It has recently been revealed that Russian intelligence agents also attacked the Republican National Committee email servers, similar to those hacks that resulted in the release of thousands of emails from the Democratic Party.
Last week, news hit that the CIA had been undergoing a secret investigation into the DNC emails released by WikiLeaks and had concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies and the hackers involved did so specifically to elevate Republican candidate Donald Trump into the White House.
According to The Washington Post, the cyberattacks prioritized the Democratic Party, although they had managed to infiltrate the mail servers of both parties. The Washington Posts states:
‘U.S. officials said the Republican National Committee’s computer systems were also probed and possibly penetrated by hackers tied to Russian intelligence services, but that it remains unclear how much material — if any — was taken from the RNC.’
It was this fact that led the CIA to believe that the cyberattacks, along with the specificity of the emails released, by the the Russians were working to favor Donald Trump for the U.S. presidency, rather than simply working to create chaos during the election.
The New York Times published the same conclusion, although reports that Republicans claim that the party servers were never comprised, only a handful of individuals.
Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee and soon to be Trump’s chief of staff, denied over the weekend that the RNC was ever hacked and said that he was not aware of any party employees whose emails had been obtained through cyberattacks.
Sean Spicer, a member of Trump’s transition team, got into a shouting match over the weekend with a CNN host, hotly denying that the RNC was also hacked by Russian cyberspies.
The Smoking Gun (TSG) has revealed new information that shows that the GOP party’s servers were breached, and that emails from various Republicans were discarded from release.
According to the investigative website, the RNC was also a subject of infiltration by Russian hackers. Along with emails from the Democratic National Committee staffers were emails from former secretary of state, Republican Colin Powell, as well as emails from the Open Society Foundation distributed on the “DC Leaks” website, which appeared online last summer and seems to now be dormant. U.S. intelligence agents have identified DC Leaks as set up by Russian hackers. Found on the DC Leaks website is a number of hacked emails filed under “E-mails of Republican Party employees.”
According to The Smoking Gun:
‘While the nearly 300 Republican-related e-mails posted on DC Leaks are uniformly innocuous, the collection is noteworthy for the scope of victims it reveals. The material includes correspondence lifted from the campaign committees of various elected officials, including Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Representative Robert Hurt. Several state GOP organizations, Republican PACs, and campaign consultants also had their e-mail accounts compromised.’
The website reports that the emails that appear on the site were all sent by Republicans using a Tennessee tech provider called Smartech to host their websites and email. The company has provided services for George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and even the Koch Brothers.
Smartech would not respond to TSG inquiries on any breach of security in their operations, but Tom Del Beccaro, former chairman of the California Republican Party, told TSG that Smartech had owned up to having been hacked several months ago, shortly after DC Leaks posted the stolen Republican Party emails. Federal Election Commission reports show that Smartech received nearly $400,000 from the Republican Party in the last four months of the 2016 election season for data services.
Smartech hosted the main party website — GOP.com — until 2014, but records show that the company has continued hosting the site’s email services.
The RNC email server, called by the company “barracuda1,” has been in use by several GOP members, including John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Michele Bachmann.
Several clients, including McCain and Graham, became aware of the hacks and moved their email server to another provider. So, while some Republicans deny that the Russians also hacked into the RNC, such as Priebus and Spicer, those who have publicly announced their certainty of Russian interference, such as McCain and Graham, know from personal experience.
Priebus, however, maintained that the RNC was not hacked during an ABC News interview. According to the Trump spokesman, federal agents reviewed the RNC systems and concluded that there were no cyberattacks by the Russian hackers. According to Priebus, any other conclusion is “absolutely not true.”
Priebus has his own reasons for blatantly lying about the favoritism shone to the Republican Party by infiltration and distribution of U.S. political parties’ emails prior to the U.S. election; however, Russian hackers left clear footprints from their interference and their choice of what material to distribute shows open bias.
You can watch the interview with Reince Priebus and George Stephanopoulos below: