OpenCDA

March 30, 2017

SSCI Hearings: Russian Influence on the 2016 US Presidential Election

On Thursday, March 30, 2017, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) held an entire day of public hearings in Washington, DC.  The SSCI was looking into the allegations that the Russians had influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election which elected Donald F. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States.  The nature of its duty, Congressional oversight of US intelligence activities, results in very few open public hearings.

OpenCdA watched these hearings lasting just over five hours.   Congressional hearings are nearly always predominantly boring speechifying by self-serving elected Congressional representatives.  These two hearings today were not boring, and there was nearly no partisan speechifying.

The Senators on the SSCI were exceptionally well-prepared and asked on-point, insightful questions.  The content of their questions and the perspectives and expertise offered by the witnesses suggested that Congress has finally recognized the ongoing threat that information warfare or information operations presents to the United States.  Senators took these hearings and the information from them very seriously.  We should, too.

OpenCdA urges citizens who are serious about understanding how effectively the Russians use information warfare strategies and tactics to offset a superior kinetic warfare force will find these five hours of hearings remarkably understandable and educational.  The same readers will also better understand just how effectively Russia has manipulated our free press (AKA:  the skews media) to influence public opinion.  Unfortunately, the hearings also revealed in living color just how derelict our elected officials have been since about 1990 in recognizing the existence, let alone the gravity of info war and info ops.

Here are links to video of Thursday’s hearings.

Morning Hearing:  Disinformation:  A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns

Afternoon Hearing:  Disinformation:  A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns

OpenCdA hopes that especially younger readers will take time to watch these hearings.   You need to understand just how your choice of news delivery platform, often social media like Twitter and Facebook and not just the traditional print and broadcast media, is being manipulated to shape the disinformation you read every day.  You will also hear just how easily the Russians turned President Trump’s frequent Tweets against him.

January 10, 2017

Case in Point …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 1:04 pm

benrhodesIn its stories on January 5, 2017, and also on January 10, 2017, The Washington Free Beacon for-profit online newspaper has reported that “Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser who led the administration’s efforts to mislead Congress about the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, is under [Congressional] scrutiny in the wake of disclosures he was declined interim clearance status by the FBI in 2008 …”

Under the circumstances, Congress is properly trying to determine if Rhodes was cleared by the FBI to receive access to national security information.  Specifically, Congress wants to know if Rhodes had been denied an interim security clearance.

Being denied a security clearance after an appropriate background investigation has been completed and adjudicated is different from simply not applying for the security clearance.   Clearances are generally denied when the applicant is unsuitable to hold the clearance. (more…)

July 11, 2015

OPM Hack — The Real Damage

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 7:46 am

MSS-ChinaBy now readers probably know that Katherine Archuleta, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), resigned Friday.   Her politically-expedient “resignation” was inevitable after the compromise of sensitive information in the personnel files of at least 21.5 million present and former federal employees, files OPM is responsible for securely maintaining and storing.  The feds suspect that the Ministry of State Security of the People’s Republic of China, the Guojia Anquan Bu or Guoanbu, is behind the data breach.

Ho-hum.  We’ve heard this all before — same song, different orchestra.  This time, the amount of data swiped was huge, but so what?  Should you or I really care if the Guoanbu filched a ton of Social Security numbers from OPM?  No.  And yes.

No, because it’s doubtful the Chicoms intend to raid Social Security’s funds (Besides, Congress beat them to it years ago.)

Yes, because if the hack was committed by the Guoanbu or any other competent foreign intelligence agency, the files they got were very sensitive investigative files on applicants for US government security clearances and special accesses.  Investigative files — information uncovered during the course of an applicant’s background investigation — not just Social Security numbers.   Those files would include credible derogatory information that might reflect on the applicant’s suitability to have access to sensitive classified and special access information affecting the national security.  In most instances some of those investigative files are off-limits to even the applicant.  That’s precisely the information a foreign intelligence service would love to get its hands on when its case officers are spotting prospective Americans who might be persuaded or induced to betray the United States. (more…)

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