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White House Coordinated on Clinton Email Issues, New Documents Show

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Emails obtained by the Republican National Committee find close contact with Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign in early 2015

Byron Tau reports: Newly disclosed emails show top Obama administration officials were in close contact with Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign in early 2015 about the potential fallout from revelations that the former secretary of state used a private email server.

Their discussion included a request from the White House communications director to her counterpart at the State Department to see if it was possible to arrange for Secretary of State John Kerry to avoid questions during media appearances about Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement.

In another instance, a top State Department official assured an attorney for Mrs. Clinton that, contrary to media reports, a department official hadn’t told Congress that Mrs. Clinton erred in using a private email account.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

The previously unreported emails were obtained by the Republican National Committee as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records of Mrs. Clinton’s time in office. The RNC provided to The Wall Street Journal only some of the emails, leaving it unclear what was in the remaining documents. The RNC said it released only emails relevant to the communication between the White House and State Department.

Secretary of State John Kerry was interviewed on CBS shortly after the existence of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server became known. Photo: Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

Secretary of State John Kerry was interviewed on CBS shortly after the existence of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server became known. Photo: Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs, and strategy at the nonpartisan advocacy group Issue One and an expert on ethics and campaign finance, said the email exchange would probably raise no legal concerns because federal law permits members of the White House staff to engage in some political activity.

Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement has dogged her campaign for months, with Republicans and other critics saying it shows a carelessness with government secrets and undermines her claim to good judgment. Donald Trump’s campaign posted a statement on his website last month saying the Obama White House knew Mrs. Clinton was using a private email server.

Mrs. Clinton has acknowledged the arrangement was a mistake, but she has rejected the notion that national secrets were placed at risk. Her campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment about the new email disclosures.

The emails highlight the revolving door between the State Department, the White House and the Clinton campaign in early 2015 as Mrs. Clinton geared up to run for president. Read the rest of this entry »

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IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Teen Stoner Says He Hacked CIA Director’s AOL Account 

CIA Director John Brennan’s private account held sensitive files — including his 47-page application for top-secret security clearance — until he recently learned that it had been infiltrated, the hacker told The Post.panic-betty

“I think they’ll want to make an example out of him to deter people from doing this in the future.”

Other emails stored in Brennan’s non-government account contained the Social Security numbers and personal information of more than a dozen top American intelligence officials, as well as a government letter about the use of “harsh interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, according to the hacker.

The FBI and other federal agencies are now investigating the hacker, with one source saying criminal charges are possible, law enforcement sources said.

“I think they’ll want to make an example out of him to deter people from doing this in the future,” said a source who described the situation as “just wild” and “crazy.”

“I can’t believe he did this to the head of the CIA,’’ the source added. “[The] problem with these older-generation guys is that they don’t know anything about cybersecurity, and as you can see, it can be problematic.” Read the rest of this entry »


Trove of China Rail Riders’ Personal Data Leaked Online

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The Chinese company didn’t confirm the number of travelers affected, but computer security monitoring websites estimated the hack revealed the details of more than 130,000 passengers

’Tis the season, it seems, for unwanted disclosures.

Personal data of travelers on the world’s most populous nation have been illegally leaked into the public domain – right at the start of the ticket-buying rush ahead of China’s massive Lunar New Year migration in February.

User names, passwords and email addresses of train riders in China were stolen from an official railway ticket sales website, www.12306.cn, and are now circulating on the Internet, China Railway Corp. said in a Christmas Day statement on its official microblog. The state rail company blamed the leak on third-party software used by travelers trying to beat online queues. Those who provide the software say it can help users leapfrog others in making online purchases. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. K: Sony Made the Wrong Decision to Pull ‘The Interview’

On Thursday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said Sony Pictures made a bad choice to scrap the release of The Interview.

 “I think this is not sort of rocket science, Sony made exactly the wrong decision. What you do is…you put it out on the Internet for free. So it’s a gesture, but also it doubly screws over Pyongyang.”

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[VIDEO] Former Anonymous Hacker: ‘North Korea Doesn’t Have Capability’ For Sony Attack

“For something like this to happen, it had to happen over a long period of time. You cannot just exfiltrate one terabyte or 100 terabytes of data in a matter of weeks.”

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A former hacker for Anonymous doesn’t believe North Korea has the infrastructure to be behind the Sony hack attack.

“Do you really think a bunch of nerds from North Korea are going to fly to New York and start blowing up movie theaters? No. It’s not realistic. It’s not about ‘The Interview.’ It’s about money. It’s a professional job.”

Hector Monsegur told CBS This Morning that the communist regime doesn’t have the technical capabilities to pull off the hack.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People's Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People’s Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

“In my personal opinion, it’s not. Look at the bandwidth going into North Korea. I mean, the pipelines, the pipes going in, handling data, they only have one major ISP across their entire nation. That kind of information flowing at one time would have shut down North Korean Internet completely…They don’t have the technical capabilities.”

— Hector Monsegur

He continued, “They do have state-sponsored hackers very similar to China, very similar to Russia and very similar to our good, old USA.”

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Sony Pictures Entertainment took the unprecedented step of canceling the Dec. 25 release of the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.”

A former CIA official, though, believes that North Korea could pull of this type of cyberattack.

“North Korea has significant cyber capabilities. They use them quite frequently against South Korea. For a backwards state that might be a little surprising but they also have a nuclear weapon. They are capable of achieving things when they focus on them.”

— Mike Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA

The cancellation announced Wednesday was a startling blow to the Hollywood studio that has been shaken by hacker leaks and intimidations over the last several weeks by an anonymous group calling itself Guardians of Peace.

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“This attack went to the heart and core of Sony’s business — and succeeded. We haven’t seen any attack like this in the annals of U.S. breach history.”

— Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at research firm Gartner

A U.S. official said Wednesday that federal investigators have now connected the Sony hacking to North Korea and may make an announcement in the near future. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to openly discuss an ongoing criminal case.

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“It doesn’t tell me much. I’ve seen Russian hackers pretending to be Indian. I’ve seen Ukrainian hackers pretending to be Peruvian. There’s hackers that pretend they’re little girls. They do this for misinformation, disinformation, covering their tracks.” 

Monsegur stated that Sony’s hacking had to have happened over a long period of time. Read the rest of this entry »