A group of former US intelligence officials contend that the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s computers in 2016 was an inside job.
The group, which calls itself the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, or VIPS, said there was an insider leak that occurred thanks to someone with access to a DNC computer.
Their arguments were first reported by the left-wing magazine The Nation, which said that the group claimed to have forensic evidence to back up its contentions.
The handful of ex-CIA and NSA officials also argued there was no evidence that a Romanian hacker identified as Guccifer 2.0 broke into the DNC system and passed embarrassing information about Hillary Clinton to WikiLeaks at the behest of the Russians.
They said the evidence suggests that Guccifer was invented to distract attention from the revelations, and that someone altered Guccifer’s documents to make them look as if they were Russian.
The crux of their argument is that the data taken from the DNC was transferred to a USB stick, meaning that someone would have had to have direct access to the committee’s computers.
They claim the data was transferred at a rate that was far too fast for an internet connection.
But cybersecurity experts say the report is full of holes.
“In short, the theory is flawed,” John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis at FireEye, a firm that provides forensic analysis, told The Hill.
“The author of the report didn’t consider a number of scenarios and breezed right past others. It completely ignores all the evidence that contradicts its claims.”
Another expert, Rich Barger, director of security research at Splunk, told The Hill that the theory that the data was downloaded onto a USB stick was also flawed.
“This theory assumes that the hacker downloaded the files to a computer and then leaked it from that computer,” he said.
The files might have been copied multiple times before being released.
“A hacker might have downloaded it to one computer, then shared it by USB to an air-gapped [off the internet] network for translation, then copied by a different person for analysis, then brought a new USB to an entirely different air-gapped computer to determine a strategy all before it was packaged for Guccifer 2.0 to leak,” said Barger.
President Trump has repeatedly decried the feds’ probe into Russian meddling in the US election and possible collusion with his campaign as a “hoax” and “fake news.”
But lawmakers from both parties and current intelligence officials — including the FBI, CIA and NSA — insist there is ample evidence to prove Russian interference.
The VIPS were formed in 2003 to protest the way the administration of George W. Bush manipulated intelligence to justify the Iraq war, Salon reported.
Watch Lee Camp explain how intelligence analysts say Russia didn’t hack US election but that it was an inside job:
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