Society

Officials Confirm: Russian 'Fingerprints' On DNC Hack

| by Sarah Zimmerman
Russian President Vladimir PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin

U.S. intelligence officials confirm that individuals working under the Russian government were behind the Democratic National Committee hack that released over 20,000 emails to the anonymous group Wikileaks.

The emails prove that the committee, and especially Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, favored Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to win the presidential nomination. CBS reports that several emails show DNC officials mocking former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his supporters, and one even goes so far as to question his commitment to his Jewish faith. Wasserman Schultz has since announced that she will resign from her position as Chairwoman at the end of the Democratic National Convention. 

Now, officials are saying that Russian intelligence officers were behind the leak based on the breach's signature. "We understand how hack groups use the Internet to attack. The pattern and launch point used before by Russians is similar to the DNC attack," a U.S. official told CBS News. 

Cyber-analyst Michael Buratowski investigated the hack and stated that he was certain that Russia was behind it, as hackers used "Russian internet addresses, Russian language keyboards, and the time codes corresponding to business hours in Russia."

Retired four-star Adm. James Stavridis told NBC: "The main reason, however, is that the email hack is exactly the kind of thing Russian hackers can do, are supposed to do, and are used for by Putin and his aides." He added, "And as the saying goes, crime is so often where motive meets opportunity. And when you put those two elements together, I'd say it's a real possibility."

Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, believes that the Russian hackers leaked the emails in order to benefit Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign. He cited experts and said that the "Russians have that information [and] they were the ones that turned it over to the Wikileaks ... to harm Secretary Clinton and help Donald Trump." 

Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, responded: "It's pure obfuscation of the Clinton campaign. What they don't want to talk about [is] what is in the emails."

David Sanger, national security reporter for The New York Times, also refutes the idea that the leak was to help the Trump campaign, as the hackers were in the DNC system for over a year -- long before Trump emerged as the Republican candidate, CBS reports.

According to Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, the emails show "what many of us have known for some time, that there were certainly people at the DNC who were actively helping the Clinton effort and trying to hurt Bernie Sanders' campaign." 

CBS reports that Weaver also believes the hack will hinder Sanders' goal of party unity at the Democratic National Convention. Although Sanders officially endorsed Clinton for the presidency, many worry that Sanders' supporters won't show up at the polls this fall. 

The email leak was the first of the so-called "Hillary leaks" series, which indicates that more stolen material may be published as the election season unfolds, according to the AP. 

Sources: CBS News, NBC News / Photo credit: Mihailo1997/Wikimedia Commons

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