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US Government’s Own Data Shows Interfered In 81 Elections

As The Media Focuses On Russia, Government’s Own Data Shows US Interfered In 81 Elections

Activist Post |

By Claire Bernish

Ask an average American who makes a habit of following government-mouthpiece corporate media about interference in national elections and you’ll likely elicit a nebulous response concerning Russian hackers and a plan to install Donald Trump in the White House — but you probably won’t hear a single syllable pertaining to United States government’s actual attempts to do the same.

On Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed for the first time publicly that the bureau is officially investigating hotly contentious allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election — but, even if proven true, such geopolitical escapades better characterize the routine behavior of accuser than of accused.

“The F.B.I., as part of our counterintelligence effort, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 president election,” the director announced, adding the bureau would conduct a probe to discern whether Trump’s associates had contact with Russian officials.

Despite that the U.S. has hypocritically exerted influence over foreign elections in all corners of the globe — in fact, it has arrogantly done so a whopping 81 times between 1946 and 2000, alone — with just one-third of those operations undertaken overtly.

For months, mainstream media parroted murky accusations hurled by politicians — keen to point a finger of blame for the apparently stultifying victory of a former reality television host on someone — that The Russians had somehow surreptitiously undermined the election-centric foundation of American Democracy.

While that has yet to prove true, this new Red Scare constitutes a duplicitous attempt by the pot to call the kettle … an election meddler.

Researcher Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy — an expert on the topic at hand — discussed the lengthy but incomplete list of times the U.S. government has interfered in other nations’ elections with NPR’s Ari Shapiro.

Asked for examples where this tampering tangibly altered results, Levin stated,

One example of that was our intervention in Serbia, Yugoslavia in the 2000 election there. Slobodan Milosevic was running for re-election, and we didn’t want him to stay in power there due to his tendency, you know, to disrupt the Balkans and his human rights violations.

So we intervened in various ways for the opposition candidate, Vojislav Kostunica. And we gave funding to the opposition, and we gave them training and campaigning aide. And according to my estimate, that assistance was crucial in enabling the opposition to win.

Levin reiterated the more blatant methods with which the U.S. asserts dominance — through the overt coups or all-out regime changes branding the nation a notorious interventionist — are not among the list of the 80-plus attempts to manipulate the electoral outcome.

As for the issue of pot versus kettle, Levin explained that — although Russia and other powerful nations indisputably employ similar tactics — the United States has been quite prodigious in its effort.

Well, for my dataset, the United States is the most common user of this technique. Russia or the Soviet Union since 1945 has used it half as much. My estimate has been 36 cases between 1946 to 2000. We know also that the Chinese have used this technique and the Venezuelans when the late Hugo Chavez was still in power in Venezuela and other countries.

As sanctimoniously as U.S. politicians cry foul about The Russians, it would behoove the new McCarthyites to reflect on the nation’s sticky imperialist fingerprints around the globe — like that time in 1996, when the United States undertook an extensive, secret operation to ensure the presidency of Boris Yeltsin.

That is, of course, former President Boris Yeltsin — of the Russian Federation.

No evidence, lots of McCarthyism at Russia influence hearings

Canadians want action on illegal immigration

Trudeau and Bay Street are on a collision course

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with members of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association. (Galit Rodan/CP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with members of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association. (Galit Rodan/CP)

Trudeau and Bay Street are on a collision course over income inequality

Post-Brexit and Trump, Canada’s federal government has decided wealth redistribution is the future, and Bay Street is finding itself sidelined

Kevin Carmichael

Canadian Business - Your Source For Business News |

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau certainly has Bay Street in a tizzy. David Rosenberg, a famous economist who works for high-end wealth manager Gluskin Sheff + Associates, this week advised readers of his $1,000-a-year newsletter to sell Canadian stocks and convert their loonies to other currencies before the March 22 budget ruins them. “This promises to be a tax-grab budget that would have made the likes of Herb Gray very proud if he was still alive,” Rosenberg wrote on March 13, according to a subscribers-only report in the Globe and Mail.

Six things to watch for in Canada’s 2017 federal budget

Rosenberg, known for prescient forecasts based on hard data, has been spreading rumours for at least a month that Trudeau intends to raise taxes on capital gains. There has been no confirmation of this, but the very thought of it is making capitalists upset.

The Globe, which targets the same high rollers who might turn to Gluskin Sheff for financial advice, reported (subscribers only) that the conjecture over taxes was “spreading fear” amongst Canadians who seek reward from buying low and selling high. An Ottawa-based tax adviser said his firm already was talking to clients about how they can “protect themselves.” One piece of advice: sell now, while the rate on capital gains is only 50 percent. Billionaire investor Stephen Jarislowsky, whose firm manages $35 billion in assets, wrote an op-ed for the Financial Post that says higher taxes on capital gains would, “hammer another nail in the coffin for Canadian investments, particularly at a time when our economic outlook is already relatively weak.”

Now, I can’t help but wonder if Langevin Block is punking Bay Street. When (if) Morneau leaves the rate on capital gains unchanged, he will (would) look like the protector of the business class. By overreacting to rumours of higher taxes, Canada’s millionaires and billionaires are blowing political capital they might have used to make the case for lower ones. The sop to Bay Street in Budget 2017 could be leaving capital gains rates unchanged. Makes you wonder what Morneau might really have in mind?

But enough idle speculation. I don’t know what’s in the budget, and I doubt Rosenberg does either. Still, the past few weeks have been informative. If it wasn’t clear before, we know now that Trudeau is serious about the inequality story. And Bay Street’s response suggests they are struggling to adjust to a world where finance no longer is the focus point of economic policy. The priority of Canada’s government is social stability.

This year was supposed to be all about innovation. Trudeau reset the benchmark in Hamburg, Germany on February 17, delivering a direct message to business leaders: “It’s time to pay a living wage, to pay your taxes and to give your workers the peace of mind that comes with stable, full-time contracts.” On March 9, cabinet minister and economist Jean-Yves Duclos hosted reporters at the National Press Theatre for a seminar on the weakened state of Canada’s middle class. And yesterday in Frankfurt, Morneau told a gathering of international bankers that, “we need to better share our success with others, by implementing policies that ensure that the benefits of economic integration of our citizens—the middle class—rather than the wealthiest.”

Morneau mentioned that he soon would be presenting his second budget. He said nothing of taxes, although it is fair to wonder whether he might be seeking new revenue.

How the next federal budget might change the game on income inequality

“I will be confirming that Canada plans to continue doing what confident, optimistic countries do—invest in our people, our communities and our economy,” Morneau said at a conference hosted by the International Institute of Finance, an association of about 500 of the world’s biggest banks and insurance companies. “I will also be taking steps to create a culture of lifelong learning, helping people develop the skills they need at every stage of their life to succeed in the new economy.”

The usual suspects have said the usual things about Trudeau’s pre-budget rhetoric. Those who derive most of their income from asset-price appreciation, rather than salaries, say higher taxes would unfairly punish risk takers. The tech crowd—or least, some who claim to know the minds of tech entrepreneurs—says the government appears set on making it more difficult to lure talent to Canada. The Fraser Institute, a think tank that advocates cutting taxes to the lowest level possible, questions whether income inequality is even a problem. “Canada’s middle class is actually doing much better relative to past decades based on a host of indicators,” Charles Lammam and Hugh MacIntyre, two from Fraser’s stable of experts, wrote in an op-ed published in the Ottawa Citizen on March 17.

I’ve been where these people are. After Morneau released his 2016 budget, I criticized the emphasis on coddling middle-class families, when stagnating economic growth seemed the bigger problem. Morneau had his priorities reversed, I thought at the time. And I still would think that, if not for Brexit, Trump and the existence of a former Conservative cabinet minister who thinks she can become leader of the Opposition by appealing to our worst instincts. It’s true that most measures of income inequality suggest the situation in Canada isn’t all that bad. But those data also tend to be years old, as it takes time to collect them and complete the analysis.

Real-time indicators suggest strain. Household debt is at record levels, while average wages are growing only fast enough to keep up with inflation. Entire industries are collapsing, forcing thousands of people to go back to school or take jobs they never wanted. None of this portends a pleasant future.

Canada’s Top 100 highest-paid CEOs

Instead of waiting for things to get worse, Trudeau appears to want to try to get ahead of the problem. This will be difficult for conservatives to accept. If you believe that a government’s first priority should be to do no harm, then you will struggle to support policies designed to correct a situation that isn’t yet supported by data. However, the International Monetary Fund has built a compelling case over the past few years that income inequality is an important determinant of sustainable economic growth. Its work shows that marginal tax increases have little effect on economic growth, provided the revenue is used to pay for things such as education and healthcare. One of the reasons is that redistribution of wealth avoids the social disruption that now plagues the U.S. and Britain. Those countries will be beset by political upheaval for years. Little of substance will get done, as partisans fight and governments change. The economy will suffer as a result.

Bay Street appears not to have bought in yet. At least not fully. To his credit, Jarislowsky offered Trudeau and Morneau a different target: rather than wealth generators like him, the government should go after the chief executives who make millions running companies they had no part in creating. Another good idea is one touted by Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist who is the favourite to win the French presidency. Macron, a former investment banker, would scrap France’s wealth tax on everything with the exception of capital gains from real estate.

The policy would reward those who build companies that employ people, and discourage investment that does little but enrich real-estate agents and speculators. I’m sure Bay Street and the conservative think tanks can come up with with some ideas of their own. But they ought to hurry up and propose something new. The government is moving on, with or without them.

 

Why is Bay Street so much more bullish than the Bank of Canada right now?

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Source: Trudeau and Bay Street are on a collision course over income inequality

Just 7% of Journalists Call Themselves Republican

REMINDER: Just 7% of Journalists Call Themselves Republican

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In light of all the fake news and blatant media propaganda being published these days, I think it's important to remember how little diversity of opinions there are amongst our 'independent press'. A survey done in 2013 found that most shills hide under the cloak of 'independent', with about 30% calling themselves democrat. You can see how this trend has disjointed over the decades, with republicans being systematically removed from the sacred 5th estate.

With merely a handful of so called republicans in America's newsrooms, how can they honestly call themselves a 'free press', when in fact they're nothing more than democratic advocates shilling for their ideologies?

Incidentally, America's trust in their media has correlated very closely to the lack of political diversity in her newsrooms over the decades.

I suppose when you completely abandon principles for party, casting aside 50% of your viewer/reader base in the process, that's not exactly a sound business model for journalistic success -- judged by public opinion.

Then again, do they even care?

Source: REMINDER: Just 7% of Journalists Call Themselves Republican

"Reliable Sources" RT discussion ?

TREY GOWDY SLAMS JAMES COMEY |HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE HEARING ! He is good !

G20 Bows To Trump - trade deals need to offer a "win-win situation.''

G20 Bows To Trump, Drops Anti-Protectionism Pledge

CP  |  By David McHugh, The Associated Press

Posted: 03/19/2017 11:20 am EDT Updated: 03/19/2017 11:20 am EDT

BADEN-BADEN, Germany — The world's top economic powers dropped a pledge to oppose trade protectionism amid pushback from the Trump administration, which wants trade to more clearly benefit American companies and workers.

Finance ministers from the Group of 20 countries meeting in the southern German town of Baden-Baden issued a statement Saturday that said only that countries ``are working to strengthen the contribution of trade'' to their economies.

By comparison, last year's meeting called on them to resist ``all forms'' of protectionism, which can include border tariffs and rules that keep out imports to shield domestic companies from competition.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attends a press conference after the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Baden-Baden, southern Germany, on March 18, 2017. (Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images)

The statement from the G20 finance ministers and central bankers helps set the tone for further global economic co-operation.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, taking part in his first international meeting since being sworn in, sought to downplay the wording issue. He said that the statement needed to reflect the discussion at the current summit. "The historical language was not really relevant,'' he said.

"We believe in free trade: we are one of the largest markets in the world, we are one of the largest trading partners in the world,'' Mnuchin said. "Having said that, we want to re-examine certain agreements... And to the extent that agreements are old agreements and need to be renegotiated we'll consider that as well.''

He said trade deals need to offer a "win-win situation.''

Mnuchin said the administration would be looking at relationships where the U.S. was buying more than it could sell to its partner, and would be more aggressive in seeking enforcement of existing rules that would benefit U.S. workers through the Geneva-based World Trade Organization. The WTO operates a system of negotiated trade rules and serves as a forum for resolving disputes.

China and European countries had pushed for a stronger affirmation of cross-border trade without tariffs or barriers. Ironically, China and some European states tend to intervene more often in private sector business than the U.S. government.

Canada took a middle approach in the talks, urging a statement supporting free trade but not taking a position on specific wording.

g20 germany 2017
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble chats with Federico Sturzenegger during the family picture during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, March 17, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach)

Host Germany dropped the no-protectionism pledge in the early drafting process ahead of the meeting, in apparent hope of not antagonizing the U.S. and then finding a substitute that would also uphold free trade. But attempts to include such language did not find agreement.

Trump and other critics of free trade argue that it can cause jobs, such as in the labour intensive manufacturing sector, to move to lower-cost countries. Proponents say technological advances, such as automation that replaces workers with robots, are more to blame for the loss of jobs in such sectors.

Some advocates, like the International Monetary Fund, readily concede that the benefits of free trade have been uneven across societies, as less skilled workers lose out and the better trained prosper. But they argue that trade restrictions will not help those left behind by the globalized economy and point to better training and education as part of the answer.

Trump has already pulled the U.S. out of a proposed free trade deal with Japan and other Pacific Rim countries. He also has started the process to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Wolfgang Schaeuble, the finance minister of host country Germany, argued that it was not true that officials failed to find common ground. "It's completely clear we are not for protectionism. But it wasn't clear what one or another meant by that,'' he said.

The G-20 is an informal forum on economic co-operation made up of 19 countries plus the European Union. The finance ministers' meeting will pave the way for a summit of national leaders in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7-8. Its decisions don't have the same force as an international treaty but simply depend on individual countries' promises to follow through on them.

Christopher Bodeen in Beijing and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

Stop Arming Terrorists Act

Dr. Rand Paul Introduces the Stop Arming Terrorists Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Rand Paul introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (S. 532) to prevent American taxpayers’ money from being used to directly or indirectly support armed militants who are allied with or often working under the command of al-Qaeda, ISIS, or other terrorist groups. The legislation serves as a companion bill to H.R. 608, which Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2) reintroduced in January.

“One of the unintended consequences of nation-building and open-ended intervention is American funds and weapons benefiting those who hate us,” said Dr. Paul. “This legislation will strengthen our foreign policy, enhance our national security, and safeguard our resources.”

“For years, the U.S. government has been supporting armed militant groups working directly with and often under the command of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.

Rather than spending trillions of dollars on regime change wars in the Middle East, we should be focused on defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and using our resources to invest in rebuilding our communities here at home,” said Rep. Gabbard. “The fact that American taxpayer dollars are being used to strengthen the very terrorist groups we should be focused on defeating should alarm every Member of Congress and every American. We call on our colleagues and the Administration to join us in passing this legislation.”

You can read S. 532, the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, HERE, and you can find more information below:

S. 532, the Stop Arming Terrorists Act:

  • Makes it illegal for any U.S. federal government funds to be used to provide assistance covered in the bill, including weapons, munitions, weapons platforms, intelligence, logistics, training, and cash, to terrorists.
  • Prohibits the U.S. government from providing such assistance covered in the bill to any nation that has given or continues to give such support to terrorists.
  • Instructs the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine the individuals and groups that should be considered terrorists, for the purposes of this bill, by determining: (a) the individuals and groups that are associated with, affiliated with, adherents to, or cooperating with al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or ISIS; (b) the countries that are providing assistance covered in this bill to those individuals or groups.
  • Anticipates changing conditions by requiring the DNI to work with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Armed Services Committee, and Select Committee on Intelligence to review and update the list of prohibited countries and groups every six months.
  • Provides for accountability and transparency by requiring the DNI to brief Congress on its determinations.

 

Source: Dr. Rand Paul Introduces the Stop Arming Terrorists Act

Revenu disponible , le Québec en queue de peloton

Publié le 13 mars 2017 à 12h11 | Mis à jour le 13 mars 2017 à 14h57

Revenu disponible par habitant: le Québec en queue de peloton

Le Québec a continué d'être en queue de peloton en 2015 en ce qui a trait au revenu disponible par habitant, selon l'Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ), mais d'après des données préliminaires, le portrait s'annonce plus encourageant pour 2016.

Si la croissance réelle du revenu disponible par habitant s'est établie à 1,9% en 2015 au Québec - alors qu'elle n'avait été que de 0,4% en 2014 - la province ne se classe qu'au 11e rang, sur un total de 13, à l'échelle nationale. Seuls le Yukon et l'Alberta ont moins bien fait, avec des croissances respectives de 1,4 et 1,1%.

En dollars courants, le revenu des Québécois a été de 26 857 $, un montant inférieur d'environ 5800 $ à la moyenne canadienne.

Cette performance est bonne pour le dernier rang, derrière l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard, à 27 280 $. Depuis 2010, ces deux provinces occupent le bas du classement, note l'ISQ.

«Le Canada affiche une meilleure performance en ce qui a trait aux revenus de locations et de revenus nets découlant de la propriété, explique Stéphane Ladouceur, analyste en statistiques économiques régionales à l'ISQ. Au Québec, la rémunération des salariés augmente à la même vitesse que le reste du pays. Le Canada fait toutefois meilleure figure pour d'autres indicateurs.»

En excluant les transferts gouvernementaux comme les prestations d'assurance-emploi, les crédits d'impôt remboursables ou l'aide sociale, l'écart entre le Québec et le Canada aurait été encore plus grand, indique l'agence québécoise de statistiques.

En 2015, les Québécois ont reçu en moyenne 1055 $ de plus en transferts que le reste des Canadiens.

Au total, les citoyens québécois ont reçu plus de 51 milliards $ en transferts en 2015. Cette augmentation de 5,2% est principalement attribuable à la bonification de la prestation universelle pour la garde d'enfants.

De plus, l'ISQ note que le bassin de la population en âge de travailler se rétrécit plus rapidement au Québec par rapport à la moyenne nationale, ce qui pèse sur la croissance des revenus.

Entre 2005 et 2015, le poids démographique des personnes âgées entre 15 et 64 ans a fléchi de 2,7% pour s'établir à environ 67%, alors que dans le reste du Canada, le repli a été de 1,1%, à 68%.

«Je trouve que c'est le facteur le plus pertinent pour expliquer la sous-performance du Québec dans les dernières années, a expliqué l'économiste principale au Mouvement Desjardins, Hélène Bégin. Le choc démographique est déjà à l'oeuvre au Québec. Avec moins de gens en âge de travailler, les revenus tirés des salaires vont inévitablement reculer.»

Néanmoins, d'après des données préliminaires, l'année 2016 s'annonce bien meilleure, notamment grâce à la performance du marché de l'emploi, qui a dépassé les attentes avec la création de quelque 36 000 postes.

Pour les trois premiers trimestres de 2016, la croissance des salaires, en dollars constants, était de 3,4% au Québec, a indiqué M. Ladouceur. Le revenu disponible par habitant s'établit ainsi à 27 670 $.

L'économiste principale chez Desjardins qualifie de «revirement» la dernière année, mais elle prévient qu'il y a tout de même loin de la coupe aux lèvres.

«On ne pourra pas effacer le recul des 10 dernières années, qui ont été plus difficiles, avec une seule bonne année», prévient Mme Bégin.

Portrait régional

Par régions, c'est la Capitale-Nationale qui, pour une troisième année consécutive, affiche le revenu par habitant le plus élevé, à 28 279 $, suivie respectivement par la Montérégie ainsi que les Laurentides. Montréal occupe le quatrième rang.

À l'inverse, avec un revenu par habitant disponible de 24 085 $, le Nord-du-Québec occupe la 17e et dernière place du classement québécois.

Le Bas-Saint-Laurent et la Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine arrivent respectivement 15e et 16e. Ces deux régions peuvent néanmoins se réjouir du taux de croissance des revenus. La Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine s'est classée au quatrième rang, avec une progression de 4,2% du revenu disponible par habitant, devant le Bas-Saint-Laurent, qui a affiché une progression de 4%.

Rvenu disponible Québec

Rvenu disponible Québec -1

Source: Revenu disponible par habitant: le Québec en queue de peloton

Robert Lighthizer, Urged To Get Tough With Canada

 

Robert Lighthizer, Trump's Pick For Trade Secretary, Urged To Get Tough With Canada

CP  |  By Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press

Posted: 03/14/2017 4:01 pm EDT Updated: 03/14/2017 4:56 pm EDT

WASHINGTON — In a possible preview of upcoming NAFTA negotiations, Donald Trump's pick as trade czar was urged to get tough with Canada on multiple fronts including lumber, dairy, and intellectual property, during a hearing in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday.

Robert Lighthizer, the nominated trade representative, was having his long-awaited confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate and a number of the first lawmakers to question him offered pointed queries demanding action regarding the northern neighbour.

The exchanges were notable as a public conversation between actors involved in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement: U.S. law says the U.S. trade representative must consult the Senate finance committee before, during, and after trade negotiations.

robert lighthizer
Robert Lighthizer, nominee to be U.S. trade representative, prepares to testify during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on March 14, 2017. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican chair of the committee, Orrin Hatch, got it started by urging the trade nominee to get more aggressive in screening cargo from Canada for counterfeit or pirated products.

He was followed by the committee's top Democrat, Ron Wyden, who urged a similarly tough approach on softwood lumber. Wyden saying he was disappointed President Donald Trump didn't raise it in his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — and regretted that Trump spoke only of minor tweaks to NAFTA.

Lighthizer replied that there are several trade issues involving Canada.

"I've had a variety of issues with respect to Canada that have been raised by senators. . . . Certainly (softwood) is at the top of the list," said Lighthizer, who is vying to become the United States trade representative.

"I think there are a number of things we have to address with respect to Canada."

Complaints on Canadian dairy

Tuesday's exchanges involved the lawmakers responsible for consulting U.S. negotiators, ensuring that negotiators get a deal that has the necessary support to win a later ratification vote in Congress.

U.S. trade deals begin and end with Congress.

The U.S. trade representative would need to start consulting lawmakers at least 90 days before negotiations begin, meaning that if the White House launched the NAFTA process this month, it would conduct consultations through the spring, before negotiations started in the summer or fall.

During the same hearing, a Pennsylvania Republican complained about Canadian dairy. Pat Toomey bemoaned Canada's restrictions that severely limit the amount of cheese and milk that can be imported without tariffs.

But many Canadians listening in might have been heartened by something else Toomey said: He blasted the idea of a border-adjustment tax being considered by some Republicans, which would serve as a quasi-tariff on imports.

Toomey said it would invite retaliation, increase prices and limit choices for consumers: "I think that would be a mistake."

Another committee member, Republican Pat Roberts, urged the administration to steer clear of reimposing country-of-origin labels on meat, an issue which almost started a trade war and caused international court fights. Roberts led the fight to dump mandatory labelling in 2015.

Lighthizer was asked general questions about NAFTA and he offered general answers.

"I think there are a number of things we have to address with respect to Canada."

Asked whether Trump wants NAFTA to remain a three-country agreement or split into multiple bilateral deals, he replied: "The administration has not made a decision." He was also non-committal on what positions he would take with respect to dairy and lumber.

But Lighthizer was adamant that he supports Trump's more nationalist approach. The former Reagan administration official and steel-industry lawyer has frequently expressed frustration with modern trade deals, and derided the idea of completely open trade.

"I agree with President Trump that we should have an America First trade policy."

Lighthizer used to work on that same Senate committee as a young staffer several decades ago. He was introduced by his former boss, ex-presidential candidate and onetime Senate finance chair Bob Dole.

The 93-year-old Dole credited his former protege's integrity and toughness.

"If you need someone who's aggressive and who's a bulldog, he's seated on my right. Bob Lighthizer," Dole said.

When Money Is "Free," Discipline Evaporates

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When Money Is "Free," Discipline Evaporates; When Discipline Evaporates, Decisions Are Disastrous

charleshughsmith.blogspot.ca | Friday, March 17, 2017

The only possible output of a system lacking any discipline is self-destruction.

Whatever is free is squandered. When water is free, it's freely wasted. When electricity is free, there's no motivation to use it wisely.

The same principle holds true for money. If money is free, or nearly free, there is no motivation to invest it wisely, or consider the opportunity costs of spending it versus investing it or preserving it as savings.

Money that can be borrowed for next to nothing is essentially "free" because the costs of interest are negligible. Money that can be borrowed in virtually unlimited quantities is also "free," as whatever funds are squandered or lost to malinvestment can be easily replaced with more borrowed money.

Nothing enduringly productive can be built without discipline and a steady focus on the bottom line of production costs, revenues, overhead expenses and opportunity costs, i.e. what else could have been done with this capital and labor?

These dynamics are scale-invariant, meaning they apply to individuals and households as well as to companies, institutions and nation-states.

Thus we see the same poor results in trust-funders whose income is "free" (pouring in monthly whether the individual was productive or not) and national governments that can simply borrow another trillion dollars (or $10 trillion, hey why not?) when they've squandered all the tax revenues.

We intuitively grasp the necessity of discipline to corral impulses and desires that are self-destructive in the longer term. Eating chocolate cake and ice cream might appeal to our immediate cravings, but longer term the consequences of unbridled consumption of this kind of sweets are dire.

We also grasp the role discipline plays in learning difficult subjects/tasks and in accomplishing long-term, often arduous projects.

If there is any commonality to genius, it is a prodigious work ethic based on a highly disciplined schedule of daily productive effort.

All of which leads us to ask: what precisely have we accomplished by borrowing and blowing $9 trillion in additional national debt over the past eight years? With interest rates near-zero and the credit line of the nation essentially unlimited--recall that the central bank created $3.5 trillion of money out of thin air and used much of it to buy federal bonds--there was no need for any difficult choices or trade-offs--that is, discipline.

The trillions could be borrowed from future taxpayers painlessly, and squandered on propping up unaffordable entitlements and programs that were each immune to discipline.

So a pharmaceutical company raises the cost of a pinworm medication from $3 to $600. When money can be borrowed in endless quantities for "free," there's no need to ask if this predatory piracy is justified or necessary for the good of the nation; just borrow another trillion to pay for Medicare and Medicaid costs that are largely skims, scams, fraud or unproductive paper-shuffling.

As long as the money spigot is "free," there's no need to ask why the F-35 fighter aircraft is four times as costly as the aircraft it replaces.

As long as the money is "free," why should any politico risk telling a National Security agency such as the CIA "no more money for your agency until you can account for the tens of billions you're spending on gosh knows what."

Lowering interest rates to near-zero has reduced the need for fiscal-political discipline to near-zero. Politicos of all stripes are only too willing to borrow trillions from future generations--why not borrow and blow the money now to assure my re-election, and let future taxpayers figure out what to do about the crushing burden of debt we're leaving them?

High interest rates were basically the only mechanism of discipline imposed on short-term, free-spending politicos. Once the cost of interest was reduced to signal noise, politicos were freed of the burdens of discipline: of having to reckon the burdens of future interest, of opportunity costs, of trade-offs and the difference between productive investments and cronyist pork-barrel spending on marginal (but highly profitable) "infrastructure."

How disciplined will your gambling be in the casino when all your losses are covered by future taxpayers? 

Why hold back from risky gambles when any losses will be paid by others? Go head and gamble wildly--any lucky wins will be yours to keep, and all the losses will be covered by nameless others.

This is how "free money" leads to disastrous decisions. With the need for discipline eliminated, there's no motivation not to gamble wildly, fund every special interest group's demand, and grease the palms of every insider, every crony and every oligarch.

This is how a great nation will self-destruct. The only possible output of a system lacking any discipline is self-destruction.

Source: When Money Is "Free," Discipline Evaporates; When Discipline Evaporates, Decisions Are Disastrous

BREAKING : Nigel Farage Interviews Marine Le Pen - 15/03/17

Secretary Wilbur Ross opens up about commerce priorities - NAFTA- Intéressant

"People are DISGUSTED", Huckabee SLAMS Time Magazine

‘There are no secrets in this world’ – John McAfee

‘There are no secrets in this world’ – John McAfee

Former intelligence officials on surveillance tactics, leaks News today

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois se présentera aux prochaines élections québécoises

DNC Chair Can't Say What Democrats Stand For

'Double standards': CIA leaks don't stir MSM, Russia stays in spotlight (La conclusion est drôle !)

LIVE STREAM: Julian Assange from Wikileaks Holds News Conference on CIA ...

Revolutionary 3D-Printed House Takes Less Than A Day To Build And Only Costs $10,000

Canada's Banks Resist To Take Mortgage Risk

Canada's Banks Resist Plan For Them To Take On More Mortgage Risk

Vous savez, ce que je pense de nos banques canadiennes, une belle oligarchie, qui contrôle les politiciens fédéraux.

Quand nos chers politiciens vous disent que nos banques sont sécuritaires, ils ne vont jamais plus loin comme argument.

Sécuritaire oui, mais par qui ?

Que l'on est une bulle immobilière qui éclate, et vous allez constater que c'est vous le peuple, qui va manger toute une raclée, car les prêts les plus à risque dans l’immobilier, c’est le peuple qui prend le risque par l’entremise de la SCHL.

On leurs demandes de prendre une partie du risque, quel malheur, ils sont bien trop habitués à se faire gaver.

Entre-temps, juste en 2015, ils ont fait plus de 35 milliards de profits.

Vous le peuple, vous avez toute la difficulté de passer en travers, mais eux vivent dans le Nirvana.

Car, ils vivent grâce aux dettes, et dîtes-vous le surendettement de l’État et du peuple par le crédit facile a créé un environnement d’affaire à générer des profits outrancier.

Ajoutez, une petite saveur locale, tel que maintenir des oligopoles leur permettent encore de faire plus de profits.

Un monde économique pourri, bourrez de copinage et de collusion !



The Huffington Post Canada  |  By Daniel Tencer , 03/01/2017 Tweet

Canada’s banking industry association has criticized a federal Liberal proposal that would see them take on more of the risk involved in lending out mortgages.

The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) said in a submission to the Department of Finance that the proposal would “undermine” access to mortgages for Canadians, by increasing mortgage rates, reducing competition and excluding some people from getting mortgages at all.

bay street toronto
Buildings in Toronto's financial district. Visible are the headquarters of CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada and TD Canada Trust. (Photo: Peter Mintz/Design Pics via Getty Images)

The proposal would see mortgage lenders pay a deductible on their insurance when a mortgage defaults. Currently, mortgage insurance covers the full cost of a defaulted mortgage.

That arrangement has some critics worried about “moral hazard”: Since someone else pays when things go wrong, the banks have little incentive to make sure that their insured mortgages have been lent out responsibly.

Many organizations, including the IMF, have suggested that the government phase out or privatize the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the country’s government-run mortgage insurer, in order to reduce risk in the housing market.

bill morneau
Finance Minister Bill Morneau's department is weighing a proposal to make banks pay a deductible on their insurance when a mortgage defaults. (Phot" Reuters/Chris Helgren)

But the CBA’s report argues, in essence, that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“Canada’s housing finance system has demonstrated considerable resilience and stability over time,” the report said, referring to the fact that Canada avoided the U.S.’s housing crash last decade.

“The historical success of Canada’s system creates a strong presumption in favour of existing arrangements.”

The report argues that forcing the banks to take on more of the risk of insured mortgages would make it riskier for lenders, which means they would demand higher mortgage rates.

Additionally, it would mean some regional and smaller lenders, who depend more on insured mortgages, would stop lending, reducing competition.

“The impact would be particularly acute for first-time homebuyers,” the report stated.

household debt canada g7
Canadians now have the highest household debt burden among the major G7 economies, largely due to growth in mortgage lending. (Chart: Parliamentary Budget Office)

Though Canada’s banks have been lauded in recent years for being well-run and well-capitalized, many organizations have less positive things to say about Canadians’ household debt, which has been driven by rising mortgages and is now the highest in the G7, at 166 per cent of disposable income.

The Parliamentary Budget Office warned last year that Canadians risk a debt crisis by 2020 if interest rates were to rise.

The CBA argued in its report that lenders vigorously stress-test their mortgage portfolios to ensure borrowers can still afford their mortgages should mortgage rates go up.

BREAKING: FISA WARRANTS FOR TRUMP WIRETAPPING CONFIRMED | Fox News Hannity

WikiLeaks CIA Release will helps Trump in a big way.

Why People Are Saying This WikiLeaks CIA Release Will Help Trump

John Haltiwanger

Elite Daily | 2017-03-07T17:19:03+00:00

REUTERS

On Tuesday, WikiLeaks released thousands of documents it alleged described the software tools used by the CIA to hack into smartphones, smart TVs and computers.

There’s a lot that still needs to be sifted through regarding this release, but there are a few basic things many experts seem to agree on, including that this is beneficial to President Donald Trump.

Many believe this helps Trump in a big way.

Before we get into how this relates to Trump, it’s necessary to briefly discuss what’s in the WikiLeaks documents released and why so many people are talking about this.

First — given this is what a lot of people seem to be focusing on — the CIA has been able to hack into phones, smart TVs and computers for quite some time, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Second, while some interpret the WikiLeaks documents as claiming high-level encryption used by messaging services, like WhatsApp and Signal, has been compromised, this is not accurate.

Cyber security experts, including Edward Snowden, pointed this out.

In other words, it seems the CIA has targeted the operating systems that apps run on, iOS and Android, and has not broken through the encryption used by WhatsApp and Signal.

Once the CIA has hacked into the operating system of a phone, however, apps on the phone would no longer be secure.

But, there’s no need to panic.

Unless you’re involved in something extremely shady, it’s highly unlikely you’ve been hacked by the CIA.

Beyond the implications of the claims within the WikiLeaks documents, many experts note the timing of the release is very curious in regards to Trump, his relationship with the intelligence community and Russia.

Trump needs a distraction, and WikiLeaks may have just given him one.

One of the biggest stories surrounding US politics over the past several months has been Russian interference in the US presidential election.

US intelligence agencies believe the Russian government intervened in order to tip the scales in Trump’s favor and gave WikiLeaks hacked emails from the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta.

While there is still no direct evidence of collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trump, many are suspicious.

This topic has already caused a number of problems for the Trump administration, such as the resignation of one of his top advisers and the more recent scandal involving Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In the process, Trump has clashed with US intelligence agencies, angered over the leaks revealing information on the interactions between the Russian government and the people linked to his campaign and administration.

“Instead of talking about… Russia… we will focus on the details of the documents.”

Dr. Brandon Valeriano, a cyber security expert, spoke with Elite Daily about how these developments surrounding Trump and Russia pertain to the documents released by WikiLeaks.

Valeriano, Donald Bren Chair of the Marine Corps University and Fellow at Niskanen Center, stated,

The primary reason this helps Trump is it changes the narrative from what Russia has done to the United States towards what the US has been doing to others.

It reinforces the narrative that the real bad guy in the world is the US and our hands are dirty.

Instead of talking about and investigating Russia’s intrusion into the US electoral process, we will focus on the details of the documents.

In reality, none of these revelations are surprising, the CIA is excellent at cyber espionage but not invulnerable to attacks on their own systems.

Long story short, if people are too busy talking about how awful the CIA is, then attention is drawn away from Trump and concerns over his presidential campaign’s relationship with Russia.

This is not to say Trump played a direct role in the release of these documents, as there’s no evidence of this, but it certainly doesn’t hurt him.

Many seem to believe WikiLeaks is essentially a Russian prop and find the timing of the documents’ release very dubious.

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For now, based on the evidence we have, it’s fair to say experts find the information WikiLeaks released credible, but there are still many questions to be answered about WikiLeak’s relationship with Russia and why it chose this week, in particular, for the release.

Regardless, US government surveillance is a topic we should all be concerned about and continue to discuss.

Source: Why People Are Saying This WikiLeaks CIA Release Will Help Trump

Govt program spent millions doing WHAT?

CIA files: The 6 biggest spying secrets revealed by the release of 'Vault 7'

WikiLeaks CIA files: The 6 biggest spying secrets revealed by the release of 'Vault 7'
Julian Assange has claimed the documents are the biggest intelligence release ever
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US President Donald Trump speaks at the CIA headquarters on January 21, 2017 in Langley, Virginia Olivier Doulier - Pool/Getty Images
WikiLeaks has released a huge set of files that it calls "Year Zero" and which mark the biggest exposure of CIA spying secrets ever.
The massive set of documents – over 8,000 pages in all – include a host of hacking secrets that could embarrass intelligence agencies and the US government, as well as undermining spying efforts across the world.
Here are six of the biggest secrets and pieces of information yet to emerge from the huge dump.
1) The CIA has the ability to break into Android and iPhone handsets, and all kinds of computers
The US intelligence agency has been involved in a concerted effort to write various kinds of malware to spy on just about every piece of electronic equipment that people use. That includes iPhones, Androids and computers running Windows, macOS and Linux.
If that software is as powerful as WikiLeaks claims, it could be used to remotely control those devices and switch them on and off. Once that happened, a vast array of data would be made available – including users' locations, messages they had sent, and potentially everything heard by the microphone or seen by the camera.
2) Doing so would make apps like Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp entirely insecure
Encrypted messaging apps are only as secure as the device they are used on – if an operating system is compromised, then the messages can be read before they encrypted and sent to the other user. WikiLeaks claims that has happened, potentially meaning that messages have been compromised even if all of the usual precautions had been taken.
3) The CIA could use smart TVs to listen in on conversations that happened around them
One of the most eye-catching programmes detailed in the documents is "Weeping Angel". That allows intelligence agencies to install special software that allows TVs to be turned into listening devices – so that even when they appear to be switched off, they're actually on.
That's just one of the technologies created by the Embedded Devices Branch, the CIA division at the centre of much of the leaks of new information.
4) The agency explored hacking into cars and crashing them, allowing 'nearly undetectable assassinations'
Many of the documents reference tools that appear to have dangerous and unknown uses. One file, for instance, shows that the CIA were looking into ways of remotely controlling cars and vans by hacking into them.
"The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations," WikiLeaks notes, in an unproven piece of speculation.
5) The CIA hid vulnerabilities that could be used by hackers from other countries or governments
WikiLeaks claims that its source handed over the documents in order to provoke a debate about the power of intelligence agencies and how their information should be exposed. Perhaps central to that is the accusation that the CIA was "hoarding" exploits that it had found – rather than handing them over to the companies that could fix them, and so make users safe, as they had promised to do.
Such bugs were found in the biggest consumer electronics in the world, including phones and computers made Apple, Google and Microsoft. But those companies didn't get the chance to fix those exploits because the agency kept them secret in order to keep using them, the documents suggest.
"Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability," a WikiLeaks statement read. "If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others."
WikiLeaks noted that those unfixed exploits affected everyone using the equipment, including "the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers".
6) More information is coming
The documents have still not been looked through entirely. There are 8,378 pages of files, some of which have already been analysed but many of which hasn't.
The files are being shared publicly on the WikiLeaks website and the organisation has encouraged its supporters to keep looking through the documents in the hope of finding more stories.
And that's not to mention the other sets of documents that are coming. The "Year Zero" leaks are just the first in a series of "Vault 7" dumps, Julian Assange said.
When taken together, those "Vault 7" leaks will make up the biggest intelligence publication in history, WikiLeaks
Source: WikiLeaks CIA files: The 6 biggest spying secrets revealed by the release of 'Vault 7'

Wikileaks Vault 7: A Massive and Confusing Revelation

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WikiLeaks Vault 7 Exposes Rogue Deep State - Alex Jones are very happy !

Surveillance totale: CIA




Surveillance totale: vous êtes cernés, vous êtes prévenus. Il est temps d’entrer en résistance.

L’agence de renseignement américaine CIA peut transformer votre télévision en appareil d’écoute, contourner les applications de cryptage et peut-être aussi contrôler votre véhicule, selon des documents publiés mardi par WikiLeaks.  Les documents publiés sont des documents  internes à l’agence elle-même.
L’argument des biens pensants et des Maîtres est toujours le même; « si vous n’avez rien à cacher vous n’avez rien à craindre ». C’est une argument bidon qui ne  résiste pas à l’analyse: la vie privée doit rester privée, point à la ligne. Il n’y a aucune raison pour qu’un groupe de personnes ait accès à la vie privée des autres citoyens ou alors cela veut dire que l’on ratifie un monde à deux vitesses, un monde avec une super élite,l aquelle grace à ce contrôle des citoyens devient inamovible.
Ainsi ce n’est pas hasard si les Maîtres font écouter les candidats aux élections pour ainsi réduire leur chance d’être élus grâce aux informations obtenues. C’est Nixon et son Watergate. C’est Obama qui espionne Trump, c’est Hollande et sa clique de pseudo libertaires corrompus, ex correspondanst de la CIA en France du temps de De Gaulle,  du Canard qui fait des dossiers comme la Stasi sur Fillon et Marine.
Sinon c’est  l’intrusion, la manipulation, le contrôle et l’enchainement de  la servitude. Rappelons qu’aussi bien du temps des nazis que de la Stasi et de la gloire du KGB, c’ètaient les mêmes arguments qui étaient utilisés.
Le peuple, les indivividus doivent conserver la possibilité de se révolter, de se soulever, de se libérer, de résister. L’occupation nazie n’aurait pu etre dépassée si les nazis avaient eu à leur disposition tous les moyens utilisés par les CIA, les NSA et autres.
Ce sont les gouvernements qui doivent craindre les peuples et non l’inverse. La première mesure de Hitler a été de désarmer les juifs ne l’oubliez jamais. Le peuple doit conserver la possibilité de conserver la monnaie qu’il veut car la monnaie,  c’est la liberté.
Le peuple doit conserver la possibilité de détenir des armes pour se battre contre les Maîtres quand ce sera nécessaire. La dérive actuelle, est de plus en plus clairement exposée: « ILS », les Maîtres en sont à contester les élections qui ne leur conviennnent pas, ils excluent une partie du peuple qui ne vote pas comme il faut. Ils réeduquent par la propagande et la manipulation des esprits mieux que les camps de l’URSS.
J’insiste solennellement. Pensez qu’il n’y a pas de retour en arrière spontané, c’est toujours plus , sur la route de la servitude: pensez au générations futures. Le vrai découpage en politique n’est bien sur plus droite/gauche, c’est entre ceux qui acceptent l’évolution liberticide du monde et ceux qui la refusent, c’est entre les collabos et les résistants. Les gouvernements, les élites ont perdu notre confiance, il leur appartient de la reconquérir;  ce n’est pas à nous, de changer comme ils tentent de nous le faire croire.
Vous savez de quel côté je me trouve et de quel camp j’écris.
Le site créé par l’Australien Julian Assange révèle  que ces documents prouvent que la CIA opère d’une manière similaire à l’agence de sécurité nationale (NSA), principale entité de surveillance électronique des Etats-Unis, en matière d’espionnage informatique mais avec moins de supervision.
WikiLeaks a publié près de 9.000 documents présentés comme provenant de la CIA, estimant qu’il s’agissait de la plus importante publication de matériels secrets du renseignement jamais réalisée.
Un porte-parole de la CIA, Jonathan Liu, n’a évidemment ni confirmé ni démenti l’authenticité de ces documents, ou commenté leur contenu.
Le site affirme qu’une grande quantité de documents de la CIA mettant au jour « la majorité de son arsenal de piratage informatique » a été diffusée auprès de la communauté de la cyber-sécurité, et en avoir reçu lui-même une partie qu’il a décidé de rendre publique.
« Cette collection extraordinaire, qui représente plusieurs centaines de millions de lignes de codes, dévoile à son détenteur la totalité de la capacité de piratage informatique de la CIA », avance-t-il.
« Ces archives semblent avoir circulé parmi d’anciens pirates du gouvernement américain et sous-traitants de façon non autorisée, l’un d’entre eux ayant fourni à WikiLeaks une partie de ces archives », poursuit-il.
Selon le site, ces documents montrent que l’agence de renseignement a élaboré plus d’un millier de programmes malveillants, virus, cheval de Troie et autres logiciels pouvant infiltrer et prendre le contrôle d’appareils électroniques.
Ces programmes ont pris pour cible en particulier des iPhone, des systèmes fonctionnant sous Android (Google) -qui serait toujours utilisé par le président Donald Trump-, le populaire Microsoft ou encore les télévisions connectées de Samsung, pour les transformer en appareils d’écoute à l’insu de leur utilisateur, affirme WikiLeaks.
La CIA s’est également intéressée à la possibilité de prendre le contrôle de véhicules grâce à leurs instruments électroniques.
En piratant les smartphones, relève le site, la CIA parviendrait ainsi à contourner les protections par cryptage d’applications à succès comme WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Weibo ou encore Confide, en capturant les communications avant qu’elles ne soient cryptées.
« De nombreuses vulnérabilités exploitées par le cyber-arsenal de la CIA sont omniprésentes et certaines peuvent déjà avoir été découvertes par des agences de renseignement rivales ou par des cyber-criminels », relève WikiLeaks.
Dans un communiqué, Julian Assange a estimé que ces documents faisaient la preuve des « risques extrêmes » induits par la prolifération hors de toute supervision des instruments de cyberattaque.
« On peut faire un parallèle entre la prolifération sans contrôle de telles +armes+, qui résultent d’une incapacité à les contenir associée à leur haute valeur marchande, et le commerce mondial des armes », a-t-il relevé.
:)

Wikileaks Unveils 'Vault 7': "The Largest Ever Publication Of Confidential CIA Documents"


Wikileaks Unveils 'Vault 7': "The Largest Ever Publication Of Confidential CIA Documents"; Another Snowden Emerges

zerohedge.com |
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WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever release of confidential documents on the CIA. It includes more than 8,000 documents as part of ‘Vault 7’, a series of leaks on the agency, which have allegedly emerged from the CIA's Center For Cyber Intelligence in Langley, and which can be seen on the org chart below, which Wikileaks also released:
A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of ‘Year Zero’, the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed ‘Vault 7.’ WikiLeaks said that ‘Year Zero’ revealed details of the CIA’s “global covert hacking program,” including “weaponized exploits” used against company products including “Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”
WikiLeaks tweeted the leak, which it claims came from a network inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.
Among the more notable disclosures which, if confirmed, "would rock the technology world", the CIA had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect “audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.”
Another profound revelation is that the CIA can engage in "false flag" cyberattacks which portray Russia as the assailant. Discussing the CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group, Wikileaks' source notes that it "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. UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques."
As Kim Dotcom summarizes this finding, "CIA uses techniques to make cyber attacks look like they originated from enemy state. It turns DNC/Russia hack allegation by CIA into a JOKE"
But perhaps what is most notable is the purported emergence of another Snowden-type whistleblower: the source of the information told WikiLeaks in a statement that they wish to initiate a public debate about the “security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.”  Policy questions that should be debated in public include “whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency,” WikiLeaks claims the source said.
The FAQ section of the release, shown below, provides further details on the extent of the leak, which was “obtained recently and covers through 2016”. The time period covered in the latest leak is between the years 2013 and 2016, according to the CIA timestamps on the documents themselves. Secondly, WikiLeaks has asserted that it has not mined the entire leak and has only verified it, asking that journalists and activists do the leg work.
Among the various techniques profiled by WikiLeaks is “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
As Kim Dotcom chimed in on Twitter, "CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones" and added " CIA turned every Microsoft Windows PC in the world into spyware. Can activate backdoors on demand, including via Windows update"
Dotcom also added that "Obama accused Russia of cyberattacks while his CIA turned all internet enabled consumer electronics in Russia into listening devices. Wow!"
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of "Year Zero" goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."
Key Highlights from the Vault 7 release so far:
  • "Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.
  • Wikileaks claims that the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
  • By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook.
  • The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
  • Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
Snowden 2.0?
  • In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.
CIA targets iPhones, Androids, smart TVs:
  • CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA's DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see this organizational chart of the CIA for more details).
  • The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell's 1984, but "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.
Also cars, suggesting that the CIA may have a role in the death of Michael Hastings:
  • As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks.
  • The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.
And computers:
  • The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized "zero days", air gap jumping viruses such as "Hammer Drill" which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ( "Brutal Kangaroo") and to keep its malware infestations going.
Hoarding of Zero Day exploits:
  • In the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis — rather than hoard — serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or "zero days" to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.
  • Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability. If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.
Proliferation of leaked/hacked Cyberwar programs:
  • While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber 'weapons', once developed, are very hard to retain. Cyber 'weapons' are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.
  • Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booze Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.
  • Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
The U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base
  • In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( "Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe" or CCIE) are given diplomatic ("black") passports and State Department cover.
  • The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany's counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: "Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport"
Examples of CIA projects
  • The CIA's Engineering Development Group (EDG) management system contains around 500 different projects (only some of which are documented by "Year Zero") each with their own sub-projects, malware and hacker tools. The majority of these projects relate to tools that are used for penetration, infestation ("implanting"), control, and exfiltration.
  • Umbrage: 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.
  • Fine Dining:  Fine Dining comes with a standardized questionnaire i.e menu that CIA case officers fill out. The questionnaire is used by the agency's OSB (Operational Support Branch) to transform the requests of case officers into technical requirements for hacking attacks (typically "exfiltrating" information from computer systems) for specific operations.  Among the list of possible targets of the collection are 'Asset', 'Liason Asset', 'System Administrator', 'Foreign Information Operations', 'Foreign Intelligence Agencies' and 'Foreign Government Entities'. Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals.
  • 'Improvise'; a toolset for configuration, post-processing, payload setup and execution vector selection for survey/exfiltration tools supporting all major operating systems like Windows (Bartender), MacOS (JukeBox) and Linux (DanceFloor).
  • HIVE: HIVE is a multi-platform CIA malware suite and its associated control software. The project provides customizable implants for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in internet routers) and Linux platforms and a Listening Post (LP)/Command and Control (C2) infrastructure to communicate with these implants. The implants are configured to communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain; each operation utilizing these implants has a separate cover domain and the infrastructure can handle any number of cover domains.
And some key sections from the FAQ:
  • What time period is covered? The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first). WikiLeaks has obtained the CIA's creation/last modification date for each page but these do not yet appear for technical reasons. Usually the date can be discerned or approximated from the content and the page order. If it is critical to know the exact time/date contact WikiLeaks.
  • What is "Vault 7" "Vault 7" is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.
  • What is the total size of "Vault 7"? The series is the largest intelligence publication in history.
  • When was each part of "Vault 7" obtained?: Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
  • Is each part of "Vault 7" from a different source? Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
  • How did WikiLeaks obtain each part of "Vault 7"? Sources trust WikiLeaks to not reveal information that might help identify them.
  • Isn't WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series? No. That would be certainly counter-productive.
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PREVIOUSLY
As a reminder, last night Wikileaks announced that it has released an encrypted torrent file which reportedly contains information on the mysterious "Vault 7", and which we now know is the biggest "collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.publication in history." It can be downloaded now at the following URL, and accessed using the password "SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds"
Wikileaks had previously announced that it would hold an 8am Eastern press conference, as part of the unveiling.
However, there appeared to have been some complications, with Wikileaks tweeting that "the press conference is under attack: Facebook+Periscope video used by WikiLeaks' editor Julian Assange have been attacked. Activating contingency plans"
Wikileaks then announced that "As Mr. Assange's Perscipe+Facebook video stream links are under attack his video press conference will be rescheduled."
In a separate tweet, Wikileaks has just released the passphrase to decrypt the torrent file: RELEASE: CIA Vault 7 Year Zero decryption passphrase:
SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds
As a result, since Assange appears to have been unable to launch his previously scheduled press conference, he has gone ahead and issued the press release on Vault 7 Part 1 "Year Zero, which is titled: Inside the CIA's global hacking force:
Press Release
Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed
Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.
The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.
Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.
By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of "Year Zero" goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."
Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.
Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one (“Year Zero”) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.
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Analysis
CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs
CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA's DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see this organizational chart of the CIA for more details).
The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.
The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell's 1984, but "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.
The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom's MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.
The CIA's Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user's geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone's camera and microphone.
Despite iPhone's minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA's Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads. CIA's arsenal includes numerous local and remote "zero days" developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop. The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.
These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the "smart" phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.
CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers
The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized "zero days", air gap jumping viruses such as "Hammer Drill" which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ( "Brutal Kangaroo") and to keep its malware infestations going.
Many of these infection efforts are pulled together by the CIA's Automated Implant Branch (AIB), which has developed several attack systems for automated infestation and control of CIA malware, such as "Assassin" and "Medusa".
Attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers are developed by the CIA's Network Devices Branch (NDB).
The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB's "HIVE" and the related "Cutthroat" and "Swindle" tools, which are described in the examples section below.
CIA 'hoarded' vulnerabilities ("zero days")
In the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis — rather than hoard — serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or "zero days" to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.
Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability. If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.
The U.S. government's commitment to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process came after significant lobbying by US technology companies, who risk losing their share of the global market over real and perceived hidden vulnerabilities. The government stated that it would disclose all pervasive vulnerabilities discovered after 2010 on an ongoing basis.
"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.
As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in "Year Zero" is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts. The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities ("zero days") possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.
The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone &mdsh; at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.
'Cyberwar' programs are a serious proliferation risk
Cyber 'weapons' are not possible to keep under effective control.
While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber 'weapons', once developed, are very hard to retain.
Cyber 'weapons' are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.
Securing such 'weapons' is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces — sometimes by using the very same 'weapons' against the organizations that contain them. There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global "vulnerability market" that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such 'weapons'. Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such 'weapons' sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling 'hacking' services.
Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booze Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.
A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.
Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information. The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base
In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( "Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe" or CCIE) are given diplomatic ("black") passports and State Department cover. The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany's counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: "Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport"
Your Cover Story (for this trip)
Q: Why are you here?
A: Supporting technical consultations at the Consulate.
Two earlier WikiLeaks publications give further detail on CIA approaches to customs and secondary screening procedures.
Once in Frankfurt CIA hackers can travel without further border checks to the 25 European countries that are part of the Shengen open border area — including France, Italy and Switzerland.
A number of the CIA's electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity. These attack methods are able to penetrate high security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database. In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace. The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media. For example, the CIA attack system Fine Dining, provides 24 decoy applications for CIA spies to use. To witnesses, the spy appears to be running a program showing videos (e.g VLC), presenting slides (Prezi), playing a computer game (Breakout2, 2048) or even running a fake virus scanner (Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos). But while the decoy application is on the screen, the underlaying system is automatically infected and ransacked.
How the CIA dramatically increased proliferation risks
In what is surely one of the most astounding intelligence own goals in living memory, the CIA structured its classification regime such that for the most market valuable part of "Vault 7" — the CIA's weaponized malware (implants + zero days), Listening Posts (LP), and Command and Control (C2) systems — the agency has little legal recourse.
The CIA made these systems unclassified.
Why the CIA chose to make its cyberarsenal unclassified reveals how concepts developed for military use do not easily crossover to the 'battlefield' of cyber 'war'.
To attack its targets, the CIA usually requires that its implants communicate with their control programs over the internet. If CIA implants, Command & Control and Listening Post software were classified, then CIA officers could be prosecuted or dismissed for violating rules that prohibit placing classified information onto the Internet. Consequently the CIA has secretly made most of its cyber spying/war code unclassified. The U.S. government is not able to assert copyright either, due to restrictions in the U.S. Constitution. This means that cyber 'arms' manufactures and computer hackers can freely "pirate" these 'weapons' if they are obtained. The CIA has primarily had to rely on obfuscation to protect its malware secrets.
Conventional weapons such as missiles may be fired at the enemy (i.e into an unsecured area). Proximity to or impact with the target detonates the ordnance including its classified parts. Hence military personnel do not violate classification rules by firing ordnance with classified parts. Ordnance will likely explode. If it does not, that is not the operator's intent.
Over the last decade U.S. hacking operations have been increasingly dressed up in military jargon to tap into Department of Defense funding streams. For instance, attempted "malware injections" (commercial jargon) or "implant drops" (NSA jargon) are being called "fires" as if a weapon was being fired. However the analogy is questionable.
Unlike bullets, bombs or missiles, most CIA malware is designed to live for days or even years after it has reached its 'target'. CIA malware does not "explode on impact" but rather permanently infests its target. In order to infect target's device, copies of the malware must be placed on the target's devices, giving physical possession of the malware to the target. To exfiltrate data back to the CIA or to await further instructions the malware must communicate with CIA Command & Control (C2) systems placed on internet connected servers. But such servers are typically not approved to hold classified information, so CIA command and control systems are also made unclassified.
A successful 'attack' on a target's computer system is more like a series of complex stock maneuvers in a hostile take-over bid or the careful planting of rumors in order to gain control over an organization's leadership rather than the firing of a weapons system. If there is a military analogy to be made, the infestation of a target is perhaps akin to the execution of a whole series of military maneuvers against the target's territory including observation, infiltration, occupation and exploitation.
Evading forensics and anti-virus
A series of standards lay out CIA malware infestation patterns which are likely to assist forensic crime scene investigators as well as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia, Blackberry, Siemens and anti-virus companies attribute and defend against attacks.
"Tradecraft DO's and DON'Ts" contains CIA rules on how its malware should be written to avoid fingerprints implicating the "CIA, US government, or its witting partner companies" in "forensic review". Similar secret standards cover the use of encryption to hide CIA hacker and malware communication (pdf), describing targets & exfiltrated data (pdf) as well as executing payloads (pdf) and persisting (pdf) in the target's machines over time.
CIA hackers discussed what the NSA's "Equation Group" hackers did wrong and how the CIA's malware makers could avoid similar exposure.
Examples
The CIA's Engineering Development Group (EDG) management system contains around 500 different projects (only some of which are documented by "Year Zero") each with their own sub-projects, malware and hacker tools.
The majority of these projects relate to tools that are used for penetration, infestation ("implanting"), control, and exfiltration.
Another branch of development focuses on the development and operation of Listening Posts (LP) and Command and Control (C2) systems used to communicate with and control CIA implants; special projects are used to target specific hardware from routers to smart TVs.
Some example projects are described below, but see the table of contents for the full list of projects described by WikiLeaks' "Year Zero".
UMBRAGE
The CIA's hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency. Each technique it has created forms a "fingerprint" that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity.
This is analogous to finding the same distinctive knife wound on multiple separate murder victims. The unique wounding style creates suspicion that a single murderer is responsible. As soon one murder in the set is solved then the other murders also find likely attribution.
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.
UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.
Fine Dining
Fine Dining comes with a standardized questionnaire i.e menu that CIA case officers fill out. The questionnaire is used by the agency's OSB (Operational Support Branch) to transform the requests of case officers into technical requirements for hacking attacks (typically "exfiltrating" information from computer systems) for specific operations. The questionnaire allows the OSB to identify how to adapt existing tools for the operation, and communicate this to CIA malware configuration staff. The OSB functions as the interface between CIA operational staff and the relevant technical support staff.
Among the list of possible targets of the collection are 'Asset', 'Liason Asset', 'System Administrator', 'Foreign Information Operations', 'Foreign Intelligence Agencies' and 'Foreign Government Entities'. Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals. The 'Case Officer' is also asked to specify the environment of the target like the type of computer, operating system used, Internet connectivity and installed anti-virus utilities (PSPs) as well as a list of file types to be exfiltrated like Office documents, audio, video, images or custom file types. The 'menu' also asks for information if recurring access to the target is possible and how long unobserved access to the computer can be maintained. This information is used by the CIA's 'JQJIMPROVISE' software (see below) to configure a set of CIA malware suited to the specific needs of an operation.
Improvise (JQJIMPROVISE)
'Improvise' is a toolset for configuration, post-processing, payload setup and execution vector selection for survey/exfiltration tools supporting all major operating systems like Windows (Bartender), MacOS (JukeBox) and Linux (DanceFloor). Its configuration utilities like Margarita allows the NOC (Network Operation Center) to customize tools based on requirements from 'Fine Dining' questionairies.
HIVE
HIVE is a multi-platform CIA malware suite and its associated control software. The project provides customizable implants for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in internet routers) and Linux platforms and a Listening Post (LP)/Command and Control (C2) infrastructure to communicate with these implants.
The implants are configured to communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain; each operation utilizing these implants has a separate cover domain and the infrastructure can handle any number of cover domains.
Each cover domain resolves to an IP address that is located at a commercial VPS (Virtual Private Server) provider. The public-facing server forwards all incoming traffic via a VPN to a 'Blot' server that handles actual connection requests from clients. It is setup for optional SSL client authentication: if a client sends a valid client certificate (only implants can do that), the connection is forwarded to the 'Honeycomb' toolserver that communicates with the implant; if a valid certificate is missing (which is the case if someone tries to open the cover domain website by accident), the traffic is forwarded to a cover server that delivers an unsuspicious looking website.
The Honeycomb toolserver receives exfiltrated information from the implant; an operator can also task the implant to execute jobs on the target computer, so the toolserver acts as a C2 (command and control) server for the implant.
Similar functionality (though limited to Windows) is provided by the RickBobby project.
See the classified user and developer guides for HIVE.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why now?
WikiLeaks published as soon as its verification and analysis were ready.
In Febuary the Trump administration has issued an Executive Order calling for a "Cyberwar" review to be prepared within 30 days.
While the review increases the timeliness and relevance of the publication it did not play a role in setting the publication date.
Redactions
Names, email addresses and external IP addresses have been redacted in the released pages (70,875 redactions in total) until further analysis is complete.
  1. Over-redaction: Some items may have been redacted that are not employees, contractors, targets or otherwise related to the agency, but are, for example, authors of documentation for otherwise public projects that are used by the agency.
  2. Identity vs. person: the redacted names are replaced by user IDs (numbers) to allow readers to assign multiple pages to a single author. Given the redaction process used a single person may be represented by more than one assigned identifier but no identifier refers to more than one real person.
  3. Archive attachments (zip, tar.gz, ...) are replaced with a PDF listing all the file names in the archive. As the archive content is assessed it may be made available; until then the archive is redacted.
  4. Attachments with other binary content are replaced by a hex dump of the content to prevent accidental invocation of binaries that may have been infected with weaponized CIA malware. As the content is assessed it may be made available; until then the content is redacted.
  5. The tens of thousands of routable IP addresses references (including more than 22 thousand within the United States) that correspond to possible targets, CIA covert listening post servers, intermediary and test systems, are redacted for further exclusive investigation.
  6. Binary files of non-public origin are only available as dumps to prevent accidental invocation of CIA malware infected binaries.
Organizational Chart
The organizational chart corresponds to the material published by WikiLeaks so far.
Since the organizational structure of the CIA below the level of Directorates is not public, the placement of the EDG and its branches within the org chart of the agency is reconstructed from information contained in the documents released so far. It is intended to be used as a rough outline of the internal organization; please be aware that the reconstructed org chart is incomplete and that internal reorganizations occur frequently.
Wiki pages
"Year Zero" contains 7818 web pages with 943 attachments from the internal development groupware. The software used for this purpose is called Confluence, a proprietary software from Atlassian. Webpages in this system (like in Wikipedia) have a version history that can provide interesting insights on how a document evolved over time; the 7818 documents include these page histories for 1136 latest versions.
The order of named pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first). Page content is not present if it was originally dynamically created by the Confluence software (as indicated on the re-constructed page).
What time period is covered?
The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first).
WikiLeaks has obtained the CIA's creation/last modification date for each page but these do not yet appear for technical reasons. Usually the date can be discerned or approximated from the content and the page order. If it is critical to know the exact time/date contact WikiLeaks.
What is "Vault 7"
"Vault 7" is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.
When was each part of "Vault 7" obtained?
Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
Is each part of "Vault 7" from a different source?
Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
What is the total size of "Vault 7"?
The series is the largest intelligence publication in history.
How did WikiLeaks obtain each part of "Vault 7"?
Sources trust WikiLeaks to not reveal information that might help identify them.
Isn't WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series?
No. That would be certainly counter-productive.
Has WikiLeaks already 'mined' all the best stories?
No. WikiLeaks has intentionally not written up hundreds of impactful stories to encourage others to find them and so create expertise in the area for subsequent parts in the series. They're there. Look. Those who demonstrate journalistic excellence may be considered for early access to future parts.
Won't other journalists find all the best stories before me?
Unlikely. There are very considerably more stories than there are journalists or academics who are in a position to write them.