New York Times coverage of Russian hacking deserves another Pulitzer – for fiction!

Posted on July 29, 2016, 12:40 am
5 mins

PHOTOS: Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, who the New York Times blames for everything. (Photo from Kremlin.ru.) Below: Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary R. Clinton; former Nixon speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan; Republican Party presidential candidate Donald J. Trump; and Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, director of the Soviet secret services from 1917 to 1922. As readers shall see, some initials are important.

I can’t tell you with “high confidence” the Russians didn’t hack into the Democratic National Committee’s email servers, but one doesn’t have to be an information technology expert to conclude with a reasonable degree of certainty the supposedly ironclad evidence tying the Russians to spying on Hillary D. R. Clinton’s Democratic Party is far from persuasive.

ClintonIndeed, from the preposterous tidbits of “evidence” kindly provided by the mightily authoritative New York Times, the folks who brought Iraq’s still-missing Weapons of Mass Destruction to our attention back in 2003, one might almost think we weren’t intended to read below the headlines.

Among the clues uncovered by the American organs of state security – who, as the Times reports breathlessly, “now have ‘high confidence’ that the Russian government was behind the theft of e-mails and documents” – and the IT experts consulted by the Times:

  • The hacking was apparently done during business hours in Moscow
  • A computer involved was registered to someone named Felix Edmundovich – “a clear reference to Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police”
  • And someone dubbed the hacker or hackers “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear,” you know, as in Russian bear.

PatrickjbuchananOh, and if that doesn’t clinch the case for you, one of the unidentified hacker groups that may or may not have been involved uses methods “consistent with nation state level capabilities” – which, if you bother to read the Times stories kindly stitched together by the Globe and Mail, turns out to mean they faked DNC staffers into giving them their passcodes, which is what that nice young lawyer from Nigeria tries to get me to do almost every week.

TrumpWith evidence like this, you can really see why the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – when it’s not complaining about how Russia went and put its borders so close to NATO’s bases – would conclude that a cyber attack is a reasonable casus belli for a nuclear war. (Sorry, but I’m not making that up.)

This gave rise to the bizarre story emanating from the Clinton Democrats that Republican candidate Donald J. Trump is working with the Russians. I hate – just hate – to agree with Mr. Trump, but that really is, as he Tweeted, plain crazy. I imagine the Russians are just as concerned about Mr. Trump as they are about Ms. Clinton. Personally, I may not quite have nation-state level capabilities, but I certainly worry about both of them. I can’t recall a worse presidential choice for our American cousins than the one they face in 2016.

FELIX2JPGThe Times – ever anxious to find something to attack the Russians for doing, no matter how outlandish, and if possible to blame on Mr. Putin personally – nevertheless admitted that what the Russians are accused of getting up to with uncharacteristic transparency is exactly what American security agencies do all the time, and not just to their enemies, but to friends like Germany too.

However, the Times portentously reminds us, “publishing the documents – what some have called ‘weaponizing’ them – is a different issue.”

Publishing documents is weaponizing them! Who knew? I thought this was called “journalism,” or, now and then, “history.”

Speaking of which, American conservative and Nixon Administration speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan observed recently that just as the New York Times was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1971 for publishing the Pentagon Papers – the secret U.S. Defense Department history of the Vietnam War that showed how the U.S. covertly expanded the war – maybe President Putin should get a Pulitzer if it turns out the Russians actually were behind the leak of the secret DNC emails to Wikileaks.

I respectfully disagree. The Pulitzer should go to the Times again – only, this time, for fiction.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

7 Comments to: New York Times coverage of Russian hacking deserves another Pulitzer – for fiction!

  1. July 29th, 2016

    In response to some comments I have seen online, I would add this: State security agencies are all pretty much the same. They all try to steal secrets, and they all try to keep it secret that they’ve stolen them. Since it was so laughably easy to do so, the chances are good the Russians, the Chinese, the British, and maybe even the incompetent French, mild-mannered Canadians and self-absorbed Aussies hacked the DNC’s servers, but all of them would have tried to leave the impression someone else did it (“Cutsey Panda”?) and all of them will try to hide their own involvement. So at the least, based on this evidence, the most likely suspect is ABR, anyone but the Russians. My Suspect No. 1 remains the Trump Campaign, however.

    Reply
  2. ronmac

    July 29th, 2016

    Most of the security experts who work in this industry agree there is no real way to find the identity of these hackers. They can hide behind so many proxy servers that it’s near impossible to uncover their tracks.

    If they are found it’s because they want to be found.

    Meanwhile back at the ranch there’s a new episode of Murder She Wrote is playing:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/MikSx1-Maro

    Reply
  3. July 29th, 2016

    You really should write ““Феликс Эдмундович” instead of “Felix Edmundovich” because the name was in Cyrillic, not English. This user modified a document using Russian language settings. And “after this mistake became public, the intruders removed the Cyrillic information from the metadata in the next dump and carefully used made-up user names from different world regions, thereby confirming they had made a mistake in the first round.” Nothing suspicious there?

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      July 29th, 2016

      Whooo! Another bit of devastating evidence. Whoever did this had a computer with Russian language settings. That would be how many, in how many places? Your reference to this bit of non-evidence suggests you think the Russian security services are incompetent nincompoops. Could be. I mean, seriously, such things do happen. But, given their reputation and the levels of competence in all security services worldwide, this seems like an unlikely mistake for any “state actor” to make – which, if you ask me, strengthens the argument that Anybody But the Russians did it. Or, maybe, as argued in the comment, Anybody And the Russians did it, but the Russians didn’t leave this particular footprint behind. Дэвид

      Reply
  4. anonymous

    July 29th, 2016

    What motive would the Russians have to break into the DNC servers? To monitor the in-fighting and gossip of yet another lame American political party? I imagine they would go after juicier targets (e.g. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Pentagon based servers etc.). But the DNC? Seems unlikely.

    Enjoyed Pat Buchanan’s post. Don’t much like his politics, but at least the guy has a sense of humour.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwEd_tcKBfU

    Reply
  5. Athabascan

    July 29th, 2016

    Who cares who leaked it?

    No one is disputing the veracity of the information that Wikileaks made public. Enemies of transparency and accountability are trying to change the channel on us, by having MSM try to make the general public focus on real or imagined boogeymen.

    The real story is what’s in those emails and what it tells us about the state of American politics and in particular the machinations within the Democratic party, and Hillary Clinton herself.

    Way to go DNC, you were the only alternative to Trump. I wouldn’t be surprised in many Americans and Sanders supporters stay home or spoil their ballots. If Trump gets in, the Democrats will be to blame, because they rigged the primary against Bernie Sanders.

    Reply

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