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    U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he delivers remarks at the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington November 5, 2015

    'Holds No Water': How Obama Invented 'Russian Hackers'

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    On December 29, the United States announced a series of measures against several Russian organizations and individuals in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged hacking into US political institutions. Washington also expelled 35 Russian diplomats and their families (about 100 people in all) and is closing down two Russian-owned compounds in the US.

    Even though the expulsion of the country’s diplomats and closure of its diplomatic missions traditionally entails a tit-for-tat response, President Putin said on Friday that Russia will not expel US diplomats in response to Washington’s unfriendly move.

    "We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not expel anyone," Putin said. “Furthermore, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the Christmas and New Year tree in the Kremlin.”

    He added that Russia’s further steps in restoring ties with the United States will depend on the policy of President-elect Donald Trump.

    Promised revenge

    Earlier this month President Barack Obama warned that the US would “take action” against Russia for alleged cyberattacks on Democratic Party  officials who claimed that outside meddling prevented Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton from winning the presidency.

    Russia has flatly denied all accusations that it organized the hacking of email accounts of Democratic Party officials and Clinton's campaign chief, John Podesta, and then leaked them to the whistleblowing anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

    Top Democratic Party officials were quick to point a finger at imaginary “Russian hackers” without producing any shreds of evidence that such attacks really happened.

    Immediately after the first batch of leaked documents went public, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a statement claiming that the “disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails <…> are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.”

    “Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement said.

    It added, however, that even though “some states have also recently seen scanning and probing of their election-related systems, which in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company, [DHS] is not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government.”

    Finally, just three weeks before he leaves office, President Obama had his revenge.

    Simultaneously with his decision to slap Russia with new sanctions and expel its diplomats, the FBI released the results of its joint probe with the DHS, the CIA and other intelligence agencies that were expected to produce irrefutable proof of Russia’s wrongdoing and justify Obama’s new sanctions against Moscow.

    Presentation

    According to the report two different Russian intelligence groups participated in the intrusion into an unnamed US political party.

    The first actor group, known as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 29, entered into the party’s systems in Summer 2015, while the second, known as APT28, entered in Spring 2016.

    In the summer of 2015 hackers allegedly working for Russia’s civilian intelligence service sent e-mails with hidden malware to more than 1,000 people working for the US government and political groups in a far-reaching operation to interfere with this year’s presidential election.

    The report also mentions an alphabetical list of 48 nicks of presumed hackers and hacker groups:  APT28, APT29, Agent.btz, BlackEnergy V3, BlackEnergy2 APT, CakeDuke, etc.

    One of these hacker groups calls itself Tsar Team and it looks like the Russian world “Tsar” (King) is seen as the only “proof” of Russia’s alleged involvement in these cyber-attacks one can possibly find in the 13-page report.

    The “evidence” in the report, where Russian cyber activity is referred to as Grizzly Steppe, falls short of anything that would directly tie Russian intelligence services to any plan meant to influence the outcome of US elections.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Vice President of the International Association of Russian-Speaking Lawyers Mikhail Ioffe said that even if the members of this group of hackers are Russian citizens it doesn’t mean a thing.

    “This group may include people from different countries who have a shared agenda, or they may be Russians all, but this is not enough reason for introducing sanctions and expelling diplomats,” Ioffe said.

    “This is all lies and fairytales. Tracing hackers in today’s world is a mission impossible. You can say they are from Africa, Australia or the Antarctic and no one will be able to either confirm or deny this. But each report or analytical memo is written for a reason. In this case the reason is to prove Russia’s alleged influence on the US presidential elections even though this whole thing simply holds no water,” Alexei Smolin, a professor at the Moscow Humanitarian University told Sputnik.

    “Angry and ignorant losers”

    Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, took to Facebook to call the outgoing Obama administration "a group of foreign policy losers, angry and ignorant.""

    In a scathing comment, Zakharova wrote that the outgoing president did not manage to leave any major foreign policy achievements as part of his legacy and instead of “putting an elegant period” to his two presidential terms has “made a huge blot” with his decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and close two diplomatic compounds in the US.

    Washington has also accused Moscow of harassing and intimidating US diplomats and organizations working in Moscow.

    The list of Russian citizens targeted by the US sanctions includes the head of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), three of his top assistants and two Russian nationals wanted in the US for using cyber-enabled means to allegedly cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.

    The US has also introduced sanctions against four other Russian organizations, including the GRU, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and three companies charged for allegedly assisting in cyber-attacks against US political parties and organizations.

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    Tags:
    alleged cyber attacks, Russian diplomats, US sanctions, hackers, Moscow Humanitarian UNiversity, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alexei Smolin, Mikhail Ioffe, Maria Zakharova, Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, United States
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    • avatar
      kasivasantha
      if any tom dick and harry can penetrate the mighty nation servers, than it is not a mighty nation .It is like any other banna nation.
    • avatar
      Linda
      Not to mention the thousand other lies that Obama invented about Russia.
    • avatar
      copius
      There was no Russian hacking.
      It's a lie to cover up defeat and shame at the elections and in Aleppo.
      It's a cover up to remove your 1st amendment.
      Repeal that new propaganda law and kick it out along with Obama.
    • avatar
      tobi.gelando
      The Usa are very lousy losers !!!
      But Obonga has proven every year more and more that the Usa /Nato are Terror Nations !!!
    • Zoanthropy
      US cyber security has more holes than Swiss cheese.
    • avatar
      anne00marie
      Obama, has confirmed that the US is no more than a banana republic. Which is what President Putin said, whilst discussing things at the Valdai International Discussion Club. How the world looks at Obama and roars with laughter. Is he really that stupid?
    • avatar
      marcanhalt
      And to think that he has two "daughters" who still have to go to school with their friends. As kids, they are going to identify, first, with some of the same kids who had to be 'expelled' along with their parents. Oh, how embarrassing for them!
    • avatar
      marcanhaltin reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
      anne00marie, He is suppose to be a graduate of Colombia University, with an emphasis on constitutional law. IF he was there, he had to cheat to finish if this is any indication of how he made up his summations,
    • avatar
      marcanhalt
      As a former member of Pastor Wright's choir once said, "Obama? In the White House? Why that man does not belong in the main house!"
    • Adrienne Adonis
      You have to remember Obama is a puppet answering to those more powerful than he is. He is their spokesperson and promote their agenda which is to make Russia look sinister to the world in order to justify any military intervention. ( Syria, Ukraine, Crimea ) ....... Putin obviously understands this so he has purposely not taken any bait from the west. He has outmaneuvered them so far including not to retailiate against Obama throwing out the Russian diplomats.
    • avatar
      loverussia
      This black O'bomb deserves another Nobel Prize.
    • avatar
      dak_kol
      WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION - remember that!. American politicians always lie.
    • avatar
      marcanhalt
      Here's an idea. Why doesn't Obama just cut off his nose to save his face.
    • Zoanthropy
      Just shoot him now!
    • avatar
      william Van Hoefs
      I would have loved to see the faces of Obummer, biden, Clinton , Kerry, McCain and Gragham , the moment they heard the "coutermeasures" of V.V.Putin .
    • basho
      "may you live in interesting times" you abject failure as a human being.
    • avatar
      copius
      FBI and CIA consulted their Hollywood pedophilia friends for this narrative.
      Unfortunately it is a hastily written script.
      No one in their right mind would use "Tsar Team" as a name if they want to cover their tracks.
      Once again Obama, the bungling oaf has shown his low life form.
      USA, learn from this man's mistakes.
      Never allow yourself to go so low.
      The black Muslim in the White House experiment has failed.
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