A central Element of the Mueller investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election was the claim that Russian agents hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Server and forwarded the stolen emails to WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks released these emails in July 2016, revealing to the world that the DNC had conspired to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Since this revelation, the alleged “Russia Connection” has been repeated in prayer by the Democratic Party, by US intelligence agencies and also by the media, even when the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller had already collapsed.
As WSWS has always explained, the” Russia Connection " was from the beginning a politically motivated lie aimed at discrediting WikiLeaks. It was also intended to whitewash Hillary Clinton’s presidential defeat, distract from the fact that the American working class did not want to know about Clinton’s warmongering, and prepare an anti-democratic palace revolt against Donald Trump. Apart from the testimony of anonymous members of the “services”, no substantiated evidence has ever been presented for these claims.
Newly released testimony before the House Intelligence Committee (HIC) now confirms that these Secret Service and Democratic Party staffers deliberately fabricated a lie. The source of the claim that Russian agents hacked the DNC Server was the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which had been hired by the Democratic Party to uncover the theft of their data. But when the president of CrowdStrike, Shawn Henry, was questioned by the HIC in December 2017, he admitted that he had no conclusive evidence and could not prove that data had been hacked from the DNC Server at all, let alone that Russian hackers had done so.
His testimony has been kept secret for more than two years. According to journalist Aaron Maté, the HIC voted unanimously in September 2018 to publish transcripts of the witness interviews (including those of Henry). But in March 2019, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (who was among those who conducted the interview with Henry) directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) not to forward the documents to the White House lawyers, who wanted to examine them based on executive privilege. Schiff maintained this refusal until a few days ago, when Trump ally and acting ODNI director Richard Grenell threatened to release the protocols himself.
Henry’s statements to the Intelligence Committee repeatedly refer to “evidence” of data theft, but these cannot disguise the fact that no reliable evidence could be presented. Henry admits this in several of his answers to committee members ' questions:
“We had no concrete evidence that the data from the DNC Server was moved electronically, but we have evidence that it was diverted.“
“There are examples where we can see that data has been accessed, and we can prove this conclusively. But in this case, it looks like they were set up for Exfiltration, but we just don’t have the evidence to say that they were actually transferred.“
“There is no evidence that they were actually stolen. There is evidence, but no evidence, that they were actually stolen.“
“There is evidence that this data was taken from the network … but we did not have a Sensor that specifically observed how the data left the network. Based on circumstantial evidence, we have claimed that the data flowed. That was the conclusion we drew.“
As for the claim that agents of the Russian state were responsible for this so-called Schrödinger Hack, Henry simply told the intelligence committee what he “assumed.”
- “There are certainly other states that collect this kind of information,” he said, “but the – as we would call it – tactics and techniques corresponded to what we have seen in connection with the Russian state.“
CrowdStrike’s internal investigation revealed “activities that we believed were consistent with activities that we had previously seen and associated with the Russian government.”
CrowdStrike has many connections to the Democratic Wing of the US Elite, which advocates an aggressive confrontation with Russia. In the period before Shawn Henry became president of CrowdStrike, he was deputy director at the FBI while Mueller was FBI Director. The co-founder of CrowdStrike, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a leading think tank of American imperialism.
As Maté reports, the released testimony confirms that the company received the order to investigate the data theft from the DNC Server from a certain Michael Sussman, a lawyer from the law firm Perkins Coie, which works closely with the Democratic Party. The same law firm already commissioned the intelligence firm Fusion GPS to produce the infamous Steele dossier, a collection of gossip about Donald Trump’s alleged links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In 2016, CrowdStrike falsely accused Russia of hacking into Ukrainian military technology.
FBI Director James Brien Comey Jr. nevertheless, in its statement on the Mueller investigation, the company described it as"highly regarded”. While CrowdStrike conducted its investigation into the DNC breach, the FBI did not look too closely at the company’s work. Director James Comey told Congress in 2017 that the FBI “never got direct access to the DNC machines themselves.”
CrowdStrike, he continued, “informed us that the forensic results of their Review of the system”.
However, it is clear from Henry’s testimony that the FBI allowed CrowdStrike to be selective in the information they provided. According to Henry, the company provided the FBI with “some real digital images.” Otherwise, CrowdStrike only submitted their own evaluations: “the results of our analysis based on what our technology has spat out and collected.”
Last summer, the website Consortium News reported on confidential collusion between Trump ally Roger Stone and the Justice Department. Their communications revealed that CrowdStrike never provided the FBI with a final report on its investigation, but only three redacted drafts.