Election 2016

Officials Say Russian Hackers Want to Help Trump

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Adding more fuel to the fire, a group of government officials spoke to the Daily Beast and privately opined that Russian hackers who breached the DNC did so to help the Republican presidential nominee.

It’s an operation that several U.S. officials now suspect was a deliberate attempt to influence the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, according to five individuals familiar with the investigation of the breach. [...]

Officials also thought it was telling that the emails were given to WikiLeaks, which is perceived as being hostile to the U.S. government. “This wasn’t surprising to us,” said one U.S. official familiar with the investigation.

This doesn't necessarily tell us anything we couldn't already infer, but it's good to know intelligence and security officials appreciate the gravity of the situation.

Meanwhile, Vice has an in-depth look at how the DNC was breached including evidence that at least some of the documents leaked to the public were doctored or completely fabricated.

The metadata in the leaked documents are perhaps most revealing: one dumped document was modified using Russian language settings, by a user named “Феликс Эдмундович,” a code name referring to the founder of the Soviet Secret Police, the Cheka, memorialised in a 15-ton iron statue in front of the old KGB headquarters during Soviet times. The original intruders made other errors: one leaked document included hyperlink error messages in Cyrillic, the result of editing the file on a computer with Russian language settings. After this mistake became public, the intruders removed the Cyrillic information from the metadata in the next dump and carefully used made-up user names from different world regions, thereby confirming they had made a mistake in the first round.

Vice also reports that DNC computers were compromised by the hackers by impersonating the DNC's security firm which, at least to me, says that firm is crap.

  • muselet

    So much for WikiLeaks’s repeated insistence that it’s a responsible hackers’ organization.

    What I find telling, and chilling, is that one of the hackers calls himself Феликс Эдмундович—Felix Edmundovich—a reference to Фе́ликс Эдму́ндович Дзержи́нский, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, this charming fellow. Not the sort of nym one uses ironically, I’d have thought.

    If this wasn’t an honest-and-for-true Russian government operation, it’s hard not to conclude this was carried out by people entirely sympathetic to Putin’s government.

    And yes, the firm doing online security for the DNC should be dropped like a hot rock.


    • Scopedog

      Assange, to use the words of Mike Malloy, is a disgusting piece of human waste.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    While I appreciate this aspect of the leak/hack/dump, are we not going to address the [alleged] content at all?

    Or shall we simply throw stones at the Red Shirts while ignoring the improprieties of our own team?

    Much of this is overblown, misleading, and of questionable authenticity, but there’s some there there, and we should be honest enough with ourselves that we don’t simply wave it off.

    • I’m sincerely asking how it is being waved off? WS will be gone by end of the week and so far she hasn’t spoken at the convention at all and has no plans to. The individuals involved have apologized and the DNC apologized as soon as the convention opened. Most Dems acknowledge it was wrong of them (not to mention phenomenally stupid). I would also assert that it had no effect on the outcome since none of the anti-Bernie proposals were put into practice. The DNC has included Bernie in the program and allowed him to appoint members of the Platform Committee, thereby affecting said platform. The DNC is looking into it further and we can probably expect more resignations and/or firings. What more should or could be done?

    • JMAshby

      I don’t give a single shit if some DNC staffers privately discussed their anger at Bernie Sanders who was attacking them almost daily. I’d be more surprised if they had nothing to say among themselves about Bernie continuously referring to them as conspirators and sellouts.

      I’ve read a handful of the emails and they’re infinitely more tame than things I’ve personally said and continue to say. To quote Jules Winnfield, I’m the Guns of the Navarone.

      There, I addressed it.

      • Victor the Crab

        But the email leak seems to be working. Drumph is continuing his unexplainable post election bounce at the expense of Hillary and the Democratic party. The latest figures from fivethirtyeight have her odds of winning the White House from 77% a couple of weeks ago, to 53% today. The mainstream media’s narrative of the nihilistic BernieBums dominating the convention coverage may make it worse.

        Still feeling confident, Ash?

        • JMAshby

          McCain and Romney also led in the summer and both lost in landslides so yes, I’m not panicking and you shouldn’t either. Panicking doesn’t actually help anything.

        • muselet

          Don’t Panic.


          • Victor the Crab

            Wish I wouldn’t panic. But I fear that the mainstream media is going to focus on the behavior of the BernieBums on the floor and cite it as proof the Democrats are a badly divided party, while they shrug their shoulders and ignore the growing evidence that Russia through WikiLeaks is influencing the election.

          • muselet

            Convention bounces happen, and DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY! is our glorious news media’s default headline (regardless of the actual story below the hed).

            Let’s wait until we’ve all seen a couple of rounds of polling after the Ds’ convention before we light our hair on fire.


        • Karen Marie

          Settle down, VIctor. If you’re concerned, do something besides getting hysterical on the internet.

          • Victor the Crab

            Don’t worry about me. Worry about yourself.

          • Victor the Crab

            Don’t worry about me. 😉

      • Exactly. Can you imagine what’s in the RNC emails? Does anyone think the RNC has been neutral among their many idiot candidates and haven’t been critical of Trump? Holy crap is this a non-scandal.

        • Victor the Crab

          Wish I could upvote you to infinity and beyond.

    • Scopedog

      Sorry–we should do what? Ignore the fact that a foreign government is interfering with our country’s election process? That a lot of private information was dumped just to fuck up a candidate’s chance to win on the eve of the convention that will nominate her?

      Nope, sorry–I’m not ignoring that. Especially when the dump contains nothing damning about the candidate at all but a lot of personal information for 19,000 people. THAT is what we should concentrate on, not a fucking fishing expedition so that the HIllary-haters can get hard-ons.

      • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

        I am a [former] Sanders supporter who will be supporting Hillary enthusiastically.

        I do so because she is a competent center left technocrat with a long history and a ton experience. I do so because I support most of her positions and her failings generally aren’t so terrible. I do so because she is 1,000x better than [shudder] President Trump. I do so because I really want to see Bill as First Dude.

        But don’t think for a second that we will forget that the DNC rigged this election against Sanders. My objection isn’t to Mrs. Clinton, but rather the party insiders who decided to sacrifice the liberal candidate. The process is broken. The process is biased, and it takes the liberal wing for granted because we have no other choice than to vote for Team Blue Shirt because Team Red Shirt is abhorrent. That’s not ok. We are not ok with it.

        That the Russians are [allegedly] interfering with our elections is another matter entirely.

        Still, Hillary 2016, wahoo!

        • Scopedog

          But don’t think for a second that we will forget that the DNC rigged this election against Sanders.


          Either provide ironclad proof of this claim from a reputable source, or zip it. I ran out of patience for right Wing conspiracy theories, and I sure as shit do not need to hear the same crap from progressives.

          And once again–you’re making this all about you. Yes, the Democrats have problems, but they are more open to minorities, including Latinos, African-Americans, and the LGBT community. The GOP shut its doors to them. And I don’t see diddly from Jill Stein or the Greens–all I see is white privilege.

    • Aynwrong

      If the Orange dictator makes into the White House this is going to seem like the smallest of small potatoes.