Administration blames Russia government for political hacks

What was once just hinted at has now been confirmed.  U.S. intelligence officials say that the hack of the DNC and other political organizations is the work of the Russian government, approved at the highest levels.

The Hill:

The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence publicly blamed Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political organizations this year.

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the agencies in a joint statement.

The hack and subsequent release of emails from the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and former Secretary of State Colin Powell were widely believed by security experts and many in the intelligence community to be the work of Russian intelligence.

The Obama administration has been under fierce pressure from lawmakers — led by Senate and House Intelligence Committee ranking members Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), respectively — to publicly attribute the attacks.

The decision to name-and-shame Russia is a historic one. Of the four countries officials cite as the U.S.’s key adversaries in cyberspace — Russia, North Korea, China and Iran — Russia was the only one against whom the U.S. had not yet taken some kind of public action over its cyber activity. 

Some onlookers suspected that the White House was leery of publicly naming Russia in the DNC hack because it didn’t want to disrupt a fragile ceasefire deal in Syria. 

But Secretary of State John Kerry officially suspended negotiations with Russia over implementing such an agreement on Monday. And on Friday he called for a war crimes investigation of Russia and Syria for attacks in Aleppo. 

Washington has almost unanimously treated Russian involvement in the attack on the DNC and other Democratic groups as fact after several forensics firms avowed that all the digital fingerprints pointed to a well-known Russian intelligence group known informally as Fancy Bear. 

Moscow used a diffuse network of outlets to disseminate the material it stole — all of which the administration confirmed Friday. 

“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the statement read.

It doesn't appear that we received any additional intelligence about the hacks since they were discovered; rather, the administration felt it had nothing to lose by publicly naming the Russian government as the perpetrators.

U.S.-Russian relations were already in a downward spiral thanks to Secretary of State John Kerry's stupidity in trusting Vladimir Putin to abide by the terms of a "ceasefire."  Now Putin has ratcheted up the pressure on Washington by moving advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, harassing our diplomats in Moscow, and publicly contemplating moving troops back to Cuba and Vietnam.

It's hard to say that the U.S. and Russia have not resumed a cold war defense posture.

What was once just hinted at has now been confirmed.  U.S. intelligence officials say that the hack of the DNC and other political organizations is the work of the Russian government, approved at the highest levels.

The Hill:

The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence publicly blamed Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political organizations this year.

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the agencies in a joint statement.

The hack and subsequent release of emails from the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and former Secretary of State Colin Powell were widely believed by security experts and many in the intelligence community to be the work of Russian intelligence.

The Obama administration has been under fierce pressure from lawmakers — led by Senate and House Intelligence Committee ranking members Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), respectively — to publicly attribute the attacks.

The decision to name-and-shame Russia is a historic one. Of the four countries officials cite as the U.S.’s key adversaries in cyberspace — Russia, North Korea, China and Iran — Russia was the only one against whom the U.S. had not yet taken some kind of public action over its cyber activity. 

Some onlookers suspected that the White House was leery of publicly naming Russia in the DNC hack because it didn’t want to disrupt a fragile ceasefire deal in Syria. 

But Secretary of State John Kerry officially suspended negotiations with Russia over implementing such an agreement on Monday. And on Friday he called for a war crimes investigation of Russia and Syria for attacks in Aleppo. 

Washington has almost unanimously treated Russian involvement in the attack on the DNC and other Democratic groups as fact after several forensics firms avowed that all the digital fingerprints pointed to a well-known Russian intelligence group known informally as Fancy Bear. 

Moscow used a diffuse network of outlets to disseminate the material it stole — all of which the administration confirmed Friday. 

“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the statement read.

It doesn't appear that we received any additional intelligence about the hacks since they were discovered; rather, the administration felt it had nothing to lose by publicly naming the Russian government as the perpetrators.

U.S.-Russian relations were already in a downward spiral thanks to Secretary of State John Kerry's stupidity in trusting Vladimir Putin to abide by the terms of a "ceasefire."  Now Putin has ratcheted up the pressure on Washington by moving advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, harassing our diplomats in Moscow, and publicly contemplating moving troops back to Cuba and Vietnam.

It's hard to say that the U.S. and Russia have not resumed a cold war defense posture.