DNC Staffer Leaked Emails to Wikileaks, Not Russia-Disputed!
Summary of eRumor:
Craig Murray, a “close associate” of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, has said that leaked DNC emails came from a disgruntled DNC insider with legal access, not Russian hackers.
Craig Murray’s claims that a disgruntled DNC insider leaked emails to WIkileaks, not Russia, contradicts confirmation for U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian hackers were behind the leaks.
U.K. tabloid The Daily Mail reported on December 14th that DNC emails were leaked by “disgusted” whistleblowers from inside the DNC who had legal access to them — not Russia:
‘Neither of (the leaks) came from the Russians,’ said Murray in an interview with Dailymail.com on Tuesday. ‘The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.’
Murray is a controversial figure who was removed from his post as a British ambassador amid allegations of misconduct. He was cleared of those but left the diplomatic service in acrimony.
His links to Wikileaks are well known and while his account is likely to be seen as both unprovable and possibly biased, it is also the first intervention by Wikileaks since reports surfaced last week that the CIA believed Russia hacked the Clinton emails to help hand the election to Donald Trump.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has refused to identify where the leaked emails came from — but he denied that they were supplied to Wikileaks by a state government in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity:
Assange had previously denied that the DNC and Podesta emails had came from any government. He has steadfastly refused to identify the source of the messages.
“We’re unhappy that we felt that we needed to even say that it wasn’t a state party. Normally, we say nothing at all,” Assange told Hannity. “We have … a strong interest in protecting our sources, and so we never say anything about them, never ruling anyone in or anyone out.
“And so here, in order to prevent a distraction attack against our publications, we’ve had to come out and say ‘no, it’s not a state party. Stop trying to distract in that way and pay attention to the content of the publication.’”
U.S. intelligence agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Strategy announced in October that the intelligence community was “confident” that the Russian government directed the attacks:
The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.
The New York Times, meanwhile, reported on December 13th that a Russian cyberespionage team known as “the Dukes” that has been linked to the Russian government infiltrated the DNC’s servers using a basic phishing scam in November 2015:
WASHINGTON — When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.
His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.
The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.
The problem was made worse by the DNC failing to take those warnings seriously, and failing to act. In November, the FBI warned the DNC that the hackers were “calling home” to Russia — or transmitting data from the servers to Moscow:
In November, Special Agent Hawkins called with more ominous news. A D.N.C. computer was “calling home, where home meant Russia,” Mr. Tamene’s memo says, referring to software sending information to Moscow. “SA Hawkins added that the F.B.I. thinks that this calling home behavior could be the result of a state-sponsored attack.”
The FBI and CIA have both since agreed that Russian hackers working for the the Russian government were behind the cyberattacks on the DNC server and leaked emails.
So, Murray’s claim that the emails were leaked by a disgusted DNC staffer who had legal access to them is disputed by the U.S. intelligence community.