The Game of Telephone about the Election Hacking Review

This morning, the White House announced that Obama has ordered a review of election-related hacking, to be completed before Donald Trump takes over. I want to capture the varying descriptions of what the review will entail.

Politico: The review will look at the hacks blamed on the Russians this year and malicious cyber activity (publicly understood to be China in 2008 and someone else in 2012) going back to 2008

The review will put the spate of hacks — which officials have blamed on Russia — “in a greater context” by framing them against the “malicious cyber activity” that may have occurred around the edges of the 2008 and 2012 president elections, said White House principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz at a briefing.

“This will be a review that is broad and deep at the same time,” he added.

[snip]

In 2008, the campaigns for both Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Obama were bombarded by suspected Chinese hackers, according to U.S. intelligence officials. The digital intruders were reportedly after internal policy papers and the emails of top advisers.

And in 2012, Gawker reported that hackers had broken into Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s personal Hotmail account after correctly answering his backup security question: “What is your favorite pet?”

“We will be looking at all foreign actors and any attempt to interfere with the elections,” Schultz said.

WaPo: The review will be a “full review” of Russian hacking during the November election

President Obama has ordered a “full review” of Russian hacking during the November election, as pressure from Congress has grown for greater public understanding of exactly what Moscow did to interfere in the electoral process.

[snip]

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies had already been probing what they see as a broad covert Russian operation to sow distrust in the presidential election process. It was their briefings of senior lawmakers that led a number of them to press for more information to be made public.

[snip]

Though Russia has long conducted cyberspying on U.S. agencies, companies and organizations, this presidential campaign marks the first time Russia has attempted through cyber means to interfere in, if not actively influence, the outcome of an election, the officials said.

CNN: The review will look at “hacking by the Russians aimed at influencing US elections going back to 2008” (CNN notes that the IC “never said there was strong evidence that [hacks of voter registration systems were] tied to the Russian government”)

President Barack Obama has ordered a full review into hacking by the Russians aimed at influencing US elections going back to 2008, the White House said Friday.

“The President has directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process. It is to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders,” White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Lisa Monaco said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters Friday. “This is consistent with the work that we did over the summer to engage Congress on the threats that we were seeing.”
White House spokesman Eric Schultz added later that the review would encompass malicious cyber activity related to US elections going back to 2008. [my emphasis]

Wikileaks (relying on the CNN story): The review will look at Wikileaks

CNN: Obama orders report into WikiLeaks timed for release just prior to Trump presidency

NYT: The review will look at all Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, including publishing email contents and probing the “vote-counting system” (presumably a reference to voter lists that have nothing to do with vote counting)

President Obama has ordered American intelligence agencies to produce a full report on Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, his homeland security adviser said on Friday. He also directed them to develop a list of “lessons learned” from the broad campaign the United States has accused Russia of carrying out to steal emails, publish their contents and probe the vote-counting system.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

6 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    I’d like to review your post, but there’s only one comment window open, and I need five different ones.

    PS:  Is the review to be released before Trump takes office, or merely completed and buried?  I haven’t see the former.

  2. rg says:

    Didn’t Nixon order a complete review of the Watergate break-in by Dean? Making the scope of this review so large as to take months and include much classified info, it has a poor chance of seeing daylight and of surviving cancellation in January. I strongly suspect this not what Wyden really wanted, but it’s all he will get.

    • Phil Perspective says:

      This is being done because most of the idiot Democrats in DC are asking for it.  You are aware, as is Obama by his comments, that Putin didn’t prevent Clinton from campaigning in Wisconsin.  To use just one example.

  3. Hieronymus Howard says:

    First the two bills in Congress & now this pending “review.”   It is all so brain-dead moronic it’s embarrassing.   One can almost hear the Europeans laughing at us from across the pond.   They are being reserved.   Outright ridicule & derision are what the putz Obama deserves for perpetrating this sham.   From the time I heard the Russians hacked the DNC, I knew it was a diversion/misdirection from Hillary’s e-mail malfeasances.

    The Russians never gave a figgley-fuck about DNC.   More likely the youngsters down at your local community college were the dreaded “hackers” & were all over it years ago.

    Now Hillary reappears, bewailing fake news & how dangerous it is.   (Mere weeks ago it was the MSM that had the monopoly on fake news.)   She’s betting that public sentiment will get her off the hook since she’s already been persecuted enough by having lost the election due to “foreign interference.”

    Anybody remember Huma’s “insurance” file?   We’re all supposed to have forgotten about it.   Never mind that, citizen.

  4. greengiant says:

    There are three election stories.

    1.  Who did the “fake news”  and dark marketing?   Cambridge Analytica,  Stratfor,    Blackwater or whatever they call themselves,  Russians or Aliens?   Job well done.  Eric Prince and Giuliani getting air time predicting on Nov 5 predicting Clinton to be indicted amid claims of pedophilia for Hillary.  Making the Clinton emails an issue seems to have worked wonders for Trump as reported from a get out the vote worker in PA.

    2.  Who hacked the voting machines and servers?   Remember how Anonymous talked about unhacking the servers in Ohio in 2008 and causing Rove to have apoplexy on live TV?   Bev Harris talks about how the paper ballot counting machines can be hacked and how ex-cons owned the companies that printed the ballots in Washington State.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkDzlII2Nm4vyrgf_pn4mXA/videos

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judy-frankel/the-black-box-voting-mach_b_8082384.html

    Well Trump won,  so the above is of academic interest until the next election.

    3.   How many people at the NSA/CIA know how the election was hacked ( either way ),  and who was responsible?    Like what is going through their minds right now.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Those interested in enhancing election integrity can only hope that Mr. Obama does not intend, and his courtiers refuse, to limit this investigation of alleged hacking only to designated “Russian” sources.  If they do, it could well be like looking for the straw in a stack of needles.

Comments are closed.