One of the unanswered questions – and greatest mysteries – of the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election is whether a Democratic National Committee server was hacked by the Russians. The release of damaging internal DNC emails became a significant factor in the party’s election losses and sparked a chain of recriminations that rock Washington D.C. party politics to this day. Although unnamed sources in the intelligence community have claimed that the server was hacked by the Russians, no federal government agency has yet to examine said server, despite numerous requests from the FBI that it be handed over.
It is a matter of some curiosity that the party from which the initial allegations of Russian meddling came is so reluctant to produce the supposedly hacked server for inspection and investigation. The day after technology workers discovered “unusual network activity,” DNC CEO Amy Dacey contacted the law firm Perkins Coie. The FBI was not informed of the breach at that time. Some five days later, Perkins Coie contracted in the private company CrowdSrike to investigate and resolve the matter.
Does the DNC Have Something to Hide?
Any evidence the server might yield is crucial to the Russia investigations, and the question now being asked is whether special counsel Robert Mueller will be allowed to pursue this potentially decisive line of investigation.
Pressure is mounting for the server to be turned, over and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy has even suggested that “there may be something else on that server [that the DNC] didn’t want more enforcement to see.”
The Washington Examiner reports that William Binney, a veteran of the National Security Administration, met with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in October discuss the issue. Benny believes that someone within the DNC with access to the servers downloaded the emails and physically handed over printed copies to an associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
He bases this belief on metadata uncovered in a forensic investigation. The report concluded that the information copied from the server was downloaded at “a speed that far exceeds an internet capability for a remote hack.” For his part, Pompeo stands by his belief that the server was hacked from an external location.
According to a new report from the Daily Caller News Foundation, the majority of the 27,500 emails obtained and subsequently published by WikiLeaks were written after the hacking of the server was first detected.
Dacey and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz did not inform party officials of the server breach until almost two months after it was first brought to their attention. WikiLeaks began publishing the emails a few weeks later, throwing the party – and Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations – into convulsions.
The longer that this potential evidence is withheld from the investigating bodies, the more it seems that the DNC does indeed have something to hide. Moreover, it is increasingly difficult to imagine that the numerous investigations into potential Russian interference can be concluded with any degree of credibility.