Roger Stone’s Rat-Eating Swiss Cheese Denials

Back when Roger Stone leaked his September testimony to HPSCI, I noted that it misrepresented the key allegations against him, meaning he never denied the important parts.

I’m even more interested in how he depicts what he claims are the three allegations made against him.

Members of this Committee have made three basic assertions against me which bust be rebutted her today. The charge that I knew in advance about, and predicted, the hacking of the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s email, that I had advanced knowledge of the source or actual content of the WikiLeaks disclosures regarding Hillary Clinton or that, my now public exchange with a persona that our intelligence agencies claim, but cannot prove, is a Russian asset, is anything but innocuous and are entirely false.

In point of fact, this tripartite accusation is actually a misstatement of the allegations against him (though in his rebuttal of them, he is helped immensely by the sloppiness of public statements made by Democrats, especially those on the panel, which I’ve criticized myself). Generally, the accusation is more direct: that in conversing with both Julian Assange (though a cut-out) and Guccifer 2.0, Stone was facilitating or in some way helping the Trump campaign maximally exploit the Russian releases that were coming.

The same is true of his interview with Chuck Todd yesterday.

I’m most interested in the way Stone addresses his direct exchange with Guccifer 2.0, then restricts the rest of his denials to Wikileaks. When Todd asks Stone why he reached out to both Guccifer and Wikileaks, Stone focuses his attention on the former.

Todd: Why did you reach out to Guccifer? Why did you reach out to Wikileaks?

Stone: First of all, my direct messages with Guccifer 2.0, if that’s who it really is, come six weeks, almost six weeks after the DNC emails had been published by Wikileaks. So in order to collude in their hacking, which I had nothing whatsoever to do with, one would have needed a time machine. Secondarily, I wrote a very long piece, you can find it still at the Stone Cold Truth. I doubt that Guccifer is, indeed, a Russian operative. I also once believed that he had hacked the DNC. I don’t believe that anymore either. I believe it was an inside job and the preponderance of evidence points to a load to a thumb drive or some other portable device and the device is coming out the back door. But, Chuck, ten days ago, the Washington Post that based on the Democratic minority that the Russians had sent documents to me for review. I never received any documents from the Russians or anybody representing them. I never had any contact with any

Todd: Did you receive any documents and you didn’t know it was a Russian?

Stone: I never received any documents from anyone purporting to be a Russian or otherwise, and I never saw the Wikileaks documents in advance.

In his response he does the following:

  • Raises doubts that he was actually talking to Guccifer 2.0 (even though Guccifer 2.0’s only identity was virtual, so Stone’s online interactions with any entity running the Guccifer Twitter account would by definition be communication with Guccifer 2.0)
  • Repeats his earlier doubts that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian operative
  • Emphasizes that he couldn’t have couldn’t have been involved in any hack of the DNC Guccifer 2.0 had done because he first spoke to him six weeks after the email release (in reality, he was speaking to him three weeks after the Wikileaks release)
  • Admits he once believed Guccifer 2.0 did the hack but (pointing to the Bill Binney analysis, and giving it a slightly different focus than he had in September) claims he no longer believes that
  • Invents something about a WaPo report that’s not true, thereby shifting the focus to receiving documents (as opposed to, say, information)
  • Denies he received documents from anyone but not that he saw documents (other than the Wikileaks ones) before they were released

This denial stops well short of explaining why he reached out to Guccifer. And it does nothing to change the record — one backed by his own writing — that Stone reached out because he believed Guccifer, whoever he might be, had hacked the DNC.

At the time Stone reached out to Guccifer (as I pointed out, he misrepresented the timing of this somewhat in his testimony), he believed Guccifer had violated the law by hacking the DNC.

He never does explain to Todd why he did reach out.

Guccifer 2.0 never comes back in the remainder of the interview. The first time Todd asks Stone if there had been “collusion” with the Russians, Stone answers it generally, insisting Trump needed no help to beat Hillary.

Todd: You have made the case here that there was no collusion here that you’re aware of. Would it have been wrong to collude with a foreign adversary to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign?

Stone: Well, there’s no evidence that this happened, you’re asking me to answer a hypothetical question. It seems to me that Mr. Steele was colluding with the Russians.

Todd: Let me ask you this. Do you think it’s fair game to get incriminating evidence from a foreign government about your political opponent?

Stone: But that didn’t happen, Chuck, so I’m not going to answer a hypothetical question. It was unnecessary. The idea that Donald Trump needed help from the Russians to beat Hillary Clinton it’s an excuse, a canard, a fairy tale. I don’t believe it ever happened.

The next time — when Stone first labels then backs way the fuck off labeling conspiring with the Russians as treason — Stone then focuses on how such conspiring would only be treason if you believed that Assange was a Russian agent.

Stone: Chuck I’ve been accused of being a dirty trickster. There’s one trick that’s not in my bag. That’s treason. I have no knowledge or involvement with Russians–

Todd: And you believe

Stone: And I have no knowledge of anybody else who does.

Todd: Let me establish something. You believe, if unbeknownst to you, there is somebody on the Trump campaign who worked with the Russians on these email releases, that’s a treasonous act?

Stone: No, actually, I don’t think so because for it to be a treasonous act, Assange would have to be provably a Russian asset, and Wikileaks would have to be a Russian front and I do not believe that’s the case.

Todd: Let me back you up there. You think it’s possible Wikileaks and the Trump campaign coordinated the release?

Stone: I didn’t say that at all. I have no knowledge of that and I make no such claim.

Todd: No, I understand that. You just issued that hypothetical. So what you’re saying is had that occurred you don’t believe that’s, you don’t believe, you don’t believe that that’s against the law?

Stone: This is all based on a premise that Wikileaks is a Russian front and Assange is a Russian agent. As I said I reject that. On the other hand I have no knowledge that that happened. It’s certainly did not happen in my case. That isn’t something I was involved in.

When asked whether it would be illegal to work with Wikileaks (Stone’s contacts with Guccifer at a time he believed Guccifer to have hacked the DNC go unmentioned) Stone again focuses on whether Wikileaks was Russian, not on the conspiracy to hack and leak documents.

This focus on Wikileaks instead of Guccifer 2.0 carries over to the statement Stone issued to ABC:

I never received anything whatsoever from WikiLeaks regarding the source, content or timing of their disclosures regarding Hillary Clinton, the DNC or Podesta. I never received any material from them at all. I never received any material from any source that constituted the material ultimately published by WikiLeaks. I never discussed the WikiLeaks disclosures regarding Hillary Clinton or the DNC with candidate or President Donald Trump before during or after the election. I don’t know what Donald Trump knew about the WikiLeaks disclosures regarding Hillary or the DNC if anything and who he learned it from if anyone.

No one, including Sam Nunberg is in possession If any evidence to the contrary because such evidence does not exist … This will be an impossible case to bring because the allegation that I knew about the WikiLeaks disclosures beyond what Assange himself had said in interviews and tweets or that I had and shared this material with anyone in the Trump campaign or anyone else is categorically false. Assange himself has said and written that I never predicted anything that he had not already stated in public.

There’s very good reason Stone would want to focus on Wikileaks rather than Guccifer.

Even by his own dodgy explanation, at the time he reached out to Guccifer, he believed that Guccifer had hacked the DNC. While it’s true that the public record shows Stone stopping short of accepting documents from Guccifer (all this ignores Stone’s reported involvement in a Guccifer-suggested Peter Smith effort to obtain Hillary’s Clinton Foundation emails), Stone’s interest in coordinating with the hack-and-leak is clear.

And it seems Sam Nunberg may fear that his past testimony and communications with Stone would document that interest. If he knows Stone did have non-public communications with Guccifer, but didn’t believe Guccifer to be Russian, it would also explain why Nunberg said he thought Putin was too smart to collude with Trump, but that his testimony might hurt Stone.

Adding one more point to this: early in the interview, Stone goes to some lengths to say that he proved he had actually separated from the Trump campaign by contemporaneously showing two reporters his resignation letter. This is akin to something Carter Page did in his HPSCI testimony. But given how many of those conspiring with Russia on the Trump campaign (Carter Page — especially after his departure, George Papadopoulos, and Paul Manafort) didn’t have formal roles, it’s not clear that letter would be definitive. Indeed, it might be the opposite, one of a group of people who arranged plausible deniability by getting or staying off the campaign payroll.

Update: Fixed my misrepresentation of Stone’s claim about the six week delay, and fact-checked it to note it was only three weeks.

44 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    We’re still dependent on the May 2017 WSJ story on the Florida DCCC hack-and-leak: that G 2.0 passed the documents on to Aaron Nevins / HelloFLA after Nevins requested them, and G 2.0 then sent Stone the link to HelloFLA. It feels like that’s not the whole story, and even if it is, Nevins should have had a call from Mueller’s office.

    • emptywheel says:

      As I noted, the three Americans listed in the IRA indictment in a way reflecting investigative interest were all in FL.

      I suspect we’ll learn more about FL.

  2. cfost says:

    McMaster’s recent remark seems increasingly important: (paraphrasing) the evidence is incontrovertible and it is in the public domain. Which means that McMaster knows the details and he knows they are now publicly available. For the rest of us who are struggling to wade through a tsunami of irrelevant or misleading or untrue information imbedded in the Trump-Russia affair, Stone does us no favors. Stone’s interviews yesterday and his testimony before congress both fall into the “baffle ‘em with bs” playbook.

    If it is true that Stone and Nunberg are both trying to cover or spin their accidental reveal of Stone’s interest in coordinating with Guccifer, why are they trying so hard to do it in such a public way? Who is their audience? If they are trying to mitigate their legal jeopardy, it seems that public comments could only hurt and not help. None of the recent spectacle is going to help them in court. Is the medium the message?

    I agree that Stone is trying to divert attention from his interaction with Guccifer, but to me that in no way means that Assange-as-Wikileaks is benign or inert. Marcy, you are the “packets” expert: are we to believe that US and UK intelligence hasn’t been intercepting every electron going and coming into the Ecuadorean Embassy for lo, these many years?

    To your last point: could it be that, from the time of the campaign until now, the tactic of portraying Trump-related people as casual advisors, unpaid, unofficial, etc., has been a deliberate strategy? Plausible deniability, yes; but who else uses this strategy? Vlade? Are not the ongoing parade of firings, resignations and forced departures all part of the same strategy? If your aim is to defraud, this is how you do it. If you want to remain top dog in the crime family, this is how you do it.

    • greengiant says:

      Assange’s visitors walk the bits in so there is ambiguity about what the various ICs know has been sent to Julian.While one scenario is that Putin’s agents or cut outs cake walked info into the GOP, the ones with dirty hands are just as guilty if they sucked it off the dark web.

      Comey is coming to TV in April. I can wait to see what a year’s memory haze has done to Comey’s recollections of how many emails were on Weiner’s lap top,  what did the GOP know and when did they know it.

      • cfost says:

        I can imagine that the list of Assange’s visitors at the Embassy is at least as interesting as the White House visitor’s log. If Mueller’s team knew when Nader was landing at Dulles (where was he flying from?), and when Papa was landing on his way back from Germany (why was he in Germany?), then I feel confident that most if not all of Julian’s visitors were followed on their way in/out of the Embassy. Yes, yes, passenger manifests and all, but let’s not kid ourselves about the depth and breadth of the surveillance. What I really want to know is why and when Assange-as-Wikileaks became so rabidly anti-Hillary. ‘Cause they ain’t anti-Vlade. And they’re awfully chummy with Rupert’s Fox propaganda vehicle, and maybe even with his son in law, Freud.

        • greengiant says:

          You want someone else to say what you aren’t saying.  Julian definitely put out by Hillary by the Swedish investigation and UK hammer. What it is really sick is how all the GOP ratfuckers are wikileaks defenders and vice versa.

    • emptywheel says:

      Adding to what greengiant said about mules walking the bits in (which is true), remember there are WL people outside of Assange, and for precisely this period in October 2016, Assange had been cut off the Internet.

      On the volunteer thing, yes, that’s what I was trying to suggest.

      On the public nature of all this, I think Nunberg is misreading where Mueller might be going, and Stone is trying a last bid attempt to exonerate himself before Mueller indicts him Friday.

      • Trip says:

        and Stone is trying a last bid attempt to exonerate himself before Mueller indicts him Friday.

        Wow. I hope you are right, Marcy.

      • cfost says:

        I hope you are right. If it plays out that way, these guys are incredibly stupid. Maybe I have been overestimating them (and not just Stone & Nunberg).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A master dirty trickster for several decades is Roger.  Safe to assume that nothing he says has enough truth in it to open a good bottle of beer.  His job is propaganda, to protect his own ass, Trump’s and his Republican Party’s.

  3. orionATL says:

    well now, thanks to roger stone, gucifer 2.0 is back in the news. i have been thinking about that squirrely little robot of late and wondering why his taunting, egotistical self had fallen silent

    more needs to be understood  about this android feature of the 2016 russian intervention, not least  the connection emptywheel has made between the june 9 meeting in trump tower and gucifer’s awakening. 

    does robert mueller’s gang interview robots? 

  4. Trip says:

    Why the Nunberg/Stone dog and pony show of late?

    He lied when he stated that he never said he had contact with wikileaks, too. I remember seeing an undercover video of him saying exactly that, bragging about it.

  5. Bjorn Jensen says:

    Bragging: The Incoming Storm :

    Stephanie Clifford is a bright person . Setting aside  the disparaging of this woman by continually referring to her as a porn star thereby diminishing her credibility  rather than refer to her as an adult film actress which is equally ridiculous but more respectful so how should main stream actresses be referred to?

    ( let us not forget Chloe  Sevigny in the Brown Bunny-)

    Clifford is upfront and is honest  and proud of her career.

    Then” Me Too” folk won’t touch her with a barge pole and won’t support her”

    Where is genuine feminism?

    The way that Stephanie is referred to in the press is outrageous …

    So who’s that guy in Alabama stalking teenage girls in malls ?

    It all seems to be compared to old Grandad Bill Clinton – heck wasn’t this grown up consensual  sex?

    When Francois Mitterrand died – his secret daughter – was there for him- no one said a word in the press – just respect –

    Trump is a mysonogist

    – he takes advantage of and preys on women –

    – he destroys the English language

    – he might  read – just maybe- the instructions on his hair dye box

    Give Stephanie Clifford a break – she so deserves public support

    • Rayne says:

      Stop conflating a transactional relationship between Trump and a sex worker with the MeToo movement. The entire point behind MeToo is that people, nearly all women, have been oppressed by sexual harassers/abusers/rapists and silenced until now because industries and society at large would shame the victims.

      Unlike the more than 19 women and girls Trump has attacked, Clifford was compensated for consensual acts. I’m not obligated to feel any pity for her whatsoever just as I don’t have to pity any other parties to a business transaction. I don’t have to respect anybody who has a relationship, personal or business, with Trump.

      What’s interesting to note, though, is that you, a man, are placing demands on victimized women of MeToo, further victimizing them. Knock it off. Police your own behavior.

    • Trip says:

      She’s a “porn star” or an “adult film star” (which is jut a euphemism for porn star). Adults star in films that aren’t entirely about sex. Porn star is not a pejorative, it’s descriptive. If she’s proud, how is it disrespectful?

      You seem to be all over the place with mixed outrage. I do not care about Trump’s affairs. In fact, I’m repulsed by the idea of sex + Trump and would rather not think about the small fingered vulgarian caught in flagrante delicto.

      The idea of the pay-off for silence during a campaign is more interesting.

      However, several women women allege Trump assaulted them, and with very little coverage. That is different than a consensual or transactional business adult relationship.

  6. Bjorn Jensen says:

    Hala Gorani ( CNN here in Europe)

    Keeps referring to Ms Clifford as ” Porn Star” taking away any credulity from this person. Ms Clifford has a child. The Trumps have a child. What psychological damage is this having on the Trump’s youngest child? On Ms Clifford’s child?
    By referring to Ms Clifford as a porn star over and over in international media –intentionally destroys any legitimate story Ms Clifford  has to tell …. which despite the salacious allusions -her story is about corruption at the highest levels of U.S. politics .

    • Anne says:

      Stormy Daniels is a PORN STAR who at this moment is trying to have her NDA revoked so she can peddle her story for even more money, as much money as she can, kid or no kid.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That makes her a member of the oldest profession.  The one it’s tied with?  Politics. Given Mr. Trump’s documented, well-publicized behavior, it would be hard to distinguish between the two.  There are millions like him. The legalized form of bribery known as lobbying is full of them, as are the professions they lobby.

        Sex worker is the more common nomenclature.  In civilized countries, they are unionized and protected in that they perform an essential function in society.  Nowhere has more trouble reconciling itself to the differences between Saturday night and Sunday morning than America.

    • Trip says:

      You might want to check yourself.  If you think she loses credibility simply by naming her ‘craft’, perhaps you are the one with the hang-up.

  7. Bjorn Jensen says:

    Hello- Rayne – I have had no idea of your gender until your tirade against me.

    My nickname is Bjorn because I’m a great amateur tennis player and have been since a young age.

    My name is Beatha, a female, and I’m sorry to have to identify my gender here as I thought it mattered not with all the  gender neutral  handles – but your  anger directed at me is completely unacceptable –
    I will  no longer read this site nor contribute to it.
    Ms Clifford is a person and should not be referred to as a whore.
    Rayne- I guess you are a woman –  I am very insulted as to how you referred to me and the assumptions you made  against my character.


    • Rayne says:

      Well, Beatha/Bjorn, if you are a woman, you should know better than to conflate your concerns about Stormy Daniel’s representation in media with the MeToo movement. I’m not going to apologize for making the assumption when 1) you use a male name, 2)  you took a typically male position on MeToo, and 3) don’t appear to understand feminism as the ideology claiming equal rights for all versus the narrow challenge of media representation of a particular sex worker.

      You’ve now derailed this thread for long enough about your pet peeve. Perhaps your own blog would be a better place to vent your ire regarding Daniel’s representation since we don’t actually specialize on sex workers’ representation in media here.

  8. Bjorn Jensen says:

    What gender is your name ?
    I’ve never heard of it .
    Goodness you are so angry . Why ?
    I don’t have a pet peeve –
    This story is in the news the world over –
    Yes – I am a woman and have great empathy for women in all careers they occupy –
    Who are all the people here with nick names ?
    Do you ask them to gender identify themselves ?

    This site has lost all credibility with your personal attack on me.

    However, your censorship and bizarre outrage does not take away from some of the excellent work here.

    Academic discourse is not possible here.

    Best of luck to whatever you are trying to accomplish

  9. Rayne says:

    This bit here:

     … Stone goes to some lengths to say that he proved he had actually separated from the Trump campaign by contemporaneously showing two reporters his resignation letter. …

    What I want to know from Stone: did he separate from the Trump Campaign or did he separate from “Trump 2012 PCA,” or did he separate from another legal entity? From what entity did his resignation letter actually say he resigned?

    Because the principle campaign committee that reported to the FEC was DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC., ID: C00580100.

    Trump 2012 PCA doesn’t exist in the FEC’s campaign finance database.

    Nunberg had worked for Trump 2012 PCA — that’s what his NDA showed, that’s what Trump signed as its president (see Page 5, bottom, this PDF). Considering the discovery of alter ego David Dennison (like John Miller and John Barron before that) and a front or shell company in Stormy Daniel’s contract with Trump, it’s not unlikely that Stone employed some stagecraft to quit the Trump campaign but didn’t actually quit all Trump entities.

    I’ve wondered the same thing about Manafort, Gates, and Page; for what entity did they volunteer or work?

    p.s. FEC campaign database turned up this interesting tidbit:



    Only for years 1987-1988. Wonder what he was doing then that someone thought about drafting him?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Excellent point.  These guys all think they are pulling a fast one and getting away with it.  Many of them – Manafort, Stone – have made a career of it.  The analogy with the false names in the various Trump NDAs supports the idea that these guys commonly used subterfuge to conceal who was working with whom to achieve secret as well as obvious objectives.

      Trump’s business model supports your point, too.  He stiffed virtually every partner, lender, contractor and employee on every project he owned or worked on.  He may well have taken tax deductions for the debts he didn’t pay.  The MSM theme that Trump is naive or inexperienced is laughable.  No president less deserves an assumption of good faith dealing than Donald Trump.

      • Trip says:

        Now this:

        Hope Hicks told the House Intelligence Committee last week that one of her email accounts was hacked, according to people who were present for the former White House communications director’s testimony in the panel’s Russia probe.
        It is standard practice for lawmakers to ask witnesses about phone numbers and email accounts. But it is uncommon, according to people familiar with the committee process, for a witness to tell lawmakers that he or she no longer has access to past accounts.


        Wasn’t she the one who said emails would never get out?

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          I noted that previously. She was ‘told’ that they would not get out. Because whomever told her thought that Congress pubs could bury the story.

      • Rayne says:

        Manafort had 10 passports, no idea how many identities. Gates had two passports. We know Trump has used at least three other identities, no idea how many more lurk out there in addition to the myriad subsidiary companies associated with Trump Org. They have this in common, using identities as a shell game to move and hide assets and liabilities.

    • cfost says:

      I’ve only spent about 5 minutes scanning the pdf you reference and I already have several questions.
      Two for now:
      1. “The entity signing below.” Trump 2012 PCA? Trump himself?
      2. “Trump Person.” Wtf. I’m familiar with “legal person” and “natural person.” Trump Person?
      Great work, Rayne!

      • Rayne says:

        I should point out the existence of Trump 2012 PCA is old news, but for some bizarre reason the media chose to roll over and not press the Trump campaign about its existence or ask why it’s not in the FEC’s database.

        And Nunberg’s freak out on non-Fox cable news networks this week might have been a ratfucking circus to draw attention away from something else, just as Nunberg’s lawsuit against Trump’s campaign committee in July 2016 combined with the story of a certain couple’s screaming match may have obscured the VP selection process.

  10. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Last sighting of Joseph Mifsud?
    See Olga Polonskay (nee Olga Vinogradova)

    The picture, which was posted on Facebook, shows [British Foreign Secretary Boris] Johnson, wine glass in hand, standing with Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese academic and a businessman, Prasenjit Kumar Singh.

    Sheridan wrote on Twitter that he had initially found a Facebook friend connection between Polonskaya and Mifsud last month, and made an archived copy of Polonskaya’s page, which has since been altered.

    • mac says:

      Nice find. Mifsud looks pretty healthy in that picture on October 19th (possibly drinking champagne?).

      If you read that Buzzfeed article that catalogs his communications with his gf in Ukraine, he talks around that time about being unable to travel, getting triple by-pass surgery, hospitalized 5 times, fighting for his life etc. One text references he’s currently admitted in the hospital October 26 (a week after that picture is taken).

      Now, it wouldn’t be the first time a guy spins a lie like that to a long distance gf. Maybe he’s was trying to find a reason to break up. Just important to acknowledge his health might not have been a real issue though. And since being MIA since Oct 31, 2017, I hope its not currently.

  11. Trip says:

    Here’s another weird celebrity connection, Pam Anderson. I didn’t know she was fond of Putin, along with Assange. Interestingly, she became acquainted with Assange in early Fall/Autumn 2016. If I were in an Alex Jones frame of mind (perish the thought), I’d pin her as a modern day Mata Hari go-between. But I have a small portion of sanity left. Random trivia to follow:

    The former Baywatch star, 50, has been linked to Julian Assange , French footballer Adil Rami and even Russian premier Vladimir Putin recently…Asked about Putin, she said: “I have a great relationship with Russia.” “He wanted me to come to his inauguration and give him flowers.”

  12. Trip says:

    “Pee tape” and whatnot:

    How Trump’s beauty contest spawned a business deal with Russians and a bond with Putin

    This is the first of two excerpts adapted from Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump
    …At Sheldon Adelson’s club, “The Act”… a Nevada state judge issued an injunction barring any more of its “lewd” and “offensive” performances. Among the club’s regular acts cited by the judge was one called “Hot for Teacher,” in which naked college girls simulate urinating on a professor…The Act shut down after the judge’s ruling. There is no public record of which skits were performed the night Trump was present.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Speaking of KL

      Attribution is hard. Even Cisco agrees.

      Re: Olympic cyber attack

      The malware was constructed specifically to lead to mis-attribution

      There are some open questions about the attacker’s motivation in this story. We know that the attackers had administrative accounts in the affected networks. By deleting backups and destroying all local data they could have easily devastated the Olympic infrastructure. Instead, they decided to do some “light” destruction: wiping files on Windows shares, resetting event logs, deleting backups, disabling Windows services and rebooting systems into an unbootable state. When you add in the multiple similarities to TTPs used by other actors and malware, intentional false flags and relatively good opsec, it merely raises more questions as to the purpose of all this.

      As we see it, these are some of the possible motives behind the attack:

      Demonstration of power/skills in the context of a secret communication that we’re unaware of. The potential for full-blown, highly destructive cybersabotage might be a strong argument in top-secret political negotiations.

      Testing of destructive worm capability, but with lower impact to avoid too much attention from potential investigators and general public (in case of human error or operational failure).

      Trap threat intel researchers in a field of false flags and, based on their responses, learn how to implement the perfect false flag.

      The last option makes sense when you consider that the malware contained a wiper that wasn’t used to wipe its own components – the authors wanted it to be discovered.

Comments are closed.