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FBI agent accidentally reveals own 8chan posts (ceinquiry.wordpress.com)
214 points by nailer 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 118 comments



What's interesting is that this poster, supposedly an FBI agent, is pushing an anti-Russia narrative in his other posts. Kind of ironic that the same organization that claims Russia is manipulating social media is doing exactly the same thing themselves.


Sure they both fall under the category "trying to influence someone through social media". But so does a press release put out over Facebook, and lot of other completely innocuous actions.

If we found out the FBI was systematically spending lots of money to influence our elections people would be pissed.


This comment seems to be ignoring the long and recurring history of the FBI and other government agencies in subverting, persecuting and destroying the lives of those who were peaceful members of left leaning political parties, basically anyone who identified as a communist or socialist... or who knew anyone who identified that way. Or actually, anyone whose political ideals contradicted American corporate interests. That includes in our country and other countries.

This is not to mention the more controversial reality of the close collaboration between US intelligence agencies and the entertainment and education industries.


Yes. Let's not forget that for a good portion of the 20th century the FBI not only explicitly worked against equality and ecology, but also explicitly funded fascist millitants, and domestic terrorism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO


Strzok and Paige sound familiar at all? I think I'm spelling those right.


> If


I've rarely heard an argument from anyone that manipulating people, influencing election outcomes etc via social media is bad. It's bad because the Russians are doing it to them - it's okay if they are doing it to others. The same goes for military invasions under false pretenses, corrupting politicians, large scale spying and whatever else you can think off. Very few people have a moral problem with the actions, they have a "hey, this doesn't benefit me" problem.


Not too long ago, we (America) were bragging about our ability to influence foreign elections[1]. Everyone seems to conveniently forget that whenever Russian "meddling" comes up these days.

http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19960715,00.html


Does Time magazine represent America in this comment?


Are you just picking on a technicality here or do you genuinely believe that the vast majority of the executive would/should feel it's wrong for the US to meddle in foreign elections?


I think it is a stretch to claim that an article from Time magazine about how four American political consultants helped Boris Yeltson win an election is the same as state-sponsored election hacking and interference. I also don't see how this article is equivalent to the entire US "bragging" about anything.

One involves multiple crimes being committed at state-scale (DNC hack [1], RNC hack [2], identity fraud [3]) the other was a consulting contract.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/how-t... [2] https://www.thedailybeast.com/report-russian-hackers-had-rnc... [3] https://www.wired.com/story/russian-trolls-identity-theft-mu...


Yes, along with the rest of American media is how America is represented to non Americans.


If you think about it, media is also largely how America is represented to Americans themselves.

Think of the typical American's mental model of America (and the rest of the world) - where does the actual content of the model we hold in our brain come from? A mixture of personal experiences, conversations, TV, internet, books, as well as the brain itself - automatically (and without our knowledge) filling gaps, adding color and detail, based on a complex set of heuristic processes that we barely understand.

Take the Russia hacking the election meme for example - next time you read someone making an assertion one way or another, ask them what the source of their information is, the conclusive and specific physical evidence that proves their belief. In my experience, at best, you will get a link to an x00 page report filled with allegations, you won't even be able to get a vague description of any specific details that was conclusively proven, because that isn't stored in their mental model. (edit: or, as seen in this very thread when others have asked such a question, "evidence" that is not even remotely conclusive, but believed without question, as well as examples of historic non-conclusive evidence planting. In my experience, no amount of demonstration of this happening will ever change people's thinking on the matter - most humans will always continue to believe what their brain tells them, without hesitation - it just feels too real to not believe it, and this is why propaganda is so easy and effective.)

In the linked story, it appears the FBI agent is trying to plant this meme into the minds of 8chan users, hoping it will take root and spread organically there as easily as it has in the broad public.


==Take the Russia hacking the election meme for example==

Isn't it possible that you are the one falling victim to the exact type of thinking you describe? You admit yourself that propaganda is easy and effective. Have you explored that possibility?

==most humans will always continue to believe what their brain tells them, without hesitation==

The embedded assumption in this post is that you have risen above the misinformation, bad mental models and propaganda to assess the "real" truth. How have you managed to overcome the weaknesses that others fall victim to?


It most definitely is a possibility, and your type of thinking is exactly what we need more of.

I assure you I have and continue to explore the possibility, which is why I often reach out to people who seem to believe they have witnessed specific, concrete evidence, to share the specific information they have seen. Alas, despite no shortage of such people, I have yet to encounter one who is willing and able to provide anything beyond a link to an x00 page report full of allegations.

> The embedded assumption in this post is that you have risen above the misinformation, bad mental models and propaganda to assess the "real" truth. How have you managed to overcome the weaknesses that others fall victim to?

Apologies if I have given that impression, it was definitely not my intent. I am simply pointing out that there are plenty of people who make strong and specific assertions, but are unable to provide any strong, specific evidence. I have not formed any final conclusions, but the longer this drags on, and the more specific claims I read in the news that are not backed by supporting evidence, it seems fairly reasonable to suspect that the story is not true, if not actually faked (as we now know the Iraq WMD story was faked). I have no particular theory on what the underlying motive might be if this is the case.

If you know of anything I've overlooked, please post here so we can all become more informed.


This is the same thought process used to discredit the moon landing, the effectiveness of vaccines and the roundness of the earth. Sometimes life doesn't provide you a smoking gun and you have to put the pieces together yourself. One thing I have found useful is to understand that if a group of people keeps lying about the same thing over-and-over again (like meeting with Russian representatives), they are likely hiding something nefarious (ask any parent). If not, why were they lying?

Why did they lie about the reasoning for the Trump Tower meeting if it was so innocuous? Why would the campaign manager share internal polling with a Russian oligarch? I haven't seen an answer to these questions that passes the smell test.

==I often reach out to people who seem to believe they have witnessed specific, concrete evidence, to share the specific information they have seen.==

Have you ever been on a Federal Grand Jury? They show you all types of evidence and ask you to indict people based on that evidence. One thing they don't do is share that evidence with the media or the public. The only concrete evidence the media/public has to go on (until a trial) is the indictment itself.


>Why did they lie about the reasoning for the Trump Tower meeting if it was so innocuous?

Seems like a failed attempt to avoid adding gas to the burgeoning Russian collusion hoax. Why did the Russian attendees at that meeting meet with the firm hired by the Clinton campaign to find dirt on Trump both immediately before and after that Trump Tower meeting?

>Why would the campaign manager share internal polling with a Russian oligarch?

Because the campaign manager owed $20M to a mutually associated oligarch and wanted to show he was in a position to make good on his debts.

It's not uncommon for people's preconceived beliefs to outstrip their willingness to think critically about rationale for whatever specific, concrete evidence is available.


==Seems like a failed attempt to avoid adding gas to the burgeoning Russian collusion hoax.==

And this sounds like someone searching for an answer that doesn't challenge their preconceived beliefs.

==Why did the Russian attendees at that meeting meet with the firm hired by the Clinton campaign to find dirt on Trump both immediately before and after that Trump Tower meeting?==

Not sure what meeting you are referencing, but this is textbook whatabout-ism. The discussion is on Donald Trump and his campaign.

==Because the campaign manager owed $20M to a mutually associated oligarch and wanted to show he was in a position to make good on his debts.==

And how does this show he was in a position to make good on his debts? Why does someone $20 million in debt take a campaign manager job without pay? How was he going to magically get $20 million by virtue of Donald Trump winning?

You stopped your logical thought because it took you exactly where you wanted to go, go one step further and you may start to get uncomfortable.

==It's not uncommon for people's preconceived beliefs to outstrip their willingness to think critically about rationale for whatever specific, concrete evidence is available. ==

Maybe this is a chance to take your own advice.


> You stopped your logical thought because it took you exactly where you wanted to go, go one step further and you may start to get uncomfortable.

Speaking of which: I responded respectfully to your questions, why didn't you reply to mine?


I am delayed for a flight and only have mobile access right now. Not the best place to respond to such a detailed question, but I’ll try.

The bulk of the evidence we have comes from news reports. This includes the Dutch viewing Cozy Bear hackers [1]. It is also, this guy [2] saying we caught the Russians hacking the DNC. The FBI Director told us that Russians hacked the RNC [3]. It seems like you don’t consider that evidence because you can’t see the hard proof. That is your prerogative, but know that an FBI officer swearing in and providing details on a case is treated as actual evidence in any Federal court or grand jury room.

That leads us the the other evidence we have, which is the indictment of 25 different Russians by the Special Council [4] [5]. This means a grand jury saw all the evidence available and believed overwhelmingly that there was probably cause to believe these people committed crimes to further their motives. To me, this is evidence that Russia intended to influence the US election. That they released DNC emails, started pro-Trump social media accounts and kept the RNC emails secret is evidence that they were working in favor of Donald Trump.

If we can agree on that premise, we can discuss the next piece. Is there hard evidence that the Trump campaign was involved/aware of those crimes in favor of their campaign. Here, the facts are murkier and a case could be made either way. I personally believe the combination of the campaign continually lying about Russian contacts, the campaign manager sharing poll data with a Russian oligarch, the candidate literally asking Russia to hack his opponent, the timing of document releases, the server communication between Trump Tower and Alpha Bank, the campaign lying about Trump Tower Moscow plans/details, changing the RNC platform, Papadopoulos bragging about having dirt on Clinton, Kushner trying to set up a secret back-channel, telling Lester Holt why he fired Comey, telling Stepanopoulis that he would take help in 2020, that The Trump Tower email explicitly mentioned Moscow’s ongoing support for Trumps campaign and Don Jr didn’t seem surprised and Roger Stone’s ties to WikiLeaks all speak to some level of collusion between the two parties (Trump and Russia).

Some of that is backed up by hard evidence (Trump Tower emails, court filings, etc.). I think if you apply Occam’s Razor, the most logical conclusion is that Trump and his team welcomed Russian help and worked to amplify it. An example is Trump touting WikiLeaks on the campaign trail while Stone and Trump Jr we’re communicating with them behind the scenes. Obviously, if someone obstructs justice, that often hurts the ability to get the exact type of evidence you are requiring.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/26...

[2] https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/12/12/dmitri-alpero...

[3] https://www.wired.com/2017/01/russia-hacked-older-republican...

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/politics/russians-indi...

[5] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/rod-r...


Impressive, I shall review.


> The bulk of the evidence we have comes from news reports. This includes the Dutch viewing Cozy Bear hackers [1]. It is also, this guy [2] saying we caught the Russians hacking the DNC. The FBI Director told us that Russians hacked the RNC [3]. It seems like you don’t consider that evidence because you can’t see the hard proof.

I need to see something convincing, that preferably consists of something more than colorful stories based on "confidential" evidence (that I have no idea is faked or misinterpreted, both of which have been done before).

Especially considering:

- All major countries are involved in hacking each other at all times, like this time the US was caught spying on Germany and many others:

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jul/02/wikileaks-us-spied-on-angela-merkels-ministers-too-says-german-newspaper  

    https://www.thelocal.de/20160223/nsa-eavesdropped-on-merkels-intimate-conversations
- The dishonest reporting we've been reading in the Russian Hacker news for several years now (claims that the Twitter accounts are known to be Russian, when Twitter itself said no such thing) - when I catch someone lying, the trustworthiness of their stories based on "confidential" sources and claims decreases. Does this seem unreasonable?

- This: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuxnet

- This: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vault_7#UMBRAGE "....the CIA can not only increase its total number of attacks, but can also mislead forensic investigators by disguising these attacks as the work of other groups and nations."

- This: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationale_for_the_Iraq_War (see any familiar names in there??)

- This: http://edition.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/02/11/transcripts.mu...

The United States Government has a long history of lying.

Major US media outlets have exhibited a pattern of deceit, such as claiming that it is known, rather than suspected, that Twitter accounts were not just Russian, but Russian state sponsored.

Look at some of these pictures:

https://www.gettyimages.ca/photos/iraq-war-bodies?mediatype=...

You want me to take the US government and media at their word, on the promise that they have evidence, even though they are known liars?

Is Trump better? Who knows, but anything I've seen suggests the alternative is a never ending line of groomed Neoliberal clones who act as well-spoken PR managers, while behind the scenes the US military and TLA's do as they please.

Sorry, but I will not go along with this, I consider it naive and immoral. If the Democrats run anyone other than Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard (perhaps a few others, I'm no expert), Trump would most likely get my vote.

EDIT: You know the more I think about it, this whole idea that historically, up until Trump, our political leaders were generally honest and made decisions on facts is incredibly simplistic and not supported by evidence. The world's a complicated place, and it's getting more complicated every day. Realistically, a reasonable approach to voting is picking the candidates whose collection of lies will be the least damaging to myself and others. Personally, I think the specific nature and subject matter of the lies, as well as who is telling them, is far more important than the quantity.

See also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Who_Cried_Wolf


There are court documents in the Papdopoulus, Manafort, Gates, Cohen, Stone and Flynn cases. Have you read the court filings to see the evidence? How much of the Mueller Report have you read?

==I need to see something convincing, that preferably consists of something more than colorful stories based on "confidential" evidence (that I have no idea is faked or misinterpreted, both of which have been done before).==

Again, this justification could be used to back up any belief when it comes to government. It is a convenient way to brush off all the lying, obstruction, indictments and convictions as some mere conspiracy. Blanket cynicism (and whataboutism) isn't a valid replacement for actual analysis. That we have hacked other countries doesn't change the facts of what Trump and his campaign did. They are entirely different cases that can be discussed on their own.

==Is Trump better? Who knows, but anything I've seen suggests the alternative is a never ending line of groomed Neoliberal clones who act as well-spoken PR managers, while behind the scenes the US military and TLA's do as they please.==

Odd that you say this as we are sending more soldiers to the Middle East [1]. What about the 1,000 soldiers and military activities happening in Niger under his leadership [2]? The bombings (often of civilians) in Yemen [3]? Attacking a Syrian airfield [4]? Did you see hard evidence that Iran bombed the oil tanker [5]?

In making these decisions, Trump is using the same intelligence community that you and he both say is corrupt and untrustworthy [6]. It makes it appear that he only wants to discredit them when it affects him (Russia investigation) personally.

None of this even gets into the obstruction of justice, felonies related to campaign finance, numerous campaign officials in prison or under indictment, or taking Putin's side over our own intelligence agencies in Helsinki. This gives us a view into the type of person Trump is and the company he keeps. You have decided to support that, which is your choice. I don't agree with your attempts to blame it on Democrats, the media or the intelligence committee. Just own it.

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/17/politics/us-additional-troops...

[2] https://www.thedailybeast.com/senators-are-stunned-to-discov...

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/27/world/middlee...

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/06/world/middleeast/us-said-...

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DU6kCyqDOM

[6] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44852812


> This is the same thought process used to discredit the moon landing, the effectiveness of vaccines and the roundness of the earth.

By thought process I assume you're referring to listening to the various claims and rumors, and attempting to compare them versus factually confirmable evidence, keeping one's eyes open for misleading weasel language that may be intended to cause readers to form incorrect conclusions? If so, then yes, but I'm curious why you've chosen to associate it with 3 well known "conspiracy theories" that didn't do a very good job of this, rather than the far more plentiful and boring examples where it is used successfully in every day life across a wide variety of activities. Any additional clarity you can provide is appreciated as it may help me to better understand the truth.

> Sometimes life doesn't provide you a smoking gun and you have to put the pieces together yourself.

I agree, you do indeed have to work with what life provides. What you don't have to do though, is believe everything you're told without question (especially when we have examples where we have been lied to, in some cases resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent people), or form conclusions without concrete supporting evidence. If the evidence is inconclusive, I feel perfectly comfortable with a stance of "I don't know".

> One thing I have found useful is to understand that if a group of people keeps lying about the same thing over-and-over again (like meeting with Russian representatives), they are likely hiding something nefarious (ask any parent). If not, why were they lying?

This is an excellent question, and I have no answer to it. That behavior, if proven and described in a completely factual matter (as opposed to a casual, "story-telling" manner that might result in those who are less vigilant about the truth forming a factually incorrect conclusion - again, see the Iraq WMD story), should be in some way attached to the overall stance of "inconclusive", as it provides additional information that could be used to kind of swing the "what seems more likely based on what we know" needle to one side or the other.

> Why did they lie about the reasoning for the Trump Tower meeting if it was so innocuous? Why would the campaign manager share internal polling with a Russian oligarch? I haven't seen an answer to these questions that passes the smell test.

I have absolutely no idea. Do you believe this proves guilt of the overall story?

> Have you ever been on a Federal Grand Jury?

I have not.

> They show you all types of evidence and ask you to indict people based on that evidence.

Is this what we are being asked to do here, except not in a court room but more so something of a "trial by social media" type of situation (something that's quite common recently)? If so, I believe that should be stated explicitly. I kind of get the feeling a narrative is being spun, and I personally don't care for that sort of behavior from public officials and the media, but this is just a personal preference, it seems to be very popular with a lot of people.

> One thing they don't do is share that evidence with the media or the public. The only concrete evidence the media/public has to go on (until a trial) is the indictment itself.

Oh ok, well this makes more sense then. I have repeatedly read in the media (and told, explicitly or implicitly, in forum discussions) that specific evidence has been provided that demonstrates specific guilt.

Maybe, for the sake of efficiency and clarity of communication (because there seems to be an awful lot of disagreement on what's true), could you restate, in explicit words, whether or not specific, concrete and conclusive evidence has been released on this matter? And whether this is only an opinion, or if it is based on the reading of an official and explicit statement (again, in a "non-story-telling" manner) that this is the current, official state of the publicly released evidence, so that I could read the actual text and judge for myself?

And just so my sentiments are clear, I'd like to explicitly state that I appreciate your taking serious interest in this story. Too many people take democracy for granted these days.


American media runs the ideological spectrum (Mother Jones to The Atlantic to National Review to Fox News). They aren’t a unified voice, so that representation would include contradicting messages.

It seems like people just choose the one that helps their strawman and labels that as “AMERICA”.


> American media runs the ideological spectrum

Very few of them are openly against using the military, cultural, economic power the US has to force others to bend to their will. They may disagree on what direction to push others in, but they agree that they have the right (or even duty) to push them. Which is totally understandable.

Very few people see themselves as villains, pretty much everybody wants to make the world a better place. What "better" means and how to get there, that's where they part ways.


The Jacobin has always been a fan of calling out US imperialism.


Sure, I'm not claiming that the US media landscape is unified and doesn't include any dissenting voices. It's just that the super majority mostly agrees on the fundamentals, even if they don't on the details. The same is true for most politicians as well.

I don't believe that it's very different in other countries, it's just a lot less visible, because most countries don't have the same amount of power.


That's what I was raised to believe as a child in America. Time Magazine is right up there with apple pie.


Trying to skew media (elections, opinions, policy) of other countries is something many (most? all?) governments did for centuries. And those activities were not particularly well hidden from citizens.

I think earlier (30+ years ago), most of the rank and file citizens were isolated from such influence and few who were exposed to it, e.g. those doing business abroad, were immunized (by privilege, counter-propaganda or a feeling of a gun at their backs).

I think current manipulation efforts makes elites panic only because those efforts can reach most of the country which makes old countermeasures ineffective. My 2c (I grew up in what is seen today as a totalitarian state).


It’s fundamentally different for a hyperpower to do this versus a failed superpower. There is no comparison and as an American it’s in our best interest to utilize our cultural and military hegemony for the best of our interests.

So yes, you’re right but I don’t see it as a bad thing at all.


> it’s in our best interest to utilize our cultural and military hegemony for the best of our interests

It is one thing to (through analysis) arrive at the conclusion that people and states don't live up to the ideals of the Golden Rule [0]. It is quite another thing to openly support the idea that the rich and powerful should use their power to further their own interests at the expense of others. Suffice to say that the latter puts you on a different trajectory than the collective body of religious and political thinking since time immemorial, western and eastern alike. Just sayin'.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule


> So yes, you’re right but I don’t see it as a bad thing at all.

Of course not, that's my point. You'll rarely hear those in power complain about the possibility to abuse power to oppress others ;)


The mentality of bullies. The US really needs history to teach its people some lessons of humanity. Luck may turn away and smile on other countries, and experience more of these times and the people as a whole may start to learn.


[flagged]


The issue from the US side has also been that they're per-se doing it. Otherwise the US Senate wouldn't have imposed sanctions on Russia in (among other things) response to the 2016 election interference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_20...


But remember kids, "the russians" interfered with the elction.


Except in the fact that they did as proved by multiple intelligence agencies (including the Dutch) and multiple infosec security companies?


During Iraq we offered evidence, including from international sources, proving beyond any doubt that Iraq was developing WMD. We even had published video of "mobile biological weapon laboratories" and information from informants who were literally working on these exact things but secretly feeding us intelligence.

As you [hopefully] know now - it was all fake. There was no WMD, there were no mobile biological weapon labs, there was nothing. The evidence was all fake. The footage we claimed was bio weapons labs was of trailers that produced hydrogen for usage in conventional artillery (as Iraq said all along). Even after we invaded and knew the labs were benign we constantly lied. Rather than repeat our neverending stream of lies, Wiki has them nicely cataloged here [1]. Our ultra secret inside source who revealed his remarkable tale after achieving refugee status in Germany, was actually a Taxi driver in Iraq who knew nothing and had no connection to the government whatsoever, but was apparently a great con man - or, more likely, was an idiot we knew was lying but gave us more "evidence" we could use to achieve the goal of starting a war we wanted.

And this was not just American intelligence. This was American, British, German, and more. Intelligence agencies pursue their own goals and will happily lie, fake, and manipulate people and society to achieve them. We're now aiming for war with Iran. At the same time that Japan's prime minister decides to visit Iran, Iran in an unprecedented act decides to attack a Japanese tanker? Look, our five-eyes intelligence agencies are here to give you all the hot evidence for something that makes no logical sense whatsoever, yet conveniently gives the US absolutely every thing it could possibly want. Amazing isn't it?

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_weapons_laboratory#Disc...?


Iraq did once have WMDs, namely poison gas that it used against tens of thousands of Iranian civilians... with the help of the CIA.

Today, many Americans have never even heard of the Iran-Iraq War. Those that have often never heard anything other than unsubstantiated American propaganda, particularly the American accusation that Iran was using poison gas against Iraq. An accusation for which there has never been any evidence.

When it comes to the American government and international affairs, any position less than reserved skepticism is totally irresponsible.


I'm watching this viciously accurate post get silently downvoted into oblivion.


The US intelligence agencies that - like here - fake evidence to further their own agenda as well as their friendly foreign colleagues? Must be true then i guess.

And as for a infosec company: showing that you found some russian IP or some strings originating from a Windows OS with ru_ru locale is not "evidence". It's making a educated guess at best. In fact, if you read thru some leaked NSA manuals on Wikileaks, the US intelligence agencies specifially teach their tech people how to use such techniques to plant false tracks.


You’re effectively projecting your own version of reality right now. The Dutch had security camera footage.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/01/dutch...

All of this was documented in the Mueller report, the GRU indictments and the Stone indictment.


It's all nonsense. The intelligence agencies are lying to you.

https://steemit.com/steemit/@suzi3d/10-reasons-the-dutch-rus...


literally NONE of the arguments brought up in that post contradict the facts. Who gives a fuck about how the US government feels towards Edward Snowden? How does that prove that the Dutch are lying? It makes zero goddamn sense.


I'm not sure what post you're reading - but every single one of the arguments in the post contradict a pivotal 'fact' in the anti-Russian, xenophobic propaganda effort.

Can you be more specific with your criticism?


1. the hackers were in a university building, and Snowden told us that university buildings are bugged

So what?

2. The Dutch told the US about it as it was happening

This is not news. We already know that the US covered up Russian hacking as it was happening at Mitch McConnell's insistence.

3. Mueller's prime objective isn't Trump collusion, it's Russian hacking

What the hell does that have to do with Dutch intelligence?

4. Anonymous sources

The fact that the newspaper doesn't print names doesn't mean that the newspaper doesn't know who their sources are.

5. The Mother Jones article uses the word "attack" instead of "exploit", and Dutch intelligence has connections with the NSA

So fucking what?

6. The public won't get to see the evidence

Yeah, that's how intelligence investigations work, and that's why we give security clearances to politicians.

7. The article mentions MH-17

So fucking what?

8. The article uses dramatic language in a few paragraphs

So fucking what?

9. The russians used spear phishing attacks so it's all fakenews because it's not sophisticated

lolwut?

10. The article says the intelligence agencies worked together but Snowden said they spied on each other

So fucking what?


1) As the article suggests - in order to believe the US story, we have to simultaneously believe that the Russians are the most incompetent actors imaginable. Read the article - take it up with the author if you, for some reason, still believe the US narrative.

2) It is certainly relevant that the US is 'covering up' Russian hacking (read: US hacking, masked as Russian)

3) The article was focused on the conflation of the hacking / collusion narratives. Relax.

4) Obviously, but in the modern era 'anonymous sources' is largely synonymous with 'establishment propagandists'

5) Don't be disingenuous. The article discusses the specific differences between the two well-defined concepts, and raises the issue that one is not the other, and misrepresenting what actually happened is suspicious: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2014/03/computer_netw...

6) That's how they work. It's not how they ought to work.

7) The Dawson article is explicitly about how the narrative takes shape and is pushed. The MH-17 reference is discussed and the issue is discussed in the comments underneath the article.

8) See above. Dawson's article is about propaganda tactics, not hacking.

9) See above. You're ignoring the entire thrust of the article, which is about how various issues and concepts become conflated into one sprawling incoherent mess that has so many internal inconsistencies you have to ignore obvious red flags in order to believe it.

10) The whole investigation is around electoral interference. Dawson's point is that the US routinely interferes in elections - and we actually have concrete, verifiable evidence proving it. We don't need to rely on an idiotic 'special counsel' to spend a few years discovering nothing and producing a pointless report.


It sounds to me like you and the author have already decided on the conclusion, you'e made up your minds that whatever is the opposite of what an intelligence agency says is the truth, and are grasping at straws to justify that belief.

Nobody ever said the russians are genius master hackers, only that their operation is large and well funded and they're not particularly concerned about hiding it.

The fact that Mitch McConnel wants to keep his Russian connections secret does not disprove those russian connections.

You clearly haven't actually read the mueller report if you think it's "discovering nothing" and "pointless". It's free, you can read it today.


Security camera footage of people walking in a hallway.


This article is taking about general hacks targeting

1) the DNC 2) the state department 3) the white house

sometime in the time of mid-late 2014. Just to be clear: i have no doubt that they tried to hack these organizations. Now, wheres the election interference? Apartently they were caught early on, the FBI and other agencies knew about it. So wheres the interference in the election? The DNC leaks on Wikileaks? There is 0 hard evidence that the origin of that leak was russian intelligence. Friendly reminder: John Podesta used "password" as the password for his account. It could have literaly been a 12 year old kid from Armenia, who knows.


How can we differentiate between this agent making these postings as an official part of their FBI duties, or making these posts for their own reasons? I know that the screenshots imply that they made these posts while performing their duties, but well I'm at work right now when I'm making this HN comment, and that doesn't mean that my employer instructed me to make this comment.

Is this sanctioned forum sliding, or just a bored government employee shitposting when they're supposed to be working?


Why would screenshots of his personal browsing be used for the court case?


The response of the agent's superiors might leak some information as to what is actually going on behind the scenes, if they do respond. But then, any such response should be taken with a massive grain of salt due to the fact that all of this is part of multi-domain operations conducted by the US government and military.


Once again, just leaving this here.

https://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm

It has been posted before, but a day can't seem to go by without new people being taken by surprise that this type of thing happens.

Information is power, and there are many people in high places that realize it. A modest investment in keeping an eye on your opponent, and ruffling feathers on line is the new border skirmish or airspace invasion.

If you have an odd feeling in the back of your head that someone or something is actively making it more difficult to discuss something without disruption, distraction or usurpation of the public forum; odds are that is exactly what is happening. If it isn't your platform, and it's big enough to attract a large audience, then it becomes increasingly likely somebody else has been bothered to implement some sort of filter.

Is it good, bad, or indifferent? That I leave to the reader's sensibilities. However, in my opinion, there is a growing trend brought about by a tendency for increased centralization where this type of "forum engineering" is increasingly valuable to nation-state actors. Be careful out there folks, and double check your information consumption. The Signal can't be stopped, but it can be made hard to find through all the equivocation.


...or the agent isn't the person who took the screenshot. Screencaps of deleted threads are common on chans and it's more likely they got one of those than the original.


If you dig into other discussions about this (the chans were all over this last night) then there are other images that show entire discussions being faked by single IDs. It doesn't guarantee the FBI was behind it themselves, but the evidence is manufactured.


My own post on this was deleted in less than two minutes (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20200354). Hopefully this will stay.

This is extremely important as this topic was cheered on very recently (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20186775). As it turns out the "evidence" was bullshit.


What "evidence" does this contradict?


[flagged]


There's absolutely no relationship between leftism and the FBI, other than that the FBI targets leftists.


Can you turn that around to determine whether some group is leftist? "Are they targeted by the FBI?" as a test?


> a strain of leftist totalitarianism

A strain of leftist totalitarianism which - as it turns out - originally came about as a result of Russian (well, Soviet, but still) political interference. Isn't that deliciously ironic? Of course the memetic infection has been self-propagating for a very long time, also merging with other strains originating from e.g. Maoist China at the peak of the Cultural Revolution. It's a bit like a zombie invasion which has no real underlying goals of its own besides memetic success - but the Russian propaganda component was definitely there originally!


No it's not, that started around 2010 with the Great Awokening. It's being driven by the mainstream media:

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1133440945201061888.html


Missing from this post - a source and also the total num of articles used as source data. I’d bet that the number of articles in general have increased by a lot.


That's pretty interesting. As they say, Meme Magic is real.


> originally came about as a result of Russian (well, Soviet, but still) political interference.

Could you share what this refers to, and do you have specific conclusive evidence that you could also share?


I would guess he's alluding to Soviet influence on our 60s counterculture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_influence_on_the_peace_...


See e.g. Vladimir Bukovsky's Judgment in Moscow, currently being reissued in English translation. It just goes to prove that Russian interference in Western politics is nothing new, much less out of the ordinary. But the direction it points towards is very different from what you hear these days in the mainstream media!


Thank you, that's seems both substantive and evidence-based.

In my mind, the important question is: to what degree, in what forms, and backed by what evidence, does this interference actually in fact continue today, and (as you say) how closely does this align to the narrative of interference that is presented (through various channels, by various actors, coordinated or independent) to people today?

It's quite fun to think about impartially.


The interference need not continue today for the related memes to still be active. They've simply become zombie memes and have been actively spreading as such, perhaps being quite independent of any outside interference. Similarly, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has been over for decades in China itself and the Gang of Four has even lost political favor in the PRC, but the memes which have been boosted by it ("Marx, Mao, Marcuse!" and the like) are very much active in the West. The unrolled Twitter thread that's been linked in a sibling comment is highly instructive in this regard!


Some zombie memes may still be active, but we also have a fresh set of Russia memes that are pushed every day by the three letter agencies, media, and individual people (with infected brains) on various social media platforms. It's quite fascinating to watch how it all works in action, human brains act very much like computers that are attached to a network - just as a computer virus infects a machine, which in turn infects other machines it comes in contact with, the same thing can be observed (via comments on internet forums) happening with human beings as they both enthusiastically spread and defend the meme.

If anyone happens to know of anyone who is studying this phenomenon specifically in today's context, or if there is even a general name for the phenomenon, please post a comment.


It's a tradition in irc to call someone a "fed". This just legitimates it, :P


We just call 'em glows


...or they got the screenshots from somebody else posting in the thread who tipped them off.

If an FBI agent introduces a bag of coke as evidence, that doesn't mean it's her cocaine.


If the agent didn't retrieve the screenshots himself when he easily could have wouldn't that be easily dismissable evidence since the screen grabs could have been falsified in some way?


I am not a lawyer, but presumably at least part of the reason they're wanting to execute a search warrant on 8chan is to gather evidence with a clear chain of custody.

These screenshots are part of a court filing to get that search warrant. Imagine if I sent in an anonymous tip that my neighbor was running an illegal dogfighting ring, and I included photos of dogs I'd seen in his yard. My possibly-faked photos probably wouldn't stand up in a trial, but they certainly might help convince a judge to sign a search warrant for further investigation.


That's a great point. Someone else could have even modified the page content before taking the screenshot, which would make the modifications undetectable.

It seems like the agent has to claim he took the screenshots himself; otherwise, they are worthless as "evidence."


> That's a great point. Someone else could have even modified the page content before taking the screenshot, which would make the modifications undetectable.

> It seems like the agent has to claim he took the screenshots himself; otherwise, they are worthless as "evidence."

Exactly. Evidence requires a chain of custody otherwise it is worthless.


“CIA Supervisor: Jesus Fucking Christ. What did we learn, Palmer?

Palmer: I don't know sir.

CIA Supervisor: I don't fucking know either. I guess we learned not to do it again. I'm fucked if I know what we did.

Palmer: Yes sir, it's hard to say.”

-Cohen Brothers, Burn After Reading


Not exactly related but how often do you think some form of radicalization happens due to these forums? I don’t visit so I am not sure but it seems like these places are a breeding ground for violence.



I would personally pin the blame on the YouTube recommendation algorithm and the Chans first due to their natural tendency for extremism, even if some of it or even most of it is ironic.

The fact that the Tree of Life shooter posted to Gab before his attack is no accident. He wanted to radicalize others.


I take a view as a paraphrase Sid Meier's Alpha Centuari "Evil lurks onlibe as it has lurked in the streets but it never was the streets which were evil."

Gab is significant because its niche was essentially "Twitter for bigots who are too stupid to dog-whistle." It is the community that is the problem.


What you're speculating is well-documented researchers, and painfully obvious to certain folks of colloquial familiarity with the growth of Internet culture. The best "crash course" I can offer you are two PDFs of research on the subject.

Not only do these forums radicalize participants to violent extremism, their ideology proliferates into, and influences mainstream media, which in turn begins to draw mainstream audiences towards radical violence.[1] This shift in public discourse could have devastating consequences for peace and the stability of our society. There are no more serious threats to civilization, in my estimation.

It's important, also, to remember that these are deliberately amplified propaganda campaigns, not "organic" or popular reactionism.

This radicalization is bought and paid for.[2]

> influencers have effectively propagandized to viewers and helped radicalize young people (and normalize bigoted ideas) in the process. In this ecosystem, a range of mainstream conservative and libertarian influencers, self-help gurus, and gaming streamers can ultimately act as gateways to more extremist content.

1) https://datasociety.net/pubs/oh/DataAndSociety_MediaManipula...

2) https://datasociety.net/output/alternative-influence/


I've always suspected the chans were full of feds, the toxic speech functions as obfuscation allowing for open discussion of sensitive subjects.


Didn't Qanon explicitly self-identify as a "fed"? So it's not exactly news that feds too like to shitpost on the *chans - arguably, they can shitpost better than anyone!


I'm a sniper with 90 confirmed kills.

I wrote it. Is it true?


I miss the days of a squeeky-clean FBI (at least the image.)

These days we seem to be getting the X-Files version of the bureau.


On the topic of fake news and disinformation, what would one do to determine whether this post is disinformation or fake news? Most of the sources cited are to websites I’m unfamiliar with.

Is there an easy way to verify?


Wonder how many are posting in this thread


I feel some of the agencies mentioned will comment here as well...

Kinda feel someone already did...


It seems like Russia is USA's boogeyman. Every time, the establishment want people to believe some narrative they use Russia. Conservatives used Russia and communism throughout the cold war. Surprisingly, so called leftists are doing the same from 2016 onwards, blaming russian influence because their choice of candidate did not win.


You don't need to be a leftist to think the Russian government played a role in influencing the U.S. presidential election when it engaged in a hacking campaign against a candidate.


Can you point to some examples of conservatives who think Russia got Trump elected? If anything, it seems like our news media’s obsession with Trump had a larger role in getting him elected. They gave him nearly 24/7 coverage, and continue to give him that same focus even today.


Amash? There are lots, just because the party apparatus is all about the Trump train, doesn't mean conservatism is solely defined by fealty to him.


Real leftists don't mindlessly believe the nonsense spouted by the intelligence agencies.


> You don't need to be a leftist

But you do need to be a leftist, to think and argue that that type of interference, by same nations, was not done in 2012 or 2008.

You also need to be a leftist, to still continue to claim that Russia helped a Republican to be elected US president in 2016.


We know Russia helped a Republican be elected US president in 2016. There's a whole 400+ page report exhaustive going through the available evidence.

"maybe a us president be so gleeful about a foreign country interfering in our elections" isn't a leftist stance. Branding any opposition to the GOP narrative that Russia is "fake news" as leftism is just pure partisan hackery.


Nope.

I am reading the report

I actually, cannot find anything in that report that establishes unquestionable links and outcomes that left was looking for.

https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf

Selective-outrage, cherry picked partisan garbage.

In general, selective-outrage leads to selective justice, selective justice leads to tyranny, please think about it next time you read cherry picked conclusions.

Even with that, the investigation -- were not able to establish that

a) Trump directed Russia to do anything

b) the outcome of election was driven by foreign interference

In the mean time, Obama admin did not stop any interference while they knew of attempts. So it was either not significant or it did not help Trump.

Let's not forget, however what has been established:

The whole investigation was partisan, and premised on fake evidence, illegally planted.

Clinton campaign directing and buying fake evidence from foreign powers, to initiate spying on a political opponent -- is exactly the type of foreign and domestic inference, that should have been investigated by a special council.

So that much for 'equal justice' for all.

Mueller's claim that Russia hacked into DNC emails and release damaging truth to US voters, through Wiki leaks -- has not been proven either beyond a reasonable doubt.

You can choose to believe it -- but there is no evidence that was presented to public that clearly established the link.

--

Finally, nobody is branding oposition to GOP as fake news -- what is branded as fake news is:

a) selective-outrage

b) fake claims

c) active suppression of positive news from Trump

d) active purging of conservative voices on social media platforms

e) presenting the left's abuse of judiciary system with never-ending perjury traps -- as 'Justice'. While the outrage against this hijacking of US's judiciary system is labeled as 'obstructing'.


Blame gravity


It’s to sell helicopters. The oil guys like Russia a whole lot


All those Putin memes you might find are not accidental either and came earlier..Russia has a long history of this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_web_brigades


Some classic Whataboutism right here. Smells like a desperate attempt at deflection to me.

"FBI? But - but - Russia!"



Taxpayers money well spent


It's been pretty obvious from day 1 that the whole xenophobic anti-Russian scaremongering was being inauthentic and confected.

It's all just noise. There's no substance to any of it - just vague circumstantial nonsense and wild, unsupported allegations.


Just because the US is doing this doesn't mean that Russia isn't doing the same. There is evidence they have done it before [1], plus, why wouldn't they? It's a cheap way and easy way to spread propaganda.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html


I didn't make any comment at all about whether Russia does the same. I assume that any major power is constantly propagandising its own people, and those of other countries.

The issue is that this propaganda has become a mainstream news story which is:

1) Endlessly repeated on-air by trusted individuals

2) Almost universally accepted as a truth by politicians and pundits despite there being zero concrete evidence of any Russian conspiracy

3) Rarely, if ever, challenged by politicians, pundits or guests on any mainstream news channel.


Okay, I misunderstood, your message seemed to imply Russia doesn't try to spread propaganda online.

You're right, it is blown way out of proportion. Russia is most likely doing it, but yeah, I've never understood the focus on Russia when literally anyone can, and basically everyone tries to influence US politics, many (like Israel, or certain media outlets) do it openly.


> Okay, I misunderstood, your message seemed to imply Russia doesn't try to spread propaganda online.

I don't really see how anything I said could be construed that way, but ok :P

Sure you're a not a fed yourself? :P /s


[flagged]


Your comment is thoroughly within an anti-Semitic tradition of singling out and delegitimizing jewish citizens practicing politics, by accusing them of dual loyalty.


Nice try but no. The question of whether or not an individual should be allowed to serve as a US representative in congress if they are also a citizen of a foreign country is perfectly valid. Also, I never referred to any particular country other than ones that weren't represented. The fact that you jumped right to the anti-Semite card shows there's probably issues with the way things currently stand.


Hardly.


>2) Almost universally accepted as a truth by politicians and pundits despite there being zero concrete evidence of any Russian conspiracy

What? There's quite a bit of evidence, and an entire special counsel was appointed to investigate and litigate the evidence!

https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Muel...

Sections 2 and 3 are particularly relevant in this case.


There's no evidence. There's a handful of (allegedly) Russian facebook posts / members, and then spurious, inconsequential allegations about specific individuals.

The special counsel is an obvious stitch up which has achieved almost nothing aside from some irrelevant indictments, and which has produced no credible evidence of any conspiracy with Russia.

If your terms of investigation are just 'Russian interference', then you can classify literally anything which comes from a Russian as being 'interference'.

Is my post 'UK interference' in US politics? It's a joke. The entire world is laughing at the US over this.


That's a misrepresentation of the extent of Russia's espionage and propaganda campaigns during the elections. Considering Russia's propensity to kill people on UK soil, you'd think you'd be more willing to accept that their intelligence services can be brazen.

No, no evidence was produced that Trump or his campaign conspired with them. But massive amounts of evidence was produced that Russia tried to influence the election.


> That's a misrepresentation of the extent of Russia's espionage and propaganda campaigns during the elections. Considering Russia's propensity to kill people on UK soil, you'd think you'd be more willing to accept that their intelligence services can be brazen.

The Skripal narrative is nonsense too. The whole story is a farce.

> No, no evidence was produced that Trump or his campaign conspired with them. But massive amounts of evidence was produced that Russia tried to influence the election.

Having preferred outcomes and posting memes on Facebook isn't a crime under any law - national or international.


If it were just posting memes, there wouldn't be this fiasco in the first place. No, Russia didn't commit any crimes when it came to the propaganda, but the US also isn't committing crimes when they spread propaganda in other countries. Espionage, influence, and intelligence operations can be very effective without necessarily being illegal.

Also, propaganda aside, Russia did certainly commit crimes when it comes to the US politics-targeted hacking performed by their GRU and SVR intelligence departments during 2016.


> Sections 2 and 3 are particularly relevant in this case

Are you able to excerpt a few sentences from sections 2 and 3 that you believe are the most compelling?




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