Late-Night Russiagate Open Thread: The Cloud Strikes Again


 
Oughta know to leave those tech toys to The Youngs…

44 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    Personally, I hope he dies in agony. In full view of an audience/camera.

  2. 2
    Kraux Pas says:

    Nothing to see here, people, move along…

  3. 3
    gene108 says:

    WhatsApp is owned by Faceboook. Technically, WhatsApp is supposed to be secure peer to peer messaging, but Facebook wouldn’t have bought, if it couldn’t find a way to use the content to make more money.

    Basically, even with WhatsApp, someone is watching.

  4. 4
    Chet Murthy says:

    @gene108: Only way to really be secure, is write the damn thing your -own- self. Though I guess I’d be willing to trust libsodium for crypto.

  5. 5
    sukabi says:

    Dear Pauly boy, thanks for getting coffee. Vlad sends his condolences. Enjoy the tea.

    Trump tweet tomorrow.

  6. 6
    patrick II says:

    I am not happy that the unstated, but not unwarranted, threat of assassination of a U.S. citizen, dirtbag he may be, by a foreign power is being discussed except in terms of dire circumstances if it came to pass.
    But that would mean our president is not a Russian agent. But still, people are too relaxed talking about it. We are not England.

  7. 7
    sukabi says:

    @patrick II: why would a Putin sanctioned assassination of one of the players mean Drumpf himself wasn’t a Russian agent?

    Seems like Putin likes to clean up loose ends, no matter who or where they are. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have other players on the board.

  8. 8
    eyelessgame says:

    The really terrifying thing is that Putin can assassinate him and something like a third of our own citizenry will believe our own government did it regardless of the evidence.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    The only secure communication is talking to yourself. In your inside voice. Under your breath.

    And even then…

    :)

  10. 10
    SectionH says:

    @Corner Stone: Works for me.

  11. 11
    SectionH says:

    @patrick II: FFS. It’s not Mueller’s job to worry about the enemies Manafort may have made in the past.

    Mueller knows what his investigation needs, and he seems to be very good at getting it. This is not the first time he’s id’d Manafort as a flight risk – remember?

  12. 12
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    Perhaps a silly question: If Manafort is pardoned by President Angry Apricot, isn’t that pardon a def facto admission of his guilt on the charges? (OK, I know that one – Yes.) And as such, does, say, Putin shrug it off, or does that de facto admission create undesirable loose ends for him?

  13. 13
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    Follow up to my earlier thought: I do seem to recall that pardoned folk can still be compelled to testify as to what they know in other criminal/civil cases. That might affect the answer, no?

  14. 14
    patrick II says:

    @SectionH:

    FFS yourself. I never said it was Mueller’s job. It should be the American president making sure the citizens of the U.S. are safe from death from foreign interest. Sadly, we have Trump in that position who seems to be servile to if not afraid of Putin for whatever reason. And that is the problem I have with this. A threat to Manafort’s life should be met with the threat of very serious consequences for Russia. But we know that is not happening.

  15. 15
    Chet Murthy says:

    @patrick II:

    A threat to Manafort’s life should be met with the threat of very serious consequences for Russia. But we know that is not happening.

    “And now I’m gonna have to turn my back on you, Paulie boy”.

  16. 16
    Bruce K says:

    @Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn: Technically, yeah, accepting a pardon is tanamount to admission that you did the deed – but pardoning Manafort creates two major problems that I’m not sure Twitler understands. One, pardoning Manafort is, if not prima facie obstruction of justice in and of itself, then pretty damned close; and two, the pardon works like a grant of immunity, in that it wipes out the self-incrimination protections of the Fifth Amendment, which means that Mueller can compel Manafort to testify on pain of imprisonment for contempt of court.

    In short, a Presidential pardon isn’t the get-out-of-jail-free card Twitler seems to think it is – and anyway, anyone who plays Monopoly knows that you don’t get to keep the card after you’ve used it…

  17. 17
    Schlemazel says:

    @Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn:
    He would lose the right to invoke the 5th amendment and refuse to answer. You can’t pardon too early in the process or you end up aiding instead of obstructing

  18. 18
    bjacques says:

    That pardon from Trump could be a real monkey’s paw for Manafort, Being compelled to testify would put him in Dutch with his Russian friends. And the federal pardon wouldn’t help him on those state charges in Virginia on tax evasion and bank fraud. Mueller should be begging Trump not to throw him in that briar patch.

    Come to think of it, if Trump pardoned himself, couldn’t he also be compelled to testify?

    disclaimer: IANAL, but I turned 55 on the 1st and Matlock showed up in my Netflix feed the same day.

  19. 19
    Study pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    @Bruce
    @SchlemAl

    Yes, important detail I left out, there.

    It occurs to me not to trouble with it. I’m sure Mueller has a list of any such potential trials.

  20. 20
    germy says:

    This is the kind of brazen lawbreaking you do when you know you have a presidential pardon coming.

    I disagree. Why bother with tampering if you expect a pardon?

    WaPo headline: “Mueller Accuses Manafort of witness tampering.”

    Rather than, you know, he did it and there’s proof.

  21. 21
    Barbara says:

    Just trying to contact potential witnesses is enough to revoke bail. I don’t necessarily accept the Russian threat hypothesis because it’s equally plausible that he has gotten away with so much for so long that he figures he can still manage the situation. He will be lucky if his lawyers don’t quit.

  22. 22
    randy khan says:

    Contra to the tweet posted above, I think Manafort probably has concluded he’s not getting a pardon. That’s one reason he’s desperate enough to try witness tampering.

    And I don’t think that Manafort admitting guilt would give Putin any angst – it’s what Manafort might say in testimony that would concern him.

  23. 23
    randy khan says:

    @germy:

    That headline is pretty much what every newspaper does in criminal cases. Even when a murderer is caught at the scene with the bloody knife in his hand and there’s video, the headline will say he’s accused.

  24. 24
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    My vote is “Manfort gotten away with it so long”. If Manfort was an 11d chess player he wouldn’t be in the mess in the first place.

  25. 25
    Barbara says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: No one can make you testify. That’s the counter to the Russian threat hypothesis. If he sees his choices as going down or dying, he doesn’t have to do anything except wait for the verdict. In this case, he probably figures delay is his friend because once he is convicted he doesn’t necessarily face jeopardy for his testimony so loses the right against self-incrimination, although that is highly dependent on the relationship between what he is found guilty of and what he is asked to testify about. The only possible excuse for contacting a witness is to pursue his defense, and he will most likely argue that he contacted witnesses to conduct his defense. I don’t know anything about his lawyers but I bet they are at least threatening to quit. When they argued on his behalf in the first effort to revoke his bail, they probably made representations to the court and those representations have most likely proven to be objectively false. At a minimum, he could lose access to devices and be ordered to contact witnesses only through his lawyers.

  26. 26

    Die of polonium poisoning on the street like a man, Paul.

    That’s some seriously frosty shit right there, man. We’re losing our humanity on the way to the gallows.

  27. 27
    Bill Arnold says:

    So as far as I can tell with a few minutes of digging, WhatsApp messages backed up to iCloud are currently encrypted, but a subpoena can be obtained and the backup restored to a new phone with the same phone number.
    Is this what happened?
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/08/whatsapp-quietly-added-encryption-to-icloud-backups/

    The company in question, Oxygen Forensics, told Forbes its workaround only works for a specific scenario whereby it has access to a SIM card with the same mobile number that WhatsApp uses to send a verification code to generate the encryption key for the iCloud backup.

    Forensic tools are apparently used to download the encrypted WhatsApp data backed up to iCloud. Then, using the associated SIM, Oxygen Forensics said it can generate the encryption key for decrypting the data by passing the verification process again.

    I’m wondering about Signal in particular.

  28. 28
    Jerry says:

    So, do we know that Manafort was using WhatsApp? Do any of the news articles on this clearly spell out how Mueller found out about the witness tampering?

  29. 29
    Jerry says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    So as far as I can tell with a few minutes of digging, WhatsApp messages backed up to iCloud are currently encrypted, but a subpoena can be obtained and the backup restored to a new phone with the same phone number.
    Is this what happened?

    No. Just the mere act of backing up your WhatsApp messages into iCloud breaks the encryption. See this screenshot here.

  30. 30
    El Caganer says:

    I can’t see Putin giving a shit what Manafort does or doesn’t do. He knows Americans pretty well – at least 50% won’t care and the rest will generate outraged bluster on Twitter. Why cause an international ruckus for nothing?

  31. 31
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Jerry:
    I saw that screenshot, but read it as saying that all security bets were off once you enabled backup and restore to a (potentially) new phone. That the Authorities had to jump through an additional hoop to get at the messages. See the article I linked.

    Anyway, still wondering about Signal.

  32. 32
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Jerry:
    This gizmodo article lays out part of it but some details are (almost certainly) missing.
    Paul Manafort Learns That Encrypting Messages Doesn’t Matter If the Feds Have a Warrant to Search Your iCloud Account

    The new court filing, made public just last night, outlines the communications that Manafort had with multiple unnamed sources. And while some of the sources willingly handed over WhatsApp and Telegram messages to special prosecutor Robert Mueller, it’s clear that the feds also have a court order to search through Manafort’s iCloud account.

  33. 33
    ChrisS says:

    @Bill Arnold:
    Allegedly one of the Persons that Manafort attempted to sway spoke with the Special Counsel’s team and showed them the messages … no additional steps needed.

  34. 34
    Barbara says:

    @ChrisS: What people like Manafort learn the hard way is that almost no one is willing to lie on behalf of business associates once a prosecutor lowers the boom. Not employees, partners, hired associates, no one. People will lie to save themselves so they might lie on their own behalf in a way that coincidentally helps out a third party. But among all the other failures it points out in Manafort’s character, asking these prior non-relative business associates to lie to a federal prosecutor shows a lack of understanding of human nature. Of course, they went straight to the prosecutor because they don’t want to be indicted either.

  35. 35
    oatler. says:

    @BruceFromOhio: “Seriously frosty”? That’s pre-looking-glass thinking.

  36. 36
    Barbara says:

    @Barbara: P.S., to understand just how stupid this action was, just by reaching out Manafort undermines the credibility of anything helpful they might have said. Of course, it doesn’t sound like they would have been helpful, but it appears to me that Manafort became so adept at influencing anyone and anything if the price was right and he pulled the right strings that he did not understand the limits of his own universe. Some people actually aren’t for sale.

  37. 37
    Jerry says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    This gizmodo article lays out part of it but some details are (almost certainly) missing.
    Paul Manafort Learns That Encrypting Messages Doesn’t Matter If the Feds Have a Warrant to Search Your iCloud Account

    Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks brother

  38. 38
    Jerry says:

    @ChrisS:

    Allegedly one of the Persons that Manafort attempted to sway spoke with the Special Counsel’s team and showed them the messages … no additional steps needed.

    Thant certainly helps as well. People are gonna talk.

  39. 39
    J R in WV says:

    @Jerry:

    I would suspect the minute some of these people hung up the phone on — or opened a message from — Manafort, they were dialing someone with Mueller’s team to let them know about the contact.

    Otherwise they were vulnerable to prosecution for conspiracy with Manafort!

  40. 40

    @oatler.: Ah, you got me. Clinging to the old ways, I am.

  41. 41
    zhena gogolia says:

    @BruceFromOhio:

    I share your dismay — at the thoughts I myself am having daily.

  42. 42
    No One of Consequence says:

    die of polonium like a real man…

    holy crap, I need a new keyboard…

    (wipes away tears from his eyes)

    Peace,

    – NOoC

  43. 43
    TenguPhule says:

    @Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn:

    And as such, does, say, Putin shrug it off, or does that de facto admission create undesirable loose ends for him?

    Manafort continuing to breathe is a loose end for Putin.

    His only real shot at staying alive is flipping and hoping Trump gets ousted quickly and cleanly.

    Otherwise he and his family die screaming.

  44. 44
    TenguPhule says:

    @BruceFromOhio:

    That’s some seriously frosty shit right there, man. We’re losing our humanity on the way to the gallows.

    As long as its the other side that’s swinging from them. Freeze Away.

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