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The FBI think Russia is behind the hacking of Democrat emails

Clinton’s campaign say Russia wanted to help Trump’s campaign because of their bromance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Image: Chris Jackson

A TROVE OF emails from the US Democratic National Committee (DNC) released on Wikileaks has lead to the resignation of chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The emails - which can be read on Wikileaks - show at least one instance where the DNC acted favourably towards Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that the organisation is meant to be neutral. They are the group that govern the US Democratic Party.

One email from the DNC’s chief financial officer suggests using Bernie Sanders’ religious beliefs, or lack thereof, to undermine his campaign.

The emails have deepened the divide between the Sanders supporters and the Democratic Party.

However, more significant than the emails themselves is who leaked them.

Breach

A month ago the Washington Post reported that the DNC computer network had been hacked and that security experts said that Russian government hackers were responsible. Reportedly the hackers had access to the network for about a year before the breach was spotted.

At the time none of the information from the DNC network was released.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has suggested that the Russian hackers wanted to benefit Donald Trump by weakening the Democratic Party.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, speaking to MSNBC, suggested there was “a kind of bromance going on” between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

Trump dismissed that idea, tweeting: “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.”

Evidence of Russian hack

Michael Buratowski, a cyber analyst with Crowdstrike, the firm that investigated the hack, said he believed the hack was orchestrated by Russians because the hackers used Russian internet addresses, Russian language keyboards, and had time codes corresponding to business hours in Russia.

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According to the Daily Beast, the FBI also suspect that Russian hackers were behind the leak. David Shedd, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Daily Beast:

The release of emails just as the Democratic National Convention is getting underway this week has the hallmarks of a Russian active measures campaign.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee argued that Russia has attempted to manipulate elections in other countries before, saying:

If the hack is linked to Russian actors, it would not be the first time cyber intrusions linked to the Kremlin and its supporters have sought to influence the political process in other countries.

Denial

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the allegation is just another “paranoid” attempt by American politicians to play the Russian card during the campaign. Peskov also denied reports that Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, met with Putin’s chief of staff during his visit to Moscow earlier this month.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, told Reuters that he raised the email hack with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a meeting but did not make any allegation about who might be responsible.

Asked about the allegations earlier, Lavrov scoffed, saying: “I don’t want to use 4-letter words.”

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About the author:

Elizabeth O'Malley

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