag.  Let’s hope the Dems have figured that one out by now.

  5. Willis Warren says: June 20, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    My initial response to the internet freedom analysis is that China, not really Putin, was the primary adversary there, and that Putin’s decision to run for President again is a much bigger factor in the dissent than Hillary’s internet freedom policies.

    I’m reading the paper now, and it seems to hit a huge nail when it talks about American dominance of the internet. But, Clinton’s greed is probably something Putin could work with more than be opposed to.

    As for the Syria link, I don’t doubt that’s true, but Syria isn’t a key state, it’s a client of Iran. Putin must’ve been miffed at the drop in oil prices under Obama. I’m guessing he somehow associated that with policies from HrC

    • orionATL says: June 21, 2018 at 8:22 am

      what in the world do you mean by the term “clinton’s greed”? what behaviors does it apply to? is this your term or one you’ve picked up in political discussions?

  6. Willis Warren says: June 20, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    There’s so much noise here!

    [www.politico.com]

    Republican hawks were all over Obama’s policies on Russia (sanctions and oil markets) as “too timid” that rigging an election for them in 2014, the time of this article, would have seemed silly.

    But Republicans are hypocrites and easy to buy, and historically have benefitted more from higher oil prices than dems.

    Anyway, the oil prices angle has real legs,

    [www.macrotrends.net]

  7. Rugger9 says: June 20, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    As does Putin in his petro-state.  Assange’s usefulness to Vladimir is finished, hence the discussion around him and his desperation in preventing the Ecuadorians declaring him to be persona non grata and booting him out to the tender mercies of Theresa May.  What’s different now about it is that Kaiser Quisling has pissed off PM Theresa so much that it is 50-50 whether she would then feed Julian to the palace.

  8. Trip says: June 20, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    OT, I do not have a twitter account. Is this a normal thing that happens on twitter?

    Stanley Cohen
    @StanleyCohenLaw
    Caution: This account is temporarily restricted
    You’re seeing this warning because there has been some unusual activity from this account. Do you still want to view it?

  9. Trip says: June 20, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    US lobbyist for Russian oligarch visited Julian Assange nine times last year

    Adam Waldman, who has worked as a Washington lobbyist for the metals tycoon since 2009, had more meetings with Assange in 2017 than almost anyone else, the records show.
    When Deripaska first hired him, in 2009, Waldman’s firm was on a $40,000-per-month retainer. The Russian magnate was having problems obtaining a visa because of alleged connections to organised crime, which Deripaska denies. Waldman lobbied the US government to get Deripaska a visa.
    Waldman also served as a counsel for Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. A 2010 DoJ filing showed that the Endeavor Group was hired by Lavrov to help ease the “persistent state of limbo” that Deripaska faced as a result of his being refused entry into the US. In a letter to Waldman, Lavrov hailed Deripaska as one of Russia’s “prominent business leaders”.
    Waldman declined to answer questions from the Guardian about his meetings with Assange or whether they were connected to the Russian billionaire.
    [www.theguardian.com]

    • orionATL says: June 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      thanks for the cite. it is a very interesting connection.

      as for deripaksa, that son-of-a-gun almost has more press coverage on the trump/russia matter than his ex-business partner manafort, tons of it, but nobody seems to be able to pin anything on him.

  10. Willis Warren says: June 21, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    @OrionATL (can’t reply)

    by “Clinton’s greed” I mean in the context of the paper, where Clinton’s “free internet” policy is really just “American companies dominate the internet.”

    That kind of cronyism is something that Putin can definitely understand, so I don’t think it’s a personal issue with him.

    • orionATL says: June 21, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      tx for the explanation. the u. s. sure keeps control of the lion’s share of whatever it touches; that’s what power allows you to do.

      the eu data privacy standards seem an important exception, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them watered down at the insistence of the u. s. (corporations) and a bit of trump bluster and threaten.

  11. SpaceLifeForm says: June 21, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Something not right.  If Joshua Schulte opsec so bad (reuse of passwords), then why would he bury a needle (a Top Secret doc) inside a haystack of pr0n?

    Just *one* needle. Not more.

    And the haystack is encrypted three times with passwords that others probably had by then?

    Who knows the WIFI password?

    Smells of planted ‘evidence’.

  12. Rugger9 says: June 21, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    This is interesting, it seems that the Trumpies had the leaks longer than we thought, but if that were the case, why would Uday / Qusay (I’m not sure which is which) need to talk to Natalia and the rest of the Volga bagmen (h/t Charlie Pierce) on June 9?  Does the timeline support this?

    [www.rawstory.com]

  13. Rugger9 says: June 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Paulie is rapidly running out of options, one wonders how many charges he can still challenge on evidence grounds, and whether he will flip since the writing is on the wall (mene mene tekel Mueller).

    [www.rawstory.com]

  14. seedeevee says: June 22, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    “basically a request for payback for his help getting Trump elected”

    Funny thing happened on Marcy’s way to Journalism School . . . . . .

    • Rayne says: June 22, 2018 at 6:09 pm

      Stop right now. I’m not going to put up with your ad hominems against contributors. Focus on the topic itself or get out.

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