Report from North Carolina Makes Reality Winner Leak Far More Important

According to NPR, the poll books in six precincts in Durham County, NC, went haywire on election day, which led the entire county to shift to paper poll books.

When people showed up in several North Carolina precincts to vote last November, weird things started to happen with the electronic systems used to check them in.

“Voters were going in and being told that they had already voted — and they hadn’t,” recalls Allison Riggs, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The electronic systems — known as pollbooks — also indicated that some voters had to show identification, even though they did not.

[snip]

At first, the county decided to switch to paper pollbooks in just those precincts to be safe. But Bowens says the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement got involved “and determined that it would be better to have uniformity across all of our 57 precincts and we went paper pollbooks across the county.”

That move caused a whole new set of problems: Voting was delayed — up to an hour and a half — in a number of precincts as pollworkers waited for new supplies. With paper pollbooks, they had to cut voters’ names out and attach them to a form before people could get their ballots.

The company that provided the software for the poll books is VR Systems — the company that the document Reality Winner leaked showed had been probed by Russian hackers.

But Susan Greenhalgh, who’s part of an election security group called Verified Voting, worried that authorities underreacted. She was monitoring developments in Durham County when she saw a news report that the problem pollbooks were supplied by a Florida company named VR Systems.

“My stomach just dropped,” says Greenhalgh.

She knew that in September, the FBI had warned Florida election officials that Russians had tried to hack one of their vendor’s computers. VR Systems was rumored to be that company.

Because of the publicity surrounding the VR targeting — thanks to the document leaked by Winner — NC has now launched an investigation.

Lawson says the state first learned of the hack attempt when The Intercept, an online news site, published its story detailing Russian attempts to hack VR Systems. The leaked report said hackers then sent emails to local election offices that appeared to come from VR — but which actually contained malicious software.

[snip]

So now, months after the election, the state has launched an investigation into what happened in Durham County. It has secured the pollbooks that displayed the inaccurate information so forensic teams can examine them.

So this may be the first concrete proof that Russian hackers affected the election. But we’ll only find out of that’s true thanks to Winner’s leak.

Except she can’t raise that at trial.

Last week, Magistrate Judge Brian Epps imposed a protection order in her case that prohibits her or her team from raising any information from a document the government deems to be classified, even if that document has been in the public record. That includes the document she leaked.

The protective order is typical for leak cases. Except in this case, it covers information akin to information that appeared in other outlets without eliciting a criminal prosecution. And more importantly, Winner could now point to an important benefit of her leak, if only she could point to the tie between her leak and this investigation in North Carolina.

With the protection order, she can’t.

Note one more implication of this story.

In addition to the Presidential election last year, North Carolina had a surprisingly close Senate election, in which Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr beat Deborah Ross by 6%. Admittedly, the margin was large — over 200,000 votes. But Durham County is the most Democratic county in the state.

Burr, of course, is presiding over one of the four investigations into the Russian hacks. And while I don’t think this story, yet, says that Burr won because of the hack, if the investigations shows VR was hacked in the state and it affected throughput in the most Democratic county, then it means Burr benefitted as clearly from the Russian hacks as Trump did.

The SSCI investigation has been going better than I had imagined. But this seems like a conflict of interest.

Update: I originally said the entire state switched to paper pollbooks. That’s incorrect: just Durham County did, which makes the issue even more important.

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 Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, 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 in Grand Rapids, MI.

43 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    Maybe not use it in the case in chief, but may well be able to discuss the public aspects of it as part of her mitigation package for sentencing.

    • Peterr says:

      What kind of luck would she have in getting this tossed on appeal, assuming a negative result in the trial court?

      • bmaz says:

        No way to know without seeing the pre-trial and trial process. But if you are asking about just on the law being unconstitutionally harsh? None.

      • emptywheel says:

        NC is in the Fourth. So precedents, like the Kiriakou case, which prohibit talking about public good would apply.

  2. lefty665 says:

    Since NSA was monitoring the VR hacks they probably have a pretty good idea what, if anything, happened. Don’t expect we will hear about that unless someone else leaks.

    • cc young says:

      It’s one thing to see traffic, quite another to know what the traffic is doing, esp since most traffic is encrypted.

       

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Especially since it was allegedly printed and snail-mailed.

          Again, sorry for being redundant, but there is no proof it was even a legit NSA doc.

          • lefty665 says:

            Yep, and she’s got a tough row to hoe to mount any defense. Thanks SLF. Still sounds more like an operation descriptor than a name.

          • bmaz says:

            SLF – You have to be fucking kidding me. The reaction of the NSA to the document evidenced in Matt Coles original article is per se admission of authenticity of the document. Your curious determination to claim lack of evidence that is legitimate is hilarious and wrongheaded.

            Lefty – After her admission to the FBI, apparently with a waiver of counsel to do so, she has no defense whatsoever. When things die down a little, and the DOJ has some other leakers to focus on, Ms. Winner will cop as good of a plea as she can and argue her case at sentencing. That is all she has because she was an idiot and gave admissions against her interest to everything.

            • lefty665 says:

              Thanks bmaz  “she was an idiot and gave admissions against her interest to everything.” says it perfectly, and The Intercept hastened her arrest.  As Marcy noted, being in the 4th district doesn’t make it any easier for her, although from your observations that might not make much difference. Her name still strikes me as more like an operation title. What a strange coincidence.

              Hope the vineyard crawling has been good.

              • bmaz says:

                Yep. The Intercept may have hastened her arrest, but not by much, she cooked her own goose bad enough. Which is not to say that The Intercept didn’t bugger up the pie, they did. But no matter what TI did, she was cooked if the document contents went public. I feel sorry for her, as she clearly meant well. But dang, it is what it is.

                And, thank you. Yes, we had a riot “on the coast” (as Peter called it!) where we picked up our daughter after a summer internship, and then winery crawling in Temecula. If you like wine and are ever in the area, I highly recommend it. Though Temecula is kind of in inland nowhere in California, so you have to want to be in the area. That said, it is a wonderful little town, and some really great wineries. It is not Napa Valley, but it is pretty damn good. And a LOT closer for us mopes in the Arizona desert.

                • lefty665 says:

                  Neat, have to put it on the itinerary for our next southwest trip. Got to Calistoga in northern napa a few years ago for a family reunion and had entirely too good a time. All California wineries are better than Virginia’s, although the locals here sell everything they make.

                  • bmaz says:

                    If you ever do it, from LA/Orange County, take the southern route where you go through the mountains (real mountains!) and wind down the other side into Lake Elsinore, and then over to Temecula. It is awesome. I had only been to Elsinore once or twice since I was a teenager and raced in a motocross race there. Even at that, it was when I was in college and thus a LONG time ago. Like forever ago. It was really fun seeing it again. And Temecula is a completely different place. In a good way.

  3. orionATL says:

    i have said before that russian influence of some kind might have happened in some state races as well as in the presidential. if you want to assure relative control of the u. s. federal gov’t, you want to control the congress. a democratic senate is a dangerous roadblock. after all, that is what the koch octopus and allies were telling voters in the fiv e key states – “vote republican to protect the nation from a president clinton”. russians ain’t no dummies.

    the five key races – n. car., wisconsin, penn., fla., and nevada- would have been obvious targets for some form of manipulation from facebook to voting machines. 2 of those were directly involved in the skewed electoral college result. that’s not to say other senatorial races would not have been of interest also.

    keep in mind “rayne’s theorem”: if you have a thousand polling places in a state, you only need to change a few votes in each one to change the results of elections. very subtle manipulation; no missing voting machines; no odd counts from known highly partisan counties; no dubious recounts with newly found votes.

    • lefty665 says:

      Obama’s squeaker 12k win over McCain in ’08 was the first time a Dem had won Carolina since Jimmy Carter. Trump’s win was close to 15 times larger than Obama’s in ’08 and was larger than Mitten’s in ’12. Nobody was screaming about low level vote fraud in either of those closer elections. Data problems in one county smells more like human screw ups than foreign manipulation.

      As much as we like to think “Every vote counts” American elections are designed to reflect clear majority preferences. We get down to close margins and there are many things that can and do affect a few votes. Errors (mechanical, electronic and human), corruption and hacking are among them. Local partisans have clear motives and proximity to hack our hodgepodge of local voting systems.

       

      • emptywheel says:

        No. But THIS YEAR people were screaming about voter fraud because it was in no way “low level.” It was historic, with federal courts serially deciding it was illegal, followed by the NC GOP serially finding new ways to achieve the same suppressive results.

      • orionATL says:

        in your zeal to excuse, lefty, you miss the point. of course there are close results of the sort you describe.

        the point i was making involves a calculated MIMICING of a “naturally” close election. that is the strategy. that’s what malintent and rayne’s theorem :) might produce. the difference in 2016 on the one hand and 2008 or ’12 is that there was no evidence i’m aware of of intent to control an election’s outcome in the earlier years. in 2016 there is clear evidence of intent to influence. whether that intent actually influenced voting results is an open question, but it most certainly is a hypothesis that must be pursued.

        reassuring assertions like yours are insufficient to meet the challenge.

        • orionATL says:

          i want to point out that slyly influencing elections in a manner that is difficult to detect is not limited to making many small manipulations over a large set of voting groups (polling stations).

          influence can also take the form of influencing individual voter’s mind and decision making in a modern version of “subliminal advertising”. this is what you might get with targeting certain groups of voters thru facebook using something like the cambridge analytics approach. these voter manipulations would not, of course, be limited to foreigners trying to influence american politics. domestic political operatives have equal access to manipulative methods and more legal freedom to use them.

          these recent very sophisticated decision making activities are, of course, extensions of the “ordinary” political advertising is a common instance of this type of voter influence strategy.

          • lefty665 says:

            EW – Sure. At least voter suppression is out there where we can see it and contest it directly in the courts. It will not go away as a tactic (mostly GOP) until the Dems recover enough of the profound number of seats they have lost in state Leges to contest it there.  All the screaming about alleged voter fraud we have been hearing from the Repubs seems designed to distract attention from the actual voter suppression they have been achieving institutionally. It appears to have been even worse in Florida than in Carolina.

        • lefty665 says:

          Screwed up rolls and voting records in one county in Carolina hardly constitute “calculated MIMICING (congratulations, you found your caps lock). They look much more like f***ups by Bubba and his buddies in a couple of precincts. If that is not what it was they seem designed to attract as much attention as possible, perhaps by kids. Attracting attention is not a prime directive of a national intelligence service anywhere in the world. You can see from the report Winner leaked that NSA was aware of exactly who they were tracking and can replay every keystroke and up/down load they did. The Winner report did not indicate any actual meddling with the election. But, Carolina needs to do its own investigation and fix the problem so it does not happen again.

          If you look at Michigan where the final outcome was very close, and apparently the example behind “rayne’s theorem” (sic), the tale is in the gross political malfeasance of the Clinton campaign leadership (Hillary and Mook). It could be called the “Custer phenomena” where big human disasters are caused by command failure, or perhaps you would prefer the “Titanic theorem” or the “Hindenburg Uncertainty Principle”.

          Obama bequeathed Hillary a 450,000 vote margin in Michigan. Hillary was so sure she was going to win Michigan she failed to campaign there, Mook failed to adjust his magic numbers after Sanders demonstrated they were wrong with his big primary upset,  they refused to allow surrogates to campaign outside of central cities, and they dissed ongoing and increasingly desperate pleas from state level Dems that they were in trouble. There was no excuse for the election in Michigan to be close enough that precinct level vagaries to the tune of a couple of votes per, innocent or malignant, could swing it.  Did the trapdoor Springfields Custer’s troopers were shooting get hot and jam? Yes. Did that cost some of them their lives? Yes. Can we document that? Yes. Was the battle lost do to equipment failure at the individual trooper level or by Custer? Custer. Same with Michigan. Clinton and Mook.  Sometimes people have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees.

          orion @11:49 Congratulations you have mastered Vance Packard’s “Hidden Persuaders” from 1957. Fortunately the magic of Cambridge Analyiticia was more in the form of self promotion than real.

          • orionATL says:

            [email protected]:38pm

            lefty, you missed my point yet AGAIN when you wrote:

            “… Screwed up rolls and voting records in one county in Carolina hardly constitute “calculated MIMICING (congratulations, you found your caps lock). They look much more like f***ups by Bubba and his buddies in a couple of precincts. If that is not what it was they seem designed to attract as much attention as possible, perhaps by kids…]

            and i had even put “mimic” in capitals so you would not miss the point :))), but in your inane zeal to berate a clinton, either clinton will do for you, you missed my point a second time.

            my point was

            – that there is no reason to assume that only the presidential race was important to manipulate. congressional races might also be desireable targets.

            – that it is conceivable that one could, as a matter of a designed manipulation of an election, MIMIC a close election by manipulating votes across a population of polling stations. the result would be a more difficult to detect fraud than some of the old fashioned kinds i mentioned.

            – that, by implication, voting is now much easier to subtly manipulate than ever before due to technology and the massing of large voting data bases both public and private.

            – that by implication, i do not buy the reassurances currently being sold the citizenry that because voting is controlled by states and counties which do not coordinate with each other, there is little to worry about in the way of wide scale elecyion manipulation.

            on a related matter:

            really, lefty, you are making an ass of yourself by turning so many of your comments into screeds against one or the other of the clintons.

            you have become a characteur of a political commenter, a sort of howling tasmanian devil who is forever yowling about ekther hillary or bubba, no matter the context or the justification.

            people who have only come to the emptywheel blog in the last couple of years may not know that many years before you began targeting hillary clinton for your endless ranting criticisms, you had targeted bill clinton in the same vituperative style.

            one has to wonder what could possibly drive such firious animosity year after year after year. in any rate, it says a great deal about you that you have carried out this amazing vendetta for all this time.

            other than that yowling tasmanian devil of a character, your political comments bring to mind the image of a demented fire-and-brimstone preacher, certain of who belongs in hell and who does not.

            • lefty665 says:

              Tasmanian Devil (caps please). I like that mmmmrrrrooooowwwwww whirl. Bring me more foolishness to devour, chomp, chomp.

              Sigh, sounds like you’re off your meds again, or they need adjusting. Might be a good idea to check in with your therapist.

          • orionATL says:

            [email protected]:38pm

            lefty, you missed my point yet AGAIN when you wrote:

            “… Screwed up rolls and voting records in one county in Carolina hardly constitute “calculated MIMICING (congratulations, you found your caps lock). They look much more like f***ups by Bubba and his buddies in a couple of precincts. If that is not what it was they seem designed to attract as much attention as possible, perhaps by kids…]

            and i had even put “mimic” in capitals so you would not miss the point :))), but in your inane zeal to berate a clinton, either clinton will do for you, you missed my point a second time.

            my point was

            – that there is no reason to assume that only the presidential race was important to manipulate. congressional races might also be desireable targets.

            – that it is conceivable that one could, as a matter of a designed manipulation of an election, MIMIC a close election by manipulating votes across a population of polling stations. the result would be a more difficult to detect fraud than some of the old fashioned kinds i mentioned.

            – that, by implication, voting is now much easier to subtly manipulate than ever before due to technology and the massing of large voting data bases both public and private.

            – that by implication, i do not buy the reassurances currently being sold the citizenry that because voting is controlled by states and counties which do not coordinate with each other, there is little to worry about in the way of wide scale elecyion manipulation.

            on a related matter:

            really, lefty, you are making an ass of yourself by turning so many of your comments into screeds against one or the other of the clintons.

            you have become a characteur of a political commenter, a sort of howling tasmanian devil who is forever yowling about ekther hillary or bubba, no matter the context or the justification.

            people who have only come to the emptywheel blog in the last couple of years may not know that many years before you began targeting hillary clinton for your endless ranting criticisms, you had targeted bill clinton in the same vituperative style.

            one has to wonder what could possibly drive such furious animosity year after year after year. in any rate, it says a great deal about you that you have carried out this amazing vendetta for all this time.

            other than that yowling tasmanian devil of a character, your political comments bring to mind the image of a demented fire-and-brimstone preacher, certain of who belongs in hell and who does not.

        • Rayne says:

          This: “the difference in 2016 on the one hand and 2008 or ’12 is that there was no evidence i’m aware of of intent to control an election’s outcome in the earlier years.

          In 2008 the GOP tried to disenfranchise voters using foreclosure status as a means to screen out likely Democratic voters. They admitted it, it was known.

          However I do not know of any effort made in 2012, 2014, and 2016 to ensure that the GOP did not use this same technique to disenfranchise voters again. I never heard of any followup by journalists or the Democratic Party at local/state/national level to ensure it didn’t happen again. Further, it would have been very easy to integrate foreclosed status into Crosscheck as a means to kick out voters.

          We can’t say there wasn’t an active effort to flip the vote 2012/2014/2016 because there simply wasn’t adequate checks up front to ensure known methods weren’t used.

          Given Wisconsin’s turning away 200K voters, it would be easy to hide small efforts in such a massive number. It would be easy to hide small efforts in places where the economy made it easy to undermine integrity of the vote — like in Detroit where so many machines did not appear to be in good repair and couldn’t be recounted.

          We don’t know with any certainty because our system does not allow for adequate checks up front or technical forensic audits after, with inadequate transparency in between. Anybody saying otherwise is either ignorant of the processes or covering their butt — that goes for the secretaries of state who have done an inadequate job of ensuring system integrity.

          • greengiant says:

            In addition to disenfranchisement,  voter rolls, threats of Trumpian poll stalkers, “but the emails” there is the ballot fraud.  There are no hand recounts in at least one Wisconsin precinct, only feed ballots through the same hacked tally machine that reproduce the same 2016 election result that violently disagrees with the unofficial hand check of same ballots.  When this is divulged the election official demands to know if they are asking for a hand count as if they were asking for a 3rd term abortion.  Something along the lines of we don’t do hand counts.  In Michigan state law provides if the poll book disagrees with the number of ballots in lock box without explanation then the precinct is not recounted.  Never mind the ballots where still in another locked box fed by the voting machine.

            Ponder what if some precincts were hacked by more than one actor?  Thinking there is some blowback headed to the incompetent hackers that draw attention, read hackers networked to the oligarchs.  Oligarchs use lowest cost vendors and stir up enough energy they get unsolicited volunteers.

          • lefty665 says:

            Rayne, Thanks for correcting orion.

            You can go back further. Ohio in ’04 the Repub Sec of the State, Ken Blackwell, moved the Ohio voting system to backup servers in Kentucky that also housed the RNC. When the system came back up Duhbya had mysteriously come from behind and taken the lead.  In  ’00 when the dust settled and all the votes were actually counted Gore won Florida. But it was too late, the Repubs had sealed the fraud through the Supreme Court.

            As you know, our voting systems are a horror show of technical vulnerabilities from individual voting machines up.  Fixing that would be a good first step. Our experience in automating voting early in this millennium makes the convincing case it would take a strong set of Federal standards to keep from repeating the mess. In Virginia we found most of the local people, and some of the ones at the state level, making decisions were profoundly technically ignorant but exquisitely responsive to voting equipment sales blandishments. That brought us touch screen machines with no paper backup, individual machine networks default on with trivial WEP encryption, and hard coded master passwords. What could possibly go wrong with that?

             

             

  4. Evangelista says:

    “this may be the first concrete proof that Russian hackers affected the election.”

    The above statement implies that “Russian hackers” hacking U.S. elections is proved fact. Has “Russian hackers” hacking U.S. elections been proved fact?

    “Russian hackers” hacking U.S. elections had not been proved even plausible, last word I have had. And with NSA having been proved to have developed capabilities to spoof others as ‘the’ hackers hacking when they have been, or are, hacking, there appears very little possibility of proving any hacking the NSA, or any NSA related “Intelligence” Community alphabetorae, intra, inter or extra state, or domestic or foreign, private or “public”, has had entry to the field of, has not been NSA and co-partner spoofed.

    In a world where agencies whose credibilities require recognition of and reputation for trustworthiness are proved, and proofed, to be untrustworthy, unreliable and corrupt, there is no way, except through obviously directly chainable circumstantial evidence, for any allegation to be genuinely and legitimately proved. Add to that “factuality” being “establishable” by media repetition, pundit preaching and interested party testimony given no legitimate questioning, and you have the current United States and al of its supposed “authorities” of government.

    Today’s United States is the next stage after ‘garbage-in-garbage-out’, which is ‘garbage-is-garbage-is-garbage-is-ad infinitum, and turns whatever is mixed in to garbage with it’.

    The real trouble, that makes any effort to legitimately sort out what manipulatings were engaged in in the 2016 election cycle, is, first, the sheer number of different parties engaging in manipulatings, then the number of manipulatings, then the variety of manipulating techniques, and then the number of the manipulators with “connections” and “clout” sufficient to “warrant” efforts by partisan parties to “cover” this or that one, or slip it out of the tent, and to cover the arses of the covering parties, to erase evidences of their coverings and even “interests”. There is then also the willingness of corrupt officials, corrupt judges and corrupt legal systems, from local levels to federal, willing to bend authorities to bend law to divert and prevent investigations, gatherings of evidences and disclosures of evidences and proofs.

    You saw all of these kick in, and being instigated to kick in and ordered to kick in, by partisans of both leading parties, for specific purpose to impede and prevent investigation and disclosures, when Jill Stein and supporters lept the supposedly insuperable financial wall barrier to just begin the most preliminary investigation activities of recount after the 2016 election.

    Every election in the current United States is a garbage-in-garbage-out election, with the results in all elections being nothing more than a sloshing of the garbage that composes the government, from “top elected” to lowest level “paycheck-dependent” and so amenable and obedient compliant bureaucratic minion.

    P.S. The allegation in the Reality Winner leaked “proof”, you should take note, is an NSA allegation, not, itself, proofed

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        There’s half a point there.

        American elections depend upon on unverified (and unverifiable) trust devolved down to the county and precinct level, mediated through a bunch of private vendors like VR to manage pollbooks and voting machines. The Carter Center has said a few times that it couldn’t do election monitoring in the US if asked because the criteria it relies upon to judge elections in emerging democracies don’t apply. This system just about functions when the vote counts are low, the stakes aren’t high, or the outcome isn’t close: it inherits decades of “tradition” that has little in common with how free and fair elections happen in most other developed nations.

      • Ecks says:

        Dah, Comrade: why waste precious times refuting points when argument is winning by calling of the names and insinuations of Motherland, I mean Russian, spies!

          • Ecks says:

            Brilliant, Comrade! Policing of the grammar of non-native speaker of English for wins! They must be rooskie! Let me help you with some rooskie to Amurrrican translation:

            1) I call bull$#!+ – you assume that Russia has been proven to have ‘hacked our election’ and now turn to demonstrating that said hacking created a demonstrable effect. I ask you to prove the former before moving to the latter.

            2) With the proven capability to ‘spoof’ cyber attacks, it strains one’s credulity to argue that said attacks can be attributed to a specific actor especially when the ones who would most “credibly” assign blame are also the same entity who have been demonstrated to wield ‘spoofing’ within their professional arsenal.

            3) In a world where disinformation is known tactic, no, I will not except the word of anonymous current and former officials or evidence-free/speculative memos authored by (just some of)  ALL 17 AGENCIES. Show me real proof. Media parroting of said evidence-free memos or anonymous allegations without sufficient scrutiny demonstrates the sorry state of affairs of US government and thought leaders.

            4) In addition to the sheer number of moving parts and various actors with various motivations involved in the evolution of the 2016 election cycle, investigation of electoral tomfoolery is further compromised by the politicization of intelligence wherein information is amplified, suppressed or even unaddressed due to the outright prevention of good faith investigation.

            5) An example of the prevention of good faith investigation of electoral tomfoolery can be observed in largely thwarted efforts of Jill Stein following the election. [not a terribly relevant point but I’m enjoying the translation process]

            6) The “garbage” results of contemporary electoral endeavors within the US are indicative of the same garbage on offer: two purportedly different teams that seem to provide the same garbage once shuffled back into office.

            7) The allegation in the Reality Winner leaked “proof”, you should take note, is an NSA allegation, not, itself, pro[of].

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      The proof is in the pudding.

      NSA docs are not digitally signed. Why would they be? They are not *intended* to be leaked/exfiltrated because they are assumed to be for IC use only.

      But we have already seen an example where a leaked/exfiltrated doc was used to create a derivative doc that was then attributed to be a legit NSA doc, when there is no way to prove so.

      Note that I am agreeing with you.

      We have zero proof that RW leaked the alleged NSA doc. We do not know it was really even created by the NSA in the first place!

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      It’s not always GIGO.

      It can be Garbage Out-Garbarge In. GOGI.

      As in, media/gov/ic feeding out the garbage,
      and the Citizens ingesting the garbage.

  5. Rayne says:

    Probably unrelated, but best to keep in mind two other oddities from 2016 in North Carolina:

    08-SEP-2016 — Arrests of two ‘Crackas with Attitude’ in North Carolina who with at least three teens in the UK had been harassing US officials since late 2015;

    16-OCT-2016 — Arson of GOP local party office in Hillborough, North Carolina. Office was located in Orange County which neighbors Durham County.

    Factoid: Eric Trump’s wife Lara is from North Carolina and did a lot of campaigning for her FIL there.

  6. Ecks says:

    Evangelista really nailed it, in my opinion. Most crucially, “The allegation in the Reality Winner leaked “proof”, you should take note, is an NSA allegation, not, itself, proofed.” I would love to see a response to the full comment.

    Additionally, I would love to see a response to / acknowledgement of publications by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and, specifically, Patrick Lawrence’s recent piece in The Nation summarizing VIPS findings. Yes – it’s not related to Durham County. However, had it not been for the specious claims that ‘Russia Hacked the DNC and used Wikileaks to sway the election for Trump’ would we even assume that Russia – and not the most obvious culprit, the very same GOP that would benefit most – had hacked local election infrastructure? I seem to remember something like this fear back in the early oughts when the heads of Diebold and the ilk were clearly pro Bush/GOP (and also seemingly left security to the wayside with their machines/software). This is to say nothing of the rather blatant yet less sophisticated trickery of Madame Butterfly and Ken Blackwell. Had it not been for the ‘Russia hacked the DNC’ narrative that immediately smelled like damage-control-spin to me, would we really all veer so far away from Occam’s Razor?

    Finally, when did Winner admit guilt or get convicted? Why is this post not more careful about distinguishing allegations and fact (like the NSA memo itself)? I really have been trying to enjoy this blog due to appearances on DN! and Intercepted, but this is another post that really rubs me the wrong way. Sorry if I am missing something (like a previous post that would give greater context).

  7. Edward C. Stengel says:

    This is what Reality Winner was trying to warn us about, and those rats and traitors in Washington, D.C., had not time to be concerned.  They were too busy raising money.  It’s not Reality Winner who should be on trial – it’s the entire U.S. government.

  8. Willis Warren says:

    Obviously, the goal was to make the election invalid via “voter fraud.”  The method was to make voters in swing states vote “twice” by counting them as already having voted.

    If anyone is wondering why that idiot in the White House thinks millions of voters voted illegally, it’s because that’s what he was promised.

    HEY, LOOK!!!!  NORTH KOREA!

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      HEY, LOOK!!!! CHINA!
      HEY, LOOK!!!! RUSSIA!
      HEY, LOOK!!!! ANTARCTICA!
      Can not trust those Emperor Penguins :-)

      Etc, etc, ad nauseam.

      The fascists always have a distraction.

      Buy your ‘Red Herring’ stock now, it’s cheap and will be just as worthless years from now.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Unfortunately, it sounds like a program name fascists would come up with because they believe they are near their ‘end game’ (finish line), that their takeover is nearly complete, and their ‘reality’ is soon to be true, and that they are ‘winners’.

      They are totally mistaken, but the problem is the damage they have caused for the last 5 decades plus.

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