A Russian hacker has reportedly confessed that he hacked the DNC and stole Hillary Clinton's emails under the direction of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), claims Russian news outlet The Bell. Konstantin Kozlovsky - a Russian citizen with a hacker group called Lurk, confessed to the theft during a hearing about his arrest in August, along with a handwritten letter in which he admits to acting on the orders of an FSB agent he referred to as "Ilya."
In May, another Russian hacker claimed US officials offered him cash, citizenship and an apartment if he would accept responsibility for hacking the DNC and stealing Clinton's emails - which he refused, and was then arrested by the FBI under the lead of former Director James Comey.
“[They told me:] you will have to confess to breaking into Clinton’s inbox for [President Trump] on behalf of [Russian President Vladimir Putin],” Mr. Nikulin wrote, as translated by The Moscow Times.
"Later I received an offer from an agent: "You will have to declare that you broke Hillary Clinton mailbox for J. Trump on Putin's orders, you must agree to the extradition to the US, then we will remove all charges give you apartment and money, US citizenship "- I gave up shortly" questioning "was over, the agent said that they had come"
According to Nikulin, the proposal was made during conversations 14-15 November. The following conversation then took place on February 7 (translation via Currenttime.tv)
"You have to say that it is you broke-mail Clinton, that you prepared and entered into a democratic network and polling stations on Putin's orders, you call the names of accomplices, agree to extradition, and in America we will resolve all the issues will be living in an apartment and we will provide you all."
“He was offered to falsely testify that he was cooperating in the attack on the Democratic Party,” defense attorney Martin Sadilek said Thursday, the Associated Press reported.
A tale of two headlines:
Considering what we have learned about James Comey's FBI in recent weeks and months, something doesn't seem quite right with this story. After serious doubt was cast on Crowdstrike, the firm hired by the DNC to inspect their servers - and recent forensic analysis which revealed at least the Guccifer 2.0 portion of the leaked emails could have only been accessed locally - the Russian hacking narrative has been on incredibly thin ice.
In March, Journalist Lee Stranahan more or less destroyed the CrowdStrike narrative in an article summarized below:
- The DNC Russian hacking claims rely entirely on a report by a private company the DNC hired called "CrowdStrike"
(not mentioned in Stranahan's article: The Irvine, CA company was partially funded by Google, which led a $100M 'Series C' investment round)
- CrowdStrike's report ("Fancy Bear") is highly speculative, inconclusive by most standards, and does not contain "hard evidence" per CrowdStrike Co-Founder Dmitri Alperovitch:
The firm suspects they may have targeted DNC employees with “spearphishing” emails. These are communications that appear legitimate — often made to look like they came from a colleague or someone trusted — but that contain links or attachments that when clicked on deploy malicious software that enables a hacker to gain access to a computer. “But we don’t have hard evidence,” Alperovitch said.
- The MSM ran with the "Fancy Bear" report in an attempt to delegitimize Trump:
Starting in June of 2016 and continuing to this day, the DNC, Washington Post, New York Times, and other MSM outlets have been using the CrowdStrike report to stage a smear campaign against Donald Trump in an attempt to delegitimize the President while providing an excuse for Hillary Clinton's loss.
- Cybersecurity experts and respected journalists have cast serious doubt on it's the report's validity.
How To Get To “Reasonable Certainty” on a Russia Finding - Jeffrey Carr, Medium (12.13.2016)
HERE’S THE PUBLIC EVIDENCE RUSSIA HACKED THE DNC — IT’S NOT ENOUGH - Sam Biddle, The Intercept (12.14.2016)
- In December, CrowdStrike published another report concluding that Russia hacked Ukranian a artillery-targeting app using the SAME "Fancy Bear" malware.
- Once again, Several new articles casting doubt on CrowdStrike's claims cropped up.
The GRU-Ukraine Artillery Hack That May Never Have Happened - Jeffrey Carr, Medium (1.3.2017)
Why I Still Don't Buy the Russian Hacking Story - Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg (12.22.2016)
Skeptics Doubt Ukraine Hack, Its Link to DNC Cyberattack - Oleksiy Kuzmenko, VOA (12.23.2016)
He told VOA that contacts in the Ukrainian military units that used the app reported no losses of D-30 howitzers, which contradicts large battlefield losses referenced in the CrowdStrike report.
“I personally know hundreds of gunmen in the war zone. None of them told me of D-30 losses caused by hacking or any other reason,” Narozhnyy stressed to the VOA
- The Government of Ukraine issued a statement calling the CrowdStrike report Fake News:
In connection with the emergence in some media reports which stated that the alleged “80% howitzer D-30 Armed Forces of Ukraine removed through scrapping Russian Ukrainian hackers software gunners,” Land Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine informs that the said information is incorrect.
Ministry of Defence of Ukraine asks journalists to publish only verified information received from the competent official sources. Spreading false information leads to increased social tension in society and undermines public confidence in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. -mil.gov.ua (translated) (1.6.2017)
- CrowdStrike relied on a misinterpretation of evidence for the Ukraine story
The information CrowdStrike relied on came from a Russian propaganda blog, not the IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) as CrowdStrike claimed.
An article by VOA News details this fact and puts this whole thing into context: Cyber Firm at Center of Russian Hacking Charges Misread Data - Oleksiy Kuzmenko, VOA (3.21.17)
The CrowdStrike report, released in December, asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists.
But the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened.
And now - despite the "Russian Hacking" meme having been more or less gutted, a new Russian Hacker emerges - claiming Putin ordered him to steal Hillary Clinton's emails.
But did Putin also rig Hillary's campaign so she'd completely abandon Michigan, Wisonsin and Pennsylvania, inquiring minds want to know? Oh, and let's not forget about the time Julian Assange all but used sign language to let the world know that Seth Rich was the source.