If the truth is something that you value, then perhaps you should be happy that the US decided to vote for Donald Trump. Despite his apparent flaws, on the question of Russian involvement in the hack of the DNC Trump is remaining unnervingly level headed.
Cybersecurity analysts have long agreed that the reason the US administration is using to point the finger at Russia is full of holes. Trump has recently gone on the record to say the same thing, commenting that it could have been someone in North Korea or even someone ‘sitting in their bed.’ These are sentiments that the cybersecurity community has been uttering for a long time – and something that Wikileaks’ Julian Assange once again went on the record to reiterate in an interview on Tuesday.
Of course, Trump critics will say that he only sides with the Russians and Wikileaks because they are in bed together and helped him to win the presidency. However, cybersecurity experts insisted there was no evidence of Russian state involvement long before Trump was even close to winning the election.
Grizzly Steppe Report Flawed
Digital fingerprints that led the Obama administration to blame Russia are completely inconclusive. Even in the 15-page FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report (which unfairly blames Putin’s government), the header has a disclaimer that explains the evidence is only circumstantial. That joint report has suffered a lot of criticism from cybersecurity experts. Jeffrey Carr, for instance, has released a detailed report that casts doubt on the US administration’s accusations. In it he says,
“It adds nothing to the call for evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC, the DCCC, the email accounts of Democratic party officials, or for delivering the content of those hacks to Wikileaks.”
Robert M. Lee, of Dragos security, has also released a report criticizing the DHS/FBI’s Grizzly Steppe Report. He concurs with Carr, expressing his annoyance at the lack of evidence put forward by the intelligence agencies: “The GRIZZLY STEPPE report reads like a poorly done vendor intelligence report stringing together various aspects of attribution without evidence.”
Wikileaks’ founder has long been critical of blaming Russia for the DNC hack and has many times said that there is no evidence to point the finger at Putin. In fact, evidence has emerged that digital fingerprints used to attribute hacks to Russia actually come from an outdated Ukrainian hacking tool that is freely available on the internet. In his interview on Tuesday with Sean Hannity, Assange reiterated this point and said that “even a 14-year-old” could have hacked John Podesta (who has admitted his password was ‘password’).
Of course, if Hillary Clinton had won the election, the story would be very different. Clinton would more than likely have continued full steam ahead with the ‘it’s Putin’ rhetoric, and the cybersecurity community’s claims that there is no real evidence would have been shot down as ‘fake news.’ With that in mind, the truth appears to be something that the US is getting to see a lot more of since Trump was elected: let’s hope he continues in that vein once he is in the White House (especially considering the power that Obama has handed the president-elect in the pages of the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act).
Following Assange’s interview Trump went to Twitter (a medium that we are told the president-elect will continue to use even after he is sworn into office) with two endorsements:
Trump’s endorsement came amidst further delays to an intelligence briefing that he is due to have with representatives of the FBI and CIA: two of the alphabet agencies that claim Russia was involved in the hack of the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign. To express his annoyance at the delay Trump tweeted the following:
To and Fro of Intelligence Opinions
At the beginning of December James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, went on the record to say that he didn’t know how or when Wikileaks got the Clinton server and Podesta emails. Despite this, three weeks later his agency was once again pointing the finger at Russia.
Assange Remains Steadfast
Assange, who always refuses to talk about his sources, has many times gone on the record to confirm that it was not Russia. In Tuesday’s interview with Sean Hannity, Assange once again made it clear that he did not feel he had unduly affected the outcome of the election process:
“Wikileaks published true information that the American public read. That information was the words of Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta (and other people in her campaign). And the American public read that information – true information – and said “we don’t like these people” and then voted accordingly. That’s not sustainable [for the current US administration] so what they [the present US administration] want is to conflate our publication of true information with say hacking, or, rather, alleged hacking of US vote counting machines; and even Obama has had to admit that there has been no hacking of US voting machines.”
In addition, when Hannity asked Assange the following question: “Can you say to the American people, unequivocally, that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta’s emails; can you tell the American people 1000% that you did not get it from Russia or anyone associated with Russia?” Assange again countered the Obama administration’s finger-pointing:
“Yes. We can say, and we have said repeatedly over the last two months, that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party”.
“Like a Lawyer”
When asked if he thought Obama was lying to the American public, Assange was quick to point out that Obama was acting like a lawyer and that the current President was very careful in his choice of words, so as to always leave an element of doubt. Furthermore, Assange offered another rebuttal to accusations that Wikileaks unfairly helped to influence the election process in favor of Trump:
“Can you just imagine if Wikileaks had information about Debbie Wasserman Schultz helping to rig the primary and we withheld that information until after the election that would be an absolutely unconscionable act for a media organization to engage in.”
Talking about the Obama administration during the interview, Assange was quite blunt about why he believes such a fuss is being made about Russia’s false involvement in the leaks that led to Trump’s victory:
“They are trying to delegitimize the Trump administration as it goes into the White House. They are trying to say that president-elect Trump is not a legitimately elected president.”
All things considered, is it really any wonder that Julian Assange has a friend in president-elect Trump?