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Putin Can’t Melt Steel Beams

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There’s one surefire way of knowing that the latest Nation story about how the DNC hack was an INSIDE JOB is a ludicrous conspiracy theory:

By Patrick Lawrence

For those not familiar with Lawrence’s oeuvre, the clues that the conspiracy theory is nonsense appear clearly in the text itself:

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate.” This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak.

A free lifetime subscription to LGM to whoever can name the five languages this went through in Google Translate before finally arriving at English! Anyway, if you can make it through this word fog you can see that Lawrence is more or less openly conceding that the conspiracy theory allegedly being produced by anonymous but definitely longly credentialed and strongly experienced people is being reverse-engineered to produce the pre-determined conclusion that Russia could not have possibly attempted to influence the 2016 elections and the Trump campaign certainly could not have colluded in any such effort.

Anyway, the Deep State has tasked Brian Feldman with explaining why Lawrence’s theory is transparently bogus engaging in a McCarthyite smear campaign designed to cover up Hillary Clinton’s plot to repeal Social Security and use the proceeds to establish a farm of private email servers:

But this article is neither conclusive proof nor strong evidence. It’s the extremely long-winded product of a crank, and it’s been getting attention only because it appears in a respected left-wing publication like The Nation. Anyone hoping to read it for careful reporting and clear explanation is going to come away disappointed, however.

If you want to get to the actual claims being made, you’ll have to skip the first 1,000 or so words, which mostly consist of breathtakingly elaborate throat-clearing. (“[H]ouses built on sand and made of cards are bound to collapse, and there can be no surprise that the one resting atop the ‘hack theory,’ as we can call the prevailing wisdom on the DNC events, appears to be in the process of doing so.”) About halfway through, you get to the crux of the article: A report, made by an anonymous analyst calling himself “Forensicator,” on the “metadata” of “locked files” leaked by the hacker Guccifer 2.0.

This should, already, set off alarm bells: An anonymous analyst is claiming to have analyzed the “metadata” of “locked files” that only this analyst had access to? Still, if I’m understanding it correctly, Lawrence’s central argument (which, again, rests on the belief that Forensicator’s claims about “metadata” are meaningful and correct) is that the initial data transfer from the DNC occurred at speeds impossible via the internet. Instead, he and a few retired intel-community members and some pseudonymous bloggers believe the data was transferred to a USB stick, making the infiltration a leak from someone inside the DNC, not a hack.

The crux of the whole thing — the opening argument — rests on the fact that, according to “metadata,” the data was transferred at about 22 megabytes per second, which Lawrence and Forensicator claim is much too fast to have been undertaken over an internet connection. (Most connection speeds are measured at megabits per second, not megabytes; 22 megabytes per second is 176 megabits per second.) Most households don’t get internet speeds that high, but enterprise operations, like the DNC — or, uh, the FSB — would have access to a higher but certainly not unattainable speed like that.

If that’s your strongest evidence, your argument is already in trouble. But the real problem isn’t that there’s a bizarre claim about internet speed that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. It’s that Lawrence is writing in techno-gibberish that falls apart under even the slightest scrutiny. You could try to go on, but to what end? As an example: Lawrence writes that “researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath.” What on earth is that supposed to mean? We don’t know what “metadata” we’re talking about, or why it comes in “layers,” and all I’m left with is the distinct impression that Lawrence doesn’t either. Even if you wanted to take this seriously enough to engage with, you can’t, because it only intermittently makes sense. There may be evidence out there, somewhere, that a vast conspiracy theory has taken place to cover up a leak and blame Russia. But it’s going to need to be at least comprehensible.

I will give Lawrence credit for this: AFICT he doesn’t even pretend to support a full investigation.

UPDATE: I hate to pick on Tracey, given the vicious assault he recently had to endure, but EL OH OL:

Yes, when Even The Seth Rich Troofer Patrick Lawrence thinks the DNC hack was an inside job, you know it’s credible! And certainly it would be without precedent for The Nation to publish an apologia for Vladimir Putin.

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