Winner’s Worthless NSA Document on Alleged Russian Election Hacking


The NSA document stolen and published two days ago tying Russians to election hacking is worthless as proof of anything. It’s a definite maybe in the unnamed analysts’ judgement.

The Intercept published the top secret intelligence documents stolen by the 25-year old liberal, anti-Trumper, Reality Leigh Winner.

All the reports about the stolen documents claim this is detailed proof of Russia hacking because they want to delegitimize Trump’s election win.

The stolen documents continue the Russian hacking narrative. If Putin is hacking elections, that is very serious, however, consider how the story is being used and the possible political motivations as well as the quality of the document.

ABC News reports that the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Claire McCaskill, today said that “we now have verified information” showing that Russian intelligence services were in fact behind last year’s cyber-assault on the U.S. election.

That’s categorically untrue. It proves nothing and it is not verified information.

Actually, does it matter if Russians leaked? Our own people are leaking all our intel and threatening national security.

The Intercept story based on her leaked document, titled, TOP-SECRET NSA REPORT DETAILS RUSSIAN HACKING EFFORT DAYS BEFORE 2016 ELECTION, claims the documents show Russian military intelligence have engaged – possibly successful – in more extensive hacking efforts than we’ve previously been told.

The authors of the article admit, however: A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive.

That’s disingenuous, it’s not definitive at all because it is unverified and it’s one opinion by people unidentified.

The article assures the reader the report: states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document.

However, the word “likely” appears in the summary [emboldened by Sentinel]:

Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.

The NSA document which they uploaded is unverified and, while it comes from an NSA agent, it is also hypothetical.

The Russian military – ostensibly – stole credentials and spearphished to breach the VR systems, a Florida-based vendor of electronic voting services and equipment whose products are used in eight states.

Popular Technology editor and computer analyst Andrew K forwarded the following in an email and it has merit but you decide:

Look at the graphic on the last page of the released NSA document and it says in the legend… “Yellow Line = Analyst Judgement”

The graphic with no verifiable evidence claims that the hackers (operators) were…”Probably within <- (Yellow Line) -> Russian GRU”

The rest of the document is filled with more hypothetical language that would be considered worthless by any competent cyber-security professional. The following is copied word for word from the document…

“…likely used data obtained from the operation to…”
“…potentially used to…”
“…presumably to…”
“…presumably with the purpose of…”
“…appeared to be designed to…”
“…probably trying to obtain…”
“It is unknown whether the aforementioned spear-fishing deployment successfully compromised all the intended victims, and what potential data from the victim could be exfiltrated.”
“…it was likely that…”
“It[s] possible that…”
“This likely indicates…”
“…was not confirmed.”
“…it was likely that…”
“It is unknown whether…”
“…an unknown payload…”
“…probably running…”
“The unknown payload very likely installs…”
“…it is unknown if there was…”
“…it was likely intended for…”
“…sent what appeared to be…”
“It appeared the threat actors intent was…”
“…presumably with the purpose of…”

Following is the graphic or view it here.

The spy, Reality Winner, has been charged and arrested under the same espionage act that the former FBI Director Jim Comey said couldn’t be used against Hillary Clinton.

Her Twitter and Facebook feeds are very left and very anti-Trump. Like most Millennials today, she has been indoctrinated and much of her mutterings on social media are outlandish.

The underlying tone of media reporting is the revelations may have been worthwhile in what they reveal about the Russia hacking case. That’s absurd because there were other legal routes she could have taken.

The Trump-hating Winner, now spy, leaked to the far-left magazine, The Intercept, which is run by Glenn Greenwald who coached Edward Snowden.

Her parents now claim she was in fear for her life, afraid she’d disappear. Perhaps that will be her defense for spying and leaking what really is proof of nothing.

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6 years ago

This is reminding more and more of the Y2K situation. As one who had, at that time, worked in computers for over 20 years I was familiar with the situation.

Remember, this was covered as if the worst disasters ever conceived would pale in comparison. Planes would fall out of the sky, and on and on.

At the time C-Span had two “experts” on who had written books on the subject. Surprisingly I was able to get in on the call-in line. I immediately tried to explain how so much of the coverage was sheer nonsense. They would hear none of it and I was labeled a kook caller.

These reports were SO convincing that the company I worked for spent literally millions on escaping the disaster. They even had people stationed at strategic locations to stand by at midnight, myself included. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t convince them otherwise.

We have the same situation today when it comes to computers, Cyber Security and analysis.

Considering the media wants a particular angle on any story they cover it should come to no surprise the experts they choose will substantiate that angle. There’s no “story” without that confirmation. Essentially there is no alternative but to do so.

Information is bought and sold all over the globe and too much of it is sanctioned By Government and by its legislation, in the name of “Profit”. As a result we have World Wide scams perpetrated on many who succumb and fall victim to it. (Ironically, as I was writing this I received a call which was such a scam)

It is quite similar to the email phishing as described in this report. Email addresses are not some hidden information guarded by the service provider. Once you send an email over public networks you have just exposed your address to anyone with knowledge on how to capture it.

These addresses are collected and entered into databases that are then sold around the globe. Domains that host email servers are constantly probed for usernames and when found are subject to phishing attempts.

There are many actors who can and could accomplish this task and not necessarily Russia. I’m rather surprised there are NO indications of forensic evidence being gathered. It seems everything from the NSA document is quite rudimentary in its scope and analysis.

So far everything that has come out about Russian interference with regard to technology has been on a low-skill level. I certainly would make the assumption that Russia would have abilities and capabilities far greater than what we have currently been made aware of.

Also, on the matter of experts. During the ransomware that exploded not long ago even the “experts” were stating the person’s files were “encrypted”. THAT is NOT the case. There were some registry changes that made it impossible for that user to access “machine” functions, to put it simply. There were also a few other minor changes.

6 years ago

Our intelligence agencies have been shown to be involved in illegal surveillance, disinformation, coverups, and oppose Trump. Nothing that comes out like this without hard evidence has credibility.