Author Archives: Neal Rauhauser

ToolTime: Hunchly

Hunchly bills itself as “Your Research Sidekick” but this light, fast browser plugin is a full featured investigation support tool for Google Chrome.



I obtained a Hunchly evaluation license and immediately put it to work on a missing persons case. Cupcake had not been seen in nearly two hours, and her nine year old owner was frantic. All I had to go on was the owner’s tearful description – a “cute kitten”. I entered the keywords as ‘selectors’ and began my search.

Hunchly Selector Hits

Hunchly Selector Hits

I found some things that looked promising as well as false positives, which I annotated using the system.

Hunchly Cupcake Candidate

Hunchly Cupcake Candidate

The owner had not mentioned Cupcake having any injury, but I felt this was worth preserving.

Hunchly Cupcake False Positive

Hunchly Cupcake False Positive

Cupcake? Check. Cute? Check.  But that is the strangest looking kitten I have ever seen. I marked this as a false positive.

Hunchly Noting New Information

Hunchly Noting New Information

I found some other stuff that was vaguely interesting, but not our missing fur friend, so I made a note and moved on.


And then the world does what it does, and I was called on to capture everything about New Orleans shooter Gavin Eugene Long, which I also did with Hunchly. While digging on Long, I received notification that Cupcake had been located, sound asleep in her human’s sock drawer, so at least this case has a happy ending.

Hunchly does a fine job of corralling content from your web browser, so you can focus on following your instincts without worrying about proper recording of content during your pursuit. I have created a Linux virtual machine and integrated Cryptostorm’s VPN service, which includes Torstorm – transparent access to darknet sites via their inline handling of Tor onion sites.

The final product should be a sandbox that lets investigators seamlessly roam both the clearnet and the darknet, recording as they go, doing so using a tamper resistant system that protects both their location and their desktop OS.


Medical Expenses


Longtime readers will already know that I caught Lyme disease in the summer of 2007 and that I’ve dealt with long periods of disability since then.

2015 was great, but I took one of those mysterious downturns around New Years. I’ve been on the specialist merry-go-round for the last four months and my next step on that trail is a digestive specialist practice in Los Angeles, but they may not see me until September or October. I don’t think I can wait that long.

I have an appointment with an integrative medicine specialist on Monday. This is something I’ve done in the past and it worked really well, but this service is not covered by my insurance, and when I am struggling health wise I am also struggling financially. I think the appointment and follow up care will cost about $500. I have a GoFundMe and someone already put $120 into it earlier this evening. If you enjoy my work and can spare anything, I’d be eternally grateful.


What would be far better than a one time donation would be paying work. Here are some things I do which may be useful to you or someone you know:

  • Ghost Writing – I have written for House, Senate, and Gubernatorial races. I led a team that won a $100,000 USDA innovation grant in 2008 and another team that was a top five finisher among seven hundred entrants for the Knight Foundation Media Challenge in 2011. My work currently appears in a major financial publication and I have a multifaceted policy advocacy project that will run through the 2016 election.
  • Social Media Security Audits – I understand how an intruder sees the public presence for an individual, a group, or a company, and I can show you your vulnerabilities before a bad actors exploits them.
  • Network Forward Observer & Controller – Over the last three years I’ve built and field tested a hardened workstation environment called the Netwar Forward Observer and a central C4ISR for small units using the NFO which is called the Netwar Forward Controller. This system has been used on everything from domestic trolls to ISIS, it’s still very raw, but it’s got a lot of promise, as it’s a bottom up organic solution rather than an overbuilt corporate effort.
  • R&D Oriented CTO – I am familiar with all sorts of technology, I’ve taken a wireless ISP through first round private placement funding, and worked for or on a number of other startups.

If one of those things sound like something you or an associate of yours can use, connecting to Neal Rauhauser on LinkedIn or email to nrauhauser at gmail are good ways to reach me.


Countering Information Warfare Act

This Act may be cited as the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016.


Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—


foreign governments, including the Governments of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, use disinformation and other propaganda tools to undermine the national security objectives of the United States and key allies and partners;


the Russian Federation, in particular, has conducted sophisticated and large-scale dis­in­for­ma­tion campaigns that have sought to have a destabilizing effect on United States allies and interests;


in the last decade disinformation has increasingly become a key feature of the Government of the Russian Federation’s pursuit of political, economic, and military objectives in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, the Balkans, and throughout Central and Eastern Europe;


the challenge of countering disinformation extends beyond effective strategic communications and public diplomacy, requiring a whole-of-government approach leveraging all elements of national power;


the United States Government should develop a comprehensive strategy to counter foreign disinformation and propaganda and assert leadership in developing a fact-based strategic narrative; and


an important element of this strategy should be to protect and promote a free, healthy, and independent press in countries vulnerable to foreign disinformation.


Center for Information Analysis and Response



Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and other relevant departments and agencies, establish a Center for Information Analysis and Response (in this section referred to as the Center). The purposes of the Center are—


to lead and coordinate the collection and analysis of information on foreign government information warfare efforts, including information provided by recipients of information access fund grants awarded under subsection (e) and other sources;


to establish a framework for the integration of critical data and analysis on foreign propaganda and disinformation efforts into the development of national strategy; and


to develop, plan, and synchronize, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and other relevant departments and agencies, whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign information operations directed against United States national security interests and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests.



The Center shall carry out the following functions:


Integrating interagency efforts to track and evaluate counterfactual narratives abroad that threaten the national security interests of the United States and United States allies.


Collecting, integrating, and analyzing relevant information, including intelligence reporting, data, analysis, and analytics from United States Government agencies, allied nations, think tanks, academic institutions, civil society groups, and other nongovernmental organizations.


Developing and disseminating fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda and disinformation directed at United States allies and partners.


Identifying current and emerging trends in foreign propaganda and disinformation, including the use of print, broadcast, online and social media, support for third-party outlets such as think tanks, political parties, and nongovernmental organizations, and the use of covert or clandestine special operators and agents to influence targeted populations and governments in order to coordinate and shape the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures to expose and refute foreign misinformation and disinformation and proactively promote fact-based narratives and policies to audiences outside the United States.


Facilitating the use of a wide range of technologies and techniques by sharing expertise among agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and implementing best practices.


Identifying gaps in United States capabilities in areas relevant to the Center’s mission and recommending necessary enhancements or changes.


Identifying the countries and populations most susceptible to foreign government propaganda and disinformation.


Administering the information access fund established pursuant to subsection (e).


Coordinating with allied and partner nations, particularly those frequently targeted by foreign disinformation operations, and international organizations and entities such as the NATO Center of Excellence on Strategic Communications, the European Endowment for Democracy, and the European External Action Service Task Force on Strategic Communications, in order to amplify the Center’s efforts and avoid duplication.





The Secretary of State shall appoint a full-time Coordinator to lead the Center.


Steering committee



The Secretary of State shall establish a Steering Committee composed of senior representatives of agencies relevant to the Center’s mission to provide advice to the Secretary on the operations and strategic orientation of the Center and to ensure adequate support for the Center. The Steering Committee shall include the officials set forth in subparagraph (C), one senior representative designated by the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of National Intelligence, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.



The Steering Committee shall meet not less than every 3 months.


Chairman and vice chairmen

The Steering Committee shall be chaired by the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. A senior, Secretary of State-designated official responsible for digital media programming for foreign audiences and a senior, Secretary of Defense-designated official responsible for information operations shall serve as co-Vice Chairmen.


Executive secretary

The Coordinator of the Center shall serve as Executive Secretary of the Steering Committee.


Participation and independence

The Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall not compromise the journalistic freedom or integrity of relevant media organizations. Other Federal agencies may be invited to participate in the Steering Committee at the discretion of the Chairman of the Steering Committee and with the consent of the Secretary of State.




In general

The Chairman may, with the consent of the Secretary and without regard to the civil service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate a Director and such other additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the Center to carry out its functions. The employment of the Director shall be subject to confirmation by the Steering Committee.



The Chairman may fix the compensation of the Director and other personnel without regard to chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for the executive director and other personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of that title.


Detail of government employees

Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Center without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.


Procurement of temporary and intermittent services

The Chairman may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of that title.


Information access fund


Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of State for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 $20,000,000 to support the Center and provide grants or contracts of financial support to civil society groups, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions for the following purposes:


To support local independent media who are best placed to refute foreign dis­in­for­ma­tion and manipulation in their own communities.


To collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda directed at the United States and its allies and partners.


To analyze tactics, techniques, and procedures of foreign government information warfare with respect to disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda.


To support efforts by the Center to counter efforts by foreign governments to use disinformation, misinformation, and pro­pa­gan­da to influence the policies and social and political stability of the United States and United States allies and partners.


Funding availability and limitations

All organizations that apply to receive funds under this subsection must undergo a vetting process in accordance with the relevant existing regulations to ensure their bona fides, capability, and experience, and their compatibility with United States interests and objectives.


Inclusion in Department of State education and cultural exchange programs of foreign students and community leaders from countries and populations susceptible to foreign manipulation

When selecting participants for United States educational and cultural exchange programs, the Secretary of State shall give special consideration to students and community leaders from populations and countries the Secretary deems vulnerable to foreign propaganda and dis­in­for­ma­tion campaigns.



Not more than one year after the establishment of the Center, the Secretary of State shall submit to Congress a report evaluating the success of the Center in fulfilling the purposes for which it was authorized and outlining steps to improve any areas of deficiency.


Termination of Center and Steering Committee

The Center for Information Analysis and Response and the Steering Committee shall terminate ten years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Why Benghazi Is Bullshit

The endless Benghazi hearings are total bullshit, per this Foreign Affairs piece. I’m tired enough of this nonsense I’m cut/pasting the bullet points for future reference.

Here are six points of utter B.S. that drive us absolutely head-smacking crazy:

  • Benghazi was the greatest cover-up in history. Sen. James Inhofe claims that this relatively small terrorist attack in eastern Libya is one of the greatest cover-ups in U.S. history. Really? Worse than hiding the sale of 120 Hawk surface-to-air missiles and 1,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the ayatollahs in Iran in exchange for hostages held by the terrorist group Hezbollah, then funneling the profits from that sale illegally to Nicaraguan contra guerrillas behind Congress’s back? Some people need to read a book.
  • Benghazi was one of the worst incidents of terrorism. Former Vice President Dick Cheney overstated the significance of the attack as “one of worst incidents I can recall in my career.” I guess he forgot about 9/11 (2,977 dead), the Iraq War (4,886 dead), the war in Afghanistan (2,326 dead and counting), the Oklahoma City (168 dead) and Beirut barracks (241 dead) bombings, and the Pan Am flight 103 bombing (178 Americans dead). That’s almost 11,000 Americans killed… plus the four in Benghazi.
  • Americans were deliberately left to die. This conspiracy theory is so absolutely reprehensible that it does not bear dignifying with a response. Speaking the words dishonors the memory of the dead. That’s how it is in a Tom Clancy war novel, but not in the real world where adults can differentiate the two concepts.
  • The anti-Islam video had something to do with the attack. On the day of the attack, one of us (Malcolm Nance) was leaving Abu Dhabi for Benghazi and Tripoli to conduct a security assessment that was canceled as news of massive protests in Cairo culminated with the U.S. Embassy compound being stormed. News networks Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya showed the Muslim world aflame with disgust over the insulting video Innocence of Muslims. From within the punchbowl, everything around us looked like punch. It was not until much later that we learned the terrorist group used the outrage of the video as a mask to conduct a preplanned attack. That’s the nature of terrorism. We could go into the squabble over the talking points, but you can read more about that here.
  • The CIA’s Quick Reaction Force was ordered to “stand down.” This has been proved false by no less than the House Intelligence Committee and six other congressional investigations. No such order was given. The local CIA commander told his security contractors to not rush into the consulate site until local militia support and heavy weapons could be found. Even with that reasonable caution, the QRF was on-site 24 minutes after the first radio call for help. That is a near-miraculous and instantaneous response.
  • The Department of Defense could have changed the laws of space and time. Air Force bombers and National Missions Force personnel deployed to Sicily arrived well after the attack ended and after survivors had left Benghazi and were out of danger. Many pundits believe that if the president had snapped his fingers, fighter jets would have miraculously appeared over Benghazi, with adequate fuel, bombs, intelligence, and targets to stop.

Saudi Arabia’s Role In The 9/11 Attack

Saudi intelligence officer Omar al-Bayoumi had contact with two of the hijackers.


Saudi intelligence officer Osama Bassnan had contact with the hijackers.


Diplomat Shayk al-Thunairy, an imam at the King Fahad mosque in Culver City, CA may have been in contact with the hijackers.



The full report is available here: declasspart4.


Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Two of the others were from the UAE, one from Egypt, and one from Lebanon. Yet we invaded Iraq based in part on this lie.




Fire Team Terror In Dallas

RETRACTED: After several days of waiting, the four man fire team turns out to just be Micah Xavier Johnson. I stand by the expectation that we’re going to see fire teams, but the Dallas police ambush was NOT that sad milestone.



Earlier this evening a group of what now appears to be four men, still of unknown motivation, gunned down eleven Dallas police officers covering a peaceful #BlackLivesMatter protest, killing at least four of them.

This is a clear instance of Fire Team Terrorism. We’ve had a few prior events like this, both successful and thwarted.

  • D.C. Sniper – lots of single deaths, but a two man team
  • Hutaree militia – double tap bombing & fire team attack averted
  • San Bernardino – husband/wife team

There is no information yet, but I’m going to speculate this is something I’ve long anticipated – an attack by disaffected U.S. veterans.

We had thirty eight days of ground combat during Desert Storm, which brought us the Oklahoma City bombing and the D.C. Sniper. Our war in Afghanistan and Bush’s adventure in Iraq have produced men who’ve spent thirty eight months in hardcore urban combat or long distance counter-insurgency.

The worst decision we made was the discharge of over 30,000 veterans using PDO (personality disorder) discharges to avoid giving them benefits. The vast majority of these men have closed head brain injuries due to IEDs. They’ve given up their health and well being for this country, and we abandoned them.

The particulars will change over time, but attacks like this are going to keep happening, because we laid the groundwork for them.


And this just in as I am writing this post:


Confirmation of suspicions:



Fragile States Index 2016

The Fragile States Index 2016 was just mentioned on beBee and I saw a nice dataset to visualize in Tableau. Here is the original high resolution image:


And here is the image that resulted from my very simple import of the data into a Tableau workbook:


The states of the Mideast, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa have been an interest of mine for the past several years. Here’s a nit with Tableau, but it’s probably a deficit on my part – the only way I could make Syria visible would be to suppress the appearance of Lebanon. Tableau also treats Western Sahara as Terra Nullius, when it’s an ongoing problem between Morocco which administers it and Algeria which hosts many refugees.


Here are the grimmest of the grim, seven states with fragility scores in excess of 110. Iraq is one bad summer away from joining them.


I’ve made a copy of the Fragile States 2016 workbook available. I really should start pulling in other data, but what I want here would be food and water security information, and that’s often scattered and dated.