Homeland Security has dropped its attempt to unmask anti-Trump Twitter account

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Just one day after being sued in federal court, the Department of Homeland Security has withdrawn its order to unmask the @Alt_USCIS account, a harshly critical account nominally run by an anonymous Homeland Security staffer. In March, two agents of Customs and Border Protection had served Twitter with an order for IP logs, phone numbers, and other identifying information associated with the account. Twitter declined to comply with the request, and argued in its complaint that the order was unconstitutional, and relied on an unconventional statute insufficient for unmasking an individual user.

Now, that order is being withdrawn. Twitter learned of the withdrawal in a meeting with the Department of Justice earlier today, and has subsequently withdrawn its lawsuit. Reached by The Verge, the company declined to comment.

It’s unclear whether the government will make further attempts to unmask the user. Because the March order was made by Customs agents, it relied on an unusual statute largely related to taxes on the importation of merchandise, which Twitter argued was insufficient. If the Department of Justice is committed to unmasking the user, it might request a court order for the same information under a statute that’s more in-line with Twitter’s law enforcement guidelines, which acknowledge that private information may be disclosed in response to a valid legal request.

@Alt_USCIS is one of a number of “rogue” accounts that have sprung up under President Trump, offering a critical perspective on the policies of the new administration. It is unclear which if any of the accounts are genuine, but they have drawn both attention and scrutiny as the administration has sought to crack down on unauthorized leaks to the press.

Twitter Notice of Voluntary Dismissal by Anonymous U9RiYGpG on Scribd

Comments

Plan A – Hope this slips through the cracks at Twitter
FAILED

Plan B – Ask the NSA for assistance
IN PROGRESS

Plan C — have Fancy Bear handle it for them instead.
ON DECK FOR NEXT CALL WITH PUTIN

Jokes aside, dispelling MSM propaganda is a must in this case. Fancy/Cozy Bear are not really hacking groups. Those are names for set of indicators such as the hacking software and the implicated IPs. Considering the fact that the specific hacking software is available to third parties for a long time already, and the implicated IPs have nothing specifically to do with Russia (the most of them are just TOR nodes), not only there is zero evidence that the Russian government had anything to do with the DNC "hack", but also that the hacking had anything to do with Russia at all.

There are even doubts that the was a successful hacking operation in principle as the DNC-hired "pay-to-attribute" contractor has repeatedly denied the FBI access to the DNC’s servers and networks — the FBI always asks for such access in dubious cases such as this one since tracking IP packets from outside of the network only tells a minor part of the story.

The bulk of "evidence" comes from the contractor, CrowdStrike, that has a history of unreliable claims, including on this very issue when they first claimed that the Russian’s GRU, military intelligence has made the hacks, but then reneged on the claim to say that it has used middlemen group.

The reason why they had to change their claims is because their "evidence" tries to tell the story how the Russian government has used serially implicated hacking group that is using the biggest Russian mail service and signs its edits by the name of the founder of the KGB. If anything, this is evidence against their claim that the hacks were done by the Russian government, not for it, unless Putin has intentionally wanted to be exposed to help Clinton’s pre-planned (as per the leaked mails) neo-MacCarthyite red scare campaign.

Nice to hear another view on it. However, there will always be doubt. What matters is its likelihood and the consequences if true.

The source in your link is a representative from a competing company. While their assertions should be taken in mind, it should not affect the need for an investigation nor continued cyber protection and encryption.

Of course, there needs to be a proper investigation.

However, even if the FBI will get the access to the DNC infrastructure now, the chances that they will gather forensic evidence after a full year are purely theoretical.

This means that the bulk of "evidence" is going to continue to be the sole-sourced claim by CrowdStrike; by the way, their history of incorrect claims is documented and has nothing to do with their competitors: just recently VOA reported on yet another case where they reneged their prior claims.

There is also a question about the suspected DNC leakerP: Wikileaks’ staff, namely, former ambassador of the UK, has claimed from very beginning that he got the DNC data in the USA for a person Whether it was Seth Rich or anyone else is unclear, but so far there seems to be no interest from the authorities to investigate whether it is true or not.

Interestingly enough, in May of last year, John Podesta in his mails discussed the need to find the leaker and punish him/her, if it was a leak, all while CrowdStrike claims they knew that it was a hack months prior to that. No one is investigation this situation, too.

A Russian VPN provider that CrowdStrike claims was implicated in the hacking says it was never been contacted by the FBI or any other investigators from the USA. The owner is especially interested since whoever has rented his VPN services did not pay him and just disappeared, and it was not a Russian/domestic entity so it is not easy to find and sue the cheater.

My guess is that so far no one is really interested in the investigation, so we have to believe into the ridiculous, grotesque caricature of "evidence" that is presented. CrowdStrike has only forgotten to include Balalayka and vodka into it somewhere; the bears and the KGB is already there.

Pathetic and disgusting, way to fail JustUs Department.

Maybe the found someone on the dark web to find out who it was already

If you honestly think the US government is just going to roll over like that, you haven’t been paying attention lately. This isn’t over. I guarantee it.

Tech companies never dare to say NO to their government in China.

Twitter is doing great stands up to government bullies.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑