back to article Trump administration says Russia behind SolarWinds hack. Trump himself begs to differ

United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo has laid the blame for the SolarWinds hack on Russia, but his boss begs to differ. Pompeo on Friday gave an interview with pro-Trump conservative talk radio host Mark Levin, the transcript of which was posted by the State Department. During the interview Levin asked about the …

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    1. 9Rune5 Silver badge

      Why ...not?

      The US is currently waging a cold war on both nations.

      ...but... I think China consider Biden to be a weak candidate that they can push a lot when it comes time to sit down and negotiate a new trade deal.

      Russia's problems are less recent and they fare badly no matter who controls the white house. They might find it a fun exercise to spike the election enough to cause a stir, but I do not see them gaining anything by doing so. Except perhaps in Syria, seeing as the Democrats were getting ready to wage a war there. (it mystifies me why the media thought that was an okay thing to do)

      But sure... The russian hacker(s) left some sort of Putin thumbprint, found by the same idiots who couldn't keep their systems secure in the first place.

      And hey, Dominion is probably not using any SolarWinds software, nor are they susceptible to that level of hacking. Besides, every Dominion software release is heavily scrutinized and compiled by a trusted third-party. It is only the other guys who fell victim to this attack.

      Never mind that Christine Fang was in bed with one of the most vocal proponents of "Russian collusion" Eric Swallwell. Maybe she was really a russian?

  1. Jason Hindle Silver badge

    So Trump is loyal to his keeper 'til the bitter end

    How touching.

  2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    I blame it on the Irish

    Orion, O'Ryan. Coincidence? I think not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I blame it on the Irish

      Hacked 3 times - to be sure, to be sure, to be sure

  3. David Roberts Silver badge

    Passive monitoring?

    If the software checks for active monitoring software and access to the Internet then presumably passive monitoring at the network boundary would see the traffic.

    Getting towards watching the horse bolt out of the stable door, but at least you can watch which way it is going.

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Trump can't take the piss from Russia. From Russian prostitutes, I heard rumours saying it could be less implausible...

  5. PassiveSmoking

    Donald...

    The only thing that's a bigger embarrassment to the USA than your slimy orange mug is the fact that actual American voters still voted for you after you caused the biggest peacetime loss of life in your nation since... possibly ever?

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: Donald...

      "caused the biggest peacetime loss of life in your nation since... possibly ever?"

      Sorry wrong!

      At the height of the influenza pandemic of 1918 — from September 1 to December 31 of that year — an estimated 381,019 people in the US died, according to a PolitiFact analysis. That's an average of 3,123 people a day.

      https://www.businessinsider.com/days-with-most-us-catastrophe-deaths-16-this-year-2020-12

      The total death toll from the 1918 pandemic is much larger.

      1. imaginarynumber

        Re: Donald...

        The war ended 11/11/1918. Of the 381,019, the majority may well have died during the war and not during peace time.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Ideally, they would choose a place in a method that gets invoked periodically, ensuring both execution and persistence, so that the malicious code is guaranteed to be always up and running.

    Some top tips there!

  7. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Bill Barr, Bob Mueller & Lockerbie

    Bill Barr's last act in his 2nd stint as AG is to charge a Libyan with the Lockerbie bombing, the worst terrorist atrocity in the UK. In his 1st stint as AG he brought the original prosecution, and the FBI lead was Robert Mueller.

    The thing is nobody in Scotland believes the Libyans planted the bomb. That was faked by the US for political reasons, it was actually planted by a Palestinian group on behalf of Iran as revenge for the US shooting down an Iranian passenger jet. However at the time the US needed Iranian support for 'liberating' Kuwait from Saddam, so the Libyans were scapegoated. A Jordanian spy in the Palestinian group built the bomb, but his testimony is hidden under an ongoing British order. Mueller paid millions of dollars to a dodgy Maltese shopkeeper to misidentify a Libyan as buying clothes packed around the bomb.

    Barr is only prosecuting a second Libyan now because Scottish courts are reviewing whether it was a miscarriage of justice.

    It's like a bad movie, right? I'll provide more details if anyone doubts it though.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Bill Barr, Bob Mueller & Lockerbie

      Doesn't add up. The original indictment was delivered in November 1991, some nine months after the liberation of Kuwait.

      And Iran took no part in that action. Of course they could have made it harder by supporting Iraq, but since they cordially loathed the Iraqi regime after 8 years of war, it hardly seems likely.

      It's also not clear just what they could have done. Since the coalition very pointedly didn't try to occupy Iraq at the time, they didn't leave a lot of targets for an insurgent campaign to strike. The Iranians would never have considered supporting the Iraqis in battle, nor would either side have expected (or trusted) them to provide logistical support.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Bill Barr, Bob Mueller & Lockerbie

        I don't get your logic, Veti. The FBI were on the scene and directing the investigation the day of the attack. The blaming of Libya obviously happened long before the date of indictment.

        Here's the timeline:

        Iran Air Flight 655, July 1988.

        Pan Am Flight 103, December 1988.

        Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, July 1990.

        Relief of Kuwait, February 1991.

        Indictment of the two Libyan suspects in November 1991.

        The focus on Libya rather than Iran wasn't due to fear of Iranian military intervention, the US required an international coalition and so military and diplomatic support. Blaming Iran for Pan Am Flight 103 would raise the issue of the USS Vincennes shooting down Iran Air Flight 655 - an attack that not only went unpunished, Captain Will Rogers had already been awarded the Order of Merit for it. Days after that attack a senior member of the Iranian regime promised prompt retaliation.

        Plus why bribe witnesses? Why bury testimony from a friendly agent who claimed to have built the bomb?

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Bill Barr, Bob Mueller & Lockerbie

          I happened to be driving past Lockerbie returning from a job in England the day after. The road was unusually busy and slow, full of "rubber neckers" trying to get a view. I hadn't even heard about it until I turned on my car radio to check if there was a road accident ahead.

          Heavy sanctions eventually forced Libya to hand over the top defendants to an international court under Scottish law. I was contracting in Utrecht during the trial, put up in the Hilton. Many witnesses and bereaved relatives stayed there as Den Haag hotels were full. I'd listen to them discuss the case as I sat in the bar reading books, or in the lifts. There was a lot that struck me as dubious. It's awful to report but many of the US relatives were already focussed on how much compensation they could sue Libya for rather than the court proceedings.

          One defendant was convicted, one found not guilty.

          Over the years various bereaved UK relatives said they weren't convinced by the verdict. There were various theories which can of course be dismissed as "conspiracy theories", but whether correct or false it's a truism that behind most bombings are actual conspiracies, Unabomber excepted.

          I ended up trying to organise a convention in Scotland to discuss the bombing, and emailed most of the main figures to get them to attend. That happened, but I dropped out because it was pointed out to me that the organiser had to have gravitas, and I happily admitted I only had 'anti-gravitas'.

          People who did attend though included Dr Jim Swire who attended each day of the trial to get justice for his daughter, teaching Professor Robert Black QC who is widely regarded as Scotland's top legal mind and who blogged about this for decades, Edwin Bollier whose electronic timer was supposedly used in the bomb, and numerous other legal experts and witnesses. They don't all agree about everything, just one thing, that the conviction was unsound. Even Margaret Thatcher said Libya's terrorist capabilities had been too diminished to carry out the attack by then.

          Occam's razor. Iran promised to down a US jet in revenge and they did through a third party, as witnessed by a Jordanian agent. That was covered up out of political expediency, and a false case was constructed, through evidence tampering and witness bribing. Nothing happens for decades until three weeks ago when the case goes to appeal before the Scottish courts - and all of a sudden Bill Barr suddenly wants to prosecute a 3rd Libyan to cover his arse. It's a blatant attempt to pressure the Scottish appeal, Bill Barr's attempt at a self-pardon before retiring.

          I can't be certain about this, I've only looked on from the outside, but it seems pretty obvious. I'm not motivated by animus against Iran, but a lot of the bereaved relatives are dying off without knowing the truth, and a few of the trial fixers are retiring without accountability. When I heard Robert Mueller was investigating Trump - and being cast as a saint - and Bill Barr was AG again, I just rolled my eyes because I remembered their names.

  8. FuzzyTheBear
    Coat

    Smells like .. looks like ..

    For quite some time i believed that Comrade Vladimir has something on Donald and that he controls him all around in everything he does ..

    Destroying democracy from within , making enemies of allies , pulling out of accords , of tactical alliances , so on so forth

    Defending Russia the way he does just leaves the world with the feeling heès under control from Russia.

    Who knows , one day that theory might oprove right.. or not.. itès just smelling like **** looking like **** and certainly leaves this **** aftertaste we've grown accustomed to from him..

    Mine's the one with the blindfold and earplugs so i can stop hearing and reading Trumps bullshit.

  9. Uncle Ron

    Both Sides of the Coin

    I'm no apologist for Putin or Russia's inveterate state-sponsored hacking, but the press and analysts and talking heads all over the place have all failed to mention that the US has exactly the same capacities and capabilities and efforts (if not much better) as they do, and has been probing and poking and infiltrating their systems (and many others countries) for YEARS. For example, multiple credible sources have stated that we (the US) have planted malware throughout the Russian power grid and can turn off the electricity all across Russia at will. The Russians know this. It is pervasive and sits in their systems today. Put there by us. They don't seem to be able to fix it. We actually want them to know we can hurt them if they go too far with their shenanigans. Apparently, reading our homeland security and treasury and health system records and e-mail is not too far. I haven't seen or heard of the lights going out back in the USSR... If the media would only get the story straight, it might lead to a discussion and debate on some kind of "arms" agreement that gets us out of this stinky business. Huh?

  10. martinusher Silver badge

    Surely there's nobody left?

    The "Trump Administration" has been in "Downfall" mode for some weeks now. Trump's in his Fuhrerbunker moving lawsuits around a map planning stunning wins that will somehow push the Red Army (sorry, "Democrats") back before they overrun the center of Washington, DC, on January 20th. Given the appalling track record of this administration even before the election you can't rely on anything they say to be true, its just fluff conjured out of thin area to suit whatever political purpose is uppermost in the leaderships' minds at that moment. (I have remarked that the way things are going the only logical end involves the basement, a sofa, a cyanide pill and a pistol but it will probably just be endless lawsuits from would be neighbors who don't want to be neighbors plus a lot of financial reckoning.)(Maybe the sofa solution is the best for all of us so we don't have to put up with this endless soap opera.)

    BTW -- Pompero's got 'form' when it comes to unreliability. Surely nobody takes anything he says seriously?

    It could be said that the US doesn't have a functioning Federal government at the moment. Fortunately the US is comprised of 50 states 'plus other bits' so the Federal government will thrash about but most states are doing what they need to do despite them because in a faw weeks the nightmare will be over. For the time being.

    (There are grounds for saying that the UK government is also missing in action as well. The Conservative party has been hanging onto the Republican's coat-tails for years now, pushing a version of "MAGA" that's designed to stick it to Europe because, as everyone knows, Europe just can't live without the UK. Its all hubris.)

  11. Tail Up

    Simply put a thick pack of remote voting sheets, or register the deadfound hobos as unidentified, and 0ne no needs breaking into wires. No?

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      >Simply put a thick pack of remote voting sheets

      It doesn't work like that. For a ballot to be recorded it first has to be verified, this being done by matching the signature on the ballot return envelope or ballot request form to the one on file when the voter registered. Once the voter has been issued a valid ballot no further ballots from that voter will be counted.

      Procedures changed quite a bit this year precisely because everyone was expecting Trump and his allies to cut up rough if the election didn't go his way. Trump made no secret of the fact he was going to litigate the election so everything and everyone was on their best behavior to make sure the vote was squeaky clean.

      The same can't be said about voter registration in many so-called 'red' states. Between large scale purges of minority voters, systematic gerrymandering and obstacles placed to impeded likely Democrat voters the goal was to ensure a Republican win despite a majority of votes going for Democrats (this isn't just in the Presidential race). The Poster Child for wholsale manipulation of the electorate is Florida. Georgia is being contested because despite everything being nicely stacked Trump still lost -- the real bellyaching from the White House is because the vote was supposed to be rigged but it didn't work (due to superhuman efforts by volunteers, party workers and even voters).

      What we were supposed to have is a 'soft coup' which with the politicization of the judiciary and the civil service would have ensured one-party -- dictatorial -- rule for a long time, possibly permanetly. It didn't quite work out because a lot of Americans believe in their democracy, imperfect as it is, and the attacks that Trump and his crew have made on it since the vote have cemented opinion right across the board.

  12. cjb

    Surprised ? What else would you expect a Russian agent to do ?

    1. Tail Up

      This Paper Bill is Backed By Real Gold

      Throw-in techniques are commonly known to be widespread, whatever the country elects, Hacking the computer systems might well be a hint.

      Too much noise about hacking. Suspiciously too much noise about hacking. On every fcuking frequency and channel. And not even a single tiny squeak out about throwing in a simple paper.

      Logs? Protocols? Techniques? Where, pray tell.

      Thank you for your kind reply, it is much appreciated.

      Those hackers. Is this a sophisticsted advertising of Russian programming market?

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: This Paper Bill is Backed By Real Gold

        Those hackers. Is this a sophisticsted advertising of Russian programming market? ..... Tail Up

        :-) That would be exciting whenever a true reflection of available and latent potent talent, Tail Up.

        And so much more than just a simple Great Game Changer too.

        Веселого Рождества и счастливого нового года

        1. Tail Up

          Re: This Paper Bill is Backed By Real Gold

          Огромное cпасибо, человексМарса,

          God will keep and save you on your way that you make straight for Him.

          Merry Christmas. Shall I make it a couple or more days to get to NY Day to send my greetings with?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    True motive?

    What would be the motive for an alleged Russian based hacker to infiltrate the US gov? If someone shorted SolarWinds stock before the attack, they'd make a substantial amount of money.

  14. A random security guy Bronze badge

    What does Putin have on trump?

    Given trump's track record of shafting everyone around him except for darling daughter Ivanka, and, to some degree, his sons, I am surprised he hasn't turned on Putin. He has turned on Moscow Mitch, Leningrad Lindsey, all Republican governors, etc.

    I am pretty sure his supporters will still be loyal to him even if there is some sordid secret that comes out.

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