A former CIA agent who has digested the Obama administration’s recent report that allegedly ties Russia to hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton says there is “no evidence” to support the accusation.
Shortly before the New Year’s holiday the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security jointly released a report addressing a spate of accusations against Moscow, namely that the Kremlin hacked both the DNC and the Clinton campaign, then released the hacked data toÂ WikiLeaks, to harm the Democrat’s chances at winning the White House while helping GOP nominee Donald J. Trump.
But, says Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism expert, military officer and recognized intelligence authority, in a Facebook post, wroteÂ that â€œapart from assertions of Russian activity connected to an unnamed political party, [the report] provides absolutely no evidence that the alleged intrusions into the DNC servers were anything beyond normal intelligence agency probing for vulnerabilities.â€
Giraldi was addressing what the report dubbedÂ â€œGRIZZLY STEPPE,” the codename for the alleged Russian hacking operation.
“There is no evidence of particular mal-intent that can be traced back to the Russian government, much less to Vladimir Putin. Nine of the thirteen pages of the report deal with advice on how to keep your system from being hacked,” Giraldi continued. “The reportâ€™s first page has a disclaimer: ‘This report is provided as is for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.'”
That, it seems, is the government agencies more or less admitting thatÂ they don’t have any real evidence to support their allegations, which are really more likeÂ insinuations and innuendo.
More to the point, Giraldi sees political motivations behind the Obama administration’s allegations.
“The report is completely useless for those seeking to learn the evidence behind the alleged Russian hack. The PNGing of 35 Russian alleged intelligence officers as a response to this report, as is being implied by some, is most likely political in nature, possibly seeking to tie Trumpâ€™s hands regarding the relationship with Russia. Putin has wisely chosen not to respond in kind.”
As further noted byÂ AntiMedia,Â Robert M. Lee, a former U.S. Air Force Cyber Warfare Operations Officer and founder and CEO of cyber security firmÂ Dragos, saysÂ the report is unclearÂ because it saysÂ very early that its intention is to aid â€œdefendersâ€ of the U.S. However, the report makes a point of declaring Russian intelligence servicesÂ guilty, veering away from the stated public service goals.
â€œThe public is looking for evidence of the attribution, the White House and the DHS/FBI clearly laid out that this report is meant for network defense, and then the entire discussion in the document is on how the DHS/FBI confirms that APT28 and APT29 are RIS groups that compromised a political party,” he wrote.
What’s more, Lee says in the past the FBI has refrained from naming specific actors in public documents, but has done so this time–which smacks ofÂ politics, not intelligence. SoÂ â€œthe GRIZZLY STEPPEÂ reportÂ reads like a poorly done vendor intelligence report stringing together various aspects of attribution without evidence,â€ Lee writes.
Internet security pioneer John McAfee isn’t buying into the government’s allegations, either. He says: “If it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians.”
An earlier report said a former British diplomat now working withÂ WikiLeaks met a DNC insider in Washington, D.C., and was handed the documents–meaning they weren’t even hacked.Â Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and associate of Julian Assange. He saidÂ he had a clandestine hand-off in a wooded area near American University with one of the email sources. TheÂ leakers’ motivation was “disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation” and theÂ Â “tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders,” said Murray, as reported by the UK’sÂ Daily Mail.