Posts Tagged ‘John Podesta emails’

Obama Says He Underestimated Threat Posed by Cyberattacks — ‘Biggest Intelligence Failure Since 9/11’

January 8, 2017

U.S. president highlights the need to look out for hacking in coming elections among NATO allies

“Failing to confront hostile actors invites further attacks.”

President Barack Obama arrives at Jacksonville International Airport on Saturday.

President Barack Obama arrives at Jacksonville International Airport on Saturday. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS


Jan. 8, 2017 10:12 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON—In the wake of a report accusing Russia of orchestrating a campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, President Barack Obama acknowledged that his administration hadn’t adequately recognized the threat posed to democratic societies by hacking and misinformation.

In an interview that aired Sunday on ABC News, Mr. Obama was asked by George Stephanopoulos if he had underestimated Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, the report said, ordered the cyberattack campaign.

“You know, I don’t think I underestimated him,” Mr. Obama said, “but I think that underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is possible for misinformation for cyberhacking and so forth to have an impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate themselves into our democratic practices.”

Mr. Obama said he had commissioned the classified intelligence report, an unclassified version of which was released to the public on Friday, in part to help guard future elections from potential interference at home and abroad.

The president said the U.S. will need to pay close attention to whether any similar incidents crop up in coming elections among the country’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.

The report, which was also presented to President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, said that the campaign orchestrated by Russia was aimed at boosting Mr. Trump’s election chances and hampering his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, in part through the selective hacking and release of personal information about from Democratic Party figures and organizations, as well as propaganda campaigns from paid “trolls” on social media and through state-run news outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Mr. Trump has been critical of suggestions that Russia aimed to help him but did acknowledge in a Friday statement that the hacking of Democratic Party email accounts may have been the work of Russia or another foreign adversary.

The Russian government has denied involvement in the operation.

A U.S. intelligence report released Friday laid out efforts by Russian officials to influence the 2016 election. The WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains what the disclosures mean for President-elect Donald Trump and the integrity of the electoral system. Photo: AP

Other Republicans have noted that the hacking happened on Mr. Obama’s watch and said the administration should have been better prepared for potential inference from Russia.

“The House Intelligence Committee has been warning the Obama administration for years about the need for stronger measures against Russia to counter these kinds of attacks, but our warnings largely fell on deaf ears. Russia’s actions show, inescapably, that failing to confront hostile actors invites further attacks,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican and head of the House Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Obama warned about seeing the report through the lens of partisanship, saying that Congress and the new president should work on the issue in the coming session of Congress.

Image may contain: 1 person

President Obama speaks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Sunday , November 20, 2016, in Lima, Peru. Credit AFP, Getty Images

“We have to remind ourselves we’re on the same team. Vladimir Putin’s not on our team. If we get to a point where people in this country feel more affinity with a leader who is an adversary and view the United States and our way of life as a threat to him, then we’re gonna have bigger problems than just cyberhacking,” Mr. Obama said.

“I’ve urged the president-elect to do is to develop a strong working relationship with the intelligence community and I think it’s important that Congress, on a bipartisan basis, work with the next administration looking forward to make sure that this kind of influence is minimized.”

Write to Byron Tau at


Several news writers and editors now recognize the Russian ability to confound the U.S. through hacking and cyber operations is perhaps the biggest letdown in U.S. National security since 9/11. Here’s just one such report:

Daily Caller News Foundation
US Response To Russian Spying Is ‘Biggest Intelligence Failure Since 9/11’

Photo of Saagar Enjeti


The U.S. is playing catch-up with an immense Russian effort to penetrate U.S. intelligence networks.

“The failure to understand Putin’s plans and intentions has been the largest intelligence failure since 9/11,” Congressman Devin Nunes told The Washington Post. Nune’s comments follow a ramped up effort by the U.S. intelligence community to focus efforts on the Kremlin.

The U.S. reportedly had negligible intelligence capabilities during the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, the subsequent Russian invasion of Ukraine, its intervention in Syria, and sustained cyber manipulation efforts throughout Europe.

Russia’s cyber manipulation gained attention in the U.S. after the leak of several thousand Democratic National Committee emails. Two independent cyber security expert firms attributed the hack to Russian intelligence agencies, and the U.S. intelligence community told the White House it had “high confidence” Russia was responsible.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s objective is to restore the power of the former Soviet Union, which he called a “catastrophe” in 2005. Putin has opted to adopt a world view that sees NATO and the EU as existential threats to Russia’s goals.

Reports indicate the U.S. intelligence community now dedicates 10 percent of its annual budget towards Russia, a significant increase than past years. The U.S. intelligence community has been generally focused on U.S. efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the broader Islamic terror threat.

Officials allege Russia has over 150 operatives scattered across the U.S. collecting intelligence on the entire U.S. intelligence network. These same officials told The Washington Post the U.S. only has a few dozen case officers in Russia, representing a significant intelligence gap.

“It always felt, especially sitting in Moscow, of course, that we were in a counterintelligence and collection battle that was an asymmetric fight,” former U.S. Ambassador Michael McCaul said. In one case, Russian spies broke into the United States defense attache’s home and assassinated his dog. In another, a Russian spy broke into one U.S. diplomat’s house and defecated in the middle of his living room carpet.

Follow Saagar Enjeti on Twitter

Send tips to

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience.

Read more:


 (Putin took advantage of a lack of necessary cyber defenses)



Image may contain: 2 people

“Thanks for all the classified emails Sweetie.”



Image may contain: 2 people

Putin and Obama. Photo credit ALEXEI DRUZHININ, AFP, Getty Images. — Amn intelligence expert tod Peace and Freedom, “Putin has become the world master at playing Obama.”

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and suit

John Podesta

“We published several…emails which show Podesta responding to a phishing email,” said Mr Assange. “Podesta gave out that his password was the word ‘password’. His own staff said this email that you’ve received, this is totally legitimate. So, this is something … a 14-year-old kid could have hacked Podesta that way.”

Village Roadshow and Hollywood studios have successfully got a court order forcing ISPs to block torrenting and free ...
 (Obama failed to defend the american election)

Obama Lied About Knowing of Hillary’s Private Email

October 25, 2016

In a March 2015 interview with CBS, just after the NYT reported on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, president Obama told the American public he had only learned about Hillary’s “unusual” arrangement from the press.

As we further reminded readers one month ago, CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante asked Mr. Obama when he learned about her private email system after his Saturday appearance in Selma, Alabama. “The same time everybody else learned it through news reports,” the president told Plante. “The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails, the BlackBerry I carry around, all those records are available and archived,” Mr. Obama said. “I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed.”

Unfortunately, the “transparency” of the Obama administration was severely tarnished in late September, when in the FBI’s interview notes with Huma Abedin released by the FBI it was first revealed that Obama had used a pseudonymous email account: “Once informed that the sender’s name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: ‘How is this not classified?'” the report says. “Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email.”

To be sure, this was not definitive evidence that Obama was aware of Hillary’s email server, nor that there may have been collusion between the president and the Clinton campaign.

That changed today, however, when in the latest Podesta dump we learn that in an email from Cheryl Mills to John Podesta, the Clinton aide upon learning what Obama had just said…


… countered with something quite stunning:

we need to clean this up – he has emails from her – they do not say

That, ladies and gentlemen, is proof that the president not only lied, but did so with the clear intention of protecting the Clinton campaign.

As a further reminder, Politico previously reported that the State Department had refused to make public that and other emails Clinton exchanged with Obama. Lawyers cited the “presidential communications privilege,” a variation of executive privilege, in order to withhold the messages under the Freedom of Information Act. It is therefore unknown what the president’s “alternative” email account was, or who hosted it.

This also explains why in a prior Wikileak, Podesta told Mills in an email titled “Special Category” that she thinks “we should hold emails to and from potus? That’s the heart of his exec privilege. We could get them to ask for that. They may not care, but I(t) seems like they will.” Mills did not respond by email.

The Clinton-Obama emails were turned over to the State Department, which later announced it would not release them.

* * *

So just how did Mills and Podesta “clean up” the fact that Obama lied to the American people, a tactic some could allege is evidence of an attempt to cover up a presidential lie to protect Hillary Clinton.

What we do know, and we assume this is completely unrelated, between March 25-31, just a couple of weeks after Mills said “we need to clean this up,” Bleachbit was used to wipe Hillary’s private server clean. But of course, that is purely a coincidence.

Since we are confident others will also demand an answer, in light of the latest revelation hinting at a collusive cover up extending to the very top of US government, or as Cheryl Mills dubbed it a “clean up”, perhaps it is time for the State Depratment to unveil just what was said between the president and the Clinton campaign?

WikiLeaks releases more John Podesta emails — Why didn’t the Clinton campaign have better cyber-security?

October 12, 2016

CBS News and The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Hacked emails show that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was slow to grasp the seriousness of the controversy over her use of a homebrew email server and believed it might blow over after one weekend.

Two days after The Associated Press was first to report in March 2015 that Clinton had been running a private server in her home in New York to send and receive messages when she was secretary of state, her advisers were shaping their strategy to respond to the revelation.

Among the emails made public Tuesday by WikiLeaks was one from Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill, who optimistically suggested that the issue might quickly blow over.

“Goal would be to cauterize this just enough so it plays out over the weekend and dies in the short term,” Merrill wrote on March 6, 2015.

John Podesta. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Image

It did not, and became the leading example of Clinton’s penchant for secrecy, which has persisted as a theme among her campaign critics and rivals throughout her election season. Clinton did not publicly confirm or discuss her use of the email server until March 10 in a speech at the United Nations, nearly one week after AP revealed the server’s existence.

WikiLeaks began releasing on Friday what it said were years of messages from accounts used by Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. He has acknowledged his emails were hacked. Podesta warned that messages may have been altered or edited to inflict political damage but has not pointed to any specific case of this.

Months after Merrill’s message, the campaign was still preoccupied with emails. In May 2015, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon alerted other staffers that the Justice Department was proposing to publish Clinton’s work-related emails by January in response to requests by news organizations. Fallon, a former Justice Department spokesman, wrote that unspecified “DOJ folks” told him there was a court hearing planned soon in the case. The name and email address of the person who shared the information with Fallon had been deleted.

Donald Trump on Tuesday called Fallon’s email “unbelievable,” and his supporters said it showed collusion between the Obama administration and Clinton’s campaign.

The dates of court hearings would have been publicly posted in advance on the court’s docket. Fallon did not respond to a request for comment from AP. The Justice Department declined to discuss Fallon’s email.

Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, a veteran of Clinton’s 2008 campaign, at one point asked Podesta in an email: “Why doesn’t she just turn the server over to a third party at this point?”

It wasn’t immediately clear who hacked Podesta’s emails, though U.S. intelligence officials last week blamed the Russian government for a series of breaches intended to influence the presidential election.

Through its Twitter account, the Russian Embassy in Washington has denied any role in the cyberattacks, suggesting U.S. officials are just “whipping up” anti-Russia hysteria.

The messages stolen from Podesta’s account describe how Clinton’s closest advisers considered responding to key events during the campaign, including the discovery of her email server and her congressional testimony over the deadly 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

In emails from March 2015, Merrill suggested a strategy – ultimately nixed by Clinton herself – of having comedian Larry Wilmore and Bill Clinton joke during an event for the Clinton Global Initiative charity in Coral Gables, Florida, before having Clinton join them on stage.

Merrill laid out the scenario in emails to Podesta and other aides: “Wilmore could sit down with WJC and Chelsea and say something like ‘Thanks for having me here, it’s a pleasure. And I should tell you, I just emailed HRC (I hear she’s a big emailer), and asked if she’d join as well. (Laughter).’” He added that Hillary Clinton could then walk out “to applause.”

“It would be just light-hearted enough while giving her the opportunity to address this seriously, be a little conciliatory as discussed, and then get back to a discussion about CGI etc.,” Merrill wrote in the email.

In the end, Hillary Clinton’s team drafted talking points Clinton used at the news conference at the United Nations.

Clinton said she “fully complied with every rule that I was governed by” and that “there is no classified material” among her work-related emails.

Both of those statements were later proved false.

The State Department’s internal watchdog concluded in an audit released that Clinton ignored clear written guidance that her email setup broke federal record-keeping rules and could leave sensitive material vulnerable to hackers. The FBI’s recently closed investigation concluded that more than 100 emails exchanged through Clinton’s private server contained information that was later determined to be classified.

As the email controversy escalated in the summer of 2015, Clinton herself seemed slow to grasp the continuing political damage. Communications director Jennifer Palmieri in August expressed concerns that Clinton “wasn’t in the same place” on the issue as some on her campaign staff.

At the time, the political aides were working out details of revealing that Clinton had directed her staff to hand over her server and a thumb drive with copies of her emails to the Justice Department. Palmieri was writing other campaign aides to arrange for a Univision reporter to ask “a few questions on emails” during an interview that would otherwise focus on college affordability.

“As you all know, I had hoped that we could use the ‘server moment’ as an opportunity for her to be viewed as having take a big step to deal with the email problem that would best position us for what is ahead,” Palmieri wrote. “It is clear that she is not in same place.”

Clinton’s email practices were not the only controversy her campaign’s brain trust was addressing.

On October 2015, speechwriter Dan Schwerin circulated among top Clinton advisers a draft of her opening statement to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, to be delivered the following week.

The draft itself wasn’t attached in the emails published Tuesday, but other messages showed how it was shaped, including a section referring to Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.

“We might consider softening the ‘Chris did not believe retreat was an option – and neither do I’ line,” wrote Katherine Turner, a law partner of Clinton’s personal attorney David Kendall. “I don’t think we want to suggest that there was a commitment to be there at any and all costs.”

Following Clinton’s tense Oct. 22 testimony, Podesta proposed in an email that she could publicly joke, “I used to be obsessed with Donald Trump’s hair, that was until I got to spend 11 hours staring at the top of Trey Gowdy’s head,” a reference to the slicked-back white coif of the South Carolina Republican who chairs the committee.

Other Clinton aides shot down the idea.

“I love the joke too but I think HRC should stay above the committee,” adviser Jake Sullivan replied, “and especially above personal insults about it. She’s got every inch of the high ground right now.”

Palmieri replied: “Wow. You people are a bunch of ninnies.”

In an email from mid-March just before a town hall hosted by CNN, Donna Brazile, then vice chair at the DNC, as well as a CNN contributor wrote to Palmieri, “From time to time I get the questions in advance.”

“Here’s one that worries me about HRC,” Brazile wrote, referring to Clinton, and she sent this question:

“DEATH PENALTY 19 states and the District of Columbia have banned the death penalty. 31 states, including Ohio, still have the death penalty. According to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, since 1973, 156 people have been on death row and later set free. Since 1976, 1,414 people have been executed in the U.S. That’s 11% of Americans who were sentenced to die, but later exonerated and freed. Should Ohio and the 30 other states join the current list and abolish the death penalty?”

Palmieri responded, “Yes, it is one she gets asked about. Not everyone likes her answer but can share it.”

As it turned out, Clinton was asked about the death penalty, but the phrasing of the question was different. Brazile and CNN have denied that she has ever had any of the questions in advance.

And some of the emails dealt with campaign messaging and strategy — including the phrase “everyday Americans,” which Clinton and her campaign used frequently in the first few months of her candidacy.

Speechwriter Dan Schwerin had sent out a draft of a speech he wrote for Clinton for an upcoming event in New Hampshire. After a few exchanges, Podesta recommended that the phrase “everyday Americans” get added in, even though he said Clinton doesn’t like using it.

“I know she has begun to hate everyday Americans, but I think we should use it once the first time she says I’m running for president because you and everyday Americans need a champion,” Podesta said. “I think if she doesn’t say it once, people will notice and say we false started in Iowa.”


It is purely amazing to us at Peace and Freedom that John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign director, didn’t insist upon more secure email practices, given the harm Hillary Clinton’s State Department email system already had done her  candidacy — and U.S. national security. What all this shows us is that the Obama administration has done far too little to insist upon good cyber security — and the nation is now paying a terrible price.