Penetration At All Levels: US Senate Edition

This is what happens when you decide to play political games for power and profit rather than provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare! That this is being disclosed now means that the penetration has occurred, Senators, their staffs, and/or their campaigns are already compromised, and the enemy – Russia – wants everyone to know in order to increase the confusion and distrust and further aggravate the social, political, economic, religious, and ethnic/racial tensions and divisions in the US. Are Senators Grassley’s and Graham’s recent actions the result of being compromised or attempts to seek partisan advantage? And what about the House of Representatives? There is no way the Russians have hacked the Senate, but not the House.

From The Associated Press:

PARIS (AP) — The same Russian government-aligned hackers who penetrated the Democratic Party have spent the past few months laying the groundwork for an espionage campaign against the U.S. Senate, a cybersecurity firm said Friday.

The revelation suggests the group often nicknamed Fancy Bear, whose hacking campaign scrambled the 2016 U.S. electoral contest, is still busy trying to gather the emails of America’s political elite.

“They’re still very active — in making preparations at least — to influence public opinion again,” said Feike Hacquebord, a security researcher at Trend Micro Inc., which published the report . “They are looking for information they might leak later.”

The Senate Sergeant at Arms office, which is responsible for the upper house’s security, declined to comment.

Hacquebord said he based his report on the discovery of a clutch of suspicious-looking websites dressed up to look like the U.S. Senate’s internal email system. He then cross-referenced digital fingerprints associated with those sites to ones used almost exclusively by Fancy Bear, which his Tokyo-based firm dubs “Pawn Storm.”

Trend Micro previously drew international attention when it used an identical technique to uncover a set of decoy websites apparently set up to harvest emails from the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign in April 2017. The sites’ discovery was followed two months later by a still-unexplained publication of private emails from several Macron staffers in the final days of the race.

Hacquebord said the rogue Senate sites — which were set up in June and September of 2017 — matched their French counterparts.

“That is exactly the way they attacked the Macron campaign in France,” he said.

Business Insider also has coverage:

The US Senate was targeted last year by the same hacking group that broke into the Democratic National Committee servers during the 2016 presidential election, according to the cybersecurity firm Trend Micro.

The research firm found that phishing sites were set up by Pawn Storm, also known as Fancy Bear or APT28, mimicking the Senate’s internal email system in an attempt to gain users’ login credentials.

“By looking at the digital fingerprints of these phishing sites and comparing them with a large data set that spans almost five years, we can uniquely relate them to a couple of Pawn Storm incidents in 2016 and 2017,” the researchers wrote.

The  June 2017 phishing attempts would not have been the first time the Russia-linked hackers tried to infiltrate the US Senate.  In its extensive analysis of Fancy Bear’s targets during the presidential election, the Associated Press found that Senate staffers Robert Zarate, Josh Holmes, and Jason Thielman were targeted between 2015-2016.

Fancy Bear had a “digital hit list” throughout that period that targeted a wide range of Russia’s perceived enemies, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, and half of the feminist protest punk rock group Pussy Riot.

Trend Micro said that the Senate’s Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), which is bascially its internal email system, “is not reachable on the open internet.” But phishing of users’ credentials on a server “that is behind a firewall still makes sense.”

“In case an actor already has a foothold in an organization after compromising one user account, credential phishing could help him get closer to high profile users of interest,” the researchers wrote.

Hacquebord said he doesn’t think it’s correct to say that the methods Pawn Storm used were not advanced.

“They have to know who they want to target, and the timing is important,” Hacquebord said. “The techniques may not be advanced but the social engineering is. They’ve been using these same tactics for quite some time, and it’s been quite effective. They are also very persistent.”

He added that Pawn Storm was using zero-days, or software vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers before the developer discovers and patches it.

“These zero days are expensive on the black market,” Hacquebord said. “This is not the stuff of amateurs.”

In case you think compromising members of the Senate, their staffs, and their campaigns is very bad, it gets worse.

On June 13, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified to the Senate Intelligence committee about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. After fielding hours of questions about his knowledge of the plot, Sessions was greeted by an abrupt change in topic from Senator John McCain. “Quietly, the Kremlin has been trying to map the United States telecommunications infrastructure,” McCain announced, and described a series of alarming moves, including Russian spies monitoring the fiber optic network in Kansas and Russia’s creation of “a cyber weapon that can disrupt the United States power grids and telecommunications infrastructure.”

When McCain asked if Sessions had a strategy to counter Russia’s attacks, Sessions admitted they did not.

But while the role of hacks in the election is the subject of several ongoing probes, the hacks of other U.S. institutions and infrastructures have been largely ignored by the Trump administration, even as the hacking became more aggressive throughout 2017. In June, shortly after McCain’s testimony, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI released an urgent joint report stating that U.S. nuclear power stations and other energy facilities had been hacked. In July, Bloomberg and the Washington Postconfirmed that the hackers worked for the Russian government.

While U.S. government officials stressed that the public was not yet at serious risk, claiming the hackers had not yet gained the ability to control the grid, intelligence officers warned that infrastructure attacks by a hostile state can also operate as a form of political leverage. Most analyses of the 2016 election hacks have framed leverage in personal terms: kompromatstolen from hacked emails used to blackmail individuals into submission or to humiliate officials as part of a propaganda campaign. Less examined is the form of leverage McCain raised at the Sessions hearing: the possibility of vital infrastructure, like the power grid, being crippled, potentially causing massive financial and humanitarian consequences. In this formulation, an entire government could ostensibly be held hostage to another government’s whim out of fear of triggering a cataclysmic attack.

As 2017 wore on, Russia continued to hack infrastructure around the world , again crippling government and corporate offices across Ukraine, along with energy sectors in the United Kingdom and government officialsin France, and ending the year targeting NATO countries through unprecedented focus on underwater North Atlantic cables that provide internet service to the U.S. and Europe. Disrupting these cables, one British naval official said, would “immediately and potentially catastrophically affect both our economy and other ways of living.”

In September, security firm Symantec said it had notified more than 100 energy companies in the U.S., Turkey, Switzerland, Afghanistan, and elsewhere about Dragonfly 2.0—a set of intrusions into industrial and energy-related companies suspected to originate in Russia. Using targeted phishing emails and compromised websites designed to capture users’ credentials, the hackers gained access in some cases not just to front-office networks but to “operational machines.” As a Symantec security analyst told Fast Company, “We’re talking about machines that are controlling elements that are plugged into the power grid.” A month later, the Dept. of Homeland Security and FBI warned critical infrastructure providers in nuclear, energy, and other key sectors about the ongoing attacks, noting that “threat actors are actively pursuing their ultimate objectives over a long-term campaign.”

And if you think Putin is going to stop, he’s not. He’s going to turn the screws.

When the employees of the famous “troll factory” in St. Petersburg return to their desks after the Russian holidays, they will be writing comments and posts on social media in much more spacious offices. As the city’s leading business daily Delovoy Peterburg reports in an investigative article published just before New Year, the 4,000 square metres of their previous address on 55, Savushkina Street have been replaced by 12,000 square metres in St Petersburg’s Lakhta business district.

The impressive threefold increase of work space is testimony to the success of the “factory”. As Russian RBC Daily’s investigation in April 2017 showed, the trolling activities have now branched out into a conglomerate of at least 16 different online outlets, all of which voice strong support for Kremlin’s policies, while systematically linking to each other’s products. At the same time they carry little or no advertisement.

The owner of the “troll factory”, businessman and billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin, has also become known as “Putin’s chef” because of his success in providing catering services for, among other clients, the Kremlin and other branches of the Russian government. Mr Prigozhin has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for providing financial support for Russia’s military occupation of Ukraine. Delovoy Peterburg’s investigation also reveals that the owners of the new premises are contributors to President Putin’s election campaign.

As I wrote 18 months ago: we are at cyberwar. I was one of the first national security professionals to publicly make that argument based on what was available in open source reporting. Eighteen months later we have actually moved to the point were the cyberwar is just one of the fronts in an elaborate, multi-pronged Russian attack and offensive against the US, our EU and NATO allies, and other liberal democratic states and societies. A formal declaration of war and placing the US on a mobilized for war footing in order to appropriately respond is no longer something to joke about. We can either get serious with this threat and respond appropriately through a formal declaration of war, placing the US on a war footing to fight back, and the mobilization of our closest allies by invoking NATO Article 5 or we can watch Putin make bank as he dismantles liberal democracy in the US, Canada, and the EU and then tries to scarf up eastern Europe, the Baltics, and parts of Scandanavia.

This is not a game. It is not a joke. This is not politics as usual or as unusual. This is not about partisan advantage. We have wasted trillions of dollars, thousands of American and allied lives, and hundreds of thousands to millions of lives of host country nationals caught in the crossfire misunderstanding and improperly responding to Islamic extremism and the terrorism it engenders as an existential threat. Right now we have decided to purposefully ignore a real existential threat: Russia’s war against the US, the EU, NATO, and liberal democracy because it might jeopardize Paul Ryan’s desires to gut Social Security, Mitch McConnell’s dreams to gut campaign finance laws and pack the Federal courts, Stephen Miller’s blatant racism, Mike Pence’s fetish for punishing LGBTQ people because they make him feel icky about himself, and the President’s psychological inability to come to terms with the fact that he is only in office because Vladimir Putin felt threatened by Secretary Clinton combined with the desires of a plurality of white racists and misogynists to make one last stand for bigotry and oppression. And because stating that truth is considered to be politically inappropriate. We can either get it together or we can be remembered as a society so stupid we allowed ourselves to be subverted and destroyed without a single shot being fired.

As I asked eighteen months ago: we are at war, what are we going to do about it?

185 replies
  1. 1
    ruemara says:

    Nothing, because we’re not really at war with Russia. We’re more at war with oligarchs abroad and at home. And this is not something they think is bad. I think we’ll have to aid fellow citizens in learning to tune out the media as much as possible. Or we will be the nuclear armed evil fascists we feared during WWII.

  2. 2

    Thanks Adam.

    Meanwhile my useless lefty friends are sharing Greenwald’s article about how democrats are the real fascists for supporting surveillance of foreign spies.

  3. 3
    Adria McDowell says:

    @ruemara: The mid-terms will tell the tale: if the GOP wins, then we already are the evil fascists we feared in WWII.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Adria McDowell: OT: I did not mean to upset you last night. I understand where you’re coming from.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Emerald: Morons going to moron.

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Need to purge this country of traitors.

    Which means the GOP.

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:


    Actually, I think we are at war with Russia. The problem is that our oligarchs actually prefer Russia to the United States, so they’re selling us out as fast as they can manage. They would prefer to be top dogs in a Russian-style autocracy than be part of a vibrant democracy.

    Quislings all.

  9. 9

    @Emerald: it’s almost like he’s intentionally trying to manipulate them into doing what Russia wants 🤔🧐

  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Greenwald is a fifth columnist. No question about it.

  11. 11

    I agree that we need to mobilize and that the Republicans are getting in the way of that, but I think that a formal declaration of war is more than we need. It also opens the way to possible kinetic actions that would lead to…well, let’s not go there.

    A number of years ago, before “cyberwar” was a thing, a publisher asked me and a colleague to write a book about it. We kicked ideas and the beginnings of a draft back and forth and finally agreed that there were a great many problems with analogizing cyber actions to military field actions, and that it wasn’t worth writing a book about. I feel kind of sad some days that we didn’t take the bs route and make a gazillion dollars consulting.

    I agree that we need to counter what the Russians are doing. The first steps would be to educate people to (duh) not click on stuff they’re not sure about and more sophisticated defenses. Another step would be for the President to say, in unequivocal terms, that this is unacceptable. He would need to have a threat behind that too, which could be that we’ll mess with their computer systems. President Obama did that.

    The biggest problem that my colleague and I saw is the difficulty of attribution and making clear what you’re doing, or going to do. If you say “We’ll hack your electrical system and put you literally in the dark,” they they know to defend their electrical system. Same with any threat that is more specific than “We will deal with this at a time and in a way of our choosing.” Which President Obama said. Attributing the attacks so that the public knows the danger is out there is similarly difficult; not just the attribution, but also explaining how you know. Again, once you say it, you’ve given up a lot of advantage.

    We now have a president who invited Russia to hack his opponent’s emails. He hasn’t said anything different. VVP is listening.

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Ah, I was wondering what you were referring to earlier.

    Being very upset that the US spies on other countries seems to be a theme with white dudebro “lefties” ever since Snowden said that was his motive for turning traitor. He claimed he was shocked to discover that the CIA was spying on government officials in Switzerland.

  13. 13
    El Caganer says:

    It’s remarkable (in a really awful way) that a country with a GDP a fraction the size of ours could so dominate us. What exactly are our counterintelligence people doing? Anything?

  14. 14
    bearcalypse says:

    America is too used to killing brown people to declare war on white people, even if they can see their country from their house. It’s too hard and there are way too many racists opposing it even if Democrats were in power.

  15. 15

    The Russians have been struggling with telephoned bomb threats for several months. They can’t find where they’re coming from.

    In the week leading up to the new year’s holiday, more than 50 sites in 30 Russian cities, including five airports and some government offices were evacuated following bomb threats that later proved to be false. These latest evacuations mean more than three million Russians have been forced to leave buildings since these calls began in September.

    Huh. “At the time and in a method of our choosing.”

  16. 16
    Gravenstone says:

    I’ve said previously that the only way I see this ending is shoving a Hellfire in Putin’s left ear, shame that it would result in WW III. Maybe it really will come to that.

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Attributing the attacks so that the public knows the danger is out there is similarly difficult; not just the attribution, but also explaining how you know.

    Especially since there’s a sizable swath of Americans who have been propagandized to think that this is all “fake news,” and that propaganda comes from both the right and the left.

  18. 18

    @Cheryl Rofer: that’s actually kind of funny, retaliating with an epidemic of crank calls.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne: Or that the “Deep State” is perpetrating it.

  20. 20

    @Major Major Major Major: If it is indeed our retaliation, yes, someone has a sense of humor.

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Guess who?

    5. “Shithole?” Well, SWMBO and I have lived and visited in many a “shithole.” Haiti, Salvador, Yemen, and any number of African dumps closely resemble that description. Rude? Yes, certainly, but he is the “hard hat” president. IMO most Americans agree with him on this. .In my experience the poor condition of these countries is largely the fault of their inhabitants. The US should stop propping them up and should let the world economy deal with them.

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    The National Guard Bureau has had enough:

  23. 23
    Spanky says:

    @El Caganer:

    What exactly are our counterintelligence people doing? Anything?

    Well, I hope we don’t find out, because that would be a massive intelligence failure.

    But we can assume that Russia (and probably a few more nations/orgs) have penetrated the electrical grid, water systems, and various other elements of the infrastructure with cyber weapons that will at minimum cause chaos and possibly bring the country to a standstill. We won’t know how well these weapons have been found and neutralized until they’re triggered, unfortunately.

  24. 24
    Gravenstone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: This is likely a reach, but I see parallels between what became the Global War on Terruh and this new Cyberwar. Both involved a Democratic president near the end of their terms beginning to take action against what they viewed as the source of the problem {Clinton:Bin Laden as Obama:Putin), only to have their Republican successors either ignore those actions, or actively undermine them. And the sad thing is, we can be relatively confident that in both cases, had the preferred Democratic successor actually gotten the presidency, both issues would have been dealt with in an appropriate manner.

  25. 25
    Spanky says:

    @Gravenstone: I’d think it would be more ironic if Putin’s last ride was in a computer-controlled elevator.

  26. 26
    Jay S says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: One action I think we should take is a hardening of our cyber infrastructure to minimize the ability to use phishing email/response sites and other email impostor frauds. This could be part legal carrot and stick measures for ISP’s along with government sponsored research and development projects for cyber security geared towards civilian internet as well as government internet use.

  27. 27
    Emerald says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Greenwald is a fifth columnist. No question about it.

    Not any more. Actually that’s been clear for awhile.

    My sister believes everything he says. She’s so steeped in it (also watches RT to get “news”) I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it.

    Yet she hates Trump. I do wonder how long that’s going to last.

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: I think this part is even more disconcerting:

    6. A lot of the newer, younger people on Foxnews’ air appear to be making their reportage into the new CNN.

    That man trained me. Mentored me. I owe him debts I can’t repay. But he has lost his way.

  29. 29
    El Caganer says:

    @Spanky: Something to look forward to….I guess……

  30. 30
    low-tech cyclist says:

    It takes two to have a war. Russia’s attacking, but unfortunately we’re not defending or counterattacking.

  31. 31
    Gravenstone says:

    @raven: That wouldn’t be your old “buddy” Lang, would it?

  32. 32

    @Emerald: the goal of Greenwald and RT isn’t to get people to like trump, it’s to make them hate democrats.

  33. 33
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I know I should stay away.

  34. 34
  35. 35

    @Jay S: Yes. I think we need a whole series of things to harden our systems. But first we will have to have a government that wants to do that.

    This week, my cell phone started identifying some numbers as “Scam Likely.” One small step.

    Headed out now for a while. Will check back later.

  36. 36

    @raven: Googles says Pat Lang. His blog font is ugly, other than that I have no idea who he is or why I should care.

  37. 37
    Emerald says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    They’ve succeeded with my sis. She announced a couple of months ago that she was no longer a member of the Democratic party because THAT’s the one that’s corrupt.

    I despair.

    What’s the goal, anyway?

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: It is what it is. I can’t watch him. I love him like he was my uncle, but he pushed me away because I couldn’t follow where he was leading. It is just sad.

  39. 39
    low-tech cyclist says:


    This is likely a reach, but I see parallels between what became the Global War on Terruh and this new Cyberwar. Both involved a Democratic president near the end of their terms beginning to take action against what they viewed as the source of the problem {Clinton:Bin Laden as Obama:Putin), only to have their Republican successors either ignore those actions, or actively undermine them. And the sad thing is, we can be relatively confident that in both cases, had the preferred Democratic successor actually gotten the presidency, both issues would have been dealt with in an appropriate manner.

    I don’t think it’s all that big a reach.

    The biggest difference is that Trump almost surely knows the Russians helped put him where he is today, while that was obviously not true of bin Laden and Bush. But that’s my only cavil.

  40. 40
    ruemara says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Nothing like that great feeling that the country you love hates you. yay. Congrats.

    @Emerald: It’ll last until she does’t care for comforting lies. Greenwald is was and has always been a dishonest broker.

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Founding Deputy Director of Defense Intelligence for Human Intelligence (SES 5). Former Director and Professor of Arabic Studies at US Military Academy West Point. Former Defense Attache/Senior Defense Official. Retired colonel US Special Forces/Green Beret. Former Team Leader for COORDS Team Pho Loc, Vietnam. One of the two retired Green Berets who taught me how to do my job. Former mentor, teacher, and friend.

  42. 42
    Jay S says:

    @Emerald: Disruption is one goal. Preventing an organized response by planting mistrust.

  43. 43
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Major Major Major Major: If you’re not super-plugged in it’s hard to keep track of which seemingly promising figures turned out to be stooges. I’ve had to tell friends they really shouldn’t trust Julian Assange recently.

  44. 44
    Mike J says:

    @raven: If you don’t want to say the word shithole, you can use the polite southern version, sugar ditch. Of course people will assume you mean Mississippi.

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @ruemara: From the the 1AD Commander when I was assigned to 2BCT/1AD in Iraq:


  46. 46
    different-church-lady says:

    Aside from actual security concerns, none of this would be much of a political problem if the media had not gone, “OMG! LEAKED EMAILS PROVE HILLARY CROOKED!!1!” They abetted it. And I bet if the GOP gets hacked this year, they won’t.

    ETA: What I’m saying here is that it wouldn’t have much of an impact if the media did not abet the Russian shit-stirrers by being the swizzle stick. The hackers know exactly which psychological buttons to push in our journalistic landscape.

  47. 47
    raven says:

    @Mike J: Honeybuckets in Korea.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    White supremacy is a hell of a drug. I no longer wonder how so many Scientologists can get to the Xenu story and accept it, because I’ve seen way too many white people I know reach the make-or-break point where they have to choose between reality and white supremacy and they choose the latter.

  49. 49
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Matt McIrvin: “Recently”?

  50. 50
    ruemara says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The patriotism of minorities in America is the most amazing example of agape love because we pledge fealty to a nation that’s destroyed our pasts, our communities, denigrates our selves, our capacities, actively despises us, dangles threads of hope before snatching them away and yet still, we join up to fulfill the dream of what it could be. If we were half the monsters bigots say we are, this country would have spent the past 200 years in a low level internal conflict.

  51. 51
    Ocean dude says:

    Adam, what would be an appropriate cyber response? Seems to me that Putin just wants to foment chaos, and have we, as citizens, lose all confidence in effective government. We cant play tit for tat. Russia does not seem susceptible to the strategy Putin is playing here. For example, my understanding is that Russian trolls staged a NRA type of rally and a pro immigrant rally at the same time and place in Texas last year, violence nearly ensued. If memory serves, the Russian trolls used facebook. Putin arrests any real opposition to his leadership. I would think you would have to cause economic damage, because the social chaos strategy would not play in Russia. Is it possible to electronically attack this new “troll factory”. If we attack them using cyber means and cause economic damage, would that be considered escalating the situation. I suppose thats obvious, but bottom line, whats an appropriate response, or if you will, how do you get Putin to get his head out of his ass because this is some stupid shit. He has no idea how this plays out.

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @ruemara: No arguments here.

  53. 53
    trollhattan says:

    Seems to me whether we’re “serious” about the Russian threat or not–at some levels it’s surely being taken that way–because Trump has insulted/repelled/both all of our important allies we’re fighting this battle alone, which is precisely the inverse of what our approach should be. Who among our allies is willing to share their intel when the CoC will blab about them and burn their sources? Nobody.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

  55. 55
    different-church-lady says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I’ve had to tell friends they really shouldn’t trust Julian Assange recently.

    Which is weird, because people like Assange and Greenwald made my sensors go off from the get-go, based on nothing more than how the on-line left talked about (and worshiped) them.

  56. 56
    mapaghimagsik says:

    Trying to prepare my sector for when the war goes from warm to hot.

    I wish I was more successful, but I have a feeling my org will be downsized anyway.

  57. 57
    Emerald says:

    @ruemara: Thanks. Glad somebody thinks she’ll realize it eventually.

    She’s surrounded by her very good friends, however, all of whom are fringe lefty types. So it’s entirely emotional with her.

    However, she believes every bit of the crap they said about Hillary, yet tried to get people to vote for her anyway. So there’s a glimmer of hope there.

    But she’ll have to basically split from her friends to overcome this, and I just don’t see that happening, unless they start supporting Trump (her bestie already came close to that).

  58. 58
    Adam L Silverman says:


  59. 59
    Yarrow says:

    we are at war,

    I’ve been saying this to people for awhile. Often, when I say it to people who are dependable Dem voters, smart and fairly well informed they gasp and say something to indicate they don’t believe me or I’m exaggerating or I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    I think we need to keep repeating this statement to make it more public and get people on board with the concept. Maybe, as Cheryl said, we don’t want to go quite as far to declare war. Maybe we want to use some other term. I don’t use another term because I think we are at war. I also think most Americans don’t know have much knowledge that this is happening.

  60. 60
    different-church-lady says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    #2 Target would be News/media outlets & personalities

    They’re not the targets: they’re the destination.

  61. 61
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Senator Sasse is vexed, vexed I tell you:

  62. 62
    TenguPhule says:

    We can either get it together or we can be remembered as a society so stupid we allowed ourselves to be subverted and destroyed without a single shot being fired.

    Stupidity and Destruction it is then.

    I agree with everything you said Adam. But its not going to happen as long as Trump occupies the Whitehouse, his minions run the Departments and Republicans are in Congress and the Courts. We can’t even begin to defend our country, let along strike back, until all of them are in jail or dead.

    At this point, doing this the election way is going to result in a Watchman realization, by the time the new Congress is sworn in, Putin’s plans were already carried out thirty five minutes ago.

    To respond effectively and in a timely fashion would require a military coup. And require that said leaders of the coup be willing to face convictions in court for their convictions to do the right thing afterwards to save the Republic in order to save the Republic.

  63. 63
    different-church-lady says:


    But she’ll have to basically split from her friends to overcome this

    Most friends are overrated anyways.

  64. 64

    @Adam L Silverman: When did he go over to the dark side. His blog with that crazy font is not a good look. It must be hard for you. I still haven’t gotten over my friend’s defense of the Muslim ban, after which I stopped corresponding with her after letting her know why.
    P.S. You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:


  66. 66
    Emerald says:

    @different-church-lady: Ha! Wish that were true with her. She has a lousy home life. Her friends are all she’s got, besides me.

  67. 67
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @El Caganer:
    Being steamrolled by the very people who are worried that cybersecurity and counterintelligence is expensive and will hurt the bottom line.@Cheryl Rofer:
    Perhaps its retaliation, or perhaps its a way to keep your own populace in check.

  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    He should wander back into his childhood corn field and do some thinking about how he, an actual U.S. senator might do something about it his ownself, rather than subbing it out to the nutted AG.

  69. 69
    Adria McDowell says:

    @Adam L Silverman: No worries! I respect the hell out of you, but sometimes we disagree on stuff- which is fine. We need optimists like you, to balance out our pissy pessimists (like me).

  70. 70
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Right now we have decided to purposefully ignore a real existential threat: Russia’s war against the US, the EU, NATO, and liberal democracy because it might jeopardize Paul Ryan’s desires to gut Social Security, Mitch McConnell’s dreams to gut campaign finance laws and pack the Federal courts, Tom Cotton’s blatant racism, Mike Pence’s fetish for punishing LGBTQ people because they make him feel icky about himself, and the President’s psychological inability to come to terms with the fact that he is only in office because Vladimir Putin felt threatened by Secretary Clinton combined with the desires of a plurality of white racists and misogynists to make one last stand for bigotry and oppression.

    A powerful statement.

    I wonder if Putin assured Trump that he would not mess with the US anymore and so Trump and the Republicans could do what they wanted to the government and society without worry. And Trump, of course, stupidly believed him.

    What is a little odd is how blindly the Republican leadership ignores any threat and just stumbles along with their own agenda.

  71. 71
    mapaghimagsik says:

    For me, it was the sense that people like to screw over my enemies will eventually get around to screwing over my friends and me. So I never had much trust in them.

  72. 72

    @different-church-lady: Same here, especially after the Snowden affair. Also too, never understood the left’s fascination for Edward Snowden.

  73. 73
    Jeffro says:


    What is a little odd is how blindly the Republican leadership ignores any threat and just stumbles along with their own agenda.

    Classic American mindset: “It won’t/can’t/better not! happen to us” As if wishing made it so…

  74. 74
    Another Scott says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Well said.

    We need a more granular set of options between “doing nothing” and “declaring war”. Back in olden days, there were (as Ron Paul and his acolytes remind us) things like a “letter of marque” that we would give pirates to do our bidding. Presumably things like that are going on in the background, even without the public paperwork…

    I assume our biggest defense against some massive attack on our networks and infrastructure is the fact that the oligarchs have money they want to protect, so destroying the world economy (via damaging the US economy) is not in their interests…


    It would be good to see what Obama has to say about this stuff in his memoirs…


  75. 75
    Millard Filmore says:


    [Snowden] claimed he was shocked to discover that the CIA was spying on government officials in Switzerland.

    And as long as what they learn, being friends of ours, stays out of the gossip pages and MSM, I suspect they are OK with that.

  76. 76
    Duane says:

    Is the name of the security researcher quoted in the AP article pronounced Fake Hackboard? Because that would be a great name in his line of work.

  77. 77
    Mike in DC says:

    Some thoughts:
    1. The majority of our top flight presidential candidates are currently serving in the Senate, so upping cybersecurity there shoukd be job 1
    2. Job 2 should be strengthening cyber defense more broadly, and inoculating the public against bot-driven social media campaigns
    3. As to retaliation, this should not be limited to cyber warfare but should include every applicable lever of soft power we can bring to bear. The goal should be to weaken russia economically, thwart its global aims, and destabilize Putin domestically. More on this later.

  78. 78
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I’ve repeatedly stated I’m not going to discuss any of this publicly. I’ve said more than I’d usually do because it had to be said.

  79. 79
    Adria McDowell says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That is fucking terrible.

  80. 80
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Adria McDowell: I’m not so much an optimist as I’m just too damned stubborn to be a defeatist!

  81. 81
  82. 82

    @Adam L Silverman: I understand. And am appreciative of what you did share. Thanks.

    ETA: I know that raven links to Mr. Lang but I was not aware of your connection. We have had disagreements in the past and I have on occasion annoyed you. But I do appreciate the wealth of knowledge you bring to these posts.

  83. 83
    Jay S says:

    @Yarrow: we are under attack is probably better phrasing, since we don’t have any public response that a war would imply.

  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t know. I honestly don’t think Putin thought that far ahead. I honestly don’t think this was the outcome he thought he’d get. I think he was just aiming to get a weakened President Clinton who would be so hampered by the domestic effects of his tampering that she wouldn’t have the focus or political capital to check his ambitions and actions. Putin looks like a strategic genius right now, but the reality is that he’s tactically very sound, but that’s about it. He does have a grand vision, but he’s not really a strategic thinker. He’s the dog that caught the Lada.

  85. 85
    Timurid says:

    @Adria McDowell:

    That, or the election’s been rigged like a five-masted schooner…

  86. 86
    FlipYrWhig says:


    Also too, never understood the left’s fascination for Edward Snowden.

    See, I’m not surprised that a white dork at a computer with an acute sense of his own superiority could end up an icon to white dorks at computers with acute senses of their own superiority. It’s like how high school freshmen feel kinship with Holden Caulfield.

  87. 87
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: Except what Ron Paul doesn’t understand is that letters of Marque and the actions of those that had them were considered acts of war.

  88. 88
    Adria McDowell says:

    @Timurid: Well, yeah….

  89. 89
    VOR says:

    @Adam L Silverman: No idea if true or not but clearly somebody in the Haiti government is pissed and fighting back.

  90. 90

    @FlipYrWhig: And don’t forget the dronez..

  91. 91
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid: She’s an interesting character. So to speak. She considered primarying Snator Vitters (R-Pampers) in 2009.

  92. 92
    Mike J says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Plenty of people are able to feel kinship with Holden Caulfield without thinking he’s a role model.

  93. 93
    PJ says:

    @Adam L Silverman: if only there were some kind of institution of lawmakers that Sen. Sasse could appeal to to investigate Russian undermining of our government and to institute laws and empower agencies to combat these attacks. Sigh. I guess it’s up to little ol’ Jeff Sessions to save the day again.

  94. 94
    Yutsano says:

    @Another Scott:

    I assume our biggest defense against some massive attack on our networks and infrastructure is the fact that the oligarchs have money they want to protect, so destroying the world economy (via damaging the US economy) is not in their interests…

    Save the tax cuts, getting Dolt45 elected will also undermine this. Saw something the other day about the T bill price crashing down hard.

  95. 95

    @FlipYrWhig: @schrodingers_cat: Yeah, the left (particularly in my age cohort) had also spent a number of years uncritically hating everything the intelligence community did, since we came of political age during the USA PATRIOT Act scene.

  96. 96
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I’ve always been a bit creeped out by all the photos of Snowden that show him with the same pose and facial expression as gauzy White Jesus iconography.

  97. 97
    Emerald says:


    never understood the left’s fascination for Edward Snowden

    He took down The Man. He beat the corrupt neo-liberal corporatist fascist shills.

    Quite fun actually, because as Rand Paul Libertarians, he, Greenwald and Assange basically define the term “neo-liberal.”

  98. 98
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: You’re not annoying me.

  99. 99
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @PJ: Is a puzzlement.

  100. 100
    Robin Gittelman says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That’s sad. So sorry!

  101. 101
    Yarrow says:

    @Jay S: I don’t think “under attack” is strong enough to describe what is happening. It can have the implication of a single occasion. War is longer term and ongoing. I don’t know if there is some other better word. I do find that “war” gets people attention, at least. I can then explain what I mean.

  102. 102
    PJ says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t think this is Republican blindness, I think it is the opposite. Republican (or certainly the right wing part of the party’s) policy for the last 37 years has been to dismantle the regulatory and taxing power of the federal government (not to mention its ability to enforce civil rights) by any means necessary, which means effectively weakening the US government so that it can be drowned in Grover Norquist’s bathtub. Putin’s main foreign policy goal has been to weaken the US’ alliances and its hard and soft international influence. At some point he realized the easiest way to go about this would be to weaken the federal government, principally through manipulation of elections and US media (mainstream and social). In the last election cycle, if not before, Republican leadership (McConnell, Ryan, Mercers, et al.) realized that they and Putin were working towards the same goal, so why should they try to stop it?

  103. 103
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Robin Gittelman: It is what it is. I can’t change it. Or fix it.

    The other retired Green Beret who trained me, a retired senior NCO, unfortunately died unexpectedly in 2009. He had some health issues left over from his service in Vietnam, combined with smoking far too much. He was working a contract in Iraq. When he didn’t show up to his office one morning they went looking for him and found him dead in his rack. He died in his sleep. He taught me about small team operations. How they’re supposed to run, how to run one while still working as a small enterprise. I miss him a lot too.

    Fortunately, as far as I know, the retired Civil Affairs guys that trained me are all still alive and doing well.

  104. 104
    Jay S says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I believe that we have focused cyber security to much on the end points and not enough on the network. Expecting education and prophylactic software installation by end users is an insufficient and unrealistic response IMHO. The network has been exposed as vulnerable since the Morris worm in 1988. The hardening that has occurred in the network since then seems insufficient to the threats we have uncovered over time.
    The administration’s failure to address national security concerns of the internet might be worked around by addressing them as stopping criminal activity.

  105. 105
    Mike in DC says:

    On retaliation:
    1. Crank up the sanctions to 11. Every oligarch and industry should feel the sting.
    2. Cut off Russian access to SWIFT banking.
    3. If the final findings are severe enough, consider a full blown trade embargo.
    4. Covert electronic support of ukraine military ops (comms intercepts, satellite intel for targeting, etc)
    5. Figure out a way to engineer Assad’s downfall
    6. Steal Russia’s weapons deals away…offer India something better than a fighter that might never work
    7. Figure out a way “in” with the internal resistance to Putin, without leaving our mark–maybe feed them even more embarrassing financial info to put on you tube
    8 accelerate the demise of the fossil fuel industry and keep oil and nat gas prices as low as possible.

  106. 106

    @Adam L Silverman: That’s good to know because I was accused of stalking you last week, among other nasty things.

  107. 107
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    The reason our Senate is finding it hard to deal with a Russian who plunders his own country’s oil reserves while laundering the proceeds through shell corporations located in tax havens is because it would require them to address an ongoing RICO enterprise that they would prefer NOT to.
    Putin has inserted himself into the middle of Western plutocrats’ international money making machine by helping one of it’s money launderers get elected president. He’s now daring the West to try and fix it without shooting themselves in their crooked-ass foot.
    99% of Americans would have no problem seeing that rigged game blown to hell.
    The Senate’s problem is the Donor Class don’t want it touched.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:


    In the last election cycle, if not before, Republican leadership (McConnell, Ryan, Mercers, et al.) realized that they and Putin were working towards the same goal, so why should they try to stop it?

    This is my theory as well, and I bet Putin couldn’t believe his luck in finding so many willing collaborators.

    I also assume this happened partially because of Republicans’ habitual overconfidence in their own abilities. They assumed they could easily outsmart Putin and drop him when he was no longer convenient, but now they’re finding out that it’s not so easy to back out of the bear’s cave once you’ve fed your friend to it.

  109. 109
    Jay S says:

    @Yarrow: Well then maybe ‘waging a covert war against us’ would flesh it out better, to explain the “war, what war, I haven’t heard anything about a war” response. But I am not a good propagandist (in the technical sense of the term rather than the pejorative on).

  110. 110
    tychay says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that the same thing that makes our system so vulnerable (corrupt able politicians and oligarchs), Russia has in spades. There is probably nothing that happens in Russia that we don’t already know about.

  111. 111
    Adam L Silverman says:

    The Erik one breaks some news:

  112. 112

    @Mnemosyne: Indian rulers who tried to play that duplicitous game with the European powers (mainly the British) found that the tiger they were riding was willing to eat them too. By then it was too late to do anything.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yep, it’s a common human failing among powerful people who want to hang onto that power at all costs and is not limited to a single culture. The Republicans are just the latest ones to get caught up by their own hubris.

  114. 114
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Wait, was that you at the gym, the grocery store, the Apple store, and the movies?//

    We practice high levels of operational security at all times. Stay alert! Stay alive!

  115. 115
    Yutsano says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Erick ibn Erick probably can’t even find his car parked at a mall. How in the hell would he have any kind of news about the Mueller investigation?

  116. 116
    Mnemosyne says:


    OT, but someone here recommended a recent mystery novel you might be interested in: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey.

  117. 117
    Jay S says:

    @Yutsano: Erick son of Erick claims to have been feed this tasty nugget by the Trump legal team.
    ETA if true then the knives may be out for Jared.

  118. 118
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yutsano: I do not know.

  119. 119
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I think he was just aiming to get a weakened President Clinton who would be so hampered by the domestic effects of his tampering that she wouldn’t have the focus or political capital to check his ambitions and actions.

    Sadly, I think that Putin would have strongly underestimated Clinton. On the other hand, Trump is a made-to-order dupe. You’re right that stumbling into a Trump election victory makes Putin look like a strategic genius.

  120. 120

    @Adam L Silverman: I am smaller than Fareed Zakaria, so you have nothing to fear. And the only weapon I wield is my wit.

  121. 121
    Yarrow says:

    @Jay S: They response isn’t really “I haven’t heard anything about a war” but more “Whaaaat?” As if the very mention of it must mean I’ve lost my mind. I’m kind of used to it now but I’ve been saying it for over a year and early on people thought I was nuts. Since all the Trump/Russia stuff is in the news all the time people think I’m a little less crazy.

    It does seem like something out of a spy novel. I can understand how people who aren’t following the news all that closely think it’s made up. We’ve certainly said here many times that if you submitted a book outline or script with this stuff you’d be turned down because it wouldn’t be seen as realistic.

  122. 122
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid: Also,

  123. 123
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid: Also, also: you never see them together. Coincidence? I think not!

  124. 124
    trnc says:

    No worries. Republican congress members are all far too smart to fall for “Log in hear now be4 your email account expirez!”

  125. 125
    Adam L Silverman says:

    And that’s a wrap on Tweety’s career!

    On January 5, 2016, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews interviewed Hillary Clinton in an Iowa fire station during the Democratic primary season. Network footage obtained by the Cut shows Matthews, during the interview setup, making a couple of “jokes” about Clinton. He asks, “Can I have some of the queen’s waters? Precious waters?” And then, as he waits for the water, he adds, “Where’s that Bill Cosby pill I brought with me?” Matthews then laughs, delighted with the line, for an extended moment, as the staffers around him react with disbelief, clearly uncomfortable. (Cosby has been accused of sexual impropriety by dozens of women, some of whom allege that they were drugged and raped by the comedian.)

    “This was a terrible comment I made in poor taste during the height of the Bill Cosby headlines,” Matthews said to the Cut. “I realize that’s no excuse. I deeply regret it and I’m sorry.”

    Much more at the link.

  126. 126
    Timurid says:

    @Jay S:

    So Plan B for Trump is “throw the Jew down the well?”
    He’ll give Kushner and Miller a good, long look at the bus’s oil pan while crying “I had no idea! I was wrong to trust those (((people)))! It won’t happen again!”

  127. 127

    @Mnemosyne: Malabar Hill is a super exclusive residential area in Mumbai, my mom’s aunt used to live there, her apartment building was behind the official residence of the Chief Minister of the state. Also too, Jinnah lived there.

  128. 128
    Jay S says:

    @Yarrow: Your are probably facing an inverse “I want to believe” problem. Active disbelief is a defense mechanism and even entertaining this means the world just doesn’t work the way they understand it.

  129. 129
    Yarrow says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Ugh. Was waiting for something to come out about Tweety. No way it wasn’t there.

  130. 130
    Timurid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    …and why is it dated two days before the story broke?

  131. 131
    Jay S says:

    @Timurid: It was probably part of the settlement that didn’t happen.

  132. 132
    Gravenstone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Blind squirrel finding his nut, or a middling length knife aimed and Jarvanka’s backside?

  133. 133
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  134. 134
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid: Especially since Cohen claims she provided this the last time the story broke during the 2016 campaign.

    But in this case, most likely because the WSJ reporter contacted him for comment.

  135. 135
    chris says:

    Molly McKew’s pinned tweet is appropriate here. Note the date.

    The West is already at war whether it wants to be or not. Here's how to fight Putin's global imperialist insurgency.— Molly McKew (@MollyMcKew) 2 January 2017

  136. 136
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay S: @Timurid: There is no way Jared freelanced anything. Ever. In his entire life. Jared is the person that always asks whoever is dominant in the relationship for permission. His dad, his wife, his father in law. Jared is a nebbish and a schmendrick.

  137. 137
    Yarrow says:

    @Jay S: Yes, that’s likely. I think that’s why I like the “we are at war” framing. It cuts through the bullshit. It’s clear. I can then explain. The world isn’t working like they thought. We need to know what we are up against so we can fight back. Well meaning people who are hiding their heads in the sand are not as useful as those who see what is going on.

  138. 138
    Mnemosyne says:


    Since you’ve been reading so much straight history, it might be nice to take a break with a historical mystery. It takes place in 1920s Bombay. The author is already well-known for her mysteries set in Japan. She is herself half-Indian (other half is German) and I guess wanted to do some novels looking at that history.

  139. 139
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @chris: 6 months after my first post on the matter.

  140. 140
    Jay S says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I find it hard to believe that that alone will end Tweety’s career. OTOH I doubt that is the only thing lurking in his background. It may be the beginning of the story.

  141. 141
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Adam L Silverman: He is such an ass. Bob Somerby went way around the bend long ago but I’ll always give him credit for shining a harsh light on arrogant shitbags like Matthews and Tim Russert.

  142. 142
    sharl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And that’s a wrap on Tweety’s career!

    LOL, from your lips to the Ferengi Media Deity’s ears.

    The petty prejudices of that air-headed, babbling twerp have occasionally surfaced into public display over the years, and reports of his begging, whimpering and impotent threats as his multiyear contracts have approached renewal time have provided me with some dark amusement. (The amusement part goes away once I recall that this was the empty suit who replaced Phil Donohue.)

  143. 143
    ruemara says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That is such a WTF comment.

    Oh, well, BYE.

  144. 144
    Emerald says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Another one bites the dust. I’m still waiting for anything to come out about Chris Cillizza and Josh Barro.

    No doubt NBC will merely slap Tweety’s hand, though. Somebody up there loves him.

  145. 145

    @Mnemosyne: I recently found out about a German cinematographer who moved to India because he did not want make propaganda movies for you know who and was a part of several Hindi movies from the 30s to the 60s, some that even I know about (big mainstream hits).

    ETA: Thanks for you recommendation, I will look it up.

  146. 146
    Timurid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Of course it will all be lies. But the Village and the GOP pols will accept those lies, like all the others, as gospel. Because Trump still has the unanimous and unquestioning support of the only two groups that matter to them:

    1. People who will express their anger by ending their careers with one phone call.
    2. People who will express their anger by meeting them in the parking garage one night with a machete.

  147. 147
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And the title of this thread is Penetration at All Levels.

    golf clap

  148. 148
    Jay S says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Jared is a nebbish and a schmendrick.

    Does that mean he will be an insufficient sacrifice on the altar of public opinion? It may not stand up to legal scrutiny but it probably buys some time with the willfully ignorant.

  149. 149
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    No way–if Tip O’Neill and Dutch Reagan say it didn’t happen, then it didn’t happen!

    Rio Hillaryhate runs deep and wide.

  150. 150
    tobie says:

    Well, yet another male in the so-called liberal media who had it in for HRC. The cue is getting quite long: Halperin, Rose, Lauer, Thrush, Sullivan, etc.
    @Emerald: I’d like to see Chuck Todd fall. Cilliza and Milbank already exposed themselves when they referred to HRC as a “mad bitch.”

  151. 151
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: Keeping it all topical!

  152. 152
    Jay S says:

    @Yarrow: OK, carry on.

  153. 153
    BC in Illinois says:

    @Emerald: @FlipYrWhig:

    never understood the left’s fascination for Edward Snowden

    Here he is, at his most charming and patriotic. John Oliver, April 2015

  154. 154
  155. 155
    karensky says:

    I am rather late to this very scary party but it is beginning to look a lot like 1929 in terms of the chaos of impeding economic and social doom. What I can do is to keep my eye on the mid-terms and support Democrats by volunteering and giving small amounts of money. And, hanging with friends and family and getting stoned.

    Best to you all.

  156. 156

    @Emerald: I sincerely doubt Josh Barro has a history of sexual impropriety with women.

  157. 157
  158. 158
    Yarrow says:

    @Emerald: There’s just no way Chris Cillizza isn’t also going to end up on the list. No way.

  159. 159
    Jay S says:

    @Emerald: @Major Major Major Major: She did say

    I’m still waiting for anything to come out about Chris Cillizza and Josh Barro

    I could see that.

  160. 160
  161. 161
    Yarrow says:

    @Jay S: Thanks for the discussion.

  162. 162
    Mike in NC says:

    We’ve read here that neither Trump nor Tillerson desire to actually enforce the latest new sanctions that would impact Putin and his cronies, and both McConnell and Ryan are more interested in their personal ideologies than defending the Constitution. Good luck waging defensive cyberwarfare as long as the GOP controls the federal government. Putin’s penetration has included the NRA, churches, media, entertainment, and federal and state government agencies.

  163. 163
    tobie says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I don’t think that’s what Emerald meant. I thought she was saying that he’s a virulent misogynist. I don’t know enough about him to say but A. Sullivan definitely fits in that category.

  164. 164
    Captain C says:

    @Ocean dude: No idea if this is at all viable, but if it were me, one of the things I’d do is try and find the secret accounts of the Oligarchs (including Putin) and drain them, possibly doing like they did in Sneakers and give the proceeds to various charitable organizations, and also possibly sending some to rival Oligarchs to foment rivalries. The latter, I would have done in a way that makes it difficult, but not impossible to detect.

  165. 165
    Yutsano says:

    @Jay S: Sin. Sin and filth. I refuse to believe Josh has that bad of taste.

  166. 166

    @tobie: ah. I never noticed, if he is, but I don’t pay him much attention. Sully though, ugh.

  167. 167
    Yutsano says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Barro does have his Two Minute Hate on for Clinton but I think that’s more his anti-Clinton schtick than anything. If he’s been blatantly misogynistic I haven’t seen it.

  168. 168
    Captain C says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Enemy of my enemy, I think.

    They obviously aren’t familiar with Maxim #29 from the Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries, to wit:

    29. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy’s enemy. No more. No less

    Or for that matter, my own variation:

    “Sometimes your enemy’s enemy is an even bigger asshole.” (You can sub “danger” for “asshole” in polite company, I suppose.)

  169. 169
    Captain C says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    He does have a grand vision

    As far as I can tell, it’s “Russia uber alles” combined with “all your world’s money are belong to me.”

  170. 170
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Captain C: Pretty much.

  171. 171
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Spanky: My bro’s bidniz partner had this poster on his office wall many years ago…:D

  172. 172
    Captain C says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The other thing about Putin is that, as far as I can tell, he has no succession plan. Given that (as per Putin’s Kleptocracy) he basically got himself into power by making himself the one man through whom all Russian power groups intersect (combined with his willingness to give the Yeltsins protection after Boris left office), I can’t see anything but another chaotic period, possibly worse than the ’90s, after he finally croaks. Barring a surprise (always possible), I think he dies in office, unless he finds a Putin-junior to do for him what he did for Yeltsin.

  173. 173
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @PJ: When your enemy has the same goal for your country as you do, shouldn’t that give you at least a moment of pause? I guess power matters more than anything to Republicans, even if they destroy the country in their quest to have it, and help to create a failed state (with repeated government shutdowns looming on the horizon, and the Freedom Caucus’ lunacy, that seems to be their intent).

    I guess they’ve realized that third world shitholes do have billionaires with private guards/armies, private jets, private yachts, real-estate around the globe, opulent lifestyles unaffected by the failures of the government of the day, and, most importantly, no government interference with their quest to do what they want, when they want to the little people, no matter how many get harmed. Those billionaires pay little, if any taxes. Grover Norquist’s dream come true. Maybe that’s what the Republicans want for America – as long as they are the uber-rich in this scenario.

  174. 174
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Captain C: He’ll have picked someone and set them up to do for his family what he did for Yeltsin’s. Is that Medvedev or someone else?

  175. 175
    Captain C says:

    @Adam L Silverman: No idea. I would imagine that it may well shift over time.

  176. 176
    Ruckus says:

    @Captain C:
    Putin isn’t going to hand over anything. He’s going to continue to take until either someone wipes him out, which is going to be rather difficult because of how he’s situated or he is going to die right where he is, which is the most logical happenstance. He likes being on top and has the resources to maintain that for the rest of his life. He’s 65 now so if things go well for him he should be good for another 20 yrs, at least. But he isn’t walking out the door on his own anytime soon.

  177. 177
    Ruckus says:

    @Felanius Kootea:

    Maybe that’s what the Republicans want for America – as long as they are the uber-rich in this scenario.

    No fucking maybe about it.
    That is exactly what they want.
    Just as an aside, that’s exactly what Putin wants as well.

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    NeenerNeener says:

    @Felanius Kootea:

    Maybe that’s what the Republicans want for America – as long as they are the uber-rich in this scenario.

    There was a line in this week’s X-Files episode that really struck me, said by a Russian security guard: “Who knew that Americans would be fine with losing the Cold War as long as they made some money off of it?”

  179. 179
    Sebastian says:

    @Mike in DC: declare the Oligarchs and their organizations as terror organizations and enemy combatants. Shoot their private jets out of the air and tomahawk their luxury yachts. Hellfire their Bentleys and Ferraris.

    You’ll see a full blown panic when they are all considered “Number Twos” in the evening news.

  180. 180

    @Jay S: Election systems have to be hardened too.

  181. 181
    m.j. says:

    I can’t help but feel this is some weirdly ironic twist to the red scare we knew in the 20th century. It must be whiplash.

  182. 182

    This is another method of defense against cyber operations.

  183. 183
    J R in WV says:


    The Republican “leadership” is owned body and soul by those who can put them out of office and into a cell. Probably the Russian fascists, but who knows how far that toxic information has drifted?

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    AnotherBruce says:

    @Adria McDowell: I don’t think this is going to wait for that. Once critical infrastructure is threatened then an all out military action is very possible. While the Republican dither, Moscow is planning an invasion.

  185. 185
    fuckwit says:

    This is the scariest post I’ve seen in my entire life. Everyone should read this.

    Then again, one thing keeps nagging at me: “cui bono”?

    What does Putin and/or the Russians gain by fucking up the USA?

    I mean, Bond villains are not real life. Real successful people are not motivated by just causing destruction and mayhem. What’s the payoff for Putin?

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