Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Dutch Spies Exposed Russian Hackers in US Election Meddling

Hacker with laptop "Hacker And Laptop Waiting For Something. Image Benoit Daoust via Twitter/@CC_DO
| 27 January, 2018, 20:32

Last January's joint intelligence report, which focuses mostly on an election operation run by Russia's military intelligence agency GRU, said that Russian intelligence had access to networks at the Democratic National Convention from July 2015 to June 2016.

A similar report also appeared in Nieuwsuur, a Dutch current affairs television program, both resulting from a joint investigation by the two news outlets.

AIVD reportedly alerted the Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA about Cozy Bear's hacking activities throughout the 2016 election.

USA investigators have reportedly been looking into the hacks and the alleged meddling effort at least since they learned Trump adivser George Papadopoulos, who later pled guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told an Australian diplomat in May 2016 about dirt Russians had on Clinton. Apparently, Dutch intelligence was able to identify all Russian officials who were directly involved with the hacks because AIVD agents obtained access to a security camera that overlooked the entrance to the SVR hacking center.

Dutch spies reportedly hacked the network of Russian hackers based near Red Square in Moscow.

. A security camera records who enters and who exits the room.


However, there are still outstanding questions about the Dutch reports that need to be considered before taking all of their assertions at face value.

"Not only can the intelligence service now see what the Russians are doing, they can also see who's doing it. Pictures are taken of every visitor", the report said. If the Dutch witnessed the DNC intrusion in 2015 and reported it to US colleagues, it's hard to understand why the Russian hackers were left to forage in the DNC network for months without being ejected.

Unmasking the Cozy Bear hackers would provide key evidence for investigators trying to unravel the DNC breach, but it may not dispel the mystery surrounding the leaks that followed. The Western ally had previously hacked not only the Russians' computers, but also surveillance cameras inside their offices. The evidence goes back more than three years, and the Dutch intelligence service has long since lost its access, meaning that Cozy Bear figured out it was being watched and, presumably, by what means.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov however dismissed the reports Friday, saying Moscow had "never heard or seen anything about such allegations from the Dutch secret services". Ben Cardin, D-Md., and numbering more than 200 pages, directly criticizes President Trump for failing to respond to the threat, even as other nations in Europe have taken much stronger measures to counter Russian efforts in the region.

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