Friday, January 6, 2017

BUSTED: FBI Never Even Examined the DNC Servers Over Allegations of Russian Hacking

Published: January 5, 2017

By: Claire Bernish 

According to a report, the FBI has never examined the servers of the Democratic National Committee — not even for the six months during which the bureau claimed to be investigating allegations of Russians compromising cyber networks.

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In fact, according to a US intelligence official who spoke to Buzzfeed News, “the bureau has still not requested access to the hacked servers, a DNC spokesman said. No US government entity has run an independent forensic analysis on the system.”

While it would seem intuitive for the U.S. Intelligence Community to perform a detailed and methodical analysis of its own, Eric Walker, deputy communications director for the DNC, told Buzzfeed,

“The DNC had several meetings with representatives of the FBI’s Cyber Division and its Washington (DC) Field Office, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and it responded to a variety of requests for cooperation, but the FBI never requested access to the DNC’s computer servers,” Walker told BuzzFeed News in an email.

Although the FBI declined to comment on the report, it’s notable the bureau has relied solely on third-party technology security company, CrowdStrike — whose controversial report early last year noted Russia-linked hackers penetrated DNC systems — for its analysis and assessment, rather than performing one of its own.

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But the official who spoke with Buzzfeed — and expressed confidence Russia coordinated the ostensible ‘widespread hacks’ — didn’t exactly add an air of confidence to the CrowdStrike report, noting,

“CrowdStrike is pretty good. There’s no reason to believe that anything that they have concluded is not accurate.”

Relying on a single, ‘pretty good’ organization to examine a putative breach of national security would seem foolhardy, but the unnamed official confirmed that was the case.

“Beginning at the time the intrusion was discovered by the DNC,” Walker explained, “the DNC cooperated fully with the FBI and its investigation, providing access to all of the information uncovered by CrowdStrike — without any limits.”

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Reports indicate the DNC discovered their system had been infiltrated in March 2016, but didn’t summon the tech security firm until May — and although the FBI had been given all relevant information concerning the alleged hack, apparently the bureau never investigated further.

According to the outlet, “BuzzFeed News spoke to three cybersecurity companies who have worked on major breaches in the last 15 months, who said that it was ‘par for the course’ for the FBI to do their own forensic research into the hacks. None wanted to comment on the record on another cybersecurity company’s work, or the work being done by a national security agency.”

But the FBI apparently did not do forensic research of the alleged DNC hack on its own — no matter if that is common practice or not.

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A subsequent report from the Washington Post — notorious for publishing Fake News — cited unnamed officials from the CIA claiming the U.S. Intelligence Community concluded Russian government-associated actors had performed the hack and handed over documents for Wikileaks to publish.

However, that article contradicted the unanimity it intimated, stating no formal report would be forthcoming from the Intelligence Community as disagreement that conclusion remained. Further, an unnamed counterintelligence official with the FBI came forward rejecting the unnamed CIA officials’ allegations — despite FBI Director James Comey standing in agreement with the report.

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