Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy

New U.S. policy on nuclear retaliatory strikes for cyber-attacks is raising concerns, with Russia claiming that it’s already been blamed for a false-flag cyber-attack – namely the election hacking allegations of 2016, explain Ray McGovern and William Binney.

By Ray McGovern and William Binney

Moscow is showing understandable concern over the lowering of the threshold for employing nuclear weapons to include retaliation for cyber-attacks, a change announced on Feb. 2 in the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

Explaining the shift in U.S. doctrine on first-use, the NPR cites the efforts of potential adversaries “to design and use cyber weapons” and explains the change as a “hedge” against non-nuclear threats. In response, Russia described the move as an “attempt to shift onto others one’s own responsibility” for the deteriorating security situation.

Moscow’s concern goes beyond rhetoric. Cyber-attacks are notoriously difficult to trace to the actual perpetrator and can be pinned easily on others in what we call “false-flag” operations. These can be highly destabilizing – not only in the strategic context, but in the political arena as well.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has good reason to believe he has been the target of a false-flag attack of the political genre. We judged this to be the case a year and a half ago, and said so. Our judgment was fortified last summer – thanks to forensic evidence challenging accusations that the Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee and provided emails to WikiLeaks. (Curiously, the FBI declined to do forensics, even though the “Russian hack” was being described as an “act of war.”)

Our conclusions were based on work conducted over several months by highly experienced technical specialists, including another former NSA technical director (besides co-author Binney) and experts from outside the circle of intelligence analysts.

On August 9, 2017, investigative reporter Patrick Lawrence summed up our findings in The Nation. “They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation,” he explained.

As we wrote in an open letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the NSA’s programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. “We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks,” our letter said. “If NSA cannot produce such evidence – and quickly – this would probably mean it does not have any.”

A ‘Dot’ Pointing to a False Flag?

In his article, Lawrence included mention of one key, previously unknown “dot” revealed by WikiLeaks on March 31, 2017. When connected with other dots, it puts a huge dent in the dominant narrative about Russian hacking. Small wonder that the mainstream media immediately applied white-out to the offending dot.

Lawrence, however, let the dot out of the bag, so to speak: “The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble Framework that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to.”

If congressional oversight committees summon the courage to look into “Obfus-Gate” and Marble, they are likely to find this line of inquiry as lucrative as the Steele “dossier.” In fact, they are likely to find the same dramatis personae playing leading roles in both productions.

Two Surprising Visits

Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it.

In retrospect, the Pompeo-Binney meeting appears to have been a shot across the bow of those cyber warriors in the CIA, FBI, and NSA with the means and incentive to adduce “just discovered” evidence of Russian hacking. That Pompeo could promptly invite Binney back to evaluate any such “evidence” would be seen as a strong deterrent to that kind of operation.

Pompeo’s closeness to President Donald Trump is probably why the heads of Russia’s three top intelligence agencies paid Pompeo an unprecedented visit in late January. We think it likely that the proximate cause was the strategic danger Moscow sees in the nuclear-hedge-against-cyber-attack provision of the Nuclear Posture Statement (a draft of which had been leaked a few weeks before).

If so, the discussion presumably focused on enhancing hot-line and other fail-safe arrangements to reduce the possibility of false-flag attacks in the strategic arena — by anyone – given the extremely high stakes.

Putin may have told his intelligence chiefs to pick up on President Donald Trump’s suggestion, after the two met last July, to establish a U.S.-Russian cyber security unit.  That proposal was widely ridiculed at the time. It may make good sense now.

Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, was chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and briefed the President’s Daily Brief one-on-one from 1981-1985. William Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.

76 comments for “Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy

  1. Wolfgang Schira
    February 27, 2018 at 07:17

    We here in Europe hear allways “The Russians hacked this and the Russian hacked this”, all information coming from intelligence services (what services?). This is also spread by almost all of our MSM. Now I read a press release of DHS (department of Homeland Security). The for me most important sentences are the following:

    “Recent NBC reporting has misrepresented facts and confused the public with regard to Department of Homeland Security and state and local government efforts to combat election hacking. First off, let me be clear: we have no evidence – old or new – that any votes in the 2016 elections were manipulated by Russian hackers.”

    Now, can anyone explain me the discrepancy between DHS and “intelligence services”? One of them lies, and I personally would mean, the liars are the intelligence services.

    By the way, I found nothing of this DHS-statement in our MSM.

  2. WG
    February 20, 2018 at 00:51

    Yet the anti-Trumpists continue to carry the narrative that the Russians are completely responsible for the hacking of the DNC. The relevations by the DOJ of Russian’s using open sources of social media to forment discord should be of no surprise to anyone as both the US and Russian, and now likely China, North Korea, and Iran, more recently, are using the internet to foment discord in societies they have fundamental disagreements with. The US and Russia have been at it since the end of WW2 all across the world in Africa, Asia, South America, Central America and the previously known East Block states of the USSR. This is a “nothing burger”, as a famous CNN commentor recently stated about the over hyped news about Russian-Trump “collusion”.

  3. Anon
    February 18, 2018 at 11:21

    Anybody with half a brain can see that this was an operation by John Brennan (see Seymour Hersh) to create a diversion to undermine Trump but more important to cover up FBI, Clinton, Justice, State, Obama malfeasance and corruption.

    The Mueller indictment this week is laughable and embarrassing. I can’t believe that we are spending time and money on this insanity when there are real problems to solve. These idiots will risk nuclear war in order to retain their control on power.

    • February 18, 2018 at 19:46

      Mueller will be extremely embarassed. when it comes out that this “attack” was simply a standard click-bait marketing scheme to make money…period…posting radical articles to get clicks…they dont care about politics at all…it was never their intent to influence anything but their bank accounts…

      how blind and ignorant does are government think we are?


  4. Sunil Boodram
    February 18, 2018 at 05:09

    The US has medelled in so many countries elections, its not so nice when or if the table is turned.

  5. Chris Jones
    February 17, 2018 at 23:18

    There was a time when I thought it was maybe about the oil. After all, oil looked a lot like money, and it still does. But as far as government line budget items go, it is all about the love of money, with more than 1 Trillion dollars for US missile offence, and 600 billion for military per annum. The numbers speak for themselves.

  6. Del
    February 17, 2018 at 21:19

    If John ‘password’ Posesta were still around? A single Nigerian inheritance scam could have us all back to the bay of pigs or worse..

  7. Virginia
    February 17, 2018 at 21:01

    Just want everyone to know, and if you agree, maybe you’ll make the same request I did. I can’t keep up with the many article CN is posting in rapid succession lately. I’ve written CN: and asked the editors to please consider reducing the number of articles coming out daily. One of the benefits of CN is being able to read what the commentators have to say, see their (our) conversations, and interact. With so many articles, we can’t really stay in touch as well because each of us may be commenting on different articles (and who has time to read them all and follow all the comments? not I.). So, do you agree? Is that a valid point? If so, I’m quite sure the CN editors are listening to the readers and I’m quite sure, if commenting and conversationalizing is a cherished benefit, they will take the number of articles produced down a notch. You can reach the editors at info and that would be at @

  8. February 17, 2018 at 17:49

    Apparently our national security advisor McMaster shot the idea of cyberspace cooperation with Russia down publicly at the Munich Security Conference His dismissal of the idea apparently was accompanied by snickers in the agreeing crowd. In remarks preceding the question,, he expressed certainty that Russia interfered with our 2016 election.

    Yes, Ray, like so many other constructive proposals by Putin. Putin demands to be treated as an equal just doesn’t sit well with Washington and even its compliant allies in Europe. The danger to us of this posture is real enough or America, what is hard to fathom is the willingness of Europe to go along when they have so much to lose.

    • Michael Keenan
      February 18, 2018 at 02:23

      McMaster: “Going to advance – send reinforcements.”

      Munich: “Going to a dance – lend me three and fourphennig!”

  9. Virginia
    February 17, 2018 at 14:53

    I’ve been trying to remember who at CN occasionally refers us readers to LaRouche’s site? I do want to thank him (you). LaRouche was far ahead of his time, but it behooves all of us to catch up and incorporate many of his ideas into our times.

    • Sam F
      February 17, 2018 at 15:15

      Possibly Brad Owen.

      • Virginia
        February 17, 2018 at 16:10

        You’re right, thank you, Sam F. I hope we hear from Brad again soon.

  10. Michael Kenny
    February 17, 2018 at 12:04

    The spooks are more spooked than ever! Now, we’re told that Mr Binney, 16 years after he had retired from the NSA and for a reason which we are not told, had an apparently unclassified meeting with Mike Pompeo at which he told him that CIA analysts (i.e. people such as Mr McGovern) were a pack of liars! That CIA agents are a pack of liars is something I have known for more than 50 years and I doubt if NSA agents are any better. With Putin now openly interfering in the Italian election in favour of the Lega Nord, it’s no longer possible to dismiss Putin’s interference in the American election with cries of “no evidence”. The question now is how deeply are the US intelligence agencies, in particularly the CIA, involved in Russiagate.

  11. Joe Tedesky
    February 17, 2018 at 10:57

    Should this be of concern;

    “In January the U.S. attribution claims about the NotPetya malware were prelaunched through the Washington Post:

    The CIA has attributed to Russian military hackers a cyberattack that crippled computers in Ukraine last year, an effort to disrupt that country’s financial system amid its ongoing war with separatists loyal to the Kremlin.

    The GRU military spy agency created NotPetya, the CIA concluded with “high confidence” in November, according to classified reports cited by U.S. intelligence officials.

    The hackers worked for the military spy service’s GTsST, or Main Center for Special Technology, the CIA reported. That unit is highly involved in the GRU’s cyberattack program, including the enabling of influence operations”

  12. Tim
    February 17, 2018 at 10:51

    Some rays of hope from Ray, that may counter the MIC’s playbook.

  13. Realist
    February 17, 2018 at 04:13

    So, basically this new policy gives Washington carte blanche to use nukes whenever and against whomever they please. All they have to do is mount a false flag cyber attack against this country’s interests, speciously blame a foreign power and “righteously” take them out. Wonderful. Just what I’d expect from the people presently in control.

    Klaatu, we need you and Gort now!

  14. michael crockett
    February 17, 2018 at 03:10

    Well done gentlemen. I hope many more Americans will read this article and, as the truth gets out, just maybe we can put the brakes on the Apocalypse. You guys are heroic. Thank you for your service to this country. Keep fighting.

  15. Virginia fiocca
    February 17, 2018 at 03:01

    This whole thing reminds me of 2003 and the weapons of mass destruction story. ALL media jump on it despite the obvious phoniness. The FBI admits that it did not investigate the Florida shooter after being given a specific tip in January. A few hours later, it ‘indicts’ 13 Russians who live in Russia and will not be prosecuted. The allegations are that ‘Russians’ pretended they were Americans and favoured different candidates before the election. Are you kidding me????? It is all phone. And never mind that the US really interfered with the elections to keep Boris Yeltsin drunk and in office. The US sent their own political hacks to advise and run the whole thing. Well the WMD Iraq thing turned out ‘great’! Lets see what happens here.

  16. ThomasGilroy
    February 16, 2018 at 23:12

    “……….Cyber-attacks are notoriously difficult to trace to the actual perpetrator and can be pinned easily on others in what we call “false-flag” operations. These can be highly destabilizing – not only in the strategic context, but in the political arena as well……”

    First of all, there is no evidence that a false flag operation was conducted at the Democratic National headquarters. If Julian Assange has a different truth, let him tell us what he has. McGovern writes at Consortium January 21, 2017:

    “………Does the Russian government hack, as many other governments do? Of course. Did it hack the emails of the Democratic National Committee? Almost certainly, though it was likely not alone in doing so. In the Internet age, hacking is the bread and butter of intelligence agencies. If Russian intelligence did not do so, this would constitute gross misfeasance, especially since the DNC was such easy pickings and the possibility of gaining important insights into the U.S. government was so high…….”

    Secondly, Russia had the motive to favor the Trump candidacy who promised to improve relations with Russia – as opposed to the anti-Russian fervor exhibited by Hillary Clinton. Who could blame Putin for gambling on improving relations with the US, easing sanctions and having the new American President recognize Russia’s rightful area of influence. So the motive clearly favored Russian intervention.

    Thirdly, Crowdstrike determined that the Russians were behind the hack. At least four cyber-security firms confirmed the conclusions of Crowdstrike. Additionally, US Intel recently concluded that the Russian government was behind the NotPetya ransomware targeting Ukraine companies. Again, the motive is with the Russian government currently destabilizing the Ukraine economy and government supporting the war in Eastern Ukraine. Of course, Russia will deny that they hacked the DNC and released the malware to target Ukraine companies. That is a Russian strategy – deny, deny, deny. Russia also denied downing MH17, bombing the Red Crescent Aid Convoy in Syria, invading Crimea and invading Eastern Ukraine.

    • incontinent reader
      February 16, 2018 at 23:44

      You’ve got to be kidding! You clearly have not been reading the analyses, or familiarized yourself with the forensic tests conducted by Bill Binney and his former NSA colleagues. I’d suggest you do your research before you spout the same DNC/MSM nonsense,

      • Drew Hunkins
        February 17, 2018 at 00:12

        Excellent comment incontinent reader. Thank you.

      • Paranam Kid
        February 17, 2018 at 08:38

        He obviously finds it more comforting, safer, to with the MSM flow, that way he does not get denigrated and he does not have to explain himself to his pals.

      • Michael Keenan
        February 18, 2018 at 02:16

        Yes, lets not cross signals please.
        “Going to advance – send reinforcements.”
        Going to a dance – lend me three and fourpence!”

    • Lucius Patrick
      February 17, 2018 at 00:48

      “First of all, there is no evidence of a false flag attack at the DNC…”–wrong; what Binney, McGovern, and others are saying is that the evidence (speed of the download) matches that of a physical link up, a thumb drive–internet connection cannot match the speed. Evidence of Russian hacking–a famous Russian spy’s name was left–is indicative of a frame up–As John McAfee of McAfee Security said “When the FBI or when any other agency says the Russians did it or the Chinese did something or the Iranians did something – that’s a fallacy,” said McAfee.
      “Any hacker capable of breaking into something is extraordinarily capable of hiding their tracks. If I were the Chinese and I wanted to make it look like the Russians did it I would use Russian language within the code.” He also said: “If it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you that they did not…”

      Two–good point, the Russians would be fools to promote warmonger Hillary. Her campaign promise of no-fly zones in Syria very likely would have started world war 3.
      Third: Are you Klazy? Read about Crowdstrike. It’s owner Dmitry Alperovitch is a Russophobe and a member of the anti-Russian Pro-nato warmongering Atlantic Council. Russia invaded Crimea? They have had a naval base there for a couple of hundred years. On the 2nd day of the coup the coup government removed Russian from the list of official languages in Ukraine–the Crimeans are ethnically Russian and they speak primarily Russian there–the coup government was revealing it’s anti-Russian/pro West bias right there. And, that was an illegal coup–always illegal when armed gunmen storm the parliamentary building to oust the democratically elected guy–particularly when the impeachment vote had failed. Pesky little think called rule of law. Russians downed MH17? I didn’t know anyone thought that anymore… Maybe the Eastern Ukrainians did, but if so, and whoever did it (unless it was false flag by the coup government), they did not know it was a passenger jetliner. What passenger airline company is going to fly over a war zone anyway?

      • Realist
        February 17, 2018 at 04:48

        Thanks for taking the time to yet once again dismiss the usual Russia-hating propaganda dispensed by Gilroy. You’ve done it masterfully. Only on point two I would have added that the Russians also would have been fools to promote Trump, a point which Putin himself made many times with the explanation that he would have to deal with whomever America elected. Since everyone and his uncle expected Hillary to win in a landslide, he would have been crazy to piss her off. The ease with which Hillary’s cadre of sore losers mislead the American public is stupifying.

    • February 17, 2018 at 01:09


      Commenters on this website usually don’t indulge in highly selective, misleadling quoting. I am disappointed in your quote from my “Obama Admits Gap in Russian ‘Hack’ Case”:

      Here, for all to see is what you selected (I’ll set your “selection” between [[[[[ ]]]]] ) and the sentences and paragraphs surrounding it.

      Here’s how my article, from which you selectively quote, began (with your own excerpted (AND truncated) paragraph two placed between brackets):

      “Oops. Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the U.S. intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with “high confidence” – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds.

      “ [[[[[ “………. Does the Russian government hack, as many other governments do? Of course. Did it hack the emails of the Democratic National Committee? Almost certainly, though it was likely not alone in doing so. In the Internet age, hacking is the bread and butter of intelligence agencies. If Russian intelligence did not do so, this would constitute gross misfeasance, especially since the DNC was such easy pickings and the possibility of gaining important insights into the U.S. government was so high. ……”]]]]] But that is not the question.

      “It was WikiLeaks that published the very damaging information, for example, on the DNC’s dirty tricks that marginalized Sen. Bernie Sanders and ensured that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. What remains to be demonstrated is that it was “the Russians” who gave those emails to WikiLeaks. And that is what the U.S. intelligence community doesn’t know.

      “At President Obama’s Jan. 18 press conference, he admitted as much: “the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked.” [Emphasis added}

      “It is necessary to carefully parse Obama’s words since he prides himself in his oratorical constructs. He offered a similarly designed comment at a Dec. 16, 2016 press conference when he said: “based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. … the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks.”

      “Note the disconnect between the confidence about hacking and the stark declarative sentence about the information ending up at WikiLeaks. Obama does not bridge the gap because to do so would represent a bald-faced lie, which some honest intelligence officer might call him on. So, he simply presents the two sides of the chasm – implies a connection – but leaves it to the listener to make the leap.” …

      Thomas, why did you do that?

      Ray McGovern

      • Realist
        February 17, 2018 at 04:28

        Such a handy tool these ……..’s.

        “Thou shalt …. bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

        See, I fixed Exodus 20:16.

      • ThomasGilroy
        February 17, 2018 at 09:39

        Thanks for taking the time to respond. I only wanted to show that the hacking of the DNC by Russian intelligence would not be out of the norm – as you said in that column. In fact, it would be out of the norm if they didn’t. Some people cannot seem to understand that most basic function of intelligence services (including the US). Evidence is coming to light slowly confirming the hack of the DNC by Russian intelligence; for example, the Dutch intelligence reported at the Intercept yesterday (“Is Donald Trump a traitor?” – by James Risen – I agree that there is no smoking gun on how WikiLeaks received the emails for publication (that we know of at this moment). As was reported at the Intercept in another article ( by @micahflee @coracurrier), Assange also sought to undermine the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. In this respect, the goals of Russian foreign policy and WikiLeaks aligned. In 2012, Assange stated, “RT is the natural partner”.

        Additionally, the Mueller investigation is uncovering some interesting connections; for example, the testimony of George Papadopoulos and the Trump Tower meeting where there is discussions of the Russian government having “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails. This was right before WikiLeaks began releasing emails to undermine HRC. Again, as I stated in my first post, the Russian government had the motive to intervene. There may never be a smoking gun, but the evidence is becoming harder and harder to ignore.

        Thanks again for your response.

        • Realist
          February 20, 2018 at 00:38

          “Evidence is coming to light slowly confirming the hack of the DNC by Russian intelligence…”

          Quite to the contrary, evidence mounts, which apparently Mueller chooses to ignore, that info from the DNC came from a leak on the part of Seth Rich which he downloaded directly from their server to a flash drive. We now have a second eye-witness (the first being a British ambassador), Kim Dotcom corroborating this (“I knew Seth Rich. I know he was the @Wikileaks source. I was involved”) and volunteering his sworn testimony to Mueller. See: . But you keep right on living in your self-created Russophobic alternate reality. Gilroy, when it comes to “Russia-gate,” you are an even bigger dead-ender than Mueller himself, who was forced to admit that, based on the utter lack of evidence, he could make no link between a relatively tiny handful of tweets and ads placed by a mere 13 private Russian citizens and the email content divulged by Wiki-leaks, the Russian government, President Putin, President Trump or Trump’s campaign. There have been no hackers identified whatsoever, only a tiny number of what you may choose to call “trolls” or others may simply consider private individuals with their own opinions.

          [Sorry people, I did initially leave out the citation, but the program moderated me anyway. See you later.]

      • geeyp
        February 17, 2018 at 12:32

        Ray, I reread the lines in the piece regarding meeting with Pompeo. I just want to know if William did, indeed, meet with him twice. Thank you so much.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 17, 2018 at 03:07

      I was almost ready to respond, that was until I got to your last line about MH17 and your other tired old Russian atrocities references ThomasGilroy, and then I decided to join the rest of this planet who do know the truth, and we who do know better would just prefer to merely ignore you.

      • Ol' Hippy
        February 17, 2018 at 13:08

        Right Joe, responses just encourages them and licit more nonsense. Or as I say, don’t feed the trolls. It’s amusing how a statement of known misinformation derails a complete argument’s integrity.

  17. anastasia
    February 16, 2018 at 22:46

    Now, Mueller has come out with an indictment against Russians that the both helped and hindered Trump’s election, and this was supposed to be tampering with the election process? . What people are being asked to swallow in order to believe these ridiculous stories about Russia. is pretty incredible. You have to do a self-lobotomy to believe them.

    • Drew Hunkins
      February 17, 2018 at 00:10

      Exactly Anastasia. Mueller is a flawed human being who should not be anywhere near any type of Justice investigation.

      The hogwash and baloney is relentless.

      • Virginia
        February 17, 2018 at 15:08


        I called my CA Senators yesterday asking then to drop this time consuming, money wasting investigation. The number is 202-224-3121 for all states Representatives and Senators.

        • Drew Hunkins
          February 17, 2018 at 17:05

          Bravo to you Virginia!

  18. February 16, 2018 at 22:40

    The US deep state reps speak with forked tongues, their usual MO. Russia is right to be concerned, as they have been rebuffed time and again by the US. More countries are seeing what liars represent the US. This latest “indictment” of Russians by Mueller’s sham show should add an ingredient to this MAD stew cooked up by the CIA and FBI.

  19. incontinent reader
    February 16, 2018 at 22:04

    Abe – IMHO, regardless of what Selva and other military leaders may have said- which can change from day to day (or simply lack credibility, just as their claims that NATO with its military exercises and missile shields on the border of Russia are not intended to threaten Russian security, are questionable), page 21 of the NPR full report states in part:

    “The United States would only consider the employment of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies, and partners. Extreme circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. Significant non-nuclear strategic attacks include, but are not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allied, or partner civilian population or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities.

    The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

    Given the potential of significant non-nuclear strategic attacks, the United States reserves the right to make any adjustment in the assurance that may be warranted by the evolution and proliferation of non-nuclear strategic attack technologies and U.S. capabilities to counter that threat.”

    That is, nuclear retaliation would be not limited only to “the very specific one of somebody trying to destroy the Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications system” which was the position of earlier Administrations during the Cold War. (See for, example, page 2 of “Reducing the Risk of Nuclear War – Taking Nuclear Weapons Off High Alert at:

    At the very least, the NPR position with respect to this very serious issue needs further clarification in a revised NPR or other formal document, and in close coordination with the other major nuclear superpower, and it is quite understandable that the Russians would identify the potential threat and be concerned about its risks, and seek consultations with the Trump Administration.

    One wonders, however, how serious is this Administration – or prior Administrations- since low grade nuclear weapons (with depleted or live uranium) have been used, possibly as early as the Yugoslav war, and It is now believed that the “Gulf War Syndrome” was caused by such weapons. Furthermore, in the Gulf War II battle for Fallujah (a city the size of Cincinnati)- an operation under Mattis’ direction- the U.S. military used depleted and live grade uranium ordinance (including the civilian population prevented from leaving) which has since resulted in widespread genetic deformities in the populations that survived and subsequently returned to Fallujah. (IMHO, I would also suggest that the Israelis may well have tested such weapons in its periodic wars against the Palestinians.)

    Finally, with respect to cyber-war, the Russians have on numerous occasions tried to develop a joint cyber-security plan with the U.S., including with the Obama Administration, but have been repeatedly rebuffed.

    • Sam F
      February 16, 2018 at 23:00

      Not sure why some refer to depleted uranium conventional munitions as nuclear weapons, despite their apparent longterm lethality in scattering hazardous waste. I understand that the dense uranium is simply more efficient than lead as a projectile. Are there scientific sources on nuclear reactions under impact conditions?

      • Theo
        February 17, 2018 at 07:35

        Sam F
        as far as I know depleted uranium projectiles are a cheap way of getting rid of nuclear waste from nuclear power plants.It’s a suitable substitute for tungsten which is far more expensive.Depleted uranium is conveniently available.I think it is used for armor penetrating ammo.

      • incontinent reader
        February 17, 2018 at 13:55

        Perhaps I should have said WMD, and left it at that, since the environmental consequences of the weapons I described are as widespread and may be even more long term than chemical or biological WMDs.

        • Sam F
          February 17, 2018 at 15:10

          Thanks. I hope to hear more about any necessity of using depleted uranium armor munitions, versus the long-term health risks. One would want to know how much is scattered, and to quantify the public health risks. Apparently much was used at a firing range on Vieques, an island near PR, which is said to have much contamination, and may be a basis for studies.

          Yes, a joint US/Russia/China cyber-security group could establish mutual trust in suppressing hacks, and allow each participant to suppress hacks from its territory, or false-flags that appear that way, as observed by the other members. There may be dissident hackers in each major power who create false-flags blamable on their own state, which may benefit by being seen suppressing such things.

          • Skip Scott
            February 18, 2018 at 08:28

            Hi Sam F-

            Depleted Uranium is still radioactive. “Depleted” is a relative term. It is still a health risk. Vieques is highly contaminated from US military exercises, and post war Iraq is highly contaminated as well. I believe there has already been some studies done that show increased birth defects in post war Iraq.

      • SteveK9
        February 18, 2018 at 07:20

        It’s pretty easy to find this out. There is no danger from radiation or ‘nuclear reactions’. It’s a heavy metal and is toxic if ingested … like lead.

  20. HopeLB
    February 16, 2018 at 21:17

    Love, love, love you Ray McGovern and William Binney!!! Hoping you prevail and triumph in saving our Republic.

  21. Zachary Smith
    February 16, 2018 at 20:26

    We think it likely that the proximate cause was the strategic danger Moscow sees in the nuclear-hedge-against-cyber-attack provision of the Nuclear Posture Statement (a draft of which had been leaked a few weeks before).

    I must respectfully disagree with this conclusion. My copy of that Posture Statement says nothing whatever about employing nuclear weapons against any “cyber” attack except for the very specific one of somebody trying to destroy the Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications system. A denial:

    The idea that the U.S. is building new low-yield nuclear weapons to respond to a cyber attack is “not true,” military leaders told reporters in the runup to the Friday release of the new Nuclear Posture Review.

    “The people who say we lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons are saying, ‘but we want these low-yield nuclear weapons so that we can answer a cyber attack because we’re so bad at cyber security.’ That’s just fundamentally not true,” Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday at a meeting with reporters.

    It’s an idea that military leaders have been pushing back against since the New York Times ran a Jan. 16 story headlined, “Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms.”

    For some reason the Neocon York Times saw fit to put the Cyber/Nuclear Response idea into play. From what I can tell of the piece, it’s a verifiable lie at almost every juncture. (Does the NYT lie? Do dogs bark at strangers? Do hogs wallow in the mud?)

    I agree that those three heads of Russian Intelligence coming to DC was significant, and so was Pompeo’s meeting Mr. Binney. Some strange and important things are going on, and I don’t have a clue what they are! Another recent oddity was the CIA sending a warning to Russia about an imminent terrorist attack in St. Petersburg. WTH? Pompeo is a reliable neocon hack, and by doing this he was – IMO – playing some kind of deep game. MY first guess would be his role was that of a cut-out for Israel to warn about what might happen if Russia didn’t back off in Syria. A stronger signal from the pissant state could have happened when the SU-25 got shot down. There have been suggestions the Israeli F-16i shoot-down was a kind of reply that two could play at intimidation. The notion of Pompeo working to parlay his position of CIA director into that of POTUS has also occurred to me.

    But back to the Russia connection. A headline at the Saker site:

    Escalation in Syria – how far can the Russians be pushed?

    You can alter that with “NATO Expansion”, “Economic Bullying/Sanctions”, “Ukraine Provocations”, and quite a few other irritants. Those Russian Chiefs could have been there to lay down some warnings of their own, for all I know.



    • tina
      February 16, 2018 at 21:42

      It is indeed a strange world, when the top leaders are Vlad Putin, Ben Netanyahu, Theresa May, and DJT. And let us not forget Erdogan and Dutarte. Anyone see a commonality? Perhaps I should not have included May. Merkel has all but disappeared. Does not look to good for democracy, but looking real good for big money. I refrain from using the word fascism because I feel these days it overused and misunderstood. However, there is something to be said about This elite group of leaders.

    • Sam F
      February 17, 2018 at 10:44

      I presume that Mssrs. Binney and McGovern have some independent concern about discussion of nuclear retaliation for cyber attacks. The only reference I have found in the NPR to nuclear deterrence of cyber attack is vague: “we must, and will, posture our nuclear capabilities to hedge against multiple potential risks and threat developments…including chemical, biological, cyber, and large-scale conventional aggression.” (p.38)

      It asserts that [the US] “will pursue…strengthening protection against cyber threats” (p.19), claiming that “Russia and China are pursuing… capabilities to deny the United States… nuclear command” (p.7) and “Iran also” (p.34)

      Nearly all network connections of critical systems are mere conveniences for personnel far from the systems. Given the careless linking of other critical systems to public networks, the US may well have done so with NC3: “While our NC3 system today remains assured and effective, we are taking steps to address challenges to network defense” (p.37) warning (p.7) of “U.S. forces dependent on computer networks.” So the US likely created the only real risk, which it could readily remove with some inconvenience.

    • Lisa
      February 17, 2018 at 14:48

      The visit of the Russian Intelligence heads to US is described even better in this article, which was also reprinted in Zero Hedge:

      Quoting Russian Ambassador to the US: “There are political proclamations, and there is real work.”

      He thus sweeps aside all the foam floating on the surface of the media discussions.

      By the way, the idea of striking back with military means after an alleged cyber attack was presented by a certain Hillary in Aug. 2016, during the campaign. She did not specify the nuclear weapons, though.

      Excerpts from Putin’s speeches on the topic of US elections (free quotes from my memory):
      “I have seen several elections and met with three presidents, both Democrats and Republicans. The candidates pull out the Russia card at every single election. Whoever wins the election, the US policy remains the same. That is the power of the American bureaucracy. In the current election campaign Mr Trump has expressed some views of improving relations with Russia, Mrs Clinton has expressed herself more hawkishly. It is quite possible that things are quite different after the election. Trump may need to back from his good intentions, Clinton might soften her standpoint. We shall work together with whoever the American people choose as their next president.”

      Being a pragmatist as he is, I just don’t see why Putin would have thrown any support behind Trump, who was a blank page as a top politician.
      The investigation farce is just hurting the US reputation among thinking individuals abroad. However, the majority of the population in most countries gets their information from the MSM, as the press does not dare to present conflicting views, they rely on CNN, NYT, WaPo etc.

      As for the US, I am confident that every citizen is dead tired of this circus, meant to suppress the attention to real issues, needing to be solved.

      A comparison to media coverage of the Presidents’ private life in the 60’s and now – just think what dirt could have been published about JFK, LBJ and others in this respect. However, it was not common practice then, their privacy was protected. That kind of decency is now gone with the wind. Money rules.

      • Sam F
        February 17, 2018 at 19:54

        Perhaps there have been effective cyber attacks on the US NC3, disabling it and causing hysteria, but if so DoD will have learned the lesson of connecting such things to public networks. More likely, as you note, it is just circus: distraction and fearmongering to burden our future with debt for MIC profit and politician bribes.

  22. evelync
    February 16, 2018 at 19:10

    Thanks so much for this piece that convincingly cuts through the brush of confusion. I appreciate the opportunity to hear a convincing narrative based on well-informed analysis and facts instead of political jargon with an agenda.

    • JWalters
      February 16, 2018 at 19:17

      I completely agree. This is a soberingly clear description of this situation from two expert analysts. I will be highly recommending it to others. Regarding cyber attacks and false flags, we cannot overlook the Israelis. They have the capability, and the motive to disrupt US-Russia relations, as Robert Parry explained in
      “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis”
      “The Neocons — Masters of Chaos”

      And there is the longer-range plan of the Israelis to consider.
      “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”

    • Virginia
      February 17, 2018 at 12:48

      Evelync, Oft times the commentators here — though sounding as though issuing partisan dialogue perhaps — are basing their comments on having read many a “…well-informed analysis and facts” article by well qualified writers. Here, and on other sites, independent journalists are doing all in their power to present the truth. The commentators are generally doing the same, having connected the many dots exposed. They also often give thorough history lessons. This site offers an extraordinary education to anyone interested.

  23. Anna
    February 16, 2018 at 18:46

    “Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it.”
    That was about some Dm. Alperovitch for CrowdStrike fame, who had discovered the “hacking” in 10 sec. Guess Alperovitch, as an “expert” at the viciously Russophobic Atlantic Council (funded by the State Dept., NATO, and a set of unsavory characters like Ukrainian oligrach Pinchuk) decided to show his “understanding” of the task. The shy FBI did not even attempt to look at the Clinton’s server because the bosses “knew better.”
    Alperovitch must be investigated for anti-American activities; the scoundrel has been sowing discord into the US society with his lies while endangering the US citizenry.

    • Lucius Patrick
      February 17, 2018 at 00:22

      He will most likely be rewarded for his disservice… I am starting to conclude that the mainstream media does not care about the truth.

      • Robin
        February 17, 2018 at 21:23

        Mainstream media is owned and controlled by by Zionists. The news you hear us mostly propaganda and now even some of the independent media seem to be shying away from the truth… have to find a good news source outside of mainstream

  24. Mild-ly -Facetious
    February 16, 2018 at 17:42

    F Y I :> Putin prefers Aramco to Trump’s sword dance

    Hardly 10 months after honoring the visiting US president, the Saudis are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the upcoming Aramco IPO

    FEBRUARY 16, 2018


    In the slideshow that is Middle Eastern politics, the series of still images seldom add up to make an enduring narrative. And the probability is high that when an indelible image appears, it might go unnoticed – such as Russia and Saudi Arabia wrapping up huge energy deals on Wednesday underscoring a new narrative in regional and international security.

    The ebb and flow of events in Syria – Turkey’s campaign in Afrin and its threat to administer an “Ottoman slap” to the United States, and the shooting down of an Israeli F-16 jet – hogged the attention. But something of far greater importance was unfolding in Riyadh, as Saudi and Russian officials met to seal major deals marking a historic challenge to the US dominance in the Persian Gulf region.

    The big news is the Russian offer to the Saudi authorities to invest directly in the upcoming Aramco initial public offering – and the Saudis acknowledging the offer. Even bigger news, surely, is that Moscow is putting together a Russian-Chinese consortium of joint investment funds plus several major Russian banks to be part of the Aramco IPO.

    Chinese state oil companies were interested in becoming cornerstone investors in the IPO, but the participation of a Russia-China joint investment fund takes matters to an entirely different realm. Clearly, the Chinese side is willing to hand over tens of billions of dollars.

    Yet the Aramco IPO was a prime motive for US President Donald Trump to choose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip. The Saudi hosts extended the ultimate honor to Trump – a ceremonial sword dance outside the Murabba Palace in Riyadh. Hardly 10 months later, they are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the Aramco IPO.

    Riyadh plans to sell 5% of Saudi Aramco in what is billed as the largest IPO in world history. In the Saudi estimation, Aramco is worth US$2 trillion; a 5% stake sale could fetch as much as $100 billion. The IPO is a crucial segment of Vision 2030, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s ambitious plan to diversify the kingdom’s economy.

    MORE :

    • Dave P.
      February 17, 2018 at 01:46

      Reading this article by M.K. Bhadrakumar, I think that it is a very good move for the peace and stability of Middle East. President Putin has said at some of his press conferences that Russia wants all nations to be friends, not adversaries. It is apparent that Russia wants to develop peacefully. More than a century of upheavals and two World Wars, Russia is far behind “The West” in its economic development and in building supporting institutions for a Capitalistic Economy.

      Having its own abundant resources and land mass, Russia does not have many ulterior motives in ME like “The West” has. From what I have read and watched speeches by Putin, Russia wants all the countries in ME, including Iran to coexist peacefully, and try to develop their economic ans social systems.

      I hope that Saudi Arabia pursue an independent foreign policy and stop funding the terrorist groups like it has been doing in Syria and other countries. In the long run, it is the only policy which will help the Saudis. I wish that MBS, the future King has wisdom to see what is good for his country, and for the World too. There are some signs that he is aware of it. But who knows?

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 17, 2018 at 02:53

        Dave your comment sounds logical, practical, and wise, let’s both hope you are right. Joe

      • February 18, 2018 at 00:32

        At Devos a group that included officials from Saudi Arabia and the CEO of Blackstone discussed plans for foreign investment in Saudi Arabia. The video is available on YouTube. Although the security of the sea lanes for shipments of oil from Saudi Arabia will keep the naval power of the U. S. as a motivation for positive relations, the populist movement to diminish corruption and establish a universal value system as a new “Business Model” is the wave of the future in international relations. The Russian Federation has experienced the harm of corruption to such an extreme degree, and the Russian people are recovering well with the leadership of President Putin. The degree to which institutions in the U. S. (especially Preet Bharara’s office at the Southern District of New York) were inefficient in the enforcement of laws to punish international money laundering, arms dealings and funding of terrorists is a major reason why President Trump is being attacked to curtail his plans for Populist changes that are cooperative with a Wall Street that does not exploit the People. Historians will need to redefine the old concepts and definitions for Populist, Progressive, Wall Street and Main Street; and international law experts will need to determine how the present laws need to be amended for a new era where the people of all countries develop and improve their lives without being the victims of manipulation by the elites of different countries using fear and economic wars resulting in the “plunder’ of conflicts motivating the greedy throughout the world. We are hopefully entering a new era with international statesmen and not self-serving politicians, CEO’s and oligarchs! Who would have thought that a Saudi Prince, a Russian leader and a Populist U. S. President (a Brash Billionaire, as well), an Egyptian President, and a Jordanian King would be just a few of the nationalist leaders to promote a new model for international cooperation in all matters?

    • Paranam Kid
      February 17, 2018 at 08:35

      You sound like Abe, and like him, you quote lengthy excerpts here from other publications. Strange.

  25. mike k
    February 16, 2018 at 17:36

    Those Russians had a strange mission coming to CIA headquarters to try to negotiate with soulless mass murderers in the name of maintaining a precarious semblance of peace, knowing full well that these men’s words and assurances were worth less than nothing. Ah well, I guess in a mad situation one is reduced to making desperate gestures, hoping against hope………….

    • Sam F
      February 16, 2018 at 23:13

      The opportunity here is to coordinate upgrades to cyber security so that such hacking is impractical.

      The idea that hacking could take down a well-designed special-purpose command and control system is wrong. Those who connect such a system to ordinary internet should have been overruled for deliberately taking serious risks where completely unnecessary. I have been urging companies for decades to simply not connect critical systems to internet, as all essential communications can be done with dedicated channels and non-standard secure protocols. There is no excuse for taking such absurd risks. But the marketing departments want fashionable features to sell the product, claiming that convenience of system administration and field service somehow outweigh security of critical systems.

      Perhaps a U.S.-Russian cyber security unit will make that brilliant deduction and start eliminating any fashionable vulnerabilities, which are probably largely on the US side.

      • Theo
        February 17, 2018 at 06:54

        Sam F
        good comment. Honestly I never understood why they took the risks to connect sensitive systems to the ordinary internet to communicate.Power plants,puplic water supply and many others.

        • Wolfgang Schira
          February 27, 2018 at 07:29

          Don’t forget the internet was first an installation of DoD (DARPANET) and has evaluated over the time to common use. But the military and governemental use was never stopped.

  26. Tom Welsh
    February 16, 2018 at 16:38

    Sounds as if the US government has decided to revive the ancient “madman” strategy. Only weird robotic people like John von Neumann and Herman Kahn could think it a smart idea to ornament a policy of thermonuclear MAD by pretending to be insane.

    And when it comes to threatening nuclear attack in return for “meddling in elections”…

    • mike k
      February 16, 2018 at 17:28

      Those who are playing with the fate of humanity have egos inflated by hubris. They are blind to the consequences of their “games.” The fact that we have not rid the world of nuclear weapons after all these years qualifies our “leaders” as certifiably insane. Sleep well my darlings, your lives are in their hands……….

      • Steve
        February 17, 2018 at 14:19

        Something that’s not often said, is that the NPT has two basic pillars… one is non-proliferation the other is disarmament. The grand bargain implied by the NPT is that the non-nuclear weapons possessing countries agree not to acquire nuclear weapons and the nuclear weapons possessing countries agree to work towards disarmament. (Also part of the bargain is the right of non-possessing nations to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and the obligation of those countries in possession of nuclear technology to share.)

        If you didn’t have both parts… there would be no NPT today. What would be the incentive for the nnwp countries to formalize in a treaty the status quo ante, in effect granting a monopoly to those countries already in possession of nuclear weapons?

        Yet the first part of the bargain has been implemented. Non proliferation has been seriously pursued. While it’s no exaggeration to say, the second part has been completely ignored.

        Rather than abandoning it, however, we should do our best to uphold its promise. It seems memory of the trauma of some of the near misses during the Cold War has faded among some of our policymakers.

        The fact that nothing has been done to bring about disarmament is in itself a violation of the NPT, but the nuclear build-up/”modernization” the U.S. has undertaken along with some of the threats and policy changes lowering the threshold for use couldn’t be better designed to undermine the principles and purposes of the NPT.

        Here’s Article VI of the NPT:

        “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

        In 1996, the international Court of Justice unanimously held that Article VI obligates states to “bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.”

        • Sam F
          February 17, 2018 at 14:48

          Thank you. Another factor is that not all nations have signed the NPT, including Israel which may have nuclear weapons. So this is an further obstacle to complete disarmament.

          Whereas an excess is nuclear arms is clearly undesirable, complete disarmament may be impossible to verify, and the major powers would likely hide enough to become predominant if the others disarmed completely. They would likely have plans to re-arm to former levels ASAP in case of challenges. So the realistic goal may be to disarm to the level of credible second strike, so that excess arms are not a cause of accidents and instability.

          Another option might be to have the UN hold the nuclear arms.

          • Steve
            February 18, 2018 at 10:53

            There are only 3 nations that have never signed it. India, Pakistan and Israel. And one, North Korea, has withdrawn from it. There are more signatories to the NPT than there are members of the UN!

            In the case of North Korea — we know what happened there. U.S. threats and the example of what happened to Libya and Iraq without a nuclear deterrent is what has motivated them to develop their own. They’ve never threatened to attack anyone else, including the U.S., unless attacked first. It’s clear that their program is defensive in nature. If they could be given security guarantees, have sanctions lifted, be integrated into the regional and world economy, they could be brought back into the fold. Which is what the Moon-Putin plan essentially does. Of course, you’re not likely to have heard about that here, since the militarists/global hegemonists only know one way — violence and the threat of violence.

            In the case of India, their main objection seems to be lack of enforcement of disarmament grants a monopoly to the nuclear weapons states.. But they’ve already opted in part way through their ratification of the Additional Protocol in 2014 putting them on a similar footing to the NWS.

            In the case of Pakistan, if India signs, they’ve said they’d sign as well.

            Which leaves Israel. If they didn’t want to be seen as the sole remaining obstacle to a nuclear free world maybe they’d see the light? Idk.

            But the inspections/safeguards program has been very successful. The main obstacle is getting the few remaining holdouts on board. Once that happens, I think it could be done.

          • Steve
            February 18, 2018 at 11:23

            I meant to say in the case of India they’ve already opted in part way and their ratification of the Additional Protocol in 2014 this put them on a similar footing to the NWS.

      • February 18, 2018 at 15:27

        Research psychopathy and you will recognize what we are dealing with —– especially these traits: show no fear, needs risk-taking stimuli, no conscience, no empathy, deceitful, manipulative, don’t care attitude, winning is everything, ……

    • nonsense factory
      February 16, 2018 at 19:18

      Besides Kahn and von Neumann, two other names of interest are Lewis Strauss and Edward Teller – it’s as if their ghosts are now directing the U.S. nuclear policy position. Strauss in particular played central roles in the McCarthyist era (going after Oppenheimer, who had been opposing the development of the hydrogen bomb, for example). And the real Dr. Strangelove was Edward Teller:

      “as the famed historian Richard Rhodes said about Teller in an interview, “Teller consistently gave bad advice to every president that he worked for.”

      In a sane world, we’d all be reducing our nuclear arsenals; rather than having 1,800 nuclear weapons on alert and a total stockpile of 7,000 warheads or 6,800 warheads (these are the numbers for both the USA and Russia, respectively, according to ICANN), we could reduce those arsenals to 500 weapons on alert and 1,000 warheads (China, in contrast, is believed to have 270 weapons on alert). We could entirely do away with the ICBM land-based nuclear weapons program as part of that reduction, saving hundreds of billions of dollars:

    • geeyp
      February 17, 2018 at 02:38

      So I am clear; sweaty, fat, vat of goo Pompeo did meet with you twice? Looks to me like President Trump is now up to speed. I, for one, would like to see him tell Pompeo more often to do things like this. It would serve the country well.

    • Virginia
      February 17, 2018 at 14:47

      Good article, McGovern and Binney. If the Pompeo / Russians meeting can do away with cyber hacks being considered an act of war, that would help. Of course, current dialog of corporate media does the reverse, calling the alleged Russia hack an “attack.” Rhetoric is everything, especially when masses of people buy into the mass media.

      I just posted the following under another CN article, but it fits in here as well:

      I’m just imagining how it must feel, if you’re Putin, to be able to rein in your emotions, to not react no matter how much baited, and to stay above the fray while warmongers, like dogs, are barking at your feet. That degree of self-composure, resting on a strong necessity to try to prevent WWIII and nuclear annihilation, …well, I’m afraid not many of us will ever know or feel that exactly, but we can imagine! To do this with grace and dignity, insult after insult! There are lessons to be learned here.

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