(UR) Washington, D.C. — On Monday, the FBI made official its investigation into the massive data breach of the Democratic National Committee, which resulted, among other things, in the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the eve of the party’s convention.
“The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC and are working to determine the nature and scope of the matter,” the agency said in a statement. “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.”
The hack of nearly a year’s worth of DNC emails was made public over the weekend via WikiLeaks, and exposedalarming favoritism within the Democrat party toward Hillary Clinton — and an active attempt by officials to thwart the campaign of then-challenger, Bernie Sanders.
The Clinton camp was quick to heap the blame on Russia, and even suggested a goal of the leak was to aid Donald Trump in securing the presidency.
“Experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told CNN on Sunday.
This accusation is rooted in the fact that Trump and his team have repeatedly — and without apology — made itclear they’d like to see the United States have much closer ties with Russia. Additionally, Trump and President Vladimir Putin have demonstrated a certain respect for one another.
During an interview with MSNBC in December of 2015, for instance, Trump remarked of Putin: “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, you know like unlike what we have in this country.” He added that “I’ve always felt fine about Putin. I think he’s a strong leader.”
Putin responded by calling Trump a “bright personality” and a “talented person.” He further stated: “He says he wants to move to a different level of relations, to a closer, deeper one, with Russia. How can we not welcome that?”
And while the Trump team has dismissed claims that Russia is actively assisting the presidential hopeful as“absurd,” the fact remains there is considerable evidence to suggest Russia was indeed behind the DNC hack.
Back in June, the Washington Post reported that Russian hackers had breached the computer network of the DNC, gaining access to emails and records of chat traffic — as well as a database of research being conducted on the Trump campaign.
The month before, in May — after the DNC first suspected tampering with its systems in April — officials called in security firm CrowdStrike to investigate. The firm quickly identified two serious threats within the DNC network, both of which were traced back to Russian agencies — the FSB, Russia’s state security agency, and GRU, their branch of military intelligence.
CrowdStrike’s findings were later confirmed by two independent cybersecurity companies.
On Monday, Yahoo News ran an article detailing the experience of a DNC consultant, Alexandra Chalupa, while conducting research on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
While digging into Manafort’s dealings with political leaders in Ukraine, Chalupa began receiving pop-ups from Yahoo’s security team. The messages warned that team members “strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.”
A Yahoo spokesman confirmed that the warnings were genuine messages from the security team and consistent with company policy, which states that they “only send these notifications of suspected attacks by state-sponsored actors when we have a high degree of confidence.”
So, despite the Kremlin officially denying involvement with the WikiLeaks data dump, the case against Russia appears to be mounting. Furthermore, the accusation that the hack was done to — at least in part — help the campaign of Donald trump actually makes sense, particularly in light of recent comments made by Trump regarding NATO.
In an interview with the New York Times last Thursday, Trump suggested that as president he wouldn’t automatically spring to the aid of fellow NATO countries in the event of military entanglement with Russia, due largely to the fact that many NATO nations aren’t pulling their financial weight.
“You can’t forget the bills,” he told the Times. “They have an obligation to make payments. Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing.”
As Underground Reporter has previously outlined, NATO — citing the much-hyped “Russian aggression” as justification — has entrenched itself in Eastern Europe, and made repeated calls to be prepared for all-out war with Russia. This, despite the fact that NATO’s own leaders have stated no aggression on the part of Russia actually exists.
So the notion that Russia would actively involve itself in American politics on behalf of a potential leader who seeks warmer ties with Russia is, at least on its face, seemingly logical. Because, as Politico recently summarized:
“For Putin, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving. Shunned and sanctioned by Western leaders for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Putin now sees a future ally riding into view.”
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