Russia may be ready to release Clinton emails

Ever since Hillary Clinton's private email server became public knowledge, there has been speculation about whether any foreign governments had been able to penetrate the inadequate security and hack into the system.

Clinton herself and the State Department insist no such hacks took place. But US intelligence officials are convinced that, at the very least, Russian hackers were able to steal the contents of the server. 

The recent hack of Democratic party servers by Russians, as well as the penetration of the Clinton Foundation email account points to a concerted effort on the part of someone in Russia - perhaps Putin himself - to get dirt on Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Now US intelligence has seen indications that the Russians may be ready to release at least some of the emails. Bill Gertz at the Washington Times fleshes out the story:

A U.S. intelligence official told Inside the Ring that the indications of the email release are being closely watched, although the veracity of at least two postings on the matter could not be confirmed as authoritative.

State Department official has said Russia is one of at least three foreign governments likely to have obtained the full content of the former secretary of state’s server through covert hacking operations. The other two are China and Israel.

Russian intelligence agencies are suspected of cyberintrusions that obtained sensitive political information contained in Democratic National Committee networks. Last week, reports surfaced that computer networks of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation were also compromised, also by Russian hackers.

Russian intelligence is considered to be the most capable nation-state cyberespionage and cyberwarfare power, and its intelligence-gathering operations in the U.S. are said to be going at Cold War levels.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB intelligence officer schooled in the black arts of covert operations, would be the top authority to order the release of the Clinton emails, if in fact Moscow has obtained the tens of thousands of private emails.

A possible Russian motive for making public all the emails would be to undermine any Justice Department influence in the ongoing FBI investigation of the private email server, an investigation said by FBI sources to have expanded into whether the server was used improperly to boost the fortunes of the Clinton Foundation.


Mr. Putin may being calculating that the release of some of the highly classified information within the emails could be used against Mrs. Clinton to influence the U.S. presidential election. Alternatively, Mr. Putin could use his access to the emails for blackmail should Mrs. Clinton win the election in November.

Gertz is a top notch national security reporter with excellent sources. The story may or may not be true, but it's clear that US intelligence officials believe it to be so.

A legitimate question being asked is wouldn't Putin gain more by hanging on to the emails to use as leverage against Hillary if she becomes president? It depends on what's in the emails. If it would only embarrass Clinton, it may be more to Putin's advantage if he released them. But if it's something criminal, Putin would almost certainly hang on to the documents looking to gain the advantage over a President Clinton.

It's going to be a long, hot summer for Hillary Clinton.