Although the president has consistently declined to act on the issue, rarely giving it credence, the threat highlighted by Russians meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections remains clear. Russian interests stole tens of thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee and distributed them via Wikileaks. Until now, however, the exact identity of the individual who touted themselves on the internet as behind the DNC hack — they went by the persona “Guccifer 2.0” — has been a mystery.
Thanks to a new report from The Daily Beast, it’s not so much of a mystery anymore.
Guccifer 2.0 themselves distributed some of the documents that were stolen from the DNC, sometimes sending them privately to journalists. They did so while behind the wall of a virtual private networking service that concealed the IP address — on all except one occasion.
According to the new report:
‘[O]n one occasion, The Daily Beast has learned, Guccifer failed to activate the VPN client before logging on. As a result, he left a real, Moscow-based Internet Protocol address in the server logs of an American social media company, according to a source familiar with the government’s Guccifer investigation.’
That IP address has been traced as belonging to a specific officer in the Russian intelligence services, otherwise known as the GRU, although the name of that individual was not revealed to The Daily Beast by its sources.
For that individual to be reported to be an officer in the Russian intelligence services would mean that the data theft from the DNC could be traced to the same Russian intelligence services, since it’s Guccifer 2.0 who emerged with the stolen emails and materials.
That confirmation would — somewhat unsurprisingly — fly in the face of continued Russian insistence that it did not meddle in our elections. It would simultaneously cast a greater weight behind the allegation that Russian government interests were behind the recent poisoning of former KGB officer turned double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, even though the Kremlin has claimed otherwise.
For the Guccifer 2.0 persona to be traced back to an officer with the GRU working out of its agency’s headquarters in Moscow would also fly in the face of the president’s repeated denials of the fact that Russia is in fact the sole culprit responsible for the DNC hacks and subsequent leaks of emails and materials.
Trump has explained away one set of his remarks to that effect by claiming that he believes that Putin personally doesn’t believe his country meddled in our election while simultaneously being “with our agencies.”
Special Counsel for the Russia investigation Robert Mueller is reported to have taken over the investigation into the identity of the online persona “Guccifer 2.0,” who themselves claimed to be a lone hacker from Romania. Although he’s reported to have brought the FBI agents who had been working on the case onto his team, what he plans to do about the reported true identity of the hacker persona who was the public face of the DNC hack remains to be seen.
Besides the charges he’s brought against four former Trump associates, he’s also already brought charges against 13 Russians tied to the so-called Internet Research Agency over their election meddling.
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