Preliminary conclusions were discussed on Thursday at a weekly cyberintelligence meeting for senior officials. The Crowdstrike report, supported by several other firms that have examined the same bits of code and telltale “metadata” left on documents that were released before WikiLeaks’ publication of the larger trove, concludes that the Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B., entered the committee’s networks last summer.
The G.R.U., a competing, military intelligence unit, was a later arrival. Investigators believe it is the G.R.U. that has played a bigger role in releasing the emails.
In an essay published on Lawfare, a blog that often deals with cyberissues, Susan Hennessey, previously a lawyer for the National Security Agency, called the published evidence about Russian involvement “about as close to a smoking gun as can be expected when a sophisticated nation-state is involved.”
Mr. Assange’s threat to release documents, she wrote, “means, put simply, that actors outside the U.S. are using criminal means to influence the outcome of a US election. That’s a problem.”One point to keep in mind here is the timeline. The DNC first announced it was hacked in June. (See David Sanger and Nick Corasaniti, "D.N.C. Says Russian Hackers Penetrated Its Files, Including Dossier on Donald Trump.") The documents with the telltale Cyrillic fingerprint (why is it that only hackers from the FSB or GRU can leave behind metadata in Cyrillic?) were not part of the WikiLeaks trove. Assange has intimated that the DNC server was hacked by more than one party. According to an interview he conducted with CNN:
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said Tuesday his whistleblowing website might release "a lot more material" relevant to the US electoral campaign.
Assange was speaking in a CNN interview following the release of nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee by suspected Russian hackers.
However, Assange refused to confirm or deny a Russian origin for the mass email leak, saying Wikileaks tries to create ambiguity to protect all its sources.
"Perhaps one day the source or sources will step forward and that might be an interesting moment some people may have egg on their faces. But to exclude certain actors is to make it easier to find out who our sources are," Assange told CNN.
The Kremlin has rejected allegations its behind the hacking, calling suggestions it ordered the release of the emails to influence US politics the "usual fun and games" of the US election campaigns.
"This is not really good for bilateral relations," Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, added.Obama and the FBI will not make any direct allegations of Russian involvement out of fear of 1) escalation of a cyberwar when U.S. defenses are in poor shape and 2) proof possessed by the Russians of U.S. meddling in Russia's political system.
But what is really boundary crossing in all of this -- one really has to go back to days of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy -- is the accusation that a presidential nominee of one branch of the duopoly is basically an agent of Uncle Sam's great Cold War foe, the Russian Bear.
Donald Trump is being made out by the Democrats and their facilitators in the media to be the new Alger Hiss, an Alger Hiss not as a State Department bureaucrat but as the leader of a major party ticket. It is so bizarre and far fetched -- server hacks instead of microfilm in hollowed-out pumpkins -- it speaks of a power structure that is cracked beyond repair.
Its shrill desperation also points to more dirty secrets yet to be revealed.