Episode 4 on WAAM 1600 AM: Wikileaks, House Intel Committee Hearing, and Wiretaps [podcast]

Posted on March 26th, 2017 by Tracy Connors

Wikileaks added more docs to their Vault 7 caché. This week’s addition “Dark Matter” contains some more interesting revelations about what the CIA has been up to:

Also included in this release is the manual for the CIA’s “NightSkies 1.2” a “beacon/loader/implant tool” for the Apple iPhone. Noteworthy is that NightSkies had reached 1.2 by 2008, and is expressly designed to be physically installed onto factory fresh iPhones. i.e the CIA has been infecting the iPhone supply chain of its targets since at least 2008.

While CIA assets are sometimes used to physically infect systems in the custody of a target it is likely that many CIA physical access attacks have infected the targeted organization’s supply chain including by interdicting mail orders and other shipments (opening, infecting, and resending) leaving the United States or otherwise.

They have the ability to plant their tech on your phone before you even take it out of the box. But we should totally believe that they would never exploit this in order to obtain information on whomever they so choose right? Right.

Keeping the new revelations in mind,  ‘member when Trump sent out this tweetstorm (a phrase a despise only slightly less than nothing burger)?

The media and democrats were of course aghast, how dare Trump accuse No Drama Obama of the Scandal-Free Administration of such treachery!

Many minds were lost. And too much time was devoted to discussions of the President’s tweets.

According to a report compiled by the Media Research Center three days after Trump’s tweetstorm (apologies):

Since Saturday, when Donald Trump first took to Twitter to accuse former President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, the morning and evening shows of ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted 107 minutes, 33 seconds to refuting the President’s claim.

This over dramatized story should have died down in the wake of the first Wikileaks Vault 7 release, which confirmed what many already knew; our intelligence agencies can access private information via just about any electronic device they want (except microwaves) and/or turn that device’s listening capability on remotely and secretly. Which roughly boils down to: they can spy on EVERYONE. Last I checked, EVERYONE includes Trumps and his campaign team. Should probably just keep those alternative facts to myself, because the left has a narrative to push and the life of that narrative matters most of all.

Which brings us to this week and the much anticipated House Intelligence Committee hearing about

The perpetually offended defenders of the Deified Obama, didn’t want to miss a chance to clear his holy name, so FBI Director Comey was asked to respond to Trump’s twitter allegations.

The FBI Director, whose credibility and motives we attacked mercilessly by Democrats during the 2016 campaign, just said Trump’s tweets are total bs. Comey is officially back in the good graces of the Democratic Party hallelujah! Let the celebrations begin!

Hold up, what’s this?

More on Rep Nune’s press conference from Bloomberg:

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said Wednesday that the U.S. intelligence community collected multiple conversations involving members of Donald Trump’s transition team after he won the election last year.

He said the intercepts he’s seen appear to be legal and weren’t targeted at the transition team or related to Russia. But he said he was troubled by the collection — which he said was part of unrelated foreign surveillance — and the fact that the intelligence community reported the names of transition team members internally.

“I’m actually alarmed by it,” Nunes, a California Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. “Details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in an intelligence community report,” he said. He said he didn’t know if Trump’s “own communications were intercepted.”

Well that’s rather odd. Didn’t Comey say that Trump was full of it? Hmmm who to believe? A politician or an IC agency chief? I’m gonna go with neither.

For those who have been following the RUSSIA! RUSSIA! RUSSIA! story and were disappointed to learn nothing in the way of new information from Monday’s five hour long House Intelligence Committee hearing, here’s a BFD to add to the story that I picked up this week from people who actually are engaged in investigative reporting.

Are you ready for this? The FBI wasn’t ever granted accessed to the allegedly hacked DNC server.

Yes, you read that correctly, the FBI hasn’t performed its one forensic investigation of the DNC server, rather is has relied on an assessment provided to them by the DNC’s contracted cyber security firm CrowdStrike.

Lee Stranahan has been following the ‘Russia hacked the US elections!’ story doggedly since last summer, and this week he published several pieces that contain information no major media outlet has previously reported. This comes from a monster of a piece that was published at Breitbart (emphasis mine):

On January 10th, Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and made a stunning admission: despite “multiple requests at different levels,” the Democratic National Committee had denied the FBI’s requests to examine the servers themselves. Instead, the FBI took the word of Crowdstrike, who Comey called a “highly respected private company.”

The hyperlink Stranahan included in the above paragraph takes you to a Hill piece with the headline, Comey: DNC denied FBI’s requests for access to hacked servers which provides greater detail about the DNC’s refusal to grant the FBI access to their servers, and their subsequent lying about said refusal.

The DNC told BuzzFeed in a statement published last week that the FBI never requested access to its servers after they were breached.

But a senior law enforcement official disputed that characterization the following day.

“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated,” the official said.

“This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.”

CrowdStrike, the private security firm in question, has published extensive forensic analysis backing up its assessment that the threat groups that infiltrated the DNC were associated with Russian intelligence.

Of course this piece of the story hasn’t gotten major play in the news cycle. Perhaps our media betters, and the FBI Director know something we the plebs don’t about the credibility of CrowdStrike’s report. Surely if the FBI is willing accept their findings they have a sterling record.

Stranahan demolishes CrowdStrike’s credibility in a piece he published on Medium. The story is rather convoluted and the constant references to hacker jargon can make it difficult for non-programmers like me to follow, but Stranahan’s piece and this one from Voice of America are worth slogging through. Stranahan’s piece gives a detailed timeline of the unraveling/debunking of a report CrowdStrike published in December of 2016.

The report lays out the supposed evidence that a Russian hacking group CrowdStrike has dubbed “Fancy Bear” (this is the same group CrowdStrike says is behind the DNC hack) then planted their signature malware “Agent X” (again this is the malware CrowdStrike says was used to hack the DNC server) in an update for an Android App on military forums used by Ukrainian military personnel.

Apparently the Ukrainian military personnel are so careless about OpSec, that they are willing to download updates to their Apps from rando internet forums. Sounds totally plausible. Once the Ukrainian military rubes installed the update onto their phone, Agent X went to work. The exploit allowed Fancy Bear access to the position data of Ukrainian D-30 howitzers, turning them into sitting ducks. According to CrowdStrike, this resulted in the loss of 80% of Ukraine’s D-30 howitzers.

There is one minor problem about CrowdStrike’s report (which is broken down in greater detail in the Voice of America piece previously referenced), the Ukrainian Defense Ministry says they haven’t lost 80% of their D-30 howitzers. Oops.

If you’re looking for a more detailed version of the CrowdStrike, Fancy Bear, Agent X, DNC and Ukrainian military “hacks” story, I highly recommend this piece by Justin Raimondo over at AntiWar.com.

Even though the Ukrainian military wasn’t hacked by Fancy Bear, they may be the reason Rep Adam Schiff seems so hell bent on pinning blame on the Russians. Or more accurately I should say, arming the Ukrainian military. Turns out one of Schiff’s big financial backers stands to gain big league if the US decides to strengthen its support of Ukraine in their on-going conflict with the Russians.

From Justin Raimondo at AntiWar:

Schiff is betraying his own rather specialized interests here: on July 18, 2013, a fundraiser for Schiff’s reelection campaign was held at the home of Ukrainian arms dealer Igor Pasternak in Washington, D.C. Price of admission: $2,500 a head, and $1,000 for guests. Why is Pasternak such a fan of Schiff’s?

The answer may be found in a Washington Times story published in January, headlined “Ukraine Desperate for Surveillance Equipment in Stand Off With Russia,” which details the efforts of the Ukrainian government to get around the Obama administration’s reluctance to provide them with the “defensive weapons” Schiff is so eager to shower them with

So Rep Schiff is chummy with Ukrainian arms dealers eh? Gee I wonder if Schiff’s correspondence with Igor is being surveilled…

Then finally we have dear old Donna Brazile. You know Donna, the Good Christian Woman who understands persecution. The woman who has never told a lie in her life.

Donna finally decided to come clean to Time and admit what we all already knew, she fed townhall debate questions to old Hildo’s campaign.

My job was to make all our Democratic candidates look good, and I worked closely with both campaigns to make that happen. But sending those emails was a mistake I will forever regret.

Took you long enough Donna.

Guess all is forgiven now, so she’ll just go back to getting paid to run her mouth on television and work on campaigns. Because justice.

That does it for this week’s news. We’ll be back next Sunday with an all new Enough Already Radio. All episodes will be posted to SoundCloud. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and TuneIn, or follow us on facebook. Check the feed often, you never know when we’re going to drop an Enough Already Bite.

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Episode 2 on WAAM 1600 AM: ObamaCare, Wikileaks, and #ADayWithoutAWoman President [podcast]

Posted on March 12th, 2017 by Tracy Connors

The long awaited House ObamaCare Repeal/Replace Bill was unveiled this week and seemingly everyone, save for Paul Ryan and President Trump, thinks it stinks on ice.

Heritage hated it:

This bill misses the mark primarily because it fails to correct the features of Obamacare that drove up health care costs. Congress should continue to focus on first repealing the failed policy of Obamacare and then act to offer patient-centered, market-based replacement reforms.

Cato completely trashed it:

This bill is a train wreck waiting to happen.

The House leadership bill isn’t even a repeal bill. Not by a long shot. It would repeal far less of ObamaCare than the bill Republicans sent to President Obama one year ago. The ObamaCare regulations it retains are already causing insurance markets to collapse. It would allow that collapse to continue, and even accelerate the collapse. Republicans would then own whatever damage ObamaCare causes, such as when the law leaves seriously ill patients with no coverage at all. Congress would have to revisit ObamaCare again and again to address problems they failed to fix the first time around. ObamaCare would consume the rest of Congress’ and President Trump’s agenda. Delaying or dooming other priorities like tax reform, infrastructure spending, and Gorsuch. The fallout could dog Republicans all the way into 2018 and 2020, when it could lead to a Democratic wave election like the one we saw in 2008. Only then, Democrats won’t have ObamaCare on their mind but single-payer.

According to Breitbart, Rand Paul wants to hold public burnings (note: this is a hyperbolic interpretation of Rand’s reaction) of the bill:

Paul told Breitbart News:

I think the reason why the House leadership bill is Obamacare Lite is because it retains subsidies. Obamacare had subsidies for people to buy insurance. In the Paul Ryan bill, they keep the subsidies—they just call them refundable tax credits. Some people are predicting that it’s actually going to be more expensive than the subsidies we have under Obamacare. This isn’t you getting your own money back, this is you getting somebody else’s money. So, a family that makes $30,000 a year could actually get $14,000 that they didn’t pay. Let’s say they paid zero in income tax, they could get $14,000 back. One, we don’t have the money—it’s a new entitlement program and two, if you get $14,000 back do you think the insurance company is ever going to sell insurance for less than $14,000? That becomes the floor. So, it actually pushes insurance rates up—it doesn’t allow insurance rates to fall. So, that doesn’t allow insurance rates to fall and it sets up a new entitlement. The second thing that Paul Ryan’s Obamacare Lite bill does is they keep the Obamacare taxes—all of them—for a year. And then after a year, they keep the Cadillac Tax forever. That’s the tax on if you have really good insurance, Obamacare taxes that. So will Paul Ryan’s plan. The third thing they do that is Obamacare-like is they keep the individual mandate. It seems like every Republican says they were against the individual mandate. That’s if you didn’t buy insurance you had to pay a penalty to the government, a tax. Obamacare Lite, Paul Ryan’s plan, just changes it so you have to pay a penalty to the insurance companies. I consider that to still be a mandate that isn’t consistent with those of us who want less government involvement. So they keep the subsidies, they keep the taxes, and then they keep the mandate. Then the fourth thing they do is they actually subsidize the insurance companies. Right now, insurance companies are losing money and Obamacare has this rescue thing called ‘risk corridors’ to bail out the insurance companies. Paul Ryan has got the same thing, he just calls it reinsurance and it’s $100 million worth. I predict that might not even be enough. So I don’t like any of it. Now, I do think we agree as Republicans on repeal. But I don’t think we agree on the replacement. That’s why I say we should separate them, vote on repeal and then vote the same day on a separate bill that’s called replace.

This fight has only just begun #popcorn.

The other big story this week was Wikileaks’ release of Vault 7 “Year Zero”.

ZeroHedge describes the content of the document dump thusly:

Yesterday Wikileaks released 8,761 CIA documents detailing the agency’s hacking of smart phones, routers, computers, and even televisions.

These files reveal that the CIA can and has hacked devices that were supposedly secure– iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

The documents further reveal that the CIA is deliberately infecting personal computers with spyware, including Windows, Mac OS/X, Solaris, Linux, and other operating systems.

They’re also hacking WiFi routers to deploy software that monitors Internet activity, and have even figured out how to bypass anti-virus software so that their spyware cannot be detected.

They’ve also managed to make the rest of the world believe that Russian hackers, not the CIA, are behind all this malware and spyware.

It’s like a restatement of that old Mission: Impossible line– “Should any of your IM force be caught or killed… we’ll blame Russia.”

The CIA is pretty shameless about its activities, nicknaming its various hacking programs “Assassin”, “Medusa”, and “Brutal Kangaroo”.

One of the deepest revelations is that the agency is able to hack Internet-connected televisions, including Samsung smart TVs, through a program called “Weeping Angel”.

Basically the CIA can turn your TV into a listening device, recording conversations in the room and transmitting the audio to a CIA server.

Even if you think the TV is off, it’s not.

CIA hackers have been able to spoof the on/off display and set the television to a “false off” mode.

Bottom line, no device that’s connected to the outside world is truly safe.

Combine these new revelations, with this fun flashback about the time the CIA “improperly intruded” (read: hacked into) a database that was being used by the Senate Intelligence Committee and their staffers to compile research for their “Torture Report”, and it becomes much easier to believe that Donald Trump and his campaign were being spied on during the 2016 election.

From a 2014 McClatchy piece regarding the CIA/Senate Intelligence Committee spying scandal.

An internal CIA investigation confirmed allegations that agency personnel improperly intruded into a protected database used by Senate Intelligence Committee staff to compile a scathing report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program, prompting bipartisan outrage and at least two calls for spy chief John Brennan to resign.

Brennan did not resign. The Justice Department did not investigate. Shocking I know. But did the CIA offer any explanation? Why yes, yes they did, from the same McClatchy piece (emphasis added):

A person with knowledge of the issue insisted that the CIA personnel who improperly accessed the database “acted in good faith,” believing that they were empowered to do so because they believed there had been a security violation.

There was no malicious intent. They acted in good faith believing they had the legal standing to do so,” said the knowledgeable person, who asked not to be further identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly. “But it did not conform with the legal agreement reached with the Senate committee.”

Oooooh, so they were acting in good faith, no malice was involved and they believed they had legal standing! Well then by all means we should just let them slide, call it a mulligan and carry on with our business. Disgraceful!
That no one was even reprimanded let alone fired for hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee’s database undoubtedly sent a signal to others inside the agency; intrude away! And that they most certainly did.
Onto something almost as ridiculous, although way less frightening. An attempt to prove that the evil, omnipresent surge of sexism cost Hillary Clinton the White House which was made by two academics, failed in spectacular fashion.

Via the wonderful Ashe Schow writing for the Observer:

The idea: Recreate pivotal scenes from the presidential debates to prove a woman wouldn’t be able to get away with saying the things that then-candidate Donald Trump said. Also, prove that people would like Hillary Clinton more she had been a man, thus showing sexism alive and well in the political arena—and giving the Left another reason to whine over the election.

The result: Oops! It turns out people would like Trump more if he were a woman and would like Clinton even less if she were a man.

My sides!

And if you were wondering, no, no one who participated in this theatrical experiment seems to given up on the idea that sexism lurks round every corner.

Finally, we just had to talk about the #ADayWithoutAWoman protests, marches, strikes, whine-ins, whatever, that took place on March 8th. What these women are complaining  about is an unsolvable mystery that even the great Robert Stack (PBUM) wouldn’t even attempt to unravel. Lucky for you all, we decided to give it the old community college try!

As best we can tell, the women striking (read: women who put in for and were granted a paid vacation day) really dislike President Trump and by extension all white males, whose businesses are to be boycotted.

screengrab from womensmarch.com

Did you catch that guys? You’re supposed to “lean into” care giving, whatever the hell that means. Oh and guys, these ladies who fancy themselves to be so integral to your workplace that their absence will be felt, yeah they’re gonna need to you pick up the slack for them. Thanks!

Still don’t have a clue what this is all about? Sigh, neither do I. Maybe this from WomenStrike.org will help: 

screengrab from WomenStrike.org

Haha! Just kidding.

Oh, and about that #GrabYourWallet, don’t be misled into believing this means grab your wallet because you’re going to be spending big league! as it actually means the exact opposite. Could it be that they wanted to avoid using the word boycott because it contains “boy” and ew boys are gross and grow up to be terrible oppressive men? The list leads us to believe that these ladies have hate for Ivanka Trump. The majority of businesses that appear on the list were placed there because they carry one of Ivanka’s lines. Help women by hurting a woman, this is groundbreaking stuff.

Confused, irritated and angry? Feel like putting on a silly pink hat and taking to the streets to yell about it? Well now you know what it feels like to be a woman! Er, no, that’s not it.

Maybe this exchange between Tucker Carlson and Julie Alvin, Executive Editor for Bustle.com (no they don’t sell those old-timey butt enhancer things) will clear things up once and for all.

Nope. Guess this is one mystery that will remain unsolved.

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Grassley wants to know why FBI considered paying author of salacious Golden Shower Dossier

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by Tracy Connors

‘Member that memo, uh excuse me, that dossier, published back in January by BuzzFeed and not published, but merely alluded to by CNN in several articles? The dossier contained, among other things, a wild tale of Trump procuring a Moscow hotel room in order to have it defiled by Russian prozzies because the Obamas had once slept there. Sounds plausible right?

The dossier led to this confrontation between then President Elect Donald Trump and CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

The patently absurd fanfic was compiled by an MI6 agent called Christopher Steele. At one point the FBI seemed to find this fabulist’s fairytales to be credible and considered paying him to continue his investigation into Trump and the Golden Shower Girls of Gorky Park.

Well Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) thinks the FBI Director James Comey has some ‘splaining to do.

Via The Hill:

“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote.

“It is additionally troubling that the FBI reportedly agreed to such an arrangement given that, in January of 2017, then-Director Clapper issued a statement stating that ‘the [intelligence community] has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.’”

In his letter, Grassley asks for all records regarding Steele’s investigation, details of the agreement between the FBI and Steele, the FBI’s policies for using outside investigators, and whether the bureau has relied on any of the information Steele has provided in seeking warrants.

Get ’em Chuck!

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