If you have been following my work on this blog, two of the areas tend to focus around is the Hillary Clinton email server and the Snowden leak. From my two posts in the Finding the Genesis series, I spoke about the China connection in part one and the email server in part two. I haven’t moved on since I am still trying to figure out the information in part three, but I believe that my post into the Baker Leak Investigation will play a part. As for the Snowden connections, in The Unconventional War, I lay out the possibility that Snowden also leaked the NSA Spying Tools along with the documents that were published by The Intercept.
When reading the rest of the Unconventional War post, you will see how Matt Tait of Lawfare had said that the leak was internal. I also discuss how the tools leaked by The Shadow Brokers were from 2013 which also coincides with the time frame of Snowden’s leak.
Just to reiterate, the connections I am making from The Shadow Brokers to Snowden are: Internal leak, 2013 time frame, proximity to source, NSA, and the fact that Omidyar had exclusive access to the content therefore we never knew the full extent of the Snowden leak.
So why is this post titled Connecting More Dots? If you are unfamiliar, there is another Twitter user that currently uses the Twitter handle @langdaleca who wrote a blog post in 2017 titled “Connecting Dots.” In the post, he brings attention to a free download made available by The Shadow Brokers. This NSA developed stash included this one tool called Tadaqueous.
Langdale then goes on to describe how in 2013, Clinton had switched her server to one run on a Fortinet VPN. For work done two years ago, this has been largely ignored.
When Langdale first started bringing it up again, the 2013 date and his inclusion of China using the tools connected the dots in my mind and caused me to dig into this a little deeper. First looking at Snowden, he flew to Hong Kong on May 20, 2013. He had spent time working for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. He had previously worked for both the CIA and Dell. On the other end of the spectrum, Clinton had switched from using her home brew server to using Platte River Networks in June 2013. This presumably was done as a reactionary response from Sidney Blumenthal having his emails hacked. Platte had commented that they were picked for their “industry best practices,” but unknowing to them, Tadaqueous had the ability to break through the Fortinet firewall that was used.
From a timeline of the events, Platte assigns three employees to help set up the server in Secaucus, NJ. Two of the employees were identified by the media as being Bill Thorton (local) and Paul Combetta (remote). Thorton works with Clinton IT person Brian Pagliano and is granted Administrator access around June 4, 2013. Snowden’s background may come in handy for the next part because the new server is comprised of servers from Dell.
When the FBI had begun a formal investigation into Clinton’s emails, when the servers were seized, Combetta and Pagliano were controversially granted immunity. Per Clinton’s orders, Platte was supposed to delete any emails that were over 60 days old automatically. Amazingly, no one realized that there was also a Datto back-up which was storing every single email that was sent and received. After a preservation request, Combetta had used the software BleachBit to wipe out the emails that were being backed up by Datto. Coincidentally, Datto is based out of Connecticut which is where the Baker Leak Investigation is stemming from as well as the Investigation into the Investigators.
To make matters even stranger, in early 2019, a whistle blower came forward to talk about Project Raven. Project Raven was a UAE clandestine operation that used ex-NSA contractors to spy on their political opponents. The whistle blower, Lori Stroud, had formerly worked worked for the NSA stationed out of Hawaii. Stroud was the one who made the recommendation to hire Edward Snowden. After the fallout from Snowden, Stroud moved onto a Baltimore based company named CyberPoint which eventually led her to the UAE. Project Raven is where we also learn about the Karma hack which can hack an iPhone just by pre-loading numbers into a list. The entire article is an interesting read to get more specifics behind Project Raven.
CyberPoint is the area I wanted to focus on because in 2012, while Clinton was still Secretary of State, she granted them an export license to advise the UAE on cyber defense and policy. CyberPoint was then caught working with Italy based The Hacking Team on selling the UAE hacking equipment. Ironically, this information was revealed when The Hacking Team was hacked. This catapults CyberPoint beyond just advising. The Intercept article then goes on to explain how, ” Paladin Capital Group, a private equity firm that has invested repeatedly in startup NSA contractors, partnered with the UAE sovereign wealth fund Mubadala ICT to invest in Cyberpoint. According to reports, Cyberpoint trains analysts with the Electronic Security Authority, the Emirati intelligence agency.”
Richard Clarke was credited with securing the Abu Dhabi contract. Although he is listed as being associated with the Bush Administration, just looking at his Wikipedia page highlights all of the connections he has with the Clintons as well. What makes this story even crazier is that after the death of Michael Hastings, Clarke was the one who brought up the ability to hack cars. This ability was mentioned in the Vault 7 Wikileaks drop almost 4 years later.
Just makes you wonder how much of this was by design.