Friday, February 23, 2018

Mother of Sandy Hook school killer wrote her son a check to buy a gun as a Christmas present days before he committed Dec. 2012 mass murder of Sandy Hook school children. The son shot his mother dead with a gun legally owned by her before going to school and killing the children-Yahoo News, 11/25/2013

Sandy Hook killer's mother "was not allowed to enter his room." If she had entered, she might have known her son "extensively researched other mass shootings--including the Columbine shootings--and had compiled a spreadsheet about them."

11/25/2013, "Sandy Hook report: Shooter’s mom wanted to buy him gun for Christmas," Yahoo News, Liz Goodwin, Sr. National Affairs Reporter

"The mother of mass killer Adam Lanza wrote her son a check to buy a pistol as a Christmas present in the days leading up to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, according to an official report out Monday.

Nancy Lanza--who was killed by her 20-year-old son last December [2012] before he killed six women and 20 children at the Connecticut elementary school--told friends a month before the shooting that she was concerned about her son. He had not left the house for three months, and he communicated with her only via email, she said. She was not allowed to enter his room.

But despite what seemed like mental health warning signs, the police found a check in the Lanza home for a CZ 83 pistol, which Nancy Lanza intended to give to her son over the holidays, according to a report released by a Connecticut state's attorney. The check’s date section read “Christmas Day.

“The mother wanted to buy the shooter a CZ 83 pistol for Christmas and had prepared a check for that purchase to give the shooter,” the report reads.

The Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle Lanza used in the elementary school, as well as the four other weapons recovered from the crime scenes, belonged to his mother. She purchased them legally, and had a permit for their use. The report doesn’t make it clear whether Nancy Lanza had the weapons locked away in her home or whether her son had free access to them.

Adam Lanza frequently went target shooting with his mother and brother between 2010 and 2012, and had taken rifle safety classes with them. Fifty-two-year-old Nancy Lanza used target practice as a way to bond with her withdrawn and troubled son, according to a February Hartford Courant/Frontline investigation.

This fact led some to blame Nancy Lanza for her son’s crimes, even though she was one of his 27 victims. In the days after the shooting, the New York Post plastered her photo on its front page, with the headline, "Gun-obsessed mom taught murderer son to shoot."

Her friends defended her from the criticism, saying she taught him gun safety and spent much of her time trying to help her son navigate his many mental health issues. "She's been described as some sort of gun nut or survivalist and this other misconception that she was a bad mother," Nancy Lanza’s friend John Bergquist told Frontline. But he said her life "revolved around caring for Adam."

Nancy Lanza did not fear that her son was violent, but she was concerned about his behavior, the state’s attorney’s report reveals. Lanza had a variety of mental health diagnoses — including obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and Asperger syndrome — but refused all treatment that was recommended to him. 

"The shooter disliked birthdays, Christmas and holidays," the report reads. "He would not allow his mother to put up a Christmas tree. The mother explained it by saying that shooter had no emotions or feelings. The mother also got rid of a cat because the shooter did not want it in the house."

Officials say Lanza’s attack was premeditated and that it’s unknown if his mental health issues contributed to his decision to commit his crimes. He extensively researched other mass shootings — including the Columbine shootings — and had compiled a spreadsheet about them."


2/19/2013, "New photos, details emerge of Newtown mass shooter Adam Lanza," Yahoo News, Liz Goodwin
"Adam is believed to have shot his mother four times in the head as she slept on Dec. 14 before shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary, where he attended school as a child, and killing 20 children and six women. He then took his own life....

Nancy raised Adam and his older brother in their Newtown home on her own after she and her husband separated in 2001. In 2009, the couple officially divorced, and Adam abruptly cut off contact with his father in 2010 for reasons that are unclear....

Her friends say Nancy used target practice as a way to bond with her withdrawn son. Police also uncovered thousands of dollars worth of violent video games in the Lanzas' home. Police believe Adam may have been inspired by the video games he played in the attack, since he changed the magazines of his weapons more frequently than was necessary, Frontline reported....

The 20-year-old had been spending more time alone in his mother's $500,000 home in the affluent Connecticut suburb in the months leading up the shooting, Courant reporters Alaine Griffin and Josh Kovner found. Adam's social world gradually began shrinking after he left Newtown High School at the age of 16 to enroll in a nearby college, where he made As and Bs before withdrawing there, as well. Since 2010, Adam had not attended school....

In the months before the attack, Nancy took frequent trips and left Adam at home unsupervised--including on one trip this past Thanksgiving--in an attempt to make him more independent."... 


Thursday, February 22, 2018

March for Our Lives has financial backing of Bloomberg group, Everytown for Gun Safety, the highest profile gun control group in the US, founded with $50 million Bloomberg pledge-BBC, Washington Post

Bloomberg himself is surrounded by armed bodyguards, a privilege he'd deny others. 1/28/2013, "NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg uses bodyguards to bully journalist in Washington," PJ media...At :20: Mattera to Bloomberg: "In the spirit of gun control, will you disarm your entire security team?" Bloomberg: "Uh, we'll get right back to you." Mattera: "You'll get back to me?...And you're an advocate for gun control?"... 


2/18/18, "In Florida aftermath, US students say 'Never Again'," BBC,

"They have announced the March for Our Lives to take place on 24 March, in conjunction with the Everytown for Gun Safety, calling for the prioritisation of children's lives in the gun control debate."...

6/20/2016, "Inside the Bloomberg-backed gun-control group’s effort to defeat the NRA," Washington Post, Catherine Ho

"Everytown for Gun Safety, the nation’s highest-profile gun-control group, [is] largely bankrolled by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg."...


Added: "March for Our Lives" student founder, Cameron Kasky, recently appeared on CNN. Kasky is on record spewing violent and hateful rhetoric from his Facebook pages, posted below. (He recently scrubbed these pages from his site):

2/22/18, "Schoolboy Cameron Kasky," tcth, sundance

"As awkward as it is to see a boy utilized as a political tool, note the nuance, comfort, preparation and defensive narrative positioning of the  [CNN] moderator, Jake Tapper. The aggregate event was a very carefully orchestrated pantomime. The boy, Cameron Kasky, is nothing more than a puppet on a string playing a role....

The U.S. media apparatus...consistently indoctrinate and manipulate children. Indeed, in the history of Fabian political advancement children have always been a focus point for advancing their authoritarian control objectives....

Prior to appearing on CNN schoolboy Cameron Kasky scrubbed his Facebook page. However, the internet is forever.

I can’t even fathom the ideological mentality and immaturity of the boy’s parents. This is exactly what setting up a kid for a life of misery and shallowness looks like."...images above from tcth

Added: Bloomberg group, "Everytown for Gun Safety":

6/20/2016, "Inside the Bloomberg-backed gun-control group’s effort to defeat the NRA," Washington Post, Catherine Ho

"Everytown for Gun Safety, the nation’s highest-profile gun-control group, [is] largely bankrolled by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg....

The [Everytown] Survivor Network is just one component of Everytown’s aggressive crusade to change the gun-control debate in the United States....Everytown is seeking to disrupt the debate with a richly funded, rapid-action and unconventional lobbying campaign that is starting to reap some results at the state level, though federal action is stalled....

Everytown views itself as a counterweight to the powerful National Rifle Association, which has historically dominated the gun-control debate.

“The gun lobby has had its way in state legislatures for decades, had its way in Congress for decades,” said Everytown Executive Director John Feinblatt, a former aide to Bloomberg in the mayor’s office. “They wanted to convince the American public of their invincibility, to convince the American public that what America stood for was guns anywhere, held by anyone, at any time. There has been no friction in many ways.”

Feinblatt’s group is seeking to provide that friction. Since its launch in April 2014, Everytown has grown from about a dozen employees to 130.

Its spending has also exploded. Headquartered in midtown Manhattan, the group spent $37 million in 2014, the most recent year for which there are publicly available tax filings. That included $4.6 million on political campaign activities; $3.5 million on advertising and promotion; $2 million on travel; $1.7 million on lobbying; and $580,000 on polling. When the group launched, Bloomberg pledged $50 million to support the effort.

By comparison, the NRA in 2014 spent $345 million, including $57 million on advertising, $5.8 million on political campaign activities and $1 million on lobbying, according to the group’s tax filings. The NRA says a more comparable figure to Everytown’s $37 million, though, is the $20 million the NRA’s lobbying arm spent in 2014.

Everytown’s tactics do not sit well with everyone. The NRA calls the group’s use of survivors exploitative and says it seeks to restrict Second Amendment rights to further the political agenda of “an anti-gun billionaire.”

“They use tragedy and exploit victims to push their policy agenda because they can’t win the argument based on facts,” said Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs for the NRA’s lobbying arm. “The tragedies Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control group exploit to push their agenda would not have been prevented by the gun-control policies they want to enact.”

Baker countered Everytown’s claim that they are a counterweight to the NRA, citing the NRA’s larger grass-roots network.

“They have a lot of financial resources — that’s why their voice is being heard,” Baker said. “But they will never be able to replicate what the NRA does, because the NRA represents 5 million dues-paying members across the country who believe in the Second Amendment. They have Michael Bloomberg’s checkbook.”

Everytown blends the elements of a national political campaign with traditional shoe-leather lobbying, celebrity endorsements, a volunteer network and digital outreach. The group’s leaders say they get money from about 100,000 donors, many of whom give in $10 or $25 increments.

Most unique to Everytown is the way it recruits and leverages survivors personally affected by gun violence, both among its paid staff and in its massive volunteer network.

That is mainly through its Survivors Network, which is growing.

Last year, the group launched a fellowship program — which has since nearly doubled from 35 to 61 fellows — to train survivors of shootings in public speaking, testifying before lawmakers and doing interviews with the media. McNeil, the shooting survivor in Mobile, completed the fellowship this spring.

A number of Everytown’s paid staffers have been personally touched by gun violence, viewing their professional purpose as inextricably intertwined with those experiences.

Colin Goddard, a senior policy advocate in Everytown’s Washington office, was shot four times during the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. The mother of Ashley Cech, a program associate for the Survivor Network, was a librarian during the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting [enacted with a gun that belonged to the shooter's mother-whom he shot dead before killing the school children] who barricaded a door to keep the shooter out.

Goddard and Cech essentially function as grass-roots lobbyists, knocking on doors to try to persuade voters to support stricter gun laws or vote for supportive candidates. Both were part of the group’s 2014 canvassing effort in Oregon that helped elect two state senators who back universal background checks.

Perhaps more than anyone, Goddard represents the passion and purpose — and, at times, frustration and disenchantment — of being on the front lines of the gun-control movement. Working as an advocate has been therapeutic but not always easy.

“This work is difficult,” Goddard said. “You feel like you make a lot of progress, but then you hear of a shooting and feel like you’re back at square one. . . . I don’t want to do this forever.”

Recruiting survivors to the cause is a delicate dance that, tragically, is often spurred by mass shootings.

To date, Everytown’s most successful growth campaign came in 2014, immediately following the shooting in Isla Vista, where a man killed six people, including 20-year-old Christopher Michaels-Martinez. In the days after, Michaels-Martinez’s father, Richard Martinez, made an emotional plea to the public.

“Today, I’m going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: ‘Not one more,’ ” he said in an interview with The Washington Post after the shooting. “People are looking for something to do. I’m asking people to stand up for something. Enough is enough.”
Feinblatt was watching Martinez speak and thought out loud: 

“Can’t we do that? Can we make a tool that you can put your name on and it spits out your address?”

So they did — Everytown’s digital team created an online postcard people could fill in their name on and send to lawmakers. They ended up delivering 1.2 million signed postcards to the White House, Congress and governors’ offices and drew 300,000 new people to join Everytown.

Focused on the states, with an eye on Washington

Everytown’s primary legislative goal is to enact more comprehensive background checks in the states, particularly those where sales — at gun shows, over the Internet, or private ones — can skirt them.

The group runs legislative campaigns in about 30 states at any given time, which include lobbying in state capitols and pushing to elect candidates whose positions echo its own. The effort is gaining traction, but the wins are incremental, labor-intensive and costly.

Since Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn., states have collectively enacted 242 new firearms laws. About 40 percent of them strengthen gun laws, and 36 percent weaken them; the remaining have had minimal impact, according a 2015 analysis by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The group adopted its state-based strategy from the marriage equality movement. And, borrowing a strategy from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Everytown has recruited hundreds of volunteer mothers across the country, called “Moms Demand Action,” to act as their surrogates to testify before local legislators, hold events and rally support.

Everytown has successfully lobbied for the passage of stricter gun laws in five states over the past three years — Oregon, Washington, Connecticut, New York and Delaware — and earlier this year led efforts in Maine and Nevada to get initiatives on the ballot in November. The NRA is fighting both.

But the other side claims just as many victories. The NRA takes particular pride in the outcome of November’s Virginia state Senate race.

Everytown invested $2.3 million in trying to defeat two NRA-backed Republicans and gain a Democratic majority in the state Senate. They defeated one, but Republicans held on to the majority. West Virginia this year enacted legislation that allows people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, despite Everytown’s staunch lobbying against the policy.

Shaping popular culture

Everytown’s campaign also goes well beyond the legislative realm — the group wants to shape the debate in popular culture. It is partnering with celebrities and pushing major retailers such as Chipotle and Target — with some success — to prohibit customers from bringing guns into their stores.

Last Christmas, Everytown partnered with the NBA to produce television commercials featuring Stephen Curry and Chris Paul speaking out against gun violence.

In January, Feinblatt flew to the Sundance Film Festival to help promote three documentaries about gun safety. The following week, the group hosted a show at Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan, headlined by “Saturday Night Live” alum Rachel Dratch and featuring Fred Armisen.

And in February, it worked with actor Julianne Moore to launch the Everytown Creative Council, a group of 120 actors, directors, comedians and other celebrities."...


On 1/18/2013 Bloomberg was in Washington, DC for a Mayors conference. It was a logical time to ask about the privilege of armed guards he enjoys but would deny others:

Above, 1/18/2013: At :20: Mattera asks Bloomberg: "In the spirit of gun control, will you disarm your entire security team?

Bloomberg: "Uh, we'll get right back to you." Mattera: "You'll get back to me?...And you're an advocate for gun control?"...

Above, 1/18/2013: At :30, Bloomberg body guard blocks Mattera from speaking to Bloomberg any further.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Florida school shooter's former guardian kicked him out of her Florida trailer after a dispute over his gun collection. Shooter's 17 year old brother was committed by guardian the day after the massacre. Now guardian seeks control of shooter's inheritance from his deceased mother-NY Post

2/20/18, "Woman who cared for Florida shooter wants control of his inheritance," NY  Post, by Laurie Mizrahi and Max Jaeger, Parkland, Florida

"The woman left in charge of the accused Florida school shooter and his brother after their mom died last year filed court papers the day after the massacre seeking to be put in charge of the dead woman’s will — then had the alleged shooter’s brother involuntarily committed, a source close to the family revealed to The Post.

Shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, and brother Zachary Cruz, 17, were put in the care of Roxanne Deschamps after their mom, Lynda Cruz, died from pneumonia on Nov. 1, but Deschamps kicked Nikolas out of her Lantana, Fla., trailer after a standoff over Cruz’s gun collection.

She even took $2,900 from the teen before giving him the boot, a source close to Deschamps told The Post.

Police say Nikolas admitted that he shot up his former high school Feb. 14, killing 17 and injuring 15 in the worst school shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.

The following day, Deschamps filed a petition to administer Lynda’s estate, court records obtained by The Post show.

If the petition is granted, she would be responsible for settling Lynda’s debts and doling out the kids’ inheritance. Lynda did not leave a will, and the petition filed does not indicate what her estate is worth, records show.

A family who took Nikolas in said he stood to inherit $800,000 on his 22nd birthday following his mom’s death.

Cruz told them he believed Deschamps was trying to steal his inheritance.

If Deschamps’ petition is granted, she could charge the estate a fee for settling it for the kids, though that fee would be subject to a judge’s review, according to Florida probate lawyer Robert Wolf, who is not involved in the case.

Deschamps filed the petition on the grounds she is “caring for a 50 percent minor beneficiary” — Zachary — according to court papers.

But the source said Deschamps was the one who had Zachary involuntarily committed on Friday. The state cannot hold minors for observation more than 12 hours unless there is a medical reason. It is unclear if he has been released.

Deschamps had six months from Lynda’s Nov. 1 death to file the petition, and her attorney Audra Simovitz called the decision to file the day after the slaughter “appropriate.”

Deschamps has declined to comment.

Cruz could still get his share if convicted, though “anything that boy inherits — he’s gonna be sued and it’s gonna be taken away,” Wolf said."


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Total Russian trolls spent on key swing states: Pennsylvania $300, Michigan $823, Wisconsin $1979, per Senate Intelligence Committee. Per Facebook, over half the money was spent AFTER the election-Mark Simone, Byron York


Per Senate Intelligence Committee, total Russian trolls spent "rigging" key states:

Wisconsin: $1979
Michigan: $823
Pennsylvania: $300

From Mark Simone Twitter, 2/19/18

Additional source:

"Looking at key states, the total spent on ads targeting the super-important state of Pennsylvania was just $300, according to Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr. Ad spending in another key state, Michigan, was $823. In Wisconsin, it was $1,979....

"Facebook said that of ad "impressions"...just 44 percent came before the election, while 56 percent came after the election, and thus did not affect its outcome. And about 25 percent of the ads were never seen by anyone, Facebook added."...

2/20/18, "A Non-Alarmist Reading of the Mueller Russia Indictment," Byron York, 


Voting machines in US 50 states aren't connected to the internet, per Vermont Sec. of State Jim Condos-NPR, All Things Considered, 2/19/18

State voting machines are not connected to the internet. Therefore, no "election hacking," "attempted election hacking," "attempts to infiltrate," or "infiltration" of 2016 voting machines could possibly have taken place. If ISIS, Russia, or anyone else wants to "hack" an internet connected US entity in 2018 they can do so with top-secret NSA computer code US has used to break into foreign government networks. Since August 2016, NSA hacking software has been available on the internet. No surprise, since an NSA employee removed secret data for 16 years and no one noticed.

2/19/18, "States Seek To Prevent Election Hacking,", All Things Considered, produced by NPR and WNYC 

"NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Vermont Secretary of State and President-elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State Jim Condos, about state's efforts to protect elections from hacking. Feb 19, 2018"

NPR host: "America's intelligence agencies are urging officials from Washington to state capitols to get ready. They expect Russia to try to hack this year's midterms, just as it [allegedly] tried to infiltrate the 2016 elections."...
NPR host: "But when it comes to actual attempts to "hack into" voting machines, tell me about the steps Vermont is taking to prevent that from happening."

Jim Condos, Vt. Sec. of State: "First I want to be very, very clear. The vast majority of the states use similar but different machines. And none of those machines are connected to the internet." 

Mr. Condos notes that 100% security is not possible on any computer.


Comment: Everyone agrees no computer is 100% safe. Simple solution: Election data such as voter roles, registration, etc., should be handled as they were before computers existed. The "cyber security industry" (hi, CrowdStrike) can make its trillions without massive US taxpayer handouts. 

Added: US "hacking" tools, not those of ISIS or Russia, are most likely to be used against US targets in 2018. Since being placed on the internet in August 2016, stolen NSA hacking tools have already been used against US entities. Officials say an NSA insider most likely removed the data. The NSA and US government, not Russia, are proved to be the greatest danger to Americans. "NSA can't keep its most valuable data from being stolen, or as it appears in this case, being used against us."... 8/21/2016, Reuters...."United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands." 6/28/17, NY Times 


In August 2016, a group called Shadow Brokers announced it was auctioning off highly classified National Security Agency hacking tools. Since then, NSA's finest cyber weapons have been used to attack US entities:

6/28/2017, "Hacks [using NSA weapons] Raise Fear Over N.S.A.’s Hold on Cyberweapons," NY Times,

"A series of escalating attacks using N.S.A. cyberweapons have hit hospitals, a nuclear site and American businesses. Now there is growing concern that United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands.... 

Though the identities of the Shadow Brokers remain a mystery, former intelligence officials say there is no question from where the weapons came: a unit deep within the agency that was until recently called “Tailored Access Operations.”...

For the American spy agency, which has invested billions of [taxpayer] dollars developing an arsenal of weapons that have been used against the Iranian nuclear program, North Korea’s missile launches and Islamic State militants, what is unfolding across the world amounts to a digital nightmare. It was as if the Air Force lost some of its most sophisticated missiles and discovered an adversary was launching them against American allies — yet refused to respond, or even to acknowledge that the missiles were built for American use. 

Officials fret that the potential damage from the Shadow Brokers leaks could go much further, and the agency’s own weaponry could be used to destroy critical infrastructure in allied nations or in the United States....

In the past two months [2017], attackers have retrofitted the agency’s more recent weapons to steal credentials from American companies. Cybercriminals have used them to pilfer digital currency....

The [Tuesday, June 2017] attacks inflicted enormous collateral damage, taking down some 2,000 global targets in more than 65 countries, including Merck, the American drug giant, Maersk, the Danish shipping company, and Rosneft, the Russian state owned energy giant. The attack so crippled operations at a subsidiary of Federal Express that trading had to be briefly halted for FedEx stock....

Armed with the N.S.A.’s own tools, the limits are gone.

“We now have actors, like North Korea and segments of the Islamic State, who have access to N.S.A. tools who don’t care about economic and other ties between nation states,” said Jon Wellinghoff, the former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission."...


Added: "
Even the arrest of whoever is responsible for the leaks may not end them."

11/12/2017, "Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core," NY Times, Scott Shane, Nicole Perlroth, David E. Sanger 

"A serial leak of the agency’s cyberweapons has damaged morale, slowed intelligence operations and resulted in hacking attacks on businesses and civilians worldwide....

Current and former agency officials say the Shadow Brokers disclosures, which began in August 2016, have been catastrophic for the N.S.A., calling into question its ability to protect potent cyberweapons and its very value to national security. The agency regarded as the world’s leader in breaking into adversaries’ computer networks failed to protect its own.... 

The Snowden trauma led to the investment of millions of dollars in new technology and tougher rules to counter what the government calls the insider threat. But N.S.A. employees say that with thousands of employees pouring in and out of the gates, and the ability to store a library’s worth of data in a device that can fit on a key ring, it is impossible to prevent people from walking out with secrets.... 

Mr. Williams said it may be years before the “full fallout” of the Shadow Brokers breach is understood. Even the arrest of whoever is responsible for the leaks may not end them, he said — because the sophisticated perpetrators may have built a “dead man’s switch” to release all remaining files automatically upon their arrest.

“We’re obviously dealing with people who have operational security knowledge,” he said. “They have the whole law enforcement system and intelligence system after them. And they haven't been caught.""... 

"If that’s the case, it's one more reason to question the usefulness of an agency that secretly collects private information on millions of Americans but can't keep its most valuable data from being stolen, or as it appears in this case, being used against us."... (8/21/2016, Reuters)

(NY Times): "Long known mainly as an eavesdropping agency, the  


as an especially productive way to spy on foreign targets. The intelligence collection is often automated, with malware implants — computer code designed to find material of interest — left sitting on the targeted system for months or even years, sending files back to the N.S.A.

The same implant can be used for many purposes: to steal documents, tap into email, subtly change data or become the launching pad for an attack. T.A.O.’s most public success was an operation against Iran called Olympic Games, in which implants in the network of the Natanz nuclear plant caused centrifuges enriching uranium to self-destruct. The T.A.O. was also critical to attacks on the Islamic State and North Korea. 

It was this arsenal that the Shadow Brokers got hold of, and then began to release."...

Additional Reuters source on NSA theft:

8/21/2016, "Commentary: Evidence points to another Snowden at the NSA," Reuters, James Bamford, commentary

Added: First public awareness of massive NSA code breach was August 2016 with Shadow Brokers announcement though the theft may have occurred months before. Theft includes NSA code that enables malware to stay on systems for years undetected.

8/16/2016, "Shadow Brokers’ Leak Raises Alarming Question: Was the N.S.A. Hacked?" NY Times, David E. Sanger 

Print ed. August 17, 2016, Page A1 of New York ed. with the headline: Top-Secret Code Released by Hackers Points to Breach at N.S.A.

"The release on websites this week of what appears to be top-secret computer code that the National Security Agency has used to break into the networks of foreign governments and other espionage targets has caused deep concern inside American intelligence agencies, raising the question of whether America’s own elite operatives have been hacked and their methods revealed. 

Most outside experts who examined the posts, by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, said they contained what appeared to be genuine samples of the code--though somewhat outdated--used in the production of the N.S.A.’s custom-built malware.

Most of the code was designed to break through network firewalls and get inside the computer systems of competitors like Russia, China and Iran. That, in turn, allows the N.S.A. to place “implants” in the system, which can lurk unseen for years and be used to monitor network traffic or enable a debilitating computer attack. 

According to these experts, the coding resembled a series of “products” developed inside the N.S.A.’s highly classified Tailored Access Operations unit, some of which were described in general terms in documents stolen three years ago by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor now living in Russia. 

But the code does not appear to have come from Mr. Snowden’s archive, which was mostly composed of PowerPoint files and other documents that described N.S.A. programs. The documents released by Mr. Snowden and his associates contained no actual source code used to break into the networks of foreign powers.

Whoever obtained the source code apparently broke into either the top-secret, highly compartmentalized computer servers of the N.S.A. or other servers around the world that the agency would have used to store the files. The code that was published on Monday dates to mid-2013, when, after Mr. Snowden’s disclosures, the agency shuttered many of its existing servers and moved code to new ones as a security measure....

Around the same time, WikiLeaks declared that it had a full set of the files — it did not say how it had obtained them — and would release them all in the future. The “Shadow Brokers” had said they would auction them off to the highest bidder....

The N.S.A. would say nothing on Tuesday about whether the coding released was real or where it came from. Its public affairs office did not respond to inquiries.... 

There are other theories, including one that some unknown group was trying to impersonate hackers working for Russian or other intelligence agencies. Impersonation is relatively easy on the internet, and it could take considerable time to determine who is behind the release of the code.

The Shadow Brokers first emerged online on Saturday, creating accounts on sites like Twitter and Tumblr and announcing plans for an auction. The group said that “we give you some Equation Group files free” and that it would auction the best ones. The Equation Group is a code name that Kaspersky Labs, a Russian cybersecurity firm, has given to the N.S.A. 

While still widely considered the most talented group of state-sponsored hackers in the world, the N.S.A. is still recovering from Mr. Snowden’s disclosures; it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars reconfiguring and locking down its systems.

Mr. Snowden revealed plans, code names and some operations, including against targets like China. The Shadow Brokers disclosures are much more detailed, the actual code and instructions for breaking into foreign systems as of three summers ago.

“From an operational standpoint, this is not a catastrophic leak,” Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, Calif., wrote on the Lawfare blog on Tuesday. 

But he added that “the big picture is a far scarier one.” In the weeks after Mr. Snowden fled Hawaii, landing in Hong Kong before ultimately going to Russia, it appears that someone obtained that source code. That, he suggested, would be an even bigger security breach for the N.S.A. than Mr. Snowden’s departure with his trove of files.

However, the fact that the code is dated from 2013 suggests that the hackers’ access was cut off around then, perhaps because the agency imposed new security measures."...


Added: NSA employee, Harold T. Martin III, removed classified NSA material, took it home for 16 years, and no one noticed. His home was finally raided on August 27, 2016. He's not believed to be connected to Shadow Brokers:

5/16/2017, "Malware Case Is Major Blow for the N.S.A.," NY Times, Scott Shane

"He has long held a high-level clearance and for a time worked with the N.S.A.’s premier hacking unit, called Tailored Access Operations, which breaks into the computer networks of foreign countries and which developed the hacking tools later obtained by the Shadow Brokers. According to one person briefed on the investigation, Mr. Martin was able to obtain some of the hacking tools by accessing a digital library of such material at the N.S.A....

Mr. Martin, an enigmatic loner who according to acquaintances frequently expressed his excitement about his role in the growing realm of cyberwarfare, has insisted that he got in the habit of taking material home so he could improve his skills and be better at his job, according to these officials. He has explained how he took the classified material but denied having knowingly passed it to anyone else....

The material the F.B.I. found in his possession added up to “many terabytes” of information, according to court papers, which would make it by far the largest unauthorized leak of classified material from the classified sector. That volume dwarfs the hundreds of thousands of N.S.A. documents taken by Edward J. Snowden in 2013 and exceeds even the more voluminous Panama Papers, leaked records of offshore companies obtained by a German newspaper in 2015, which totaled 2.6 terabytes. One terabyte of data is equal to the contents of about one million books.

F.B.I. agents on the case, advised by N.S.A. technical experts, do not believe Mr. Martin is fully cooperating, the officials say. He has spoken mainly through his lawyers, James Wyda and Deborah Boardman of the federal public defender’s office in Baltimore.... 

In interviews, officials described how the Martin case has deeply shaken the secret world of intelligence, from the N.S.A.’s sprawling campus at Fort Meade, Md., to the [Obama] White House. They expressed astonishment that Mr. Martin managed to take home such a vast collection of classified material over at least 16 years, undetected by security officers at his workplaces, including the N.S.A., the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Pentagon offices. And they are deeply concerned that some of the mountain of material may, by whatever route, have reached hackers or hostile intelligence services. 

Investigators discovered the hacking tools, consisting of computer code and instructions on how to use it, in the thousands of pages and dozens of computers and data storage devices that the F.B.I. seized during an Aug. 27 [2016] raid on Mr. Martin’s modest house in suburban Glen Burnie, Md. More secret material was found in a shed in his yard and in his car, officials said. 

The search came after the Shadow Brokers leak set off a panicked hunt at the N.S.A. Mr. Martin attracted the F.B.I.’s attention by posting something on the internet that was brought to the attention of the N.S.A. Whatever it was — officials are not saying exactly what — it finally set off an alarm. 

The release of the N.S.A.’s hacking tools, even though they dated to 2013, is extraordinarily damaging, said Dave Aitel, a former agency employee who now runs Immunity Inc., an information security company. 

“The damage from this release is huge, both to our ability to protect ourselves on the internet and our ability to provide intelligence to policy makers and the military,” Mr. Aitel said.

The N.S.A.’s hacking into other countries’ networks can be for defensive purposes: By identifying rivals’ own hacking methods, the agency can recognize and defend against them, he said. And other countries, with some of the N.S.A.’s tools now in hand, can study past hacks and identify the attacker as the N.S.A., learn how to block similar intrusions, or even decide to retaliate, Mr. Aitel said. 

Mr. Martin, 51, a Navy veteran who was completing a Ph.D. in information systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, has worked for several of the contracting companies that help staff the nation's security establishment. After stints at the Computer Sciences Corporation and Tenacity Solutions, where he was assigned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, he joined Booz Allen Hamilton in 2009. He worked on that firm’s N.S.A. contract until 2015, when he was moved to a different Pentagon contract in the area of offensive cyberwarfare."...image from NY Times



Florida school killer had key to gun safe his guardian didn't know about. "After Wednesday's shootings, he realized Mr. Cruz had an extra key"-Wall St. Journal

2/19/18, "Family Who Housed Florida School Shooter Describes the Days Before the Attack," Wall St. Journal, Zolan Kanno-Youngs 

"The days before Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire in a high school in Parkland, Fla., were normal, said James Snead, the man who was housing the 19-year-old....

Mr. Cruz had lived with the Snead family for only a few months. Mr. Snead and his wife had invited Mr. Cruz, a friend of their son, to move in after his mother died in November.

Mr. Snead, a gun owner, said he required Mr. Cruz to follow house rules. He told Mr. Cruz that he would need his own gun safe for his firearms in order to live with the Sneads. Mr. Cruz owned “five or six guns,as well as pellet guns, and they were all bought legally, Mr. Snead said.

“He followed [the rules] to the T,” Mr. Snead said. Mr. Snead had what he thought was the only key to the safe, he said. After Wednesday’s shootings, he realized Mr. Cruz had an extra key.

He definitely had a key to the gun safe I didn’t know about, Mr. Snead said.

A Broward County sheriff spokeswoman said the investigation is ongoing and declined to comment further. The public defender’s office, which is representing Mr. Cruz, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Cruz faces 17 charges of premeditated murder for the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Since the killings, neighbors and classmates have described disturbing behavior by Mr. Cruz, including an obsession with weapons. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said it didn’t follow up on a January tip about Mr. Cruz’s behavior. A former neighbor said she called the police two years ago after Mr. Cruz posted on social media that he wanted to shoot up a school."...


Monday, February 19, 2018

Violent mobs assembled in wait to attack defenseless Trump ralliers 'promoted discord in the US and undermined confidence in democracy:' San Jose, Calif. police witnessed Trump supporters "running for their lives," attacked by violent mobs as they tried to walk to their cars after Trump rally, 6/2/2016. Victims were "punched, kicked, spit on and even robbed" of personal belongings. "It became inherently dangerous for anyone wearing a T-shirt or hat in support of Trump." Police didn't intervene "for fear for their own safety"-San Jose Mercury News, 6/8/2016

6/8/2016, "Trump supporters were 'running for their lives' after San Jose rally, police report says," San Jose Mercury News, Mark Gomez

6/2/16, Running for his life amid parking garage ambush, photo Merc. News

"Two undercover police officers at a Donald Trump rally last week said they saw Trump supporters “get punched, kicked and pushed” and “running for their lives,” according to a police report.

The plainclothes officers said they did not intervene for fear their own safety would be jeopardized as the estimated 400 protesters developed a “mob mentality.”

The officers’ observations were included in the arrest report of Antonio Moses Fernandez, 19, of San Jose, who is accused of throwing a metal barrier into a police skirmish line following the Trump rally June 2 outside the San Jose Convention Center. Fernandez made his first court appearance Tuesday and was charged with felony assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer, according to court documents....

“When there’s an assault on a police officer, we don’t have any tolerance for that,” prosecutor Chris Boscia said.

So far Fernandez is the only person to be criminally charged stemming from the violence that erupted outside Trump’s rally last week. Three other people were also arrested the day of the rally, including Ahmed Abdirahman, 19, of Santa Clara, and Robert Trillo, 18, both on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon, and Michael Kitaigorodsky, 19, of San Jose, on suspicion of refusal to disperse.

Three juveniles were also arrested, police said Wednesday. A 16-year-old and a 17-year-old, both of San Jose, were arrested for felony assault with a deadly weapon. A 16-year-old Milpitas resident was arrested for misdemeanor battery. Their names were not released because they are minors. The attacks were seen in television reports....

One of the undercover officers wrote that he was “monitoring protesters from within the crowd” and estimated there were 250 protesters gathered behind barricades at 6 p.m., about one hour before Trump’s scheduled arrival. That number grew as the evening wore on.

As the crowd grew, the officer noted that “it became inherently dangerous for anyone wearing a T-shirt or hat in support of Trump. I observed Trump supporters being spit on, objects being thrown at them, punched, kicked and even robbed of their personal belongings. 

In these instances, I observed victims running for their lives. 

A second undercover officer reported seeingseveral individuals wearing Trump articles of clothing get punched, kicked and pushed. Due to the crowd size and volatility, officers (both uniform and plain clothes) were unable to help most victims.”

Just after 8 p.m. police issued an order for the crown to disperse. At 9:10 p.m. the undercover officers witnessed Fernandez throw a metal barricade into officers dressed in full riot gear. One officer was injured after being hit by the barricade, according to the report.

The undercover officers say they witnessed Fernandez pick up a second barrier and then put it down. One witnessed Fernandez remove his shirt and use it to cover his face. One of the undercover officers eventually tackled Fernandez and held him down until uniformed officers arrived to make the arrest. During a police interview, Fernandez denied throwing the barrier into the police line. 

In the face of critics who charge police did little to protect Trump supporters, Police Chief Eddie Garcia has defended his officers’ handling of the protest. Garcia insisted that it was more important for police to hold their “skirmish line” formations than to stop individual attacks.

“We are not an ‘occupying force’ and cannot reflect the chaotic tactics of the protesters,” Garcia told reporters. Unless a victim’s life was in peril or the violence was “spiraling out of control,” he said,  

officers held back to avoid inciting more violence and having the crowd turn on officers. 

He also said the 250 police weren’t enough to control about 400 protesters.

Following the rally several videos appeared on various social media sites and captured some of the attacks. A police task force is reviewing video evidence of the assaults and other possible crimes from the protest. Monday the police department announced more arrests were “imminent,” but so far no additional arrests have been announced. 

San Jose police are asking anyone with information about physical assaults at the Trump rally or videos of the violence to contact their Assaults Unit at 408-277-4161 or leave a tip with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867) or" image from Mercury News


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Mueller Wanna Cry: Most of 13 Russian trolls in Mueller indictment haven't worked for troll factory in a long time and not during elections, per Russian journalist co-author of Oct. 2017 report on Russian trolls. Most of multi-million dollar alleged Mueller 'findings' on Russian trolls were published in Oct. 2017 by Russian magazine, RBC. As to fake Black Fist group--it didn't begin until 2017...AFTER the election-Washington Post, 2/18/18

2/18/18, "The Russian journalist who helped uncover election interference is confounded by the Mueller indictments," Washington Post, Adam Taylor

"A 37-page indictment issued by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team on Friday brings fresh American attention to one of the strangest elements of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election: The Internet Research Agency (IRA), a state-sponsored “troll factory” in St. Petersburg (Russia).

But much of the information Mueller published on Friday about the agency’s efforts to influence the election had already been published last October [2017]--in an article by a Russian business magazine, RBC.

In a 4,500-word report titled “How the 'troll factory' worked the U.S. elections,” journalists Polina Rusyaeva and Andrey Zakharov offered the fullest picture yet of how the “American department” of the IRA used Facebook, Twitter and other tactics to inflame tensions ahead of the 2016 vote. The article also looked at the staffing structure of the organization and revealed details about its budget and salaries.

Zakharov agreed to answer some questions for [Washington Post] WorldViews about his reaction to the details about the IRA in Mueller’s indictments (Rusyaeva left journalism after the story came out, although she stresses she did not do so because of a reaction to the story). 

Zakharov explained how it was a strange feeling seeing something he had so closely investigated become a major issue in the United States, when it had not been a “bombshell” when he published his report at home.

The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.

[Washington Post] WorldViews: You’ve read the Mueller document. What was your reaction to it?

Andrey Zakharov: Well, of all the people who are mentioned there, only some people were the real top managers of the troll factory. Like [Mikhail] Bystrov, who’s been the head of all its legal entities for a long time. He’s a former policeman. Another guy is [Mikhail] Burchik. We wrote about him. He was the executive director of the troll factory for a long time. And the last guy is Jeyhun Aslanov. He was and I think he’s still with the head of American department. Both Aslanov and Burchik always denied that had something in common with the factory, Bystrov never commented it.

The other staff mentioned are very incidental. I mean, it seems like they put down all the names they could get. Some were people who worked there in 2014--but most of these guys didn’t work for the troll factory for a long time. They didn’t even work there during the elections. Like Krylova, she didn’t work there then. [Aleksandra Krylova is one of the two named Internet Research Agency employees the indictment said traveled to the United States in 2014.]

It looks like they just took some employees from the that American department whose names they could get. But the American department was like 90 people. So my reaction was that, for me, it was like that curious list of oligarchs and Kremlin authorities where they put the whole Forbes list and the whole Kremlin administration on it. It’s very strange.

I was also very surprised that they wrote private about the private messages of one girl [Irina Kaverzina]. She wrote to relatives that FBI is following them and so on. I think they read her emails. I was very surprised by that. But generally, they seem to have got people who were not careful--who used their own email accounts or registered Twitter accounts to Russian phone numbers.

[Washington Post] WV: I saw some people on social media who suggested that the Mueller team must have read your report. Do you think that’s true?

AZ: That they read it? Probably. Some of your U.S. colleagues used to contact me. Maybe some of them worked for your government, I don’t know. Nobody who said they were from Mueller’s team contacted me. I’ve never told people more than we wrote anyway.

[Washington Post] WV: What was it that made you feel it was time to do a big investigation into the American section of the troll factory?

AZ: In March [2017] we investigated the troll factory but at that time we focused on another part of it — its work setting up official media agencies. At the end we wrote that the troll factory worked before and after the U.S. elections, and we put some statistics like 15 million likes and shares in one week and some details of the stories they were sharing. Then we forgot about the story.

But when Facebook and Twitter announced at the beginning of September that they closed a lot of accounts, your colleagues started to write to us about whether we knew more about this activity. We decided that everybody is so interested in the story, we should make a second investigation. We reviewed what we had uncovered in March, got some more information and wrote it.

[Washington Post] WV: Is it difficult to report on? 

AZ: For us it was easier. I lived in St. Petersburg before and worked as a journalist there. Russian media has been covering the troll factory since 2013, long before the big investigation in the New York Times Magazine [6/7/2015]--and by the way, most of the things in that were just taken from my colleagues.

And so I used to write about the troll factory. I already had sources there. Some of my friends had even worked there as a journalist. Polina [co-author of Oct. 2017 article] had sources, too. But yes, in some cases they were scared. In some cases, foreign colleagues asked us whether our sources would speak to them, but they were too scared to talk with anyone else. 

[Washington Post] WV: When the story came out, what was the reaction from the Russian authorities?

AZ: It was, it was very interesting, because there was no official reaction. And at that time people here were already tired of the everyday news from your country was “the Russians did it.” I can’t say it was a bombshell.

We tried to focus only on what happened. We didn’t try to understand whether there was real influence on the election or not. And I still believe that nobody measured that properly. Yes, they were very active, but whether the influence was big or small? Nobody knows. We just wanted to show how they worked.

[Washington Post] WV: Do you think that Americans misunderstand the troll factory then?

AZ: I just don’t know. When I went in this investigation I thought that maybe we should just take all authentic groups and all movements on Facebook and then compare that with these fake groups which were posted right by the troll factory. Maybe there are more members in the authentic groups? We didn’t do it. But nobody has really tried to measure whether the influence was great or not.

It was very strange when your media started to look into the groups. It was almost like a competition, you know. “We found out that this group was operated by Russians!” but then you’d look at this group and you’d find it only had 100 members. For some time, it looked a lot like your colleagues were just going after facts and not really analyzing it. There was that big investigation of those Macedonian guys, remember? They established fake pro-Trump groups, and their groups were huge. But even though it was said that these Macedonian guys influence American people, everybody forgot about it.

Also, everyone has focused on the pro-Trump groups. What we saw was that they were trying to spread tension in the society, talking about problems people had with black people, Islam and so on.

They organized anti-Trump rallies also. Yes, they were active against Hillary [Clinton], but they were not always pro-Trump. 

They were also active after the election. The story about the Black Fist movement--fake movement self-defense classes for black people--they started this story in 2017, after Trump was elected
[Washington Post] WV: Do you still keep tabs on what the factory is doing?

AZ: We knew that after Facebook and Twitter blocked their groups, they still had groups and accounts with lots of followers, but we couldn’t find them. By the end of the last year, we knew that the American group was still active, but not by the same scale as before.

They are proud of their work. For them it was really fun: 90 people sitting in St. Petersburg [Russia], organizing groups with thousands and thousands of likes. It was a very successful social media marketing campaign.

[Washington Post] WV: What are the big questions left about the troll factory?

AZ: Well we all know who is supposed to be running this factory. We just can’t prove it without phrases like “supposed to be” and so on. I think that should be investigated more. I also wonder what those guys [Aleksandra Krylova, Anna Bogacheva and a third unnamed agency staffer] really did in the U.S. in 2014. It is not like they are intelligence people, but I'm not sure.

And for your colleagues, the biggest question is still: Was the influence great or not?

[Washington Post] WV: Do you have a personal opinion on that?

AZ: I don’t know. It’s difficult. Nobody is interested in answering that question. Everybody is so divided about this story now. If pro-Trump people look into it, nobody would believe them. If anti-Trump people look into it, nobody would believe them.

A lot of Russian conservatives were proud. They said: “Look at what Russians can do! Only 90 people with $2 million made America scared! We are strong!” And for conservative people here, they see that Americans have CNN, Radio Free Europe, etc., that cover Russia. They say, “Why can’t we establish groups in America and have our own influence? That's how conservative people think here. They think this was normal."