Carl Davidson – 7/19/18


This page was last updated on August 12, 2018.

Just because Trump Doesn’t Understand Things …; Carl Davidson (KD); Facebook; July 19, 2018.

You can learn more about BCR’s leftster management here.  “Leftster” is the combination of leftist and gangster, inspired by the left-originated “bankster.”

Carl Davidson 1/19/18 @ 8:18am: “Perhaps. But journalism can be both partisan and accurate. That’s the kind I try to do.”

Carl Davidson 2/26/18 @ 12:22pm: “BUT I ALSO BELIEVE IN TRUTH TELLING.”

Below is a detailed review of the subject post.

Carl Davidson 7/19/18 @ 7:41pm: “JUST BECAUSE TRUMP DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THINGS, There’s no reason you shouldn’t.  Take this, from Asia Times:”

[RWC] KD’s excerpt (the following three paragraphs) is from the opinion piece “A walk on the wild side as Trump meets Putin at Finland station.”

Here are the two paragraphs following KD’s excerpt:

“It was inevitable that a strategically crucial summit between the Russian and American presidencies would be hijacked by the dementia of the US news cycle.

“Trump was unfazed.  He knows that the DNC computer hard-drives – the source of an alleged ‘hacking’ – simply ‘disappeared’ while in the custody of US intel, FBI included.  He knows the bandwidth necessary for file transfer was much larger than a hack might have managed in the time allowed.  It was a leak, a download into a flash-drive.”

In case you’re wondering about the Republican National Committee (RNC) servers, here’s a review by PolitiFact.  In summary,

“While Russians were able to get into the email accounts of some Republican individuals and state-level Republican organizations, they did not break into the Republican National Committee’s current system, according to the director of the FBI.

“Russians did access email domains associated with the RNC that were no longer in use, but the information was outdated and wasn’t released.  Additionally, it’s not completely clear why hackers were unable to get into the current RNC.”

A “Business Insider” (BI) piece implies the RNC gave the FBI direct access to its servers.  According to BI, “There was ‘some limited penetration of old RNC email domains,’ Comey said.  But the FBI found no indication, upon examining current RNC servers, that they were successfully infiltrated by Russia, he said.”  Using the 1/10/2017 hearing transcript, I was unable to corroborate the implication the FBI had hands-on time with RNC servers.  The closest Director Comey got was, “We did not develop any evidence that the Trump campaign or the current RNC was successfully hacked.” 

“‘President Putin says it’s not Russia.  I don’t see any reason why it would be.’”

[RWC] Later that day or the next, President Trump (DT) said he didn’t understand the uproar so he read a transcript.  After reading a transcript, DT asserted he misspoke; he intended to say “wouldn’t,” not “would.”

“‘As if this was not enough, Trump doubles down invoking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server.’

“‘I really do want to see the server.  Where is the server?  I want to know.  Where is the server and what is the server saying?’

“The ‘server’ is simply a computer.  What’s important is that data on the hard drive, long strings of electrical on/off indicators, meaning one or zero.  The strings of ones and zeros are code that tells you what’s there, when it got there, and from where.  When the DNC IT guys got word they were hacked, they ‘mirrored’ all those ones and zeros onto CDs, and sent it off to the spooks.  More than once.  This is better than having physical possession of the drive, because it’s still online and you can make several ‘mirrors’ and watch for any telltale changes.  Moreover, these days, most servers are automatically mirrored onto another identical drive in case one fails.

[RWC] KD and the FBI disagree about what’s better.  KD thinks getting a bunch of “CDs” is better than hands-on time with the servers.  As you’ll read below, Director Comey repeatedly made it clear the FBI preferred hands-on time.

Contrary to KD’s assertion, “the strings of ones and zeros” don’t necessarily tell you when the data got to the disk and from where.  When metadata is there, it’s hackable and not necessarily correct.

As for “these days, most servers are automatically mirrored onto another identical drive in case one fails,” the drives in a mirrored pair are not necessarily identical.  While the data in the files should be identical, the drives may not be identical at the physical level.  For example, the capacity of the secondary drive in a pair may be larger than the primary.  These are among the reasons why “investigators would have preferred to have access to the server.”

If we’re going to nitpick, KD wrote, “DNC IT guys … ‘mirrored’ all those ones and zeros onto CDs.”  Standard CD-ROM disks have a capacity of only 700MB.  Depending on the type, DVD capacity ranges from 4.7GB to 50GB (Blu-ray).  1TB flash drives (aka thumb drives) hit the market in 2013.  You can also pull one of the drives in a mirror pair and replace it without interrupting a server’s operation.  Given the capacity capability of alternative storage media like DVDs and flash drives or the convenience of pulling a drive, why would “the DNC IT guys” use CDs?  Is it possible KD used the term “CD-ROM” to mean any of the alternative storage options?

When KD wrote, “sent it off to the spooks,” I suspect he wanted readers to believe “the spooks” meant the FBI and/or other federal counterintelligence agencies.  That’s not what happened, however.  Instead, the DNC hired CrowdStrike, a U.S. computer security firm, to conduct the forensic review.  Everything the FBI got from the DNC servers came from a third-party, CrowdStrike.

According to (July 16, 2018),

“It’s true that the FBI never got access to the DNC computer server.  It is also true that Trump has been ‘calling it out on social media’ for many months.

“But there is no evidence that the FBI’s failure to obtain the server hurt its investigation into Russian hackers.

James Comey, the FBI director at the time, testified before Congress on March 20, 2017, that investigators would have preferred to have access to the server, but it received ‘an appropriate substitute’ in the form of a forensic report in June 2016 from a well-respected private cybersecurity company hired by the DNC.” 

 Here’s a relevant excerpt from the 1/10/2017 Senate hearing transcript:

Chairman Burr.  ‘Director Comey, let me talk about forensics for just a minute, because the FBI has the expertise there.  I know there’s tremendous investigative value when the FBI is actually able to conduct their own forensics review on devices that have suffered cyber intrusions and attacks.  I believe there’s some confusion, though, or at least some conflicting reporting as to whether the FBI requested access to the DNC’s services, the Democratic Congressional Committee servers, and John Podesta’s personal devices.  Did the FBI request access to those devices to perform forensics on them?’

Director Comey.  ‘Yes, we did.’

Chairman Burr.  ‘Would that access have provided intelligence or information helpful to your investigation and possibly to the findings included in the intelligence community assessments?’

Director Comey.  ‘Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or server that’s involved.  So it’s the best evidence.’

Chairman Burr.  ‘Were you given access to do the forensics on those servers?’

Director Comey.  ‘We were not.  A highly respected private company [CrowdStrike] eventually got access and shared with us what they saw there.’

Chairman Burr.  ‘But is that typically the way the FBI would prefer to do the forensics, or would your forensics unit rather see the servers and do the forensics themselves?’

Director Comey.  ‘We’d always prefer to have access hands-on ourselves if that’s possible.’

Chairman Burr.  ‘Do you know why you were denied access to those servers?’

Director Comey.  ‘I don’t know for sure.  I don’t know for sure.’

Chairman Burr.  ‘Was there one request or multiple requests?’

Director Comey.  ‘Multiple requests at different levels, and ultimately what was agreed to is the private company [CrowdStrike] would share with us what they saw.’”

I’m appalled at KD’s racial insensitivity; he should know better.

“So Trump is demanding something already turned over, but he doesn’t get it.  He doesn’t want the multiple copies of the spy’s handiwork, he pounds his chest and demands the wrapping paper it came in.  And any computer science student can see he’s an ass.”

[RWC] Remember, the FBI also wanted “the wrapping paper it [server/servers] came in” and Director Comey made that clear in at least two hearings.”  I guess that makes the FBI asses too.

In case you wondered, there’s a reason KD didn’t link to a transcript of the press conference.  The reason is you would see both DT and treated “server” and “servers” as interchangeable.  During the press conference, DT used “server” seven times and “servers” twice.

For someone who doesn’t appear to understand how the Internet domain naming/maintenance process works, KD should probably shy away from bashing anyone’s “computer science” knowledge.  Besides, we elect someone to be president, not a computer network manager.

DT graduated from the “Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania” with a B.S. in Economics.  Which degree do you think would be more valuable to a president, one in “computer science” or one in economics?

Finally, if someone thinks the server vs. servers “issue” is important to a rational voter, they’re grasping at straws.

In Peace, Friendship, Community, Cooperation, and Solidarity. <g> 

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