Evidence reportedly indicates that Russian hackers may have been behind the hacking into and leaking of Democratic National Committee emails that have resulted in the ouster of Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The FBI has announced that it will investigate the hack.
On July 22, the website WikiLeaks published roughly 20,000 emails that had been stolen from DNC email accounts. The documents revealed that top DNC officials had been inappropriately in favor of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the primaries.
The hacker, known as Guccifer 2.0, took credit for the hack and for turning over the emails to WikiLeaks.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook accused Guccifer 2.0 of being a front for Russian intelligence agencies who were attempting to influence the U.S. election, noting that the WikiLeaks data dump arrived days before the DNC in Philadelphia.
“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and I think that’s disturbing,” Mook told CNN.
The Clinton campaign manager added that Russian intelligence agencies would be eager for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to win in November due to his complimentary attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his stance that helping NATO allies is optional, which could result in Russian expansion in Europe.
“I think when you put all this together, it’s a disturbing picture, and voters need to reflect on that,” Mook concluded.
Trump senior communications adviser Jason Miller derided Mook’s accusation as “a joke… Clinton will do and say anything to win the election and hold onto power in the rigged system.”
While the Trump campaign has dismissed accusations that Russian hackers are behind the WikiLeaks bombshell, forensic evidence heavily implies that the country’s intelligence agencies could be responsible, according to Motherboard.
In June, cyber security firm CrowdStrike found two hackers present in the DNC email systems and announced that they shared strong similarities to Russian spy agencies.
Guccifer 2.0 publicly denounced the link to Russia, asserting that they had acted alone. In an interview with Motherboard, the hacker claimed to be a lone wolf from Romania. When asked to write in Romanian, Guccifer 2.0’s response was determined to be sloppy and indicated he was not, in fact, fluent.
One document released from the DNC emails had been altered using Russian language settings and contained a username that was inspired by the Cheka, a group that eventually became the Soviet Secret Police.
Motherboard also notes that while Guccifer 2.0 has claimed to be the sole hacker of the DNC, CrowdStrike had reportedly found two different hackers in their system.
Stealing data from a political party and then leaking it to embarrass a presidential campaign fits into the doctrine of current Russian Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, who favors deception and misinformation over military aggression.
Israeli analyst Dima Adamsky wrote in November 2015 that Russia currently employs an "informational struggle" technique, which translates to "technological and psychological components designed the manipulate the adversary’s picture of reality, misinform it, and eventually interfere with the decision-making process of individuals, organizations, governments, and societies."
While the argument that the Russian intelligence community is attempting to sway the presidential election remains undecided, the FBI has announced that it will investigate the DNC hack, according to Politico.
“The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC and [is] working to determine the nature and scope of the matter,” the FBI announced on July 25. “A compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously, and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace."