Information Warfare · Russia

Case study of Russian Influence in the US 2016 election

Case study of Russian Influence in the US 2016 election.

A very professional study needs to be done to show how Russia tried to influence the United States, this could provide a good starting point.

THIS needs to be the focus of the Intelligence Community, Congress, the White House, for what it is.  This is Russia’s most effective weapon against the United States and the world.

ht to Dave Schroeder for this compilation

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A collection of articles on Russia influence operations in the United States:

Putin’s all-out propaganda war against the West
10 Oct 2016

Speculation about Russian interference in the upcoming U.S. presidential election is flowing fast in the U.S. media.

Russia was widely believed to be responsible for embarrassing email hacks at the Democratic National Convention. Speculation abounds in the media that the Russian government might try to throw the U.S. election this way or that with a boldness not even seen during Soviet days.

Speculation is all we have for now, yet the Russian propagandists may feel they have accomplished quite enough. Sowing confusion in the West and presenting Russia as an innocent victim of U.S. political infighting are key elements in Russia’s information warfare.…

The Trail of Russian Hackers, Putin’s Revenge in Siberia
9 Oct 2016

BIYSK, Russia — This Soviet-era industrial city with a population of roughly 200,000 in Siberia is hardly an obvious place to be connected to a cyber attack on the American election system.

Drive past apartment blocks and factories, and visitors can meet the only individual implicated so far in the hacking attack on the voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois.

Only, Biysk is about as far away from America as you can get.

“If you take a globe, spin it 10 times and point your finger, you’d never hit Biysk,” Vladimir Fomenko said of his hometown.…/trail-russian-hackers-putin-s-reve…

Decoding Russia’s latest provocative move in Syria
8 Oct 2016

Why is Russia sending a powerful new surface-to-air missile system to Syria? There are any an array of theories.

The Russian military announced this past week that it intends to install an S-300V air defense system at the Syrian port of Tartus, where Russia maintains a Navy facility. The Russians may be worried that the U.S. will soon launch a far more aggressive air campaign that targets the Syrian regime of President Bashar al Assad. Or the Russians may be sending a political message about their intent to be a player in the Middle East.

Moscow may be concerned about Turkey, using the new missile system to intimidate its regional rival. Or it may just be that Russia wants to put its S-300V in the spotlight in the hopes of selling it on the international market.…/decoding-russias-latest-prov…

What Options Does the U.S. Have After Accusing Russia of Hacks?
8 Oct 2016

Now that the White House has formally accused Russia of meddling in the presidential election with cutting-edge cyberattacks and age-old information warfare, devising a response might seem fairly easy: unleash the government’s cyberwarriors to give the Kremlin a dose of its own malware.

Technologically, that would not be too difficult, American officials say. But as a matter of strategy and politics, formulating the right kind of counterstrike is not that straightforward.

President Obama’s options range from the mild — naming and shaming the Russians, as he did on Friday — to the more severe, like invoking for the first time a series of economic sanctions that he created by executive order after North Korea’s attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. The Justice Department could indict the Russians behind the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and the email accounts of prominent individuals, as it did with members of China’s People’s Liberation Army, who have been charged with stealing industrial secrets.…/what-options-does-the-us-have-afte…

The U.S. has just accused Russia of hacking America’s elections. That’s a very big deal.
7 Oct 2016

Obama administration security officials have formally accused Russia of interfering with the U.S. presidential election. The Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security made a joint statement, saying that ““[t]he U.S. intelligence community is confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.” Here’s what lies behind the accusations and here’s what happens next.…/the-u-s-has-just-accused-…/

U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections
7 Oct 2016

The Obama administration on Friday formally accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and a range of other institutions and prominent individuals, immediately raising the issue of whether President Obama would seek sanctions or other retaliation.

In a statement from the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., and the Department of Homeland Security, the government said the leaked emails that have appeared on a variety of websites “are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

The emails were posted on the well-known WikiLeaks site and two newer sites, and Guccifer 2.0, identified as being associated with Russian intelligence.

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement said.…/us-formally-accuses-russia-of-stea…

U.S. government officially accuses Russia of hacking campaign to interfere with elections
7 Oct 2016

The Obama administration on Friday officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.

The denunciation, made by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, came as pressure was growing from within the administration and some lawmakers to publicly name Moscow and hold it accountable for actions apparently aimed at sowing discord around the election.

“The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations,” said a joint statement from the two agencies. “. . . These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”…/4e0b9654-8cbf-11e6-875e-2c…

The Daily Vertical: Putin’s Unilateral Cold War (Transcript)
6 Oct 2016

In case you missed them, here are a few data points just from the past few days.

Russia launched massive civil-defense drills this week involving 200,000 emergency personnel and the cooperation of 40 million civilians.

Those drills came after Zvezda TV, which is run by the Defense Ministry, reported that “schizophrenics from America are sharpening nuclear weapons for Moscow.”

Also this week, Russia unilaterally pulled out of two nuclear agreements with the United States.…/28035448.html

Russia posts provocative tweet warning US on Syria, mocking Earnest
6 Oct 2016

The Russian government is ratcheting up warnings – on Twitter – to the U.S. government not to interfere with its military operations in Syria, even suggesting American aircraft could be targeted by its “air defense systems.”

In a provocative tweet Wednesday, the Russian embassy in Washington posted a side-by side photo of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and the Russian S-300 missile system.

With the military apparatus pointed toward the image of Earnest, a caption says Russia wants the system because they “never really know what kind of assistance terrorists might get.” The tweet says Russia will take “every defensive measure necessary” to protect their personnel in Syria.…/russia-posts-provocative-tweet-war…

Russia Suspends Nuclear Agreement, Ends Uranium Research Pact With United States
5 Oct 2016

“The regular renewal of sanctions against Russia … demands the adoption of countermeasures against the U.S. side.”

Russia further curtailed its cooperation with the United States in nuclear energy on Wednesday, suspending a research agreement and terminating one on uranium conversion, two days after the Kremlin shelved a plutonium pact with Washington.

The Russian government said that as counter-measures to the U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, it was putting aside a nuclear and energy-related research pact with the United States.

It also said it was terminating for the same reasons an agreement between its nuclear corporation Rosatom and the U.S. Department of Energy on feasibility studies into conversion of Russian research reactors to low-enriched uranium.

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin suspended a treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons grade plutonium, signaling he is willing to use nuclear disarmament as a new bargaining chip in disputes with the United States over Ukraine and Syria.…/russia-suspends-nuclear-agr…

U.S. Army Leaders Warn About Russia’s Bold Moves in Information Warfare
5 Oct 2016

Russia is making bold moves to both degrade U.S. military power and damage its democratic institutions, officials said Oct. 5.

What Russia is doing is taking military hard power, its use of irregular forces and marrying them with the more traditional elements of soft power, said Brig. Gen. Peter L. Jones, commandant of the Army Infantry School and the maneuver center of excellence.

The question for the the United States is what Russian intentions mean for the future of the Army and its investments, he said at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C.

All domains will be contested. The old axiom that “if you can be seen, you can be hit, and if you can be hit, you can be killed,” should be expanded, he said. “If you can be seen in any domain or emitting in the electro-magnetic spectrum, you can be hit, killed, spoofed, degraded, observed and watched.” It all depends on what the enemy, in this case, Russia wants to do.…/L…/Posts/Post.aspx…

What Does Putin Want?
5 Oct 2016

The United States should pursue confrontation where necessary and mutual interests without illusions where possible.

However therapeutic and tempting, especially during election season and after Russia’s direct complicity in the Syria horror, the understandable impulse to confront and isolate President Vladamir Putin’s Russia is not wise policy. Notwithstanding the many areas of altercation as well as the doomed attempt by President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “reset” U.S.-Russia relations after the George W. Bush administration, the next president should pursue a dual strategy designed both to challenge Putin where U.S. national interests demand it but find areas of collaboration where interests coincide. The United States should pursue confrontation where necessary and mutual interests without illusions where possible.…/what-does-putin-want-17938

Russia Suspends Nuclear Agreement, Ends Uranium Research Pact With United States
5 Oct 2016

“The regular renewal of sanctions against Russia … demands the adoption of countermeasures against the U.S. side.”

Russia further curtailed its cooperation with the United States in nuclear energy on Wednesday, suspending a research agreement and terminating one on uranium conversion, two days after the Kremlin shelved a plutonium pact with Washington.

The Russian government said that as counter-measures to the U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, it was putting aside a nuclear and energy-related research pact with the United States.…/russia-suspends-nuclear-agr…

Russian state newspapers predict ‘direct military conflict’ with US as it compares Syria stalemate to Cuban missile crisis
5 Oct 2016

‘Third World War’ fears have been voiced by the newspapers over the growing tensions with the USA

A RUSSIAN newspaper fears a Third World War with the US over Syria.

Tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets predicts a “direct military confrontation” on par with the Cuban Missile Crisis.…/russian-state-newspapers-predic…/

Russia’s Military Sophistication in the Arctic Sends Echoes of the Cold War
4 Oct 2016

Norwegian, NATO and U.S. officials express concerns over Moscow’s increased sophistication in region

When the U.S. wants to learn what Russia is doing in the Arctic, it often turns to the Norwegian military, which has been conducting operations for decades from this Arctic town amid the fiords.

These days, it isn’t the volume of Russian military activity in the region that concerns Norway and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. Adm. Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, Norway’s chief of defense, says Russian military activity in the Barents Sea has grown in recent years but still pales in comparison to Cold War levels.…/russia-upgrades-military-prowess-in-ar…

Amid Deteriorating U.S.-Russia Relations, Questions Grow About Cyberwar
4 Oct 2016

Just when you thought U.S.-Russia relations couldn’t get worse, diplomatic deals on both Syria and nuclear security fell apart this week.

Moscow went first, announcing that it was pulling out of a landmark agreement on plutonium. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin blamed “unfriendly actions” by the United States.

Hours later, Washington said it was breaking off talks on a ceasefire in Syria. “This is not a decision that was taken lightly,” State Department spokesman John Kirby wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments.”

Moscow and Washington aren’t cooperating on much of anything these days. And that prompts a question: What might come next, in the way of cyberattacks?…/amid-deteriorating-u-s-russia-relation…

What are all these Russian hackers up to?
30 Sep 2016

Russia has been implicated in many breaches of U.S. networks in recent months, most notably the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hacks, whose data were subsequently dumped to the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks. On Sept. 28, FBI Director James Comey told a congressional hearing that Russian hackers have been testing cyberdefenses of voter registration databases in more than a dozen states.

Russian Hackers Targeted Nearly Half of States’ Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrated 4
29 Sep 2016

Nearly half of the states in the U.S. have recently had their voter registration systems targeted by foreign hackers, and four of those systems have successfully been breached, sources tell ABC News.

That amount of targeting and actual infiltration into state election-related systems is significantly larger than the U.S. government has been willing to acknowledge.

Hackers working on behalf of the Russian government are suspected in the onslaught against more than 20 state election systems, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.…/russian-hackers-targeted-hal…/story…

It’s No Cold War, but Vladimir Putin Relishes His Role as Disrupter
29 Sep 2016

Escalating airstrikes in Syria. Sophisticated cyberattacks, apparently intended to influence the American election. New evidence of complicity in shooting down a civilian airliner.

The behavior of Russia in the last few weeks has echoes of some of the uglier moments of the Cold War, an era of proxy battles that ended in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. President Obama, fresh from a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin this month, wondered aloud whether the Russian leader was content living with a “constant, low-grade conflict.” His reference was to Ukraine, but he could have been addressing any of the arenas where Mr. Putin has reveled in his new role as the great disrupter of American plans around the globe.…/for-veterans-of-the-cold-war-a-hos…

How MH17 Gave Birth to the Modern Russian Spin Machine
29 Sep 2016

The downing of a passenger flight over Ukraine triggered an extraordinary campaign of lying, dissembling, and distortion that hasn’t stopped since.

It seems odd to look back to just over two years ago — a time when Russia had already effectively annexed Crimea and quietly fomented civil war in Ukraine — and to think of those days as simpler times.

To be sure, they weren’t that simple, even then: Before Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, Russian officials had already lied publicly about their special forces’ role in the seizure of Crimea. Kremlin-backed media had already begun spreading wild rumors and fake news stories, such as the alleged crucifixion of a 3-year-old boy by Ukrainian forces.

But, looking back now, it seems that the downing of MH17 — a disaster that horrified the world, and that has since been the subject of two international investigations seeking to establish some semblance of truth — marked a Rubicon moment for the Russian disinformation machine: the first time that the full power of the state was trained on the task of convincing the world to accept a false narrative of events, despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary.…/how-mh17-gave-birth-to-the-mode…/

How Russia Wants to Undermine the U.S. Election
29 Sep 2016

What’s behind Russia’s effort to influence the U.S. election

The leaders of the U.S. government, including the President and his top national-security advisers, face an unprecedented dilemma. Since the spring, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies have seen mounting evidence of an active Russian influence operation targeting the 2016 presidential election. It is very unlikely the Russians could sway the actual vote count, because our election infrastructure is decentralized and voting machines are not accessible from the Internet. But they can sow disruption and instability up to, and on, Election Day, more than a dozen senior U.S. officials tell TIME, undermining faith in the result and in democracy itself.…/how-russia-wants-undermine-us-election/

Can Fancy Bear Be Stopped? The Clear and Present Danger of Russian Info Ops
29 Sep 2016

Russia is engaged in an unprecedented, sophisticated attack on the American political system. Defeating it won’t be easy.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was curt to his former aide. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “is a national disgrace and an international pariah,” he wrote. In the leaked email, Powell, whose public persona is dignified and deeply appealing to both political parties, comes across as frustrated and upset by the 2016 presidential election. “I would rather not have to vote for her,” he wrote elsewhere, referring to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, describing her as having “a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational.”

It was the sort of juicy gossip political reporters just cannot ignore, and they predictably ran stories detailing who got burned and who got shade from the famously dignified and respectful Powell. Yet this email leak was the latest vanguard of what has become a sustained campaign of cyber operations by the Russian government, seemingly geared to manipulate the election. By aggressively hacking into email accounts and then selectively leaking documents meant to embarrass Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, Moscow is combining two different strains of security threats in a way no one is sure how to counter. Combining a traditional form of cyber operation (the actual email hacks) with targeted releases to affect a political outcome (information warfare), the Russian government has innovated a type of cyberwarfare that is catching both the media and policymakers off guard.…/can-fancy-bear-be-stopped-the-c…/

U.S. Believes Hackers Are Shielded by Russia to Hide Its Role in Cyberintrusions
28 Sep 2016

Officials are increasingly confident that the Russian government is intensifying a campaign to steal U.S. computer records and leak damaging information to the American public

U.S. officials are increasingly confident that the hacker Guccifer 2.0 is part of a network of individuals and groups kept at arm’s length by Russia to mask its involvement in cyberintrusions such as the theft of thousands of Democratic Party documents, according to people familiar with the matter.

While the hacker denies working on behalf of the Russian government, U.S. officials and independent security experts say the syndicate is one of the most striking elements of what looks like an intensifying Russian campaign to target prominent American athletes, party officials and military leaders.

A fuller picture of the operation has come into focus in the past several weeks. U.S. officials believe that at least two hacking groups with ties to the Russian government, known as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, are involved in the escalating data-theft efforts, according to people briefed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe of the cyberattacks.…/u-s-believes-russia-steered-hacked-doc…

Russian hackers harassed journalists who were investigating Malaysia Airlines plane crash
28 Sep 2016

Russian government hackers began targeting a British citizen journalist in February 2015, eight months after he began posting evidence documenting alleged Russian government involvement in the shoot-down of a Malaysian jetliner over Ukraine.

And then in February 2016, a group that researchers suspect is a propaganda mouthpiece of the Russian government — CyberBerkut — defaced the home page of Eliot Higgins’s citizen journalism website,

That same month, CyberBerkut hacked the email, iCloud and social media account of a Bellingcat researcher in Moscow, then posted online personal pictures, a passport scan, his girlfriend’s name and other private details.

Russia’s information operations against Bellingcat are a taste of what may be in store for other media organizations whose reports anger the Kremlin, said a cyber-research firm that has extensively documented the effort.…/d086c8bc-84f7-11e6-ac72-a2…

The White House Asked Congress To Keep Quiet On Russian Hacking
27 Sep 2016

Sources tell BuzzFeed News that top White House officials tried to stop two of Congress’s senior intelligence officials from publicly confirming Russian efforts to undermine the US election.

The White House sought to muzzle two of Congress’s top intelligence officials when they decided to publicly accuse Russia of meddling in the US election last week, sources familiar with the matter told BuzzFeed News.

In a statement released Friday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff, the vice-chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees respectively, formally accused Russia of attempting to influence the US election. It was the first official, on-record confirmation from US government officials that the Kremlin is actively working to manipulate public confidence in the country’s election system.

But sources tell BuzzFeed News that the White House — which has stayed silent despite mounting pressure to call out its Moscow adversaries — tried to delay the statement’s release. The public accusation was of such concern to the administration that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was personally involved in the negotiations over releasing it, according to a congressional source.…/the-white-house-asked-congress-t…

NATO Warns West ‘Losing Information War’ Against Russia, IS
27 Sep 2016

The West must step up its efforts to combat and counter the information war being waged by its opponents, according to NATO officials. They warn that countries like Russia are exploiting the freedom of the press in Western media to spread disinformation.

The term “hybrid warfare” is frequently used to describe the tactics used by the Kremlin in its forceful takeover of Crimea in 2014, when unmarked, heavily armed gunmen now widely known as the ‘little green men’ began storming Ukrainian military bases in the region.

Moscow initially denied they were Russian military, yet weeks later similar unidentified armed units appeared in eastern Ukraine. That conflict between Russia-backed rebels and the Ukrainian military is still continuing.…/3526780.html

The Sino-Russian Axis
26 Sep 2016

Joint naval exercises show a common strategic purpose: Push the U.S. out.

China and Russia completed an eight-day joint naval exercise in the South China Sea last week, and this time the location was also the message. The two autocracies are expanding cooperation and offering each other support in their territorial disputes, a trend that could fuel instability from East Asia to Central Europe.

Days before the drill, which focused on antisubmarine warfare and what a Xinhua dispatch called “island-seizing,” Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping held their 15th bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hangzhou. Mr. Putin announced support for Beijing’s aggressive sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and opposition to “any third-party interference,” an unsubtle reference to the United States.

Top spy suggests Russia trying to sow doubt in US elections
21 Sep 2016

The nation’s top intelligence official is suggesting Russia could be tampering with U.S. election systems in order to create public doubt about their reliability.

“There’s a tradition in Russia of interfering in elections, their own and others,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Tuesday evening at an event hosted by the Washington Post. “So it shouldn’t come as a bit shock to people.”

The decentralized nature of U.S. elections — which are run by multiple local and state governments instead of a single national system — makes it incredibly difficult for any hackers to substantially affect the nationwide outcome, Clapper added.…/296999-top-spy-suggests-russia-trying-…

Russia has a years-long plot to influence Balkan politics. The U.S. can learn a lot from it.
19 Sep 2016

“A Russian influence operation in the United States is something we’re looking very closely at,” The Washington Post recently quoted an unnamed senior intelligence official as saying. As the article put it:

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.

Information campaigns are nothing new for Russia, which has been running them in the Balkans at least for the past eight years, since Kosovo’s separation from Serbia and declaration of independence. There its strategy is to create a perception of Russia as a great power and powerful ally, with little substance behind it in investments or donations to the nations involved.

Here’s what the United States can learn from Russia’s low-cost, high-yield communications approach there.…/heres-how-russias-trying-…/

U.S. Intelligence Chief Suggests Russia Was Behind Election-Linked Hacks
20 Sep 2016

James Clapper’s comments were his most explicit to date about operation that stole Democratic Party records

WASHINGTON—U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper suggested Russia was behind a recent computer hacking operation that stole records from the Democratic Party and then leaked thousands of documents online.

Mr. Clapper, speaking Tuesday evening at an event hosted by the Washington Post, said Russia has been conducting similar exercises since the 1960s targeting the U.S.…/u-s-intelligence-chief-suggests-russia…

To Counter Russian Disinformation, Look to Cold War Tactics
20 Sep 2016

For the next administration, identifying, countering and neutralizing Moscow’s influence operations should be a priority.

Since Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, there has been a marked increase in the scope of Moscow’s overt military operations. Parallel, but perhaps more important, has been the gradual evolution in Russia’s approach to coordinating and executing sophisticated propaganda campaigns. Militarily resurgent and openly aggressive, Russia is dedicated to maintaining a decisive edge in cyberspace. According to the Pentagon, this poses a “serious challenge to the national security interests of the United States and its allies,” particularly the Baltic states.

While the employment of military deception is old hat, Vladimir Putin has effectively fused political influence with denial and deception operations in pursuit of his national security objectives. In cyberspace, the strategic goal is straightforward: hack everything, deny everything, and make counter-accusations.…/counter-russian-disinfo…/131674/

Blaming Russia for U.S. Hacks Is Easier Than Responding to Them
18 Sep 2016

Determining that the Russian government has been hacking political groups and election systems may have been the easy part for the U.S. intelligence community. Now the Obama administration has to decide what, if anything, to do about it.

While officially the FBI and intelligence agencies are still investigating a series of hacks that have roiled the U.S. presidential campaign, a number of cyber specialists who have reviewed the evidence as well as U.S. officials familiar with the investigation say with high confidence that Moscow is to blame.…/blaming-russia-for-u-s-hacks-is-…

Who Are the Russian-Backed Hackers Attacking the U.S. Political System?
18 Sep 2016

Two teams of highly skilled hackers directed and protected by the Russian state are on the offensive.

Cybersecurity experts and intelligence officials tell NBC News the same hackers who broke into the Democratic Party’s computers, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Administration System and who are implicated in the leaks of the personal emails of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the health documents of Olympians are executing a Kremlin-backed campaign of cyber-espionage and sabotage.

Their target: Western democratic institutions and Russia’s political opponents.…/who-are-russian-backed-hackers-att…

Putin wants revenge and respect, and hacking the U.S. is his way of getting it
16 Sep 2016

The recent spate of embarrassing emails and other records stolen by Russian hackers is President Vladimir Putin’s splashy response to years of what he sees as U.S. efforts to weaken and shame him on the world stage and with his own people, according to Russia experts here and in the U.S. intelligence world and academia.

Putin is seeking revenge and respect, and trying to reassert Russia’s lost superpower status at a time of waning economic clout and an upcoming Russian election, according to interviews with specialists here and in Washington, with a senior U.S. intelligence official, recently retired CIA operations officers in charge of Russia, and the last three national intelligence officers for Russia and Eurasia analysis in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.…/8bcc8d7e-7511-11e6-9781-49…

The Cold War is over. The Cyber War has begun.
15 Sep 2016

Contemplating Russian nuclear threats during the Cold War, the strategist Herman Kahn calibrated a macabre ladder of escalation, with 44 rungs ranging from “Ostensible Crisis” to “Spasm or Insensate War.”

In the era of cyberwarfare that’s now dawning, the rules of the game haven’t yet been established with such coldblooded precision. That’s why this period of Russian-American relations is so tricky. The strategic framework that could provide stability hasn’t been set.

Russian hackers appear to be pushing the limits. In recent weeks, the apparent targets have included the electronic files of the Democratic National Committee, the private emails of former secretary of state Colin Powell, and personal drug-testing information about top U.S. athletes.…/bc4ca5c0-7b87-11e6-bd86-b7…

Lawmakers say Obama should start thinking about sanctioning Russia for hacking
15 Sep 2016

Some lawmakers believe that President Obama should start thinking about sanctioning Russia for its alleged hacking of American political organizations like the Democratic National Committee.

The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), said Thursday that the president needs to start “naming and shaming” Russia for its alleged hacking activities, as well as use the sanctions authority he already has to punish President Vladimir Putin’s country.…/lawmakers-think-obama-sho…/

As Russia reasserts itself, U.S. intelligence agencies focus anew on the Kremlin
14 Sep 2016

U.S. intelligence agencies are expanding spying operations against Russia on a greater scale than at any time since the end of the Cold War, U.S. officials said.

The mobilization involves clandestine CIA operatives, National Security Agency cyberespionage capabilities, satellite systems and other intelligence assets, officials said, describing a shift in resources across spy services that had previously diverted attention from Russia to focus on terrorist threats and U.S. war zones.

U.S. officials said the moves are part of an effort to rebuild U.S. intelligence capabilities that had continued to atrophy even as Russia sought to reassert itself as a global power. Over the past two years, officials said, the United States was caught flat-footed by Moscow’s aggression, including its annexation of Crimea, its intervention in the war in Syria and its suspected role in hacking operations against the United States and Europe.…/cc212c62-78f0-11e6-ac8e-cf…

NSA Chief: Potential Russian Hacking of U.S. Elections a Concern

The head of the National Security Agency said Tuesday that the potential for Russia to harm the U.S. electoral process in the upcoming general election is a concern.

Cybersecurity officials have become increasingly worried about the issue in the wake of revelations that Russia-based hackers were behind two recent hacking attempts into state voter registration databases.…/nsa-chief-potential-russian-hackin…

Russian fighter makes ‘unsafe close range intercept’ with U.S. anti-submarine aircraft
7 Sep 2016

A Russian fighter aircraft made an “unsafe close range intercept” with a U.S. Navy jet over the Black Sea on Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in an emailed statement that the Russian Su-27 came “extremely close” and spent 19 minutes intercepting the U.S. P-8A Poseidon. The P-8 was conducting “routine operations in international airspace,” Davis said.…/russian-fighter-makes-uns…/

Updated: Russian Fighter Came Within 10 Ft. of Navy Surveillance Plane Over Black Sea
7 Sep 2016

A Russian fighter has come within 10 feet of a Navy surveillance flight over the Black Sea on Wednesday, defense officials told USNI News.

The incident between the Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft and a Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker occurred at about 11:20 A.M. local time in international airspace over the Black Sea, according to a statement provided to USNI News.

“During the intercept, which lasted approximately 19 minutes, the Su-27 initially maintained a 30-foot separation distance then closed to within 10 feet of the P-8A, which is considered unsafe and unprofessional,” read the statement.…/russian-fighter-came-within-10-ft-n…

U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections
5 Sep 2016

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.

The aim is to understand the scope and intent of the Russian campaign, which incorporates ­cyber-tools to hack systems used in the political process, enhancing Russia’s ability to spread disinformation.

The effort to better understand Russia’s covert influence operations is being coordinated by James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence. “This is something of concern for the DNI,” said Charles Allen, a former longtime CIA officer who has been briefed on some of these issues. “It is being addressed.”…/aec27fa0-7156-11e6-8533-6b…

How Russia Often Benefits When Julian Assange Reveals the West’s Secrets
31 Aug 2016

American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services. But the agendas of WikiLeaks and the Kremlin have often dovetailed.

Julian Assange was in classic didactic form, holding forth on the topic that consumes him — the perfidy of big government and especially of the United States.

Mr. Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks, rose to global fame in 2010 for releasing huge caches of highly classified American government communications that exposed the underbelly of its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and its sometimes cynical diplomatic maneuvering around the world. But in a televised interview last September, it was clear that he still had plenty to say about “The World According to US Empire,” the subtitle of his latest book, “The WikiLeaks Files.”…/…

White House Asks U.S. Spies to Study Russian Hacks
31 Aug 2016

The White House has ordered a special intelligence task force to examine the implications of Russia’s recent hacks of U.S. political organizations, U.S. intelligence officials tell NBC News.

According to one official, the classified national study is being conducted by the Foreign Denial and Deception Committee, a Cold War-era organization that is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The committee traditionally has advised the DNI on foreign attempts to thwart U.S. intelligence through trickery. But in the cyber era, the committee has increasingly looked at how nation states use computer attacks to conduct espionage and spread propaganda.

Russia, China, North Korea, Iran are primary subjects, the official said.…/white-house-asks-deception-committ…

EXCLUSIVE: Russia-Backed DNC Hackers Strike Washington Think Tanks
29 Aug 2016

The same Kremlin-backed group that hacked the Pentagon, State Department, and DNC targeted DC insiders last week.

Last week, one of the Russia-backed hacker groups that attacked Democratic computer networks also attacked several Russia-focused think tanks in Washington, D.C., Defense One has learned.

The perpetrator is the group called COZY BEAR, or APT29, one of the two groups that cybersecurity company CrowdStrike blamed for the DNC hack, according to founder Dmitri Alperovitch. CrowdStrike discovered the attack on the DNC and provides security for the think tanks.…/exclusive-russia-backed…/131104/

A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories
28 Aug 2016

With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on social media, confusing public perceptions of the issue.

The claims were alarming: If Sweden, a non-NATO member, signed the deal, the alliance would stockpile secret nuclear weapons on Swedish soil; NATO could attack Russia from Sweden without government approval; NATO soldiers, immune from prosecution, could rape Swedish women without fear of criminal charges.

They were all false, but the disinformation had begun spilling into the traditional news media, and as the defense minister, Peter Hultqvist, traveled the country to promote the pact in speeches and town hall meetings, he was repeatedly grilled about the bogus stories.…/…/russia-sweden-disinformation.html

Russian “New Generation” Warfare: Theory, Practice, and Lessons for U.S. Strategists
25 Aug 2016

Russian unconventional warfare—dubbed by analysts as “new generation” warfare—elevates the psychological and popular aspects of conflict more so than any of its geopolitical partners and rivals.[i] In an era of expanding popular engagement and attention to foreign conflicts, a strategic appreciation of these people-centric dimensions is more important now than ever. Recent interventions in Crimea and Donbas demonstrate the effectiveness of this new generation strategy, expose some critical weaknesses in U.S. approaches to unconventional war, and provide lessons for future strategic design.“new-generation”-warfare-theory-practice-and-lessons-for-us-strategists

Here’s why the NSA won’t release a ‘smoking gun’ implicating Russia in these major hacks
18 Aug 2016

Was Russia behind the massive hack of the Democratic National Committee, or the latest breach of what appears to be the NSA’s elite hacking unit?

That’s quite possible, but the US National Security Agency is probably not going confirm that — even as former employees proclaim that it can do so, and top US officials say that there is “little doubt” Moscow is involved.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden said on Twitter that “evidence that could publicly attribute responsibility for the DNC hack certainly exists at NSA” with a tool known as XKeyscore, which he previously described as a “one stop shop” for information it collects.

If that’s true, then it’s likely that that same tool could find the culprits behind the latest attack.

Understanding the Role of Russian Propaganda in the US Election
17 Aug 2016

It may seem strange, but the Kremlin’s propaganda machine is not backing US Presidential Republican Candidate Donald Trump. It has a bigger goal: Discrediting democracy in the United States.

The Kremlin’s main propaganda outlets in the US are the television station RT—formerly Russia Today—and the radio and online outlet Sputnik. Both are headed by Kremlin loyalists and closely mirror Russia’s foreign policy. While their effect on the presidential race is likely to be minimal, their reporting is useful for the insight it provides into the Kremlin’s intentions.

That reporting focuses on specifically attacking US Presidential Democratic Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the general nature of US democracy. As such, it appears that the Kremlin is less interested in promoting Trump than promoting discontent.…/understanding-the-role-of-…

Russian-Linked Group Leaks US Lawmakers’ Phone Numbers, Emails
14 Aug 2016

Late Friday, an online figure linked to Russian intelligence groups released the personal information of several lawmakers, part of an established pattern.

In an ominous turn, a shady actor linked to Russian intelligence has leaked to the public stolen personal phone numbers and private email addresses of Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The latest data dump appeared Friday on the WordPress site of an individual (or individuals) known as Guccifer 2.0, also called Guccifer2. It contained personal data of the of the members and members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC. “Hi all! It’s time for new revelations now,” the post read. On Saturday, WordPress administrators removed the post for violating terms of service. But Guccifer2, through Twitter, promised to post the rest of the material to Wikileaks.…/russian-linked-group-le…/130733/

Putin’s Infowar on America
31 Jul 2016

The DNC leaks were another Russian victory as the U.S. fails to fight back.

This column recently predicted that Russia would disclose hacked emails just before the presidential election as an “October surprise.” The first surprise came early, with last week’s release of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, whose chairman resigned for rigging the primaries in Hillary Clinton’s favor.

Expect more surprises before the election. Vladimir Putin has an unprecedented trove of hacked communications at his fingertips—and shows canny timing on when to hit “send.” Moscow has an ambitious strategy for information war that goes beyond affecting a presidential election. Israeli analyst Dima Adamsky wrote last year that the Russian “information struggle” entails “technological and psychological components designed to manipulate the adversary’s picture of reality, misinform it, and eventually interfere with the decision-making process of individuals, organizations, governments, and societies.”…/putins-infowar-on-america-1469996741

Russia Wanted to be Caught, Says Company Waging War on the DNC Hackers
28 Jul 2016

Pointing a finger at Russia is easy. Punishing them is hard. That’s why they hacked the DNC, according to the company that first named one of the key suspects.

The Russian groups behind the DNC hack no longer seem to care about getting caught. Long before the Kremlin-sponsored hacking squads APT 28 and APT 29 were making waves for stealing files from the Democratic National Committee, they made an appearance in two white papers put out by FireEye. The cybersecurity company has been monitoring and analyzing the two groups on behalf of corporate clients for years. In the DNC breach, a company spokesman told Defense One: “They wanted experts and policymakers to know that Russia is behind it.”

That fits a pattern of increasing bold moves over the past year by the groups, which are also known as FANCY BEAR and COZY BEAR, says Christopher Porter, the manager of Horizons, the strategic intelligence and forecasting arm of FireEye iSIGHT Intelligence, the company’s threat monitoring division.…/Russia-wanted-to-be-cau…/130312/

U.S. Intelligence Chief James Clapper Says Russia Sees Meddling in Election as Payback
28 Jul 2016

Mr. Clapper also calls Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘paranoid’

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Moscow views attempts to interfere in U.S. politics—including the November elections—essentially as payback for what the Kremlin sees as concerted efforts by the U.S. to influence elections in Russia.

He described Russian President Vladimir Putin as “paranoid.”

“Of course they see a U.S. conspiracy behind every bush and ascribe far more impact than we’re actually guilty of, but that’s their mind-set,” said Mr. Clapper, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

“And so I think their approach is they believe we are trying to influence political developments in Russia, trying to affect change, and so their natural response is to retaliate and do unto us as they think we’ve done unto them,” he said.

Mr. Clapper was careful to point out that U.S. intelligence agencies haven’t reached a firm conclusion as to whether Russia or any other country was behind the recent computer breach that stole emails and other records from the Democratic National Committee. Close to 20,000 of those emails were released by WikiLeaks last week, a move that proved embarrassing to senior DNC officials because the emails showed party officials trying to undermine the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.…/u-s-intelligence-chief-james-clapper-s…

On the Need for Official Attribution of Russia’s DNC Hack
28 Jul 2016

Yesterday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff—Vice Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, respectively—called on the Obama administration to consider declassifying and releasing any intelligence community assessments on the attribution and motives of the DNC hackers.

I wholeheartedly agree.

The intelligence community has powers and capabilities that far exceed that of the private sector for attribution, and do not suffer from the same conflicts of interest. Whereas private sector attribution tends to rely on technical forensics of the malware and infrastructure used by the hackers, the IC is able to draw upon a much more diverse set of capabilities—such as financial intelligence, human intelligence, and counter-intelligence—to bring together a wider set of facts with narrower bands of uncertainty than the private sector would normally have at its disposal.…

Russia’s Long History of Messing With Americans Minds Before the DNC Hack
26 Jul 2016

Russia’s intelligence services have a long history of mingling sinister fiction with shards of fact and leaking through third parties to cover their tracks.

Lord Byron observed, in skewering one of his favorite poetic targets of derision, that while the English have no word so good as the French longueurs to describe tedious, uninterrupted stretches of writing, they nevertheless “have the thing.” Similarly, there is no proper American term for what Russian intelligence calls aktivniye meropriyatiye, or active measures, but by now most Americans really ought to be used to the thing, as it might well decide our next presidential election.

As The Daily Beast reported Monday, the FBI now suspects that a year-long hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails and their subsequent publication on WikiLeaks was actually the work of Russian intelligence.…/putin-s-wicked-leaks-didn-t-…

It looks like Russia hired internet trolls to pose as pro-Trump Americans
27 Jul 2016

Russia’s troll factories were, at one point, likely being paid by the Kremlin to spread pro-Trump propaganda on social media.

That is what freelance journalist Adrian Chen, now a staff writer at The New Yorker, discovered as he was researching Russia’s “army of well-paid trolls” for an explosive New York Times Magazine exposé published in June 2015.…

Experts: The US has fallen dangerously behind Russia in cyber warfare capabilities
27 Jul 2016

Specialists who have studied Russia’s cyber warfare capabilities said the Kremlin is responsible for the hacking and eventual release of 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee, adding that there is no sure way to stop these kinds of attacks from recurring.

Experts who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon cautioned that it is difficult to prove the connection between the hackers and the Russian government with a legal degree of certainty, but they said the evidence indicated Russian involvement.…

Why would Russia interfere in the U.S. election? Because it sometimes works.
26 Jul 2016

In the wake of the release of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, and the assessment by some intelligence experts that Russia leaked the documents in hopes of tilting the election in favor of Republican Donald Trump, observers have expressed furor that a foreign government would seek to influence American politics.

“That the Russians would be happy burglarizing the emails of a major party to try to affect the outcome of our presidential election . . . is very serious and an unprecedented development,” former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley told Fox Business. Slate’s Franklin Foer called it “a strike against our civic infrastructure” that violates “a clear set of rules designed to limit foreign interference in our elections.”

Without context, that outrage is naive. Foreign governments have regularly sought to shape our politics. And the United States, in addition to overtly sponsoring regime change, has honed interference in other countries’ elections into something of an art form. Such interventions will always be appealing to their perpetrators because they can succeed, especially if they find willing accomplices in the targeted country.…/why-would-russia-interfer…/

Spy Agency Consensus Grows That Russia Hacked D.N.C.
26 Jul 2016

American intelligence agencies have told the White House they now have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee, according to federal officials who have been briefed on the evidence.

But intelligence officials have cautioned that they are uncertain whether the electronic break-in at the committee’s computer systems was intended as fairly routine cyberespionage — of the kind the United States also conducts around the world — or as part of an effort to manipulate the 2016 presidential election.

The emails were released by WikiLeaks, whose founder, Julian Assange, has made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency. It is unclear how the documents made their way to the group. But a large sampling was published before the WikiLeaks release by several news organizations and someone who called himself “Guccifer 2.0,” who investigators now believe was an agent of the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence service.…/spy-agency-consensus-grows-that-ru…

Putin’s suspected meddling in a U.S. election would be a disturbing first
25 Jul 2016

CREDIT FOR the internecine furor that disrupted the Democratic Party on the eve of its convention should go to Vladimir Putin. As The Post has reported, cybersecurity experts say Russian intelligence operatives were likely responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, as well as for leaking to the Moscow-friendly WikiLeaks website some 20,000 emails. The trove appeared online Friday, just in time to create discord between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as they headed to Philadelphia. To no one’s surprise, the emails showed that DNC staffers opposed the attempt of the socialist Mr. Sanders to take over the party. Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to announce her resignation, and — as Russia likely intended — Ms. Clinton’s campaign took a hit.…/2e84c374-5280-11e6-bbf5-95…

How Putin Weaponized Wikileaks to Influence the Election of an American President
24 Jul 2016

Evidence suggests that a Russian intelligence group was the source of the most recent Wikileaks intel dump, which was aimed to influence the U.S. election.

Close your eyes and imagine that a hacking group backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin broke into the email system of a major U.S. political party. The group stole thousands of sensitive messages and then published them through an obliging third party in a way that was strategically timed to influence the United States presidential election. Now open your eyes, because that’s what just happened.

On Friday, Wikileaks published 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. They reveal, among other things, thuggish infighting, a push by a top DNC official to use Bernie Sanders’ religious convictions against him in the South, and attempts to strong-arm media outlets. In other words, they reveal the Washington campaign monster for what it is.…/how-putin-weaponized-wi…/130163/



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