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FBI Leadership Political Pawn: Why ‘Grizzly Steppe’ Paper Shows Propaganda Vice Russian Hack

Cyber investigations are hampered by numerous factors, not the least of them is attribution.

Russian malware "Grizzly Steppe" was just discovered on a computer within a Vermont electric company. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

By Gregory Carpenter | NEWSL

When the Democrat National Committee had email traffic exposed on WikiLeaks regarding underhanded, slanderous and manipulative activities in which members of the Democrat party were engaged, many people cried, “FOUL”!

Now, in an extraordinary application of due diligence not seen in the past two administrations, President Obama directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a thorough and in-depth analysis of this breech which compromised their private communications.

What is the catch?

The report must be published before he left office. The irony of demanding an in-depth evaluation which must be accomplished in a few short months is frankly laughable.

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Cyber investigations are hampered by numerous factors, not the least of them is attribution.

“For the community at large, the ‘attribution’ issue remains a vexing problem: How does one retaliate when it is so difficult to determine who is responsible for a given cyber attack (Porche, Sollinger & McKay, 2011)?”

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This problem with attribution is extremely tough when chasing a cyber criminal, more so when you believe you are chasing a Nation-State. Being under the spotlight to provide results is extremely difficult as anyone can agree; however, to provide the results and proof which match what your boss wants is really difficult. It is even more troublesome when the evidence is not there.

“…it’s easy for a motivated party to falsely or errantly assign attribution of an action in cyber space to one group or another based on details which they believe are akin to smoking guns.” (Gragido, 2016)

This error has been committed time after time by overzealous investigators and is called researcher bias – it is especially frequent in groups who are working with a deadline from a sitting president.

Attribution is a multifaceted determination based on legal, technical, political, policy, and numerous other issues which draws on all sources of information available, including technical forensics, human intelligence, signals intelligence, history, and geopolitics, among others (Lin, 2016). Attribution can more precisely become a question of a specific computer, a person (or group), an exploit or a dozen other items involved in a computer hack.

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The lack of evidence is the problematic issue with Grizzly Steppe because the report of attribution for everyone to read and believe that this is undoubtedly Russian hacking is just an “Information Paper”.

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There was never any intent to provide proof of attribution in the first place; it is just something to put out to illustrate that an administration can say they completed their “due diligence” in the investigation. More specifically, this information paper has a banner hidden in the box at the top of the paper, yes, a disclaimer. What could the Federal Government need to put out to convince the people that something happened then add a disclaimer regarding the information contained within?

DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within…” (DHS, & FBI, 2016)

There is the proof, it is just for informational purposes and they lay no claim that the information is valid.

Such a convincing start to a document with no real substance! By applying just a bit of critical thinking, we note that it is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI who jointly wrote this informational paper and DHS says they lay no claim to the content, therefore; it really is the FBI on the hook for the content. The same FBI which said Mrs. Clinton did nothing wrong by emailing ultra sensitive information with her personal email through her personal server which was hacked numerous times.

Where was the NSA, the elite cyber agency or the US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), the military cyber experts? These two groups are the top code crackers who consistently and routinely chase actors in the digital realm, why is there no collaboration with them or any other members of the US Intelligence Community?

The answer is a simple one; the FBI leadership is still a pawn for politicians and will not present the real evidence of what they actually know.

And what of this TLP-WHITE notation on the information paper, what does that mean? There are four levels for the Traffic Light Protocol (TLP), the lowest is white and is described by DHS as “Sources may use TLP:WHITE when information carries minimal or no foreseeable risk of misuse, in accordance with applicable rules and procedures for public release. (Traffic Light Protocol [TLP], n.d.).” The other three levels all require controls, either encryption or a completely secure network (TLP, n.d.). This explains that the parameters for the content of the page are just as the disclaimer say, informational and otherwise not useful for anything.

But the trivial pursuit of the truth aside, there was no lack of effort in creating this information paper (not a report) which must be applauded.

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We can never have a foreign power manipulate our elections like we do in theirs (Tharoor, 2016); we can only have our people manipulate our election results like George Soros (Newman, 2016) or Loretta Lynch.

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But what of the peoples around the world who have been robbed of a free and open election by Washington D.C. (Tharoor, 2016)? If they wanted to manipulate our elections would that not be fair play? Our hand is visible in manipulation from South America and into Africa across into Europe and Asia itself (Tharoor, 2016). We started (as far as we can tell) over sixty years ago and we have been observed to leave fingerprints as recently as the activities which scar the peoples of Honduras, Venezuela, Ukraine and Syria (Tharoor, 2016).

So is Grizzly Steppe a real step in the right direction in providing proof that another country attempted to manipulate our elections or is it just a Red Herring designed to make us look the other way?

Away from the serious crimes of a corrupt political class and away from the issues, we as a Union of Nations, should be addressing in an effort to get back on track – that is where we are sent. Documents like Grizzly Steppe, as with any other document received from a government anywhere, must be scrutinized. The truth is always in the details, and this document has none and the emails from the Democrat National Committee members, well lets just say – my cup overflowth.

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