Hacks & the DNC hack

The famous hack of the Democratic National Committee email account during the 2016 campaign somehow escaped serious investigation by the FBI, but was nevertheless attributed by American intelligence authorities and others to the Russians in part because of the analysis performed by CrowdStrike for the DNC. Now Aaron Maté reports for RealClearInvestigations on the newly declassified testimony by CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry — testimony that Adam Schiff sought to keep locked down until Acting DNI Grenell forced his hand.

Having reviewed the transcript of Henry’s testimony that is posted here, Maté reports that Henry “privately acknowledged more than two years ago that it had no evidence that Russian hackers stole emails from the Democratic National Committee’s server.” Here are the quotable quotes that Maté plucks from the transcript:

• “There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.”

• “There’s not evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. There’s circumstantial evidence but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated.”

• “There is circumstantial evidence that that data was exfiltrated off the network… We didn’t have a sensor in place that saw data leave. We said that the data left based on the circumstantial evidence. That was the conclusion that we made.”

• “Sir, I was just trying to be factually accurate, that we didn’t see the data leave, but we believe it left, based on what we saw.”

• Asked directly if he could “unequivocally say” whether “it was or was not exfiltrated out of DNC,” Henry told the committee: “I can’t say based on that.”

Maté concludes: “The revelation that CrowdStrike itself lacked critical evidence surrounding Russiagate’s underlying crime is certain to deepen already abundant concerns about deceptions in the affair. The two private firms that generated the core allegations at the heart of Russiagate — Russian email hacking and Trump-Russia collusion – were both hired by the Democratic Party, suggesting that the federal investigation was compromised from the start.”