Friday, January 26, 2018

Dutch Intelligence Hacked the Russians Who Hacked the DNC

There have been rumblings from time to time about Dutch and German intelligence services knowing something, perhaps a lot, about Russian efforts to meddle in America's 2016 presidential election. It seems there's substance to those rumours.

According to a report in the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD)—the Netherlands' domestic intelligence service—had hacked into the network of a building at a Russian university in Moscow some time in the summer of 2014. The building housed a group running a hacking campaign now known as "Cozy Bear," one of the "threat groups" that would later target the Democratic National Committee.

AIVD's intrusion into the network gave them access to computers used by the group behind Cozy Bear and to the closed-circuit television cameras that watched over them, allowing them to literally witness everything that took place in the building near Red Square, according to the report. Access to the video cameras in a hallway outside the space where the Russian hacking team worked allowed the AIVD to get images of every person who entered the room and match them against known Russian intelligence agents and officials.

Based on the images, analysts at AIVD later determined that the group working in the room was operated by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). An information and technology sharing arrangement with the National Security Agency and other US intelligence agencies resulted in the determination that Cozy Bear’s efforts were at least in part being driven by the Russian Federation’s leadership—including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

AIVD’s penetration into the Cozy Bear network lasted for more than a year. The information gathered during the surveillance, Modderkolk’s sources suggested, was key to the US intelligence agencies’ attribution of the DNC breach to Russia. And the leaks that have followed, as well as the Trump administration’s recalcitrance in accepting the attribution, have made the Dutch intelligence community a “lot more cautious when it comes to sharing intelligence,” Modderkolk wrote.


Toby said...

There is no point to having a secret if you can't blab it to all and sundry. If sundry wants to misuse your secret that's tough.

Let's put this the other way around. If you want to keep a secret don't tell anyone. Don't even hint that you have a secret. One would think that spies and their masters would understand that but they can't resist the urge to tell.

crf said...

It's probably safe for the Dutch to publicize this now because the Russians likely found out about the surveillance, and stopped it.

Publicizing the story now is about extracting the last bits of its propaganda value towards the home base and to the Russians. There are, after all, substantial numbers of westerners who don't believe that the Russians would have any interest in interfering in western politics. The Dutch wanted to give more evidence that the Russians are interested in interfering, and also they wanted to show that the West is capable of discovering those interests.

The Mound of Sound said...

Chris, I wholeheartedly agree. My grasp of the dynamics of this stuff is poor enough but I think most people have no idea.

Owen Gray said...

And, in Washington, this information seems to be unheeded.

The Mound of Sound said...

Other than forcing Facebook, YouTube, etc. to clean up their act somewhat there's been little sign that the Congress has taken any steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.

The FBI, CIA, NSA and other agencies may be busy beavers behind the scenes but how do they defend the weak spots, America's real vulnerability, the American people themselves?

We've seen how special interests (Mercer et al, Aggregate IQ, Cambridge Analytica) can manipulate public opinion and how hostile governments can meddle in America's elections but their success has hinged on the breakdown of 'democratic knowledge' in the American people. In a culture that embraces voices such as Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, the rest of the open mouth radio contagion, FOX News and the rest of the horde of conspiracy theorists, alternate realities are inevitable.

"Over the last two decades, the common knowledge of American democracy has been undermined. As Alexis de Tocqueville warned could happen, the structures of shared knowledge are being weakened by democratic politics itself. Politicians — especially on the right — have cast doubt on sources of authority such as science and government, telling their supporters that they shouldn’t trust experts. Finally, the public itself, on its own initiative, has become less trusting of traditional institutions such as the Roman Catholic Church as they have revealed their feet of clay."

The American public has been groomed to be sufficiently incapable of discerning reality to make election manipulation feasible. Years ago on 60 Minutes, two senior Republican back room types brazenly explained their party's new system for essentially brainwashing the gullible. They used the Swiftboating of John Kerry as an example. Start a rumour that Kerry's Vietnam medals were a scam. Get a few guys to say he wasn't even there, etc., etc. Start a new narrative. Launch it on the talk radio circuit where lunatics can say anything and let it steep there, gain a following. Then you move to stage 2, FOX and get it circulating on cable stations. Eventually it builds an adequate critical mass that even credible news outlets that know better feel they have to run it lest they be seen as biased and, suddenly, for a significant part of the electorate you've manufactured a damning narrative out of whole cloth. That is how you engineer what I've taken to calling Gullibillies. That is how you deliberately subvert your own democracy.

John B. said...

My better informed friends remind me that I've been brainwashed by the fake msm into accepting the enslaving globalist agenda and by my failure to dig deep enough through reading independent sources, such as QAnon, that aren't being paid to stick to the globalist narrative. I must admit that I was terribly uninformed about the Soros/Rothschild cabal, President Barack HUSSEIN Obama, "The Storm", the Saudi-Clinton cabal, the Zionists and Global Zionists, the Obama/HRC cabal and John McCain's moon boot before I checked out some recommended independent sources.

Anonymous said...

"My grasp of the dynamics of this stuff is poor enough but I think most people have no idea."
Most people are not aware about empire's interference with essentially EVERYTHING* important in world affairs. China's and Russia's meddling is paltry in comparison.
* Just one example: while vain Putin was preoccupied with Sochi Olympics, empire pumped 6 billion dollars into Ukraine to stir unrest.
Check it out - it is on record.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps , one day, we will accept that the USA is the world's rogue nation.
Not to forget it's anglosphere coat tail hangers on..

The western world "was" against the USA quitting the Iran agreement on nuclear weapons .
After a quick visit to the EU by Rex Tillerson ALL nations back tracked upon their disagreement with the USA.
Just who governs this world?


The Mound of Sound said...

@ John B. John, I know this may offend you and, for that, I'm sorry but I think you're being drawn into the realm of conspiracy or magical thinking by those who use the mainstream media as their straw man. As a former journalist I well understand that the mass media is a secondary source at best. It's inherently limited by the nature of commercial journalism, the depth of its journalists - limited at best, and editorial limitations. Conspiracists use those very limitations to posit alternative theories and they tend to succeed because so goddamned few can be bothered to go to primary sources, not secondary stuff such as the mass media offers.

There are people, John, who believe Alex Jones over the New York Times any day, every day. It's a Hobgoblin mentality that leads directly to this lethal breakdown of "democratic knowledge." What was once seen as fringe nonsense now has a foothold in alternative reality. I have genuine regard for you, John, and so I have to be honest. I think you're falling for it.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon 4:24. I really don't have to "check it out." Much of it can be found on posts on this blog going back several years.

The world emerged from WWII in ashes with some 60-million dead. The dominant power, the United States, sought to prevent a recurrence of the madness by a series of treaties, conventions and protocols ranging from new international law to Bretton Woods, the WTO and similar arrangements, an underlying purpose of many of which was to regulate and thereby defuze tensions between/among nations that could lead to armed conflict.

In practice these measures were very successful - for the first two decades at least, facilitating the sort of alliances that allowed us to weather the most volatile years of the Cold War. Eventually "we" and the United States in particular seemed unable to resist its historic imperialistic impulses born of Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism and proceeded to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. A perfect example: it was the Americans who conceived the idea that wars of aggression must be prohibited, illegal, absent the sanction of the UN Security Council, a principle completely subverted by the Bush/Cheney decision to conquer Iraq.

As authority for the invasion the US and Britain relied on Security Council resolution 1441 for which they gained approval on their express promise that it would not be used as authority to attack Iraq without a further resolution of the Security Council. Blair knew this which is why the Brits tabled a motion for that very resolution only to sheepishly withdraw it when it became clear it would fail.

The invasion itself made both the United States and Britain "rogue nations" operating outside international laws. Outlaws, in a word.

The Mound of Sound said...

TB, I wasn't aware that any party to the Iran pact, other than the US, had gone against it. I seem to recall Germany and France, along with China and Russia, refusing to entertain any renegotiation demanded by Washington. Their refusal seemed to force Trump to recertify the deal and Iran's compliance quite recently.