FBI claims that the Kremlin has accessed Bureau communication systems


While the “RussiaGate” conspiracy theory has long spiraled out of control at the behest of the democratic party, there are elements of Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation in the 2016 election that we can all agree on:  Namely, that Russia has been working diligently to disrupt the United States any way that they can.

When it comes to the 2016 election, there is undeniable and wholly accepted evidence of just such actions by the Kremlin, with Mueller himself going so far as to say that their efforts to undermine the election were “sweeping and systemic”.

Again, this isn’t the “conspiracy theory” part of the whole hullabaloo, this is a reality accepted in bipartisan fashion.

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New reports are now showing that the 2016 election wasn’t the first time that the Russian government sought to electronically meddle in US affairs.

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On Dec. 29, 2016, the Obama administration announced that it was giving nearly three dozen Russian diplomats just 72 hours to leave the United States and was seizing two rural East Coast estates owned by the Russian government. As the Russians burned papers and scrambled to pack their bags, the Kremlin protested the treatment of its diplomats, and denied that those compounds — sometimes known as the “dachas” — were anything more than vacation spots for their personnel.

The Obama administration’s public rationale for the expulsions and closures — the harshest U.S. diplomatic reprisals taken against Russia in several decades — was to retaliate for Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But there was another critical, and secret, reason why those locations and diplomats were targeted.

Both compounds, and at least some of the expelled diplomats, played key roles in a brazen Russian counterintelligence operation that stretched from the Bay Area to the heart of the nation’s capital, according to former U.S. officials. The operation, which targeted FBI communications, hampered the bureau’s ability to track Russian spies on U.S. soil at a time of increasing tension with Moscow, forced the FBI and CIA to cease contact with some of their Russian assets, and prompted tighter security procedures at key U.S. national security facilities in the Washington area and elsewhere, according to former U.S. officials. It even raised concerns among some U.S. officials about a Russian mole within the U.S. intelligence community.

The breach itself was terrifying.

“It was a very broad effort to try and penetrate our most sensitive operations,” said a former senior CIA official.

American officials discovered that the Russians had dramatically improved their ability to decrypt certain types of secure communications and had successfully tracked devices used by elite FBI surveillance teams. Officials also feared that the Russians may have devised other ways to monitor U.S. intelligence communications, including hacking into computers not connected to the internet. Senior FBI and CIA officials briefed congressional leaders on these issues as part of a wide-ranging examination on Capitol Hill of U.S. counterintelligence vulnerabilities.

These compromises, the full gravity of which became clear to U.S. officials in 2012, gave Russian spies in American cities including Washington, New York and San Francisco key insights into the location of undercover FBI surveillance teams, and likely the actual substance of FBI communications, according to former officials. They provided the Russians opportunities to potentially shake off FBI surveillance and communicate with sensitive human sources, check on remote recording devices and even gather intelligence on their FBI pursuers, the former officials said.

The reports show that these incursions utilized “mobile listening posts”, much like the sort of “spy vans” that you would see in a Hollywood movie.

The FBI is concerned that a US government operative may have been assisting the Russians as well, elevating these claims to 007 levels of mischief.

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