Impossible – believable – but so what?

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July 26, 2016 by AK

Smart and sophisticated? Paranoid and deluded? Incompetent and occasionally dumb?

Looking at Team Kremlin, I can never be sure. I suppose that’s one of their strong sides: you can lose your mind trying to pin them down.

Now on to the DNC hack.

As I’ve said before, I cannot believe that dozens of Russian Weevs are gestating in secret FSB laboratories. Their schools can turn out competent cryptographers and data protectors, but great burglars grow up free-ranging. Hence Moscow must be outsourcing, which helps deniability (along with the fact that Russian speakers from ex-Soviet countries make up a healthy proportion of the global programming tribe). If the hackers were true aces, they may have left deliberately misleading traces.

On the other hand, my starting postulate may be incorrect. What if there is a state hacker academy in Russia after all, and what if it churns out so-so, second-rate pros – more hacks than hackers, – and what if they had the luck to break into that database but not the skill to clean up after themselves?

But the most tempting hypothesis is the most humanly plausible and the least politically possible. It comes from the mouths of babes like ambassador McFaul: settling personal accounts. Sounds petty and ludicrous – and could have been invented by Politico journos – but perfectly believable. Which is not a valid argument either for it or against it, not at all.


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