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    'Clueless' US Intel Report on 'Russian Hack' Becomes a 'Laughingstock'

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    The existing mechanisms for cooperation between Moscow and Washington in the field of cybersecurity would be helpful to resolve the current crisis in bilateral ties, cybersecurity consultant Oleg Demidov said. However, according to the expert, those mechanisms are unlikely to be resumed in the near future.

    United States intelligence published a joint report on "Russian activities and intentions" in the recent United States presidential elections. According to the document, Moscow engaged various tools, including cyberattacks and media activities, to influence the results of the election.

    As for the recent presidential campaign, the authors of the report concluded that the campaign was aimed to "undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency."

    The document also read the "influence campaign" was ordered personally by Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the US intelligence, President Putin and his entourage were interested in boosting Republican candidate Donald Trump’s chances to win the election.

    In turn, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov commented on the report, saying that it contains unjustified accusations made at an emotional and amateur level. According to Peskov, the whole situation around Russia’s alleged interference with the US election looks like a "witch hunt."

    The report put certain US officials in a "trap of their own promises" because initially they promised to provide evidence to the allegations, in order to convince the establishment and public, according to Oleg Demidov, a cybersecurity specialist and expert at the PIR-Center think-tank.

    "This goal was not achieved. Without the data from the classified version, the report is clueless. Of course, it quickly became a laughingstock. The gauntlet of criticism was run on this document," Demidov told RIA Novosti.

    For example, Republican Congressman Rod Blum made a joke about the Democratic Party and the allegations about "Russian hackers."

    "Walked to work past DNC HQ this afternoon. Nobody there – I guess they couldn't 'hack' this cold weather!" he wrote in a post on his Facebook page.

    Commenting on the new US sanctions against Russia over "interference with the election" and "pressure on American diplomats," Demidov underscored that this mechanism was actually based on an executive order from April 2015, which was designed to deal with China. However, later, in September 2015, Washington and Beijing reached a cybersecurity cooperation agreement.

    "Trump can overturn this executive order. But it is not guaranteed, taking into account the fact that he admitted some of the conclusions by US intelligence. Moreover, as president he may use this executive order in a different situation, for example during a new crisis with Russia," the expert suggested.

    He also noted that Moscow and Washington has an agreement on cybersecurity. In 2013, Russia and the US signed an agreement to establish confidence measures related to cybersecurity. Those measures were in effect until mid-2014. They included emergency communications channels during crises in cyberspace. They also presumed establishing a working group and a presidential commission on developing cooperation in cyber activities.

    "We have instruments for cooperation. The deal has not been revoked. But it should be resumed to prevent situations like the current crisis. Unfortunately, so far I can’t see the possibility for this," Demidov concluded.

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    intelligence, cybersecurity, hacker attack, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Russia, United States
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