Third Party & Independents Archives

What the Latest Wikileaks Document Dump Means

Yes, imagining your HD propped up with a brace and resting quietly on your living room wall as the mother of all listening devices is wonderfully scary stuff. It’s something most good spy or sci-fi writers don’t usually come up with. Or if they do, people say that’s way too crazy.

But that’s not the main point regarding the latest information dump of detailed technical documents that almost certainly came from the CIA, courtesy of Wikileaks.

And neither is the fact that there is a constant war going on between tech companies and intelligence services. The latter always trying to keep their products cryptographically secure. The former always trying to penetrate or even to create deliberately flawed technical standards to ensure spy services can open up backdoors in smartphones, laptops, televisions - refrigerators perhaps?? - when they see a need to do so.

The most important point has to do with the less pristine and more fleshy world of flawed human behavior. Whether from greed or revenge or some ideological bent, on the part of some intelligence service employee.

This was an inside job. Or an almost-inside job.

The source material is highly technical and seems to be the kind of document an employee working on developing and managing the various spying/hacking/listening protocols outlined in the dump, would have access to. But it might not have been an actual CIA employee that stole the documents and gave them - likely indirectly through an intermediary - to Wikileaks.

This may very well have been a subcontractor. Or contractor. Like Snowden himself. Call it what you will, but the programming needs involved with these sort of massive electronic surveillance programs require a lot of human capital. Lots of software experts to write the stuff. Or think up possibilities involving devices that previously no one would have thought of as a platform for a spying operation. Like the TV on your wall.

A brief survey of some of the worst leaks over the last 50 odd years by Gary Schmitt in an article at the American Enterprise Institute shows that almost all of them involved relatively low level employees in the intelligence community. So it's always been hard to ensure that everyone on your team is trustworthy when they all realize the value - especially the economic but also the political value - of the material they are trusted with.

And in 2017 you have an orders of magnitude greater number of people - many on a contract basis - involved in creating and maintaining electronic surveillance products. The risks have multiplied greatly since the late 50's.

Yes, there is an ideological battle between privacy advocates and their profit-driven supporters in tech, and the intel community. And one can't get away from the fact that there is a trade-off between privacy and national security. One that any administration in charge of the White House is constitutionally mandated to preside over.

But if the intel community cannot supervise and trust their own employees - whether contract workers or not - then national security is continually compromised. So while some may cheer this document dump, it has done untold damage to the CIA's ability to keep America safe.

Posted by AllardK at March 10, 2017 7:22 PM
Comments
Comment #414341

What an odd article. It is possible an insider provided Wikileaks with the documents. It is also possible they documents were provided by foreign hackers, most like Russian. Why does the article not mention this?

Wikileaks is a Russian asset. They leak American intelligence secrets. They never, ever release Russian intelligence secrets. Why won’t Trump condemn Wikileaks for publishing these documents.

President “I love Wikileaks” Trump said 164 times during the month of October alone, “I love Wikileaks.” The sustained attack on the United States IC continues. Why is Trump silent? Why does this article not even mention the possibility that the Russians are behind the attack on the CIA?

Posted by: phx8 at March 12, 2017 7:52 PM
Comment #414342

“Why does this article not even mention the possibility that the Russians are behind the attack on the CIA?”

Because the article appears to be more concerned with privacy and in keeping “America safe,” than it is with getting democrats elected in the coming elections.

Posted by: kctim at March 13, 2017 11:37 AM
Comment #414343

This Russian thing is getting to be laughable. If Democratics had any proof they would be holding it up in front of cameras, not wishing the American people would believe them.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 13, 2017 12:11 PM
Comment #414345

kctim,
Go back and look at the article. It mentions the issue of privacy, but that is not its primary thrust. Most of it talks about how a CIA insider gave all this to Wikileaks. While it is definitely possible this came from an insider, no one knows, and Wikileaks will certainly not tell the truth. Wikileaks made the same kind of claim about the hack and leak of Democrat’s e-mails, but according to 17 US intelligence agencies and the FBI, it was the Russians.

WW,
The FBI is conducting investigations, as are the Senate & House Intel Committees. They may find nothing. Since the chairs of the Intel Committees were both part of the Trump campaign, and they have already demonstrated their unreliability, it is likely they will refuse to find anything. The FBI may find a lot. Some of the evidence will be circumstantial. If there is anything to prosecute, it will be due to tracing financial transactions, which do provide hard evidence.

Posted by: phx8 at March 13, 2017 1:29 PM
Comment #414347

So where is the hard evidence? Is it at the bottom of a swimming pool the Democratic party is fishing in? Is it in the pocket of the witch you’re hunting?

What’s it been, 4 months now, your party has been blaming the Russians without anything to back it up?.

Now you’re trying to blame finding nothing on incompetent committee members! That’s sad, phx8. I’d bet right about now you wish this thing would just drift off into the place where bad news for Democratics goes to die.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 13, 2017 4:46 PM
Comment #414352

WW,
Do you even follow the news?

“Now you’re trying to blame finding nothing on incompetent committee members.”

When asked by the White House, CIA Director Pompeo and the Chairs of the Intel committees in the House and Senate, Nunes and Burr, called the media and said there was nothing behind a 2/17/17 NYT article about contact between the Trump campaign and the Russians. They denied there even was any contact. Shortly after Pomeo, Burr, and Nunes made those calls, it came out that there actually was a lot of contact- Sessions, J.D. Gordon, Page Carter, General Flynn, Jared Kushner for starters. That is why those guys can not be trusted. Now, contact does not mean collusion. But why did they lie in the first place? Maybe there will be nothing to it, but Trump and his people sure act like they are guilty when they keep changing their stories and lying.

Posted by: phx8 at March 13, 2017 5:34 PM
Comment #414353

I’m still waiting for the evidence, phx8. He said/she said doesn’t mean bupkiss. There’s more evidence coming out that Hillbilly had contact with the Russians more than Trump’s people did. Actual Russians saying they had discussions with Hillbilly! If a Russian came out and said they had contact with Trump you’d be all over it. You’d finally have something to wave around in front of the cameras! Where’s all the hand wringing about Hillbilly’s discussions with the Russians?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 13, 2017 5:53 PM
Comment #414356

WW,
There is nothing wrong with meeting the Russian ambassador or other members of the government in open, transparent settings. HRC was Secretary of State. Of course she met with the Russians. And it would make sense for Trump and his campaign people to meet with the Russians in open, transparent settings.

The problem for Trump is the lack of transparency. The failure to release his taxes to prove he is not deeply indebted to the Russian oligarchs raises questions. Trump refuses to criticize Putin, which is just weird. A campaign staffer, J.D. Gordon, recently admitted that when he made the only change to the GOP platform, it came directly from Trump. The change? The US would no longer arm the Ukrainians. Trump refused to accept the finding that the Russians were trying to influence the election through a variety of means, including the Wikileak hack and leaks. President “I love Wikileaks” proclaimed just that 164 times in the month of October alone. Trump has threatened not to honor NATO treaty obligations, he has called NATO “obsolete,” and he has thrown shade on the EU.

Those are our closest allies! Acting that way advances the Russian agenda, but not the American one. Why does Trump do it?

Trump used to say he knew Putin and they had a great relationship. Now he denies it. Supposedly none of his people met with the Russians. It turns out they sure did. They keep lying. Why?

Posted by: phx8 at March 13, 2017 9:42 PM
Comment #414365

How do we know they’re not asking one question and ignoring the answer, then asking another question and substituting the that answer for an answer to the first question?

That’s what it sounds like they’re doing, to me.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 14, 2017 8:51 AM
Comment #414370

kctim-
Right. Is this more of the “don’t take him literally, but take him serious” rhetoric? So, what is he, a liar, or a flake? When people hear things from our President, should they take him at his word, or wonder whether he’s lying to them?

Weary Willie-
Look, we have hard documentary evidence that Mike Flynn was doing unregistered work as a lobbyist for a foreign power. He was also fired over not relating the truth of a conversation that he had with the Russian Ambassador.

If you want keep up this whole thing of, “The Democratics don’t have any evidence” please do, because that makes it easy for us to stack up all the confirmed reports about meetings with Russian officials by private citizens in the middle of a contentious election, during which hackers known to be in the employ of the Russian government deliberately burgled the DNC’s server. Oh, I’m sorry, I should have said hacked. Burgling was what operatives of a Republican President were doing over forty years ago at a little place called “Watergate.”

It’s a reflex for your, and because you don’t think it out, you don’t realize how grossly inconsistent all your arguments are. This is not simply paranoia on our parts. Russians did hack, DNC was the target, Trump was the beneficiary, and regardless of whether it put him over the top, it needs to be investigated. With this much evidence of contact, especially contact without full disclosure, and all the disruption that Trump and company are causing within our government, we would be remiss in not investigating.

Republicans are being summer patriots. They’re being protective of this country’s interests only as it suits them. Power must be held accountable, even if it’s our own favorite people who end up in danger of investigation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 14, 2017 12:52 PM
Comment #414371

Stephen,
He is now a politician so we should always wonder whether we are receiving the ‘truth,’ the whole truth, or being lied to. What we should never do is assume he is lying simply because he is a ‘Republican,’ or just take him at his word simply because he is not, as was the case for the past 8 years.

“Power must be held accountable, even if it’s our own favorite people who end up in danger of investigation.”

Please Stephen, you’re making yourself look silly with this kind of ‘advice.’ Fast & Furious, the IRS mess, Benghazi, and even Hillary’s server, the left’s first and only response was to go on the defensive and protect “your own favorite people” at all costs.

Posted by: kctim at March 14, 2017 2:05 PM
Comment #414372

I wonder if phx8 keeps his litany of charges against President Trump under his pillow?

Every single charge is either bogus or speculation.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 14, 2017 3:02 PM
Comment #414374

RF,
“Every single charge is either bogus or speculation.”

Then it should be easy to disprove with evidence.

Saw an interesting statistic on a liberal site this morning. According to the CBO, the AHCA (Trumpcare) will save Social Security billions. How?

Without health care insurance, 1/830 people will die for that otherwise would have lived. The CBO estimates 14 million Americans will lose coverage in 2018, and by 2026 the number will go up to 24 million. If Medicaid reduction is sped up to 2018, the number without coverage will be even greater. In other words, in 10 years, 29,000 people will die for lack of coverage in that year alone.

This means Social Security will not have to make payouts to a lot of people because they will be dead.

“f. Consists mainly of the effects of changes in taxable compensation on revenues. CBO also estimates that outlays for Social Security benefits would decrease by about $3 billion over the 2017-2026 period.”

https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/costestimate/americanhealthcareact_0.pdf

Posted by: phx8 at March 14, 2017 4:18 PM
Comment #414375

“RF,
“Every single charge is either bogus or speculation.”

Then it should be easy to disprove with evidence.”

Or phx8, it should be easy to obtain legal charges with evidence.

Do you actually still believe CBO estimates phx8. If so, please tell us why?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 14, 2017 4:38 PM
Comment #414385

CBO estimates seem reliable. I have no reason to disbelieve them. It is an exercise in number crunching using available data and reasonable projections. Trump and the GOP have had no problem with CBO scores in the past when they seem favorable. They protest now because the numbers look so horrendous.

Defenders of Trumpcare attack the CBO scoring because it does not include Phases 2 & 3, additional pieces that will address shortcomings in the upcoming bill. The problem is that the CBO does not score future legislation that has not been written. Supposedly Phase 2 will be done by HHS to deal with administrative items, however, that can be challenged in court, so who knows how it will turn out. Phase 3 addresses legislative items that cannot be addressed in the first one, because the first can only pass if it goes through the reconciliation process which only requires a majority vote. Phase 3 involves legislative items that can be filibustered, so it will take 60 votes. For some reason the GOP imagines Democrats will vote with them to enact the last phase.

It would make more sense for both sides to negotiate and pass all three sections of reform at the same time. For example, Medicare could be made available as a choice, giving people in areas with only one choice another option.

The current structure of Trumpcare is more favorable for young and healthy people, more unfavorable for the elderly with health issues. Again, the issue could be addressed by expanding Medicare eligibility, and make it available at age 60. That alone would solve some of the major difficulties facing the current version of Trumpcare.

Posted by: Phx8 at March 14, 2017 11:09 PM
Comment #414391

Calling it Trumpcare is racist.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2017 9:05 AM
Comment #414407

phx8 writes; “CBO estimates seem reliable. I have no reason to disbelieve them.”

OK, ignore how inaccurate they have been over a long period of time on many different legislative scoring.

See no evil and…it disappears.

He writes; “For some reason the GOP imagines Democrats will vote with them to enact the last phase.”

I certainly agree here. How stupid are Republicans? Very!

“Medicare could be made available as a choice, giving people in areas with only one choice another option.”

Gag! I have paid the Medicare tax since its inception. Now, you would give it to someone who have never paid a premium? What kind of an idiot would write and believe that?

“Trumpcare” Do you see his name anywhere? Do you see any legislation to call Trumpcare?


I ask my Lefty Pal, who will pay back the $700 billion stolen from Medicare?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 15, 2017 5:19 PM
Comment #414408

Rachelle MadCow just pulled the rug out from under phx8 whining point. She let the cat out of the bag and told the world Trump paid millions of dollars to the federal government in income taxes.

I wonder what the fed did with all that money?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2017 5:53 PM
Comment #414409

RF,
Presumably a Medicare option on a menu of health care providers would charge a competitive rate.

Posted by: phx8 at March 15, 2017 5:55 PM
Comment #414411

phx8, a competitive rate? Why should anyone, who has not paid premiums on income during their working years, be allowed the same benefits as those who have?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 15, 2017 6:05 PM
Comment #414416

Royal Flush,

Payroll taxes are very different things from insurance premiums. Premiums are paid to an insurance company in return for a contemporaneous insurance plan. Payroll taxes are paid to the government in order fund a welfare program that pays for elderly people’s medical care.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 15, 2017 7:20 PM
Comment #414417

Payroll taxes are paid to the government in order fund a welfare program that pays for elderly people’s medical care.
Posted by: Warren Porter at March 15, 2017 7:20 PM

Really? Who knew that Medicare was “welfare”? Now tell me smart ass, why am I required to pay for my own welfare when Lefties get free welfare?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 15, 2017 7:28 PM
Comment #414419

Obama Gross incompetence or worse.

Trump to Finally Crack Down on China’s Hacks, Theft and Lies at US Expense

“Chinese companies and the government had little reason to fear the Obama White House. Several months earlier, President Obama had met at Sunnylands with President Xi Jinping, purportedly to deliver a stern message about cyber hacking and other bad behavior. Just before the summit, The Washington Post had published an explosive report about China hacking more than two dozen major advanced U.S. weapons systems, a breach thought likely to significantly shrink America’s military advantage. Access to the technology could save the Chinese 25-years’ of research and tens of billions of dollars as they race to match U.S. capabilities, experts said.

Naturally, Xi stonewalled the charges of cyber thefts, insisting that China, too, was the victim of hacks, and shared the U.S.’ concerns. Obama, whose position was admittedly weakened by revelations of NSA spying, went along with this nonsense despite a National Intelligence Estimate earlier in the year, which definitively identified China as the country most wantonly penetrating U.S. businesses and institutions.”

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/trump-finally-crack-down-chinas-091500105.html

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 15, 2017 7:49 PM
Comment #414433

Royal Flush,

You don’t pay for your own Medicare. I do. And so does Stephen and rest of us who are still working.

Decades ago, you probably paid for someone else’s medicare, but you certainly have never paid for your own.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 16, 2017 11:40 PM
Comment #414451

Sorry for having to correct you again Warren but, do you actually believe that Medicare premiums stop at some age?

I no longer pay premiums on Medicare Part A.

I pay $104.90 per month for Part B.

I also have a Medicare Supplement through the Texas Retired Teachers which is over $200 per month.

I am not complaining Warren.

Medicare is not welfare. I have paid premiums into Medicare since its inception. I still pay premiums.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2017 3:28 PM
Comment #414458

How much would your money be worth today if you put it all into a reliable retirement fund, Royal Flush? Would it be worth more than what you would receive from Medicare?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 17, 2017 6:58 PM
Comment #414459

Weary, I really don’t know the answer to your question. I do know that Medicare is a really good deal for those who qualify.

I don’t understand how anyone thinks that Medicare is free…a welfare benefit.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2017 7:09 PM
Comment #414477

The bulk of Medicare costs are borne by the payroll taxes people like me pay.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 18, 2017 11:15 PM
Comment #414722

I still wonder about the reliability of Wikileak. Just like many people can fake a news…

Posted by: instagram online at March 28, 2017 8:46 AM
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