Lawfare as produced by Brookings Institution
For both of these leaks, one big question is attribution: who did this?
My guess was, and is still, Russia in both cases.
Phi Beta Iota: Worth a full read. Many flawed assumptions. Robert Steele’s long comment is below.
ROBERT STEELE: Below email as sent.
This email may be shared and published.
You may or many not know that I was the person who introduced NSA to hackers in 1993, co-founded InfoWarCon with Winn Schwartau, and wrote the first warning letter to the WH on cyber in 1994, co-signed (anonymously at the time) by Jim Anderson, then one of NSA’s top cyber security engineers.
I enjoyed your recent piece in Lawfare about who dun it, but I think you are missing the even more obvious answer: inter-agency warfare. There are many of us who speculated that Snowden was a CIA operation authorized by Obama and carried out by Booz Allen (McConnell, Hall, Dempsey and others there are all the Blackwater of the IC) when NSA tried one blackmail operation too many against Obama or politicians Obama cared about. Hopefully you understand that NSA’s highest priority for many years has been a mix of spying on and blackmailing US politicians and judges, while also spying on Wall Street to do insider trading enhancing the offshore bank accounts of its rogue elements. Subsequent NSA leaks can be explained by a mix of motives including contractors increasingly appalled by the mass surveillance culture that Bill Binney and I and others have opposed for over a decade, and of course those furious at the cavalier treatment of their materials by Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedeen, both of whom are on record via the Weiner laptop as having sent classified materials to IP addresses in Qatar and Saudi Arabia — and Abedeen is almost certainly a joint Saudi-Israeli human agent who was introduced to Clinton as a honey trap in her youth, and stuck.
With respect to CIA, where Vault 7 is glossly over-hyped — CIA is a one-of outfit, not an industrial strength outfit — when I was there reports officers would refuse to process the take from a single computer interception because it was so much more than any human agent might produce and they did not have the tools to make sense of the mass of data — and still do not — I suspect an NSA counter-attack perhaps combined with contractors being appalled by all of CIA’s misdeeds including drone assassinations in the thousands (with a 98% collateral damage ratio), continued rendition and torture albeit at a lower scale.
The losses are also being exaggerated for bureaucratic effect, in desperate attempt to avoid the 70% budget cuts that I and all other honest intelligence professionals believe appropriate to NSA, CIA, NRO, NGA, and DIA. 70% of what the secret world does is worthless crap. We only process 1% of what we collect at the same time that we ignore the 80-90% that can and should be gotten from OSINT, which is HUMINT, not TECHINT. General Tony Zinni, USMC is on record as saying that he got “at best” 4% of what he needed to know from secret sources and methods at a time when he was managing 2 wars and twelve Joint Task Forces.
In my humble opinion, you do the Republic, the President, and Brookings a major dis-service in so glibly assuming that Russia has leaked anything. We are our own worst enemy. Russia is not the enemy. Russia did not “hack” the US election and I was glad to rip John Brenner a new asshole over those lies that sought to flip the Electoral College, the most obscene unconstitutional treasonous mis-behavior I have seen since Dick Cheney led the orchestration of 9/11 and the telling of 935 lies leading to 11 unconstitutional presidential wars costing over $5 trillion.
This email will be published shortly at Phi Beta Iota, along with a pointer to your interesting but totally unfounded article that reads as if it was written by some kid on the Covert Action Staff (CAS) at CIA — a staff where I refused assignment in 1986 despite being gifted myself at false flag operations and related matters.
Robert David Steele
KR-594 (CIA badge number EOD 19 August 1979)