US senators: WikiLeaks 'likely knew it was assisting Russian intelligence influence effort' in 2016 Dem email leak

And: 'Putin ordered the Russian effort to hack computer networks' to help Donald Trump win White House race

The 2016 hacking of the Democratic Party's email system – and subsequent leaking of its messages – was personally ordered by Vladimir Putin and aided by Julian Assange, according to the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

A just-released volume [PDF] from the panel's dossier on Russia's efforts to meddle in that year's White House race pretty much accuses the Assange-run WikiLeaks of actively helping Moscow in its dirty work – by obtaining the internal memos from Russian hackers and spreading them online to derail Hillary Clinton's campaign and help nudge Donald Trump to victory.

And we're told Trump's team tried to collaborate with WikiLeaks to time announcements with upcoming leaks, encouraged the online dumping of the emails, and tapped up oligarchs close to the Kremlin to exchange inside information.

'A key role in the Russian influence campaign'

"WikiLeaks actively sought, and played, a key role in the Russian influence campaign and very likely knew it was assisting a Russian intelligence influence effort," the bipartisan mega-report found.

Assange is facing 18 counts of espionage in the US. He's currently in Britain's Belmarsh prison awaiting legal judgement.

The orders to Russian spies to hack the Democratic Party's ruling members came from the top, the senate report claims. We're told that Putin himself green-lit the campaign. Hackers were able to access the internal emails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ahead of the Presidential election, and spread them via WikiLeaks.

"The committee found that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian effort to hack computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party and leak information damaging to Hillary Clinton and her campaign for president," the senators wrote. "Moscow's intent was to harm the Clinton campaign, tarnish an expected Clinton presidential administration, help the Trump Campaign after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, and undermine the US democratic process."


Assange lawyer: Trump offered WikiLeaker a pardon in exchange for denying Russia hacked Democrats' email


The report, from a committee of seven Republicans and six from the Democratic Party, with the majority led by Marco Rubio (R-FL), also mentions the Trump campaign's efforts to get in on the hack.

"While the GRU [Russian intelligence] and WikiLeaks were releasing hacked documents, the Trump campaign sought to maximize the impact of those leaks to aid Trump's electoral prospects," the senators wrote. "Staff on the Trump campaign sought advance notice about WikiLeaks releases, created messaging strategies to promote and share the materials in anticipation of and following their release, and encouraged further leaks."

Trump and his administration have denied any collusion with Russia, and the report noted that, at least legally, the Trump camp did not directly collude with the Kremlin. Instead, the campaign tapped up Russia's well-connected oligarchs to exchange information.

"The committee found no evidence that campaign officials received an authoritative government notification that the hack was perpetrated by the Russian government before October 7, 2016, when the [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] and [Department of Homeland Security] issued a joint statement to that effect," the report stated.

"However, the campaign was aware of the extensive media reporting and other private sector attribution of the hack to Russian actors prior to that point."

Manafort fingered

Surprising nobody, Paul Manafort, who was briefly Trump's presidential campaign chief, was named as the link between Trump's camp and Russia, using his ties to Moscow's oligarchs to obtain information about the hacking operation, as well as funnel internal info out of the campaign and into Russia.

"On numerous occasions, Manafort sought to secretly share internal campaign information with [Russian oligarch Konstantin] Kilimnik," the report stated. "The committee was unable to reliably determine why Manafort shared sensitive internal polling data or campaign strategy with Kilimnik or with whom Kilimnik further shared that information."

And, of course, there's Manafort's business partner Roger Stone. The Republican strategist who Trump said was in a "horrible and very unfair situation" when convicted of lying to Congress was, indeed, found to be the link between Trump's camp and WikiLeaks.

"Trump and senior campaign officials sought to obtain advance information about WikiLeaks's planned releases through Roger Stone," the report stated. "At their direction, Stone took action to gain inside knowledge for the Campaign and shared his purported knowledge directly with Trump and senior Campaign officials on multiple occasions."

Roger Stone would go on to have his felony sentence commuted by Trump. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021