Saturday, January 7, 2017

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Still plenty of folks, including our incoming leader, who are doing everything they can to try to deflect attention away from the fact that a hostile foreign power manipulated our elections. The loudest cries from the defenders of Putin have been "Show us the evidence! You can't trust the CIA! Let's see it!"

And lo, the CIA said "Here you go."

Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.  
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments. 
We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence. 
Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.  
Further information has come to light since Election Day that, when combined with Russian behavior since early November 2016, increases our confidence in our assessments of Russian motivations and goals.

The intelligent report is pretty clear about this analysis: Russia was up to no good, and they clearly decided that Trump was better for their interests, so much so that it was worth the risk of getting involved in influencing US elections.

Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.” Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, has a history of conducting covert influence campaigns focused on US presidential elections that have used intelligence officers and agents and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin. 
Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties. 
We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks. 
Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying. 
Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences. 
We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.

So the plan was that if Trump couldn't win, that they would use WikiLeaks, Russia Today, Sputnik and a host of internet trolls to unload massive disinformation about the Clintons in order to destroy Hillary Clinton's ability to govern.  The plan was so successful however that it outright put Trump in the White House and the Russians were celebrating the fact.

Senior officials in the Russian government celebrated Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton as a geopolitical win for Moscow, according to U.S. officials who said that American intelligence agencies intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election in which Russian officials congratulated themselves on the outcome. 
The ebullient reaction among high-ranking Russian officials — including some who U.S. officials believe had knowledge of the country’s cyber campaign to interfere in the U.S. election — contributed to the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow’s efforts were aimed at least in part at helping Trump win the White House.

My question is of course they couldn't have done this without Trump.  He's been very, very vocal in defending Putin and saying the Russians had nothing to do with it, and even after the classified briefing he got Friday he still doesn't believe it.

At this point I have to assume the Russians have a Sword of Damocles waiting for him, and he'll do anything they want in order to keep them from unloading what they know about him. The evidence is overwhelming that our incoming president has been compromised by a foreign power.

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