The investigation into the Russia hacking scandal may have taken a detour the Democrats won’t like.
That Russia was behind the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s and John Podesta’s emails has become gospel.
However, new information suggests that may be dubious.
The latest congressional testimony shows how Clinton and her team stonewalled an investigation into the data breach.
In his prepared remarks before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, former Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson revealed that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) “did not feel it needed” DHS assistance into hacks of the Committee’s systems.
This means that the DNC, faced with hacks later attributed to Russia, turned down the possibility of assistance from at least two federal agencies – the DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Johnson’s prepared remarks read:
“Sometime in 2016 I became aware of a hack into systems of the Democratic National Committee. Fresh from the experience with the Office of Personnel Management, I pressed my staff to know whether DHS was sufficiently proactive, and on the scene helping the DNC identify the intruders and patch vulnerabilities. The answer, to the best of my recollection, was not reassuring: the FBI and the DNC had been in contact with each other months before about the intrusion, and the DNC did not feel it needed DHS’s assistance at that time.”
In January testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI registered “multiple requests at different levels,” to review the DNC’s hacked servers. Ultimately, the DNC and FBI came to an agreement in which a “highly respected private company” would carry out forensics on the servers and share any information that it discovered with the FBI, Comey testified.
“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated,” [a senior law enforcement] official was quoted by the news media as saying.
“This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.”
Democrats labeled the hack an “act of war,” but the DNC didn’t want federal investigators to lead the probe.
That’s incredibly suspicious for such a high charge. One wonders if the DNC had something to hide.
The article continued:
Comey’s statement about a “highly respected private company” gaining access to the DNC servers was a reference to CrowdStrike, the third-party company ultimately relied upon by the FBI to make its assessment about alleged Russian hacking into the DNC.
As this reporter documented, CrowdStrike was financed to the tune of $100 million from a funding drive last year led by Google Capital.
Google Capital, which now goes by the name of CapitalG, is an arm of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company. Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet, has been a staunch and active supporter of Hillary Clinton and is a longtime donor to the Democratic Party.
CrowdStrike is a California-based cybersecurity technology company co-founded by experts George Kurtz and Dmitri Alperovitch.
In an Esquire profile, Alperovitch, a Russian expat, recalls he first discovered that Russia allegedly hacked into the DNC when one of his analysts installed a proprietary software package into the DNC’s system and immediately discovered the alleged Russian breach.
“Are we sure it’s Russia?” Alperovitch says he asked the analyst.
According to the Esquire story, Alperovitch was surprised when the DNC, which had contracted CrowdStrike for cybersecurity, wanted to go public about the alleged Russia hack, which took place at around the same time Donald Trump was being accused of having a relationship with Russia.
Hacking, like domestic abuse, is a crime that tends to induce shame. Companies such as Yahoo usually publicize their breaches only when the law requires it. For this reason, Alperovitch says, he expected that the DNC, too, would want to keep quiet.
By the time of the hack, however, Donald Trump’s relationship to Russia had become an issue in the election. The DNC wanted to go public. At the committee’s request, Alperovitch and Henry briefed a reporter from The Washington Post about the attack. On June 14, soon after the Post story publicly linked Fancy Bear with the Russian GRU and Cozy Bear with the FSB for the first time, Alperovitch published a detailed blog post about the attacks.
The DNC’s haste to go public with the hack perfectly coincided with Trump’s incidental activities with Russia; his dealings with Russia pale in comparison to Hillary’s and Podesta’s dealings.
The timing is all too convenient and perfectly fits the Democratic narrative.
The story gets even more suspicious.
An influential British think tank and Ukraine’s military are disputing a report that the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has used to buttress its claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election.
The CrowdStrike report, released in December, asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists.
But the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened.
The challenges to CrowdStrike’s credibility are significant because the firm was the first to link last year’s hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors, and because CrowdStrike co-founder Dimiti Alperovitch has trumpeted its Ukraine report as more evidence of Russian election tampering.
So CrowdStrike, who was deeply intertwined with Hillary’s campaign, hastily declared Russia was behind the hack based on disputed data without any investigation from DHS or the FBI.
That just isn’t good enough.
The investigation into Hillary was rushed and butchered from the get-go. Her allies, both public sector and private sector, shielded her and helped her spin the narrative into malfeasance from her opponent.
Trump still won.
As the Democratic fairy tales of collusion and obstruction of justice appear to be going nowhere, the Democrats are scrambling to keep the witch hunt going.
But now the bread crumbs could be leading back to Hillary.