'Please Use Back Channel'

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'Please Use Back Channel'

Postby toucana on May 27th, 2017, 10:55 am 

secure_line.jpg

The Washington Post and New York Times have both run versions of the following story in their Friday editions

Around 2nd December 2016, Jared Kushner the son-in-law of newly elected President Trump had a meeting at Trump Tower with Sergey Kislyak the Russian ambassador to USA in which Kushner suggested setting up a top secret and secure back-channel communication link between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin. The motive was to screen the substance of the discussions among the transition team from even the US intelligence agencies. Kushner and Flynn who also attended this meeting apparently felt that Russian diplomatic comunication facilities were better than American ones, and that they trusted Russian communication channels more than US ones.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/26/politics/jared-kushner-russian-ambassador-kremlin/index.html

The suggestion apparently took even Kislyak aback. He dutifully reported it to his own superiors in a communication that was intercepted by the NSA and FBI who were keeping a very close watch on Kislyak and other Russian diplomats.

John Maclaughlin, a retired CIA veteran and consultant was asked on MSNBC by Lawrence O’Donnell what he would have made of such an intercept if it had crossed his desk during his 30 years of service which included a spell as acting director of CIA . It is well worth watching his reponse in full.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAt7EH7vovk

He said his first reaction would be to ask ‘Is this a prank ?”. After discovering that it was not, Maclaughlin went on to lay out the lunacy involved in such a bizarre suggestion from an intelligence officer’s point of view:

In the first place any such arrangement would probably be regarded as an act of espionage against the interests of the United States from a legal point of view.

The meeting came just two months after a finding by the DNI and Secretary of homeland security on 3rd October 2016 who stated with ‘high confidence’ that Russia had been actively trying to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

The mere act of proposing such a back-channel arrangement immediately compromised Jared Kushner and rendered him susceptible to Russian leverage and blackmail. They own him from that point onwards. Even if such a plan was never actually put into effect, the fact that the suggestion was even made compromises the author of it.

Maclaughlin was quite scathing about the Trump team and their sophomoric obsession with trying to “deconstruct the administrative state’ by disparaging the normal institutions of US democracy in favour of the Russians .
I think that to some degree at these senior levels that the Trump administration is being consumed by its own hubris. They must think of themselves as masters of the universe.
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Re: 'Please Use Back Channel'

Postby Braininvat on May 28th, 2017, 11:58 am 

The mere act of proposing such a back-channel arrangement immediately compromised Jared Kushner and rendered him susceptible to Russian leverage and blackmail. They own him from that point onwards. Even if such a plan was never actually put into effect...


While I agree that Kushner did something bizarre and shady, I am not sure how we could assume, with our present information, that there was treasonous intent. As is the case with his father-in-law, this could just be stupidity and an awkward attempt to open up closer ties with Russia. It was after the election, so this kind of sneaky stuff was being done with the justification that Obama's administration was throwing roadblocks to the transition. That was an erroneous and paranoid perception of the Obama admin, IMO, but I don't think it is strong evidence that they were trying to make us a client state of Russia. I think you just can't overestimate the stupidity of Trump Inc.
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Re: 'Please Use Back Channel'

Postby Eclogite on May 28th, 2017, 12:33 pm 

Braininvat » Sun May 28, 2017 3:58 pm wrote:While I agree that Kushner did something bizarre and shady, I am not sure how we could assume, with our present information, that there was treasonous intent.
I am no lawyer, but surely treason is decided on the basis of the potential consequences of the act, not the intent?
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Re: 'Please Use Back Channel'

Postby toucana on May 28th, 2017, 1:19 pm 

One question that seems ever more significant on reflection is the timing of this alleged meeting. Why was it suddenly so important to Kushner and Flynn around 2nd December 2016 to establish a brand new and secure covert line of communication to the Kremlin ?

One possible answer is that their previous system of covert communication with Russia which they had been relying on during the election campaign had just been broken and taken out of service through circumstances beyond their control.

Around the 16th November, the FBI obtained FISA warrants from a FISC to study a number of people and institutions. The remit of the warrants also included suspicious computer traffic between servers belonging to the Alpha bank in Moscow, a server in the Trump Tower New York, and another set of servers belonging to the Spectrum Health Corporation in Michigan. The latter is owned by the wealthy Devos family who were major benefactors of the Trump campaign (Betsy Devos was subsequently appointed education secretary).

The traffic between these servers which initially appeared to be random Ping and DNS look-ups is now thought by some to have been a covert messaging system that used something nicknamed iodine xfer or ‘iodine transfer tunneling’, a form of IP encapsulation in DNS packets - Why Iodine? It’s a chemical element with an atomic number 53 which also happens to be the default TCP/UDP port number for DNS look-ups. The initial letters IOD are read as an acronym for “IP Over DNS”.

This covert messaging system was allegedly being used to process stolen voter registration databases and health insurance records as part of a very large data mining and social profiling operation to target deza or Russian disinformation at US voters in key swing states. By some accounts the Trump Tower server was also hosting a command & control server for the Russian controlled Kelihos botnet which was a criminal spamming, bank-theft and bitcoin money laundering system.

The abnormal server traffic between Trump Tower and Alpha bank came to an abrupt halt in late November when news of the FBI interest in the Alpha bank server traffic first leaked intio the press, but not before the American NSA and GCHQ in UK had captured large samples of the traffic and the packet encapsulation data.

This seems to be one possible basis of the very strong claim made by Admiral Rogers director of NSA in an unprecedented town hall broadcast to all NSA agencies and staff last week when he allegedly confirmed that SIGINT intelligence exists to confirm that collusion took place and and that it is damning.
http://observer.com/2017/05/mike-rogers-nsa-chief-admits-trump-colluded-with-russia/

If you are curious about the technicalities of the Alpha bank server traffic analysis, start here:
https://teapainusa.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/data-patterns-suggest-trump-towerspectrum-health-ran-a-stealth-data-machine-with-russia/
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Re: 'Please Use Back Channel'

Postby Forest_Dump on May 28th, 2017, 2:02 pm 

There is a rumour starting to circulate than another investigation may be launched to determine whether anyody in the Trump administration may be acting on behalf of or under the influence of the American people.
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Re: 'Please Use Back Channel'

Postby Braininvat on May 28th, 2017, 3:11 pm 

Eclogite, I should have clarified....treason tends to be an act that requires intent in order to succeed (e.g. no one accidentally slides a briefcase full of launch codes or bioweapons formulae under the table to a Russian operative while eating lunch), so I meant that I was still waiting for evidence of actual consequences that would rise to the level of treason. Or, yes, potential consequences that no one could plausibly deny awareness of. ("Yes, I had a briefcase of launch codes. I like something to read while I eat lunch. I've run out of James Patterson novels.")

Don't get me wrong, I think there are lots of malodorous scents wafting out of the administration, from last year's Steele dossier to shady deals at various Trump businesses (the giant space-dildo in Azerbaijan is one of my favorites, I think there's a thread somewhere around here.....) to various "Manafortian Candidates" to this latest buzz from Rogers' NSA townhall bombshell. Etc.

Just saying Kushner's latest addition to the conspiracy dungheap may prove to be small potatoes compared to some of the other scandals and conspiracies currently in various states of fermentation.
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