Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: Busy Days At Marred-A-Lago

Not a cybersecurity expert, but seems like that’s hardly best practice?

A federal prosecutor argued in court Monday that Yujing Zhang, the Chinese woman arrested trying to enter President Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach last month, “lies to everyone she encounters” and said a search of her hotel room uncovered more than $8,000 in cash, as well as a “signal-detector” device used to reveal hidden cameras.

Also uncovered in the search: $7,500 in U.S. hundred-dollar bills and $663 in Chinese currency, in addition to nine USB drives, five SIM cards and other electronics, according to federal prosecutor Rolando Garcia. Signal detectors are portable devices that can detect radio waves, magnetic fields and hidden-camera equipment.

Prosecutors are treating the case as a national-security matter and an FBI counterintelligence squad is investigating, sources familiar with the inquiry told the Miami Herald.

Zhang gave conflicting accounts of why she came to Mar-a-Lago on March 30, at one point saying she had been invited to attend a social event, according to an affidavit filed by a U.S. Secret Service agent. But she was found to be carrying several electronic devices, including a thumb-drive containing “malicious malware,” the Secret Service said. That raised suspicions among federal investigators already probing possible Chinese intelligence operations in South Florida that she could be engaged in espionage…

Investigators are still trying to determine the nature of the malware Zhang allegedly brought into the club, sources told the Herald. It is not clear how much of a threat the malware posed and whether it was intended to gather information at the president’s club or possibly to destroy an existing network or program, they said.

Secret Service agent Samuel Ivanovich, who interviewed Zhang on the day of her arrest, testified at the hearing. He stated that when another agent put Zhang’s thumb-drive into his computer, it immediately began to install files, a “very out-of-the-ordinary” event that he had never seen happen before during this kind of analysis. The agent had to immediately stop the analysis to halt any further corruption of his computer, Ivanovich testified. The analysis is ongoing but still inconclusive, he said…

The agent said he conducted a four-and-a-half hour interview with Zhang at the Secret Service office in West Palm Beach. There was only video but no audio recording because Ivanovich said he did not realize the audio was not working.

Congressional Democrats have called for a counterintelligence investigation into Yang, whose activities have generated national scrutiny.

As it turned out, the FBI has been investigating possible Chinese espionage operations in South Florida since late last year, sources with knowledge of the inquiry exclusively told the Herald. Zhang’s arrest has sent the counterintelligence probe into overdrive. The FBI Counterintelligence Division in South Florida is also now examining the activities of Yang. The investigation had originally focused on other Chinese nationals doing business in South Florida or traveling to the region. (In February, a Chinese student was sentenced to one year in prison after he was caught taking photos and videos at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Key West.)

A spokeswoman for Yang said she has done nothing wrong, has not been contacted by federal authorities and did not know Zhang, the alleged Mar-a-Lago intruder.

Trump was in South Florida during the security breach but was golfing away from Mar-a-Lago. Last week he called the incident a “fluke.”…

Zhang’s arraignment — where prosecutors will present the charges against her — is scheduled for Monday, April 15.

Or then again, maybe it’s related to the Trump Occupation’s other breaking-news national security fvckup…

153 replies
  1. 1
    Syphonblue says:

    Plugging a USB stick into a computer to see what happens if you suspect it of nefarious purposes is a totally normal thing to do as long as the computer is totally siloed and off the internet or any network.

  2. 2

    Trump admin. official says the decision to seek the resignation of the Secret Service director was made nearly 2 weeks ago – before the March 28 incident involving a Chinese woman at the president’s south Florida estate: “This was not based on any single event.”

    This may even be technically true. I’d guess that the fight between Trump and the Secret Service about guest lists at Mar-a-Lago has been an ongoing source of friction, and USSS’s decision to make a stink about it is just the latest episode in that ongoing dispute.

  3. 3
    debbie says:

    @Syphonblue:

    I can’t believe he wouldn’t have known that.

  4. 4
    bobbo says:

    We need a complete shut-down of Mar-a-Lago until we can figure out what is going on

  5. 5
    rikyrah says:

    Amene (@Ange_Amene) Tweeted:
    They are betting that Black voters dont see them on Fox News…dont see those articles of you saying Trump voters arent necessarily racist.

    This is Vegas folks.

    And Black voters are security cameras.

    WE SEE EVERYTHING. https://twitter.com/Ange_Amene/status/1115366647009660928?s=17

  6. 6
    Syphonblue says:

    @debbie:

    Yeah if Secret Service agents are plugging potentially dangerous USB sticks into their regular work computers, they’ve got some fucking problems at the USSS.

    That’s basic fucking computer security.

  7. 7
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    If the Chinese want to make Trump an intelligence asset of theirs, they need to talk to Putin first.

  8. 8
    Jay says:

    So, the “cleaner” sent in to wipe the systems Yang and others installed, got caught before she could wipe the systems?

  9. 9
    Spanky says:

    @Syphonblue:

    they’ve got some fucking problems at the USSS

    I seem to recall that that problem surfaced a few years ago when some agents on a field assignment engaged in some, er, extracurricular activities.

  10. 10
    Spanky says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: I think the Chinese are pretty concerned that Putin has made POTUS his poodle. Can’t blame them for trying every which way to get in the door.

    Maybe they should just talk to McConnell’s wife.

  11. 11
    hells littlest angel says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: Various countries’ intelligence services are running a train on Trump.

  12. 12
    MattF says:

    I think anyone who tries to rein in Trump’s recklessness is going to get into trouble. No doubt, the Secret Service head tried to do that at some point, and now he’s paying for it.

  13. 13
    Mike in NC says:

    It has to be virtually impossible to enforce security at a place like Mar-A-Lardass. Fat Bastard was blabbing classified information during dinner to anybody within earshot on his first visit there. It’ll be interesting to see how many spies are caught.

  14. 14
    different-church-lady says:

    So the Secret Service stuck Zhang’s thumbdrive into their computer

    …and pulled out a plum…

  15. 15
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Syphonblue: Yup. Best to have junk computers with no way to connect to a network for that.

  16. 16
    dnfree says:

    @debbie: Obama kind of tried to avoid making a big deal of it, but I recall several Secret Service screw-ups while he was president, and even questions about whether all the members of the Secret Service were truly willing to protect Obama and his family. Seems there were changes of leadership then also, and it seems the Secret Service isn’t quite the elite organization it either once was or was believed to be.

    This article doesn’t even cover Obama’s entire term.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/long-list-breaches-scandals-secret-service-under-obama-n215751

  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) Tweeted:
    President Trump tells federal border agents to ignore judicial orders

    WH chief of staff Mulvaney says request from Congress for Trump tax returns pursuant to existing statute will “never” be met

    GOP Sens like Romney and Grassley side w/Mulvaney

    the rule of law is being tested https://twitter.com/JohnJHarwood/status/1115370983949385728?s=17

  18. 18
    Steeplejack says:

    @Syphonblue:

    But you also need “watchdog” software to see what is happening, because some piece of malware could get installed with the instructions “When you do get connected to the Internet . . .”

    I doubt if the front-line “guarding Mar-a-Lago” agents had any of that. And, based on their apparent inability to record an interrogation (oops, no audio!), I’m not sure what they could have accomplished if they did.

  19. 19
    VeniceRiley says:

    What? If anyone at my work found, say, a USB on a conference room floor, by a cubicle, or wherever, and then plugged it into their computer instead of turning it over to my IT Security, they’d be disciplined and perhaps canned. Even your legit USB won’t work without Active Directory permissions set and encryption on the device. You have to sign for responsibility that you understand the policies.

  20. 20
    MattF says:

    @Mike in NC: My guess is that the spies and moles at Mar-a-Lago have formed a local chapter of the International Eavesdroppers and Wirers Association and, by this time, you have to be a member to get through the door.

  21. 21
    different-church-lady says:

    So, how long before Greenwald is writing columns demanding Yujing’s release?

  22. 22
    JaneE says:

    @Syphonblue: And stripped down to bare bones op system. If for no other reason than you can know what it did to your computer. Your own hacking tools are somewhere else – read only. In the good old days you couldn’t even put classified info on a computer that wasn’t completely isolated.

  23. 23
    FelonyGovt says:

    He didn’t realize the audio portion wasn’t working during the interview? The same guy who put the thumb drive into his computer? Is he kind of a dope?

  24. 24

    @Spanky:

    Maybe they should just talk to McConnell’s wife.

    She isn’t necessarily going to help the PRC government just because of her ethnicity. Her family is Taiwanese, or at least moved to Taiwan after the communists took control of the mainland. I wouldn’t expect her to be eager to help the PRC government to spy on the US.

  25. 25
    different-church-lady says:

    When we talk about malware, are we including Windows 10?

  26. 26
    debbie says:

    @dnfree:

    I remember that. If you don’t want to do your job, ask for a transfer, FFS.

  27. 27
    Steeplejack says:

    @FelonyGovt:

    Two different agents.

    “He stated that when another agent put Zhang’s thumb-drive into his computer [. . .].”

  28. 28
    PaulB says:

    @Syphonblue: Not necessarily. If they are using a clean computer, disconnected from the network and specifically used for this kind of test, then this may well be SOP.

    Let the malware do what it likes on a system you don’t care about so that you can better examine the full impact.

  29. 29
    debbie says:

    @FelonyGovt:

    And he’s not the guy they’re firing!

  30. 30
    ruemara says:

    @rikyrah: I already got into a minor disagreement with someone I normally have a lot of agreement with. Bernie Sanders statements on immigration feels like nativism to me. Not isolationism, not all about trade. Just a much nicer version of “we’re full”.

    @different-church-lady: He’s busy tweeting QAnon conspiracy stuff at the moment. Give him a day.

  31. 31
    gene108 says:

    Over/Under: 50% of MaL staff are the payroll of a foreign government to spy on Trump.

  32. 32
    different-church-lady says:

    @gene108: TRUMP is on the payroll of a foreign government to spy on Trump.

  33. 33
    VeniceRiley says:

    @PaulB:

    Not necessarily. If they are using a clean computer, disconnected from the network and specifically used for this kind of test, then this may well be SOP.

    But then he goes on to claim it’s unusual for malware to install itself? Since when?! LOL I mean, that’s the part where you might think … uh, guys, you need a professional.

  34. 34

    @mrmoshpotato:

    Best to have junk computers with no way to connect to a network for that.

    I think the optimum solution is to use a virtual machine. It’s easy to restore to default configuration, and you can instrument it up the wazoo so you can see exactly what the malware is doing.

  35. 35

    @MattF:
    Trump believes in hiring scabs.

  36. 36
    Ruviana says:

    @different-church-lady: Just the most recent upgrade. :)

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Steeplejack says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Which is why you box it up and send it over to the geeks at NSA (or whichever relevant agency), rather than letting Agent Whiteman fiddle with it because he watched every episode of CSI: The Cyber.

  39. 39
    trnc says:

    @Syphonblue:

    Plugging a USB stick into a computer to see what happens if you suspect it of nefarious purposes is a totally normal thing to do as long as the computer is totally siloed and off the internet or any network.

    True, but this guy was obviously caught off guard.

    He stated that when another agent put Zhang’s thumb-drive into his computer, it immediately began to install files, a “very out-of-the-ordinary” event that he had never seen happen before during this kind of analysis. The agent had to immediately stop the analysis to halt any further corruption of his computer, Ivanovich testified. The analysis is ongoing but still inconclusive, he said…

    Installing malware is EXACTLY what you should expect with a suspicious thumb drive. For this reason, I think MS disabled autoplay for external devices years ago. That means that either that computer still had autoplay disabled or the usb drive somehow enabled it, which seems weird.

  40. 40
    trnc says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I think the optimum solution is to use a virtual machine. It’s easy to restore to default configuration, and you can instrument it up the wazoo so you can see exactly what the malware is doing.

    You’re hired! Well, not for this administration, obviously, but when we get someone competent in there and maybe some money for IT funding instead of funneling it to billionaires.

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    @FelonyGovt:
    My thought exactly. WTF is the vetting process for agents named “Ivanovich”? “We call him Big Brain.”

    Funnily enough, I know a retired Secret Service guy who did recruit screening, so will be asking just that next time I see him.

  42. 42
    trnc says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Two different agents.

    “He stated that when another agent put Zhang’s thumb-drive into his computer [. . .].”

    Yes, when I’m getting ready to test a suspicious USB drive, I always use a co-workers computer rather than my own. That way, I don’t have to worry about my own bookmarks or the wicked screensaver I’ve set up on mine.

  43. 43
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Roger Moore: Precisely. If you’re not doing this in a VM then you don’t know enough to be doing anything.

  44. 44
    trollhattan says:

    @trnc:
    We’re all given training on computer security–canned basic stuff mandatory for all–and one hacker tactic is leaving a flash drive outside the office building in hopes somebody picks it up and plugs it in to see what’s there. Human nature and all.

    If “The Americans” weren’t set in the Reagan era they would have done it.

  45. 45
    Steeplejack says:

    @trnc:

    “Let the rookie do it!”

  46. 46

    @trnc:
    Trust me, you don’t want me. I know the very broad outlines of what to do, but I’ve never even thought about doing it myself.

  47. 47
    snoey says:

    “began to install itself” is more usually spelled “dumbfuck clicked on”.

  48. 48
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    The SS guy at Mar-a-Loony should have just given it to young Barron to check out. He was there anyhow on his spring break, and he knows all about the cyber.

  49. 49

    @trollhattan:
    There’s much more nefarious stuff you can do now. One underappreciated feature of USB devices is that they can have multiple functions. This can be helpful- your keyboard can have an onboard hub for your mouse to reduce clutter- but it can also lead to all kinds of nefarious activity. Something that looks like an ordinary mouse or even a dumb device that just uses the USB for power can actually contain a hidden thumb drive full of malware. And that completely ignores all the potential for problems caused by using the same port on your phone for power and communications…

  50. 50
    JaySinWA says:

    @Roger Moore: I would take any reporting on this with a grain of salt. Early reports of any kind are often wrong and tech reporting in the general press is usually inaccurate at best.

  51. 51
    sukabi says:

    @Mike in NC: if you incarcerated drumpf and his entire family and their foreign friends and acquaintances you’d have cleaned up a lot of the security breaches / issues and more than likely would net a dozen or more spies in the process.

  52. 52
    catclub says:

    @different-church-lady: minders for the minders

  53. 53
    Another Scott says:

    @JaySinWA: +1

    Plus, the agents were explaining what happened to a court, so they probably would have had to “dumb it down” even if they were recognized experts in this stuff.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  54. 54
    Dan B says:

    @rikyrah: I looked at this tweet and can’t figure out who they are referring to in Vegas. Do you know?

  55. 55
    catclub says:

    @Dan B: Vegas has zillions of security cameras.

  56. 56
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    California congressman [Eric Swalwell] announces presidential bid on ‘The Late Show’ with Stephen Colbert

  57. 57
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @trnc: Another possibility is that it’s not, in fact, a USB drive, but instead is another kind of USB device that looks like a thumb drive.

  58. 58
    matt says:

    Re: Trump firing the SS director over this.

    Really enjoying how criminal this administration is and how nothing can be done about it because so many plutocrats are in favor of it.

  59. 59
    karen marie says:

    @JaySinWA: It’s a quote from a witness to the event testifying at a hearing. I think that’s more reliable than a story cooked up somewhere else afterward.

  60. 60
    Dan B says:

    @catclub: True but the tweet seemed to be about a white Dem candidate in Vegas, or on Fox, who said that Trump supporters aren’t racist. I don’t know who that is.

  61. 61
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Roger Moore: The problem with a virtual machine is that plugging something into its virtual USB port still involves sticking it in the real port.

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mrmoshpotato: @Roger Moore: @Steeplejack:

  63. 63
    germy says:

    The outgoing Secret Service director Randolph “Tex” Alles must testify before Congress as soon as possible about the potential security vulnerabilities at Mar-a-Lago involving a Chinese national arrested with malware, and other counterintelligence and national security threats.
    — Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 8, 2019

  64. 64
    Ivan X says:

    I’m surprised no one has yet suggested that not only the machine be siloed and not used for anything else, but before that even happens, the stick gets plugged into a dedicated purpose machine (eg a Linux box, or a dedicated appliance) whose sole job it is to do nothing but block copy the whole USB stick, in case it does anything self-modifying in the course of action.

  65. 65

    @Matt McIrvin:
    The need to plug the USB device into a real port can be mitigated by hosting the VM using a different OS, e.g. a Windows VM on a Linux host computer. Unless the USB device can infect both OSes, you should be OK. If you’re truly paranoid, I suppose you could extract the memory chip from the thumb drive and read it directly.

  66. 66

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Good to know that USSS is not completely incompetent.

  67. 67
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: Which doesn’t air until 11:30 PM EDT, so he hasn’t announced anything yet.

  68. 68
    germy says:

    I’m trying to understand what the plan was with the malware. What was her intention?

    I thought a spy would want to bring a clean thumb drive, and copy useful information onto it. Who was she hoping to infect?

  69. 69
  70. 70

    @germy:

    I thought a spy would want to bring a clean thumb drive, and copy useful information onto it.

    If the computer is on a network, installing malware is much more valuable. You can still copy everything over the network, but you can keep copying data until the malware is discovered. You can also use the compromised computer to try to take over other computers on the same network. I would guess that it’s also faster to install the malware than to download a bunch of files onto a USB drive.

  71. 71
    Plato says:

    @Spanky:

    Can’t blame the chinese. Everyone wants to play with the doll puppet.

  72. 72
    different-church-lady says:

    @JaySinWA:

    Early reports of any kind are often wrong…

    And nowadays later reports are frequently no better.

  73. 73
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Slight skepticism:

    Well, either it was done in a lab under controlled (and offline) conditions, or it was done on an agent’s computer and he was surprised at the auto-install and pulled the drive to stop the process. It wouldn’t be both. In the lab, you *want* to see the full process.

    — Chapps 🧐 (@chapps) April 8, 2019

  74. 74
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I guarantee that Zhang was sent by the PRC’s intelligence services specifically to be caught and divert attention from their real infiltration work, which involves buying memberships to Mar a Lago and the President’s golf clubs. And my guess is she was used at that moment to provide cover for someone actually penetrating into the network at a Trump property somewhere else. This is used all the time. When Ramzi Youssef entered the US so he could build the bombs for the first World Trade Center bombing, he was a number of people behind one of his co-conspirators who just happened to go through the customs line and when his carry on was open, they found circuit boards, bomb making manuals, etc. When Youssef came through about 20 minutes or so later, he went through the nothing to declare line and zipped through because everyone was still focused on the guy they were sacrificing to get Youssef into the country. Zhang is a sacrifice. The real questions are who they actually got in by sacrificing her, how many, and what are they actually doing?

  75. 75
    Baud says:

    Kids in the United States may be busy playing Fortnite and Apex Legends, but their Chinese counterparts are getting into socialist theory.
    …..
    According to the state-run Global Times, the new app and website is designed to help elementary and middle school-aged children “learn about new socialist thought and Chinese classics as part of a campaign to consolidate their belief in the party and inspire them to be reliable socialist successors.”

    Lessons on the platform — run by the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party — include “I am Chinese,” which introduces children to the country’s “56 ethnic groups living in harmony,” and “Building a well-off society.”
    ……
    That app — nicknamed Xi’s digital “little red book” after Chairman Mao’s famous tract — has shot up the app store charts, as all 90 million Communist Party members, as well as many employees of state-owned enterprises have been ordered to download it.

    Why isn’t Balloon Juice required reading?

  76. 76
    Mary G says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Nothing good.

  77. 77
    jl says:

    @Ivan X: I don’t think enough details in the story for us know what was going on, other than evidence that the USB contained malware of some kind. But, if the SS agent was not a IT security expert, and he was not plugging it into a completely siloed (i.e., not on any network) and dedicated test machine, that would be very bad. Like at least one other commenter, I’d be in big big trouble of I plugged a suspect USB into a work computer that was connected over any kind of network I’ve had training that specifically says you do not do that, you take the USB straight to IT security personnel.

  78. 78
    rikyrah says:

    @Dan B:
    The WWC whisperers
    Bernie, Mayor Pete

  79. 79
    rikyrah says:

    M. Mendoza Ferrer (@mgranville1) Tweeted:
    @SenSanders basically blaming THE WOMEN’S REVOLUTION for the economic reality that it now takes two people working incredibly long hours to earn enough income to support a family. He argues this raises other issues around childcare & kids not getting the attention they need. https://t.co/NlU2j5LdlW https://twitter.com/mgranville1/status/1095158411224907776?s=17

  80. 80
    different-church-lady says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: OK, that fills in my bracket of 64. Who’s running in the play-in games?

  81. 81

    @Baud:

    all 90 million Communist Party members, as well as many employees of state-owned enterprises have been ordered to download it.

    Yeah, they can get them to download it. They may even get them to read it. Getting them to believe it is another matter.

  82. 82
    West of the Rockies says:

    OT request for advice here. I got a text on my phone that begins “Account Locked”…

    It references A Wells account (I have never banked at Wells). It concludes with an http address.

    Does this sound like cyber fishing? Should I delete the text? I have not clicked on the address.

    Thanks folks.

  83. 83
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks for info. The things you learn on this almost top 10,000 Floriduh-man and petsnax blog!

  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: @Steeplejack: I’m just posting what is being reported. Personally, as I stated earlier, I am 1) amazed that the USB ports on Secret Service computers – in this case likely either Toughbooks or Dells – haven’t been deactivated for security purposes and 2) that these morons actually did this.

  85. 85
    different-church-lady says:

    @Roger Moore: That’s what the reeducation camps are all about.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    different-church-lady says:

    @West of the Rockies: It absolutely is phishing. DO NOT click on link. Contact your service provider to figure out what to do about it/how to report it.

  88. 88
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: It’s like he left out two or three sentences to get from when he was going up to where we are today so that the revolution of women going out in the workforce didn’t just hang there like it was the problem. I’m not a big fan of Senator Sanders, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t where he thought he was going with his remarks, but it is what came out of his mouth.

  89. 89
    MazeDancer says:

    Eric Swalwell can come back in 20 years.

    Love him, but enough with the White Boys.

  90. 90
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Baud: @different-church-lady:

    Thank you both!

  91. 91
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @West of the Rockies: 1) record the # on paper, 2) block the #, 3) delete the text.

  92. 92
    Steeplejack says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    My advice is to delete the text.

  93. 93
    Ken says:

    @bobbo:

    We need a complete shut-down of Mar-a-Lago until we can figure out what is going on

    I’m hoping the next administration secures all Trump properties for a complete security sweep, including background checks of all employees, members, and guests.

  94. 94
    PaulB says:

    @VeniceRiley: “uh, guys, you need a professional.”

    Fair enough and you are, of course, correct that it’s trivially easy to write code to automatically install (although this, too, can be blocked by a competent professional).

  95. 95
    dopey-o says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I am 1) amazed that the USB ports on Secret Service computers – in this case likely either Toughbooks or Dells – haven’t been deactivated for security purposes and 2) that these morons actually did this.

    At one gov’t facility, i noticed that the USB ports had been filled with epoxy. Physically impossible to insert a thumb drive – or other item. I can’t imagine that the USSS allows ANY USB drives, due to the danger of transferring infections – or classified info – between PCs.

  96. 96
    debbie says:

    Who the hell is this Swawell who’s announced his candidacy?

  97. 97
    Dan B says:

    @rikyrah: That’s what I thought. Wilmer, sure, but Pete’s words are being twisted. Pisses me off. I’m all for criticism where it’s deserved but this is not.

    Pete has said that it backfires politically to call Trump supporters racist. I believe a lot of Trump supporters are what I’d call clueless-racist and blind to racism. At the same time poor whites in the US are seeing their lifespans shortening. It’s one of the only groups in the world. Their us common cause to build with minorities but that possibility is lost if the main message they hear is “racist”.

    I believe they are homophobic as well but Pete got 80% of the vote in South Bend when the city voted for Trump.

    If there is clear evidence that he hurt black people in South Bend then I want to know.

  98. 98
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Curiously, it came with no phone number. Just a five digit number with a #

  99. 99
    plato says:

    @debbie: Swell, more white guyz.

  100. 100
    B.B.A. says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: Never heard of him. I’m assuming he’s a Russian agent until I get definitive proof otherwise.

  101. 101
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @debbie: I LIKE Swalwell – he’s good.

    This is also blisteringly stupid and I have no idea why he’s doing it.

  102. 102
    Jay says:

    @gene108:

    It’s one way to make a living wage for undocumented workers. It’s sure as hell that Mar a Lego doesn’t pay them a living wage.

  103. 103
    JR says:

    I’m sorry, but the judges were looking for “Merde-a-Lago”.

  104. 104
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @West of the Rockies: I get them like that from my pharmacy when my prescription is ready – a five digit #. Most likely someone has stolen your phone # to sign up for something. Regardless, record the # so you can speak to your cell service provider about it, block the five digit #, delete the text.

  105. 105
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Easy. He’s noticed that the Beltway pundits believe that only a white man can beat Trump and that they seem to give each new one that joins the Dem race overwhelming attention (i.e., the same kind of free advertising that helped #45 in 2016), while ignoring thoughtful policies and proposals being offered by women or minorities. Luckily, the pundits don’t determine the results of the primaries – they can only shape those results so much.

    ETA: I like Swalwell by the way and love seeing him when I hate-watch Bill Maher. My mom actually watches Fox News to find out what the “other side” is up to, the closest I can come to that is watching Bill Maher.

  106. 106
    Jay says:

    @PaulB:

    It’s highly unusual that with out taking any action, other than plugging in a USB thumb drive, that it automatically starts installing malware.

    You ususally have to at least click on the thumb drive icon for anything to happen.

  107. 107
    Obvious Russian Troll says:

    @Roger Moore: Your general assumption should be that any USB stick can detect and load malware onto any and all operating systems it encounters, and that a virtual machine is not necessarily safer than a physical machine (although that would make it harder to attack the physical machine running the VM).

    Some things will be easier to attack than others, of course.

  108. 108
    debbie says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Doesn’t want to feel left out?

  109. 109
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Felanius Kootea:

    My parents are the same in a way. They see what happened to Clinton and assume the same will happen to anybody the Dems will put up. It pissed me off when I heard it and I reminded them that Trump only won by the slimmest of margins in 3 states. He’s not a god and he’s not invincible. It’s entirely possible he could win again in 2020, even via the EC, which would be especially destabilizing in my opinion. A president winning election via the EC only in less than four years would be unheard of

  110. 110
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Bullshit. Not remotely believable.

  111. 111
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jay: Not unusual at all.

  112. 112
    Keith P. says:

    So, just to get this out there, does anyone else think that Stephen Miller’s vendetta against Kristjen Nielsen is rooted in her rejecting him as a date to some WH dinner? The nastiness of it makes me think he tried to be WH wunderkind-stud but got laughed at (probably to his face)

  113. 113
    Central Planning says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Any decent malware writer knows to check if they are running in a VM, and if they are, don’t do anything nefarious.

  114. 114
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    To finish my comment: Trump could win, but let’s not assume that anyone we nominate will automatically lose, especially just because they’re women.

  115. 115
    Jay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    My understanding is limited, but when you plug in a thumb drive, usb cable or mouse, the computer just “pings” the port to see if it’s occupied and there is a device connected.

    How does a USB device immediately start downloading malware or files, when you haven’t opened a connection to the device?

    I could see how a thumbdrive could initiate communication on it’s own, and after a while of surveying your system, start downloading malware,

    But immediately?

    How does it know immediately what the OS is?

  116. 116
    NotMax says:

    a thumb-drive containing “malicious malware,” the Secret Service said

    Jeebus. Like saying a “round circle.” Not the brightest bulbs in the marquee.

    “Hey, Sam, let’s put this doohickey into the magic box and see what happens, ‘k?”

  117. 117
  118. 118
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Given that in addition to malware, she had equiptment to identify wifi bugs and cameras,

    I’m guessing that she was a “cleaner”, sent in to find and wipe devices that the Merde a Lego Madam and her guests had already planted and remove or corrupt “Chinese Fingerprints”, now that the FBI is investigating.

    And I’m going to guess that she’s a Chuck from the Chinese Intelligence Nerd Herd, not a spy like Sarah.

  119. 119
    trnc says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch:

    Another possibility is that it’s not, in fact, a USB drive, but instead is another kind of USB device that looks like a thumb drive.

    Hmmm … any example that you can think of? I’m not sure what could be a non-storage device that could hold files to be installed.

  120. 120
    James E Powell says:

    So how does Trump’s refusal to turn over his tax returns play out? Even if the supreme court rules that he has to do so, who’s going to make him? His supporters, every Republican, FOX, and most of the rest of the press/media will back whatever he does. What else can be done?

  121. 121
    Keith P. says:

    @trnc: Vape pen. I wouldn’t put it past a SS agent to plug one into a USB port and mistake the “Installing drivers for your USB device..” dialog for a malware installation.

  122. 122
    Jay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    So, basically, the USB Standard and some forms of OS automatically initiate full data communication with the USB, if the USB “spoofs” the USB Standard that it’s an OS upgrade or if the OS automatically uses a connected USB drive data storage for some functions, to offload data or function loads.

    Interesting.

  123. 123
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @James E Powell: It’s not up to him, it’s up to the head of the IRS.

  124. 124
    trnc says:

    @germy: What Roger M said, plus – the malware would probably be written to install an ftp client, then open a connection to a server (probably in China, but not necessarily) and start copying files from the most likely folders (Documents, Desktop, etc) to the server.

    Remember Drooliani’s short lived cyber security business? If Mar-A-Loco used his services, I would expect to find that the computers were not anywhere near up to date for OS security updates, autoplay was set to run and no antivirus program installed. Also, plain text password files with bank account info.

  125. 125
    Steeplejack says:

    @Jay:

    It’s highly unusual that without taking any action, other than plugging in a USB thumb drive, that it automatically starts installing malware.

    What if it’s not a thumb drive but a device that just looks like a thumb drive? Check out this video.

  126. 126
  127. 127
    trnc says:

    @James E Powell: No one has to make him, per se. His returns are on file with the IRS (assuming he actually filed), so Rettig or someone there has to turn them over. I doubt Rettig would risk jail over the matter.

  128. 128
    James E Powell says:

    @trnc:

    And if Trump orders Rettig not to turn them over? Or if Trump sues to prevent him and the courts back Trump? What then? I’m genuinely curious because the cry of “He won’t release his tax returns!” hasn’t moved the needle since 2016.

  129. 129
    VOR says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I have to believe every competent intelligence agency in the world has someone on staff at Mar-A-Lago, Bedminster, and any other Trump location he often goes, like whatever the one is in Virginia. I mean, Trump hired undocumented foreign nationals prior to his presidential run. Mar-A-Lago has advertised for foreign temporary workers. And they probably have someone with a membership too, say by coercing an existing member.

    As for inspecting the USB drive, I’d want a computer which is well instrumented, air-gapped, and inside a Faraday cage so it can’t connect to any wireless network like Bluetooth, wifi, or cellular. It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

  130. 130
    Jay says:

    @James E Powell:

    The IRS reports to Congress, not the President.

    Checks and ballances.

    Courts have no standing in the matter.

  131. 131
    plato says:

    Trump mocked the man, a retired Marine major general, who he just ousted as head of the Secret Service.

    NYT reports Trump made fun of Randolph Alles's looks, calling him Dumbo because of his ears, two officials said.https://t.co/cpGTfiztPu— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 8, 2019

    Wonder what those military trumpistas think of this third rate turd of a scum now.

    Imagine if Oba… oh never mind.— Autarkh (@Autarkh) April 8, 2019

  132. 132
    plato says:

    Trump reportedly told border agents last week to not let migrants in.After Trump left, agents sought advice from their leaders who told them that if they did what Trump said, they'd take on personal liability.You have to follow the law, they were told.https://t.co/S8yQYdxNDZ— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 8, 2019

  133. 133
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Personally, as I stated earlier, I am 1) amazed that the USB ports on Secret Service computers – in this case likely either Toughbooks or Dells – haven’t been deactivated for security purposes and 2) that these morons actually did this.

    I am reluctant to do InfoSec HR by twitter rumors.
    On the other hand, I don’t see InfoSec rumors about my company bubbling out either.

  134. 134
    James E Powell says:

    @Jay:

    Why am I reading the exact opposite all over the internet? This from TPM for example.

  135. 135
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @Spanky: At one point I was contemplating writing a comedy sketch that involved Trump being so heavily bugged that the bugs were starting to interfere with each other and the various spy agencies were talking to each other over their bugs to try to sort it out. (I was taking a class in sketch writing for the hell of it)

    But I got too depressed at the idea that it was all probably true. I applaud SNL for making this terrifying idiot funny because I couldn’t manage to laugh at him, to make jokes about it. Also I found out that I really didn’t have the skills for sketch writing.

  136. 136
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Sounds like DHS is a little more lax about cyber security than DoD.

  137. 137
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Obvious Russian Troll:
    Safely capture the contents and reverse-engineer them using Ghidra.
    (There’s a joke or four in there. :-)

  138. 138
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    Thanks, hadn’t seen that (usb attack list) before.

  139. 139
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @trnc: There was a block that looked like an apple charger with the USB ports, but while it definitely delivered 5V on the + pin, it also pretended to be a network interface so it could capture network traffic and save it to the drive in a hidden partition, or an area on the storage that wasn’t in a partition. It was designed to attack iPhones.

  140. 140
    Jay says:

    @James E Powell:

    Remember how the Meuller Investigation was shut down or finished 9 times over past two years?

    You don’t?

    They are counting on that.

  141. 141
    jonas says:

    The official says Alles was told that the president was preparing to make changes in leadership throughout DHS; the Secret Service is one component of the dept.

    The Secret Service has always been a division of the Treasury Dept, I thought. Did that change at some point in the recent past?

  142. 142
    Procopius says:

    @Syphonblue: Excuse me, I am not a cybersecurity expert, but I’ve been using microcomputers since 1976, before Big Blue got interested. How do you read a USB stick to find out what’s on it if you don’t connect it to a computer? It’s true that if you’re a system admin you really, really don’t want one of your regular users sticking that USB stick they found in the parking lot into his work computer that’s connected to the company network, but you want them to give it to you so you can stick it into an isolated disposable computer to read it.

  143. 143
    Procopius says:

    @Steeplejack: Don’t know about Secret Service approved protocol, but at least until recently the FBI protocol was to never record an interview. Instead the agent was supposed to immediately afterward write detailed notes of what trnspired and what was said. I don’t know what their official reason is, but it certainly is convenient that there is no evidence of what was actually said. IIRC that was how they got Martha Stewart.

  144. 144
    jonas says:

    NYT reports Trump made fun of Randolph Alles’s looks, calling him Dumbo because of his ears, two officials said.https://t.co/cpGTfiztPu— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 8, 2019

    I recall reading somewhere in ’16 that the WH security detail was happy to say farewell to the aloof, snooty Obamas and start serving the salt-of-the-earth Trumps, who knew how to treat the staff. Oh, well. Happy landings, Dumbo!

  145. 145
    soga98 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Dead on. Do you think it’s a simple feint or a duplex feint?

  146. 146
    Jay says:

    @jonas:

    When Bush set up the Department of Homeland Security,

    Heimatschutzminiterium

    A bunch of Agencies were put under one roof in theory, to fix the interagency communication issues that failed to prevent 9/11.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Homeland_Security

  147. 147
    Jay says:

    ““Clearly the intent is selling access and influence. What it is not doing is selling action,” Ryan said.

    But, Fischer added, “Mike Crapo’s constituents are not going to have this opportunity to go fishing with him unless they give him $15,000.”

    If you read that carefully, you’ll notice that Sen. Crapo isn’t just selling access to himself, but to all the subcommittee chairs of the Banking Committee. If you’re keeping track, that would include Republicans Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, David Perdue of Georgia and Ben Sasse of Nebraska. McClatchy reporters asked all five for comment and the only response they got was from Sen. Sasse’s office which simply told them to talk to Crapo. ”

    http://www.boomantribune.com/s.....53015/1565

  148. 148
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Procopius:

    How do you read a USB stick to find out what’s on it if you don’t connect it to a computer?

    How you and I read a USB stick would be different from how a forensic analysis would read it. I don’t know how it would be done in a clean fashion, but smarter people than I have no doubt worked on this very issue.

  149. 149
    jonas says:

    @FelonyGovt: Seems an awful lot like those situations when the cop “forgets” to turn his body cam on during a stop in which a suspect falls and accidentally hits his head on the curb ten or fifteen times.

  150. 150
    jonas says:

    @Jay: Huh. Ok, guess I missed that at some point. Thanks.

  151. 151
    Jay says:

    BTDub’s, Dolt 45’s declared the IRGC a terrorist organization.

    The declaration is broadbased and sweeping, affecting over 11 million Iranians and tens of thousands of Iraqi’s.

    In response, Iran has declared CENTCOM is a terrorist organization.

  152. 152
    jonas says:

    @rikyrah: I’ll just point out that a young, gay, multilingual, Episcopalian Harvard grad and former Rhodes scholar is, well, not exactly WWC outreach material. Just sayin’.

  153. 153
    Jay says:

    @jonas:

    There’s two agents. One does the interview and takes notes. One outside who listens and takes notes.

    The poilcy is based in Hoover’s penchant to create, curate and use blackmail, CONTRELPRO and other FBI scandals, and was created to minimize abuses.

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