At this point into the Russia investigation, it has become fairly clear that foreign agents, whether directly colluding with the Trump campaign or not, interfered significantly in influencing the 2016 presidential elections. An array of Russian-linked hackers and organizations have been found spreading propaganda against then-candidate Hillary Clinton, as a means of ensuring a Trump victory. As Robert Mueller’s investigation continues to pick up speed in regards to who was involved, and in what capacity, increasing discoveries are being made by U.S. allies as well.
A Dutch intelligence agency known as AIVD was able to successfully trace the location of a well-known Russian hacker group, Cozy Bear, and hack into their camera networks in order to identify the individuals that were interacting with the cybercriminals. Cozy Bear, which has been active in international hacking since 2010, was directly linked to the hack on the Democratic Party just prior to the elections in 2016, as well as having potentially close ties with Kremlin officials.
This is huge: Dutch security and intelligence (@AIVD) infiltrated Russian hackgroup Cozy Bear since summer 2014. Even had access to its CCTV system exposing the hackers involved. Major evidence for the FBI investigation.https://t.co/vSM6hOCMom
— Anno (@Eurabist) January 25, 2018
When US intel assessed with "high confidence" that the Kremlin was behind the DNC hack, they were able to do so with such certainty because the Dutch intel agency AIVD reportedly hacked into Cozy Bear's network & **watched it happen** https://t.co/gnkwetIP9X
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) January 25, 2018
According to a Reuters report,
‘Agents with the AIVD gained access to the group’s headquarters and between 2014 and 2017 passed along information to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency. The Dutch intelligence may have contributed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election race.’
AIVD didn't just hack the servers – they hacked cameras WHERE THE HACKERS WERE SITTING
They know exactly who did what to hack US political targets. pic.twitter.com/HHCssva07z
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) January 25, 2018
The Dutch group proved useful in their hacking activities when an attack was launched on the State Department, giving American agents the foresight and capability to mitigate the attack when it occurred. Although the attempt to keep the Russian hackers out failed, the damages that were caused were minimal in comparison to what they could have been. Yet, both the AIVD and FBI have yet to comment on the issue.
According to reports, there is little information as to the amount of insight and evidence that AIVD was able to gain on the Cozy Bear group, but what is known is the full cooperation of the agency in providing their data to U.S. agencies. This information has since been passed to Robert Mueller and his team, as their investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and Trump campaign becomes more and more fruitful by the day.
Despite attempts by various American intelligence agencies, as well as allies abroad, in telling Trump that some form of meddling has been conducted by Russia in regards to the elections, the president remains reluctant to take the word of his own compatriots over that of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin in denying such allegations.
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