Even after Robert Mueller’s testimony fell apart and no real evidence of Russian meddling has been provided, Russiagate lives on. Director of the National Security Agency and head of US Cyber Command, General Paul Nakasone announced the formation of a new task force to combat supposed Russian interference in the upcoming 2020 elections. The Russia Small Group will be using techniques learned from fighting ISIS in cyberspace.
Cyber Command created Task Force Ares in 2016 to fight ISIS in cyberspace. It consisted of hackers from all branches of the military, working with intelligence officials to launch cyber-attacks. Ares didn’t just combat ISIS influence and propaganda on social media, they also hacked into ISIS servers and took down networks.
Nakasone told NPR in an interview last week, “A lot of that thinking came from what we were doing in 2016. It’s powerful to bring a number of different elements of a team together and be able to form something very rapidly to address a threat.”
“How do you impact your adversary? Do you take down their infrastructure? Do you work with a partner in a foreign nation to expose malware? When we talk about persistent engagement, it’s all of that plus this idea of enabling interagency partners,” Nakasone said.
If the Russia Small Group brings this fight to the Russian government, they could be starting a cyber-war that doesn’t exist yet. No evidence has directly linked the Russian government to the Internet Research Agency’s social media campaign or the so-called “election meddling” in 2016.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Russian election interference makes the claim that the Russian government “directed extensive activity…against US election infrastructure.” The “extensive activity” was just scanning of servers, in only one case anything was actually penetrated. But the heavily redacted report does not provide evidence linking the scanning to the Russian government and even says, “The Committee has seen no evidence that any votes were changed or that any voting machines were manipulated.”
The report lists 21 states and theorizes all 50 states were targeted, based on an assumption by the Department of Homeland Security. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told The Washington Post that the type of scanning discussed in the report “happens hundreds, if not thousands, of times per day.” Oregon’s Chief Information Security Officer told the Post that the state blocks, “upwards of 14 million attempts to access our network every day.”
10 thoughts on “US Forms New Task Force to Combat ‘Russian Influence’”
Russian influence is preferable to Israeli influence.
If there are entities out there probing voting servers, then we should definitely beef up security, as our national voting protocol is already a mishmash of different systems, some of which don’t even leave a paper trail. Seems like it would be relatively easy to create chaos. (Hm, maybe that’s why McConnell doesn’t want to increase security… In case the Dapper Don takes a nosedive come election time, GOP operatives can more easily trash voting servers next November without a trace and Trump can declare a national emergency and remain in power, perhaps even with emergency powers. Food for thought, at least, and McConnell is ruthlessly partisan and perverts the rules so his team can win.) This, however, is hogwash, and another example of MIC bureaucracy out of control.
“our national voting protocol is already a mishmash of different systems”
That’s a feature, not a bug. Fifty different systems require fifty different hacks. One centralized system only requires one hack.
If it is counted on a computer, it can be hacked. 50 ways, or one way.
Absolutely. Things are only “secure” until someone else doesn’t want them to be. Paper ballots are the only way to go.
Not that I think “Russians” are hacking voting computers anyway. There is no evidence anyone has ever hacked a voting computer. The companies *making* the things have behaved suspiciously – and the US *voting officials* have behaved suspiciously in some elections – but not actual hacking.
The only “hacking” has been by unknown parties of voter *registration* systems – which were probably criminal hackers looking for Personally Identifiable Information – PII – which can be sold on the Dark Web.
Some of the systems used now are really poorly done. That needs to be fixed.
Given all the possibilities, whatever happened or didn’t happen in 2016 isn’t the point anymore. Keeping the systems working for 2020 is the point.
We probably can’t make them all “safe.” We can monitor them to know if they have been messed with. We can prepare to deal with that, as for example having a paper trail. In Michigan in 2016 there was an early claim of fraud, and a check of the paper trail we keep quickly ended that speculation. Without the paper trail, it would have turned into something like Russiagate and a claim that Michigan was stolen.
This is just another step in the zionist russia gate farce of do not bother us with facts; the states were not hacked.
The entire post Cold War political history can be written in a one word tragicomedy: Money.
To keep up the money machine cranked up, it is important to have an enemy. Since we are conditioned to have enemies, it was possible for a while to conjure up various fancy “nin-state” actors , from Al-Qaeda and Taliban to ISIS. But it is not working anymore, and Americans could no longer be counted on to shell money on 9/11 fears. Pull Russia back from mothballs. The old scary Russia.
But then something happened. Russia and China are creating a new global narrative, something that is getting attention from various corners of the globe. We are losing the grip.
So, the proposed “defense” sounds like the declaration of war — and the ever more shrill approach to both Russia and China has started to ring hollow. But is making plenty of money to someone.
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