The computer server that the media should be fixated on

Putin-Trump-KissThe New York Times today soft-pedals the FBI investigation into the Kremlin candidate, Putin Pal Donald Trump, and members of his campaign staff’s connections to Russian oligarchs.

Buried deep in the Times report, Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia, is this passage:

In classified sessions in August and September, intelligence officials also briefed congressional leaders on the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump. They focused particular attention on what cyberexperts said appeared to be a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia’s biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin.

F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages — a first step for one system’s computers to talk to another — to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.

Anyone reading this abbreviated passage would be led to believe that this Trump computer server talking to Russian servers was no big deal.

That is until you read the lengthy and deeply detailed reporting of Franklin Foer at Slate, who interviewed the cyber experts who actually did the analysis and not just rely on what the FBI says,  like the Times reporters. Foer’s reporting raises serious questions about what is going on between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank. This is the computer server that the media should be fixated on.

Franklin Foer reports, Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?:

In late spring, this community of malware hunters placed itself in a high state of alarm. Word arrived that Russian hackers had infiltrated the servers of the Democratic National Committee, an attack persuasively detailed by the respected cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. The computer scientists posited a logical hypothesis, which they set out to rigorously test: If the Russians were worming their way into the DNC, they might very well be attacking other entities central to the presidential campaign, including Donald Trump’s many servers. “We wanted to help defend both campaigns, because we wanted to preserve the integrity of the election,” says one of the academics, who works at a university that asked him not to speak with reporters because of the sensitive nature of his work.

Hunting for malware requires highly specialized knowledge of the intricacies of the domain name system—the protocol that allows us to type email addresses and website names to initiate communication. DNS enables our words to set in motion a chain of connections between servers, which in turn delivers the results we desire. Before a mail server can deliver a message to another mail server, it has to look up its IP address using the DNS. Computer scientists have built a set of massive DNS databases, which provide fragmentary histories of communications flows, in part to create an archive of malware: a kind of catalog of the tricks bad actors have tried to pull, which often involve masquerading as legitimate actors. These databases can give a useful, though far from comprehensive, snapshot of traffic across the internet. Some of the most trusted DNS specialists—an elite group of malware hunters, who work for private contractors—have access to nearly comprehensive logs of communication between servers. They work in close concert with internet service providers, the networks through which most of us connect to the internet, and the ones that are most vulnerable to massive attacks. To extend the traffic metaphor, these scientists have cameras posted on the internet’s stoplights and overpasses. They are entrusted with something close to a complete record of all the servers of the world connecting with one another.

In late July, one of these scientists—who asked to be referred to as Tea Leaves, a pseudonym that would protect his relationship with the networks and banks that employ him to sift their data—found what looked like malware emanating from Russia. The destination domain had Trump in its name, which of course attracted Tea Leaves’ attention. But his discovery of the data was pure happenstance—a surprising needle in a large haystack of DNS lookups on his screen. “I have an outlier here that connects to Russia in a strange way,” he wrote in his notes. He couldn’t quite figure it out at first. But what he saw was a bank in Moscow that kept irregularly pinging a server registered to the Trump Organization on Fifth Avenue.

More data was needed, so he began carefully keeping logs of the Trump server’s DNS activity. As he collected the logs, he would circulate them in periodic batches to colleagues in the cybersecurity world. Six of them began scrutinizing them for clues.

* * *

The researchers quickly dismissed their initial fear that the logs represented a malware attack. The communication wasn’t the work of bots. The irregular pattern of server lookups actually resembled the pattern of human conversation—conversations that began during office hours in New York and continued during office hours in Moscow. It dawned on the researchers that this wasn’t an attack, but a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump Organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa Bank.

The researchers had initially stumbled in their diagnosis because of the odd configuration of Trump’s server. “I’ve never seen a server set up like that,” says Christopher Davis, who runs the cybersecurity firm HYAS InfoSec Inc. and won a FBI Director Award for Excellence for his work tracking down the authors of one of the world’s nastiest botnet attacks. “It looked weird, and it didn’t pass the sniff test.” The server was first registered to Trump’s business in 2009 and was set up to run consumer marketing campaigns. It had a history of sending mass emails on behalf of Trump-branded properties and products. Researchers were ultimately convinced that the server indeed belonged to Trump. But now this capacious server handled a strangely small load of traffic, such a small load that it would be hard for a company to justify the expense and trouble it would take to maintain it. “I get more mail in a day than the server handled,” Davis says.

That wasn’t the only oddity. When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages. They concluded that the server was set to accept only incoming communication from a very small handful of IP addresses. A small portion of the logs showed communication with a server belonging to Michigan-based Spectrum Health. (The company said in a statement: “Spectrum Health does not have a relationship with Alfa Bank or any of the Trump organizations. We have concluded a rigorous investigation with both our internal IT security specialists and expert cyber security firms. Our experts have conducted a detailed analysis of the alleged internet traffic and did not find any evidence that it included any actual communications (no emails, chat, text, etc.) between Spectrum Health and Alfa Bank or any of the Trump organizations. While we did find a small number of incoming spam marketing emails, they originated from a digital marketing company, Cendyn, advertising Trump Hotels.”)

Spectrum accounted for a relatively trivial portion of the traffic. Eighty-seven percent of the DNS lookups involved the two Alfa Bank servers. “It’s pretty clear that it’s not an open mail server,” Camp told me. “These organizations are communicating in a way designed to block other people out.”

Earlier this month, the group of computer scientists passed the logs to Paul Vixie. In the world of DNS experts, there’s no higher authority. Vixie wrote central strands of the DNS code that makes the internet work. After studying the logs, he concluded, “The parties were communicating in a secretive fashion. The operative word is secretive. This is more akin to what criminal syndicates do if they are putting together a project.” Put differently, the logs suggested that Trump and Alfa had configured something like a digital hotline connecting the two entities, shutting out the rest of the world, and designed to obscure its own existence. Over the summer, the scientists observed the communications trail from a distance.

* * *

The sweeping nature of Trump’s [denials of a Russian connection], however, prodded the scientists to dig deeper. They were increasingly confident that they were observing data that contradicted Trump’s claims.

In the parlance that has become familiar since the Edward Snowden revelations, the DNS logs reside in the realm of metadata. We can see a trail of transmissions, but we can’t see the actual substance of the communications. And we can’t even say with complete certitude that the servers exchanged email. One scientist, who wasn’t involved in the effort to compile and analyze the logs, ticked off a list of other possibilities: an errant piece of spam caroming between servers, a misdirected email that kept trying to reach its destination, which created the impression of sustained communication. “I’m seeing a preponderance of the evidence, but not a smoking gun,” he said. Richard Clayton, a cybersecurity researcher at Cambridge University who was sent one of the white papers laying out the evidence, acknowledges those objections and the alternative theories but considers them improbable. “I think mail is more likely, because it’s going to a machine running a mail server and [the host] is called mail. Dr. Occam says you should rule out mail before pulling out the more exotic explanations.” After Tea Leaves posted his analysis on Reddit, a security blogger who goes by Krypt3ia expressed initial doubts—but his analysis was tarnished by several incorrect assumptions, and as he examined the matter, his skepticism of Tea Leaves softened somewhat.

I put the question of what kind of activity the logs recorded to the University of California’s Nicholas Weaver, another computer scientist not involved in compiling the logs. “I can’t attest to the logs themselves,” he told me, “but assuming they are legitimate they do indicate effectively human-level communication.”

Weaver’s statement raises another uncertainty: Are the logs authentic? Computer scientists are careful about vouching for evidence that emerges from unknown sources—especially since the logs were pasted in a text file, where they could conceivably have been edited. I asked nine computer scientists—some who agreed to speak on the record, some who asked for anonymity—if the DNS logs that Tea Leaves and his collaborators discovered could be forged or manipulated. They considered it nearly impossible. It would be easy enough to fake one or maybe even a dozen records of DNS lookups. But in the aggregate, the logs contained thousands of records, with nuances and patterns that not even the most skilled programmers would be able to recreate on this scale. “The data has got the right kind of fuzz growing on it,” Vixie told me. “It’s the interpacket gap, the spacing between the conversations, the total volume. If you look at those time stamps, they are not simulated. This bears every indication that it was collected from a live link.” I asked him if there was a chance that he was wrong about their authenticity. “This passes the reasonable person test,” he told me. “No reasonable person would come to the conclusion other than the one I’ve come to.” Others were equally emphatic. “It would be really, really hard to fake these,” Davis said. According to Camp, “When the technical community examined the data, the conclusion was pretty obvious.”

The researchers were seeing patterns in the data—and the Trump Organization’s potential interlocutor was itself suggestive. Alfa Bank emerged in the messy post-Soviet scramble to create a private Russian economy. Its founder was a Ukrainian called Mikhail Fridman.

* * *

To build out the bank, Fridman recruited a skilled economist and shrewd operator called Pyotr Aven. In the early ’90s, Aven worked with Vladimir Putin in the St. Petersburg government—and according to several accounts, helped Putin wiggle out of accusations of corruption that might have derailed his ascent. (Karen Dawisha recounts this history in her book Putin’s Kleptocracy.) Over time, Alfa built one of the world’s most lucrative enterprises. Fridman became the second richest man in Russia, valued by Forbes at $15.3 billion.

Alfa’s oligarchs occupied an unusual position in Putin’s firmament. They were insiders but not in the closest ring of power. “It’s like they were his judo pals,” one former U.S. government official who knows Fridman told me.

* * *

Unlike other Russian firms, Alfa has operated smoothly and effortlessly in the West. It has never been slapped with sanctions. Fridman and Aven have cultivated a reputation as beneficent philanthropists. They endowed a prestigious fellowship. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the American-government funded think tank, gave Aven its award for “Corporate Citizenship” in 2015. To protect its interests in Washington, Alfa hired as its lobbyist former Reagan administration official Ed Rogers. Richard Burt, who helped Trump write the speech in which he first laid out his foreign policy, serves on Alfa’s senior advisory board. The branding campaign has worked well. During the first Obama term, Fridman and Aven met with officials in the White House on two occasions, according to visitor logs.

* * *

Tea Leaves and his colleagues plotted the data from the logs on a timeline. What it illustrated was suggestive: The conversation between the Trump and Alfa servers appeared to follow the contours of political happenings in the United States. “At election-related moments, the traffic peaked,” according to Camp. There were considerably more DNS lookups, for instance, during the two conventions.

DNS Query Timeline

In September, the scientists tried to get the public to pay attention to their data. One of them posted a link to the logs in a Reddit thread. Around the same time, the New York Times’ Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers began chasing the story. (See above).

* * *

The Times hadn’t yet been in touch with the Trump campaign—Lichtblau spoke with the campaign a week later—but shortly after it reached out to Alfa, the Trump domain name in question seemed to suddenly stop working. When the scientists looked up the host, the DNS server returned a fail message, evidence that it no longer functioned. Or as it is technically diagnosed, it had “SERVFAILed.” (On the timeline above, this is the moment at the end of the chronology when the traffic abruptly spikes, as servers frantically attempt to resend rejected messages.) The computer scientists believe there was one logical conclusion to be drawn: The Trump Organization shut down the server after Alfa was told that the Times might expose the connection. Weaver told me the Trump domain was “very sloppily removed.” Or as another of the researchers put it, it looked like “the knee was hit in Moscow, the leg kicked in New York.”

Four days later, on Sept. 27, the Trump Organization created a new host name, trump1.contact-client.com, which enabled communication to the very same server via a different route. When a new host name is created, the first communication with it is never random. To reach the server after the resetting of the host name, the sender of the first inbound mail has to first learn of the name somehow. It’s simply impossible to randomly reach a renamed server. “That party had to have some kind of outbound message through SMS, phone, or some noninternet channel they used to communicate [the new configuration],” Paul Vixie told me. The first attempt to look up the revised host name came from Alfa Bank. “If this was a public server, we would have seen other traces,” Vixie says. “The only look-ups came from this particular source.”

According to Vixie and others, the new host name may have represented an attempt to establish a new channel of communication. But media inquiries into the nature of Trump’s relationship with Alfa Bank, which suggested that their communications were being monitored, may have deterred the parties from using it. Soon after the New York Times began to ask questions, the traffic between the servers stopped cold.

Foer asked Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization for an explanation of the server communication and both denied any internet connection, and denied sending or receiving any communications from this email server.

Foer also asked for an explantion of what caused the Trump Organization to rename its host after the New York Times called Alfa.

I also asked how the Trump Organization arrived at its judgment that there was no email traffic. (Furthermore, there’s no such thing as “regular” DNS server traffic, at least not according to the computer scientists I consulted. The very reason DNS exists is to enable email and other means of communication.) She never provided me with a response.

What the scientists amassed wasn’t a smoking gun. It’s a suggestive body of evidence that doesn’t absolutely preclude alternative explanations. But this evidence arrives in the broader context of the campaign and everything else that has come to light: The efforts of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager (Paul Mananfort) to bring Ukraine into Vladimir Putin’s orbit; the other Trump adviser (carter Page) whose communications with senior Russian officials have worried intelligence officials; the Russian hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email.

We don’t yet know what this server was for, but it deserves further explanation.

The media that has been fixated on Hillary Clinton’s computer server needs to turn its attention to Trump’s computer server, and his Russian connections. Donald Trump may very well be “Putin’s puppet,” the Manchurian Kremlin candidate.

UPDATE: Think Progress raises some serious questions about The New York Times’ very fishy article about Trump and Russia and the leaks of information about pending investigations at the FBI.

24 responses to “The computer server that the media should be fixated on

  1. Gee Steve, my computer science degree might not matter to you but it does give me an edge. Treason is the word I use for Trump. Not mass hysteria, not bias, not feminine wiles. Thirty years of experience, with mistakes made and learned from beat out a flim-flam man any day of the week.

    • DeeAnn, I need to apologize for the snippiness of that last message. It was uncalled for. I am certain it offended you and I feel very badly about that.

      What I should have said is that without more evidence of what is going on, the use of the word traitor seems premature to me. It is a very serious charge with very specific requirements for prosecution. Anything financial Trump might be doing would not rise to that level and I doubt whatever he might be doing has anything to do with national security. He doesn’t have that kind of access. That is what I should have said.

      Again, I am very sorry for the nastiness of the that last message.

  2. DeeAnn Lett-Neal

    Steve, reading that you obviously know little about cyber-security, this is a YUGE deal. Trump has a dedicated server hooked to a Russian bank’s server sending emails. Of course, Wikileaks hasn’t hacked this one. When a reporter questioned the Trump Corp, they shut it down for a week, renamed it, and resumed business. Why? Whatever are they sending back and forth? Scam mail? I am more curious about what was sent then any teabagger could be about the Goldman Sach’s speeches. Just what does the FBI know about the “Russian” connection? This hints at Treason. Wonder who they will recruit for the firing squad, just saying.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      You are correct DeeAnn. I work in IT, I’ve overseen security before, this is bad.

      A connection to Russia means it’s time to set up a war room with all hands on deck. Their explanation makes no sense.

      I’d fire anyone on my team that said “regular DNS traffic” to anything other than a DNS server. You have to aim for a DNS server.

      A few years ago I set up a remote datacenter in Russia for a Silicon Valley company, the FSB (was KGB) wouldn’t even let my people into the MPOE, they controlled the internet connection.

      China was the same. Total nightmares for security, you need to work with people in these countries, but you can’t trust their governments.

      And a connection to Russia from a Trump server, in light of Paul Manafort’s issues and Trump’s business dealings, is a bright red flag.

      We all know Hillary has baggage, she’s a typical politician, I don’t see how that excuses crooked and rape-y Donald Trump from his long list of wrongdoing.

      • “A connection to Russia means it’s time to set up a war room with all hands on deck.”

        This statement is why it is so frightening to have democrats in charge of the White House. For some strange reason, democrats LOVE to go war. In the 20th Century, with the exception of Iraq and the Bushes, EVERY war this country has fought started with democrats. Yet the GOP is supposed to be the war lovers. Hillary has demonstrated she is willing to go to war for the flimsiest of reasons and her rhetoric indicates she is still the hawk she has always been.

        “We all know Hillary has baggage, she’s a typical politician, I don’t see how that excuses crooked and rape-y Donald Trump from his long list of wrongdoing.”

        It doesn’t excuse Trump, but it doesn’t excuse her, either. And Hillary’s transgressions go further than the “typical politician”.

        I see that you working up to voting for Hillary. Of course, there was never any doubt that is where you were headed. You didn’t have any choice…

        • For Sure Not Tom

          Awesome post. But your slip is showing.

          I work for a place deemed “too big to fail”, by your boy G.W. Bush, the guy who started the last two wars (that we’re still fighting).

          And a war room filled with smart people is where we fight in 2016. Economic warfare has been digitized.

          Some of your money lives on my servers, sport, I’m sure it’s a small slice of the trillion or so but I’ll remember this post, and next time someone from Russia tries to connect to your money (which happens daily/hourly/every minute) I’ll remember your words and I’ll make a Starbucks run.

          Go back to sleep, Trollboy, the grownups are protecting you while you dream.

          • Cyber-warfare is just part of “How we fight wars today”, Not Tom. Or did you forget that we are still fighting the war that Bush created? While cyber-warfare is critical and I am happy we have good people taking care of it, what I worry most about is the “shooting” wars. Both are critical to our national security, but that Nuclear Football that accompanies the President everywhere he goes has some definite real world implications that are preeminent.

            I am happy for you that you work for a “too big to fail” company. It is good to have job security these days. When I retired from the Army I had several job offers, but I really didn’t want to work for someone else. So I started a business. Fortunately, after a few shakey years, it took took off and was very successful. When I retired from the business after my bout with cancer and turned it over to my Daughter, I had over 200 employees (most of which have degrees, many with advanced degrees), the business was booming, and I am now able to annoy you on this blog. Life is good.

            “Go back to sleep, Trollboy, the grownups are protecting you while you dream.”

            Two points: (1) I am very aware, and very grateful that some grownups stand guard while I sleep. I take pride knowing I trained their leaders and wrote much of their doctrine…and I sleep easy; and, (2) It took AzBM a while to learn, so I suspect it will take you a while, also, that being called a troll doesn’t bother me at all.

            And thank you for taking care of my assets. I’ll sleep better knowing you stand watch over them.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          “In the 20th Century, with the exception of Iraq and the Bushes, EVERY war this country has fought started with democrats.”

          Weird, in my lifetime, I don’t recall Jimmy “Born Again” Carter starting any wars.

          I don’t recall Bill “8 years of peace and prosperity” Clinton starting any wars. Sexual assaults are not wars.

          And I haven’t noticed Barrack Hussein “No Drama Obama” starting any wars.

          Your list of wars by the way is incomplete.

          The first Iraq war was started after Iraq got tired of Kuwait stealing its oil by slant drilling, and for some reason we sided with the thieves. Daddy Bush owns that one.

          The second Iraq war was started because, in the words of Carl Rove, “Saddam had to go, he was manipulating the price of oil”.

          Baby Bush owns that quagmire.

          The war in Afghanistan was an over-reaction to a horrific crime and started by Baby Bush. Another quagmire.

          The invasion and occupation of Panama, by former CIA head Bush the First, was done after one of the CIA’s little drug snitches got loose.

          We invaded and occupied an entire country, killing 3000 civilians in the process, because the CIA screwed up under a Republican.

          Reagan invaded a tiny island of Grenada, population 80,000 at the time, so ‘Merican’s could feel better about themselves after it turned out that killing 3 million Vietnamese didn’t win the war as hoped.

          We can talk about Vietnam more if you want, thanks to Daniel Ellsberg, a Great American Hero, we know that Truman (D) started funding the French in Vietnam, I Like Ike (R) continued the secret funding, and along with Kenney/Johnson (Ds) sent in “advisors” and expanded our role.

          But for real good old all American let’s go kill ’em all, you need to tip your hat to Nixon/Kissinger (Rs).

          So ‘Nam was a group effort. Nixon/Kissinger could have let the South and North sign a treaty but promised the South a better deal if they kept the war going until Nixon was elected. Yeah, that’s treason right there.

          You’re statements about Democrats starting wars would seem to apple mostly to FDR (D) and WW2.

          I wasn’t born yet.

          You are a failure at trolling, because you do not seem to know things. You don’t seem to know important things.

          But you’re good at “putting things out there”, because good trolls know once you put something out there, it’s almost impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

          You spread misinformation and propaganda and you seem to have no shame.

          • I hope you are better at IT than history, Not Tom. I have pretty much given up on your reading what I write because you misquote me practically every time. Let’s go back to the original statement and try and sort through your inability to understand what I wrote and your confused grasp of history. Quote:

            “In the 20th Century, with the exception of Iraq and the Bushes, EVERY war this country has fought started with democrats.”

            Jesus, where to start? First of all, I NEVER said EVERY democrat started a war. I said EVERY war except for Iraq and the Bushes was started by a democrat. Here you go: WW1 – Wilson, WW2 – FDR, Korea – Truman, Vietnam – Kennedy (I am talking units of troops on the ground, DA, not funding, not a few advisors), Iraq & Afghanistan (the same war) – Bush. Cuba, Panama I, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Grenada and Panama II were NOT wars, they were minor incursions where we committed few resources and were in and out in a very short while. If you can’t see the difference you are either willfullt ignorant or an idiot.

            “But for real good old all American let’s go kill ’em all, you need to tip your hat to Nixon/Kissinger (Rs).”

            Your ARE ignorant of history, aren’t you? You see, DA, Vietnam was started by Kennedy, continued by Johnson, and finished by Nixon. Like Obama, Nixon had a war dropped in his lap by democrat predecessors. And, like Obama, Nixon did as good a job as he could with what was handed to him.

            “Nixon/Kissinger could have let the South and North sign a treaty but promised the South a better deal if they kept the war going until Nixon was elected.”

            I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read that. It sounds like any one of a thousand of crack pot conspiracies that floated around during the Vietnam years and it sounds EXACTLY like something you would latch on to during your “Google searches”. You don’t remember, but the Vietnam years were more impassioned and divided than even this election has been. When you do your research you have to be careful because there is a lot of crap from that period, proponents of which are still around, that will embarrass you, as this statement should have.

            “I wasn’t born yet.”

            That is the worst excuse for not knowing about history I have ever heard. But it does have an upside because that is one dependable thing about you…you provide unexpected moment of humor. I don’t think you intend to do so, but you do. It makes your postings fun to read.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            US involvement in Vietnam started under Truman, a Dem, so I’m taking your side on that one, he was secretly funding the French. Why don’t you know things?

            Here’s a link to the Johnson tapes. This is not a “google search”, it’s history.

            bbc dot co.uk/news/magazine-21768668

            Again, why don’t you know things? And by mocking “google searches” you’re mocking fact checking, which sounds about right in your case.

            Carter, Clinton, and Obama have started zero wars, 40 years of Dem’s not starting wars. Your “fears” are unfounded in modern times.

            Modern times meaning since I was born. But you go ahead and blame Dems for the Inquisition while you’re at it.

            You’re backpedaling, and you troll at a JV level.

          • “US involvement in Vietnam started under Truman, a Dem, so I’m taking your side on that one, he was secretly funding the French. Why don’t you know things?”

            (HUGE SIGH!) TRY….READING….WHAT….I….WRITE!
            I specified that “funding and advisors” do not count as war. For criminy sake! Even you should be able to understand that. If you use that as a standard for “war” then we have been, and are, at war nearly everywhere at all times since 1940.

            As I told you earlier, I know you think you are one of the smartest posters on this sight, which you may be for all I know, but I know for certain you are one of the most gullible. “The Johnson Tapes”? That’s your source? The time when Johnson was trying desperately to justify what he did during his term in office? A man who mucked it up so bad he couldn’t even run for another term. At the time those statements were ridiculed as pathetic excuses for why we were so mired in Vietnam that we couldn’t figure out how to get out. Almost 500,000 troops in Vietnam and no sign of an end. Johnson tried to say that he had a treaty in the works, but General Giap’s (The commander of North Vietnamese troops fighting us) personal papers from the time talk about how stupid Johnson was thinking they would come to the table to talk a treaty. They were preparing for the Tet Offensive and afterwards realized they could defeat us if they just held one. Turns out they were correct. Nixon had nothing to do with interrupting treaty talks.

            If you are going to quote, find reliable history.

            “…by mocking “google searches” you’re mocking fact checking…”

            No, I was mocking YOU, DA. You are like Chicken Little, running around going, “Google! Google! Google!”. Google is only a tool, it is not the “see all, be all” you think it. Search enough on Google and you find contradictory evidence for whatever you are searching. Fact checking is great but when that is the sum total of you, that’s sad. Instead of “knowing”, try “thinking”. It is actually a better use of your time. But, then again, you are an IT guy…

          • For Sure Not Tom

            “Instead of “knowing”, try “thinking”.

            Awesome. Just awesome.

          • I would say, “Thank you!”, but I can tell by the dullness of your response that you don’t understand the difference.

            This is not a complete explanation but it will do until I decide to explain it further for you. I think you might comprehend this: Understanding the difference between “knowing” and “thinking” is the reason you will always work for someone else as opposed to actually being the boss.

            On second thought, maybe it will help if I explain that the word “thinking” does not mean “thinking that you know”, it means honest, cogitative, cerebral process of “thinking” on a subject. If you were instinctively capable of doing it I wouldn’t have to explain this, but I don’t believe you are.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            “If you were instinctively capable of doing it I wouldn’t have to explain this, but I don’t believe you are.”

            I get it, Steve, everyone thinks they’re the good guy, they’re playing for the team on the side of truth and justice.

            So you “think” that your party is the party of peace, Dems start all the wars, and you’re confused when facts prove otherwise. You lash out at the person challenging your views.

            You “think” Hillary Clinton is a criminal mastermind, and you resist fact checking, because your identity is so tied up in being a good conservative on the side of freedom and never wrong.

            It’s called cognitive dissonance. You’d rather continue with your “feelings” than learn the truth, because you don’t want to admit you’ve been fooled.

            I take back my suggestion that you learn to fact check. You just be happy. Keep being you.

          • “So you “think” that your party is the party of peace…”

            No, I don’t. Both parties are capable of war mongering (e.g. – Bush in Iraq).

            “You “think” Hillary Clinton is a criminal mastermind…”

            No, I don’t. She and Bill are exceedingly cunning and sly and know how to play politics. I doubt we will ever understand the full extent of the crimes committed by the Clinton Machine.

            “…and you resist fact checking, because your identity is so tied up in being a good conservative…”

            My identity is not ties up with being a conservative. It is a relatively small part of who I am. I don’t resist fact checking. I just don’t waste my time presenting it here for two reasons: (1) they won’t let me post third party conservative messages here, and (2) even if they did, people like you would brand the sources illegitimate because they were conservative news sources. So what is the point in trying to do so.

            “It’s called cognitive dissonance. You’d rather continue with your “feelings” than learn the truth, because you don’t want to admit you’ve been fooled.”

            That’s funny. I have thought the very same thing about you. You brand conservative news sources as ridiculous and illegitimate, filled with lies because they do not recite the leftist screed.

            “You just be happy. Keep being you.”

            I will. Life has rewarded me well.

    • Treason, DeeAnn?!? Really? I think you are allowing your Trump hatred to push you into near hysteria. It is too simple to merely push people like me aside because “…[I] obviously know little about cyber security”. Of course you would be more suspicious about what is going on with Trump than Hillary, you are partisan for Hillary. That blinds you to any other possibility concerning Trump. He MUST be doing something traitorous.

      I’ve got news for you, DeeAnn…your Hillary is as corrupt as Trump. You refuse to see it, but she is nonetheless. Either one of these two will be a criminal going into the White House.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Why don’t you know things? Give us an example, with a source, on where Hillary is more corrupt than Trump.

        Post a link, Little Trollboy, or crawl back under your rock.

        • “Why don’t you know things? Give us an example, with a source, on where Hillary is more corrupt than Trump.”

          What would be the point, Not Tom? Regardless of what I cited, you would discount it and rant that Trump is much worse. I don’t need to waste the time and you don’t need the rise in blood pressure. Certainly not while you are guarding my money! ;o)

          It is interesting how protective of Hillary you have become now that you are going to vote for her.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            “What would be the point…”

            Seriously? The point would be that I’d check your work, and if it turns out you’re correct, I’d STFU and give you credit.

            But you can’t do it because you’re full of happy horse crap.

            When you say this – “You often go out on a limb with the most tenous and fragile connections in order to draw sweeping conclusions of what you think is – or wish would be – happening. ”

            ….You’re projecting.

            Put up or shut up, please. Please, please, please shut up. People like you are dividing this country with innuendo and myths and fantasy.

            You’re an enemy of America.

          • “Seriously? The point would be that I’d check your work, and if it turns out you’re correct, I’d STFU and give you credit.”

            No, you wouldn’t. You would stumble around and make at least three excuses why it didn’t count, it was wrong, and Trump was so-o-o much worse. Don’t give yourself credit that you might fair about it. You are as partisan as they come.

            “Put up or shut up, please. Please, please, please shut up.”

            No.

            “People like you are dividing this country with innuendo and myths and fantasy.”

            Or, conversely, it is people like you who lack the ability to understand things that have not been spelled out for you in Google. Not all things in life are to be found in Google, DA.

            “You’re an enemy of America.”

            As I said in another post, you are unexpectedly funny many times. I am not an enemy to anyone at all. That does not mean I like the idea of America as you see it, but I have a good enough grasp of history to know that even if liberalism comes back for a little while, it will, once again, fade away because Americans are not basically liberal. Most immigrants coming in are not liberal. Near term, liberals are making some inroads; long term the picture is not so good for liberalism. But “an enemy of America”? Not likely. I’m not even your enemy. I like corresponding with you. Besides, DA, you would hardly be the judge of who is or isn’t…

          • For Sure Not Tom

            By continually pushing the narrative the Democrat running for President is a criminal and not just another politician you are delegitimizing your opponent.

            You are doing this based on nothing but your “feelings”, yet you spout off with authority, as if your feelings were facts.

            Because you can’t get your way using well thought out arguments, you are reduced to lying, innuendo, slander.

            So please share all the crimes of Clinton, being specific, or shut up.

            When conservatives abandon reality they become a threat to democracy.

          • s I keep telling you, it would be a waste of time with you. You are not prepared to believe anything negative about her, so a presentation (which would take some time) would be met with your denunciations as to source, fact, situation, etc. It’s just not worth the time…but, rest assured, I will NOT shut about it. When you vote for her, you need to know you are voting for a criminal.

            “When conservatives abandon reality they become a threat to democracy.”

            When you vote for a criminal for President you are a threat to Democracy.

  3. You often go out on a limb with the most tenous and fragile connections in order to draw sweeping conclusions of what you think is – or wish would be – happening. You overwhelm your reader with thousands of words dangling the most nebulous niblet of whimsicle “evidence” in front of them, described from twenty different directions, referencing names of “renowned no one is any better experts” no one has ever heard of, all offered up by you as proof positive of some deep seated conspiracy with the ultimate power to derail the universe. You either ignore or denigrate alternate explanations for your “jewel of discovery”.

    This posting, though, has to be the most hysterical you have ever posted. I read it from top to bottom, and nowhere in it can you do anything other than hint there a server – a SINGLE ISOLATED SERVER – sometimes communicates with another server. Not regularly, and no one has any idea what, if anything, is being communicated. You assume – because it’s Trump – that it must be nefarious and evil. Operating on nothing more than that little sniglet of information, you build a huge case against Trump for collusion and underhanded dealings.

    Yet, with all the evidence that Hillary is a liar, a cheat and violates the law on a regular basis, you scream bloody murder that she is as pure as snow and can do no wrong.

    I know you are smart and you are a decent writer, but do you see the hypocrisy in this?

  4. American Vendetta

    This is stunning. Of course it is too complex for the media and much more provocative for them to continue to be baited by Wikileaks and the FBI. Speaking of the FBI…guess this was not all that important. However, that “stand up guy” Comey went ahead and continued his own Wikileak influence on the election today with the release of the Bill Clinton Rich pardon. What a POS. The FBI has become a political arm of the right now.