Last year, vast numbers of emails from members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were leaked and subsequently published online by WikiLeaks, “an international non-profit organization that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media provided by anonymous sources.” After the emails were published online, many claimed that hackers working on behalf of Russia infiltrated the DNC’s servers and obtained the emails. An investigation conducted by federal officials came to the same conclusion, but that isn’t what an NSA expert says, as he reveals a Democratic insider was responsible.
However, several former intelligence officials insist that the servers weren’t really hacked by Russians back in 2016. They claim that the “hack” was actually a leak by someone on the inside, which is something that others have been saying for almost a year.
A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack https://t.co/hGpsk8Cmar
— The Nation (@thenation) August 9, 2017
According to reports, several cybersecurity experts and former National Security Agency (NSA) employees associated with Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), which is a group made up of current and former officials of the United States Intelligence Community (IC) who are dedicated to combating the use of faulty intelligence, recently completed an independent investigation looking into the alleged DNC hack.
The main researchers involved in the investigation were William Binney, former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis and Co-founder of NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, Jr., former NSA Technical Director for the Office of Signals Processing; and Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst for the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center.
In a letter that was sent to President Donald Trump last month and later published online, additional details were provided. Specifically, the researchers wrote, “[The ‘Intelligence Community Assessment’ released earlier this year by ‘hand-picked’ analysts from the FBI, CIA, and NSA] focused on data copied (not hacked) by a shadowy persona named ‘Guccifer 2.0. The forensics reflect what seems to have been a desperate effort to ‘blame the Russians’ for publishing highly embarrassing DNC emails three days before the Democratic convention last July.”
Many of the emails that were published were largely biased in favor of Clinton. The researchers claim that, because of this, her campaign decided to push the hacking story. “Since the content of the DNC emails reeked of pro-Clinton bias, her campaign saw an overriding need to divert attention from content to provenance – as in, who ‘hacked’ those DNC emails?” reasoned the researchers in their letter to Trump. “The campaign was enthusiastically supported by compliant ‘mainstream’ media; they are still on a roll,” they added.
Their letter then goes on to describe the investigation done by VIPS. “Independent cyber-investigators have now completed the kind of forensic work that the [earlier] intelligence assessment did not do. They found that the purported ‘hack’ of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else. Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider,” wrote the investigators.
To clarify, they stated, “forensic studies of ‘Russian hacking’ into [DNC] computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer. After examining metadata from the ‘Guccifer 2.0’ July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device.”
The researchers noted that one of the key findings of the investigation “is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack.” This is significant because it means that the transfer was done locally. “Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying was performed on the East Coast of the US,” they added.
While the efforts of foreign governments, like Russia, to hack the email servers of US citizens must not be tolerated, there’s not enough evidence to conclude that this was what happened with the DNC’s emails last year. Unless solid evidence is provided, conservatives should not believe the left’s claims that the DNC servers were hacked by Russia.