The Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Hacking

I’ve worked through the Steele dossier. Now I’ll look at the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions In Recent US Elections.” In the continuing and ever-changing story of the Donald Trump administration’s relations with Russia, I want to work through, carefully, what we know and don’t know. Far too much remains in the latter category to connect the dots.

The ICA covers similar territory to the Steele dossier. The question of Russian hacking of the election is of concern both to the funders of the Steele dossier and to American citizens generally. In addition, the Steele dossier was available to the authors of the ICA. Since the publication of the ICA, we have learned that the FBI wanted to pay Steele to continue his investigation for them. Read More

The Steele Dossier

In early January, BuzzFeed published a set of documents describing information acquired by a private intelligence firm. The dossier had been in the possession of the FBI and intelligence organizations since late summer and was the basis for several news stories and Congressional comment.

The information was on Russian connections with Donald Trump’s campaign. It consists of reports from various sources on conversations by campaign operatives and Russian officials. The sources are not identified, but some seem to be privy to conversations at high levels within the Russian government. Read More

Links – February 20, 2017

I am continuing to go light on the latest about Donald Trump’s relationship to Russia, in the service of finishing up a major post on the subject. In the meanwhile, here is a selection beyond the New York Times and Washington Post headlines.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says that Trump urged him to get closer to Russia.

Concern in Europe about Trump’s stand on Russia.

Russia is bullying Norway.

Thirty-three questions about Trump’s relationship with Russia.

Why Trump can’t come clean on Russia. Read More

Carter Page Again

Carter Page was in Moscow last July, about the time suspicions about Donald Trump’s Russian connnections began to bubble up. We’ve heard more than usual about and from him this past week.

For background, here are recaps from September and November. Page was dropped from the Trump campaign last summer,  when his and Paul Manafort’s Russian connections became an issue. But the two keep popping up in relation to the campaign, clearly friends of or fellow travelers.

Page’s current appearance in the news is via the Intercept, which acquired a bizarre letter Page wrote to the Justice Department claiming that the Clinton campaign was trying to silence him and perhaps damage voting rights in the process. Or something. You can read it yourself and decide.

This is not the first of Page’s writings that might be described as unhinged. You can find more here. He seems to be focused on civil rights analogies in, shall we say, unusual ways.

Judy Woodruff interviewed him last night. His answers were unresponsive word salad, in the way of many in the Trump administration. His strange ideas alone are cause for concern, but there are the connections to Russia as well.


Links – February 15, 2017

The Trump circus in the White House continues. You have undoubtedly seen more than enough articles about Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor because of his (not fully explained) telephone conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, or maybe it was because he lied to Vice President Michael Pence, or maybe it was because someone leaked about the whole mess to the media.

So I won’t link to much of that; in any case, I am working on posts relating to it and the question of just how connected the White House is to Russia. Flynn is the third to resign from Trump’s service for too much connection to Russia, along with Paul Manafort and Carter Page. You have probably seen news reports about calls for an independent investigative body to look at the whole mess. Read More

Michael Flynn’s Phonecalls

The Washington Post and the New York Times published stories last night with more information about Michael Flynn’s phonecalls to Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Not long ago, it appeared that those phonecalls might have been no problem.

The phonecalls came after President Obama expelled members of the Russian embassy to the United States in retaliation for Russian hacking of the US election. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made a statement indicating that there would be a reciprocal expulsion of Americans; this is standard diplomatic practice in such situations. But within a day, and after the phonecalls, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he would suspend that standard, not expelling any Americans.   Read More

Russian Computer Experts Arrested for Treason

Two men were arrested on Wednesday, January 25 in December by Russia’s FSB on charges of treason. The men are Sergei Mikhailov, a senior officer of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, and Ruslan Stoyanov, the head of computer incident response investigations at Kaspersky Lab, which makes antivirus programs. [Update: The arrest was just announced; it appears the men were arrested in December.]  Earlier, the firing of the director of the Center for Information Security, Andrei Gerasimov, was announced, reportedly related to an investigation into the agency’s cooperation with Kaspersky on criminal hacking cases. Moscow Times is now reporting that two more men have been arrested: Dmitry Dokuchaev, who worked in the same FSB unit as Mikhailov, and another whose name has not been released. Read More

Trump and Russia – The Multiagency Investigation

There were plenty of clues before the election that Donald Trump and his associates had more ties to Russia than any other presidential candidate for the past fifty years. But the media chose to ignore them in favor of a Hillary Clinton email server that might have been vulnerable to hacking. Not actually hacked, just vulnerable. Oh, and her staff’s recipes for risotto after emails were hacked from the Democratic National Committee server, probably by Russia. Read More