Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (“VIPS”), one of the most formidable commentary groups in the world, which includes such heavyweights as William Binney, the former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, the former top CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and many others, has published another in its highly enlightening series of public memoranda addressed to the President of the United States.
This evidence sets out a forensic examination of the hacking allegations which are at the centre of the Russiagate scandal and which allege that it was Russian intelligence which hacked the computers of John Podesta and the DNC and which stole the emails they found there and passed them on to Wikileaks.
Critically this latest memorandum is co-authored by Skip Folden, who is the retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US, and who has undertaken precisely the sort of forensic examination of the hacking allegations that the FBI disastrously has failed to undertake.
Before discussing this memorandum in detail, I feel I need to make first an admission and an apology.
Firstly, as to the admission, I am not at all an IT person, and unless a point about the hacking allegations is explained thoroughly and carefully – as it is in the VIPS memorandum – I am likely to miss its significance. In this case talk about Skip Folden’s forensic examination has been swirling around the internet for some time, but it is only since reading the VIPS memorandum that I have understood its significance.
Secondly, as to the apology, in an article I wrote on 3rd July 2017 I said that Daniel Lazare was the first person who to my knowledge had pointed out that in the absence of a forensic examination of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers there could not be absolute certainty that a hack had occurred at all. As several people swiftly pointed out this is simply untrue, and this very point has been made by many people including by someone called ‘richardstevenhack’ who comments on my own threads.
Not only must I apologise for this error but I should say that on reading the VIPS memorandum the full significance of this point is now finally clear to me.
The heart of the point made by the VIPS memorandum is in my opinion contained in these words
The Key Event
July 5, 2016: In the early evening, Eastern Daylight Time, someone working in the EDT time zone with a computer directly connected to the DNC server or DNC Local Area Network, copied 1,976 MegaBytes of data in 87 seconds onto an external storage device. That speed is many times faster than what is physically possible with a hack.
It thus appears that the purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 (the self-proclaimed WikiLeaks source) was not a hack by Russia or anyone else, but was rather a copy of DNC data onto an external storage device. Moreover, the forensics performed on the metadata reveal there was a subsequent synthetic insertion – a cut-and-paste job using a Russian template, with the clear aim of attributing the data to a “Russian hack.” This was all performed in the East Coast time zone….
…….the independent forensic work just completed focused on data copied (not hacked) by a shadowy persona named “Guccifer 2.0.” The forensics reflect what seems to have been a desperate effort to “blame the Russians” for publishing highly embarrassing DNC emails three days before the Democratic convention last July. Since the content of the DNC emails reeked of pro-Clinton bias, her campaign saw an overriding need to divert attention from content to provenance – as in, who “hacked” those DNC emails? The campaign was enthusiastically supported by a compliant “mainstream” media; they are still on a roll.
“The Russians” were the ideal culprit. And, after WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016, “We have emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” her campaign had more than a month before the convention to insert its own “forensic facts” and prime the media pump to put the blame on “Russian meddling.”
…….he purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else. Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider. The data was leaked after being doctored with a cut-and-paste job to implicate Russia. We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI.
In what I am now going to say I am going to join up the dots in a way that takes me beyond me what the VIPS actually say. If by doing so I am misunderstanding and misrepresenting the new evidence and I apologise in advance and I would ask them to correct me.
Briefly, the scenario suggested by the new evidence is explained by the VIPS by reference to a brief chronology in this way
The Time Sequence
June 12, 2016: Assange announces WikiLeaks is about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.”
June 15, 2016: DNC contractor Crowdstrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.
June 15, 2016: On the same day, “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”
We do not think that the June 12 & 15 timing was pure coincidence. Rather, it suggests the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.
I have always expressed doubts that “Guccifer 2.0” has any connection either to Russian intelligence or to Wikileaks or was actually the source of the emails published by Wikileaks..
What this scenario seems to be suggesting is that following the revelation by Julian Assange on 12th June 2016 in a British television interview that Wikileaks was about to publish damaging emails about Hillary Clinton someone within the DNC who was presumably anxious to protect the Hillary Clinton campaign set about creating a false trail so that the leak of the emails would be blamed not on a DNC insider but on the Russians. That way it was hoped that the focus would be not on the content of the emails themselves but on Russian meddling in the election.
This was done by concocting a fake “Guccifer 2.0” persona to create the impression that the emails were stolen not by a leak but by way of a hack, and by setting up this persona to make him look like a front for Russian intelligence.
Here I should say that I have always thought “Guccifer 2.0” to be a far too crude and obvious persona to be a front for Russian intelligence. Also I have never understood why – assuming it really was Russian intelligence which stole the emails – they would want to create such a persona at all. Surely by doing so they would be merely providing more clues leading back to themselves?
As well as concocting “Guccifer 2.0” – who interestingly has had only an ephemeral twitter presence since these events – Crowdstrike was brought in to provide a report further claiming that the emails were stolen by way of a hack rather than a leak and to say that the Russians were responsible.
Lastly, a further attempt was made on 5th July 2016 – the “key event” which is the focus of the VIPS memorandum, and which is the subject of the latest forensic examination – to link the fake “Guccifer 2.0” persona to the theft of data from the DNC’s computer, and to do so in a way that also pointed to the Russians through a “subsequent synthetic insertion – a cut-and-paste job using a Russian template, with the clear aim of attributing the data to a “Russian hack.””
This is an extremely disturbing scenario if it is true. It would mean that there is someone within the DNC who is perfectly aware that the whole Russiagate conspiracy is fake, and who has in fact deliberately concocted it, making the Russiagate scandal in effect a fraud.
Moreover whoever that person is, he or she is clearly a person possessed great resources and influence: having access to the DNC’s computer, able to concoct a fake “Guccifer 2.0” persona at short notice, able to bring in Crowdstrike to lend credence to the fraud, in possession of malware necessary to lay a false trail pointing to Russia, and – most worrying of all – able to dissuade the FBI from carrying out its own forensic examination of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers, which had it been carried out would presumably have quickly exposed the fraud.
The last point of course goes directly to the one which people like Daniel Lazare and “richardstevenhack”have made: in the absence of a proper examination of John Podesta’s and the DNC’s computers by the FBI we cannot be sure that there ever was a hack. If the scenario that appears to be set out in the VIPS memorandum is true then it would seem that there never was a hack and that the evidence that there was is concocted.
Before proceeding further I should say that there might be contrary arguments to this scenario. “Guccifer 2.0” might be the creation not of someone engaged in a cover-up on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign, but of the original leaker seeking to cover his tracks by throwing suspicion onto Russia. Alternatively it may be that “Guccifer 2.0” is the concoction of some opportunistic narcissist within the DNC, out to claim credit for the leak of emails which had nothing to do with him. Unfortunately there are such people, and they are often the cause of huge confusion.
What however argues against these alternative theories is the involvement of Crowdstrike, as well as the FBI’s willingness to be persuaded to accept Crowdstrike’s report rather than carry out its forensic examination of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers. Perhaps whoever it was who concocted “Guccifer 2.0” was simply lucky that neither the DNC nor John Podesta nor the FBI seem to have been keen on a proper investigation. However on the face of it that does seem rather unlikely.
Of course it is also open to anyone who does not agree with the scenario outlined by VIPS to contest the conclusions of their forensic investigation. However if that is to be done successfully then whoever will do it will have to match the expertise in this field of people like William Binney and Skip Folden. That does look like a rather tall order.
At a relatively early stage of the Russiagate scandal I said that the true scandal – which the concocted Russiagate scandal seemed intended to conceal – was the illegal surveillance of US citizens during the election.
If the scenario outlined by VIPS is correct – or if I have understood it correctly – then there is a far greater scandal behind the Russiagate scandal even than this, for in that case an attempt was made to swing the election through a fraud in which sections of the US’s intelligence and security services appear to have colluded.
That is a very disturbing possibility, and one which if true would mean that the political and constitutional system of the United States is in profound crisis.
Far more evidence is needed if what is still only a possibility is to be accepted as true, but the fact remains that unless I have misunderstood them completely the highly experienced and professional people who make up VIPS have just published a memorandum which points in that direction.