Profile of Reality Winner

New York Magazine published an excellent profile of the single-document leaker Reality Winner.

Posted on December 29, 2017 at 6:34 AM • 79 Comments


DanHDecember 29, 2017 8:02 AM

It is no longer "alleged" when someone confesses. And it doesn't matter if it was one document of 5000 documents. If a bank robber steals $1000 or $10,000 it is still a crime.

wumpusDecember 29, 2017 8:39 AM

So we should speak of "proven" witches of Salem or breakers in Communist Russia?

Confessions are remarkably easy to produce and are given extraordinary legal weight (along with eyewitness testimony: both wildly stronger stronger than any correlation of guilt), but that doesn't mean we have to play along with a broken justice system.

fredDecember 29, 2017 8:46 AM

This is really no surprise. When Presidential campaigns spend Billions of dollars to push "wedge issues" you get division. Now throw in social scientist who poor over massive amounts mined data and the results of the research is rhetoric that designed to "Trigger" people. The obvious goal is to get people into a frenzy to ensure the loyalty and they will show up at the polls.

So when you have young impressionable people that buy the hype the and not realize it is a con job, you end up with byproduct of a Reality Winner.

AlejandroDecember 29, 2017 8:55 AM

The fact of the matter is, the Russians did indeed did at least attempt to hack the election in 39 states. And, that's something that should not be kept a secret from the American people.

I have to ask, "is it really THAT hard to make a NO hack voting machine?" It's been widely and truly assumed since the beginning of electronic voting, machines and support personnel would be targets. And, in the case of personnel, possible conspirators.

For example, it was known even in 2011 Diebold machines could be remotely hacked.

Anyway, this is stuff the people should know.

JonKnowsNothingDecember 29, 2017 9:48 AM


It is no longer "alleged" when someone confesses.

Good thing you won't be doing Jury Duty anytime soon...

LizDecember 29, 2017 10:01 AM

DaH, Whether u want to argue over the word "alledged" isn't the point. She is being denied her due process, not being able to defend herself,& denied bail for telling the truth.Meanwhile, ppl that lied to the FBI are bailed. Common sense says this isn't right.

LizDecember 29, 2017 10:04 AM

Oh! And she wasnt read her MIRANDA rights even though she felt detained. Her biggest problem was talking to them. No one shod speak until u get a lawyer. Anyone that thinks she is being treated fairly shld really think abt where thier ethics and morals lie. (Pun intended.)

The Hunt for Red OctoberDecember 29, 2017 10:05 AM

If a bank robber steals $1000 or $10,000 it is still a crime.

Anything that threatens the status quo, vested interests or captured political class is a so-called crime these days.

It may be a crime on the books, but in the court of public opinion the vast majority of leakers are admired. Modern governments (and corporations) are incapable of transparency and prone to secret abuses which overstep the boundaries of decency, morality and set laws.

Therefore, more disclosures are welcomed, as leaked information is wholly exposing the crimes and misdemeanors of the state (and large multinationals) on a continual basis and opening up the public's eyes to the dysfunctional republic cum militarized plutocracy.

The fact of the matter is, the Russians did indeed did at least attempt to hack the election in 39 states. And, that's something that should not be kept a secret from the American people.

When one starts a sentence with "the fact is", they should normally provide solid evidence to back that up. The fact is the public has been sold a narrative to point the finger at an imagined external enemy - a technique which has been repeated constantly in American modern history.

"Russia", "China", "Al-Qaeda", "ISIS" (insert bogeyman here) is used to keep the public in a constant state of heightened fear and confusion (think "The Shock Doctrine" applied to politics). This allows the vested interests to ram through unpopular measures (perpetual war, draconian laws etc.) which fatten the military-industrial complex. It also provides a cover for other unpopular domestic policies e.g. cutting social spending to keep the modern military chronically over-funded in their imperial pursuits.

I have to ask, "is it really THAT hard to make a NO hack voting machine?"

Paper and pencil works fine. Problem solved.

But that wouldn't allow an avenue for "The Ruskies hacked our voting machines!" and other modern fables, so its unlikely to be remedied anytime soon.

MikeADecember 29, 2017 10:21 AM

@The Hunt for Red October
-- Paper and pencil works fine. Problem solved. --

Tell that to Virginia. ,
although it's not entirely clear that a pencil, rather than a pen, was used.

(Although I do agree that the attack surface for computerized voting is a lot larger than that for paper and pen/pencil)

Petre PeterDecember 29, 2017 10:26 AM

Remember! A hacked election, doesn't just mean a recount, it means another election.

one of 1.4. million Americans with Top Secret clearance, which is to say that she had something to sell.

Yes, whistleblowers are needed in our current political system but Top Secret cannot be something to sell because it's a security paradox to put Top Secret on your resume and send out copies of it to potential employers whom you never met. Whistleblowing has more to do with responsibility and less to do with marketing.

Surveillance requires surveilors; mass surveillance requires more of them.
Before the net, East Germany did it with about 1% of the population...allegedly.

...loud with the blare of television. This would be the place Reality would have to await trial.
Sleep depravation is a form of torture it does not work -- could an AI be used in the arraignment process to help determine if she'd show up for trial? I am just not sure how to tell an alleged linguist leaker that intentions are irrelevant without fearing to lose the meaning of words.

AlejandroDecember 29, 2017 11:16 AM

The fact of the matter is Bloomberg reported in detail on Russian hacks:

"Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known"

As for paper ballots work: Well, duh.

However, others might see secure electronic voting as common sense. The secure part seems to be very hard to nail down, however. Maybe that's partly due to the willingness of some to keep weaknesses and failures top secret from the American people, which seems at odds with democratic ideals.

CharlesDecember 29, 2017 11:25 AM

@Petre Peter wrote, "Before the net, East Germany did it with about 1% of the population...allegedly."

If I understand it correctly, we aren't doing it to our own population but the rest of the world's, allegedly. There is a lot more people outside U.S.

Surveillance exists in many shapes and forms and isn't limied to governments. online and social network marketing is another form of mass surveillance. Online-To-Offline, Offline-To-Online, Offline-to-Offline, Cross Platform Marketing, and a few more unnamed types.

DanHDecember 29, 2017 2:06 PM

It never ceases to amaze me of the number of people who brush of treason as if was nothing. You'd all have let John Anthony Walker, Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, and others go.

She knew what she was doing and knew it was against the law. She needs to pay for her crime. And she freely confessed and even told her sister she "screwed up" and she was never under duress.

Of course, this site is mostly a honeypot of anti-Americanism.

echoDecember 29, 2017 2:06 PM

This is a very interesting article because of its discussion of perception and society. A lot of the issues are of popular interest and widely discussed in other media so I won't go over them again. The issue which caught my eye was prosecution under the Espionage Act. The EU has the concept that blanket bans are unlawful and the same is true to some degree with UK case law. The US system is different (being a hybrid of common law and civil law) but I do wonder if the possibility the absolute authoritarianism of the US Espionage Act is successfully challengeable may begin to be asked.

Another item is how the US Presidents power to issue executive orders is "treated as law". It has struck me that this power is legally misunderstood and abused. An quivalent within EU/UK law is under human rights and equality legislation a persons beliefs are also "treated as law". The common aspect of these is that they must both be lawful under statute an survive scrutiny i.e. be well grounded and not unreasonable and so forth with respect to scrutiny of the courts.

CyberThreatDecember 29, 2017 3:04 PM

I'll quote another persons comment from the sources's comment section:

Any "public" interested already knew Russia was interfering here and abroad - the only thing Winner and The Intercept accomplished was to inform GRU of what the NSA knew, and providing them with the opportunity to adjust their strategy accordingly.

This person nails it. She blew the lid on a cyber investigation with the detected and captured IOC's in that document. Something that, if held within the IC, could have revealed future campaigns, could have led to a investigative lead, or maybe proven what most of us already suspect - Russian interference. This is why the document was TOP SECRET.

And for the love of science, use some media literacy when reading that article. 90% of it is a sob story to invoke emotions concerning the defendant. Sure, it's excellently crafted, but lets not forget she was well trained, competent, and vocally disagreed with the current administration. In effect, she likely inhibited the intelligence driven investigations into voter machine hacking attempts. For that, I consider this willful release of classified information treasonous.

surveilled in the usaDecember 29, 2017 4:40 PM

From The Intercept

... "“The reason we’re here today is that we have a search warrant for your house,” one of the agents told her, according to the transcript.

“OK,” she replied.

“All right,” Special Agent Justin Garrick said. “Do you know what this might be about?”

“I have no idea,” Winner replied.

“OK, this is about possible mishandling of classified information.”

“Oh my goodness,” Winner responded." ...

1) Does law enforcement have to identify itself as law enforcement to charge one later with lying to law enforcement?
2) Might it have helped Reality Winner to determine if she should clam-up by asking 'Am I free to leave?'
3) When might chit-chat be acceptable before lawyering-up, per the Intercept article above, if at all? When going against professional, seasoned interrogators presumably it is risky to try to navigate talking about CrossFit, Dogs, etc., only.
4) When might chit-chat be acceptable with a random stranger, or not, at a social, or not, occasion?
5) I assume law enforcement can lie if one asks 'Are you in law enforcement?'
6) Anything else worth considering? With 20-20 hindsight what would have been optimal for Reality Winner per the Intercept article above?

AnonDecember 29, 2017 6:56 PM

@DanH: I don't think the tone here is anti-American; it just happens that if countries were planets, then the USA has the largest gravitational influence.

This whole "it was the Russians" is getting boring. As if this didn't go on long enough during the Cold War, they're attempting to use the same tactic again against the West (it is something that is not only thrown around in the USA, but also the UK). The reason is simple: control.

As for how well this tactic is working in today's society of mass communication, I wonder how many people actually believe or are influenced by it.

As for the Stasi, I heard as many as 70% of the population were informants to the state at some point. The amount of information collected to this day is classified.

It is a source of much consternation within Germany, as after the re-unification in 1990, the Stasi's records disappeared into the new German intelligence for over a decade. The Germen government are still very quiet about what happened during that time.

As far as I'm aware, no member of the Stasi was ever prosecuted, and their fates remain unknown. One theory is many of them joined the BND.

Ross SniderDecember 29, 2017 7:34 PM

This election we've had people run onto the Congressional baseball field in an attempt to assassinate sitting representatives.

With US propaganda operations, set up to trigger people and install in them a colored view of reality along with an expectation that they need to defend it against others who haven't been doctored, it's hardly surprising that people like Reality Winner think they're "doing good". Their reasons, according to a really warped world view, are justified. But to the masses who get that the whole "Russia hacked the election" thing is a giant domestic psyop campaign her actions were not only frivolous but dangerous.

Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and Julien Assange are heroes for telling the American public information they really needed to know. Winner will end in the scrap heap of history for leaking an unimportant document at the whims of engineered exasperation.

Comrade Amerikanski... SmithDecember 29, 2017 7:34 PM

"I don't think the tone here is anti-American"

Well the tone from the Trump traitors sure is pro-Russian!

"Oh they could never have..."
"Oh I'm so tired of news reporting that..."
"Oh Trump denies it so he deserves our blind trust despite all evidence to the contrary..."

Pretty soon the people pleading guilty are going to take the stand before a grand jury.
We'll see what color those traitors turn then.

Vodka-influenced political denial of treasonDecember 29, 2017 7:40 PM

"it's hardly surprising that people like Reality Winner think they're "doing good"."

Well, what actual damage was done by the disclosure of this single classified report?
Frankly? None. She helped Americans know some painful truths about our traitor POTUS.

Was it illegal, yes it sure was. Will she be punished, yes she sure will.

The report itself doesn't actually damage any American interests.


To those sorry few remaining idiots, the report is ironclad proof that they are full of it.

The leak, published on The Intercept in June, revealed an attempted hack by Russia's military intelligence unit during the contentious 2016 US presidential election. The report, dated May 5, said that Russia had performed a cyberattack on at least one US voting software supplier, along with sending phishing emails to over 100 election officials, days before voters headed to the polls, Politico reported.

Nick PDecember 29, 2017 10:35 PM

@ DanH

"It never ceases to amaze me of the number of people who brush of treason as if was nothing."

We don't. We just think representatives of the intelligence branch need to (a) stop committing treason on the top with immunity, (b) stop applying double standards about their constant leaks to the press of all kinds of classified information versus Reality's that identifies threat to our elections, and (c) stop abusing the classification system to protect crimes in the United States that should've been revealed.

In Manning and Snowden cases, (c) was more obvious since military and intelligence brass had just told Congress under oath they didn't do any of that stuff. Their treason wasn't taken seriously. They're still free. This one is more a grey area where they're supposed to be protecting the elections, they're concerned about Russian influence, *American citizens* are concerned about Russian influence, prior subversions of election equipment happened, there's a new attack, and putting it all together with various statutes and regulations I'd say we should make election vendors and regulators do time instead of Reality Winner since they ignored their legal responsibilities consistently. Reality Winner just let us know our concerns being debated by government officials in speculative ways in the media were not speculative: they were real.

That should be a procedural violation with a minimal punishment if punished at all rather than treated like espionage against America. It's not being treated as espionage to protect America either. Any more than people like Binney being punished for revealing waste or violations of our constitutional rights. It's there to protect the intelligence services, DOD-level corruption, and corrupt folks on Intelligence Committee who profit from it. That's how programs such as Trailblazer keep getting funded with billions going into pockets of those that didn't earn it. It's also how they get away with the kind of secret meddling in the Middle East that led to threats such as bin Ladden, Hussein, and later ISIS. Better if the public neither knows nor can charge them for what damage they're setting us up for later with their incompetence or malice. Yet, they demand the public accept total surveillance plus Espionage Act charges for secrecy violations in case *they* are conspiring to threaten America somehow.

What hypocritical nonsense that ignores every law from the purpose of the Espionage Act to whether politicians are supposed to be passing laws for America's gain or just their own after receiving bribes. Gotta wonder why these discussions on leakers never mention limitations of what can be classified, what the government leaks against their rules, DOD corruption, and politicians taking bribes. Instead, you all exclusively talk about angles that make the conversation look like we're talking totally-honest politicians and agencies purely protecting America from "grave damage" instead of a few's profits, power, and misleading image. ;)

DavidDecember 29, 2017 11:21 PM

Reality Winner? (chuckle)

If you work for the U.S., you should do your job. If you disagree with what is going on, you should talk to your supervisor or quit when you can. You can move on to other things, no problem--and Uncle Sugar will wish you well.

Not to put too fine a point on it: the U.S. is at war. It might not be a December-1941 kind of war, but it is global and it is no joke. Reality Bull-hockey Winner, Bradley Manning, Thomas Drake, and Edward Get-snuffed Snowden all betrayed their country. They all made that decision. All of them, no matter how sympathetic--I rather like Drake as a person, after having talked with him once--harmed the security of the global cop, whose tactics may stink once in a while, often, or seemingly all the time, but that is no excuse to betray your oath, your duty, and your country.

Manning actually tried to get help, and therefore it really was appropriate for his sentence to be commuted. But he was still wrong.

I am glad Greenwald was evidently too dumb to properly scrub documents properly, and Reality got a taste of reality for her betrayal and disloyalty, which are not to be judged by the damage done or the quantity of information compromised, but by her intention to betray.

JosiahDecember 29, 2017 11:37 PM

DanH, Winner's actions could be seen as pro-American or anti-American, but overapplication of the word "treason" is definitely anti-American... in that the USA exists in part because a certain king was doing the same. "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

It would be a stretch to say Winner gave "Aid and Comfort" to enemies of the United States. Regardless, until the requisite Testimony/Confession is given, we shouldn't declare these actions to be "treason". Winner's confession was not made in open Court.

Clive RobinsonDecember 29, 2017 11:38 PM

@ Nick P,

This one is more a grey area where they're supposed to be protecting the elections, they're concerned about Russian influence, *American citizens* are concerned about Russian influence, prior subversions of election equipment happened, there's a new attack

The US election system one way or another has been under attack (mainly by the Republicans) for quite some time now.

As a mainly disinterested outsider to US Politics, the tricks pulled in the US by various elected officials and their supporters to prevent others from voting I find rather more shocking than a foreign country did a little "tit-for-tat" on what the US has done one way or another since the 1950's.

It's realy time the US "cleaned house" on the way it's own manipulate the election process. But hoping that will happen is fairly pointless as the crooks are running the judges and the jail houses.

People have been warning about the use of "election machines" for some time now and they have been ignored. Heck I even described a way of jumping the Air Gap to get at them on this blog. To later discover the idea got used by the US and Israeli IC entities to attack Iran to get at North Korea with stuxnet.

But the important thing to note is North Korea did not suffer from stuxnet, because they "took a little more care minding business"...

The US has repeatedly made claims about North Korea being backwards etc then almost at the blink of the eye that they are fearsom cyber attackers... Does this not strike people as odd?

One way to account for it is that US Cyber Security is so appaling that anyone who chose to could attack US systems...

The US does not need electronic voting the system was setup to alow for election results to take a week or so to "get across country". Thus the benifits of electronic voting are currently a lot less than putting lipstick on a pig at the abattoir door.

Thus there must be another reason... It's been pointed out in the past that those who profit most in the companies that manufacture voting machines also have a habit of being party political donors to one particular party. Thus at the least it could be argued that it is "a kick back process" in action. But it will get argued that the lack of robust security in the electronic voting machines is by design and not accident. Which gives rise to further questions...

Thus one could hypothetically ask,

    If a political party wanted to hang onto power at all costs, including fairly obvious rigging of who is eligible to vote, would putting back doors in voting machines so they can tweak-the-vote in their favour give them any qualms?

And let us suppose the answer to that is "no" it gives rise to the question of not just how it might be done but also how an acceptable cover story for it would be put in place... But would that cause such a back door be strong or weak?

Which brings us to a further theoretical question of what would happen if two or more groups became aware of such a back door?

And what if one was a foreign power?

What some peoole in the US might want and what the US actually needs are two different things. What the US needs is a secure and auditable voting process, and you are not going to get that with electronic voting systems...

Thus I would take a careful look at those proposing such systems and what they are getting out of them directly and indirectly.

hmmDecember 30, 2017 12:24 AM

"Not to put too fine a point on it: the U.S. is at war." - David you're revealing something.

IT IS INTERESTING how you'd like to hold R.Winner to a higher standard than Trump himself!

Put her in blindfold and ship her to Gitmo, while Trump LITERALLY COMMITS TREASON, lies about it, fires the investigator of it, lies about that, floats pardons for co-conspirators, broadly smears all US law enforcement as if them NOTICING HIS FRAUDS were somehow "the crime here"... I mean this truly is the definition of gaslighting.

Nevermind that he personally gave THE RUSSIANS (gasp! no really he gave to Russians for free without clearance/planning/permission/etc, brainpower) an Israeli beyond-top-secret source on actual terrorist bombs tailor-made to defeat previously stolen airport detector systems. Trump just blurted it out, burning the source and endangering lives potentially.

Israel WAS PISSED and reevaluated their entire US sharing program. Yes, elections have consequences!
Even Ronald Jellybean didn't blow it like that in his declining years. Trust, but VERIFY.

Trump's only possible "defense" if you can call it that, only Congress can hold him accountable.
That, and some ridiculous bullsh*t about the POTUS being legally invincible nomatter what...
You know, something every 2nd grader learns isn't our system in 2nd grade. Or did, once.

This President is a traitor, a fraud, is provably guilty of obstruction of justice.
There is sufficient evidence to make each and every one of those points beyond doubt.
Mueller is simply being formal about it all - 2 guilty so far and more to come.

R.Winner was guilty of leaking a single document, and her purported motive (not Russian money or blackmail somehow) was to inform the American people of a fraud.

Now you're free to make an example out of her, she's screwed. Guilty. Admitted.
Slam dunk, lock her up.

Don't you dare get soft in the sack when it's Trump's turn to be made an example of for higher crimes.

hmmDecember 30, 2017 12:34 AM

Now before we go further does anyone want to say that classified and then leaked report in question is fake news?

The one documenting early-noticed bits of the Russian intelligence objective to disrupt/steer US elections?

Anyone going to say "well, just because it's classified doesn't mean it's true"
Anyone going to quip about Saddam's Nukes or some other whataboutism?
Work in a 404 : Obama's birth certificate not found?

Get it out of your system now.. because I'm all out of bubblegum...
and running low on booze...

... and this abject failure of open representative government doesn't drive me to chew bubblegum.
Something like that.

mozDecember 30, 2017 6:12 AM

@Vodka-influenced political denial of treason

>Well, what actual damage was done by the disclosure of this single classified report?
>Frankly? None. She helped Americans know some painful truths about our traitor POTUS.

Releasing this document now gave away the surprise.

This could all end with the Mueller investigation releasing a video recording of Trump and several senior republicans taking orders from the Kremlin to betray America for Chinese interests. Something impossible to deny and clearly traitorous. Another great way for this to end would be for Mueller to identify and arrest people who were trying to fit Trump up, with a recording of their planning meeting. This would prove Trump's claims of victimisation to be vindicated as he is wheeled off to the nursing home and the rest of the republicans rule for a hundred years.

There's one final way that this could have ended well. The US law enforcement investigation claims that "there is no evidence of Russian hacking attempts" and then this is leaked at the right moment proving that they failed to do their job.

The wrong and terrible way for this to end is with inconclusive court cases with bunch of clients taking the 5th amendment because they are afraid of the contents of documents that have already been leaked but which don't actually prove anything. Worst of all, as it is now, the POTUS detractors will believe this document proves something against him and the POTUS supporters will believe the situation proves that his enemies are all out to fit him up. This achieves nothing for anyone.

Without secrecy in investigations there can be no surprises and no moment of clear moral vindication. There is no moment when justice is both done and seen to be done. Without care and filtering during leaks then the leaks are wasted. Nobody has changed their mind due to this document. This document leak seems to have achieved nothing and that is a waste and real damage.

AnonDecember 30, 2017 8:23 AM

@Clice Robinson:

The US has repeatedly made claims about North Korea being backwards etc then almost at the blink of the eye that they are fearsom cyber attackers... Does this not strike people as odd?

It does to me. I'm pleased I'm not the only one thinking this.

RatioDecember 30, 2017 9:00 AM


A country cannot be both generally backward and successful in specific areas.

It’s against the rules, you see?

Nick PDecember 30, 2017 10:17 AM

@ David

"Not to put too fine a point on it: the U.S. is at war."

Justifying any activity of the executive branch with statements like that was the Nazi strategy for dominance of their country and others for evil reasons. Most fascist regimes and dictators use that technique, too. As a democracy, we should still question what they're doing especially if it (a) threatens America, (b) causes known harms we've voted to avoid previously, or esp (c) is a waste of money versus what those asking for money told us. There's a lot of (c) going on in defense at all time but I'm focusing on (b) since you're bringing up legal responsibility.

"but by her intention to betray."

I don't see anyone who equipped radical Islamists that later did 9/11 being tried. I don't see whole administration similarly tried for treason for activating mass surveillance of Americans via a black program that was illegal. Using the military against U.S. citizens illegal at that. I don't see them tried for forged intelligence for Iraq invasion that murdered twice as many Americans as 9/11. I don't see piles of people doing time for lying about the effectiveness of torture as documented in the report on top of the act of torture itself. I don't see people who left piles of weapons in a warzone out of laziness or alleged cost-effectiveness (see cost of the war) being tried for arming ISIS. I don't see Pentagon officials being tried for sponsoring their favorite group of terrorists in Syria. I don't see heads of Defense agencies or contractors (esp NSA + Booz) being tried at any point in past 20+ years for violating about every INFOSEC rule DOD has on classified data which led to Manning and Snowden leaks. I don't see OPM or groups behind security clearance getting tried for giving some enemy blackmail data on about every asset with a clearance that we have for countless, future subversions.

What all these have in common is they're people in privileged positions on the top who (a) also break the laws and regulations, (b) do actual grave damage to Americans with murder of them being a common result, (c) try to use classification to cover up their crimes which is also illegal under classification laws, and (d) get no charges or sentences. All kinds of justifications are made for not charging or sentencing these people for crimes ranging from funding/equipping terrorists to facilitating biggest leak in history. Then, the talk about treason and doing time gets firm when a Drake shows they lied about a billion they spent, Binney shows they lied about metadata vs live conversations, Snowden shows they lied about mass surveillance in general, or Winner shows some lied about level of Russian attacks on our elections. Exposing government fraud by breaching classification rules *on evidence of fraud* is whistleblowing for public benefit. Also, I can't say it enough: classification law does not permit crimes to be classified to protect the perpetrators whether against U.S. citizens, companies, or government. That government prosecutors ignore that in every whistleblower case shows their intent isn't finding true betrayers or protecting America.

Gotta wonder about the double standard so many Americans have calling whistleblowers betrayers to be charged with espionage but not those aiding and abetting the enemy with provable damage that exceeded ISIS in one case. Actually, that one created ISIS. Those are some twisted priorities.

Nick PDecember 30, 2017 10:26 AM

@ Clive Robinson

"The US has repeatedly made claims about North Korea being backwards etc then almost at the blink of the eye that they are fearsom cyber attackers... Does this not strike people as odd?"

They're exploiting the fact that the U.S. public doesn't remember anything. pushcx on Lobsters recently gave me this excellent essay by Michael Crighton on that. Also relevant was Gobbels Big Lie technique. What they both do is just throw tons of information, esp baseless accusations or speculations, at the public. The mass psychology makes them mostly focus on what's in front of them. Since they forget what was before, they can hold contradicting positions quite easily. They do this so much that they also naturally try to form connections in their minds between them to justify it. Debating most people affected by this shows they're just reciting talking points from their favorite media outlet with little to no deep thought or research on the subject past that.

I advise people wanting to make broad changes in America to master the technique themselves while keeping the recommendations or alternatives grounded in truth a bit. There's no way around it. The media has that much control. The methods are that effective. That for the political scene with startups for the commercial sector are the way to go. Unfortunately, most folks good at doing either aren't acting in the best interest of society. They're hustlers aiming for most power or money. There's still potential for benevolent dictators to rise to the top but they're one of rarest minorities for sure. They'll have a lot of competition, too, with a history of doing damage to those that threaten their status quo.

RatioDecember 30, 2017 11:00 AM

@Nick P,

They're exploiting the fact that the U.S. public doesn't remember anything.

Not even that backward country North Korea has a relatively successful nuclear weapons program?

It’s not quite the level of technological sophistication required for pulling off cyber attacks, but still.

Since they forget what was before, they can hold contradicting positions quite easily.

You’re talking about two things here, only one if which is cognitive dissonance.

hmmDecember 30, 2017 1:10 PM


"Nobody has changed their mind due to this document."

That's a fallacy. You made that up from whole cloth. The truth is you don't know.

If you want to look at polling, Trump has fallen quite a ways since May.
Some people HAVE changed their minds. Exactly why, we can't say.

R. Winner wasn't first to prove that Trump's narrative about Russia's disinterest was totally bogus.
But she did surface that at a critical moment. There's no way it had "zero" impact.

I agree with you on the necessity of secrecy in investigations. However the report in question was a preliminary look by the IC at what was easily proven early-on in the charade, it certainly wasn't the sum and total of what the FBI/DOJ has in total. It was more of a summary than anything specifically damning, but it referenced specific crimes.

They have millions and millions of documents. None of those are burned by R.Winner's release.

Trump's die-hardest support have ALWAYS claimed the massive evidence of his guilt was a conspiracy.
They've put their rage against multiculturalism before provable truth or democratic ideals.
They are traitors to our society, insurgents to reality. They will never be appeased.

I won't waste a minute attempting that. You do what you like.

Sancho_PDecember 30, 2017 5:50 PM

@Nick P (29, 10:35 PM)

“Reality Winner just let us know our concerns being debated by government officials in speculative ways in the media were not speculative: they were real.” (my emph)

Wait, that’s too far a jump from “leaked” to “real”!

What about the following story:
Reality Winner was used to publish a false agenda (fabricated “evidence” which in reality is less than hearsay). The couldn’t publish it because the public (and the Russians) would demand some proof they couldn’t present, but the MIC needs fresh news every week.

Reality Winner was their tool.
The knew her mindset. They knew she would fight for her nation, for “the truth”.
They knew she was naive.
Suddenly she had access to “facts” she didn’t have a need to know.
How come?
How could anyone explain that a secret paper is accessible like water on the corridor, or as it would be comics to entertain the staff?

She was used, made her job and now is disposed off.
But this doesn’t make the allegations true, the story real.

The only fact is that “well known Russian IPs” still are allowed to access the deepest circles within the USG. Directly. Completely unvetted, but probably recorded in Utah.
You may call it collaboration with friends - or stupidity.
But I don’t believe it.
The reason is: The Kremlin wouldn’t use well known IP addresses from Moscow.
Probably the US TLAs would.

It’s the extent of American paranoia that frightens me.
OK, it’s driven by money (call it business), but the extent how it infiltrated so many humans is shocking.
See election:

Two made it to the top of candidates. We must understand that both, together with their parties, want the very best for the nation. From a distant view it’s a different way but definitely the same destination.
Now the difference between the votes for the candidates was small.
Even with a difference of 10% clearly both candidates were not appropriate for President, too many people would not agree with one or the other. There was no star, no visionary, no one to unite the nation (at least left after some time).
But any meddling from one to the other would not change that fact (if it was done at all).

This, the bad candidates, not the election, is the sad part:
How can THE nation of 300+mil not find better candidates for President?
The likely answer is: Because it is for business.
This is why the world is lost.

butDecember 30, 2017 6:57 PM

"Suddenly she had access to “facts” she didn’t have a need to know.
How come?"

The reality is there are a lot of people who have "access" to things in this environment.

DavidDecember 30, 2017 11:58 PM


Thank you. Yes, I went too far with Snowden's middle name, and I freely admit it. By the way, I like your neologism.

But I disagree with this current fashion of saying a male can switch to female and vice-versa. It's silly. Importantly, for any male to take steroids in order to take on female features is extremely unhealthful. It shortens that person's lifespan significantly, from what I understand. Therefore, it could be considered as a kind of self-harm, even suicide.

He is male, and he always will be. He is also a traitor. He could now identify as the muffler on a 1967 Ford Fairlane and take iron supplements, but the little guy is still a traitor. Traitors should not be honored in any way whatsoever.

DavidDecember 31, 2017 12:14 AM

Whistleblowers should be protected. The U.S. government needs to made it crystal clear how, when, and why to low the whistle.

Traitors, on the other hand, should receive severe punishment. For example, Edward Snowden should be brought back to America and be executed.

All the traitors are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You might meet Dr. Jekyll and like him, but that is only half the story.

DavidDecember 31, 2017 1:19 AM

@ Clive Robinson

"The US has repeatedly made claims about North Korea being backwards etc then almost at the blink of the eye that they are fearsom cyber attackers... Does this not strike people as odd?"

That is a very good point. And the DPRK has suddenly made significant advances in missile technology. They also stole the complete U.S. war plan off of a South Korean government computer.

Even more interesting is their robust HUMINT effort in China, which exposed a plan to overthrow Kim Jong Un.

To answer your question directly: no, it is not odd at all if you know how shoddy U.S. intell efforts often are--fall of the CCCP, rise of ISIS, Iraq in general--and you read the news closely and hear how robust and dangerous DPRK Special Ops and Intell are.

Don't forget that the U.S. suffered several defeats at the end of the Korean War. In fact, it was shameful in a couple cases.

North Korea is nightmarishly dangerous, and their biological weapons might end up being more damaging than even nukes. It is all a very ugly picture.

Wesley ParishDecember 31, 2017 3:15 AM


Of course, this site is mostly a honeypot of anti-Americanism.

I for one would appreciate a definition from you of "Americanism". Then a definition of "anti-Americanism" to see if the two definitions conflict.

During the 80s, during the ANZUS dispute, we in New Zealand were battered with accusations of "anti-Americanism" by the Reagan administration. They never bothered to define that term, so I as a result have tended to treat it as "zero", and in Mathematics, you never divide by zero. I got to thinking that the whole dictatorship-versus-democracy issue in the Cold War, was being effectively sidelined by the US's behaviour and attitude, which put the US in the position of a certain British king with his taxation without representation. As such, the US had very effectively disqualified itself from ever leading the "Free World" by being so precious over the right of a few million New Zealanders to hold opposing views to that of the Washington elite/swamp/whatever. Nobody loves a thin-skinned boss. An immature boss who whines at the slightest hint of criticism? How more demotivational can you get?

So, young-fellow-me-lad, pull your socks up. This is supposed to be a forum for mature adults.

Magical MagistrateDecember 31, 2017 4:11 AM

If a bank robber steals $1000 or $10,000 it is still a crime.

And if they accelerate their vehicle 1mph over the posted speed limit that is another crime. But that doesn't mean you have a valid point. Hashtag Magnitude Of Crime Matters.

DavidDecember 31, 2017 5:58 AM

We cannot overstate the damage that people like Snowden, Manning, and Winner have done to the safety and security of the United States. Luckily, Winner was nabbed early.

There is no double standard. If we are frank about it, we will acknowledge that one of POTUS's jobs is to lie when necessary and make the most difficult decisions. The public found out that Obama ordered cluster munitions--which are outlawed by an international agreement--to destroy an entire village in Yemen, to include a lot of kids and two American citizens. Yes, one of those two fellas was the most unsympathetic American imaginable, an al Qaeda member, and yes, Obama swore to "take care" and follow the laws of the nation; that is, protect American citizens. Was Obama wrong?

During one of his State of the Union addresses, he said something like, "I will not hesitate to protect the United States." (measured applause) Well, killing all those kids was also easier than taking the political risk of another Desert One failure, one for which he would have been blamed harshly. Again, was Obama wrong, a man who said he was rediscovering his spirituality?

In my opinion, Obama was right. If you have any doubts, read Machiavelli's "The Prince." What I rather object to is the people who would applaud during Obama's funeral oration for the victims, the folksy language, the pandering, the cheeks like trees splashed with rain. Questions about bad taste arise. Yes, he's got skillz, but come on, let's be human.

Snowden, etc., did something completely different. They are utterly demented; they are not whistle blowers. They are not serving the nation. All three were angry about something, and all were motivated by malice.

Sometimes it is irrational to be moral, and that is one reason we have a president. We need someone who is good at fighting dirty because that is a good way to win.

Who knows how much money goes towards the U.S. dirty fighting efforts? Maybe 200 billion a year? It is just a guess. People who are involved should know what they are doing. If they cannot ride two horses, then they should not have joined the circus.

AnuraDecember 31, 2017 7:09 AM

@Wesley Parish

In conservative circles, "America" is just a term for what is essentially a vision board of all the things the person using the term wants for themself. So anti-American simply means anything that stands in the way of that person getting what they want. You can't really define it because it's different for everyone.

RachelDecember 31, 2017 10:04 AM


seeing as we've gone irrevocably down the rabbit hole. By ' conservative' circles do you mean people that dont like to stay up late, listen to classical music, prefer tea over coffee and generally let themselves be overtaken on the highway?

the strange thing to us Euros is how obsessed with political labels the lovely people in the US are. no one is an expansive human being. everyones a 'something'. its just normal conversation throwing these labels around. even your states are defined by a 'colour'.

echoDecember 31, 2017 11:42 AM


I don't know where you get your facts from about trans people medically transitioning but I can't find anything correct in your comments. The whole topic is quite involved and subtle. Much like security transition is a process and quite safe and the perceived risks aren't risks at all.

P.S. I recommend Machiavelli's discourses as the superior work. I don't subscribe to his philosophies but the discourses does open up thinking more and exposes a broader view. I believe this is important to develop a better understanding of conetxt and consequences.

oh reallyDecember 31, 2017 2:55 PM

"We cannot overstate the damage that people like Snowden, Manning, and Winner have done to the safety and security of the United States."

I can't overstate how dumb you sound saying that.

surveilled in the usaDecember 31, 2017 3:51 PM

@Vodka-influenced political ...
Food for thought. Calling people dummies, not morons, might not win friends and influence people, but might be more agreable.

Thank you for posting this link above, which I think got Reality Winner in trouble (creased photocopy, poor leak handling by the intercept, and so on)


btw, some of you might not know that Reality Winner has been discussed here before

Bruce Schneier is separately quoted in that Intercept article above a half-dozen times. For example,

"Getting attention and a budget commitment to election security requires solving a political riddle. “The problem we have is that voting security doesn’t matter until something happens, and then after something happens, there’s a group of people who don’t want the security, because whatever happened, happened in their favor,” said Bruce Schneier, a cybersecurity expert at Harvard’s Berkman Center who has written frequently about the security vulnerabilities of U.S. election systems. “That makes it a very hard security problem, unlike your bank account.”

Schneier said the attack, as described by the NSA, is standard hacking procedure. “Credential-stealing, spear-phishing — this is how it’s done,” he said. “Once you get a beachhead, then you try to figure out how to go elsewhere.”"

For those of you with active security clearances can you even read the above Intercept link since it has or discusses Top Secret information?

change of thought

Why it's good to stfu when talking to LEO. If Reality Winner had requested a lawyer and not talked until a lawyer showed up might she still be unincarecerated?

change of thought

For spooks and non-spooks, something for everyone (about 1.5 hours from GWU talk, Sept. 2017)

"Intelligence Gathering Community

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper talked about his decades-long public service in multiple intelligence community top…"

iirc the case of Reality Winner was not discussed with former DNI (not NID) Clapper. With Republican gambits towards voter supression, seeing fraud where there is none[1], etc., and Clive's notes about things like the voting machine lobby donating to the Republicans, etc., I wonder where General Clapper would come down on Reality Winner.

from the right?
from the left?

RatioDecember 31, 2017 4:00 PM

@Nick P,

I don't see people who left piles of weapons in a warzone out of laziness or alleged cost-effectiveness (see cost of the war) being tried for arming ISIS.

On page 14 of the report Weapons of the Islamic State by Conflict Armament Research (based on investigation on the ground from July 2014 to November 2017), there’s a chart showing the top manufacturing countries of weapons in Iraq and Syria. The next page has these bullet points:

  • China and former Warsaw Pact EU Member States, such as Hungary and Romania, manufactured the majority of the weapons documented by CAR in Iraq. The Syrian data demonstrates a different trend: Russia manufactured most of the weapons, closely followed by China and then former Warsaw Pact EU Member States—Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria.6
  • The United States manufactured only a small proportion (2 per cent) of weapons recovered from IS forces and documented by CAR in the region.
  • Former Warsaw Pact EU Member States manufactured 28 per cent of the weapons documented in Iraq, and 42 per cent of those documented in Syria.7 These findings indicate that, in addition to the weapons already present in Iraq before 2003 and in Syria before 2011, third-party states supplied actors in both countries with additional Warsaw Pact weapons. These weapons are compatible with Warsaw Pact-calibre ammunition, which is in widespread circulation in the region.
  • Domestic production represents 3 per cent of the materiel documented in Iraq. In addition, 127 weapons documented in Iraq (10 per cent of the sample of weapons documented in the country) feature a visible Iraqi arsenal mark, which indicates they were imported to the country prior to the beginning of the war in 2003 and incorporated into Iraqi stockpiles. In Syria, CAR documented 17 Iraqi-manufactured weapons and 44 weapons bearing Iraqi arsenal marks (8 per cent of the sample of weapons documented in the country).

(Emphasis mine.)

If you’re interested, there’s a lot more in the report.

(You mentioned other things that had me scratching my head —one example, to stick with the theme, being “the kind of secret meddling in the Middle East that led to threats such as bin Ladden, Hussein, and later ISIS”— but this was something I happened to be reading about.)

surveilled in the usaDecember 31, 2017 4:22 PM

In the News

George Papadopoulos' chatting with The Australian Ambassador to the UK in a London Bar, not The Steele Dossier, may have led to 2016 FBI's investigation of Russia meddling in USA elections.

"WASHINGTON — During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.

Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. ... "
more at

DavidDecember 31, 2017 5:49 PM


You are right about America being divided into camps, into angry crowds with ugly labels. For example, the lablel "snowflake" is so hard-hitting that the Merriam-Webster dictionary tried to ignore it for one year. Even they are trying to control people's minds.

I can remember when the U.S. had three news networks. I can even remember the dignity of folks like Walter Cronkite. Those days, unfortunately, are just about over.

In my opinion, which is informed to some degree, people like Reality Winner really are bad. That we have had more of them recently is just one more sign of America having problems.

It might be OK. America is resilient.

Happy New Year!

oh reallyDecember 31, 2017 6:26 PM

"America is resilient."

That's true, that's why we will survive a traitor POTUS who will be removed and sent to prison to reinforce the common belief among our people that the law of the land is supreme, and threats to it must be held accountable in kinds.

oh reallyDecember 31, 2017 6:27 PM

For you to give Trump a pass and go after R.Winner is the pique of cowardice in the face of treason.

No offense intended beyond the statement itself. May you become wiser in the new year.

DanHDecember 31, 2017 7:08 PM

It is both humorous and hypocritical for people to try and tie Trump to Russia and completely ignore that Hillaryous Clinton had ties to Russia which can't be denied.

While playing secretary of state, Bill received $500,000 for a speech from a Kremlin backed bank.

The Clinton Foundation received millions from the Russians.

Comey initially penned in a draft that Hillaryous's email server had a "high probability" of having been hacked. Meaning that before 0bama's DoJ got involved, he thought she was guilty of certain crimes.

During the Commander-in-Chief forum, when asked a question about her email server being hacked by an audience member, she replied "What does it matter (if it was hacked), State, the White House, and others have been hacked."

The Uranium One deal is very suspicious.

John Podesta, who was her campaign chairman, has ties to a Russian Energy firm.

Mueller was FBI Director when he knew the Russians were trying to bribe about energy, yet nobody in Congress knew about it. Odd.

The probability of her email server not being hacked is very small. I'm sure the Russians and Chinese got more information from Hillaryous than most spies give them.

People pointing fingers at Trump need to realize that when Hillaryous said "Where there's smoke, there's fire" it also implicates herself.

oh reallyDecember 31, 2017 7:16 PM

Hillary Clinton doesn't have nice things to say about Putin or Russia at every chance.
She doesn't promise she'll remove sanctions on Russia when she gets into office.

Trump did those, and Trump is a traitor.

You can try whataboutism again, but Trump is the one under investigation by special counsel.
His entire life is under the magnifying glass - and he's a terrible liar.

Try harder. You almost changed the subject, as if that would keep Trump out of prison.
Maybe Mueller will get around to "her emails" - but only after Trump is convicted.

Happy News Year, 2018!

Wesley ParishJanuary 1, 2018 1:53 AM


Not to put too fine a point on it: the U.S. is at war. It might not be a December-1941 kind of war, but it is global and it is no joke.
Again, definitions might be of use here. It might be useful to know just what a "war" is, by your definition. I mean, for example I refuse to refer to the 2014 IDF attack on Gaza as a "war" - I've read about the Odessa pogroms, and it has more that that than any war I've studied.
harmed the security of the global cop, whose tactics may stink once in a while, often, or seemingly all the time,
I thought the purpose of civic studies at secondary school was to prepare one to face the possibility that one might need to respond to abuses of power by one's own government. If you perceive that the "global cop" is abusive and non-stop abuses power, I expect you to respond to it, not just crawl up to the polling stations once every two, three or four years, depending on the jurisdiction and the occasion.
but that is no excuse to betray your oath, your duty, and your country.
What is the purpose of the oaths, the duties, and how do they relate to the country concerned? Are the oaths conditional, or absolute? My understanding was that individual conscience overrode the possible absolute nature of those oaths and duties. The state in my understanding isn't absolute. One is a citizen, a contributor to and participant in the state, not a subject and unwilling pawn - or prawn if the Prince so desires. In the 90s, Time Magazine was proudly boasting that in the US, people were citizens, not subjects. It appears Time Magazine got it wrong, and US citizens are actually dejects, prawns of the state.

Just imagine, if this got around, President Trump would no longer have to worry about immigrants - people would emigrate from the US faster than rats emigrate from a sinking ship.

mtypeJanuary 1, 2018 2:39 AM

Unintended consequences are the rule in whistleblowing via the media. For better or for worse, the Manning dump may well have precipitated the Arab Spring. Per Mike Rogers, the Snowden dump may have endangered active personnel and assets. Reality Winning "ran the risk of alerting the Russians to what the intelligence community knew."*

The article makes in passing an argument that there may be perverse incentives at work - that Manning and Snowden were aware of Drake and Binney, and, so, chose not to work through the usual channels.

Question: Obama made a point of trying to fix these perverse incentives, although appointing new personnel (at the OSC and the MSPB) seems to be the full extent of his effort. Was winning not aware of these changes? Or did these changes not fix the perverse incentives? If the latter, this is a shame, since it isn't at all clear when we'll get another bite at that apple.

* (Given Sergei Mikhailov had already been long since arrested, the Russian government likely knew more was known than is described in Winning's dump).

DanHJanuary 1, 2018 9:21 AM

@oh really

This isn't a political forum, but the "special investigation" was started by using a document that was paid for by Hillaryous Clinton and the DNC and used a former foreign spy who used information from Russian Intelligence that was used to get a FISA warrant.

That is political chicanery at the least, and a major crime at worst.

It is also apparent you just skipped over all of the factual information provided to come to your "conclusion" that Trump is guilty, but anything Hillaryous does is all legal.

oh reallyJanuary 1, 2018 1:35 PM

but the "special investigation" was started by


The investigations predated the dossier. That's just one place the Trumpies go half cocked.

Keep trying to run distraction for a traitor as you try to change the subject.

oh reallyJanuary 1, 2018 1:41 PM

" but anything Hillaryous does is all legal. "

You're either illiterate or willing to lie, but either way I never said that.

In fact I said the rhetorical opposite.

But whatever crime HC committed with insecure email handling was committed by others in the past who were not charged, including Jeb Bush and Colin Powell and THOUSANDS of other people. Under the application of equal justice under the law, HC could not be singled out for that prosecution unless some further intent were established or greater crimes linked. That was never proven.

Trump's associates have plead guilty and are cooperating. Sorry kid, you're done.

He praised them and tried to get the investigation turned off - it didn't work.
Now he's forced to call them liars too, as they sing to the feds about his complicity.

Happy 2018. Stop defending traitors anytime, or don't - it doesn't matter a bit.

He's going to prison for obstruction of justice and higher crimes.

oh reallyJanuary 1, 2018 1:53 PM

The truth is, Dan, Reality Winner has more spine and sack than you can muster.

She broke the law to defend against a threat TO THE CONSTITUTION.

She deliberately sacrificed her freedom to make something known to the American people -

Donald J(umpsuit) Drumpf was a PROVEN liar, and Russia had in fact meddled in the election.
- And he was now doing his 2-hours-sleep-plus-12-diet-coke best to cover it up.

You can tapdance, you can shuck and jive, but you can't make this go away Dan. Sorry!
You can whataboutit, you can point to HRC, you can scream Benghazi until you explode.

You simply can't make Mueller heel to corrupt traitors. You won't escape justice.

Get used to that. Or don't, lol! Nobody can force you to live in reality. You've got RIGHTS! :)

oh reallyJanuary 1, 2018 2:05 PM

"For better or for worse, the Manning dump may well have precipitated the Arab Spring"

I actually had to lol at that.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 1, 2018 3:18 PM

@ DanH,

but the "special investigation" was started by using a document that was paid for by Hillaryous Clinton and the DNC and used a former foreign spy who used information from Russian Intelligence that was used to get a FISA warrant.

I think you will find that you've got things slightly wrong there...

You can look up the Christopher Steele[1] and his "Trump-Russia" Report/Dossier[2] in depth as it was published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017. But you will have to see other sources for it's history and you will find that,

1, It was an ultra conservative Republicans group who originaly payed for any old "anti-Trump" nonsense[3], when Donald Trump was effectively running as an independent. It was the very much Ex-MI6 Mr Steele that dug some up indirectly through a bunch of paid intermediaries[4][5], in all probability without real verification. This was the first of Steele's Reports / Dossiers.

2, Put simply Trump blackmailed the GOP by using the primary failing of a two party system. The Republicans rapidly gave way when it was clear that if they did not endorse Trump it would be a Democrat not Republican for the next four or eight years, with the added fear it would be HRC not Bernie Sanders. HRC was not just detested but loathed and hated by certain big money backers in a way most of us could probably not comprehend, losing to her would be unacceptable and might actually have caused a major schism.

3, The first Steel Report had already done the rounds in the Republican Right and they chose to do nothing with it other than have a good laugh at it's fanciful and mainly unsupportable allegations.

4, What is not clear is when the likes of the Secret Service got to see it and what they chose to do with it as Trump would have been under their watch by then. It's assumed that they found out early on and treated it as basically "muck raking / invention" without anything actionable in it at that time.

5, When it became likely Donald Trump night get the Republican nod, things started going even more crazy in the Democratic National Congress[7]. Something that is only now comming out[9].

6, The American research firm Fusion GPS was indirectly contracted by the Democrats to conduct opposition research about Trump on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton presidential campaign.

7, Presumably from the "open secret" of the first Steele Report / Dossier Fusion GPS later contracted Steele to compile what would be the second dossier.

8, As it turns out wiser heads looked at the second Steele Report / Dossier and gave it a wide berth. What is still not known is if the Secret Service etc ever saw the second Steele Report / Dossier. All we can currently surmise is that they were aware of atleast one of them.

9, Following Trump's election and whilst still President Elect, it's been indicated that the Secret Service did brief the President Elect but by how much etc we have no real knowledge.

10, However Steele continued working on the report, with funding from Democrats long gone, what is not altogether clear is where the money was comming from. Some reports indicate it was from Steele's own resources and other saying financing was coming from Glenn R. Simpson of Fusion GPS.

11, Thus a third Steele Report / Dossier eventually surfaced. Again it's not entirely clear what happened, but initially it was indicated it was Steele himself who became "a true beliver" in the mainly unverified contents of the third Report / Dossier. Disapointed that it was being ignored, he posted it to all and sundry thus it became public.

12, Donald Trump called the report "Fake News" and in part he is probably correct. How much however is fake or verifiable is still unknown. I would expect some more to be verified with time, but if it is meaningfull is another matter, more one of how it can be spun by either side[10].

All we can currently say is that what would be the "common knowledge" asspects are true as they have been verified. As for the rest we know the old saws of "If you throw enough mud then some of it sticks" is true, along with "When you pay for what you get, you get what you pay for" and the more modern "A lie is half way around the world before the truth has got it's boots on".

As for people crying "Treason", well treason it's self is often a case of perspective not actuallity. In high level politics this is especially so and kind of goes hand in hand with US Executive Power, especially under "war conditions". In effect it only becomes Treason if self interested politicos get a sufficient majority together to act on it for some reason. I'm guessing it's getting a little late in the game to oust Trump by impeachment etc due to the mid terms and 2020. So it's going to be the slow drip drip drip like the Chinese Water Torture, by which time it will be the run up for 2020, where the fun will realy start.

Which begs the question about what the Republican game plan is, or if they even have one that is seriously actionable. The joke of it is that it might revolve not around the Republicans but what the DNC and Bernie Sanders get upto. Now that Hillary is in theory "dead meat" the DNC has a Bernie problem just like Trump made for the republicans. He might just decide to "go into the fold" but under entirely different circumstances... I guess we will have to wait and see if and who blinks first in both parties.

The only thing we know is that it will provide some entertainment for a while, maybe some supprises but mostly "the same old same old". Getting wound up about it is something for the young and foolish to rant and rave about. Wiser heads look below the surface stuff and nonsense froth, looking for the real trends society should actually worry about. Such as the latest tax trick where individuals tax breaks are minor but have a quite short sunset clause but corporate tax breaks are major but have no sunset clause. That realy should be of way more interest than if somebody "pissed the bed". Which of course raises the question which is "How much of a free run do the Republican legislators get, whilst the focus is well off of them?" and before a perspective power loss at the mid terms.




[4] Basically Steele was a "Known Person" to the Russian State Authorities especially the FSB (what once was the KGB) and he would have been grabbed as a suspect "NOC" or "Non Resident" the minute his foot touched "land side". Thus he had to use a web of intermediaries and no direct contact with sources.

[5] There is the old saw about "When you pay for what you get, you get what you pay for". Which applies very much when it comes to HumInt at the best of times. The problem with using intermediaries is that they end up knowing what it is you are looking for. As they have a financial interest in finding such information you most probably will get banal common knowledge that is verifiable spiced up with "the goods" that are not verifiable. The usuall rule is two or three independent trusted sources[6]. As his intermediaries would know Steele was at best a "contractor" they would "milk him" unless he had leverage other than money, which he would not have had as he was not even a contractor but a "freelancer" which is little more than a "Third Rate Gum Shoe" rating in that sort of world.

[6] Independent "verification" via paid resources is actuall not just difficult but very expensive and often impossible. Further it's quite doubtfull that Steele would have been sufficiently resourced. Either when he was being paid by one or other of the political parties or when he went "native" after the election. The latter is however a very very solid indicator that Mr Steele had lost not just his independence, but his detachment and rationality, which calls his entire Report / Dossier into significant question as well as killing his own career. Part of the problem is that the Russian Security Service has many parts and many hands open for palms to be crossed. It would be easy for a member of the security services to say "we have this film..." but unless it's made available it's not even hearsay, just money in somebodies pocket, who might be under orders or not, you can not find out. Even if there is a film it may not show what it's claimed it shows. But can we even show that a member of the Russian security services actually said such a thing? When it has come through one or more intermediaries who might just spice it up here or there for their own benifit. The problem is further exacerbated by people hearing what they want to hear thus add bias in all sorts of ways and claim proof when there is nothing to verify.

[7] The DNC had a problem, from other information that has leaked out, whilst some big money --but not enough-- was coming in via Hillary into the JFC a lot of little money was coming in for Bernie Sanders. From what has been implied this was a problem, Bernie was seen as more popular with voters than Hillary[8], thus the probability she was going to lose any way irrespective of who the Republicans gave the nod to from within their party. Thus the story that somebody put the fix in by diverting quite a bit of the Bernie money to Hillary[9], effectively starving the Bernie campaign... What the truth of this is we do not know, as currently it's in nobodies interest to investigate seriously as Hillary is now a "has been", fit only for the second or third tier "after dinner speaker" circuit.

[8] Hillary had a lot of baggage and skeletons not just in cupboards but every which place you could cram them in amongst which was hemorrhaging highly classified information in a way that could have arguably been treason (ie it could be argued she knowingly used an insecure mailserver deliberately because she knew it had been invaded thus used it as a "cut out"). Supposadly she was "big business friendly" which was not something voters were interested in after twenty years of downwards living at their hands. But the hidden problem was the blind spot of "Making History" with "the first woman President". Certain Democratic elements put a lot of focus on this, but the money comming through the door in the early days suggested it was actually not that important to the voters via their wallets and purses.

[9] According to,

99% of the money coming in to the Denocratic JFC was diverted by Hillary's campaign managers and staff directly to Hillary. What the truth of this is, is currently unclear but JFC's are a fiddle around campaign funding laws and thus yet another "back hander" stigma on the US Political process.

[10] One of the things I am known to complain about is the unscientific nature of modern forensics and the supoosed evidence it provides. Basically it argues back from effect to some guess at a cause, which is why so many modern forensic techniques have a short life before they are debunked. The problem runs deeper with non physical evidence, often it's a case of arguing from an invented effect back to an even less substantial cause with the "not illegal but telling" type argument etc by prosecuters. In effect rather than the prosecution having to prove their case, the defence has to disprove the prosecutuon innuendo and often out right false hoods such as concealing exonerating evidence and false testament by plea deals.

Sancho_PJanuary 1, 2018 6:11 PM

@but, Nick P

“The reality is there are a lot of people who have "access" to things in this environment.”

I had quite a time to chew on this comment. It is so simple and true, so obviously, I couldn’t see what it really means.

So there are a lot of people who have access to “secret” things they don’t need to know.

It could be
1) They are completely incompetent to keep secrets.
(Good night in case they’d get the backdoor keys)
2) They have secrets to entertain and to manipulate the staff (my deliberately testing Reality Winner is a possibility but would mean they are deliberately evil, which I’d not seriously assume).
It would be evil anyway.

Is there another possibility that I’m missing?

oh reallyJanuary 1, 2018 9:06 PM

"Is there another possibility that I’m missing?"

It's a massive overlapping enterprise, budgets aren't replacing key personnel in admins with chartered responsibilities, people are lackadaisical about document/personnel security... who knows what the key failure point was? No system is absolute, most aren't even run as designed.

But there also has been a trust in people with clearances not to be, well, stupid enough to try to surreptitiously remove sensitive information and not get caught. If you remove that last bit and they don't care if caught because this cause in their mind (for better or worse, it is their judgment) is worthy of them doing it anyway, there is not a single foolproof way to stop that.

R.W. was in the game a relatively long time. She speaks Pashto and other languages.
People like her are very valuable in this environment. She had big access over time.
Her record was good, as far as anyone could predict she would never be suspect.

Perhaps the sensitivity of the report warranted additional compartmentalization.
It basically lays out that the sitting POTUS is a traitor, liar, and knows it.
It also implicates a lot of other people who are now pleading guilty. It's big.

It is not fake news. Trump didn't fire Comey because he was "a lunatic" or "morale"
Muller doesn't go into work everyday and throw darts at a dartboard with a scotch.

If you've sworn an oath to service, you've sworn to support and defend the CONSTITUTION against enemies both FOREIGN and DOMESTIC. It says nothing about their station or wealth.

R.Winner decided that if nobody else in her eyes was going to stand up to Donald Trump's obvious continued lies and obstruction, she was going to.

She did a brave thing by that view. History will judge her less harshly than Donald Jumpsuit Drumpf.
Even Russian history.

Sancho_PJanuary 2, 2018 6:01 PM

@oh really

What you explain / excuse also hints at incompetence and lack of awareness. They somehow “know” that they can’t hold secrets but produce them anyway in masses.
To “trust in people” is in fact gullible. Once matured we should realize that people are diverse.

The foolproof way is not to have (many) secrets AND not to share them.
But to be honest, open and bold is the best way to face the world. To be clear now, rather than writing their anger into a “secret” diary they should confront Putin directly (but not in public) and offer details. Ask. Listen. But sissies can’t [1].

Reality Winner is (better: was ...) an intelligent, caring human, callow, but an idealist. You can’t simply keep them in a cage together with brainwashed “Yes, Sir” people. Without special, attentive oversight our most precious souls will freak out sooner or later. They must be convinced to stay in line.
It was the same problem with Manning and Snowden.
This is a classic failure in leadership, esp. known with weak supervisors.

The report is a joke, so yes, it should be kept secret (better: never written).
I don’t call the POTUS a traitor until convicted, and I doubt it anyway.
Trump is simple like a crocodile, he wants to do business and would love to do it even with the Russians, regardless of environment or the future of mankind.

No, I don’t think she was brave, she was naive.

He whom you call a traitor is not a sissy. He also is not a genius, but seems to be smart enough not to confront Putin with the kind of “evidence” the TLAs produce.

oh reallyJanuary 2, 2018 6:36 PM

"but an idealist."

- I think that's true. Everyone makes their own judgment in life.

"They somehow “know” that they can’t hold secrets but produce them anyway in masses."

Information is power. Secrecy is hard. Anything @ scale is scaled difficulty.
I don't think you'd advocate us having "no" intelligence agencies, right?
Personnel will always be a weak point in any organization.

"I don’t call the POTUS a traitor until convicted, and I doubt it anyway."

America allows people to hide their heads in the sand on all sorts of issues.
But he has been proven a massive liar already, and evidence of treason mounts.
Obstruction is its own crime. Emoluments, fraud, I mean the list is pretty long.

He wouldn't have tried so damn hard to shut the investigation down if there was nothing to see.
Literally the obstruction is why we are here, now, debating his imminent removal.

Jared tried to set up secret backchannel communications with Moscow. Nobody does that.
Moscow refused, rightly, because such a thing when discovered would be a smoking gun.
This isn't their first rodeo - it is Jared's first treason however.

These people are used to getting their way and having details "handled" -
It's clear they had no idea they were under the magnifying glass so early on.

"The report is a joke" -heh, oh? Ok.

Trump isn't laughing, he's crying and having screaming fits. It's pretty serious to them.

"No, I don’t think she was brave, she was naive."

You don't know her state of mind in any case. That's somewhat naive to assume, right?
Maybe she was very deliberate. We don't know. She was a professional, surely she knew the risks.

"But to be honest, open and bold is the best way to face the world."

On that we agree. Trump could have saved himself a lot of headache, were he actually innocent,
with that advice.

"Trump is simple like a crocodile, he wants to do business and would love to do it even with the Russians, regardless of environment or the future of mankind."

Past a certain point that's not a defense of treason. But you're spot on.
That's exactly why he ran. It was a business venture. Russia saw an opportunity.

I don't believe he expected to win, I think he expected to have a lot of campaign cash and connections to play around with - not to mention a boost to his cachet/brand.

It was never about America with him. Anyone who bought that slogan is a moron.

Ultimately we have a long road ahead of us, Republicans are actively trying to obstruct the investigation and point fingers in every other direction possible to shield the traitor.

Only a cleaned wound can heal. They risk making things worse for themselves.
But if you're old enough to remember a few years back, this is their SOP.
They're sellouts by any means necessary. They could give a crap about America.

Ask a veteran.

gordoJanuary 3, 2018 1:01 AM

Given the most recent Russia-gate MSM flip-flop, I'm reminded of novelist John Le Carré's rejoinder, from an interview this past September, "I think we follow the money trail." Given the nature of indictments, thus far, this seems to be the special counsel's true raison d'etre. More from Le Carré:

So I think the kompromat, if it's taken place, has taken place very largely through Trump's own endeavors to raise money in all sorts of dark places. And together, all those efforts amount to a self-compromising activity, which the Russians have embraced. I think they have him by the short hairs.

In other words, "collusion" is irrelevant.

In a manner of speaking, the same can be said of the relatively poor state of American election infrastructure (e.g., where there are no paper audit trails); not to mention the lack of "need to know" basis for accessing "top secret" documents; etc.:

She had access, for example, to a five-page classified report detailing a Russian attempt to access American election infrastructure through a private software company. This would be, ultimately, the document she leaked.

oh reallyJanuary 3, 2018 3:14 AM

"In other words, "collusion" is irrelevant."

In the context of obstruction of justice being a high crime by a considerable consensus, yes I agree.

Dan HJanuary 3, 2018 8:06 AM

@oh really

You seem to let Hillaryous slide, because she is a PROVEN liar. Even Comey initially drafted that she used "gross negligence" with her email server which would be criminal, until it was watered down to protect her. Comey even drafter her email server had a high probability of having been hacked, which means she exposed state secrets. That is a crime too.

Why did Hillaryous use COTS Blackberry devices instead of secured mobile devices offered by State?

If you want to talk obstruction, then why was Hillaryous able to delete 33,000+ emails that were under subpoena? Why was she able to destroy with a hammer and "lose" 17 mobile devices?

Dan H is a TrollJanuary 3, 2018 2:14 PM

@ Dan H

Comrade chatbot, your whataboutism is not changing the subject, troll.

EVEN BANNON agrees Donald Trump is a traitor.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday offered a fiery response to bombshell reports that Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist, had accused the president of meeting with Russian operatives after Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with them at Trump Tower in June 2016.

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” Trump said Wednesday in a statement. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

The statement continued: “Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look.”

BREAKING: Trump drops new statement, ripping into Bannon, arguing his former Chief Strategist “lost his mind.”

— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) January 3, 2018
Bannon was quoted by author Michael Wolff ― whose tell-all book about the White House is set for release on Jan. 9 ― as saying there was “zero” chance Trump didn’t know about his eldest son and son-in-law Jared Kushner meeting with Russian operatives. Bannon also called the meeting “treasonous” and “bad shit.”

oh reallyJanuary 3, 2018 2:19 PM

Donald Trump is a traitor, says Bannon.

"No sh*t" says literate Americans.

Dan H toils in whataboutism for no gain.

His hero is going to prison. Sad!

Sancho_PJanuary 3, 2018 5:47 PM

The topic is about Reality Winner, so I’ll try to keep my focus at her case.

Obviously with 1.4 million insiders the community is too big for secrets.[1]
She didn’t need to know. To give her access, was it stupidity, neglect or intent?
Who is accountable? The system? Nobody?
Who is accountable for not caring for her lability?
Are we deliberately damaging our future by monetizing our fragile kids?

”You don't know her state of mind in any case. That's somewhat naive to assume, right?”
Um, no, I’ve read her story, did you?

She was desperate [1] to help, from childhood on. She saw all the “secret” news, the “secret evidence” (I’m afraid she fell for it, too).
But she also saw no one was seriously attacking the paper (The Intercept) that is so skeptical regarding the meddling.
- How unfair they are, or don’t they know?
So she decided now it’s her turn to help, to reveal the “truth”, to help unveil the “traitor”.
Ever heard of (unfortunately a shallow article, empathy-joy doesn’t exist in the English wikipedia)?

However, as you know:
Any failed attack may strengthen the enemy … [1]

[1] 3x:
Obsession isn’t a good advisor.
Take care.

oh reallyJanuary 3, 2018 7:20 PM

"The topic is about Reality Winner, so I’ll try to keep my focus at her case."

She's only in the news because she released to the public a secret IC report that Trump's election was a deliberate pet project of Moscow, including evidence, which is a strong indication to the American people that Donnie was lying to their faces constantly about the most serious crime we have: Treason.

It directly contradicted the sitting President with evidence that was being kept from US public.
That's serious no matter what you say or think about Trump.

" I’ve read her story, did you? "

Sure. She speaks Pashto and Dari and has a record of doing her job well w/o incident for a decade.

She obviously got a Clearance. She obviously went to the mandatory briefings about laws.
She knew what she was getting into and what she was releasing - and she had access to more.

The fact that she only released this one thing is a strong indication that she was focused on that alone for a specific reason, and in fact risked her career and freedom to make sure people knew about it. She paid the price.

Calling her naive is naive. She'll get out of prison with her conscience in good standing.
The same certainly won't be said of Drumpf and Co.

I don't know why you'd expect anyone who lives in the US not to consider this a serious enough situation, a sitting traitor in office facing impeachment and trying to quash the investigation straight from the Watergate playbook, to talk about it at length.

If you think about it, holding criminals accountable is a fairly healthy obsession overall.
Certainly more healthy than obsessing about Ellen Degeneres and the deep pizza state, say.

These people are nutbars.

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