Salon’s Favorite Hack on Hacking, Matthew Sheffield, Strikes Again

You may recall that he authored a Salon September 13, 2017 “expose” titled:

“There’s overwhelming evidence that Russia hacked Democrats – but the government hasn’t shared it,” (yes, that was the title, and Sheffield’s turgid prose was devoid of any such “overwhelming evidence,” as we noted in this posting the following day:

( See: )


Well, yesterday (September 17) Salon and Sheffield were back at it, with a second (and hopefully last) installment.  And, again, the title gives the game away:

“Was the DNC hack an inside job? It’s a hot theory — but probably not.  There are good reasons to distrust the U.S. intelligence agencies. But Russians likely did hack the Democrats.”


Is Sheffield himself a “hack?”  Well, when an “investigative journalist” decides to address this key issue without distinguishing between the comments of people with little, if any, relevant experience on the one hand, and two former technical directors from the NSA plus other highly experienced senior analysts, on the other – well, yes, “hack” would be the right word.


In early September, the former group – the dissenters – asked The Nation to publish a “dissent memo.”  To its credit, The Nation had published on August 9 “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack,” by contributing writer Patrick Lawrence, who relied largely on the work of VIPS and independent investigators, plus the extensive interviews he conducted.  Here’s the link to Lawrence’s Nation article:


The Nation, though, quickly found many of its own editorial staff in open rebellion against anything shooting holes into “the-Russians-lost-Hillary-the-election-and-gave-it-to-Trump” narrative, and felt it necessary to publish a “forum” featuring the dissent memo-cum-rebuttal, and included the dissenters’ credentials, as well as those of those rebutting; i.e., the principal drafters of the VIPS memo at issue:


Copy/pasted in at the end of this posting are the credentials of both sides, as they appeared in the Nation’s “forum” story.  You may wish to ask yourself, were you Sheffield, whose comments you would have been inclined to give the most weight to, absent “guidance” from the editors who slant the titles for his articles.


But first:  Some saving grace comes atop Sheffield’s Salon article, in a note offering terrific advice; namely, SKIP TO COMMENTS:


Here’s one comment from someone who knows what he is talking about:


Adam Carter

Matthew, why do you link to ThreatConnects “All Roads Lead To Russia” article that has false assumptions about the VPN provider that I went and checked and discredited?

You mentioned G2’s Russian language meta data but failed to mention it was placed there deliberately. – The Russian masquerade was the fabrication!

No the government doesn’t need to focus on pointing the finger; it needs to investigate the new evidence discovered in 2017.

You mention G2’s Google-Translator job of Romanian but fail to mention that G2 had ZERO syntactical traits that are to be expected from Russians communicating in English.

This whole article starts off with you framing dissent to the official narrative as being right-wing (while most of those that independently investigated G2 lean left collectively more than right)

I’ll be publishing an article in response very soon.




… and a few more comments for your reading pleasure:




David Williamson

Well if Cheney said it then it must be true.




Chaim Yankel ·

Podesta was phished, so was my mother. Are you saying that the Russians are to blame for my mother being hacked? Also, based on an analysis of file headers, it appears that the Russians hacked the DNC using a broadband internet connection many times faster than my premium FiOS account provides. I’m jealous. Where can I get that kind of speed? What does it cost.




Daniel Vmc Fultz ·

Where has all the russian collusion gone not a word from the democrats in over a momth




What follows are the aforementioned credentials from the Salon “forum:”


Dissenters – the three Sheffield chose to quote are in bold:

Thomas Drake is a former senior executive at the National Security Agency. Previously, he worked in industry as a principal and consultant in information management and technology, was a naval intelligence officer, served at the CIA as an analyst, and in the Air Force as a crypto-linguist and signals intelligence aircrew member.

Scott Ritter spent 10 years as a Marine Corps intelligence officer, with service in the former Soviet Union and under Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf during the first Gulf War. From 1991 to 1998, he served as a chief weapons inspector with the United Nations in Iraq. Today, he consults on energy-intelligence issues.

Lisa Ling (@ARetVet) served in the US military as a technical sergeant on drone surveillance systems before leaving with an honorable discharge in 2012. She appears in the 2016 documentary on drone warfare, National Bird.

Cian Westmoreland is an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) whistle-blower. He is a former transmissions-systems technician who served in a unit establishing battlefield command, control, communication, computing, and intelligence (C4I) capabilities for Reapers, Predators, and other networked aircraft over the 253,000 square miles of Afghanistan in 2009, in the 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, before speaking out about the drone program.

Philip M. Giraldi is a former counterterrorism specialist who served for 19 years with the CIA and Army intelligence in Europe and the Middle East. He is executive director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that promotes a foreign policy based on actual US interests. In 2008 and 2012, he was a foreign-policy adviser for presidential candidate Ron Paul. Giraldi is a contributing editor for The American Conservative and The Unz Review, where he writes about terrorism, intelligence, and national-security issues.

Jesselyn Radack is director of the Whistleblower and Source Protection Program (WHISPeR) at ExposeFacts. Previously, she was a legal adviser with the Justice Department.

Principal authors of VIPS memo, “Was the ‘Russian Hack’ an Inside Job”

William Binney was a civilian employee of the National Security Agency from 1970 to 2001. He held numerous positions, including technical director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group; Operations Directorate analysis skill field leader; member of the NSA Senior Technical Review Panel; chair of the Technical Advisory Panel to the Foreign Relations Council; co-founder of the SIGINT Automation Research Center; NSA representative to the National Technology Alliance Executive Board; and technical director of the Office of Russia, as well as working as a senior analyst for Warning for over 20 years. After retiring, Binney blew the whistle on the unconstitutional surveillance programs run by the NSA. His outspoken criticism led to an early-morning FBI raid on his home in 2007. Even before Edward Snowden’s whistle-blowing, Binney publicly revealed that the NSA had access to telecommunications companies’ domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 to 20 trillion domestic communications. The documents released by Edward Snowden confirmed many of the surveillance dangers about which Binney had been warning under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Skip Folden (Associate VIPS) retired from IBM after 25 years. His last position there was as IBM program manager for information technology, US.

Ed Loomis is a former NSA technical director for the Office of Signals Processing. From 1996 to 2001, he led the SIGINT Automation Research Center. He retired in 2001 as senior cryptologic computer scientist after 37 years at the agency. He worked for the NSA as an enterprise senior system architect from 2002 to 2007 following retirement, and he was professionally certified in multiple fields at the NSA: mathematician, computer systems analyst, operations research analyst, and system acquisition manager. Loomis applied technical knowledge and experience in developing automated systems focused on producing intelligence supporting military operations and top US decision-makers from 1964 to 2001.

Ray McGovern worked as a CIA analyst under seven presidents and nine CIA directors after serving as a US Army infantry/intelligence officer in the 1960s, McGovern. His concentration was on Russia, one of the foreign posts in which he served. He was chief of the CIA’s Foreign Policy Branch in the 1970s and acting national intelligence officer for Western Europe in the ’80s. He prepared the President’s Daily Brief for Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. During Reagan’s first term, McGovern conducted the early-morning CIA substantive briefings, one-on-one, to the president’s five most senior foreign-policy advisers. At retirement, he was awarded the Intelligence Commendation Medallion for “especially meritorious service,” but gave it back in March 2006 to dissociate himself from an agency engaged in torture. After retirement, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Kirk Wiebe is a former senior analyst at the SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA. He led the center’s response to National Security Decision Directive 178, ordering the NSA to develop a program to counter the threat posed by foreign relocatable targets, which earned him the DCI’s National Meritorious Unit Citation. Wiebe was awarded the NSA’s second-highest honor, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, together with numerous other awards for work on the challenges of digital-age strategic planning. He held the NSA’s professional certification as a Russian linguist.