Did you know that the Romanian hacker Guccifer was extradited to the United States under federal indictment and that he appeared in court in Virginia yesterday for a detention hearing? I didn’t until I read the latest FOX News report by Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne.
In fact, Guccifer was indicted in June 2014. The FBI press release is posted here. The press release announcing his extradition and initial appearance in court this past Friday is here. The nine-count indictment is accessible online here.
If Herridge and Browne are on the scene, the mind-boggling Clinton email scandal can’t be far behind:
The extradition of Romanian hacker “Guccifer” to the U.S. at a critical point in the FBI’s criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use is “not a coincidence,” according to an intelligence source close to the case.
One of the notches on Guccifer’s cyber-crime belt was allegedly accessing the email account of Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, one of Clinton’s most prolific advice-givers when she was secretary of state. It was through that hack that Clinton’s use of a personal account — clintonemail.com — first came to light.
Former law enforcement and cyber security experts said the hacker, whose real name is Marcel Lehel Lazar, could – now that he’s in the U.S. – help the FBI make the case that Clinton’s email server was compromised by a third party, one that did not have the formal backing and resources of a foreign intelligence service such as that of Russia, China or Iran.
“Because of the proximity to Sidney Blumenthal and the activity involving Hillary’s emails, [the timing] seems to be something beyond curious,” said Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division from 2012-2014.
Herridge and Browne report that a spokesman for the FBI’s Washington Field Office had no comment on the extradition, the timing, and any potential intersection with the Clinton email probe. And then there is this:
Cybersecurity and terrorism expert Morgan Wright told Fox News, “My question is, why now – why just these cases, and why was it so important to bring him [to the U.S.]? I go back to what’s in common, and that’s the exposure.”
The Romanian government told Fox News that the request to extradite Lazar came from the FBI, but when Fox News asked when the process began, a government spokesperson said they were not authorized to comment further.
Romanian media have reported the request came on or about Dec. 29, 2015. That would have been shortly after the intelligence community’s identification of emails beyond “top secret” on Clinton’s personal server, which became public in mid-January.
The Herridge and Browne report is necessarily speculative, intensely interesting and worth a look in its entirety.