We have heard incessantly since the last election that the Russians waged war on us with their interference. No one has proclaimed this theme more vociferously than Democratic officials and officeholders. Perhaps the most notable attack in the conventional narrative is the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s email. It figures prominently in the intelligence community report on Russian interference, which itself reads like hack work to support a narrative.
Yet American authorities themselves do not appear to have examined the DNC servers. The DNC kept the investigation of the intrusion under its own carefully managed control. In his testimony on the cyber attacks before the Senate Intelligence Committee this past January, then FBI Director James Comey acknowledged the bureau never got access to the servers. Rather, the FBI obtained access to “the forensics” through the kindness of strangers, i.e., from a review performed by CrowdStrike, the third-party cybersecurity firm retained by the DNC.
It was not for lack of asking politely that the FBI failed to get direct access to the DNC servers. The bureau made “multiple requests at different levels,” Comey testified. It ultimately struck an agreement with the DNC that a “highly respected private company” would get access and share its findings with investigators.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified to the House Intelligence Committee this past June that the DNC declined from the FBI after it was hacked. “What are we doing? Are we in there?” Johnson said he asked when he became aware of the intrusion. He said the response he received was that the FBI had spoken to the committee but “they don’t want our help.”
Wasserman Shultz disputes Johnson’s testimony. “He’s wrong in every respect,” she said. She claimed she had never been informed of the FBI’s offer and said the FBI was the one who did not loop in high-level officials, saying it did not “do anything other than lob a phone call into our tech support through our main switchboard.”
“How is it that the FBI or DHS or any federal agency that was concerned about a foreign enemy state intruding on the networks of one of the two major political parties did not think it important enough to go higher than a tech support staffer?” she asked. “It is astounding and outrageous.”
Whoever has it right, it doesn’t sound like anyone treated the issue as a critical matter of national security.
Now Donna Brazile — Wasserman Schultz’s interim successor as head of the DNC — adds a footnote. Drawing on the excerpt of Brazile’s just published memoir posted by Politico this past Thursday, the Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak reports:
Schultz, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, did not tell the DNC’s own officers about a breach on its servers for more than a month after learning about it, according to then-DNC officer Donna Brazile.
Wasserman Schultz alerted the officers of the breach only when The Washington Post was about to make the revelations public, Brazile writes in an excerpt of the book Politico ran [this past] Thursday. The DNC instead enlisted the law firm of Perkins Coie to make major decisions, including how to handle the breach of its servers that led to an embarrassing email dump.
The timing suggests the DNC’s unusual and significant choice to have the private law firm CrowdStrike [sic] conduct the investigation into the breach, rather than turn the evidence over to law enforcement, was made without consulting DNC officers.
“She told [officers] about the hacking only minutes before the Washington Post broke the news,” Brazile wrote.
There is more than a little here that does not compute.