Tuesday, November 1, 2016

About Trump's "secret" email server

The Clinton campaign and the Press (redundancy alert!) are breathlessly hammering the line that Trump has a "secret email server to talk to Putin".  Guess how reliable these accusations are:
This is nonsense. The evidence available on the Internet is that Trump neither (directly) controls the domain "trump-email.com", nor has access to the server. Instead, the domain was setup and controlled by Cendyn, a company that does marketing/promotions for hotels, including many of Trump's hotels. Cendyn outsources the email portions of its campaigns to a company called Listrak, which actually owns/operates the physical server in a data center in Philidelphia.


When you view this "secret" server in context, surrounded by the other email servers operated by Listrak on behalf of Cendyn, it becomes more obvious what's going on. In the same Internet address range of Trump's servers you see a bunch of similar servers, many named [client]-email.com. In other words, trump-email.com is not intended as a normal email server you and I are familiar with, but as a server used for marketing/promotional campaigns.
This is a detailed breakdown of what is known about the server, and it puts an end to any (technically accurate) description of this as a "secret server".  It's a marketing server, for email promotions (i.e. Spam).  Now you may not like Spam, but that's part of the Internet that we live with, and a normal business practice for, well, businesses (like Trump's).

What is interesting is the way you have to do a Clintonian parsing of the allegations and the "confirmation by security experts":
But the article quotes several experts confirming the story, so how does that jibe with this blog post. The answer is that none of the experts confirmed the story.

Read more carefully. None of the identified experts confirmed the story. Instead, the experts looked at pieces, and confirmed part of the story. Vixie rightly confirmed that the pattern of DNS requests came from humans, and not automated systems. Chris Davis rightly confirmed the server doesn't look like a normal email server.

Neither of them, however, confirmed that Trump has a secret server for communicating with the Russians. Both of their statements are consistent with what I describe above -- that's it's a Cendyn operated server for marketing campaigns independent of the Trump Organization.
I'm shocked - shocked! - to find the Clinton campaign and the Press (redundancy alert!) providing sneaky we didn't quite lie stories to smear an opponent.  Who'd have believed it from that group of people?


Old NFO said...

Now, now... You 'know' you're not toeing the agenda line when you say things like this... Especially when it's true! :-)

Ted said...

A simple ip lookup shows that server registered to listrack. A marketing service for retailers .

Took all of 2 minutes.

........ and even if all thier cliams were true , Donald is a private citizen not (yet) a member of government. He is NOT subject to the same rules as Hilary and the rest of Goverment .

Ted said...

And it's certainly not unusual for a mail server of this type to be setup as outbound only and be turned off if not needed. It's likely only a virtual server anyway , Even if you could hack your way into it. There would nothing else there. Unlike Hilary's mail server which was on a single server that was also the domain controller and could provide access to any computer attached to her home network.

SiGraybeard said...

Yeah, what Ted said. Trump can have a bazillion "secret servers" if he wants, he doesn't have access to Secret, Top Secret, SCI or SAP programs. Ergo, I don't care.

We know of one guy being executed because of Hillary, that Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri. Which brings up the topic of how many other people either quietly had their throats slit or quietly had to abandon their lives and get out of their country. We will never know.

Archer said...

None of this detailed, factual analysis makes a lick of difference in the short term (and at 7 days out, the election is in the short term).

The MSM's biased headlines have already come out -- "ZOMG HYPOCRISY! Trump Secretly Talking with Russia via Hidden E-mail Server" -- and won't be retracted or apologized for (or if they are, it'll be a postage-stamp-sized "article" on page 14D, and won't be published until Wednesday, Nov 9).

The low-information voters -- who have no idea how e-mail actually works -- have already seen them and made up their collective minds, and won't bother checking up on it. The damage is done.

Jason said...

First of all Trump doesn't need a secret server to communicate with the Russians. He has no access to classified material and is free to say anything he wants to them and has nothing to hide in doing it.

Second of all, it's nobody's business how many servers he has, as a private citizen he can build any number of servers and do what ever he wants to with them.

For the IDIOTS in the media, Hillary's "secret server" was a way to avoid accountability from FOIA requests and normal governmental oversight. It is prima facie evidence that she started the job with the intent to commit criminal activity which would need to be shielded from discovery.

Since it is not administered by approved (or cleared) personnel it was not legal to have any classified material on it at anytime. Felony #1

Deleting the 33K emails after the congressional subpoena is felony #2

Running bleach bit to destroy the evidence is another felony.

I bet that before this is all over they'll discover that there is an email forwarder on Huma Abedin's system to get them to an insecure system, then the emails from secure sources could be forwarded to Hillary's "secret server" And that is who is going to jail, the owner of that system.

cryptical said...

After 20+ years running email servers, my immediate thought is that the Russian servers probably have some spam sitting in a mail queue trying to be bounced, and since the marketing servers don't accept incoming mail the .ru boxes keep trying, generating DNS queries every so often after the TTL on the MX record times out.

Fits the facts as presented at first glance, anyways. They're not paying me for my expert analysis :)