BuzzFeed is suing the cash-strapped Democratic National Committee (DNC) to force them to hand over information related to the "Steele Dossier" that might help the news outlet defend itself against a lawsuit lodged by a Russian businessman who was named in the document.
Three separate lawsuits have been launched against BuzzFeed in connection to the January 11, 2017 publication of the dossier, which states that Russian tech executive Aleksej Gubarev used his web hosting companies to hack into the DNC's computer systems.
The dossier, without substantiation, said Gubarev’s U.S.-based global web-hosting companies, XBT and Webzilla, planted digital bugs, transmitted viruses and conducted altering operations against the Democratic Party leadership.
While one key name in the dossier was blackened out by BuzzFeed, Gubarev’s was not. He alleges that he was never contacted for comment, suffering reputational harm in the process. -Foreign Policy
As part of their defense, BuzzFeed issued a subpoena to the DNC for information which might help them defend against Gubarev's lawsuit by verifying claims in the dossier - including "digital remnants left by the Russian state operatives," as well as a full version of the hacking report prepared by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.
Since the DNC wouldn't let the FBI look at the server and instead relied on the report prepared by CrowdStrike (founded by Russian expat Dimitri Alperovitch - who sits on the very Anti-Russian Atlantic Council along with Evelyn "oops!" Farkas. The AC is funded by the US State Department, NATO, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukranian Oligarch Victor Pinchuk, who apparently owns the Ukrainian gas company Joe Biden's son is on the board of).
“As part of the discovery process, BuzzFeed is attempting to verify claims in the dossier that relate to the hacking of the DNC,” said BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenhal in a statement. “We’re asking a federal court to force the DNC to follow the law and allow BuzzFeed to fully defend its First Amendment rights.”
Last month, the DNC claimed that providing the requested information would expose the DNC's internal operations and harm the party politically (it's always someone else's fault, no?).
“If these documents were disclosed, the DNC’s internal operations, as well as its ability to effectively achieve its political goals, would be harmed,” said DNC lawyers.
If the DNC is compelled to turn over the full CrowdStrike report and "digital remnants," perhaps Gubarev would then present a counter-analysis by researcher Forensicator which CrowdStrike apparently "missed" - revealing that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s - all but confirming that the files had to have been copied locally by an inside source. Many have speculated that DNC IT staffer Seth Rich, whose murder is still unsolved, was the source of the emails provided to WikiLeaks.
Word of BuzzFeed's suit against the DNC comes on the heels of a Monday revelation that the news outlet hired a former top FBI and White House cybersecurity official to fly around the globe on a secret mission to corroborate various claims in the dossier.
The probe is being conducted by Anthony Ferrante - formerly the FBI's top official in charge of "cyber incident response" at the U.S. National Security Council under the Obama administration. Ferrante is leading the investigation from his new employer, D.C.-based business advisory firm, Forensic Technologies International (FTI) consulting reports Foreign Policy.
At FTI, Ferrante launched what’s now been a months-long stealth effort chasing down documents and conducting interviews on the ground in various countries around the world. His team directed BuzzFeed lawyers to subpoena specific data and testimony from dozens of agencies or companies across the country and assembled a cyber ops war room to analyze that data, according to sources familiar with the work.
Considering that much of the Steele dossier came from a collaboration with high level Kremlin officials (a collusion if you will), one has to wonder exactly what channels Ferrante and FTI have tapped in order to access such information.
Wouldn't it be funny if BuzzFeed proves the DNC wasn't hacked?