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The Macron Leak

by Zwackus Sat May 6th, 2017 at 04:27:08 AM EST

So, this is all over the news. No links, for reasons I will explain below.


This is an interesting situation.

1 - As always, who knows how legit the leaked material is, and if it is legit, how much it has been doctored.
2 - Speculation as to who is behind this is a question for after the election.
3 - French media law prevents reporting on the leaks this close to the election. The leakers had to have known this, and chosen to release the information at this time. Why
4 - Looking around the web, there are some pretty serious allegations emerging from a cursory examination of the material -- allegations that may well be completely fabricated.
5 - As such, I am not really sure I want to amplify them by citation or link, given the election situation. I mean, Macron is a centrist empty suit, but then again, he's facing off against a Nazi.
6 - One can see the centrist elite circling the wagons here, focusing on the crime and how awful it is and studiously refusing to report on the content. Law, journalistic ethics, patriotism, anti-fascism, or corruption plain and simple may all be contributing to this.

Thoughts?

Poll
Should we link and discuss the content of this issue before the election, knowing the possible effect that signal amplification may have?
. Yes 77%
. No 22%

Votes: 9
Results | Other Polls
Display:
First off, an important article written by an ex-FBI agent

https:/warontherocks.com/2016/11/trolling-for-trump-how-russia-is-trying-to-destroy-our-democracy

and read this twitter thread by same author Clint Watts:

https://mobile.twitter.com/selectedwisdom/status/860678896240513028



"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 04:41:48 AM EST
I'm rusty at this...

read this twitter feed from ex-FBI agent Clint Watts:

How Russia is trying to destroy democracies through an information war

Apparently the source of the Macron Leak/Hack is from an American Alt Right source: Jack Posobiec...connected to Bannon? Check out the discussion on Caroline O Twitter, Claude Taylor twitter and Malcolm Nance twitter

This is Russian, via the US! Go get them French Intelligence!!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:02:52 AM EST
Not his twitter feed...his article...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:09:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Srsly?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 03:15:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alt Right

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 03:23:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As to your question, as to whether we should say anything...I think pushback is important, but it is important that we not circulate any links that we can't verify the source on. But I think the French people need to know this is Le Pen-Russian attempt to sway the vote with misinformation, or weaken Macron if he wins. But...I am hoping the French are smarter than the Americans. Surely the French Foreign Intelligence is on this already...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:06:37 AM EST
PS: Front page this sucker...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:14:00 AM EST
The front page coverage in Le Soir (where the French get their news today) is entirely devoted to Macron's denunciation of the leak.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:20:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great to hear!!...but it is not just a leak, as there is misinformation embedded within the "leaked" material, according to investigative reporters I am reading. And Le Pen set this up with her evading taxes claim... and then, what do you know, material about tax evasion pops up!! We should post some photos of Le Pen & Putin together...because that's the story...or at least one of them

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:28:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The technical intelligence term for adding false documents to real ones is "Black Propaganda"

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:32:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Done

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:21:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thank you sir! This is big news...and I think we at Eurotrib can be helping...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:29:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I came here yesterday evening (CA time) after Rachael Maddow covered this and I saw nothing.  Wondered what I would see in the morning and here it is.  GO GET 'EM, PEOPLE!!  It's Eurotrib time!

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 12:23:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Media Matters:

Fake News And The "Alt-Right" Are Pushing Forged Documents To Aid Marine Le Pen In France's Election

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:19:34 AM EST
International fascism = a new axis of Putin-Trump-Farange-Le Pen?

Cheering on the French people to not fall for this...this is how we got Trump!!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:23:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
During last week's debate, Le Pen insinuated Macron might fall victim to a damaging leak regarding offshore accounts in the Bahamas.

Emmanuel Macron files complaint over Le Pen debate 'defamation' (The Guardian, 4 May 2017)

A member of Macron's entourage said the campaign would "not hesitate to prosecute for defamation" anyone who repeated the claims in public.

Paris prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation into whether fake news was being used to influence Sunday's election runoff.

During the heated and sometimes vicious debate, Le Pen told Macron she hoped "we will not find out that you have an offshore account in the Bahamas" - apparently a reference to documents circulating on the internet that linked Macron to a Caribbean bank and were easily identifiable as forgeries. Macron swiftly rejected the comment as "defamation"



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:30:34 AM EST
According to the media matters link posted by whataboutbob above, some documents were swimming around on 4chan for some time. So that LePen would make the claim is no big surprise.
On the contrary I would say that if she knew of the hack and thought the contents were legit she probably wouldn't have made the claim. Better to keep your hands clean. On the other hand if she knew of the hack and thought it was bullshit we might end up with something like this.

However there is still another alternative: The leak contains nothing interesting except a few obvious fakes and the source is the Macron campaign. The goal of this action would be to keep the story of the fight against the fascist-Russian-populist-international conspiracy going into the legislative, starving the left and the Gaullists of attention.

by generic on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 03:49:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Macron's organisation made a fuss about being targeted by hackers a couple of months ago, and it was claimed that the attacks had been traced to the same outfits that did the US Democratic hacks. And everyone thought, yeah, why wouldn't they? They had, at that point, two pro-Russian candidates to favour (Fillon and Le Pen). They claimed at the time that no data had been exfiltrated, which turns out to be mistaken.

That Wikileaks should choose to promote it is not surprising, just disappointing.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 04:35:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Malcolm Nance:

"Assessment: US Alt-Right may now be Intl' counterintel target.  
Prosobiec's cyber life likely DGSE priority Target
Can request arrest."

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:39:33 AM EST
The most important surge came when WikiLeaks began tweeting the hashtag. The tweet itself was cautious, pointing out that the leak "could be a 4chan practical joke," but it was retweeted over 2,000 times, compared with over 600 times for Posobiec.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 06:03:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2,000% return ("click bait") in 48 hrs or so (cost basis -> 0) looks like a good deal by comparison to Jim Messina's "private citizen" meddling&interference operation.
May Hires Jim Messina for U.K. Conservative Election Team 24 Apr . a/o 26 Apr
Poll: Majority of Brits oppose unilateral guarantee for EU citizens' rights

He's had 10 more days to retrench Tory support (at what public and private costs?) ahead of the "snap"election 8 June. a/o 5 May

Local elections 2017: Labour and Ukip wiped out while Tories gain over 550 new seats
May taking 'nothing for granted' amid gains, while Corbyn calls Labour results 'mixed'

DISCLAIMER: Until today, I'd no idea total number of seats in UK parliament (< 60M eligible voters) were greater than US combined chambers of congress (< 200M eligible voters). That's a pretty funny fact of the "democratic process" inherited from the motherland.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 04:17:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Never mind the US. The lower house of India has a mere 545 members.....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 04:38:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A past variant on this trick was pulled off against Prodi in the 2006 general elections. Within the same time frame just as electoral silence fell, Gerald Batten accused Prodi of being a KGB spy. Prodi narrowly won the elections and his government fell shortly after, sweeping Berlusconi back into power until 2011.

Batten was set up by Mario Scaramella and Alexander Litvinenko to pull it off.I'm quite sure I did a diary at the time although it was not then known that Scaramella and Litvinenko were behind Batten.

This is, of course, another group of players. Off hand, throughout history, the French have been refractory to disinformation, and unlike their neighbours, the Germans and the English, they have tended to nip impostors in the bud. We'll see if times have changed.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 09:17:04 AM EST
I remember your excellent articles de Gondi...I just wasn't clued in that this sort of thing was what happened back then!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 02:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the thing. Possibly because the French invented false news and political slander, this stuff doesn't tend to stick in France. Really, there is zero prospect of this negatively impacting Macron's score.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 04:41:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Really, there is zero prospect of this negatively impacting Macron's score.

Let's hope you're right.  Maybe this will bring Jerome back.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 10:33:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 09:40:04 AM EST
I haven't read any of the allegations, so bear this in mind when I say:

  1. The hackers have probably left this too late.  There isn't time for news organisations to verify any of the allegations, so Macron can get away with just denouncing the hack.

  2. France isn't the USA.  There is still a greater respect for privacy.

  3. It looks all too similar to what happened to Hillary.  So it is easy to frame the story as black propaganda.

  4. In the case of Hillary, the hacked material fed into and reinforced an already existing narrative about her.  This isn't the case with Macron.

  5. The Greatest risk for Macron was probably a failure of left voters to turn out to vote for him.  This will help galvanise them.

  6. This does nothing for Le Pen's image.

  7. The greatest longer term danger for Macron is after the elections, if some of the allegations turn out to be proven. That is not a problem fro the elections however.

  8. Last week I was expect a 60-40% result for Macron.  Given the outcome of the debate and this hack, I think it will be more like 65-35%.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 09:48:48 AM EST
It's no secret that the Alt-right has been hard at work trying to push Le Pen.

Having failed at passing themselves for French, they have resorted to create "memes" for the French "fachosphere" to retweet.

This will certainly agitate the true believers, but Le Pen needs much, much more than her core supporters to pull it off.

Because of the blackout period in the French media, relatively few people heard of that, let alone have taken a look at the allegations.

If anything, this may just backfire: this is where the French legendary skepticism will come in handy. If there's one thing French people truly hate, it's being taken for suckers.

by Bernard on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 03:46:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there's one thing French people truly hate, it's being taken for suckers.

Americans have cornered the market on that.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 10:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have seen (unsubstantiated) reports on the material which claim that documents directly related to the bank account and hidden assets issues are in the docs.

Showing up Macron as a tax-evading fraudulent bankster does play into narratives on the left against him.

by Zwackus on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 12:13:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some thoughts: If this intended to influence the runoff then it is probably bullshit. If there is anything solid in there than releasing it earlier would have increased its impact​.
On the other hand if this is about the legislative then there might be something to it
Despite all the fear and loathing about fake news and Russian propaganda the impact up to now seems to have been negligible. It might have been the straw that broke the camel's back in the US campaign but there were a thousand factors of equal weight. And in the Brexit case it doesn't even register next to the standard right wing oligarch drivel you can read in the not-fake-news.
Also we shouldn't lose sight of the simple fact that in the US case the leaks were true. I haven't looked at the allegations, but I don't see how you swing 20 points without evidence and time for digestion.
by generic on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 10:32:05 AM EST
No, it was released so late because there is absolutely nothing substantial in it, it looks like a huge mass of office memos. (One assumes that all the really interesting mail would be encrypted...) Therefore, they don't want to leave time for analysis. It's pure innuendo. On TV the other night, Le Pen dropped in an innuendo about Macron having an account in the Bahamas (Wouldn't it be funny if we learned, in the next few days...) and Macron's team immediately laid a complaint about false news aiming to influence the election.  

At best, this may re-motivate those FN supporters whose enthusiasm has been visibly flagging these past few days. But Fillon voters who were intending to vote Le Pen : this will be a major turn-off for them.

For all the effort the Russians appear to be putting into influencing elections, they're really pretty crap at it. Maybe good enough to fool Americans, not good enough to fool the French.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 04:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe good enough to fool Americans, not good enough to fool the French.

A flaming bag of dogshit on a front porch at Holloween is good enough to fool an American.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 10:39:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I've been wondering what their last push would be like. It's laughably lame.

And it lays it out in black and white how tight they are with the Russians. This has serious blowback potential for the legislatives: the number of FN MPs just shrank, at first reading.

Just as an indication : my hyper-political twitter feed does not reference this story at all, apart from one journalist linking e Le Monde's article on Macron's team's reaction. Good discipline on the left.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 11:53:04 AM EST
Nicolas Vanderbiest is a Belgian based researcher specialized in the mechanism of spreading information (or disinformation) in the social media. He mapped the mechanism throughout which the "Bahamas rumor" from last Thursday was propagated through US Alt-right accounts. This Macronleak seems to have used the same channels. (h/t Mediapart)
by Bernard on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 11:26:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Buzzfeed

Dear France: You Just Got Hacked. Don't Make The Same Mistakes We Did

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 02:41:40 PM EST
excerpt from Dear France: You Just Got Hacked. Don't Make The Same Mistakes We Did. (Buzzfee.)

Mundanity must explain why, "private citizens", of which delegates to Democratic Party primary elections are suing "private citizens" employed by the DNC Services Corp., d/b/a [!] Democratic National Committe for fraud and fiduciary negligence;

while Mdme. Le Pen is on the hook --as a matter of public record-- for EUR 340K paid out of EP funds to remunerate "fake jobs" claimed to administer her MEP office;

and America idly awaits broadcast of the "unmasked" Kelly Tapes.

Some translation from the Russian to "democratic process" is incomplete.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 03:35:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Been reading a bit of the motion hearing pdf. Fascinating stuff.

First comment: I damn wish the justice system in my own country would get such reporting stenography in place. Or just half of it.

Second comment: IAMNAL and have no knowledge of US law, but if that case gets through, looks like some major fireworks could follow...

by Bjinse on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 12:01:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Recording of proceedings at district court level and above is public record. The principle barrier to obtaining the recording, beside court-ordered "gag", is subscription to PACER.

The immediate issue considered in hearing the motion to dismiss brought by defendant DNC goes to affirming, or not, the standing of plaintiffs by class or personal identity. DNC essentially argues that that any "registered democrat" --regardless of money contributions to DNC state and federal campaign trusts ("donors") OR states' validation of individuals' party affiliation for purposes of primary election participation e.g.-- are not or cannot be qualified members of the d/b/a "Democratic Party."

Certainly professional Russian hackers induced this plea. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that professional Russian hackers fabricated, or not former DNC chair Ms Brazile has admitted, the contents of correspondence between DNC officials and staff of a certain nominee which establish their collusion to obstruct so-called members' financial and rhetorical support for any and all rival nominees, for example, Mr B. Sanders.

The important crime to remember is, Russian meddling and interference in ahh the democratic process kills kittens.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed May 10th, 2017 at 12:03:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't recall the last time that a former POTUS turned up not once but twice in MSM before an election in a foreign country to endorse a candidate.

Black propaganda or White propaganda? Meddling or interference?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 03:10:38 PM EST
Popular though Obama may be - certainly in comparison to Trump - I doubt he will have much influence on the French elections.  Yanis Varoufakis' endorsement is probably of more value to Macron in terms of actual votes.  Perhaps Obama's endorsement will reassure some centrist voters that Macron is a capable enough kind of guy with the right sort of connections, but these were always likely to vote for him anyway.

Neither do I see why voters should get upset at this sort of "foreign interference".  Obama is as entitled to his opinion as the next guy, and it's not as if he has been running some kind of disinformation programme in favour of Macron.  If anything, his intervention might be perceived as a welcome corrective to suspected alt-right and Trumpist meddling in French affairs.

Obama didn't seem to have much influence on the Brexit referendum, and I doubt he will have any more on the French elections. He does however signal that there is an activist blowback against far right extremism, from the left, from centrists, and from establishment politicians. Comparisons with Weimar are overblown, but the EU needs to be defended to survive.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 03:55:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know what happens when an interested party attempts to exculpate US gov't meddling&interference in foreign "democratic process?"
< wipes tears >
Xe crashes into the wall of the world's history of kinda sorta protected "free speech" and "white" propaganda a/k/a first world hegemony manifest as victory, not death and casualty, claimed by world wars and any antithetical commentary.

Such as published by not-first world nationals.

Abridged.
What Was the Liberal International Order?

Unlike Mr Kennedy, Mr Putin or even Mssrs Árbenz and Carter, Mr Mr Obama believes himself to be an influential agent of a "democratic process" that do not exist. So. He broadcast a electioneering message rather than commit executive agency funds to "counter intelligence" or DoD military campaigns that disrupt
"democratic process" in forgeign nations, all of which to be understood vital assets of USA "national interest," i.e. going concern to USA public and private-chartered corporations.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:04:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a number of ways in which I disagree with your assessment. But mostly I find it funny that people ascribe importance to Obama's clip. If it has any effect at all, it may be that a few people on the hard left who were going to vote against Le Pen, and switch back to abstemption. But anti-Americanism isn't what it used to be over here.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 05:47:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ì don't mention Mr Obama's endorsements to test either "anti-American" or among French voters who may or may not be aware of his broadcasts this day. For, evidently, Mr Obama himself believes --regardless of his official posture and incumbent status as leader of the free world"-- that he can and should influence opinions of people the world over in the matter of who is best qualified to represent the state of France. He tweets like any man except he is not any man. Ipsa res loquitur.

I draw attention to Mr Obama's performance to illustrate the importance and spurious arguments which politicians have lately assigned to "meddling and interference" with the judgments of their constituents by aliens such as Mr Putin, thereby Mr Trump, but not Mr Obama nor any of his predecessors.

I remind you all that these aliens (except Mr Obama) possess preternatural powers to influence "free" press, "free" speech, "fake" news, controversy, and unauthorized propaganda in lieu of the actual democratic processes and institutions, chiefly, the right of any man to vote as xe will. For manifest corruption of the franchise that can quash competition among nominees and suppress free exercise of one's vote remains surely the prerogative of our national leadership.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 05:43:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems plausible that Obama and Macron agree abouv stuff, so I see no underhand motive or subterfuge in announcing his support. He has no particular political power, so there is nothing inappropriate in that. The US and French polities both value free speech (the parameters of which are variable, but which is nevertheless a thing). His support is of the same nature as that of any other celebrity : film star, sportsperson or whatever. Personally I hate that shit. But it's merely tiresome, not important or dangerous.

Putin met Le Pen; he has funnelled bank loans to the FN (the technique seems to be that these loans are subsequently ceded to failing banks, with the understanding that they need never be repaid). He seems to be the inspirer, almost certainly but unproveably the funder of the hacker teams that performed the successful phishing operation against Macron.

If Obama or anyone else is also pursuing black ops against Le Pen or anyone else in France, I'm interested in hearing about it. If you're looking, you should check out Médiapart, a decent investigative site, it's free today.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 08:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He seems to be the inspirer, almost certainly but unproveably the funder of the hacker teams that performed the successful phishing operation against Macron.

I'm still not quite sure why the Russians have to be behind every low level phishing attack. Maybe, maybe not but definitely not "almost certainly".
As Mig used to say -

The failure mode of the system of liberal democracy and economic liberalism is depression and fascism, for the second time in 80 years.

Which is exactly what is happening. Focusing too much on supposed external enemies can't be good for our chances to get through this.

by generic on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 09:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because any "low level phishing attack", such as those aimed at your average bank account, would end up with a 9 GB dump of documents on Pastebin? And the same "low level" phishers would of course activate recently created Twitter bots to spread the topic all over the place? (h/t Mediapart). At this point, even the presence of Cyrillic meta data among some of the "leaked" documents seems almost anecdotal (many criminal operations at the source of phishing attacks are based in eastern Europe, so it doesn't prove anything).

There are a few intelligence operations in the world with technological capacities way above your average hacker: according to B.Schneier, the Russian side seems to have taken the lead.

by Bernard on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 11:18:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama being out of office for months now, his support has just about the same importance as any celebrity endorsing Macro, and there's quite a number of them; if anything, Zinedide Zidane has probably more weight with the French voters than BHO.

Juncker or Merkel publicly encouraging Macron is actually more of a meddling because they are sitting leaders (of the EC and of Germany) and France is part of the EU, not the USofA.

A sitting POTUS supporting one of the candidates, on the other hand, is meddling. And we're not even going to mention Bannon and his Alt-right merrymen.

Same for Vladimir Putin and his crowd. Surely, no one is suggesting that IOKIYAR? ('R' standing for Repug or Russian, of course)

by Bernard on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 06:53:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When "meddling and interference" in the electoral events of some NATO member is a euphemism for free exercise of speech by anyone anywhere in the world who is NOT a citizen of the specific jurisdiction, whether to praise or slander a candidate, it's probably time to invent a planet-size, elastic cone of silence, as no one should be trusted to don personalized cones of silence before, during, or after each campaign.

God will have sole authority to flip the switch.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 06:04:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
time to invent a planet-size, elastic cone of silence
Because free speech suppression has worked so well for democracy thus far.

I was merely highlighting that endorsements of this or that candidate come from different people with different level of power, proximity to France and of course celebrity status. Everyone of us is of course entitled to view these through any set of prisms one favors.

Then, there are those who can mount very skilled and professional hacking operations; this could be more powerful in the end than any open "endorsement". Or not.

by Bernard on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 11:00:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure that NATO membership is the relevant criterion. I seem to remember quite a lot of "meddling and interference", in the form of free speech, exercised by other European leaders with respect to recent manifestations of "democracy" in Turkey.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 02:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In 1952, Greece and Turkey became members of the Alliance, joined later by West Germany (in 1955) and Spain (in 1982).

You were saying?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 11:24:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I must have completely misunderstood your post. I thought you meant that criticism of electoral shenanigans in NATO member countries didn't count as "free speech" (your quotes). I offered Turkey as a counter-example, because the recent egregious violations of the liberal-democratic framework have been widely (and justly) criticized.

But we don't seem to share much in terms of referential : I have a great deal of difficulty parsing you, there seems to be a lot of missing subtext. So it's probably pointless to pursue this particular discussion.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 10th, 2017 at 05:18:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French election: Hollande vows 'response' to Macron hack attack - BBC
French President François Hollande has promised to "respond" after a hacking attack targeted presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

He gave no further details but said he knew of the risks of such attacks because they had "happened elsewhere".

Russian hackers reportedly shaking in their boots.

by Bernard on Sat May 6th, 2017 at 07:36:49 PM EST
Could Mr Normal be alluding to this incident?

Earlier on Friday, Ms. Le Pen's campaign staff said its website also had faced "regular and targeted" attacks during the campaign.

It also said that the French authorities had investigated the attacks and, this week, arrested a suspect who was "close to extreme-left circles" and who had admitted to being responsible for several attacks on Ms. Le Pen's campaign website. The arrest occurred on French soil, the statement said.


Me, too

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 05:48:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That incident didn't result into 9 GB of data leaked over to Pastebin, AFAIK. Hacking is as hacking does. There are  just hacking operations that are more "professional" and others that are really amateurish.
by Bernard on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 10:53:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But if the intent was to benefit Le Pen, dropping 9 GB on pastebin the day before the election is amateurish. A single mail with an actual scandal would have been more effective.

So, clumsy Russians? CIA doing strategy of tension again? US Nazis (that is what alt-right means) thinking it's ​the hacking that counts? Or other states with an interest in the French presidential election trying to benefit either side?

Who knows? Well, NSA probably does according to Snowden, but if they are not willing to explain what XKEYSCORE does after the US election, I doubt they will after this. And MSM appears perfectly happy to stuff their knowledge of XKEYSCORE down the memory hole.

by fjallstrom on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 12:43:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I said the hacking seems professional, complete with Twitter bots to disseminate the "news" as far and wide as possible. The "dirty trick" operation itself seems rather ham-fisted, as you mentioned. Right wing nativists are known for a number of things, but subtlety is not among those.
by Bernard on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 01:10:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Am I to understand then that persons apprehended by French law enforcement were amateur hackers, because they did NOT publish data they obtained at Pastebin?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 11:29:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. It's perfectly plausible, indeed pretty much inevitable,  that hard-left French hackers would do that. And get caught (French spooks are getting better at this stuff). Doing it from French soil.

I wonder who would want to do that to Macron's campaign? With vastly greater logistical means? And with success? And not from French soil, therefore not catchable? And have excellent connections to the US alt-right to spread it?

Really, I can't think who that might be.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun May 7th, 2017 at 12:59:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you noticed how the Macron Leaks continue to have such a huge impact, now that the election is over? Yep, me neither.

Why the Macron Hacking Attack Landed With a Thud in France - NYT

But in France, the leak did not get much traction. It certainly did not appear to give an edge to Ms. Le Pen, who won 33.9 percent to Mr. Macron's 66.1 percent on Sunday. The hacking operation was met, instead, with silence, disdain and even scorn.

Why?

First, French news outlets respected the blackout. The documents had landed at the 11th hour, without time for journalists to scrutinize them properly before the ban went into effect.

Second, the news media heeded an admonition by the government's campaign regulatory body not to publish false news.

But there was yet another crucial factor -- France does not have an equivalent to the thriving tabloid culture in Britain or the robust right-wing broadcast media in the United States.

And The Intercept reminds us of the difference between whistle-blowing and "politically motivated hacking":

There Are No "Macron Leaks" in France. Politically Motivated Hacking Is Not Whistleblowing. - The Intercept

Here's some news for the alt-right activists in the United States behind a disinformation campaign aimed at getting Marine Le Pen elected president of France by spreading rumors about her opponent, Emmanuel Macron: The French do not much like having their intelligence insulted by Americans.
There are more details about how the news spread, quoting again Nicolas Vanderbiest, and some details about the contents mixing the mundane, technical stuff and the occasionally hilarious (a 69 years old French MP allegedly paying for drugs in Bitcoins for a shipment to his National Assembly office - why, of course, happens all the time...)
by Bernard on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 04:04:53 PM EST
Why Accuracy about Wikileaks Matters - emptywheel -
If Mahjoubi was being honest about his certainty the hackers didn't succeed, then the campaign would have no reason or means to feed disinformation. And the details offered here appear to be about disinformation in response to phishing probes -- that is, disinformation about metadata -- not disinformation about content.

But now, between the Daily Beast's gloating and the sharing of it with even less factual gloating, coupled with Macron's quick declaration that the dump included fake documents, raises real (but potentially unjustified!) questions about whether the campaign added the Cyrillic metadata that got so much attention. Not only has Wikileaks' vetting process not (yet) been exposed as a fraud, but the reporting may create even more distrust and uncertainty than there was. [Note, I posted a tweet to that effect that I have deleted now that I'm convinced there's no evidence Macron faked any documents.]

Moreover, even if it is the case that GRU hacked Macron and Wikileaks would have happily published the emails if they passed its vetting process (which are both likely true), Wikileaks didn't get and post the documents, which itself is worth noting and understanding.

by generic on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 04:10:56 PM EST
The docs were effectively dumped on Pastebin.com, with links posted on 4Chan. Wikileaks, like others, is analyzing the documents and has even spotted the infamous "Cyrillic metadata".
by Bernard on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 05:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I'm any the wiser even at this late stage about:

  1. who is most likely to have done the hacking

  2. Was it an amateurish effort which succeeded only because Macron's security was poor, or whether it required "state level" expertise to pull it off

  3. Whether anything substantially embarrassing has been leaked

  4. Whether the leak included fake documents, and if so, most likely faked by whom

  5. Whether anybody in France gives a fcuk either way.

The only thing which seems clear is that it didn't have a substantial impact on the result, and any impact it did have may well have helped Macron.

The other issue which is raised by the episode is whether electoral laws need updating to cope with the possible impact of organised fake news and disinformation campaigns.  

Hillary obviously had a case that her defeat was at least, in part, due to a disinformation campaign against her.  But she has no effective remedy now the election is over. There is thus a case for legislating to ensure the courts can block publication of all illegally obtained information in the final weeks of a campaign unless there is strong corroborating evidence from legal sources.

However the bigger problem is whether blocking such information is even possible in the internet/social media driven world we live in. Perhaps we just have to educate the electorate to be more sceptical and discerning in their evaluation of "news".

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 05:19:21 PM EST
Further details via The Guardian:

Macron hackers linked to Russian-affiliated group behind US attack - Guardian

Vitali Kremez of Flashpoint said his review indicated APT 28 was behind the leak. As part of the group's spear phishing technique, it needs to register and control web addresses which could plausibly fool a target into thinking they were logging into a legitimate website. In the US elections, one such address ("myaccount.google.com-changepasswordmyaccount-idx8jxcn4ufdmncudd.gq") was designed to look like an official Google page.

Last month, APT 28 registered decoy internet addresses to mimic the name of Macron's movement, En Marche!, which it probably used to send emails to hack into the campaign's computers, Kremez said. Those domains include onedrive-en-marche.fr, designed to appear like an official Microsoft address, and mail-en-marche.fr, which pretended to be a webmail site.

"If indeed driven by Moscow, this leak appears to be a significant escalation over the previous Russian operations aimed at the US presidential election, expanding the approach and scope of effort from simple espionage efforts towards more direct attempts to sway the outcome," Kremez said.

by Bernard on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 05:35:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A cursory look at Wikileaks discussion leaves me convinced that there were indeed fake documents planted with the genuine ones, created by people using Cyrillic versions of Microsoft Office.

Macron's outfit are certain to be the most tech-smart of the political teams currently operating in France (I have no particular knowledge of this, it just stands to reason because of the demographics of his circle). I would expect that they used encryption when exchanging "sensitive" emails, so the dump will provide nothing more than mildly-embarrassing stuff (and I pity the journalists assigned to trawl through it). Their security was good enough to withstand direct penetration, and they  were penetrated by social engineering, aka phishing, which will always work if you put enough effort into it. It required a non-trivial tech effort, with fake servers with similar domain names to the real ones etc, to collect passwords.

It will be quickly forgotten in France, and rightly so. I imagine the American alt-right will still be ranting about it for years to come.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 10:34:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - The Macron Leak
There is thus a case for legislating to ensure the courts can block publication of all illegally obtained information in the final weeks of a campaign unless there is strong corroborating evidence from legal sources.  

Problem would be to find out if it was illegally obtained. Wikileaks maintains that it was leaked from inside, and a leak from inside is legal to accept and publish in most jurisdictions.

I think if one wants to get rid of this kind of leaks, one needs to direct the substanial state resources that today goes into creating and maintaining security flaws and instead direct it to preventing and fixes said flaws.

by fjallstrom on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 01:35:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. You can't fix social engineered phishing. Unless people stop being stupid. Not holding my breath.
  2. Obviously, leaking is not the same as whistleblowing. But the difference is moral, rather than legal. As the Luxleaks guys, among many others, have demonstrated.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 06:03:55 PM EST
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