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Putin Claims Russia Proposed a Cyber War Treaty In 2015 But the Obama Admin Ignored Them (qz.com) 193

An anonymous reader writes: Russian president Vladimir Putin (who denies any Russian part in the hacking) claims the Obama administration ignored a proposal in 2015 that might have avoided all of this. His administration suggested working out a cyber treaty with the US but was ignored by Obama officials, Putin told film director Oliver Stone in Showtime's four-part series broadcast this week. "A year and a half ago, in fall 2015, we made proposal to our American partners that we work through these issues and conclude a treaty on the rules of behavior in this sphere," he said in Stone's documentary The Putin Interviews. "The American side was silent, they didn't reply to us."
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Putin Claims Russia Proposed a Cyber War Treaty In 2015 But the Obama Admin Ignored Them

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  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dru Nemeton ( 4964417 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:05PM (#54633583)
    Given the environment of this admission I can't be the only one who doubts this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Does anyone else remember the hack that recently crippled a bunch of countries?

      The one developed by the USA?

      HERPaDERRRRRRRRP

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dunkindave ( 1801608 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:18PM (#54633679)

      Given the environment of this admission I can't be the only one who doubts this.

      I don't doubt it, but I think he is spinning it. Think about the problem of attribution in the cyber realm, then think about what good such an agreement would be? All it would do is become something for groups to use to try and attack others in public while doing absolutely nothing to stop any of the cyber attacks. The administration probably "ignored it" (meaning told them to take a hike) because they saw it as a nothing-burger proposed solely for propaganda reasons.

      • They ignored it because they believe that Russians are Untermenschen and have no right of initiative in such matters and silly Putin doesn't deserve anything more than scorn for thinking otherwise or trying to act like it.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        As the subject says...REALLY? Think before you type. If it was 'pure propaganda' why wouldn't Putin/Russia simply announce it to the world back in 2015?

        Look, I think Putin's an 'asshat' for various reasons but assuming the Russian's wouldn't make such a proposal assumes that we are ALWAYS better than 'them'.

        Sure, it may be very difficult to come up with a treaty in this space that would have real impact but to not even try is just not reasonable.

        Look, when will people understand that even in the West the '3

        • Oh dear...

          If it was 'pure propaganda' why wouldn't Putin/Russia simply announce it to the world back in 2015?

          Mostly because it'd be laughed at. Russia's been the poster child for psyops (including data manipulation and exfiltration) since WWII. If they unilaterally promise that they won't do nasty psyops things, there's no reason to believe them.

          ...assuming the Russian's wouldn't make such a proposal assumes that we are ALWAYS better than 'them'.

          That's a false equivalence. Assuming the Russians wouldn't make such a proposal assumes that the Russians wouldn't make such a proposal. It would also be a safe assumption that the Americans would make such a proposal, but only with enough exceptions that it wou

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:43PM (#54633935)
        I think the more realistic explanation is that it was ignored because it means the U.S. would have to knock-off (or obfuscate behind a third party for purposes of deniability, because lets face it we're not going to stop doing it) a lot of the stuff it's doing. Everyone likes to think that they're the good guys, but the U.S. has a long history of interfering in foreign countries so it's laughable to suggest that not carrying out our own operations. But as you point out, there isn't much point in a meaningless treaty when both sides know that both they and the other side won't actually uphold it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by hazardPPP ( 4914555 )

          I think the more realistic explanation is that it was ignored because it means the U.S. would have to knock-off (or obfuscate behind a third party for purposes of deniability, because lets face it we're not going to stop doing it) a lot of the stuff it's doing.

          Exactly. Russia doesn't have the NSA, it doesn't have a direct point of access to the world's biggest Internet companies...Russia can't do 10% of what the US does in the "cyber sphere". The biggest cyber warfare nation on the Earth is the USA. They are ahead of everyone else combined by light years.

          So of course Obama ignored it, Obama was a big fan of the NSA. As is the entire federal government. Any cyber treaty would severely limit what the US can do NOW, while only theoretically limiting what other count

    • I'm sure you wouldn't want anything to happen to it...

      Putin proposing a "cyber war treaty" is like the Mob proposing that they will "protect you".

      • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:55PM (#54634053)

        Do you realize how big the NSA is?

        American three letter agencies spend more money 'cyber spying' on each other than the total Russian cyber budget. Which isn't to say the Russians don't have talent or that any amount of money will turn a paper pusher into a hacker.

        The Americans didn't respond because they thought they were miles ahead. Recent releases show they _could_ just own anyone with any connected consumer device (e.g. router, PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux based etc etc).

        I'm thinking the OpenBSD guys are acting kind of smug, but where they owned too? I can't keep up.

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          The 3 letter agencies do more than just spy on Russia... Besides which, as I stated elsewhere, there is no point in signing a treaty with anyone who claims that his Military is just on vacation when they invaded a neighbor and that his hackers are merely unemployed patriots.

          • A toothless treaty that you're not going to abide by anyhow...

            I'm not arguing for the treaty, just saying it wouldn't make sense for the USA to curtail the NSA when apparently so far ahead. At the time the spooks were basking in the afterglow of Stuxnet, not the butthurt of their bosses being shown to be cyber clowns.

            • by phayes ( 202222 )

              Never argued against the 3 letters not wanting a treaty (nor that their development/use of 0days is somehow "wrong" or that they "should" have just silently turned them all over to the makers so that they could be patched -- which they ended up doing anyway months before the exploits were revealed).

              As for appearances, Putin may rue overusing his little green men & "patriots". The 3 letter agencies are not without resources as you pointed out & everyone now expects him to use them. There are many way

              • Russia has it's own issues. We can't help, we can only hurt. We're just going to have to accept that Russia will follow it's own course.

                What can you say about Russian pride?

                How old is Putin? What kind of succession planning has he done?

                All the currencies are in for a rough ride. Baby boom gets good and settled into retirement and we're strapping nitrous to the printing presses at the mint.

                • by phayes ( 202222 )

                  Allow Putin to continue to continue to hack everyone else's elections with no consequences? Allow him to continue to seize territories from those he hasn't had the appetite to turn on yet?

                  I have no problem with Russian pride when they're not using it to trample on the rights of others.

                  Putin is 64. Whether or not he has groomed a successor or ossifies until his 90s matters little to me as long as his foreign adventurism is contained.

                  • Russia's pride is currently breaking it's back, financially.

                    And the rest of the world has it's own fish to fry, with our demographic/retirement issues. Russia has that too.

                    We don't want Russia collapsing either, think about Russian weapon/rocket engineering talent selling itself to the highest bidder in the middle east.

                    • by phayes ( 202222 )

                      Agree about the effort Putin is forcing Russias into. If oil prices don't come up Putin is going to have as much success as Maduro.

                      Russia's recent demographics are actually getting better recently (but again, I agree globally).

                      Not so sure that anyone would be willing to bankroll the Russian rocket scientists a second time should they need it after another Russian overextension in a couple years. With NK building solid fuelled ICBMs today and almost certainly willing to sell to anyone willing to help them av

                    • We paid to keep Russia in the rocket business after the fall of the USSR.

                      And nothing, basically, has changed, we don't want the rusky _talent_ taking its knowledge to the third world.

                      We don't want a power vacuum or violent revolution in a nuclear power. Russian space is a great source of pride for them. Everybody needs a little pride, it's not like it's a sin.

                    • by phayes ( 202222 )

                      I'm well aware that we bankrolled the fUSSR rocket scientists or I wouldn't have written "willing to bankroll the Russian rocket scientists a _second_ time".

                      Again, I have no problem with Russian pride when they're not using it to trample on the rights of others.

                      I just don't think that the now much smaller pool of russian rocket scientists are large and unique enough for us to want to bankroll again when NK is building it's own solid fuelled ICBMs & the Russians still don't have Angara flying regularly e

                    • I suppose just accepting that everyone crazy will have ICBMs soon is one POV.

                      And in furtherance, it looks like even India and Pakistan are growing up a little...nukes do that. N Korea on the other hand, China has got to do something soon.

                      Who else is 'on deck'? Japan doesn't need help, if they want to they can. Most of western Europe is the same...slackers! S Korea? Malaysia? The Venezuelans are crazy enough, but they can't afford the bills. Brazil swears 'they're out', so does S. Africa. Burma? Thailan

                    • by phayes ( 202222 )

                      Does my acceptance/refusal that NK has solid fueled ICBMs change the fact that they have them? Nope. Does yours? Nope.

                      The only power that could "peacefully" stop NK's mad course is indeed China -- who have refused to do so for decades. I'm right there with you hoping that they do so before it is too late but reviewing their past inaction and projecting forward does not inspire hope that they will do so.

                      You're thinking of Kaningrad, It was never a part of Latvia but was a German enclave that was the heart of

                    • Russia still has some really talented material scientists, just to start. Who built the lean burning turbopump? Get them all. All the guys that debugged the common pump, multi nozzle engines...it goes on. ULA is flying with Russian engines.

                      The people I'm thinking of are the kind you build teams around, not cogs in machines.

                      Russia is a mess, if they want out, they'll find a way. But many will be Russian patriots.

                      Russia is bleeding money from all orifices. She will come around. Don't 'corner' bears wit

                    • by phayes ( 202222 )

                      No question that Russia has excellent materiels scientists that were able to develop oxygen rich engines that usually don't RUD, but Space-X has gone in different directions where the russian expertise just isn't applicable.

                      Spaces-X's in-house development teams certainly don't need to be broken down and reformed around people that Russia isn't going to let go anyway -- they're already doing great & have largely outperformed _everybody_ else.

                      Nukes are terrible weapons but having them doesn't give Russia

        • The Americans didn't respond because they thought they were miles ahead.

          They probably are. It's just that American (and everyone else's) infrastructure is still in the stone age.

    • Re: Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @01:44PM (#54634485)
      I don't doubt that Putin may have proposed it and that the Obama administration turned it down. After all who here really believes that Putin would honor such a treaty?
    • Well it could be true-ish. He may have proposed a treaty.

      But that should immediately raise questions like, what would the treaty have agreed to? Were the terms fair? Did we have reason to believe Putin intended to honor such a treaty?

    • We didn't hack, but a treaty could have prevented it. Putin, you are one dumb motherfucker.
  • And a Putin-friendly Republican party. There will be peace in our time!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      So how are the republicans "putin-friendly" when they not only maintain sanctions, but are following Obama's same playbook. You do realize that Russia's main concern was Hillary would do something that would trigger WWIII because she was so incredibly hawkish that it made neocons blush. You can even see that in her emails, where she wanted to directly bomb russians in Syria, and start seizing assets from them. Pretty easy to figure out why the Kremlin was cheering when Trump was elected, it might just ha

      • Regular formal communication, presence in the Oval Office, return of seized compounds, softer rhetoric.... oh, wait, you're a troll...

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Regular formal communication, presence in the Oval Office, return of seized compounds, softer rhetoric.... oh, wait, you're a troll...

          So you're saying that the US shouldn't have formal communication with a country that has a massive nuclear arsenal? Remember what happened the last time that went on, and the only reason we're having this discussion is because the USSR captain refused to pull the trigger. You mean the same presence that other nations have? The one that Obama pulled because reasons. So you want to argue that a Russia surrounded by NATO bases, shouldn't have some of their dignity back under a new administration. Are you

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes but you're forgetting one thing: Hillary has a vagina. And that's just downright progressive. And diverse. Progressive and diverse both sound like good things. How can two things that sound good be bad? Do you think women are bad? You must if you don't want Hillary, A WOMAN, to have whatever she wants. You're basically a nazi, aren't you?

        -Gawker

      • by bestweasel ( 773758 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:56PM (#54634073)

        The Senate are serious about it, voting 98-2 for more sanctions on Russia; the House will probably follow suit. Trump would like to be buddies with Putin. The investigations should eventually find out how much sympathy and influence Russia has in the various other factions in Trump's Administration.

      • by Altus ( 1034 )

        Well we are moving to pu sanctions back in place on Iran which cuts off a big competitor to Russian oil interests by driving the price of their oil back up to the point where Russia is competitive again.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:07PM (#54633597)

    and the US arrogantly thought that they were better hackers.

    • I'm beginning to think that cyberwarfare is a negative-sum game for all involved and the only way to 'win' is if NOBODY plays.
      • Negative for the government entities perhaps, but as a citizen I'd find it quite refreshing to have the governments dirty laundry aired. I don't know if that requires cyber espionage from other countries as Snowden showed that this can be done internally as well, but governments that can get away with working from the shadows tend to become tyrannical beasts. Even the threat of eventual discovery may be enough to keep some evil at bay.
        • Leaking dirty laundry, yes. Leaving the world's infrastructure incredibly vulnerable, not so much. So, probably stop the hacking game, but provide asylum to whistleblowers.
      • It's bad for groups that keep lots of secrets, that's obvious.

        I'm still waiting for the Ds or Rs to be fully triggered and the mutual dirt dump to start. Anybody that's been watching for a few decades, can come up with examples where 'important people' were about to go to prison, when suddenly the dogs backed off. From both sides of the isle.

        I recognize MAD when I see it, even if I don't have the actual dirt.

      • You could probably remove the "cyber" from that statement.

    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      and the US arrogantly thought that they were better hackers.

      The US probably thought that Russia had absolutely no intention of stopping hacking. All this was was a ploy to try to bind the US in some agreement while Russia lies about how they couldn't possibly be behind the hacking!
      What, the hacking, did you think Russians were behind it?
      Oh, are you bringing up the hacking charges again? Russians were not nearly as involved as you think they were.
      Talking about the hacking during the election again? Ok, we Russians were behind it, but that was a long time ago, and it

  • Blaming Obama? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:09PM (#54633607) Homepage

    You know Putin didn't think that talking point up on his own. The guy who has changed his story three times about Russian hacking now tries out a new strategy.

    We can't stay united with people who think it's okay for Russians, or any country, to meddle in our elections...as long as the meddling is working for them. If this was Hillary Clinton working with the Russians the hypocrite right would be burning the country down.

    • The guy who has changed his story three times about Russian hacking now tries out a new strategy.

      Does Russia have it's own version of Twitter? Does Putin use it, like, all the time? I think you see where I'm going with this. How do you say 'fake news' in Russian?

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      While I think we should have these treaties, there is no way that the Russians would actually follow it any more than they followed international law when they annexed Crimea.
      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Keep in mind that most governments consider treaties "gentlemen's agreements" nothing else, unless there is some type of oversight. As long as neither side is openly doing things, and aren't violating the spirit of that agreement anything goes and it's always been like that. USSR or Russia, US or GB everyone plays by those same rules. But wouldn't it be interesting to find out that this was actually the case? It would sure lend credence to the CIA and NSA being state actors using their tools to fake att

      • My, how quickly we forget about the Snowden leaks. How quickly we forget about topping nearly a dozen countries in the Middle East, sponsoring colored revolutions all over the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

        The US Government (at least certain sections) was caught treating everyone as an enemy.

        I'm not in any way endorsing or approving of Russia, I am saying that if the US behavior is no better we should be fixing our own. Nowhere in the list of Noble Traits will you find the word "hypocrite".

        Something to c

    • I agree, we shouldn't be supportive of meddling in elections just because it works in our favor. That means that Clinton, and a good chunk of the US intelligence agencies, should be stopped.
      • I agree, we shouldn't be supportive of meddling in elections just because it works in our favor. That means that Clinton, and a good chunk of the US intelligence agencies, should be stopped.

        I've seen Hillary (?) Clinton seen accused of a lot of things, but this is a new one. I'm not going waste energy asking for proof, but what exactly is she supposed to have done this time?

    • by ph1ll ( 587130 )

      If you don't like it done to you then don't do it to others.

      Aside from all the elections America has interfered in [washingtonpost.com], the US recently targeted its allies and hacked the phone of the German leader [telegraph.co.uk].

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:09PM (#54633611)
    Putin right now: We do not hack other nations, those are independent patriotic Russians.

    Putin if he signed a treaty: We do not hack other nations, those are independent patriotic Russians.
    • This. How quiet (and efficient) would politics become if one could filter out all of this bullshit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:10PM (#54633617)

    Most likely it came from a .ru domain, got flagged as spam, and ended up in Obama's junk folder.

    Even if he could find the email, the link will have been sanitized with a [Malware Domain] marker.

  • Contradiction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Edward Nardella ( 1503565 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:18PM (#54633681)
    So, Russia was not involved but if there was a treaty they would not have been involved and they would not have done the hacking they did not do.
  • And it was red and sat on a yellow base.

    Wonder where Putin got that idea?

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:21PM (#54633713)
    Putin denies any involvement in hacking (which the FBI says is nonsense) while publicly declaring he proposed in essence, a cyberwar treaty that "might have avoided all this". How could what is going with the question of Russian interference with our voting system be avoided if there wasn't any in the first place. This suggests what we all suspect: that we have actions (call it retaliation if you like) on both side. Who started it, well, that question probably goes back to the cold war.
    • ..while publicly declaring he proposed in essence, a cyberwar treaty that "might have avoided all this".

      Here's what Obamas' reaction to that email must have been. [troll.me] Only a fool (and someone with the initials 'D.T.') would fall for something as obvious as that.

    • Who started it is the most childish fucking question in the world.
      It doesn't fucking matter. What matters is that adults in positions of power stop acting like goddamned children before they get us all killed.

      This lingering concept of "I want to rule the world." stopped applying when we could press a button and shield ourselves from the sun for thousands of years (Not that it matters because >half the population of the planet will be dead at that point).

      We'll go back to exploration and conquest when shit

  • ...the logical response is to start an all-out campaign of cyber aggression and psyops? Sure. That makes sense. Propose a treaty and then declare war when you're ignored.
    • Tit-for-tat is an effective strategy. The problem is that you are assuming that Russia declared the 'war.' The US has been caught writing sophisticated malware to damage nuclear infrastructure. We have 'reasonable confidence' of Russia sending out phishing emails.
      • I don't doubt we had something to do with Stuxnet. But the Israelis took a victory lap over it. Credit where it's due.

  • ... something that we are not doing. Yeah, that sounds legit.
  • When is the "news" going to stop sounding like a scandal rag newspaper?
  • We decide not to sign and you decide to unleash the beast? Makes sense? lel.
  • Putin-ish: "We totally didn't hack the election, but it wouldn't have been a problem if the US had signed this treaty that we sent in 2015, which would have stopped us from hacking the election, which we totally didn't do..."

    We've been missing the point. Putin is a dark comedy masterpiece. Can we all just applaud his ability to drop these lines without bursting into laughter?

  • It probably got blocked by the SPAM filters.

  • 2015 was back when the sitting American president didn't have his lips wrapped around Putin's unit. I remember only hearing about Putin maybe once every-other month. Now he is in the news every day since Trump's mouth became his cock holster.
  • Am I doing this joke right?

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