A Closer Look at Crowdstrike and the Ukraine Election Interference Theory

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An exasperated mainstream media really wants you to know there is absolutely no reason to investigate Crowdstrike. After Trump doubled down in a Fox News interview last week on his July 25th request that Ukrainian President Zelensky look into Crowdstrike and potential Ukrainian election interference, MSM lost their collective minds.

Recall that the whistleblower failed to mention Trump’s Crowdstrike investigation request, as did Adam Schiff in his parody account of the diplomatic call. Only on Sept. 25 did the American people learn of that request when the transcript was released, and that very same day a flood of news agencies had already completed their independent investigations and shouted in near unison that there was absolutely, unequevically, without a doubt, you-must-be-a-moron-to-question-Crowdstrike: Nothing At All to See Here.

An article from The Atlantic published yesterday does the most thorough job yet of a mainstream media investigation into what it calls the “toxic” theory that Ukrainians aimed to get Hillary elected and/or that Crowdstrike may have an anti-Russia bias that makes their Russian hack determination suspect. The Atlantic piece thoroughly debunks Fiona Hill’s testimony that the Ukraine interference theory originated as a Russian disinformation campaign.

Rather, it argues the Ukraine theory started in the U.S. media — with information that The Atlantic did not contest, beginning with the Financial Times piece, “Ukraine’s Leaders Campaign Against pro-Putin Trump,” followed by the Politico investigation, “Ukraine Efforts to Sabotage Trump Backfire,” and underscored by testimony to the FBI from Manafort’s former deputy Rick Gates that “the hack was likely carried out by the Ukrainians, not the Russians….”

The Atlantic quickly skips past the meat of the Ukraine/Crowdstrike intel from George Eliason, an American journalist residing in the Donbas region of Ukraine who detailed the multiple layers of Crowdstrike’s Russian-born co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch’s conflicts of interest and other reasons to mistrust Crowdstrike’s Russia attribution, including their since-retracted determination of Russian responsibility for an assault on Ukrainian artillery positions, which they’d relied on to support their DNC claims. Eliason pointed to statements of John McAfee, founder of the first antivirus software company, where Alperovitch once worked, who said, “if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians.”

“The [Crowdstrike] report further goes on to say we can trace [the hackers] based on the way they do their work and the specific malware that they use. This is also nonsense. Once a specific piece of malware has been used, it ends up in the dark web and hundreds of thousands of hackers are now using that.

… We know the malware that was used. We know the fact that it had Russian language in it. We know all of these things that could not possibly be there if it were really the Russians. … common sense tells you just based on public knowledge that it cannot possibly be the Russian government. Now it may be a Russian — could be a 15 year old kid — certainly not the Russian intelligence services. This is way too unsophisticated.”
John McAfee

Without disputing Eliason’s work, The Atlantic discounts it by claiming the site which posted one of his original pieces was “alt-right” and saying that site no longer exists.

Rest assured Eliason is still publishing report after detailed report from the ground in Ukraine through the progressive (not at all alt-right) investigative journalism outlet Mint Press. His subsequent articles present the case that the DNC files were both hacked by Ukrainians and leaked by an insider. Moreover, he argues the hacks were made possible by the DNC’s own partnership with Ukrainian intelligence operatives, working through one of the now-infamous Ukrainian-American Chalupa sisters, in pursuit of opposition research.

Eliason’s information was, in turn, buttressed by a piece in the Nation, The Atlantic explains. That piece reported on Crowdstrike’s Ukraine connection through its co-founder’s position as a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council (where another Chalupa sister is also a fellow). From The Nation: “The connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council has gone largely unremarked upon, but it is relevant given that the Atlantic Council—which is funded in part by the US State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk—has been among the loudest voices calling for a new Cold War with Russia.”

In fact, the Atlantic Council is particularly active in Ukraine. In early 2017 the Atlantic Council announced an expansion of its Ukrainian efforts thanks to a funding partnership with Burisma, the company that hired Hunter Biden and whose owner Zlochevsky has been accused of fleecing the Ukrainian people of millions of dollars by awarding himself natural gas licenses while serving as Minister of Natural Resources. As well, in August of 2019 an Adam Schiff staffer visited Ukraine as a fellow with the Atlantic Council, where he met with the Ambassador who would testify in Schiff’s impeachment hearing, it was later discovered. [Related: Biden-Ukraine Scandal: A Timeline of Democratic Corruption and International Intrigue]

Though The Atlantic magazine debunks the narrative that Russia concocted the Ukrainian interference theory, it does not debunk any of the information related in the Financial Times, Politico, Manafort testimony, Eliason reporting or Nation article they cite as progenitors of the theory. Instead, they theorize that Ukraine involvement must be discounted based on a “mountain” of evidence of Russian interference.

That mountain of evidence is based on Crowdstike’s findings as the sole entity that examined the DNC’s physical server(s). Both The Atlantic and Chris Cuomo suggest a DNC server could not now reside in Ukraine as Trump suspects because it never existed and is entirely cloud-based, while the DNC and many others say it still resides in its basement with the Watergate filing cabinet, where it was photographed by the NY Times. An April 2018 lawsuit filed by the DNC says Crowdstrike had to “decommission more than 140 servers … and rebuild at least 11 servers.” Most sources now say “many” (but not all) of these 140 servers were cloud-based. The question of whether the server system may have been backed-up or mirrored in Ukraine, as some suggest, remains unanswered.

If Putin indeed wanted Trump to win the election, and it would stand to reason given Hillary and the Democrats’ sudden switch from Russian Reset to Russia’s-our-forever-enemy, compared to Trump’s willingess to work with Russia on greater mutual problems, then it also stands to reason that those Ukrainians who are virulently opposed to Russia would’ve equally supported a Hillary presidency. Indeed, the involvement of Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans with the Hillary campaign is undeniable.

Trump has taken the pragmatic step of asking President Zelensky to look into the Ukrainian election interference claim from his end. Now it is time to examine some lose ends in America. Crowdstrike was given enormous power under the Obama administration to single-handedly determine who was at fault for cyberattacks on government entities and large corporations, with massive foreign policy repercussions. Alperovitch and his colleagues were no doubt poised to take an influential role in a Hillary administration.

With the help of major investments by Democrats, in less than eight years of existence Crowdstrike reached $12 billion valuation after launching its IPO this summer. Before going public, it received substantial funding from Google Capital (Google was the largest corporate donor to the Clinton campaign. Google Capital is owned by Alphabet, whose CEO Eric Schmitds strongly supported the Clinton campaign.) Other investors include Warburg Pincus, whose president, Timothy Geithner, worked for the Clinton and Obama administrations.

The American people need to ask how much power Crowdstrike now has in “securing” our public sector. After meeting with Nancy Pelosi, for example, Alperovitch offered to install his Falcon software on all Congressional representatives’ computers. The State of New York (where the President claimed residency until just recently) has contracted with Crowdstrike to create cloud storage data. Crowdstrike’s website also lists the State of Wyoming as a client, along with 5 of the top 10 financial service institutions.

Crowdstrike has quickly rocketed to most trusted partner status for America’s business, financial and government sectors, despite the fact that it was unable to stop ongoing hacks into the DNC from the time it was hired in May 2016 clear through the election. It has been trusted to point the finger at Russia for interference in the U.S. election, wreaking havok in our countries’ diplomatic relations and undermining the legitimacy of the current administration.

Is this trust warranted? Is it at least possible that Crowdstrike named Russia as the culprit to please their client and/or frame Russia? Based on the conflicts of interest laid out, it appears that faith in this new cybersecurity giant should at least be questioned.

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