Top positive review
A New Attack Strategy
Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2018
Did you ever read an intriguing spy novel? Well, reading this book feels like that – except that it’s all true. The authors felt a need to write this book in order to prevent a future attack on America. The public and its leaders had to know what had occurred. “A thorough accounting was a national necessity.”
The story begins with a history of Trump, Russia, and the Miss Universe contest held in a suburb near Moscow. We see early on Trump’s keen interest to do business in Russia and his desire to meet Putin. It is important to note that when things went badly for Putin and Russia, Putin saw the hidden hand of America trying to impose their worldview. Putin saw the West repeatedly humiliating him, for example, over Libya and Syria, which he considered his back yard. The finger was often pointed at Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State. Another key moment occurred in February 2013 when Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of staff of Russia’s armed forces, published an article advocating that “Russia adapt its military strategies to the modern world.” Russia was becoming aware of a new world in which battalions and fighter aircraft would be a thing of the past, replaced by hackers and skilled propagandists exploiting rifts in the ranks of the adversary. The goal: destroy NATO, the European Union, and seriously harm the United States. We are all familiar now with the Internet Research Agency and the compromise of social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The story now segues to the hack of the DNC by APT29 (Cozy Bear) and APT 28 (hackers associated with Russian military intelligence). These groups have been active for many years hacking into the systems of aerospace, energy, media, and government. Some time is spent discussing Trump’s connection to the Russian-born Felix Sater, a NY real estate developer. We also see Trump bragging about how his firm was riding high on money flowing out of Russia. Trump Jr. touted Russia as a key source of profits, and Trump was always trying to secure a project in Moscow. The authors note, “Was he trying to leverage his status as the Republican front-runner to finally score a Moscow deal?” It is an interesting thought.
Paul Manafort played an important role in the Trump campaign for a few months, and the authors devote a chapter to this person. Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state at the time, had stated that “He’s been a Russian stooge for fifteen years.” There is a lot to say here, dating back to the notorious lobbying and consulting firm Black, Manafort, and Stone. We learn of the relationship between Manafort, Deripaska, and Akhmetov, among others. Of course, then there’s Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The FBI determined that they were being cultivated by cutouts for Russian intelligence, “as part of a sophisticated operation to infiltrate and influence the Trump campaign.” Then there’s the Trump Jr meeting with Veselnitskaya and others, which figured prominently in the news. Moving on, there is some interesting details on the Christopher Steele dossier and Fusion GPS. I interestingly noted that the information provided by the dossier was “akin to preliminary intelligence reporting – information not analyzed, vetted, or ready for distribution.” It was not meant to be gospel, but a raw product of intelligence gathering.
The ensuing chapters discuss the details of the DNC hack, Podesta’s email hack, the search for Clinton’s emails, the Obama administration’s response to the Russian interference in the election, the Internet Research Agency and their compromise of Twitter and Facebook, and what the intelligence community was learning about the Russian attack. If you followed the news, much of this will be familiar to you, but the authors go into a bit of detail on these matters.