The FBI, CIA, State Department, and other intel agencies agree: We really don’t know if the Russians hacked anything!
After a few weeks of scrambling to compile a comprehensive report on the specifics of the Russian government’s involvement in “endangering our democracy”, and after President Obama decided to expel 12 Russian families from the US that he blamed for such interference, the Joint Analysis Report (JAR) reveals the startling news:
There is nothing new to report.
A trio of technology experts have read and critiqued the JAR of the supposed Russian tampering and found the report to be sorely lacking in more than one department.
Via ARS Technica:
“This ultimately seems like a very rushed report put together by multiple teams working different data sets and motivations,” Robert M. Lee, CEO and Founder of the security company Dragos, wrote in a critique published Friday. “It is my opinion and speculation that there were some really good government analysts and operators contributing to this data and then report reviews, leadership approval processes, and sanitation processes stripped out most of the value and left behind a very confusing report trying to cover too much while saying too little.”
Lee mentions the sloppiness of the report and the haphazard mention of everyday malware applications as if these are exclusive to the Russians, pointing out that this only adds to the ammunition of Trump supporters.
“As Errata Security CEO Rob Graham pointed out in a blog post, one of the signatures detects the presence of ‘PAS TOOL WEB KIT,’ a tool that’s widely used by literally hundreds, and possibly thousands, of hackers in Russia and Ukraine, most of whom are otherwise unaffiliated and have no connection to the Russian government…
Security consultant Jeffrey Carr also cast doubt on claims that attacks that hit the Democratic National Committee could only have originated from Russian-sponsored hackers because they relied on the same malware that also breached Germany’s Bundestag and French TV network TV5Monde.”
This all boils down to a host of intelligence agency chiefs who were ordered by the president to collate information and create a report that would ultimately exonerate Democrats of the responsibility for losing an election.
This was not technically in-depth (by all accounts), it demonstrated an at-best freshman understanding of technology and hacking capabilities, and it was (perhaps purposefully) misleading.
The 13-page report actually contained somewhere in the vicinity of 350-400 words that spoke with any specificity of the technology involved; that’s less words than Lincoln’s brief “Gettysburg Address”!
If nothing else, the report is clear about one thing:
The Democrat Party will never take the blame for defeat, because it’s always someone else’s fault.