Dana Rohrabacher Brokering Deal for Man Publishing a CIA Exploit Every Week

Yesterday, right wing hack Charles Johnson brokered a three hour meeting between Dana Rohrabacher and Julian Assange. At the meeting, Assange apparently explained his proof that Russia was not behind the hack of the DNC. In a statement, Rohrabacher promises to deliver what he learned directly to President Trump.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday told Rep. Dana Rohrabacher that Russia was not behind leaks of emails during last year’s presidential election campaign that damaged Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and exposed the inner workings of the Democratic National Committee.

The California congressman spent some three hours with the Australian-born fugitive, now living under the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy in the British capital.

Assange’s claim contradicts the widely accepted assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that the thousands of leaked emails, which indicated the Democratic National Committee rigged the nomination process against Sen. Bernie Sanders in favor of Clinton, were the result of hacking by the Russian government or persons connected to the Kremlin.

Assange, said Rohrabacher, “emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails.” Rohrabacher, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, is the only U.S. congressman to have visited the controversial figure.

The conversation ranged over many topics, said Rohrabacher, including the status of Wikileaks, which Assange maintains is vital to keeping Americans informed on matters hidden by their traditional media. The congressman plans to divulge more of what he found directly to President Trump.

I’m utterly fascinated that Assange has taken this step, and by the timing of it.

It comes not long after Rod Wheeler’s lawsuit alleging that Fox News and the White House worked together to invent a story that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks. Both that story and this one have been promoted aggressively by Sean Hannity.

It comes in the wake of the VIPS letter that — as I’ve begun to show — in no way proves what it claims to prove about the DNC hack.

It comes just after a very long profile by the New Yorker’s Raffi Khatchadourian, who has previously written more sympathetic pieces about Assange. I have a few quibbles with the logic behind a few of the arguments Khatchadourian makes, but he makes a case — doing analysis on what documents got released where that no one else has yet publicly done (and about which numerous people have made erroneous claims in the past) — that Assange’s claims he wasn’t working with Russia no longer hold up.

But his protestations that there were no connections between his publications and Russia were untenable.

[snip]

Whatever one thinks of Assange’s election disclosures, accepting his contention that they shared no ties with the two Russian fronts requires willful blindness. Guccifer 2.0’s handlers predicted the WikiLeaks D.N.C. release. They demonstrated inside knowledge that Assange was struggling to get it out on time. And they proved, incontrovertibly, that they had privileged access to D.N.C. documents that appeared nowhere else publicly, other than in WikiLeaks publications. The twenty thousand or so D.N.C. e-mails that WikiLeaks published were extracted from ten compromised e-mail accounts, and all but one of the people who used those accounts worked in just two departments: finance and strategic communications. (The single exception belonged to a researcher who worked extensively with communications.) All the D.N.C. documents that Guccifer 2.0 released appeared to come from those same two departments.

The Podesta e-mails only make the connections between WikiLeaks and Russia appear stronger. Nearly half of the first forty documents that Guccifer 2.0 published can be found as attachments among the Podesta e-mails that WikiLeaks later published.

The Assange-Rohrabacher meeting also follows a NYT story revealing that the author of a piece of malware named in the IC’s first Joint Analysis Report of the DNC hack, Profexor, has been cooperating with the FBI. The derivative reports on this have overstated the connection Profexor might have to the DNC hack (as opposed to APT 28, presumed to be associated with Russia’s military intelligence GRU).

A member of Ukraine’s Parliament with close ties to the security services, Anton Gerashchenko, said that the interaction was online or by phone and that the Ukrainian programmer had been paid to write customized malware without knowing its purpose, only later learning it was used in Russian hacking.

Mr. Gerashchenko described the author only in broad strokes, to protect his safety, as a young man from a provincial Ukrainian city. He confirmed that the author turned himself in to the police and was cooperating as a witness in the D.N.C. investigation. “He was a freelancer and now he is a valuable witness,” Mr. Gerashchenko said.

It is not clear whether the specific malware the programmer created was used to hack the D.N.C. servers, but it was identified in other Russian hacking efforts in the United States.

But Profexor presumably is describing to the FBI how he came to sell customized access to his tool to hackers working for Russia and who those hackers were.

In other words, this bid by Assange to send information to Trump via someone protected by the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, but who is also suspected — even by his Republican colleagues! — of being on Russia’s payroll, comes at a very interesting time, as outlets present more evidence undermining Assange’s claims to have no tie to Russia.

Coming as it does as other evidence is coming to light, this effort is a bit of a Hail Mary by Assange: as soon as Trump publicizes his claims (which he’ll probably do during tomorrow’s shit-and-tweet) and they get publicly discredited, Assange (and Trump) will have little else to fall back on. They will have exposed their own claims, and provided the material others can use to attack Trump’s attempts to rebut the Russia hack claims. Perhaps Assange’s claims will be hard to rebut; but by making them public, finally, they will be revealed such that they can be rebutted.

I’m just as interested in the reporting on this, though, which was first pushed out through right wing outlets Daily Caller and John Solomon.

The story is presented exclusively in terms of Assange’s role in the DNC hack, which is admittedly the area where Assange’s interests and Trump’s coincide.

Yet not even the neutral LAT’s coverage of the meeting, which even quotes CIA Director and former Wikileaks fan Mike Pompeo,mentions the more immediate reason why Assange might need a deal from the United States. Virtually every week since March, Wikileaks has released a CIA exploit. While some of those exploits were interesting and the individual exploits are surely useful for security firms, at this point the Vault 7 project looks less like transparency and more like an organized effort to burn the CIA. Which makes it utterly remarkable a sitting member of Congress is going to go to the president to lobby him to make a deal with Assange, to say nothing of Assange’s argument that Wikileaks should get a White House press pass as part of the deal.

Dana Rohrabacher is perhaps even as we speak lobbying to help a guy who has published a CIA hack of the week. And that part of the meeting is barely getting notice.

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.

26 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    but, but – julian assange can’t know who he worked with on dnc papers because, as he has previously assured us, wikileaks never knows the identity of its sources :))

    oh, what a tangled web we must weave
    when trying to get others to believe.

  2. Aristophon says:

    Hasn’t the CIA already burned themselves by losing control of their tools?

    Seems way past time to cut the CIA back to Analysis and research only. Let the NSA and various military intelligence agencies handle the hacking stuff.

  3. orionATL says:

    personally, if i was julian assange, i would have my lawyer(s) talking with robert mueller, not putin’s drinking buddy, rohrbacher.

    that little chat might take you a long way away from doing 30 years hard time. :))

    • gordon says:

      Yep – a million+ dead from CIA projects in just Central America, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya shows they are not pussies, but murderers. They should reconsider their line of work.

  4. Jim White says:

    So despite the fact that Hannity was in a very high vibrational mode yesterday claiming really big stuff is going to break really soon, it is possible that Rohrabacher isn’t exactly making a beeline back to the US. This tweet today shows Rohrabacher meeting with an “exiled” self-appointed ruler of Balochistan. That area has long been a favorite sandbox for Rohrabacher and he has done some outrageous shit related to it (just search on his name and Emptywheel to see my old posts on some of the adventures). The “exiled” guy lists his location as Cardiff. The tweet came from Toronto, but was put up by a Baluchi reporter there. There’s no way to tell right now where or when the photo was taken, but it seems logical to think it was today in Wales. If so, then Rohrabacher is making Hannity and Trump wait for his juicy info.

    Bonus, but on an entirely different front: the Balochistan area Rohrabacher wants to “free” covers the Iran-Pakistan border and has been a favored crossing area for undercover folks of many different agencies crossing into Iran for mischief. So keep your Iran radar working for the next few weeks, too.

    • harpie says:

      Another interesting photo, today:

      Charles Johnson‏Verified account @Green_Footballs

      Photo of the Day: GOP Rep. Rohrabacher Poses With Holocaust Denier Chuck C. Johnson at Assange Meeting

      From the linked article:

      Here we see Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher posing on the steps of the Ecuadoran embassy in London with Holocaust-denying white supremacist Chuck C. Johnson (who is NOT ME), as they prepare to meet with Julian Assange. Johnson, of course, is making that hand sign that white supremacists love to pretend has nothing to do with white supremacism.

       

  5. seedeevee says:

    “as outlets present more evidence undermining Assange’s claims to have no tie to Russia” cough cough.

    “published a CIA hack of the week”, “Assange’s role in releasing a new CIA exploit each week”

    “The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.” — WikiLeaks

    You seem to go out of your way to deny the legitimate journalism that WikiLeaks and Assange do and attempt to devolve it into Russia hysteria. Why is that?

      • Karl Kolchak says:

        On the contrary, your flippant and emotional response proves pretty conclusively that it is.

        • orionATL says:

          to kolchak the russian :))

          “a flippant and emotional response” neither disproves nor proves anything. it is simply an common and appropriate human emotional response.

          don’t try your “holier than thou” rhetorical tricks here, you dumbass trump troll.

          you will get called on them every time.

        • Rugger9 says:

          The Russian connection is a known claim supported by some linked evidence, and it seems you have provided no evidence to dispute it, while claiming there is nothing to see. Show us the links, please.

          As for journalism, I can agree that in the early days Wikileaks did some good work on the Shrub WH, less so on the Obama WH (but still more or less even handed).  That was long ago, however, and it has been clear during the campaign period onward from what Assange has allowed to be released and the stuff not released that he was going to tip some scales this time.  Julian saw Trump as a libertarian that would remove the American (and perhaps the Swedish) threats to his relative freedom.  He hated HRC and if Caesar Disgustus was the enemy of his enemy, even better.

  6. Badbisco says:

    The evidence will be disproved? Based on what are you forecasting this in the future? We don’t even know if any evidence will be provideD to disprove. This site used to evaluate evidence but now you spout things based on your hatred of trump, you’re letting him win by doing that. The severity of his both stupidity and his abrasiveness, while quite true, has thrown you and diminished your previously valuable analysis. Another victim of trump outrage soggy brain.

  7. orionATL says:

    [email protected]:36

    i tell you what, dumbass trump troll, take some english classes and learn to write in english. then come back and write in articulate english sentences if you can muster it.

    trying to get away with machine translations makes you look like more of an ignorant trump troll than you may actually be.

    • Badbisco says:

      Hi orionATL,

      Re-reading my comment, I agree that the sentence structure was fairly stilted. I’d like to blame it on phone-screen typing after a long day at work but maybe it was the 2 micro-brews in my system (Marsh Island Pulp Truck IPA and Foundation Cosmic Bloom). Thank you for the constructive criticism.

      Also, thank you for the general tenor of your response. In my humble opinion, it highlights the issues I’m trying to raise. Rather than evaluate the substance of my complaint, that EW assumed and proclaimed that any evidence will “get publicly discredited” without any specific evidence to evaluate yet, you engaged in an ad hominem attack. This is typical of those suffering from Trump Outrage Soggy Brain (TOSB).

      You also assumed that I support Trump, without any evidence, and suggested that I’m a non-English speaker. Just curious, what language do you think I speak? Let me guess…Russian?

      You embody everything that scares me so much about the current environment in the United States. For far too many people, pure distilled hatred of Trump, who I also dislike, impacts their decision making and leads to illogical, emotional, and dangerous actions. People who post all day about Trump’s “hate” fail to see the hatred that they constantly demonstrate towards people who do support him. They rail against stereotypes but spend every day calling every single one of his supporters racists or bigots.

      Anyway, thanks again for proving my point. I need to go now as this translation machine is seriously smoking and I’m afraid it will burn down my dacha!

      PS – Unfortunately, here in REDACTED, idiots call out you!

       

      • orionATL says:

        “a long day at work”

        “a few microbrews”

        who do you think you’re kidding, troll boy?

        when the comrades have taught you to write in english without a machine come back and try your scaly trollhand again :))

  8. Chris Smith says:

    Julian Assange and Craig Murray said that they got the emails from a DNC insider. They did not have to do that. They could have declined to say who their source was and invited us to focus on the substance of the emails and not the process by which they were obtained. They did not do that. They affirmatively denied that the Russians provided them and affirmatively stated that a DNC insider gave them the emails.

    Given that I have seen no reason to question Assange’s or Murray’s credibility, I’ll take them at their word. That puts the ball back in the corner of the intelligence community. They have been demonstrably dishonest in the past, and thus are not entitled to be taken at their word. If the intelligence community has evidence that contradicts Assange and Murray’s statement, they need to put up or shut up. Given that the intelligence community has yet to support their contention that Assange and Murray are lying or in error, I’ll stick with Assange and Murray until actual, peer reviewable evidence is presented to the contrary.

  9. dutch says:

    I don’t see much importance in who purloined the DNC e-mails. The fact that they are authentic and reveal much about HRC and her minions that are unappealing is what matters. Whoever did it, telling the electorate the truth about one of the candidates cannot be construed as undermining the democratic process. The culprits did us all a favor and Wikileaks has proven to be a valueable resource.

  10. greengiant says:

    Some people are not comfortable with foreign and oligarch influence and interference in US elections.

    In another time as I walked down the sidewalk a woman was walking in the other direction.  She had  the most bowed legs I had ever seen in my life. My mouth must have been open in amazement at this distraction and as we met,  she asked me for two bits which I promptly placed in her hand.  You and your Putin bot ilk are that woman walking down the sidewalk and your comments are that bow legged distraction.  Distraction is the con man’s,  the salesman’s  and scammer’s weapon.  For every bit of energy wasted on the distraction is energy not used to detect the scam.

    Distraction is one of Trump’s weapons of choice.  Every bit of drama, lie, apparent stupidity, illogical and amoral position is distraction.  “This deal is really going to make me look bad.”   I like the twist of that phrase  “many sides” being code for all those different sides that are in opposition.

    • gordon says:

      “Some people are not comfortable with foreign and oligarch influence and interference in US elections.”

      How long have you been in the States, my friend?

       

       

  11. Christian C Holmer says:

    Test. Bill Binney, Julian Assange and Thomas Drake know more about these subjects than Marcy.

    • emptywheel says:

      I actually spoke to both Bill and Tom about this earlier this year. I’m not sure you’re right, based on that conversation. I’ll also note that Tom does not agree with Bill about the VIPS letter.

      As for Assange he undoubtedly has a better idea of who he got documents from than me. I may have a bit of insight on some stuff that happened here that he doesn’t have though.

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