Politics

5 Things you must know about Reality Winner Leaks

Reality Winner has been identified as the leaker of classified information to The Intercept. She now faces up to 10 years in prison and is a known anti-Trumper. The files she leaked are dated May 5th and claim to show that Russia attempted to hack voter rolls.

Excerpt from The Intercept:

RUSSIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept.

The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.

While the document provides a rare window into the NSA’s understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking, it does not show the underlying “raw” intelligence on which the analysis is based. A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive.

Now, this is certainly a news story but the question is how much Hysteria should follow.

1.Reality worked at the NSA since 2013 but never leaked anything

Reality was hired under the Obama administration but never leaked anything during his presidency. The NSA abused the privacy rights of an astounding amount of Americans during Obama’s tenure. I point this out because we must realize that this was clearly a political attack on Donald Trump, not an act of heroism from an NSA employee.

2. This leak is without context:

Now, I am careful not be to be a hypocrite when dealing with this. Conservatives worldwide praised Wiki Leaks for the massive email dump that exposed the corruption of Hillary and the DNC. The difference between these two leaks is that one had context and the other one didn’t. Wiki Leaks knew exactly what material they were leaking. It seems that Reality saw the words “Russia”, “hacking” and “votes” and decided to just leak the material. As the unnamed US intelligence official points out this material has not been verified to be 100% true.

3. Assange took to Twitter to support her:
I am a huge Julian Assange fan. This is a guy who has never printed a false piece of information and has exposed more corruption than most journalists can dream of. His support of Reality proves just how dedicated he is to his cause.

4. This would be the first piece of evidence proving Russia tried to access voter data:

If true this report will be the first clear-cut piece of evidence that Russia attempted to access voter information.

The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than was previously understood. It states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document:

Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.

5. This report doesn’t say Russia succeeded, We must remember that actual vote tallies can not be “rigged” via hackers:

This is going to be a two-part answer. The first is that no evidence in this leak points to Russia succeeding in their hack attempt.

The NSA analysis does not draw conclusions about whether the interference had any effect on the election’s outcome and concedes that much remains unknown about the extent of the hackers’ accomplishments. However, the report raises the possibility that Russian hacking may have breached at least some elements of the voting system, with disconcertingly uncertain results.

The second part of this proves the last portion of the excerpt above wrong. Russia could not have hacked into the election and changed vote tallies.

CNN laid this out perfectly before the election:

The American election system is decentralized by design, with state, county and local governments all managing voting. Even though many precincts use voting machines, none are connected to the Internet, nor are they connected to each other.
That’s not to say voting machines don’t have vulnerabilities — those have been well documented and studied for more than 10 years. But to influence the outcome of a presidential election or statewide race would require physical tampering on a grand scale across in counties across multiple states on Election Day: In other words, it essentially can’t be done.
So if Russia hacked the election what could the possibly have wanted out of it? Well, CNN points this out as well,
Experts say rather than the hacks, it’s the reaction from the public that scares them.
Rumors of hacking — even if not successful — could undermine faith in the election and play into a losing politician’s claim that the election was “rigged.” Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has frequently questioned whether the election results can be trusted.
“That’s what worries me, not just the cyberattack impacting the vote, but the cyber fears playing into such a narrative,” Weaver said. “The damage is not the computer hack. The damage is the reaction to the computer hack.”
If Russia did this they did it because they could, not because Trump colluded with them. Russia knows they can’t actually impact election vote tallies but they know the word “hacking” will cause ignorant hysteria across America. Putin would just sit back and smile.

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