• Did Russian Intelligence Hack the DNC Servers?

    July 26, 2016

    Tags: , , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, NSA


    Short answer: nobody knows, but the media is treating it as a fact based primarily on a single technical source employed by the Democratic National Committee. I read the source’s publically available explanation. Here’s what I found.

    A Quick Taste of Media Conclusions

    Despite a line in paragraph five saying “Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult,” the New York Times offers the following statements.

    — “researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies;”

    — “Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects;”

    — “Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.”

    — “It is unclear how WikiLeaks obtained the email trove. But the presumption is that the intelligence agencies turned it over, either directly or through an intermediary. Moreover, the timing of the release, between the end of the Republican convention and the beginning of the Democratic one, seems too well planned to be coincidental.”

    There’s more, but you get the picture. The article also quotes Clinton staffers citing unnamed experts and researchers.

    Who Are These Experts?

    The only experts cited work for a company hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the hack. There is no indication of any neutral third party investigation. The company, Crowdstrike, issued a publicly available report on what they found.

    The report title makes clear the company’s conclusion: Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee.

    What Does the Report Say?

    The report has some technical explanations, but focuses on conclusions that seem to be at best presumptions, despite the media treating them as fact.

    — The key presumptive conclusion seems to be that the sophistication of the hacks points to a nation-state actor. “Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of ‘living-off-the-land’ techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities.”

    — The hackers, two separate entities Crowdstrike says worked independently, used techniques known to be used by Russians. Better yet, with no evidence at all presented, Crowdstrike concludes, “Both adversaries engage in extensive political and economic espionage for the benefit of the government of the Russian Federation and are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.” Also, for one of the alleged hackers, “Extensive targeting of defense ministries and other military victims has been observed, the profile of which closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government.”

    — By the end of the report Crowdstrike is just plain out called the hackers “Russian espionage groups.”

    FYI: Fidelis, another cybersecurity company, was hired by Crowdstrike to review the findings. Fidelis worked exclusively and only with data provided by Crowdstrike (as did several other companies.) Fidelis They concluded the same two hackers, COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR APT, committed the intrusion, but made no comments on whether those two were linked to the Russian government.

    Um, Valid Conclusions?

    Despite the citing with certainty of experts and researchers by the media and the Clinton campaign, the only such expert who has made any findings public has basically thrown out little more than a bunch of presumptions and unsubstantiated conclusions.

    Left undiscussed are:

    — the commonality of hackers using “false flags,” say where an Israeli hackers will purposely leave behind false clues to make it seem that a Hungarian did the work. As one commentator put it sarcastically “The malware was written in Russian? It was a Russian who attacked you.
    Chinese characters in the code? You’ve been hacked by the Peoples Liberation Army.”

    — the question of if the hackers were “Russians,” can anyone tie them to the Russian government? Joe Black Hat breaking into some system in Ireland may indeed be an American person, but it is quite a jump to claim he thus works for the American government.

    — there is also a significant question of motive. For Putin to be the bad guy here, we have to believe that Putin wants Trump in power, bad enough to risk near-war with the U.S. if caught in the hack, and bad enough to really p.o. Clinton who will be nominated this week anyway, and hoping of course that evidence of dirty tricks by the DNC released in July will be enough to defeat her in November. That’s a real s-t-r-e-t-c-h, Sparky.

    — other than those private persons who hack for their own entertainment or personal political beliefs, most work for money. They steal something and sell it. Information from the DNC system would find an easy buyer.

    — Who might be intersted in buying these emails? Along the range of actors who would benefit from exposing these emails, why would the Russians come out on top? Perhaps the Republicans? China? Pretty much any of the many enemies the Clintons have amassed over the years? Hell, even Bernie Sanders, whose complaints about the DNC were validated by the email release. The suspects based on motive alone make up a very long list.

    Learning More

    For some intelligent analysis suspicious that the DNC hack was a Russian intelligence job, try this.

    For some more technical information on one of the alleged DNC infiltrators, here you go.

    Related Articles:

    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • rich bauer said...


      Well, whoever it was, thank you.

      07/26/16 8:25 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Off subject but maybe not. Paul Simon singing BOTW at DNC in Philly. The death of 60s idealism has been described hundreds of times but Simon singing at an event to promote Hillary Clinton gets my vote as the penultimate ghoulish exhuming.

      07/26/16 8:27 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Rocky and Bullwinkle fight for truth!

      07/26/16 9:22 AM | Comment Link

    • Sokollu said...


      Great article. Note also the piece in Vice News detailing the links in the classified State emails on HRC’s server. Interesting that only one career employee was involved and only as a recipient on one chain. The political appointees responsible for the spills – including TS! – should never have securtity clearances again.


      07/26/16 10:06 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      Waddateh RUSSIANS Say? Putin and Lavrov are notoriously More RELIABLE Dan US’ LIARS !

      07/26/16 10:15 AM | Comment Link

    • Helen Marshall said...


      07/26/16 10:50 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      I doubt Sanders was behind the hack. ” I stand with Hillary”
      is clearly a sign of dementia. Did Bernie even know where he was?

      07/26/16 10:52 AM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...


      07/26/16 11:00 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      Word is Wassername will be awarded the Medal of Freedumb when Hillarious moves into the Whore..I mean White House.

      07/26/16 11:30 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Meanwhile… more conspiracy bullshit from the DNC


      One thing is blindingly clear. Trump was right. Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to run for president. And the DNC has conspired for her and with her. As for me, I’ve given up. Now that Bernie isn’t even fighting anymore, fuck this election. No matter what..were screwed.

      07/26/16 11:41 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      While we are Russian to judgment on who hacked whom, let US be judged for our glass-house hypocrisy about spying and making a ‘distinktion’ between the Repugnicans and the damn Wall Street Democrats. If Trump will finally bring an end to this illusion that Amerika is so damn exceptional, then I say “bring it on.” You can’t have a revolution unless you have someone really revolting to revolt against. And that’s what really scares the Wall Street War Party.

      07/26/16 11:41 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      It’s just too obvious to point at the Russians on this. The intruders’ choice of names, Bear-something, is too leading. And if the DNC is that sure, why don’t they demand the President or Secretary of State formally bring this up with the Russians directly?

      The DNC has had cyber infiltrations before and 1) why didn’t they take better measures and 2) guessing what happened with Clinton’s private server at State was way worse but hey, we won’t get to know, right?

      It’s good the DNC hires loyalists, they are doing such a great job. You can’t make this up

      07/26/16 12:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Didn’t Kerry or the Pres already bring up past cyber indiscretions by the Chinese with their officials directly? Im not saying it is the Chinese, but there is precedence for taking up the matter – when one is DEAD certain who the perps are

      07/26/16 12:58 PM | Comment Link

    • Charlie said...


      Thank you for being one of the few sources that is looking at this incident objectively unlike the so-called private intelligence firms that can’t seem to make any definitive ties to GRU or FSB but appear confident that they are behind it. And no one seems to be able to say how exactly this exposure of emails will make voters leave the Democratic party to vote Republican. Exactly how is that supposed to happen? Please keep up the good work bringing sanity to overhyped issues.

      07/26/16 2:16 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      In trying to understand Bernie’s decision to endorse Hillary. I think he feared being someone who would be seen as throwing the election to Trump. Nader has been unfairly cursed with running in such a destructive way. Poor guy, he could have made a major difference but panicked and punted.

      07/26/16 5:16 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Is Keyscore a sports channel?

      07/26/16 5:44 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Charlie- “Ask yourself one question, Would you have sided with the rebels or the Royalists or stayed non commited during the Amerian Revolution? We need a complete break from the plutocacy rule. Sadly it will not be bloodless, Notable events are rarely devoid of tragic bloodshed. I wish it weren’t so but Hillary Clinton as POTUS will mean lots of blooshed.

      07/26/16 7:09 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Are you a vegan?

      07/26/16 8:35 PM | Comment Link

    • Che said...


      A coder since the 70s, the 1st thing that came to my mind was that 90+% of botnets run in Russia. (Basically all targeting Micro$oft Windoze btw. If you run that OS, migrate to Linux or BSD, ASAP.) This assertion from DNC/NYT (both of which I loathe & distrust) was combined with bizarre, vague mentions about Putin’s “aggressive behavior” that sounded like bulletpoints accompanying the disturbing Operation Anaconda2016 — sticking missles in Russia’s face for some reasion– which was conducted 75 years to the day after Operation Babarossa (Nazis attack on Russia.) So it stinks of some kind of conditioning for WWIII that Billary will doubtless bring (her Syria agenda is “No Fly Zone” which means war.)
      The only sane voices I’ve heard outside of Pacifica Radio (where Peter appears sometimes, on KPFK’s Antiwar Radio) has been PeterBcollins.com (Peter’s appearances) and Russian history professor Stephen Cohen’s Tuesday night appearances on JohnBatchelorShow.com (AM radio broadcast, across USA)

      07/26/16 9:15 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Che- I certainly feel Hillary wants to lead this “full spectrum” empire to global hegemony regardless of the suicidal consequences. The irony may be that the evil empire- Russia is now more sane than America. How’d that happen?

      07/27/16 9:00 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      Madeleine Albright gave a gung-ho speech in honor of Clinton last night. She opened with remarks about the scary Commies that had infected the country of her youth, Czechoslovakia.

      The speech was slightly altered from the text released to reporters prior to her giving it on the convention floor: in the released text, she mentioned ISIS twice. In the actual speech, she deleted entirely the first mention of ISIS and changed “ISIS” to “terrorists” in the second spot.

      “[…] As I travel today, I am reminded how important it is that the person who represents our nation is trusted by our allies [here Albright deleted “—who knows how to work with them, not alienate them, to defeat ISIS—”, which was in original speech released to press], and who listens more than she talks.”

      And: “[…] He [Trump] has undermined our fight against [here Albright deleted “ISIS” which was in speech released to press and instead said:] terrorism by alienating our Muslim partners. He has weakened our standing in the world by threatening to walk away from our friends and our allies—and by encouraging more countries to get nuclear weapons.”

      She claimed Trump had harmed national security just by running for president, and that he had “a strange admiration for dictators such as Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-un, and Vladimir Putin.” Gosh, and here I thought Putin had been elected and shit.

      Some of her closing remarks:

      “The truth is that a Trump victory in November would be a gift to Vladimir Putin—and given what we have learned about Russia’s recent actions, Putin is eager to see Trump to win. And that should worry every American.

      “Take it from someone who fled the Iron Curtain, I know what happens when you give the Russians a green light. Trump’s dark vision of America, one that’s isolated in the world, alienated from our allies, would be a disaster. We must make sure that never happens. We must elect Hillary Clinton as our next president.”

      This leap to paint Russia as some rogue nation run by a “dictator”, a nation that must be dealt with and addressed militarily, all this talk conflating Russia with the Dread Commies and reminders of the Iron Curtain and Hitler (no, Albright didn’t bring up Hitler, but Clinton sure has), scares the crap out of me. It’s not Russia that scares me, it’s the people who talk like this, people who are clearly planning to light more fires in the global conflagration already burning.

      This is propaganda of the vilest sort – vile because it is subtle, yet ingrains itself into the collective brain. When the US starts this next war, we will have been mentally prepared to accept without question that Russia is all these evil things, is bent on destroying us, and that we MUST answer the call to arms.

      07/27/16 10:09 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      I think what we’re seeing here is a realignment for the next version of America’s perpetual war. The deal was supposed to be terrorism, an endless war against anyone and anywhere that the U.S. chose to label a “terrorist.” That worked well enough to keep fear alive for 10 years or so, and still has its place, but the huge clusterf*ck that the Middle East has turned into leads Washington to look for a new Arch Enemy.

      Enter Putin. Americans are already well-prepared by the Cold War to see Russia as an evil empire, and Putin does look the part. I predict in the Hillary regime a tamping down of terrorism stuff and a ramping up of a new Cold War. After all, isn’t that what her mentor Henry Kissinger would do?

      07/27/16 10:26 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      Not to worry. If Putin is a threat, Ted Cruz is reportedly available to take him out.


      07/27/16 10:27 AM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...


      07/27/16 10:34 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...



      Yeah, but Russia is not the usual hapless, helpless nation we usually try to bump off. This is truly insane.

      And happy as I am that I don’t live in Russia, there is nothing that country has done that is a threat to the US. Besides, given Russia’s fairly recent embrace of crony capitalism, she would soon enough be entering into a domestic decline the same way we are. Sad to see, really, coming after the horrible privations the Russian public endured when the USSR broke up and how hard they’ve worked to climb up out of that mess.

      07/27/16 10:48 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      The insanity is part of the game. Washington has spent years trying to convince us the terrorists had us under 24/7 nuclear threat (smoking gun=mushroom cloud) and the damn terrorists never complied. Russia of course already has lots of nukes, and so easily fits into the plan. I think the Pentagon is also happy, as they can go back to what they love most, preparing for heavy hardware conventional war. You can only by so many tanks and fighter aircraft for counter-insurgency, but a ground war across Europe, now that calls for some serious defense spending.

      07/27/16 11:19 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      From Russia With No Love

      The DNC email hack – if it was the Russkies – sent Hillarious a message: the FBI may have asked you softball questions, but we know how to play hardball.

      07/27/16 1:54 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      If I wrote a screenplay like this, no one would believe it:


      07/27/16 1:56 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      Trump said that he hoped the hackers had also accessed Clinton’s private email servers. “They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted.”

      Trump then addressed the rogue nation directly, saying “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

      07/27/16 1:57 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      This from the clown who is running on the platform that he is the guy who will tell off Mexico, China and all those other countries who are threatening US:

      “I’m not going to tell Putin what to do,” Mr. Trump said. “Why should I tell Putin what to do?”

      Heads are exploding at FOX NEWS.

      07/27/16 2:20 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      Wanna guess how long it would take for Republicans to impeach Obama if he did this?

      07/27/16 2:49 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      There are two countries in particular, utterly ruined by the US, that tear at my heart. One of them is Libya and I blame that directly on Hillary Clinton. The other is Haiti, and I blame that on both the Clintons, who have been exploiting and fucking with her for several decades now. The Clintons should be in jail, and after death in hell, for what they have done to these two places alone.

      Haitians protest at DNC. Found at Cynthia McKinney’s twitter feed:

      At DNC; Mrs Clinton, Where’s Haiti’s Earthquake 6 Billion Dollars?


      And an article to read: http://s1.zetaboards.com/Express_Yourself/topic/5974155/1/#new

      07/27/16 5:03 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Press conference for Nina Turner at 530 or so regarding her being banned from stage at dnc. See National Nurses.

      07/27/16 5:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      So … our agent of “change” is still banning people? HRC needs to figure out fast when to be an actual agent of change — and when to lose the conservative streak. Uneasy lies the crown

      07/27/16 6:00 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Peter- so what good did it do that Ike warned of the MIC? It keeps getting more powerful and influential. People liked Ike yet his warning seems to have been considered a heedless alarm.

      07/27/16 6:09 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Meanwhile.. remember what I said about.. “things yet to come” in the leaked emails? Well.. it looks like some people in the DNC have something so scary their heads are exploding in anticipation..

      quote”At the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this week, donors have been panicking about WikiLeaks’ promises that MORE IS TO COME. Speculation that the DNC is only the tip of the hacked iceberg is rampant.” unquote

      Hahahahaha..hohoohohohohohoh.. hahahahahaha… hahahaha..

      Before this debacle is done.. people will be jumping out of buildings.

      07/27/16 7:56 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      “Before this debacle is done people will be jumping out of buildings.”

      The two towers come crashing down. In the end Trump is just another little dick-tator who meets his end in Russia.

      07/27/16 8:35 PM | Comment Link

    • StarkNakedTruth said...


      “More is to come…

      I await with baited breath.

      “Tip of the ice burg…”

      One can only hope.

      DNC and Clinton campaign staff exploding heads?

      Now that’s something worth watching!

      07/27/16 9:52 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      “Before this debacle is done.. people will be jumping out of buildings.”

      Ha! My favorite sign of all time was one I saw as the economic “meltdown” of ’08 was going on. Hank Paulson was threatening Congress with martial law in the streets, 99% of the people calling Congress were against the TARP (so naturally they passed it anyway), and everyone’s IRAs melted away.

      The only bright spot was a picture of a young dude walking up and down Wall Street with a sign that read, “Jump, fuckers!”

      07/28/16 5:03 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      Whose convention is taking place this week? I forget which party it is.

      There have been so many references to Harry Truman (Albright mentioned him glowingly, as did Obama last night) and Ronald Reagan (!) that I keep forgetting this is the Democratic convention.

      No need to comment about the irony of the Dems loving Reagan at this late date, after all, Obama mentioned him as an inspiration back when he was running for the ’08 election. But seriously, Truman? The guy who dropped nukes on Japan???

      07/28/16 6:37 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Ord said...


      Teri: “Whose convention is taking place this week? I forget which party it is.”

      Yes, right? Hard to tell the two apart

      07/28/16 9:56 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      “Did Russian Intelligence Hack the DNC Servers? Short answer: nobody knows”. Right.

      The right answer is “NO” because the NSA would know and they aren’t saying. Why? Because they know the Russians didn’t do it. Edward Snowden has already admitted that. The National Security Agency has “all” of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails and the FBI could gain access to them if they so desired, William Binney, a former highly placed NSA official, declared in a radio interview broadcast on Sunday. Speaking as an analyst, Binney raised the possibility that the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s server was done not by Russia but by a disgruntled U.S. intelligence worker concerned about Clinton’s compromise of national security secrets via her personal email use.

      Another Patriotic Act? If it came to light that an NSA employee acting alone or, more likely with a group of active or retired spooks, tried to fry Hillary for her national security violations that Comey refused to prosecute, perhaps these “good guys” are also the Anthrax Terrorist-Patriots who are back in business to affect the political process for the “greater good.” Why keep it a Big Secret? If the American public realizes it has been had by this group’s “patriotic acts”, then the unchecked powers of the NSA and perhaps the CIA will be seen as a threat to our democracy and it will create a demand for congress to control their powers. Of course, if the FBI is ever tasked to look homeward for the hacker, some poor patsy will be blamed and mysteriously die before he makes it to trial.

      08/2/16 7:22 PM | Comment Link

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