How the Department of Homeland Security Created a Deceptive Tale of Russia Hacking US Voter Sites

The narrative about Russian cyberattacks on American election infrastructure is a self-interested abuse of power by DHS based on distortion of evidence, writes Gareth Porter.

By Gareth Porter
Special to Consortium News

The narrative of Russian intelligence attacking state and local election boards and threatening the integrity of U.S. elections has achieved near-universal acceptance by media and political elites.  And now it has been accepted by the Trump administration’s intelligence chief, Dan Coats, as well. 

But the real story behind that narrative, recounted here for the first time, reveals that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created and nurtured an account that was grossly and deliberately deceptive. 

DHS compiled an intelligence report suggesting hackers linked to the Russian government could have targeted voter-related websites in many states and then leaked a sensational story of Russian attacks on those sites without the qualifications that would have revealed a different story. When state election officials began asking questions, they discovered that the DHS claims were false and, in at least one case, laughable.

The National Security Agency and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigating team have also claimed evidence that Russian military intelligence was behind election infrastructure hacking, but on closer examination, those claims turn out to be speculative and misleading as well. Mueller’s indictment of 12 GRU military intelligence officers does not cite any violations of U.S. election laws though it claims Russia interfered with the 2016 election.

A Sensational Story 

On Sept. 29, 2016, a few weeks after the hacking of election-related websites in Illinois and Arizona, ABC News carried a sensational headline: “Russian Hackers Targeted Nearly Half of States’ Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrated 4.” The story itself reported that “more than 20 state election systems” had been hacked, and four states had been “breached” by hackers suspected of working for the Russian government. The story cited only sources “knowledgeable” about the matter, indicating that those who were pushing the story were eager to hide the institutional origins of the information.

(Erik Hersman/CC BY 2.0)

Behind that sensational story was a federal agency seeking to establish its leadership within the national security state apparatus on cybersecurity, despite its limited resources for such responsibility. In late summer and fall 2016, the Department of Homeland Security was maneuvering politically to designate state and local voter registration databases and voting systems as “critical infrastructure.” Such a designation would make voter-related networks and websites under the protection a “priority sub-sector” in the DHS “National Infrastructure Protection Plan, which already included 16 such sub-sectors. 

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and other senior DHS officials consulted with many state election officials in the hope of getting their approval for such a designation. Meanwhile, the DHS was finishing an intelligence report that would both highlight the Russian threat to U.S. election infrastructure and the role DHS could play in protecting it, thus creating political impetus to the designation. But several secretaries of state—the officials in charge of the election infrastructure in their state—strongly opposed the designation that Johnson wanted.   

On Jan. 6, 2017—the same day three intelligence agencies released a joint “assessment” on Russian interference in the election—Johnson announced the designation anyway.

Media stories continued to reflect the official assumption that cyber attacks on state election websites were Russian-sponsored. Stunningly, The Wall Street Journal reported in December 2016 that DHS was itself behind hacking attempts of Georgia’s election database.

The facts surrounding the two actual breaches of state websites in Illinois and Arizona, as well as the broader context of cyberattacks on state websites, didn’t support that premise at all.

In July, Illinois discovered an intrusion into its voter registration website and the theft of personal information on as many as 200,000 registered voters. (The 2018 Mueller indictments of GRU officers would unaccountably put the figure at 500,000.) Significantly, however, the hackers only had copied the information and had left it unchanged in the database. 

That was a crucial clue to the motive behind the hack. DHS Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Communications Andy Ozment told a Congressional committee in late September 2016 that the fact hackers hadn’t tampered with the voter data indicated that the aim of the theft was not to influence the electoral process. Instead, it was “possibly for the purpose of selling personal information.” Ozment was contradicting the line that already was being taken on the Illinois and Arizona hacks by the National Protection and Programs Directorate and other senior DHS officials. 

In an interview with me last year, Ken Menzel, the legal adviser to the Illinois secretary of state, confirmed what Ozment had testified. “Hackers have been trying constantly to get into it since 2006,” Menzel said, adding that they had been probing every other official Illinois database with such personal data for vulnerabilities as well.  “Every governmental database—driver’s licenses, health care, you name it—has people trying to get into it,” said Menzel.

In the other successful cyberattack on an electoral website, hackers had acquired the username and password for the voter database Arizona used during the summer, as Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan learned from the FBI. But the reason that it had become known, according to Reagan in an interview with Mother Jones, was that the login and password had shown up for sale on the dark web—the network of websites used by cyber criminals to sell stolen data and other illicit wares.  

Furthermore, the FBI had told her that the effort to penetrate the database was the work of a “known hacker” whom the FBI had monitored “frequently” in the past. Thus, there were reasons to believe that both Illinois and Arizona hacking incidents were linked to criminal hackers seeking information they could sell for profit.

Meanwhile, the FBI was unable to come up with any theory about what Russia might have intended to do with voter registration data such as what was taken in the Illinois hack.  When FBI Counterintelligence official Bill Priestap was asked in a June 2017 hearing how Moscow might use such data, his answer revealed that he had no clue: “They took the data to understand what it consisted of,” said the struggling Priestap, “so they can affect better understanding and plan accordingly in regards to possibly impacting future elections by knowing what is there and studying it.”  

The inability to think of any plausible way for the Russian government to use such data explains why DHS and the intelligence community adopted the argument, as senior DHS officials Samuel Liles and Jeanette Manfra put it, that the hacks “could be intended or used to undermine public confidence in electoral processes and potentially the outcome.” But such a strategy could not have had any effect without a decision by DHS and the U.S. intelligence community to assert publicly that the intrusions and other scanning and probing were Russian operations, despite the absence of hard evidence. So DHS and other agencies were consciously sowing public doubts about U.S. elections that they were attributing to Russia.

DHS Reveals Its Self-Serving Methodology

In June 2017, Liles and Manfra testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that an October 2016 DHS intelligence report had listed election systems in 21 states that were “potentially targeted by Russian government cyber actors.”  They revealed that the sensational story leaked to the press in late September 2016 had been based on a draft of the DHS report. And more importantly, their use of the phrase “potentially targeted” showed that they were arguing only that the cyber incidents it listed were possible indications of a Russian attack on election infrastructure.  

Furthermore, Liles and Manfra said the DHS report had “catalogued suspicious activity we observed on state government networks across the country,” which had been “largely based on suspected malicious tactics and infrastructure.” They were referring to a list of eight IP addresses an August 2016 FBI “flash alert” had obtained from the Illinois and Arizona intrusions, which DHS and FBI had not been able to  attribute to the Russian government.

Manfra: No doubt it was the Russians. (C-SPAN)

The DHS officials recalled that the DHS began to “receive reports of cyber-enabled scanning and probing of election-related infrastructure in some states, some of which appeared to originate from servers operated by a Russian company.” Six of the eight IP addresses in the FBI alert were indeed traced to King Servers, owned by a young Russian living in Siberia. But as DHS cyber specialists knew well, the country of ownership of the server doesn’t prove anything about who was responsible for hacking: As cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Carr pointed out, the Russian hackers who coordinated the Russian attack on Georgian government websites in 2008 used a Texas-based company as the hosting provider.  

The cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect noted in 2016 that one of the other two IP addresses had hosted a Russian criminal market for five months in 2015. But that was not a serious indicator, either. Private IP addresses are reassigned frequently by server companies, so there is not a necessary connection between users of the same IP address at different times.

The DHS methodology of selecting reports of cyber incidents involving election-related websites as “potentially targeted” by Russian government-sponsored hackers was based on no objective evidence whatever. The resulting list appears to have included any one of the eight addresses as well as any attack or “scan” on a public website that could be linked in any way to elections. 

This methodology conveniently ignored the fact that criminal hackers were constantly trying to get access to every database in those same state, country and municipal systems. Not only for Illinois and Arizona officials, but state electoral officials.

In fact, 14 of the 21 states on the list experienced nothing more than the routine scanning that occurs every day, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Only six involved what was referred to as a “malicious access attempt,” meaning an effort to penetrate the site. One of them was in Ohio, where the attempt to find a weakness lasted less than a second and was considered by DHS’s internet security contractor a “non-event” at the time.

State Officials Force DHS to Tell the Truth

For a year, DHS did not inform the 21 states on its list that their election boards or other election-related sites had been attacked in a presumed Russian-sponsored operation. The excuse DHS officials cited was that it could not reveal such sensitive intelligence to state officials without security clearances. But the reluctance to reveal the details about each case was certainly related to the reasonable expectation that states would publicly challenge their claims, creating a potential serious embarrassment.  

On Sept. 22, 2017, DHS notified 21 states about the cyber incidents that had been included in the October 2016 report. The public announcement of the notifications said DHS had notified each chief election officer of “any potential targeting we were aware of in their state leading up to the 2016 election.” The phrase “potential targeting” again telegraphed the broad and vague criterion DHS had adopted, but it was ignored in media stories.

But the notifications, which took the form of phone calls lasting only a few minutes, provided a minimum of information and failed to convey the significant qualification that DHS was only suggesting targeting as a possibility. “It was a couple of guys from DHS reading from a script,” recalled one state election official who asked not to be identified. “They said [our state] was targeted by Russian government cyber actors.”

A number of state election officials recognized that this information conflicted with what they knew. And if they complained, they got a more accurate picture from DHS. After Wisconsin Secretary of State Michael Haas demanded further clarification, he got an email response from a DHS official  with a different account. “[B]ased on our external analysis,” the official wrote, “the WI [Wisconsin] IP address affected belongs to the WI Department of Workforce Development, not the Elections Commission.”

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said DHS initially had notified his office “that Russian cyber actors ‘scanned’ California’s Internet-facing systems in 2016, including Secretary of State websites.” But under further questioning, DHS admitted to Padilla that what the hackers had targeted was the California Department of Technology’s network.

Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos and Oklahoma Election Board spokesman Byron Dean also denied that any state website with voter- or election-related information had been targeted, and Pablos demanded that DHS “correct its erroneous notification.”  

Despite these embarrassing admissions, a statement issued by DHS spokesman Scott McConnell on Sept. 28, 2017 said the DHS “stood by” its assessment that 21 states “were the target of Russian government cyber actors seeking vulnerabilities and access to U.S. election infrastructure.” The statement retreated from the previous admission that the notifications involved “potential targeting,” but it also revealed for the first time that DHS had defined “targeting” very broadly indeed. 

It said the category included “some cases” involving “direct scanning of targeted systems” but also cases in which “malicious actors scanned for vulnerabilities in networks that may be connected to those systems or have similar characteristics in order to gain information about how to later penetrate their target.” 

It is true that hackers may scan one website in the hope of learning something that could be useful for penetrating another website, as cybersecurity expert Prof. Herbert S. Lin of Stanford University explained to me in an interview. But including any incident in which that motive was theoretical meant that any state website could be included on the DHS list, without any evidence it was related to a political motive.

Arizona’s further exchanges with DHS revealed just how far DHS had gone in exploiting that escape clause in order to add more states to its “targeted” list. Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan tweeted that DHS had informed her that “the Russian government targeted our voter registration systems in 2016.” After meeting with DHS officials in early October 2017, however, Reagan wrote in a blog post that DHS “could not confirm that any attempted Russian government hack occurred whatsoever to any election-related system in Arizona, much less the statewide voter registration database.” 

What the DHS said in that meeting, as Reagan’s spokesman Matt Roberts recounted to me, is even more shocking. “When we pressed DHS on what exactly was actually targeted, they said it was the Phoenix public library’s computers system,” Roberts recalled.

National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. (Wikimedia)

In April 2018, a CBS News “60 Minutes” segment reported that the October 2016 DHS intelligence report had included the Russian government hacking of a “county database in Arizona.” Responding to that CBS report, an unidentified “senior Trump administration official” who was well-briefed on the DHS report told Reuters that “media reports” on the issue had sometimes “conflated criminal hacking with Russian government activity,” and that the cyberattack on the target in Arizona “was not perpetrated by the Russian government.”  

NSA Finds a GRU Election Plot

NSA intelligence analysts claimed in a May 2017 analysis to have documented an effort by Russian military intelligence (GRU) to hack into U.S. electoral institutions. In an intelligence analysis obtained by The Intercept and reported in June 2017, NSA analysts wrote that the GRU had sent a spear-phishing email—one with an attachment designed to look exactly like one from a trusted institution but that contains malware design to get control of the computer—to a vendor of voting machine technology in Florida. The hackers then designed a fake web page that looked like that of the vendor. They sent it to a list of 122 email addresses NSA believed to be local government organizations that probably were “involved in the management of voter registration systems.” The objective of the new spear-phishing campaign, the NSA suggested, was to get control of their computers through malware to carry out the exfiltration of voter-related data.

But the authors of The Intercept story failed to notice crucial details in the NSA report that should have tipped them off that the attribution of the spear-phishing campaign to the GRU was based merely on the analysts’ own judgment—and that their judgment was faulty. 

The Intercept article included a color-coded chart from the original NSA report that provides crucial information missing from the text of the NSA analysis itself as well as The Intercept’s account. The chart clearly distinguishes between the elements of the NSA’s account of the alleged Russian scheme that were based on “Confirmed Information” (shown in green) and those that were based on “Analyst Judgment” (shown in yellow). The connection between the “operator” of the spear-phishing campaign the report describes and an unidentified entity confirmed to be under the authority of the GRU is shown as a yellow line, meaning that it is based on “Analyst Judgment” and labeled “probably.” 

A major criterion for any attribution of a hacking incident is whether there are strong similarities to previous hacks identified with a specific actor. But the chart concedes that “several characteristics” of the campaign depicted in the report distinguish it from “another major GRU spear-phishing program,” the identity of which has been redacted from the report. 

The NSA chart refers to evidence that the same operator also had launched spear-phishing campaigns on other web-based mail applications, including the Russian company “Mail.ru.”  Those targets suggest that the actors were more likely Russian criminal hackers rather than Russian military intelligence.

Even more damaging to its case, the NSA reports that the same operator who had sent the spear-phishing emails also had sent a test email to the “American Samoa Election Office.” Criminal hackers could have been interested in personal information from the database associated with that office. But the idea that Russian military intelligence was planning to hack the voter rolls in American Samoa, an unincorporated U.S. territory with 56,000 inhabitants who can’t even vote in U.S. presidential elections, is plainly risible.

The Mueller Indictment’s Sleight of Hand

The Mueller indictment of GRU officers released on July 13 appeared at first reading to offer new evidence of Russian government responsibility for the hacking of Illinois and other state voter-related websites. A close analysis of the relevant paragraphs, however, confirms the lack of any real intelligence supporting that claim. 

Mueller accused two GRU officers of working with unidentified “co-conspirators” on those hacks. But the only alleged evidence linking the GRU to the operators in the hacking incidents is the claim that a GRU official named Anatoly Kovalev and “co-conspirators” deleted search history related to the preparation for the hack after the FBI issued its alert on the hacking identifying the IP address associated with it in August 2016. 

A careful reading of the relevant paragraphs shows that the claim is spurious. The first sentence in Paragraph 71 says that both Kovalev and his “co-conspirators” researched domains used by U.S. state boards of elections and other entities “for website vulnerabilities.”  The second says Kovalev and “co-conspirators” had searched for “state political party email addresses, including filtered queries for email addresses listed on state Republican Party websites.” 

Mueller: Don’t read the fine print. (The White House/Wikimedia)

Searching for website vulnerabilities would be evidence of intent to hack them, of course, but searching Republican Party websites for email addresses is hardly evidence of any hacking plan. And Paragraph 74 states that Kovalev “deleted his search history”—not the search histories of any “co-conspirator”—thus revealing that there were no joint searches and suggesting that the subject Kovalev had searched was Republican Party emails. So any deletion by Kovalev of his search history after the FBI alert would not be evidence of his involvement in the hacking of the Illinois election board website. 

With this rhetorical misdirection unraveled, it becomes clear that the repetition in every paragraph of the section of the phrase “Kovalev and his co-conspirators” was aimed at giving the reader the impression the accusation is based on hard intelligence about possible collusion that doesn’t exist.

The Need for Critical Scrutiny of DHS Cyberattack Claims

The DHS campaign to establish its role as the protector of U.S. electoral institutions is not the only case in which that agency has used a devious means to sow fear of Russian cyberattacks. In December 2016, DHS and the FBI published a long list of IP addresses as indicators of possible Russian cyberattacks. But most of the addresses on the list had no connection with Russian intelligence, as former U.S. government cyber-warfare officer Rob Lee found on close examination.

When someone at the Burlington, Vt., Electric Company spotted one of those IP addresses on one of its computers, the company reported it to DHS. But instead of quietly investigating the address to verify that it was indeed an indicator of Russian intrusion, DHS immediately informed The Washington Post. The result was a sensational story that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. power grid. In fact, the IP address in question was merely Yahoo’s email server, as Rob Lee told me, and the computer had not even been connected to the power grid. The threat to the power grid was a tall tale created by a DHS official, which the Post had to embarrassingly retract.  

Since May 2017, DHS, in partnership with the FBI, has begun an even more ambitious campaign to focus public attention on what it says are Russian “targeting” and “intrusions” into “major, high value assets that operate components of our Nation’s critical infrastructure”, including energy, nuclear, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors.  Any evidence of such an intrusion must be taken seriously by the U.S. government and reported by news media. But in light of the DHS record on alleged threats to election infrastructure and the Burlington power grid, and its well-known ambition to assume leadership over cyber protection, the public interest demands that the news media examine DHS claims about Russian cyber threats far more critically than they have up to now.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. His latest book is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.

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79 comments for “How the Department of Homeland Security Created a Deceptive Tale of Russia Hacking US Voter Sites

  1. Mili Wright
    September 11, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Jeez you guys – I’m ashamed to say I fell for all that crap!! I’ve not been checking your site out for a bit and as of today that will no longer be the case!!! My apologies!!! I value the depth and breadth of your work – probably more like passion!

    I am again your dedicated reader!

  2. Uncle Bob
    September 4, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Apparently Aaron Matte @TRNN concurs. He interviewed Jim Risen, opening with the Reality Winner incident and The Intercept’s interpretation of the evidence at with point, Risen ended the interview by hanging up the phone

  3. robert
    September 3, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Gareth Porter’s detailed account here of how DHS and Mueller etc have tried to con, manipulate and manufacture public opinion not just against the Trump Administration but far more importantly, the public generally, is a huge story! How deep corruption is becoming in the US power elites! The lesson for me is not to simply distrust the mainstream media wholesale, but rather it is more than ever essential to be an unbiased, critical reader. I read the Mueller indictment of the 2 Russian hackers: it was plainly a weak and grasping indictment that would go nowhere but Mueller knows this; its main value to Mueller’s circle was simply its propaganda effect: the goal for Mueller was to create an impression in the public that the Russians are aggressively hacking away at american security. Sad!

    • September 7, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks to Robert, Jill and Arby for their supportive comments and especially for Jill’s strong statement of the need for a renewed commitment to rigorous fact-based discourse by opponents of the elite coalition’s line, even though that coalition is not going to go there. I am heartened by every indication of Consortium Readers being hungry for more rigorous reporting and analysis instead of just political red meat.

      • Jill
        September 9, 2018 at 2:53 pm

        Right on Gareth. Keep up the great work.

  4. Jill
    September 3, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Thank you, Gareth. In a post- Iraq -invasion -based -on bupkis -world, evidence should be more important to ordinary people than ever before, and stringently demanded and then examined for holes. Sadly, many of us have witnessed friends who should know better completely taken by the “Russiagate” narrative with zero hard proof, “because Trump.” It’s like the darn twilight zone. In contrast, yours was a real, hard hitting piece of writing, the likes of which has been sorely missing in the so-called mainstream. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you Consortium News.

    • James
      September 3, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Echo all of that

  5. will
    August 31, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Poor Reality Winner…doing hard tine for nuthin’ and all because the Intercept failed to take even the tiniest precaution to protect her as a source. Funny that they seem to have a problem protecting their sources…

  6. August 30, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks Gareth Porter.

    We see, in all of this Russia-gate crap, the old “Look! Over there!” ploy. We are to look at the claims for Russian hacking of the 2016 election hacking and not at the fact of our (American and all Western country) electoral systems having been captured by powerful, capitalist special interests.

  7. proworks2013
    August 30, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Along with many other aspects this media-fest development, the sad part of this has been the utter incompetence of our well-stroked, hand-fed, paper-trained professional classes who pride themselves on catching fakery (better term “flummery”), and who have not seen how THEY were the target of all this pile of deception. In many cases, the capability of being deceived was a wish-fulfillment that obscures the reality. But there are those who channel this story to feather their future nest within the Democratic Party, a sort of guarantee of a job offer should the DP come back to power.

    They’ve hitched their wagons to horses running for the cliffs.

  8. Erelis
    August 30, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Now this is reporting. First, I did notice at the time that an number of state election officials pushed back. I know one of the reasons they pushed back outside of the bullshit Homeland was pushing was that the state election officials and system were implicitly made to look like utter rubes. Oh some of them may be dishonest as hell, but rubes they ain’t. I remember an piece in The Intercept some time before the Homeland announcment that wrote about, really speculation taken as fact, on the possiblity of election machine hacks. And yes, the writer rendered state officials as rubes pitted against academic and government experts.

    And now we have this bizzare PR stunt where pre-teens where able to hack into “replicas” of state election computers during a recent Def Con conference. WTF??? This hacking story spread like proverbial wild fire inthe media. (One poster on another forum said that the hacking of results was a few javascript changes to a page displaying the results. Oh yah, that is going to change the certification of an election.)

    But this story served various purposes; some deliberate I suspect. First, that the state election systems we have are utterly unreliable. Yes, we have rubes setting up these systems–the feds to the rescue. This fits the narrative of Russians hacking the elections system computers. Who is going to believe state election officials when kids made them look like fools. BTW, the group sponsoring this event have Amazon and AT&T as two of three major sponsors.

    Another reason which as taken over Russiagate (don’t like calling that) is utter personal greed and advancement. This may now be driving Russiagate more than deep state hatred of Trump Russiagate has become big business at so many levels. We have all of these hackers and profs at conventions showing how systems can be breached not to help security, but to pad their resumes for consulting gigs. We have witnessed at so many levels “insta-experts” on everything hacking and Russian (amazing how many Russian/Putin experts can’t even read the language.) Shit, look at Microsoft now offering for “free” their AccountGuard software to candidates to protect their data from the Russians. LOL. Yah, hand over all of your election data to MS!!! And from the article Homeland fighting a bureaucratic war for dominance, to hell with the facts.

    • August 30, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Thanks for your perceptive comment, Erelis. I do believe, in fact, that bureaucratic self-interest is the key to the story of virtually every aspect of the new cold war with Russia — as it was, by the way, during the original Cold War.

    • September 5, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      Well said, Erelis! There are so many ways of hacking voting machines, and we saw that in the 2016 primary. Besides being easily changed, votes are also weighted; a vote can count for 30% or 75% or whatever the oligarchs decide. Not surprising that electronic voting machines are illegal in Europe. And as far as people thinking paper ballots are the answer, many of those are not even counted. Add to the fact that the the corrupt Dept. of Homeland Security has now unconstitutionally taken over our voting system, the person who gets into office will be selected, not elected by the people. I refuse to vote, because it’s a waste of time, and I won’t be manipulated by a corrupt system. Too bad that the criminals who committed election fraud created such a dangerous lie that “Russia did it!”

  9. Andrew X
    August 30, 2018 at 12:08 am

    Batman, Superman
    the Joint Chiefs of Rath
    They all need an enemy
    To meet on the warrior path

    Russia is the archenemy
    Russia is the foe
    Russia is the Penguin
    The Joker the Scarecrow

    An what would be the Cold War
    But the Goose the laid the golden omlette
    No better deal is possible
    For the military industrial complement

    The money pours in
    To the pockets of the arms dealers
    The Pentagon generals
    The grafters and stealers

    Ask for hospital, ask for a school,
    Ask for library ask or some gruel
    They’ll tell you to forget it
    Balancing the budget is the rule

    It’s the Russians
    It’s the Russians
    They’re everywhere
    It’s the Russians
    It’s the Russians
    We need to beware

    They’re behind every leak
    Every hack and every glitch
    Putin is pulling the strings
    To his man Trumpovitch

    Donald is a threat
    Not only to the poor
    But to the Joint Chiefs
    To NATO, the CIA and more

    Trump is a punk
    There is no dispute
    But don’t believe the answer
    Is building more nukes

    It’s the Russians
    It’s the Russians
    Or maybe it ain’t
    We need to distinguish
    What’s true and what Stank

    • will
      August 31, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      It is the Rich people, some of whom happen to be Russian. plenty of proof of that. it also happens that a lot of them are American, British,French ect..but they don’t all want the same thing or want to get it the same way. that said, Trump is certainly willing to co-rule the world with his Russian friends…which reminds me of a scene from the Brincess Bride. Trump is basically Wallace Shawn’s Sicilian while Putin and friends are Prince Humperdink et al

  10. Gregory Kruse
    August 29, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    Thank you Mr. Porter for this beautiful expose of the most insidious propaganda campaign by a government one can imagine. One of the reasons it works so well is that so many people can’t imagine it.

    • August 30, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Thanks for your enthusiastic support for my piece, Gregory. You are certainly right that it is very difficult for the most of those who read or view news reports to imagine the degree of clever manipulation by a government bureaucracy that often lies beneath the surface.

  11. August 29, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    To Consortium News: With your note about Realist’s comment having been lost and your reposting here, I hope we have not lost the incisive, intelligent comments and sharp wit of F. G. Sanford, who posted that his comments were recently being lost. It would be a great loss to CN to lose F. G. He mentioned that “I will be checking out of this nightclub”.

  12. mrtmbrnmn
    August 29, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Every day seems to provide more cascading proof that the Intelligence (duh!) Community is a Coven of interconnected (tho sometimes in competition) criminal enterprises. It is a peculiar outlawry, in which the outlaws write the laws then use the laws to break the laws. Thanks, Gareth, for continuing to debag these scoundrels.

  13. GM
    August 29, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Worthy of note, the Intercept article linked to above was authored in part by Sam Biddle, yet another example of his penchant for journalistic malpractice.
    Sam, as some might already be aware, was one of the parties responsible for putting Reality Winner in prison for five years.

  14. Rich Whitney
    August 29, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    While I’m at it, I’m wondering if Mr. Porter or anyone else has investigated or has any insights regarding the credibility of this story: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-pol-microsoft-russian-hackers-20180820-story.html , re Microsoft recently uncovering Russian hackers trying to interfere with the mid-term elections. I’m trying to compile a list of all the BS and all the debunking, and it’s kind of hard to keep up!

  15. Rich Whitney
    August 29, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    “Ken Menzel, the legal adviser to the Illinois secretary of state . . . .” I believe that this is incorrect. To my knowledge, Ken Menzel is the legal advisor to the Illinois State Board of Elections, which is separate from the Secretary of State’s office. Great article, though!

    • August 30, 2018 at 9:07 am

      You are correct, Rich. I checked the website of the Illinois State Board of Elections. I had gotten the Menzel connection with the Illinois Secretary of State from some published source but I’d have to go back to last years notes to find it.

      • David Lee
        August 31, 2018 at 8:31 pm

        I wish all news articles on the NYT and such could be corrected and updated as responsively as Rich and Gareth have done here. A careful notes an apparent error and the writer checks and confirms that the reader is correct. This is how journalism is supposed to work.

        Great work on the article as usual, Gareth, the one incorrect title aside.

        • David Lee
          August 31, 2018 at 8:32 pm

          *a careful reader notes; I left out a word in my reply.

  16. August 29, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    There is a concern that our government sees only coming from Russia

    “Since May 2017, DHS, in partnership with the FBI, has begun an even more ambitious campaign to focus public attention on what it says are Russian “targeting” and “intrusions” into “major, high value assets that operate components of our Nation’s critical infrastructure”, including energy, nuclear, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors.”

    It wasn’t so long ago when a bunch of Israeli students were observed seeking sensitive information in the United States. In the course of the investigation, which was quickly shut down, it was revealed the Israel had at least one important contract supporting our security systems in the United States. I can’t recall anyone seeing that as a problem at the time. The name amdoc comes to mind.

    Without focusing solely on Israel, it is an important concern that any foreign country companies have access to our security systems and posses the capabilities to do what our government is worried about Russia doing.

    Is anybody taking a broader look at our vulnerabilities beyond Russia and China?

    With our penchant for changing friends into enemies, and our friends doing the same, we should be concerned..

  17. August 29, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Gee. So the future Martian history book: “The Short and Radioactive End of Our Neighbour Planet”, will conclude the hostility that led to Earth World War Last originated in the bureaucratic desire of a USG bureau to maximise its access to teh money and promotion trough.

  18. Dario
    August 29, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    I commend one more time Mr. Porter (whom I had the pleasure to meet once in D.C. for the presentation of his Iran-scare book) for his rigorousness and integrity.

    Little hope that anyone in the MSM press will take notice.

    It is quite remarkable how this hysterical russophobia has caused political and press standards to collapse even further – a feat that few of us believed possible at all.

    • August 29, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks for your commendation, Dario. I’m happy to know you appreciate the rigorousness for which I strive in these pieces.

    • Gregory Kruse
      August 29, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      I nearly used “hysterical” in a facebook post of this article, but changed it to “hypertensive” to avoid the sexist connotation.

  19. Timmie Reilly
    August 29, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Looks like it’s back up. What’s your complaint?

  20. DH Fabian
    August 29, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    One point remains unclear, and avoided. The routine claim in the public discussion is that Russia hacked into voting machines to make sure (for reasons unknown) that Trump would get the most votes. The catch here is that Clinton — in spite of much opposition from the Dem voting base — got the most votes (Google the 2016 election results). Trump is president because he got the most electoral votes, a peculiarity of our elections system that a foreign entity couldn’t hack into. If people believe that Russia somehow changed vote counts, why did they try so hard to get Clinton elected?

    On 2020, we know that Americans almost always re-elect presidents, no matter how bad they prove to be. Will Democrats once again blame Russia for the election results, or find a new excuse?

    • Abby
      August 29, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      I’ve been saying this same thing about Hillary receiving more votes than Trump and that he only won because of the electoral college. So how did Russia actually interfere with the election if that happened? I only get blank looks.

    • Doug Jones
      September 3, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      So that would be true if the Russians hacked all 50 states. If they were going to affect the results of the election by changing the vote count they would only need to do that in a few states.

    • Doug Jones
      September 3, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      No democratic voting base that I know of has indicated that Hillary got fewer votes than Trump. In fact that is why the cry for the removal of the electoral college by some democrats. As this also happened in 2000. I am surprised that you may think that the Russians are not aware of our electoral college. So to continue your thought they would not need to hack the electoral college. Just hack the voting numbers in several key states. And do it so the numbers seemed reasonable.

      Yes, you are right to say that American Presidents are re elected even if they are bad. Just look at Bush’s second term. Chenay advised him he had to have a war if he wanted to get re elected. Look how much his re elction ended up costing us. I wonder where Trump will take us if he finds he is losing his re election in the polls.

  21. David G
    August 29, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    A ridiculous aspect of the whole “Russians are mucking about in our elections infrastructure” narrative is its obvious Goldilocks-principle intention: they want the people alarmed enough to max out their xenophobic terror, but not so disillusioned that they’ll doubt the democratic legitimacy of U.S. government, which is always to be revered and obeyed.

    I remember admonishments by DHS people specifically to that effect back when these stories were being rolled out in 2016 – a dead giveaway that the aim is to manipulate, not inform, the public.

  22. Jose
    August 29, 2018 at 11:41 am

    A piece of sound and logical thing to do when confronted with a story such as Russia gate: believe it when serious iron-clad evidence is presented. Speculation, innuendo, unknown sources, rumors or an indictment will not do. Any rational person should be sway by facts and prove only. Thus far, I haven’t seen any against Trump colluding with Russia or Russia interfering in the US 2016 election.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      August 29, 2018 at 1:39 pm

      Excellent comment Jose. This approach is exactly what guides Consortium News’ coverage of Russia-gate, as it should for all news media.

    • Erelis
      August 29, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      Michael Tracey awhile back had a tweet which literally describes every published article involving “Russiagate”. Which goes to the state of journalism. Tracey proposed that every headline of these mainstream articles can be re-titled as:

      “Unknown “official” makes unverifiable claim based on unavailable evidence”

    • louis
      September 3, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      stories presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence

  23. David G
    August 29, 2018 at 11:14 am

    “But the authors of The Intercept story failed to notice crucial details …”

    The Intercept could use that as a new slogan, if they were honest about themselves.

    • Rob
      August 29, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Actually, “The Intercept” is generally an excellent source of news and an antidote to the drivel that passes for news in the MSM. In the case mentioned by Gareth, they evidently slipped up. It happens even to the best of us.

  24. August 29, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Thanks for this article to Gareth Porter and CN. Political hacks looking for hackers, they are; they say, “Look over there, it’s Russia!” No, no, we say, look right over here. They don’t need any outside agent to “undermine our democracy”. What democracy? I do wonder what actual percentage of the American people fell for this b.s. I suspect it’s not as high as they want us to think.

    • Erelis
      August 29, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      The Intercept except for Glenn Greenwald, supports a stable of writers who further the Russiagate narrative. In the latest profile of Glenn Greenwald in the New Yorker, it came out that the editor of the Intercept believes in the Russiangate hoax. I don’tthink Greenwald has at this point any editorial control of the website.

  25. witters
    August 29, 2018 at 7:01 am

    Take a Bex and have a good lie down…

  26. Consortiumnews.com
    August 29, 2018 at 5:35 am

    A comment from Realist. It was cleared by our automated system. A technical problem appears to have deleted it. We do not censor articles. No one should jump to that conclusion.

    Americans have a greater interest in manipulating their own elections than any Russians do. They’ve done it since the rules were defined in the constitution and political parties emerged from the shadows in spite of advice by some of our founding fathers not to allow such rank partisanship. No Russians have ever had a say in who the candidates, always hand-picked by the wealthy aristocracy (i.e., members in good standing of George Carlin’s “Big Club”), are going to be. Russia didn’t pick Trump or Hillary to run, and they certainly didn’t decide the winner between the two.

    Russians didn’t hypnotize voters in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania to pull the lever for Trump, and they had absolutely no electronic interface with the voting machines, thus no ability to alter the results. American party members working at the polling stations, however, had very real opportunities to manipulate the devices or their reported tallies. And, if you believe that a tiny number of Facebook and Twitter entries, posted by a few private Russian citizens–the majority actually AFTER the election with no overall bias for either Trump or Clinton–against a background of American commentors many many orders of magnitude greater, not only influenced but actually swayed the election, I’ve got real estate on the Moon I can sell to you real cheap. Great investment for lunatics.

    The Russians had zero influence compared to all the rich oligarchs placing their bets on the candidates they essentially “owned.” Putin didn’t pay Trump’s campaign expenses, or give him over a billion dollars of free air time on American network news. And, if the damning information about Hillary and the DNC, which appears to have been leaked by a Democrat insider and NOT hacked by Russia, was decisive after a handful of voters actually read the information, that means the democratic process was ENHANCED by exposure to the truth, not impeded! The facts showed that Hillary and her DNC minions cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination, not the Russians! Hillary Clinton’s own words spoken before Wall Street magnates exposed her as a double-dealing hypocrite, with antithetical policies for public consumption and actual implementation.

    America, when it interferes in the governance of other countries–as it does every day of the week, doesn’t both with the niceties of mere PR, propaganda or influence peddling, it goes all in effecting regime change on the battlefield.

    How much longer are the American government and its media tools going to persist in what is clearly a bald-faced fabricated narrative from top to bottom. None of it stands up to inspection. Not a shred of any real evidence has ever been presented to support it. All the real evidence actually uncovered and presented says just the opposite every time. In their continued attempt to steal power they could not win at the ballot box, the rascals incessantly purveying this rubbish, including Brennan, Clapper, Comey, the rest of the spook squad, the entire Obama administration, the entire corporate media, the entire MIC, the Pentagon, the rest of the “establishment” writ large and Madame President herself, just prove themselves, as unrepentant liars, to be precisely the wrong people for the job they covet. How could anyone sane allow them THEM to lead this country forward based on a foundation of lies?

    • DH Fabian
      August 29, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Thanks. One thing we learned since the 2016 elections is the degree to which much of the public imagines that the universe revolves around us and our elections. Never mind that the US has remained on a downhill slide since the 1980s, losing much of its relevance to the world, and there’s little international interest in petty US party politics. There was a televised interview in 2016 with Putin, who was weirdly asked whether he “supported” Clinton or Trump. As he pointed out, either one indicated worsening international tensions. Here, party loyalists insist that there are vast differences between Democrats and Republicans. But based on US policies, the world sees little difference between the two.

    • Gregory Herr
      August 29, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      The bald-faced fabricated narratives will persist ad infinitum and ad nauseam. The American political class and their servile chattering groupies masquerading as a press corp serve their master with little or no compunction and with little degree of divergence, originality, or personality. The politicians and the presstitutes could trade places and who would notice? The master is Money and the game is “to get mine” without ever having to feel sorry for anything. So they double-down on the rationalisations, the myths, the bromides. and the bald-faced lies. They can believe something as absurd as “we destroyed the village to save it” or “we’re indispensable exemplars of morality” because padded wallets and a worry-free conscience would be harder to come by without those “beliefs”.
      We don’t have a democratic process. We have the Washington Post, the Atlantic Council and George Soros–Pharmaceuticals and Fossil Fuels–Big War and Corporate Profits. We have 300 channels of shit on the TV to choose from–but “choice” in government of, by, and for the people?
      We need ten-thousand Molly Ivins, yet we don’t even have her anymore.

    • Realist
      August 29, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      Consortiumnews.com

      Strange machinations going on with that automated system. I see you were only able to recover my original post before I edited it for typos. Still, much better than a total loss of effort. I felt I needed to make a strident remark because this, unfortunately, has happened to me several times before. No, I don’t think that the good people in your office implement any policy of censorship, other than adhering to the directives on offensive language, slander, ad hominems and so forth, which are clearly posted and known to us all. However, I must say, I do get attention a lot quicker when I publicly complain because otherwise a disappeared post can languish for a couple of days before reappearing or never reappear at all. At ICH they tried a policy of posting everything, taking stuff down only if it was objected to by some number of other readers. I know, that gives power to those willing to hijack the system, and they’ve dropped all comments, at least for the time being. I also know that if absolutely everything is permitted, the system degrades into personal flame wars. Your quick attention to complaints about the automated system probably remains the best approach. I continue to believe that allowing commentary enhances every article commissioned by CN. It also expands and edifies the readership who learn from each other as well as from the authors.

    • Erelis
      August 29, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      I say hell yes to this. I have worked many an election back in the day as a democratic party foot soldier both inside and outside the polling place. Never worked as permanent state or county official. But I know what goes on and the processes used because I participated in them. The only people who can rig an election are people inside the system. That is, it is Americans cheating other Americans. Ask millions of African American voters over the decades. Not a Russian in sight. Look at thee biggest election rigging we know of to date–the changing of party affliation of 110,000 voters in Brookly during the primaries. Done by an American. Not a Russian in sight. Oh an hey, how about the case of Tim Canova.

      The idea that some hacker sitting in Moscow can play the role of a super duper interlope and change election results is utterly absurd.

    • J2027
      August 30, 2018 at 9:06 pm

      Exactly.
      May the Party of Money and Authority, with it’s two broken wings, crash into obscurity. The sooner the better.

  27. Realist
    August 29, 2018 at 4:44 am

    Americans have a greater interest in manipulating their own elections than any Russians do. They’ve done it since the rules were defined in the constitution and political parties emerged from the shadows in spite of advice by some of our founding fathers not to allow such rank partisanship. No Russians have ever had a say in who the candidates, always hand-picked by the wealthy aristocracy (i.e., members in good standing of George Carlin’s “Big Club”), are going to be. Russia didn’t pick Trump or Hillary to run, and they certainly didn’t decide the winner between the two.

    Russians didn’t hypnotize voters in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania to pull the lever for Trump, and they had absolutely no electronic interface with the voting machines, thus no ability to alter the results. American party members working at the polling stations, however, had very real opportunities to manipulate the devices or their reported tallies. And, if you believe that a tiny number of Facebook and Twitter entries, posted by a few private Russian citizens–the majority actually AFTER the election with no overall bias for either Trump or Clinton–against a background of American commentors many many orders of magnitude greater, not only influenced but actually swayed the election, I’ve got real estate on the Moon I can sell to you real cheap. Great investment for lunatics.

    The Russians had zero influence compared to all the rich oligarchs placing their bets on the candidates they essentially “owned.” Putin didn’t pay Trump’s campaign expenses, or give him over a billion dollars of free air time on American network news. And, if the damning information about Hillary and the DNC, which appears to have been leaked by a Democrat insider and NOT hacked by Russia, was decisive after a handful of voters actually read the information, that means the democratic process was ENHANCED by exposure to the truth, not impeded! The facts showed that Hillary and her DNC minions cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination, not the Russians! Hillary Clinton’s own words spoken before Wall Street magnates exposed her as a double-dealing hypocrite, with antithetical policies for public consumption and actual implementation.

    America, when it interferes in the governance of other countries–as it does every day of the week, doesn’t both with the niceties of mere PR, propaganda or influence peddling, it goes all in effecting regime change on the battlefield.

    How much longer are the American government and its media tools going to persist in what is clearly a bald-faced fabricated narrative from top to bottom. None of it stands up to inspection. Not a shred of any real evidence has ever been presented to support it. All the real evidence actually uncovered and presented says just the opposite every time. In their continued attempt to steal power they could not win at the ballot box, the rascals incessantly purveying this rubbish, including Brennan, Clapper, Comey, the rest of the spook squad, the entire Obama administration, the entire corporate media, the entire MIC, the Pentagon, the rest of the “establishment” writ large and Madame President herself, just prove themselves, as unrepentant liars, to be precisely the wrong people for the job they covet. How could anyone sane allow them THEM to lead this country forward based on a foundation of lies?

    • August 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      Well, how refreshing it is to read a comment that is sane, true, and articulate!!! I watched in real time as Sanders’ nomination was stolen from him and how the DNC, the media, and Hillary’s campaign colluded to make that happen. I watched as these criminals made up the fairy tale about Russia’s interference to cover their own hides, when it was about to be exposed to the public that massive election fraud had taken place. I watched as those IP addresses were traced back to the corrupt Dept. of Homeland Security, NOT Russia, and is the reason that this department has now taken over our voting system. And I keep wondering in amazement how long the public will continue falling for the lies that the corporate media continues to tell! So recently was the lie about WMDs exposed, and yet the sheeple fall hook, line, and sinker for the next bit lie put forth about “Russia’s interference” that has no evidence whatsoever. It is heartbreaking to see a brainwashed population that has no critical thinking skills. This is a repeat of the McCarthy era.

  28. P. Michael Garber
    August 29, 2018 at 4:20 am

    Kudos to Gareth Porter and CN for this in-depth look at some of the bureaucratic imperatives underlying the evidence-free consensus on Russiagate. I have been wondering how these stories of Russian hacking were generated and by whom, and this article answers those questions.In the murky world of cyber-journalism, qualifiers like “maybe” and “potential” somehow repeatedly got dropped as the story bounced from questionable source to questionable journalist to public. The forgetful “journalists” are largely to blame, but thanks to Mr. Porter for so carefully documenting the key role of DHS officials in providing the grist for the phony Russiagate smear campaign.

  29. Seer
    August 29, 2018 at 3:44 am

    Big tip of the hat to Gareth for this outstanding report. This should be used by Congress to confront DHS and NSA.

    What saves us here (if we can use that word- “saves”) is the fact that the state elections officials have integrity and were willing to confront DHS.

    • August 29, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Many thanks, Seer, for your hat tip for my article. I agree the article needs to be gotten into the hands of members of Congress — at least those few who are interested in the truth. And yes, the relatively few state election officials who spoke up were important to piecing the story together.

  30. David G
    August 29, 2018 at 2:42 am

    From yesterday’s (8/28) NY Times, p. A19, Corrections:

    “An article on Thursday [print edition; Wednesday web] about a suspected hacking of the Democratic National Committee misstated what cybersecurity officials said about hackers’ efforts to gain access to the organization’s voter database. The officials said the hackers *may* have sent so-called spearphishing emails to D.N.C. officials, not that they *did* send such emails.”
    [*emphasis added*]

    Charming. But wait, there’s more!

    Unmentioned in this correction is that the entire original article was rendered nugatory the next day (i.e. last Thursday), when the Times reported that (oops), “[t]he suspected hacking attempt of the Democratic National Committee’s voter database this week was a false alarm, and the unusual activity that raised concern was merely a test, party officials said on Thursday.”

    But while the original article – which had “Russia” sprinkled liberally throughout, despite no claim of a Russian connection to the alleged attempted hack being reported – appeared in the print edition (8/23), the follow-up saying the whole thing was just a mistake and never-mind was web-only. (This puts the Times’s motto “All the news that’s fit to print”, if taken literally, in a curious new light.)

    And (to repeat) the correction in yesterday’s paper referred only to the original article on an alleged hacking attempt, not to the followup article saying it never happened.

    And so it goes.

    • Seer
      August 29, 2018 at 3:51 am

      Through the looking glass… it’s a bit hard having one’s mind around the fact that we are in agreement with Trump (on anything)- FAKE NEWS! Sadly, it isn’t looking like Trump will pick up on this.

  31. Craig
    August 29, 2018 at 1:40 am

    I had impression that they said that there was not found that voter sites had been hacked.
    Has it not been great propaganda campaign?

    • August 29, 2018 at 11:15 am

      DHS officials have said is that not all were actually “hacked” — although they claimed that small number were — but they insist that election sites in 21 states were “targeted” by the Russians, meaning that the intent was to hack into them.

      • DH Fabian
        August 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm

        How would they know this, much less that any hackers were in any way involved with the Russian government? And as convoluted as the tale has been, we still need to ask what relevance any hacking had, to the election outcome (Clinton got the most votes. Trump got the most electoral votes, something a foreign entity couldn’t “hack into.”) By a year ago, this had been whittled down to a claim that someone unknown had hacked into the DNC’s (unsecured) email site, but by that point, MSNBC, etc., were already selling the “Russia hacked the election” tale.

        • will
          August 31, 2018 at 3:17 pm

          @ DH: as I have read it, the idea was that election board info along with other information (like the Facebook info vacuum cleaner out of Cambridge Analytica) could be and/or was used to target people and areas through social media with divisive memes (some true-Hillary cheating Sanders), appeals to racism (fake BLM posts that were inflammatory) and out right fake news.To what extent that might have influenced close races in the upper Midwest where trump won Wisconsin and Michigan is hard to say. lots of people were denied the right to vote via voter ID laws.A many as 300,000 potential voters in Wisconsin would have supposedly found themselves unable to vote in 2016 (no idea how many actually had that happen to, but one assumes a lot in the north where the dept. of motor vehicles is often far from one’s home and only open a few days a month, and a bunch more in Milwaukee where poor people move often enough that their IDs and voter registration status would have been no good on nearly a yearly basis. In any case, there is a battle going on between the traditional American owner class and the people that are just stinking rich and admire Putins combination of state power and the wealth of their oligarchs. that would be trump (who’s wealth after his bankruptcies of the 80’s and 90’s comes from Russia). One finds oneself uneasy with taking sides with the “deep state’ which is to say Yale and Harvard boys from “good families” against the Trump people and the current crop of republican Neanderthals but one thing is for sure-murderous as the old guard are, they aren’t exactly stupid (George W. Bush excluded) while the Trumpsters and Noveau Republicans quite frankly are. Putin will have them for dinner if that’s his desire, and if it’s not his desire, the Trumpsters and Noveau Republicans will simply let the place go to pieces by looting the social welfare and emergency response sectors of the United States (the forest service and center for disease control are immediate examples). anyway,I digress. I think the Russian threat to elections is not nearly as important as the idea that that certain types of very wealthy people are combining their wealth in a way that makes them potentially more powerful than governments. their would appear to be a belief that things will get quite bad with global warming and that the very richest people (and Putin’s Russia) wish to have complete civil control when the shit hits the fan but also to exploit the calamity-which the Russians speak openly of doing and trump and his friends also probably want to be a part of, especially if it means coming out on top over the Chinese. I admit to feeling slightly safer with the Yale and Harvard boys and I don’t see the “people” coming out on top unless things get very very bad…like a mass die off of humans in a western country or something equally terrible to unite the now well divided and conquered
          commoners

      • Curious
        September 4, 2018 at 6:56 pm

        Garett,
        This is a naive question most likely, but we are often told the voting machines are not hooked up to the internet. If this is true, how could Russian interference be so persuasive, and how could DHS fiddle with the machines themselves? I understand the issue of prior programming or even post manipulation, but are we dweebs fed a bunch of lies that the machines themselves have no internet interface?
        If you can reply to this, thank you, and thank you for the article.
        I enjoyed reading separately about the 11 yr girl hacking into an election computer at the “black hat convention’ in Vegas in near record time, but the assumption is it wasn’t through any internet access but was done in prox to the machine. Wondering.

  32. Gen Dao
    August 29, 2018 at 12:22 am

    Another great report by Gareth Porter. It should be top news at NYT, WaPo, CNN, and MSNBC, but unfortunately it won’t be, because all four have degenerated into military industrial surveillance state propaganda outlets. Russiagate is the biggest hoax since Iraqi WMDs and Remember the Maine! If we didn’t have outstanding real journalists like Porter, we would probably be at war with Russia right now. What this article shows very clearly is that our electoral system is under constant assault from criminal elements and political cheaters. We need to be having a national conversation right now on eliminating all digital voting machines and switching to paper ballots, but any questioning of the present system would upset the present advanced state of voter electoral fraud in the US and those who profit from it. Blaming electoral corruption and cheating in the US on a foreign boogeyman such as Russia (soon it will probably be China) is pretty obviously a method of hiding the real, domestic sources of various kinds of US electoral wrongdoing and of ensuring that those sources, including the so-called deep state, will continue to be able to operate effectively. The Clinton wing of the Dem Party is not the only group that regards election rigging as a justifiable means to a “good” end. I look forward to Mr. Porter’s further research.

    • Gareth Porter
      August 29, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Thanks very much for your kind comment on my piece Gen Dao. You are certainly correct that corporate media have no interest in such a story, although I would encourage all readers of Consortium News to bring the story to their attention.

    • DH Fabian
      August 29, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      That wouldn’t work. When we did have paper ballots (not so long ago), piles of ballots were discarded as “unreadable,” and inevitably, piles of uncounted ballots would be “discovered” well after the elections. With this, came all the routine tales about “welfare mamas” being given a few dollars to vote Democrat, busloads of undocumented immigrants being driven to voting sites, major vote schemes being conducted from prisons, etc. Whichever side loses will claim fraud, and the duopoly will maintain control of the country.

      • Marko
        August 29, 2018 at 5:46 pm

        Routine hand-counting of paper ballots to provide a 100% foolproof audit of optically-scanned ballot counts is easily done , and is being done. The practice simply needs to be deployed nationwide :

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh3nSTonD3g

    • will
      August 31, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Russia gate is only sort of a hoax, Gen Dao. the criminally wealthy in Russia and in the United States clearly want to make common cause. The traditional owner class In the united states has other plans, and simply uses the Russia gate thing (in terms of the election) because really explaining the situation only exposes them as being not much better than the Russian Oligarch/American Oligarch combine. Its really the deep state government against a different sort of vandal who really do want an d really are trying to make a Russo/American third Reich…only the Americans involved aren’t really very smart… the old guard like’s their killing done in other people’s countries while the trumpers are happy to do it here.

  33. August 28, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Events in the physical world now are simply unimportant sidelights since – “reality” – as it is reported in media – is completely fabricated and concocted out of thin air within the very mediocre brains of the numbskulls fronting for this dying empire. Corruption is as corruption does – I think Forrest Gump’s mother said that.

    • KiwiAntz
      August 29, 2018 at 1:27 am

      Forest Gump’s Mama said “ Stupid is, as stupid does”! Sounds like the perfect logo to describe the American Nation State? A stupid Nation run by stupider people!

      • Ray Raven
        August 29, 2018 at 2:15 am

        Amen.

    • John
      August 31, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’

  34. Jeff Harrison
    August 28, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Lies, Damned Lies, and Government press releases. The real question is how long it will take before the American people really refuse to take the government at its word and demand proof. One of the worst things that the regime in Washington can do is to make American citizens mistrustful of the government.

    • KiwiAntz
      August 29, 2018 at 1:20 am

      The American people are completely gaslighted beyond belief & “captured” by their corrupt Govt & Leaders, to such an extent, that they will not question or dispute their Govt’s narratives? Never has a Nation’s citizens been so successfully brainwashed, in all of human history, as the American people have been & the only comparison that can be found is how Hitler & the Nazi’s successfully hoodwinked the german people! The exception here is the American citizens, who frequent this website & are awake to their Govt’s gross corruption & immoral actions around the globe! The rest of the US populace is asleep & want to stay that way?

      • john wilson
        August 29, 2018 at 2:20 am

        Well, KiwiAntz, you’re probably right, but I think the accolade for stupidity, idiocy and acquiesce goes to we British people. Sheep are one of the worlds most common agricultural animals and we’ve got lots of them over here in the UK.

        • Ed
          August 31, 2018 at 8:05 am

          Your mention of sheep brings to mind the old grifters’ adage:

          “You can shear a sheep many times, but you can skin him only once.”

          The current gang of grifters are trying to skin the sheep, and that will end their game for good.

    • Dr. Ip
      August 29, 2018 at 2:57 am

      Since when have American citizens NOT been mistrustful of the government?

    • Seer
      August 29, 2018 at 3:58 am

      [to paraphrase Col Nathan R. Jessep – A Few Good Men] “You want proof? You can’t handle the proof!”

      Proof would never be provided by the con-artists. They’ll hide it behind “National Security” (which really means THEIR “job security”) until the very end.

Comments are closed.