Obama, the Conductor of Chaos

Barack Obama holds the baton to an anti-American orchestra of tuned, tested, rehearsed instruments. The production is mismanaged, sour to the ears and causes people to leave the arena when the verses are not American and in cadence with allies. The entire governmental score is tyrannical and abusive.

His performance however, is well driven by inside marxist, communists and socialist operators who themselves have tuned, tested and rehearsed instruments where it is in harmony with enemies of America. How about Hugo Chavez, Mohammed Morsi or the Taliban? Then there is Iran.

Three branches of government have been reduced to one, where Conductor Obama has ruled with a pen and a phone and otherwise political extortion. Up to the point where Senate majority leader, Harry Reid lost his leadership post, he functionally stopped and paralyzed the people’s work on Congress to protect Barack Obama.

All the while, Maestro Obama had his was working his intonations on the Supreme Court with his choice picks of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, swinging the black robe influence to a more left octave. The court is broken when one sees the real dissention between the justices when not on the bench.

Obama has led an opus where the very social and civil structure in America has been thrown into turmoil. Border Patrol has no clue how to enforce immigration laws, they abide to DHS memos written by Secretary Jeh Johnson. Historical flags and icons are to be removed and gender designated bathrooms are now without any designation.

The fundamental security of government personnel and documents of several agencies has been compromised by an epic cyber intrusion and that finale is from over as the damage will be ongoing for years.

The very personal concern of having access to healthcare has reached a crisis pitch such that insurance deductibles are financially bending and having a doctor’s appointment is a future dream. Nothing is more demonstrative of this condition than that of the Veteran’s Administration where there is a slow death waltz.

Barack Obama performed a medley of government fraud and extortion using the IRS, the EPA, the DoJ, ATF, Education, HUD and HHS to name a few.

Off our shores, conditions are much worse. Barack Obama has modulated a score of retreat while his measure of sympathy to Islam in pure nocturne. His administration led of early in 2009 with the Cairo speech where the ligature plays out today throughout the Muslim world. The retreat from Iraq and his shallow threat of a ‘red-line’ have prove deadly in the whole region, a modern day holocaust. And mostly sadly of all was allowing 4 Americans to perish in Libya with no hope of security, support or rescue.

The most grave of the Obama coda is the terror and dying of Christians.

The building crescendo of Obama will be the nuclear agreement with Iran where Israel, Saudi Arabia, Europe and America as the great Satan will be his encore.

The stretto of the Obama symphony is defined here in an excellent summary by Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard.

There are several months left for the conductor of chaos to work his baton and that tremolo is clearly upon us and the world.






Cyber Security on the Skids, Blinking RED

Recorded Future is a real time open source intelligence collection company that determines trends and predictions of emerging threats.

Recorded Future identified the possible exposures of login credentials for 47 United States government agencies across 89 unique domains.

As of early 2015, 12 of these agencies, including the Departments of State and Energy, allowed some of their users access to computer networks with no form of two-factor authentication. The presence of these credentials on the open Web leaves these agencies vulnerable to espionage, socially engineered attacks, and tailored spear-phishing attacks against their workforce.

The damage has yet to be fully realized and cannot be overstated. Where is the White House? Where are the protections? Where is a policy? Major alarm bells as you read on.

From Associated Press:

Tech company finds stolen government log-ins all over Web

WASHINGTON (AP) — A CIA-backed technology company has found logins and passwords for 47 government agencies strewn across the Web – available for hackers, spies and thieves.

Recorded Future, a social media data mining firm backed by the CIA’s venture capital arm, says in a report that login credentials for nearly every federal agency have been posted on open Internet sites for those who know where to look.

According to the company, at least 12 agencies don’t require authentication beyond passwords to access their networks, so those agencies are vulnerable to espionage and cyberattacks.

The company says logins and passwords were found connected with the departments of Defense, Justice, Treasury and Energy, as well as the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence.

From the WSJ: Obama’s Cyber Meltdown

“While Russia and Islamic State are advancing abroad, the Obama Administration may have allowed a cyber 9/11 at home.”

If you thought Edward Snowden damaged U.S. security, evidence is building that the hack of federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) files may be even worse.

When the Administration disclosed the OPM hack in early June, they said Chinese hackers had stolen the personal information of up to four million current and former federal employees. The suspicion was that this was another case of hackers (presumably sanctioned by China’s government) stealing data to use in identity theft and financial fraud. Which is bad enough.

Yet in recent days Obama officials have quietly acknowledged to Congress that the hack was far bigger, and far more devastating. It appears OPM was subject to two breaches of its system in mid-to-late 2014, and the hackers appear to have made off with millions of security-clearance background check files.

These include reports on Americans who work for, did work for, or attempted to work for the Administration, the military and intelligence agencies. They even include Congressional staffers who left government—since their files are also sent to OPM.

This means the Chinese now possess sensitive information on everyone from current cabinet officials to U.S. spies. Background checks are specifically done to report personal histories that might put federal employees at risk for blackmail. The Chinese now hold a blackmail instruction manual for millions of targets.

These background checks are also a treasure trove of names, containing sensitive information on an applicant’s spouse, children, extended family, friends, neighbors, employers, landlords. Each of those people is also now a target, and in ways they may not contemplate. In many instances the files contain reports on applicants compiled by federal investigators, and thus may contain information that the applicant isn’t aware of.

Of particular concern are federal contractors and subcontractors, who rarely get the same security training as federal employees, and in some scenarios don’t even know for what agency they are working. These employees are particularly ripe targets for highly sophisticated phishing emails that attempt to elicit sensitive corporate or government information.

The volume of data also allows the Chinese to do what the intell pros call “exclusionary analysis.” We’re told, for instance, that some highly sensitive agencies don’t send their background checks to OPM. So imagine a scenario in which the Chinese look through the names of 30 State Department employees in a U.S. embassy. Thanks to their hack, they’ve got information on 27 of them. The other three they can now assume are working, undercover, for a sensitive agency. Say, the CIA.

Or imagine a scenario in which the Chinese cross-match databases, running the names of hacked U.S. officials against, say, hotel logs. They discover that four Americans on whom they have background data all met at a hotel on a certain day in Cairo, along with a fifth American for whom they don’t have data. The point here is that China now has more than enough information to harass U.S. agents around the world.

And not only Americans. Background checks require Americans to list their contacts with foreign nationals. So the Chinese may now have the names of thousands of dissidents and foreigners who have interacted with the U.S. government. China’s rogue allies would no doubt also like this list.

This is a failure of extraordinary proportions, yet even Congress doesn’t know its extent. The Administration is still refusing to say, even in classified briefings, which systems were compromised, which files were taken, or how much data was at risk.

While little noticed, the IRS admitted this spring it was also the subject of a Russian hack, in which thieves grabbed 100,000 tax returns and requested 15,000 fraudulent refunds. Officials have figured out that the hackers used names and Social Security data to pretend to be the taxpayers and break through weak IRS cyber-barriers. As Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has noted, the Health and Human Services Department and Social Security Administration use the same weak security wall to guard ObamaCare files and retirement information. Yet the Administration is hardly rushing to fix the problem.

Way back in March 2014, OPM knew that Chinese hackers had accessed its system without having downloaded files. So the agency was on notice as a target. It nonetheless failed to stop the two subsequent successful breaches. If this were a private federal contractor that had lost sensitive data, the Justice Department might be contemplating indictments.

Yet OPM director Katherine Archuleta and chief information officer Donna Seymour are still on the job. Mr. Obama has defended Ms. Archuleta, and the Administration is trying to change the subject by faulting Congress for not passing a cybersecurity bill. But that legislation concerns information sharing between business and government. It has nothing to do with OPM and the Administration’s failure to protect itself from cyber attack.

Ms. Archuleta appears before Congress this week, and she ought to remain seated until she explains the extent of this breach. While Russia and Islamic State are advancing abroad, the Obama Administration may have allowed a cyber 9/11 at home.

Cyber Conflict, Chaos and Calamity

There have been several Congressional hearings on cyber-terrorism, yet with such an emergency and threat, no solution is forthcoming.

From AEI: “America’s intelligence leaders have made clear the biggest threat today is cyber and counterintelligence. Who are the largest perpetrators of these types of attacks? The intelligence report singles out Russia and China as first examples. These nations have “highly sophisticated cyber programs” and are regularly conducting “politically motivated” attacks. What are they up to exactly? Countries such as China are “reconnoitering and developing access to US critical infrastructure systems, which might be quickly exploited for disruption if an adversary’s intent became hostile.” Back in 2013, Verizon released a report detailing Chinese hackers lurking around inside American industrial control systems—the cyber equivalent to casing a robbery target. In 2014 alone, the FBI investigated a likely Russian hacking campaign against American banking backbone JP Morgan, while two cybersecurity firms blamed Iran for a major campaign against US critical infrastructure like major airliners, medical universities, and energy companies. As the year ended, the US government publicly accused North Korea of a devastating cyberattack against Sony.”

When of Office of National Intelligence produced a report, the first chapter is on cyber threats.

“Risk. Despite ever-improving network defenses, the diverse possibilities for remote hacking intrusions, supply chain operations to insert compromised hardware or software, and malevolent activities by human insiders will hold nearly all ICT systems at risk for years to come. In short, the cyber threat cannot be eliminated; rather, cyber risk must be managed. Moreover, the risk calculus employed by some private sector entities does not adequately account for foreign cyber threats or the systemic interdependencies between different critical infrastructure sectors.

Costs. During 2014, we saw an increase in the scale and scope of reporting on malevolent cyber activity that can be measured by the amount of corporate data stolen or deleted, personally identifiable information (PII) compromised, or remediation costs incurred by US victims. “

The stakes are higher than anyone will admit, most of all the White House. The Office of Personnel Management hack of personnel files now appears to exceed 18 million individuals. “FBI Director James Comey gave the 18 million estimate in a closed-door briefing to Senators in recent weeks, using the OPM’s own internal data, according to U.S. officials briefed on the matter. Those affected could include people who applied for government jobs, but never actually ended up working for the government.”

Just announced as a possible additional agency falling victim to hacking is the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). What is chilling about this probability is all government reports, records and communications are by law to be maintained by NARA., even classified material.

EXCLUSIVE: Signs of OPM Hack Turn Up at Another Federal Agency

The National Archives and Records Administration recently detected unauthorized activity on three desktops indicative of the same hack that extracted sensitive details on millions of current and former federal employees, government officials said Monday. The revelation suggests the breadth of one of the most damaging cyber assaults known is wider than officials have disclosed.

The National Archives’ own intrusion-prevention technology successfully spotted the so-called indicators of compromise during a scan this spring, said a source involved in the investigation, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident. The discovery was made soon after the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team published signs of the wider attack — which targeted the Office of Personnel Management — to look for at agencies, according to NARA.

It is unclear when NARA computers were breached. Suspected Chinese-sponsored cyberspies reportedly had been inside OPM’s networks for a year before the agency discovered what happened in April. Subsequently, the government uncovered a related attack against OPM that mined biographical information on individuals who have filed background investigation forms to access classified secrets.

The National Archives has found no evidence intruders obtained “administrative access,” or took control, of systems, but files were found in places they did not belong, the investigator said.

NARA “systems” and “applications” were not compromised, National Archives spokeswoman Laura Diachenko emphasized to Nextgov,  “but we detected IOCs,” indicators of compromise, “on three workstations, which were cleaned and re-imaged,” or reinstalled.

“Other files found seemed to be legitimate,” such as those from a Microsoft website, she said. “We have requested further guidance from US-CERT on how to deal with these” and are still awaiting guidance on how to proceed.

It will take additional forensics assessments to determine whether attackers ever “owned” the National Archives computers, the investigator said.

Diachenko said, “Continued analysis with our monitoring and forensic tools has not detected any activity associated with a hack,” including alerts from the latest version of a governmentwide network-monitoring tool called EINSTEIN 3A.

EINSTEIN, like NARA’s own intrusion-prevention tool, is now configured to detect the tell-tale signs of the OPM attack.

“OPM isn’t the only agency getting probed by this group,” said John Prisco, president of security provider Triumphant, the company that developed the National Archives’ tool. “It could be happening in lots of other agencies.”

Prisco said he learned of the incident at a security industry conference June 9, from an agency official the company has worked with for years.

“They told us that they were really happy because we stopped the OPM attack in their agency,” Prisco said.

The malicious operation tries to open up ports to the Internet, so it can excise information, Prisco said.

“It’s doing exploration work laterally throughout the network and then it’s looking for a way to communicate what it finds back to its server,” he added.

Homeland Security officials on Monday would not confirm or deny the situation at the National Archives. DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee referred to the department’s earlier statement about the OPM hack: “DHS has shared information regarding the potential incident with all federal chief information officers to ensure that all agencies have the knowledge they need to defend against this cybersecurity incident.”

The assault on OPM represents the seventh raid on national security-sensitive or federal personnel information over the past year.

Well-funded hackers penetrated systems at the State Department, the White House, U.S. Postal Service and, previously in March 2014, OPM. Intruders also broke into networks twice at KeyPoint Government Solutions, an OPM background check provider, and once at USIS, which conducted most of OPM’s employee investigations until last summer.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the OPM incident that, among other things, will examine the possibility that hackers got into the agency’s systems by using details taken from the contractors.

Chinese Intelligence at Center of OPM Hack

First reported there was Anthem, one of the largest healthcare providers that was hacked. 80 million personal records were compromised. What is notable is Anthem is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield health coverage network and even more concerning is BCBS provides coverage to more that half of the federal government workforce.

Take note of the following fro Threatconnect.com:

“Anthem Themed Infrastructure & Signed Malware:
In September 2014, the ThreatConnect Intelligence Research Team (TCIRT) observed a variant of the Derusbi APT malware family, MD5: 0A9545F9FC7A6D8596CF07A59F400FD3, which was signed by a valid digital signature from the Korean company DTOPTOOLZ Co. Derusbi is a family of malware used by multiple actor groups but associated exclusively with Chinese APT. TCIRT began tracking the DTOPTOOLZ signature for additional signed malware samples and memorialized them within our Threat Intelligence Platform over time.
Analyst Comment: The DTOPTOOLZ signature has also been observed in association with Korean Adware that is affiliated with the actual DTOPTOOLZ Co. This adware should not be confused with the APT malware that is abusing the same digital signature.
Later, in mid-November we discovered another implant that was digitally signed with the DTOPTOOLZ signature. This implant, MD5: 98721c78dfbf8a45d152a888c804427c, was from the “Sakula” (aka. Sakurel) family of malware, a known variant of the Derusbi backdoor, and was configured to communicate with the malicious command and control (C2) domains extcitrix.we11point[.]com and www.we11point[.]com. Through our Farsight  Security passive DNS integration, we uncovered that this malicious infrastructure was likely named in such a way to impersonate the legitimate Wellpoint IT infrastructure.”

This brings us to the hack or rather simply sign-on as a root user of the 14 million personnel records of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) located in Colorado.

From Reuters:

U.S. employee data breach tied to Chinese intelligence

The Chinese hacking group suspected of stealing sensitive information about millions of current and former U.S. government employees has a different mission and organizational structure than the military hackers who have been accused of other U.S. data breaches, according to people familiar with the matter.

While the Chinese People’s Liberation Army typically goes after defense and trade secrets, this hacking group has repeatedly accessed data that could be useful to Chinese counter-intelligence and internal stability, said two people close to the U.S. investigation.

Washington has not publicly accused Beijing of orchestrating the data breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and China has dismissed as “irresponsible and unscientific” any suggestion that it was behind the attack.

Sources told Reuters that the hackers employed a rare tool to take remote control of computers, dubbed Sakula, that was also used in the data breach at U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc last year.

The Anthem attack, in turn, has been tied to a group that security researchers said is affiliated with China’s Ministry of State Security, which is focused on government stability, counter-intelligence and dissidents. The ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.

In addition, U.S. investigators believe the hackers registered the deceptively named OPM-Learning.org website to try to capture employee names and passwords, in the same way that Anthem, formerly known as Wellpoint, was subverted with spurious websites such as We11point.com, which used the number “1” instead of the letter “l”.

Both the Anthem and OPM breaches used malicious software electronically signed as safe with a certificate stolen from DTOPTOOLZ Co, a Korean software company, the people close to the inquiry said. DTOPTOOLZ said it had no involvement in the data breaches.

The FBI did not respond to requests for comment. People familiar with its investigation said Sakula had only been seen in use by a small number of Chinese hacking teams.

“Chinese law prohibits hacking attacks and other such behaviors which damage Internet security,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The Chinese government takes resolute strong measures against any kind of hacking attack. We oppose baseless insinuations against China.”


Most of the biggest U.S. cyber attacks blamed on China have been attributed, with varying degrees of certitude, to elements of the Chinese army. In the most dramatic case two years ago, the U.S. Justice Department indicted five PLA officers for alleged economic espionage.

Far less is known about the OPM hackers, and security researchers have differing views about the size of the group and what other attacks it is responsible for.

People close to the OPM investigation said the same group was behind Anthem and other insurance breaches. But they are not yet sure which part of the Chinese government is responsible.

“We are seeing a group that is only targeting personal information,” said Laura Gigante, manager of threat intelligence at FireEye Inc, which has worked on a number of the high-profile network intrusions.

CrowdStrike and other security companies, however, say the Anthem hackers also engaged in stealing defense and industry trade secrets. CrowdStrike calls the group “Deep Panda,” EMC Corp’s RSA security division dubs it “Shell Crew,” and other firms have picked different names.

The OPM breach gave hackers access to U.S. government job applicants’ security clearance forms detailing past drug use, love affairs, and foreign contacts that officials fear could be used for blackmail or recruiting.

In contrast to hacking outfits associated with the Chinese army, “Deep Panda” appears to be affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, said CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch.

Information about U.S. spies in China would logically be a top priority for the ministry, Alperovitch said, adding that “Deep Panda’s” tools and techniques have also been used to monitor democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

An executive at one of the first companies to connect the Anthem and OPM compromises, ThreatConnect, said the disagreements about the boundaries of “Deep Panda” could reflect a different structure than that in top-down military units.

“We think it’s likely a cohort of Chinese actors, a bunch of mini-groups that are handled by one main benefactor,” said Rich Barger, co-founder of ThreatConnect, adding that the group could get software tools and other resources from a common supplier.

“We think this series of activity over time is a little more distributed, and that is why there is not a broad consensus as to the beginning and end of this group.”

America Recovery Reinvestment Act, NOT SO Much

When one visits the government website www.recovery.gov, these description reads that the board is a non-partisan, non-political agency and then in bold letter in a heading it also reads ‘The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board’.

Additionally the site mission statement reads: “To promote accountability by coordinating and conducting oversight of Recovery funds to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse and to foster transparency on Recovery spending by providing the public with accurate, user-friendly information.”

Sheesh note the one particular case below and then ask yourself if there is a violation.

From Watchdog.org:

Company that got millions from U.S. taxpayers now profits Chinese owners

The good news is electric car battery maker A123 Systems is finally on track to turn a profit.

The bad news is taxpayers don’t figure to see any of the $133 million the federal government spent and the estimated $141 million in tax credits and subsidies secured from Michigan to help the company take off in 2009, only to see A123 Systems crash, declare bankruptcy in 2012 and then get purchased by a privately held Chinese conglomerate.

“In the case of A123, they created some jobs and a year or two later those jobs were gone, so taxpayers weren’t getting that money back,” said Jarret Skorup, a policy analyst at Michigan’s Mackinac Center, a free-market think tank .

Earlier this month, CEO Jason Forcier announced that A123 Systems’ parent company, the China-based Wanxiang Group, will spend $200 million to double the capacity of three lithium-ion battery plants, including two in suburban Detroit.

Forcier told Crain’s Detroit Business that A123 Systems is expected to generate $300 million in revenue this year and plans to double that amount by 2018. The company, Forcier said, will turn a profit for the first time in its history in 2015.

“The strength of A123 has never been greater and we are honored to be expanding our existing customer relationships and establishing new ones at the same time,” Forcier said in a company news release.

It would mark a dramatic turnaround for the company that was on the verge of collapse when Wanxiang bought it a little more than two years ago at a stripped-down price of $256.6 million. 

But finding out if taxpayers will ever see any of their money back is another matter.

Watchdog.org sent an email and left two voicemail messages with A123 Systems, asking whether any refunds are coming or if — under the terms of the bankruptcy — Wanxiang is under no financial obligation to do so.

The one-sentence response from Paulette Spagnuolo, A123’s marketing and communications manager: “A123 continues to meet and exceed all of the terms of the state and federal grants including all job creation, repayment and investment requirements.”

Spagnuolo did not respond to inquiries asking her to elaborate.

Skorup says the money is gone for good.

“There are a lot of local and state rebates and they are largely upfront costs, so yes, taxpayers are sunk on those,” Skorup told Watchdog.org in a telephone interview. “They’re not going to be getting money back from them … Michigan doesn’t require (A123 Systems) to pay them back anyway.”

How much money?

On the federal level, A123 Systems was originally slated to receive $249 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009 to build production facilities in the towns of Romulus and Livonia, Michigan — just $7.6 million less than Wanxiang eventually bought the entire company for four years later.

But A123 Systems ran into trouble early on. After some of its batteries were involved in a recall for the company’s biggest customer, the electric car company Fisker Automotive, the company’s federal grant was cut off after A123 received $133 million. 

Figuring out how much Michigan passed out has been more difficult.

The Detroit Free Press and the Mackinac Center have been rebuffed in attempts to see how much of an investment the state made in A123 Systems because the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will not disclose specifics.

Skorup estimates Michigan approved A123 Systems for $100 million in a tax credit program and another $41 million in subsidies.

“How much they actually cashed in those we don’t know,” Skorup said. “We’ve tried to find out, but the state won’t give it to us … they say it’s a private contract.”

The federal money was part of the stimulus package and a green-tech initiative the Obama administration touted would spur economic success.

A123 Systems was one of a number of Michigan battery companies that received a surge of tax credits from the state in 2009, but the incentives did not spur the jobs and dollars that were promised.

Detroit Free Press estimated $861 million in Obama administration grants were awarded in the fledgling Michigan battery industry and another $543 million in state tax credits were awarded during the administration of then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat.

Most of the Michigan business tax credit program was eliminated by current Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican. However, companies that had already secured the tax incentives were allowed to keep them.

“The general lesson for policy makers is that they make very poor venture capitalists because they’re not spending their own money,” said Skorup. “They’re spending other people’s money and those politicians weren’t putting their own stock portfolios into A123 Systems. They were putting taxpayer money into them.

“And the lesson for taxpayers should be, when politicians are making these claims about job projections they should be extremely skeptical. In Michigan, almost none of those — we’ve done multiple studies, other news organizations have done multiple studies — reach the actual projections that they promise.”

“Just because the jobs haven’t happened ‘yet,’ it doesn’t mean that cracking the code to vehicle batteries was the wrong strategy,” Granholm told the Free Press in March 2014.

President Obama appeared by remote broadcast for the grand opening of the A123 Systems Livonia plant in the fall of 2010, an event hosted by Granholm.

“Thanks to the Recovery Act, you guys are the first American factory to start high-volume production of advanced vehicle batteries,” Obama said at the time.

Skorup told Watchdog.org  the video of the event was taken down by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, but the Mackinac Center, a sharp critic of the battery plan from the start, retained a copy of it: