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Remarkable photo capturing media narrative of Vlad and Donald (Credit: Wikicommons)

Part 1: Did Russia really hack the DNC? Meet Cyberclown James Lewis

One of the leading stories of the presidential campaign is that Donald Trump is in bed with Vladimir Putin and that if elected president he and Russia’s leader will effectively be partners in international crime. Trump has said things about Putin that have fueled this narrative, but it’s rather curious, given that he and Putin are allegedly thick as thieves, that Trump has been so unsuccessful at getting approval for any of his fervently pursued business ventures in Russia.

One of the key subplots of the media narrative is that “Russia hacked the DNC,” a story line for which there is no definitive evidence and which has been furiously promoted by Hillary’s campaign. That has been hugely useful for Hillary because it not only has convinced many voters that Trump and Putin are joined at the hip, but it’s obscured the most important thing we have leaned from the hack: Whoever did it, the documents reveal that the Democratic Party is controlled by a corrupt cabal of amoral insiders who will do anything and say anything to win the election for Hillary.

One of the key people pushing the Russia hack angle is Superhack James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, whose think tank is funded by a lot of companies with interests in the blossoming “cyberterrorism” industry and who has been vigorously pushing that “THREAT” for a long time. David Sanger of the New York Times has been an especially useful idiot when it comes to pushing out Lewis’s ideas.

In a recent post, CSIS Cyberclown Lewis (formal title: Senior Vice President and Director, Strategic Technologies Program) refers to a number of U.S. “opponents in cyberspace,” citing the Russkies as well as alleged Iranian breaches of  major U.S. banks and “intrusion into critical infrastructure networks” as well as “Chinese cyber commercial espionage.” He says that more must be done — translate: funnel additional cash to Lewis’s beloved cyberterror contractors — to protect the Unites States from this terrifying menace.

In any of this storyline true? Possibly, but it’s hard to know because Lewis relentlessly promotes his ideas while offering little hard evidence, beyond official sources, to prove it. He suggests that the alleged Russian hack of the DNC more or less shows that America will soon be a vassal state of Russia, writing, that the hacks “do not threaten the United States’ territorial integrity, but they do threaten its political independence. They are part of a larger Russian effort to shape politics in the West to advance Russian foreign policy goals and damage the United States.”

(It goes without saying, in the official narrative, that the U.S. government never, ever spies on foreign governments or seeks to protect its national interests. We just seek to spread democracy and try to alleviate global poverty and conflict, and we do it because we’re unlike every other empire in history. We’re benevolent good guys motivated strictly by altruism. Oops, I forgot, we’re not an empire, we’re just the world’s leading force of all things nice and sweet.)

In the latest twist in the Russian cyberterror narrative, as James Bamford recently wrote at Reuters, the “hacking tools themselves, likely stolen from the National Security Agency, are on the digital auction block. Once again, the usual suspects [in the media] start with Russia.” But Bamford, who is the country’s leading expert on the Agency, said the evidence in fact “points to another Snowden at the NSA.”

He wrote: “If Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale. It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook. Once revealed, companies and governments would patch their firewalls, just as the bank would change its combination.

A more logical explanation could also be insider theft. If that’s the case, it’s one more reason to question the usefulness of an agency that secretly collects private information on millions of Americans but can’t keep its most valuable data from being stolen, or as it appears in this case, being used against us.”

Check out Bamford’s column and make sure to note his reference to Lewis. And thanks to William Blunden for bringing much of this to my attention.

I’m slammed today but Part II of this story should be out tomorrow.