The latest release of a massive trove of apparently genuine documents originating with the Central Intelligence Agency comes as Donald Trump’s grudge match with the Deep State and its Mainstream Media (MSM) allies was already reaching the boiling point. It will now get even hotter, if that’s possible.
On the details, so-called «Vault 7» consists of some 8,761 documents evidently originating in the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence. According to Wikileaks, it shows that U.S. intelligence agencies have developed effective methods to break into devices from iPhones and Android phones to Samsung «smart» televisions, allowing them to monitor communications even when devices are turned off. The documents also disclose malware, viruses, and security vulnerabilities known as «zero days» and several hundred million lines of code used by the CIA, as well as the agency’s ability to break into devices and intercept messages before they can be encrypted by applications such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Confide, and others many people wrongly considered to be secure.
In short, in case anyone had any doubts, privacy is a fiction, for any person or any organization. Not that that’s much of a surprise, but it’s still disquieting to see the details. Only the naïve would believe that several other countries with advanced cyber-technology don’t have similar capabilities as the U.S., if not exactly with the depth and breadth of those now on display.
Trump and his supporters now can point to the pervasiveness and sophistication of these techniques in support of the President’s claim that his predecessor, Barack Obama, bugged his communications at Trump Tower in New York. Deep State and MSM enemies of the President will cite the same evidence as support for the kind of capabilities that Russia likely also has, feeding their unsupported claims that Russian hackers tried to, and perhaps succeeded in, skewing the election in favor or Trump and against Hillary Clinton. The release of these new documents at a time when anti-Trumpers already had claimed Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn’s scalp and are aiming for that of Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be taken as further confirmation of their claim that Wikileaks is a tool of Moscow.
The new document cache will be picked over for some time and new conclusions drawn, but even now there are some lessons to be learned.
First, Vault 7 completely demolishes the already meager claim in December 2016 from the outgoing Obama administration that evidence of «Russian code» in alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee proved Moscow’s involvement. That argument was absurd on its face even when it was made, roughly equivalent to suggesting that because a gang of bank robbers used a Volkswagen for a getaway car they must have been Germans. Clearly Russian hackers would use anything but Russian software to avoid pointing back to themselves. Wikileaks now confirms the CIA’s use of Russian software for false-flag effect:
«The CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.
«With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the ‘fingerprints’ of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.»
Second, Vault 7 should be scrubbed for evidence of coordination between American agencies and those of the other «Five Eyes» Anglosphere countries with which the U.S. closely shares intelligence: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Why? There’s a saying in Washington: never believe anything until it’s been officially denied. Obama has been lawyerly definitive in his denials of ordering taps on Trump and his team or on any American citizen, ever. More precise in his language has been James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who states that «there was no wiretap against Trump Tower during the campaign conducted by any part of the national intelligence community». This begs the question of whether Trump was tapped not by a U.S. «national» agency but by one of the Five Eyes sister agencies, which then passed the information back to their American colleagues, a ploy to avoid legal prohibitions on domestic spying or even a pro formawarrant requirement. A U.S. former intelligence official familiar with the practice tells me that such a maneuver was not only a possible means for the espionage against Trump but probable. The most likely agency to have carried out the task is the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), formal counterpart of the U.S. National Security Agency and its virtual satellite.