Newly released documents show that the FBI used standard FBI tactics on Michael Flynn

MAGA world is very up-in-arms about some newly unsealed court documents involving the case of Michael Flynn, the US Army Lieutenant General and former Trump national security advisor who pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with the Russian government and also worked as a secret lobbyist for the Turkish government while he was in the White House.

The documents at the center of this flurry involve handwritten notes from an FBI agent about the handling of the case. "What’s our goal?" the agent scrawled on one document. "Truth/admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” Another document shows the same agent expressing concern about the need to "Protect our institution by not playing games," noting that "If we’re seen playing games, WH will be furious."

Flynn's lawyers are trying to use this revelation to reverse his guilty plea and get the case thrown out, citing it as proof of a Deep State FBI something something. "Since August 2016 at the latest, partisan F.B.I. and D.O.J. leaders conspired to destroy Mr. Flynn," they wrote to the judge, "These documents show in their own handwriting and emails that they intended either to create an offense they could prosecute or at least get him fired."

President Trump has long defended Flynn's innocence, so it's no surprise that his lawyers would try to take advantage of this opportunity. But nor should it be surprising that the FBI was trying to make deliberate and strategic bureaucratic decisions. Read the rest

Reddit security detects likely Russian campaign to leak documents

Yesterday, r/redditsecurity announced that it believes leaked internal secret documents about trade agreement discussions between the United States and the United Kingdom were posted to /r/worldpolitics by Russians:

Earlier this year Facebook discovered a Russian campaign on its platform, which was further analyzed by the Atlantic Council and dubbed “Secondary Infektion.” Suspect accounts on Reddit were recently reported to us, along with indicators from law enforcement, and we were able to confirm that they did indeed show a pattern of coordination. We were then able to use these accounts to identify additional suspect accounts that were part of the campaign on Reddit. This group provides us with important attribution for the recent posting of the leaked UK documents, as well as insights into how adversaries are adapting their tactics.

In late October, an account u/gregoratior posted the leaked documents and later reposted by an additional account u/ostermaxnn. Additionally, we were able to find a pocket of accounts participating in vote manipulation on the original post. All of these accounts have the same shared pattern as the original Secondary Infektion group detected, causing us to believe that this was indeed tied to the original group.

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Air Force veteran Reality Winner is serving 5 years for blowing the whistle on Russian election interference, while Trump's Russia-dealing cronies are going free

In 2017, Reality Winner, a 25-year-old Air Force veteran and intelligence contractor was arrested for leaking confirmation of 2016 Russian election meddling to The Intercept; Winner seems to have been motivated by the same outrage that had animated Ed Snowden four years earlier: watching her bosses lie about matters of national interest. Read the rest

From Tahrir to Trump: how the internet became the dictators' home turf

Zeynep Tufekci (previously) leads Tech Review's politics issue with the best overview of the forces that have combined to make the internet so hospitable to totalitarians and racist pigs. Read the rest