Thursday, July 14, 2016

Email Traffic Analysis

Signals intelligence can identify informative patterns even if you don't know anything about the contents of the messages.

Despite all the revelations of what Hillary Clinton did wrong with her private insecure email system, why are there gaps in Hillary Clinton's self-identified work-related emails?

But, when it comes to Clinton’s correspondence, the most basic and troubling questions still remain unanswered: Why are there gaps in Clinton’s email history? Did she or her team delete emails that she should have made public?

Do read it all. The article relies on traffic analysis where even during important events Hillary Clinton suddenly departed from her patterns of email usage.

As I've written, Russia and China (and whoever else hacked the Clinton email system) would gain tremendous knowledge about our national security system even if they could not read the messages they hacked into (but the messages were not doubt read, too):

[Even] if it is true that no truly classified information was sent or received--and that is utterly false since some emails aren't even being released as too secret even years after their creation--the president under-plays the value of just reading or following the routine emails.

Quantity has a quality of its own, and traffic analysis can reveal a lot about how we react to a crisis and who we speak to during emergencies or whether there a pre-event "buzz" that telegraphs our initiatives (you may recall how pizza deliveries to the Pentagon surged just prior to Desert Storm, if memory serves me).

And I have bonus material in that post on presidential command influence on the FBI, which given Comey's record should be no surprise (direct link if you have WSJ access):

A prosecutor who had spent a lifetime with one eye on politics and one eye on his résumé would have behaved exactly as Mr. Comey did. He must have noticed that Mrs. Clinton, leading in the polls, had recently dangled a job offer in front of his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch. He saw President Obama pressing not just his thumb, but his whole body, on the scales of justice. Reporters were on Mrs. Clinton’s side. Democrats were ready to be furious if he decided the wrong way.

Mr. Comey wasn’t ready to go it alone and impose accountability on Mrs. Clinton. That would have been tough. That would have been brave. He instead listed her transgressions in detail and left it to the public to pass judgment at the ballot box in November. That isn’t how the system is supposed to work. But Mr. Comey is no John Adams.

I didn't follow Comey's career, but when Democrats attacked Republicans for "turning on" Comey after his decision not to enforce the law against Clinton, I figured he wasn't as honorable as the Democrats are making out. Do read the damning history of going with the flow.