Step aside Democratic party: according to the latest official conspiracy theory promoted by the media, in addition to the DNC, unknown hackers managed to penetrate both the server of retired former top NATO general, Philip Breedlove as well as that of George Soros, the prominent billionaire supporter behind Hillary Clinton's campaign. Only the people are not "unknown", as the media already has its pre-determined narrative : they are, of course, Russians.
How do we know it was the Russians?
Well we don't, but according to "security experts" cited by Bloomberg, the site behind the hacks, DCLeaks.com, "with its spiffy capitol-dome logo", shows the marks of the same Russian intelligence outfit that targeted the Democratic political organizations. Supposedly these are the same "experts" who concluded just hours after the infamous Wikileaks release of 20,000 Democratic emails, that it was the Russians who were behind that particular hack too.
More unsubstantiated details:
Describing itself as the work of American hacktivists, DCLeaks.com was registered in April, and many of the documents were posted in early June. A DCLeaks administrator, who identified himself by e-mail as Steve Wanders, didn’t respond to written questions, including why much of the material focuses on Russia or Russian foreign-policy interests.
The site seems designed to cater to the U.S. media’s voracious appetites for leaks. It has related Twitter and Facebook accounts that push out nuggets from purloined documents and that suggest angles journalists might pursue.
The Russian government has dismissed the idea that it was involved in the hack of the Democratic National Committee, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said there’s “no proof whatsoever” that Moscow was involved.
Surely there has to be something more than merely circumstantial suggesting that this was a Russian group? The answer is no.
The leaks highlight the effectiveness of some of the hackers’ tricks, including the targeting of private e-mail accounts to gather sensitive military and political intelligence. DCLeaks also offers some insight for investigators on what appears to be the hackers’ early missteps and ad hoc approach. “It really looks like the hackers tried a couple of things that just weren’t really working before they hit on using WikiLeaks,” said John Hultquist, the manager of cyberespionage intelligence at FireEye Inc. “With this earlier stuff, it looks like they were experimenting.”
It gets better:
Security experts see links to a larger Russian information operation. That’s in part, according to two people familiar with the probe, because the e-mail addresses of Breedlove and Hamilton were among thousands targeted in a several-month campaign that began last fall by a Russian hacking group that cybersecurity firms have referred to by monikers including Fancy Bear, APT28 and the Sofacy Group.
And the punchline:
Cyberintelligence firms have linked that hacking group to the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, whose Moscow headquarters is nicknamed the Aquarium. Three private security groups have linked the DNC incursion to that group and another Russian hacking group associated with the FSB, the country’s civilian intelligence agency. U.S. intelligence agencies have told officials they believe the DNC hack was orchestrated by the Russian government.
So, according to the official narrative, we are supposed to believe that these "Russian hackers", part of the military intelligence service, managed to gather sensitive military and political intelligence, got inside a NATO general's server, penetrated Soros' email... yet were unable to get inside Hillary Clinton's DIY, unprotected home email server? Oh, and these intelligence assets were smart enough to do all this, but dumb enough to leave trails as being associated with other Russian hacking groups, knowing full well that when their trails was exposed, it would lead to a massive diplomatic scandal or worse.
However, this time there is a shift: unlike several weeks ago when the narrative was geared to frame Trump as a puppet of the Kremlin, this time the story is more complex, as "the e-mails and documents posted to the DCLeaks site in early June suggest that the hackers may have a broader agenda than influencing the U.S. presidential election, one that ranges from the Obama administration’s policy toward Russia to disclosures about the hidden levers of political power in Washington."
In other words, it appears that the "Trump as a Kremlin pawn" news cycle is over, and is being replaced with one that prepares the world for a George Soros email dump; needless to say that particular news cycle will be far more complex to frame as benefiting Putin.
In the case of Philip Breedlove, who retired in May and was formerly the top military commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the hack of his personal e-mails was previously noted by both The Intercept and by some cable news channels, inflaming tensions between the U.S. and its European allies. Breedlove told CNN in July that the e-mails were stolen as part of a state-sponsored intelligence operation and didn’t respond to a request for comment this week. How did he know it was a state-sponsored operation? Again, he didn't, but it is far easier to blame Russia for hacking your email than taking responsibility for an email account that was unprotected.
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Far more important than the inane speculation on the hackers' identity, is the now official disclosure - and warning - that Soros himself was hacked. Bloomberg writes that Open Society Foundations, the Soros group, reported the breach to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in June, according to spokeswoman Laura Silber, who added that an investigation by a security firm found the intrusion was limited to an intranet system used by board members, staff and foundation partners.
To be sure, that Soros had been hacked is nothing new to our readers. We first reported about it last June, in an article which revealed Soros as the mastermind behind the 2014 Ukraine presidential coup, titled "Hacked Emails Expose George Soros As Ukraine Puppet-Master." However that particular hack got no coverage in the broader press. The fact that it is finally coming to light suggests that something far bigger is expected to be disclosed by the hacker group.
What is perhaps more notable is that the Soros hack was actually conducted over a year ago, by a group calling itself cyber-berkut as we showed last summer, something which will not make it to the official narrative because this particular group is a bunch of disgruntled hacktivists operating out of Ukraine, who have been for the past two years protesting the CIA-produced 2014 coup in their country. Which is how they stumbled upon Soros.
Considering that the original Soros hackers were Ukrainians, something which wouldn't play too well in this scripted attempt to start another scandal with Russia, it is very likely that DCLeaks is simply a mere aggregator of previously leaked information, in an attempt to become a smaller version of Wikileaks. That possibility, however, will also hardly be touched. After all, the experts have already made up their mind.
Identity of the hackers notwithstanding, the real question then becomes what will be the fallout from the Soros hack:
In the case of Soros’s Open Society, hackers stole a trove of documents after accessing the foundation’s internal intranet, a system called Karl, according to a person familiar with its internal investigation. On August 3, the DCLeaks.com Twitter account tweeted “Check George Soros’s OSF plans to counter Russian policy and traditional values,” attaching a screenshot of a $500,000 budget request for an Open Society program designed to counter Russian influence among European democracies.
The hackers may have had access the foundations’ network for nearly a year, according to another person familiar with the investigation. Although Open Society has about 800 full-time staff, as many as 7,000 people have access to Karl, which is used to circulate draft program proposals, budgets and other internal documents.
Of course a far simpler explanation than accusing Putin, is that actual "leaker" or "hacker" is a disgruntled current or former Soros employee, among these 7,000 people with full access. Alas, the wheels of the narrative are already in motion, and with Russia accused of hacking not only the DNC, but a NATO general and now, Soros too, it is only a matter of time before the diplomatic fallout escalates to a new and dangerous level, an escalation which takes place just as Turkey is pivoting fully toward Russia, and is prepared to enter into both monetary and defensive ties with the Kremlin, in what would be the biggest humiliation for NATO in its history.