American Intelligence and Election Hacking

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ScienceChic created the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 23 Dec 2017 11:09 #1

Something that's been on my mind for a while now is the issue of election hacking, which has taken a back seat to the Special Counsel's investigation of White House officials, but to me is just as big of an issue. If we cannot securely vote and trust that our elections are done fairly and accurately, then we as a country will lose faith in our democratic processes. That path leads toward things I'd rather not contemplate.

I've got some more things to share, but I'm going to start with this one because I think this young woman's story is compelling, and because I'm seeing attacks on our intelligence agencies that I don't think are warranted because those are millions of Americans who are working to keep our country safe, along with attempts to discredit the Special Counsel investigation due to some mythical "deep state." I didn't like the Obama administrations' significant increase in cracking down on whistleblowers, but I'm not a fan of surveillance without proper authorization and oversight from our court system. There are certainly cases where it's done in a way that hurts the U.S. (ie Manning and Snowden), and it sounds like some have had serious repercussions trying to do it internally through proper channels. Ideally, it would be nice if the proper internal channels worked (and maybe they do and we just don't hear about those?).

Long article in the NY Magazine about Reality Winner, the lady who leaked the classified document about Russian election hacking to The Intercept.
‘The World’s Biggest Terrorist Has a Pikachu Bedspread’
Not every leaker is an ideological combatant like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Reality Winner may be the unlikeliest of all.
By Kerry Howley
Illustration by Mike McQuade
December 22, 2017

Reality Winner grew up in a carefully kept manufactured home on the edge of a cattle farm 100 miles north of the Mexican border in a majority-Latino town where her mother, Billie, still lives. Billie worked for Child Protective Services, and in Ricardo, Texas, the steady income made her daughters feel well-off; the fact that they had a dishwasher seemed evidence of elevated social standing. Billie, a chatty redhead with the high-pitched voice of a doll, supported the family while her husband, Ronald, she says, “collected degrees.” It was Ronald who named Reality.

Ronald was intellectually engaged, though never, during his marriage, employed, and Reality’s parents separated in 1999, when she was 8. Two years later, when the Towers fell, Ronald held long, intense conversations about geopolitics with his daughters. He was careful to distinguish for them the religion of Islam from the ideologies that fueled terrorism. “I learned,” says Reality, “that the fastest route to conflict resolution is understanding.” She credits her father with her interest in Arabic, which she began studying seriously, outside school and of her own accord, at 17. It was this interest in languages that eventually drew her into a security state, unimaginable before 9/11, that she chose to betray. Fifteen years after those first conversations with her father, Reality’s interest in Arabic would be turned against her in a Georgia courtroom, taken as evidence that she sympathized with the nation’s most feared enemies.

Reality was an almost comically mature adolescent, intellectually adept, impatient with her peers, with a compulsive drive to improve herself she would eventually channel into an obsession with nutrition and exercise. Her body was strong and substantial and unadorned: thin blonde hair tied up, no makeup, clothes that suggested a lack of interest in the act of dressing. She was shy and shyly mischievous. In the eighth grade, she organized a food fight so intense that she was banned from walking during graduation, though her mother points out that she was careful not to schedule it during spaghetti day, when it would have been especially messy.

Reality agreed to date her high-school boyfriend, Carlos, on certain conditions intended to improve and to edify. Carlos, who was failing out of school and broke, had to read a particular number of books a week. He had to maintain at least a C average. He had to get a job. He did not have clothes suitable for employment, but Reality would work on that; she had her mother take Carlos shopping for khakis and a polo.

During her years in the Air Force, Reality had, for a time, deployed to Fort Gordon, a base near Augusta, Georgia. After she was discharged, she got in her boxy, bumper-sticker-covered Nissan Cube (ADOPT! / MAKE AMERICA GREEN AGAIN! / YOU JUST GOT PASSED BY A TOASTER), packed her belongings — which included an AR-15, a Glock, and a 12-gauge shotgun — and moved back. She taught at a CrossFit place, a high-end boutique gym, and a yoga studio while she tried to find a way to go abroad. Months passed.

By December 2016, when Reality returned to Georgia, it was common for a certain class of educated and politically sophisticated people to refer to the “deep state,” a term that conjures dark-suited men self-satisfied in their grim capacity for discretion. This image fails to account for the fact that those 1.4 million hold top security clearance; that most of the intelligence budget now redounds to private contractors employing tens of thousands of middle-class Americans; that armies of security-cleared analysts are required to sift through all the data the state collects. If your definition of “deep state” cannot accommodate an idealistic 25-year-old CrossFit fanatic with unmatched socks, you’ve underestimated both the reach and scope of American surveillance.

Precisely how many Americans are involved in the country’s $70 billion intelligence project remains unknown, probably, even to members of the inner circle; senior officials marvel at its size and redundancy.


The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

Your scars exist, but it’s your courage that defines you. ~Nalini Singh
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ScienceChic replied the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 13 Jan 2018 17:31 #2

More on our elections and ensuring they are conducted fairly and protected from hacking and manipulation. If vote counts are compromised, we can't trust the results and we lose faith in our system.

Mark Warner Verified account @MarkWarner Jan 6

It’s been one year since our nation’s intelligence agencies announced their UNANIMOUS conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Let’s look back at some of the key conclusions:

https://twitter.com/MarkWarner/status/949656005507452929

Eric Holder Verified account @EricHolder Jan 10

Russian meddling in our elections is a clear and present danger. Fact. Unbelievably no one taking action to prevent harm. Whatever you think of possible Trump involvement all must demand that White House and Congress act to strengthen our electoral systems against the threat-NOW

US must act now to ward off more Russian election meddling, report says
By Nicole Gaouette, CNN
Updated 5:58 PM ET, Wed January 10, 2018

(CNN)The US will not be prepared to defend against possible Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections or the 2020 presidential contest unless it takes action now, according to a new report detailing the extent to which Moscow has tried to shape elections across Europe.

The report details Russia's arsenal of military invasions, disinformation campaigns and corruption, and its weaponization of energy resources, among other tools, and it demonstrates how Moscow's attacks have intensified in scale and complexity, hitting Britain, Germany and France, as well as Ukraine and smaller countries.

The report, released Wednesday by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, draws from European experience to outline ways in which Russia's "malign influence operations" can be deterred.

Titled "Putin's Asymmetrical Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security," it was researched and written by Cardin staff members who interviewed European ambassadors in the US and traveled to Europe to talk to government officials, NGOs and media groups about Russian interference in their countries.


The whole gerrymandering issue needs to be addressed too.
https://twitter.com/benwikler/status/950842490575360000
Ben Wikler Verified account @benwikler Jan 9

Super bad, under the radar thing: Tom Brunell, a Republican political scientist who literally wrote a book titled "Redistricting and Representation: Why competitive elections are bad for America," might be appointed to oversee the census—which shapes redistricting—THIS MONTH.

Leading Trump Census pick causes alarm
The 2020 count might be put in the hands of an inexperienced professor who wrote that 'Competitive Elections are Bad for America.'
By DANNY VINIK and ANDREW RESTUCCIA 11/21/2017


The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

Your scars exist, but it’s your courage that defines you. ~Nalini Singh

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ramage replied the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 13 Jan 2018 19:03 #3

The irony in your using a quote from Eric Holder regarding the integrity of an election is something to behold. This is the Atty General who refused to prosecute the Black Panthers in Philadelphia for voter intimidation in the 2008 election.

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Rick replied the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 20 Jan 2018 13:22 #4

ramage wrote: The irony in your using a quote from Eric Holder regarding the integrity of an election is something to behold. This is the Atty General who refused to prosecute the Black Panthers in Philadelphia for voter intimidation in the 2008 election.


As time goes on I believe Holder will be seen as one of the most politically and racially biased AG hacks this country has seen in generations if not ever.

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driver8 replied the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 22 Jan 2018 08:12 #5

Rick wrote: [quote

As time goes on I believe Holder will be seen as one of the most politically and racially biased AG hacks this country has seen in generations if not ever.


Well that means you line up with Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions, who was not approved as a circuit court judge due to his appalling and blatant racism. And who actually IS the absolute most racist AG since the post-Civil War era... !

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Rick replied the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 22 Jan 2018 19:03 #6

What racist actions has he taken? I'm not a Sessions fan nor do I know much about him, but I do have clear enough eyes to see Holder's racial bias even if you don't.

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ScienceChic replied the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 14 Feb 2018 23:42 #7

This article is a long read, but critically important. It was published just before Trump was sworn in. Keep that in mind as you read, and consider everything else we know today.
Putin’s Real Long Game
The world order we know is already over, and Russia is moving fast to grab the advantage. Can Trump figure out the new war in time to win it?
By MOLLY K. MCKEW
January 01, 2017

What both administrations fail to realize is that the West is already at war, whether it wants to be or not. It may not be a war we recognize, but it is a war. This war seeks, at home and abroad, to erode our values, our democracy, and our institutional strength; to dilute our ability to sort fact from fiction, or moral right from wrong; and to convince us to make decisions against our own best interests.

President-elect Trump has characteristics that can aid him in defining what comes next. He is, first and foremost, a rule-breaker, not quantifiable by metrics we know. In a time of inconceivable change, that can be an incredible asset. He comes across as a straight talker, and he can be blunt with the American people about the threats we face.

This Russia does not aspire to be like us, or to make itself stronger than we are. Rather, its leaders want the West—and specifically NATO and America — to become weaker and more fractured until we are as broken as they perceive themselves to be. No reset can be successful, regardless the personality driving it, because Putin’s Russia requires the United States of America as its enemy.

We can only confront this by fully understanding how the Kremlin sees the world. Its worldview and objectives are made abundantly clear in speeches, op-eds, official policy and national strategy documents, journal articles, interviews, and, in some cases, fiction writing of Russian officials and ideologues. We should understand several things from this material.

First, it is a war. A thing to be won, decisively — not a thing to be negotiated or bargained. It’s all one war: Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, the Baltics, Georgia. It’s what Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s ‘grey cardinal’ and lead propagandist, dubbed ”non-linear war” in his science fiction story “Without Sky,” in 2014.

Second, it’s all one war machine. Military, technological, information, diplomatic, economic, cultural, criminal, and other tools are all controlled by the state and deployed toward one set of strategic objectives.

Third, information warfare is not about creating an alternate truth, but eroding our basic ability to distinguish truth at all. It is not “propaganda” as we’ve come to think of it, but the less obvious techniques known in Russia as “active measures” and “reflexive control”. Both are designed to make us, the targets, act against our own best interests.

We have to accept we’re in a war and that we have a lot to lose. We need to look at this war differently, both geographically and strategically. It’s also important to acknowledge that a more isolated, more nationalist America helps Putin in his objectives even while it compromises our own. We need to accept that America was part of, and needs to be part of, a global system — and that this system is better, cheaper, and more powerful than any imagined alternatives.

Trump should set the unpredictable course and become the champion against the most toxic, ambitious regime of the modern world. In a strange way, Trump could be just crazy enough — enough of a outlier and a rogue — to expose what Putin’s Russia is and end the current cycle of upheaval and decline. This requires non-standard thinking and leadership — but also purpose, and commitment, and values. It requires faith — for and from the American people and American institutions. And it requires the existence of truth.


The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

Your scars exist, but it’s your courage that defines you. ~Nalini Singh

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ScienceChic replied the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 14 Feb 2018 23:54 #8

Fast-forward a year later. Congress overwhelmingly passed legislation to sanction Russia for its actions. Trump has refused to enforce them. The intelligence community unanimously states that Russia meddled in our previous election(s) and is continuing to work to disrupt 2018's, and yet there's been no order from the Executive Branch to do anything about that.

We have an election coming up, how can we be assured that our votes count as they should? How can we have faith that everyone who should be allowed to vote in fact can? How can we believe in election integrity if nothing is being done to safeguard our voter systems or backup fail-safes? How do we reduce voter manipulation by propaganda that spreads so viciously through social media?

This series of posts is just some of what the intelligence community testified before Congress two days ago. I'll share more about social media and voting system manipulation attempts afterwards.


Trump’s Top Intelligence Officials Contradict Him on Russian Meddling
The intelligence community has a stark warning about Russia’s intentions to interfere in the 2018 elections.
NATASHA BERTRAND | FEB 13, 2018

The country’s leading intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia intends to interfere in the upcoming midterm elections. But they wouldn’t discuss in an open setting what the U.S. intelligence community is doing to stop it—or how it could be combatted without the support of the White House.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, said during the Senate Intelligence Committee’s annual worldwide-threats hearing on Tuesday.

“We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo said later. Other top intelligence officials, including the FBI Director Chris Wray, agreed.

The director of the National Security Agency, Mike Rogers, emphasized that steps should be taken “to ensure the American people that their vote is sanctioned and not manipulated in any way,” and Coats advocated for as much transparency as possible.

Russia’s brazen campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election—at Putin’s instruction, according to an Intelligence Community Assessment published in January 2017—has been well documented. Just last week, Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, reiterated in an interview with NBC News that the Russians had targeted 21 states’ voter-registration rolls during the 2016 election—and had managed to “successfully penetrate” a small number of them. Other reports, including one by Bloomberg last summer, put the number of state election systems targeted by the Russians at 39.

Mark Warner Verified account @MarkWarner Feb 13 - VIDEO

FACT: Russia attacked our democracy in 2016, and they will be back in 2018. That’s not just my opinion. It’s the unanimous conclusion of our nation’s top intel officials.

https://twitter.com/MarkWarner/status/963518442325364737



The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

Your scars exist, but it’s your courage that defines you. ~Nalini Singh
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Blazer Bob replied the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 15 Feb 2018 10:38 #9

ScienceChic wrote: This article is a long read, ....

[/quote]

Speaking of long reads, what happened to the you can only paste 4 sentences of an article rule?

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ScienceChic replied the topic: American Intelligence and Election Hacking 15 Feb 2018 11:31 #10

Blazer Bob, that hasn't been our Terms of Service since I researched the actual copyright and Fair Use laws (not made up something that "felt right") 6 years ago and amended them to be in line with what's required legally. They are as follows:

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I think if you look at the length of the article that I linked to, you'll see that I have quoted way less than 10% of the amount of content contained within. But, if the author of the article feels I have quoted more than I should have, she is encouraged to send a request and I will happily reduce it further. I have no desire to trample on creators' rights.


The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

Your scars exist, but it’s your courage that defines you. ~Nalini Singh

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