A new report showing that US state-level voter databases were publicly available calls into question the narrative that Russian intelligence “targeted” US state election-related websites in 2016.

A September 1 report in the Moscow daily Kommersant on a “dark web” site offering a database of personal information on millions of registered American voters undermines one of the central themes of the Russia hysteria pervading US politics.

Democratic politicians and corporate media pundits have long accepted it as fact that Russian intelligence “targeted” US state election-related websites in 2016. But the Kommersant report shows that those state registered voter databases were already available to anyone in the public domain, eliminating any official Russian motive for hacking state websites.

Kommersant reported that a user on a dark web Forum known as Gorka9 offered free access to databases containing the information of 7.6 million Michigan voters, along with the state voter databases of Connecticut, Arkansas, Florida and North Carolina.

There are differences between the Michigan database described by Gorka9 and the one that the State of Michigan releases to the public upon request. Tracy Wimmer, the spokesperson for the Michigan Secretary of State, said in an e-mail to Grayzone that when the Michigan voter registration database is released to the public upon request, the state withholds “date of birth (year of birth is included), driver’s license number, the last four digitals of someone’s social security number, email address and phone number….”  However, Gorka9’s description of the Michigan data includes driver’s license numbers, full dates of birth, social security numbers and emails.

In fact both un-redacted and redacted state voter files are obviously widely available on the dark web as well as elsewhere on the internet. Meduza, a Russian-language news site based in Riga, Latvia, published the Kommersant story along with an “anonFiles” download portal for access to the Michigan voter database and a page from it showing that it is the officially redacted version. The DHS and the FBI both acknowledged in response to the Kommersant story that “a lot of voter registration data is publicly available or easily purchased.” 

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The Russia-Obsessed Media Does Its Best to Ignore Clinesmith’s Guilty Plea

As news broke Friday that John Durham’s criminal probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation had resulted in a former FBI lawyer being charged with doctoring FISA evidence used against the Trump campaign, the formerly Russia-obsessed mainstream media did its best to look the other way.

Kevin Clinesmith, who first worked on the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team and then under special counsel Robert Mueller — only to be fired in February 2018 after it was revealed he sent anti-Trump messages — will plead guilty to one count of making false statements. Clinesmith’s admission came after Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz faulted him in a December report for doctoring an email to state that former Trump-campaign national security adviser Carter Page was “not a source” for the CIA — when in fact the email from a CIA official stated the opposite.

Clinesmith’s plea is not an indictment, but a “criminal information,” in which the defendant seeks to avoid being charged by a grand jury. As National Review’s Andy McCarthy has pointed out, such a move is often made under a cooperation agreement, suggesting that Clinesmith could be working with Durham.

Despite the plea’s status as the first major development in Durham’s investigation, the media barely batted an eye, abandoning the Russia saga after providing wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Flynn’s plea deal with Robert Mueller in December 2017.

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The Spies Who Hijacked America

Global scandals now labeled Russiagate, Spygate, and what President Trump calls “Obamagate” shook the political world, but hit me closer to home. I’m the reason the so-called FBI “spy” at the center of Spygate, Stefan Halper, met Carter Page, the alleged “Russian Asset” in Russiagate’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. 

On May 19, 2018, this realization blindsided me in London as I was about to fly out for my wedding. The New York TimesNBC News and other sources had outed my PhD supervisor, Stefan Halper, as a spy known to the UK’s MI6 intelligence service as “The Walrus.”

It didn’t seem real. Could a former professor I once trusted as a mentor have betrayed his word, profession, and country to start these disasters? I had moved to England to pursue an academic career and leave DC’s politics behind, only to have my PhD supervisor throw me back into the most outrageous political firestorms I could imagine. Just my luck. Then an even worse question began nagging at me. Did I unintentionally light the match that started it all?

As I started to piece together what happened over the next few months, I realized something. The stories that The New York Times, Washington Post, and others were pushing didn’t add up. Many seemed planted to cover up or advance the agendas of several individuals whose tentacles secretly ran through these scandals, and who each had longstanding ties to intelligence services like the FBI, CIA, and MI6. I call these individuals the Cambridge Four. 

Strangely, all four were linked through that sleepy British academic town thousands of miles from the alleged “ground zeroes” of Russiagate’s conspiracies, Moscow and DC. In addition to the central “Spygate” figure Halper, they include the central source of “Russiagate’s” fake conspiracy theories, Christopher Steele; former MI6 Director Sir Richard Dearlove; and Halper’s and Dearlove’s partner in a Cambridge Intelligence Seminar linked to titillating — but false — tales of a “Russian spy” seducing Trump’s top national security advisor. My years of work with Halper provided an inside view of how their four networks interconnected.

The more I dug up new pieces of this puzzle, the more I saw how these individuals’ seemingly separate acts might fit together in an absurd picture of how these scandals really started.

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No Evidence Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections, U.S. Intelligence Says

Yesterday the mislabeled U.S. ‘Intelligence’ Agencies trotted out more nonsense claims about foreign interferences in U.S. elections.

The New York Times sensationally headlines:

Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But when one reads the piece itself one finds no fact that would support the ‘Russia Continues Interfering’ statement:

Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.

At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.

But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.

The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.

The authors emphasize the scaremongering hearsay from “officials briefed on the intelligence” – i.e. Democratic congress members – about Russia but have nothing to back it up.

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Russians are receiving text messages about the U.S. State Department’s $10 million reward for information on election interference

Residents of cities across Russia are receiving SMS messages about the U.S. State Department’s newly announced $10 million “Rewards for Justice” (RFJ) offer for information that helps identify or locate hackers attempting to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections, reports the Russian outlet TJournal

Russian social media users began sharing screenshots of these messages online on August 6, the day after the U.S. State Department announced the reward offer. Reports about the messages also started to appear in local news outlets, such as the Yekaterinburg-based outlet It’s My Cityand the Vladivostok-based outlet Vl.ruamong others. According to the website Pikabu.ruresidents of the Russian cities of Saratov, Krasnodar, Ulyanovsk, Chelyabinsk, Perm, and Tyumen also reported receiving similar messages. 

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