- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2017

A website used to distribute hacked Democratic Party documents for months leading up to last year’s election suddenly came to life Thursday for the first time since November, but not to circulate any stolen materials.

Instead the entity known as “Guccifer 2.0” issued a statement rejecting any affiliation with the Russian government, notwithstanding the opinion of the U.S. intelligence community and private security researchers who have investigated the purported hacker since they began leaking documents during the run-up to the 2016 general election.

“The U.S. intelligence agencies have published several reports of late claiming I have ties with Russia,” the statement said. “I’d like to make it clear enough that these accusations are unfounded. I have totally no relation to the Russian government. I’d like to tell you once again I was acting in accordance with my personal political views and beliefs.

“The technical evidence contained in the reports doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. This is a crude fake,” the statement said.

Guccifer 2.0’s unexpected reemergence isn’t just their first since Election Day, but their first since the U.S. intelligence community released a declassified report this month devoted exclusively to the Russian government’s activities and intentions with respect to recent U.S. elections.

U.S. officials believe Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and other website to release emails stolen from various hacking victims compromised during the course of a Moscow-directed cyber campaign, according to the report.

The Guccifer 2.0 entity first appeared in a June blog post where they claimed to have hacked into the Democratic National Committee and obtained thousands of emails subsequently sent to WikiLeaks, weeks before the anti-secrecy website ultimately began publishing a trove of stolen DNC correspondence.

Separate from WikiLeaks, the Guccifer 2.0 persona published stolen documents on their own blog during the months leading up to Election Day, including compromising materials obtained by hacking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a fundraising arm of the party, complicating campaigns for several candidates across the country.

Security researchers soon traced the leaker to the Russian government, and the Obama administration concluded similarly in a statement issued by intelligence officials one month before the general election.

The U.S. government doubled down on its determination earlier this month when it said intelligence officials have high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the White House race, the likes of which it said involved the Guccifer 2.0 persona and other tactics.

“It’s obvious that the intelligence agencies are deliberately falsifying evidence,” the persona fired back Thursday. “In my opinion, they’re playing into the hands of the Democrats who are trying to blame foreign actors for their failure. The Obama administration has a week left in office and I believe we’ll see some more fakes during this period.”

President-elect Donald Trump conceded this week that Russian hackers targeted the U.S. government, caving in to the U.S. intelligence community’s assessments after weeks of publicly disputing the Kremlin’s role.

“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Mr. Trump said during a rare press conference Wednesday, later stating: “it could have been others also.”

“We talk about the hacking and hacking’s bad and it shouldn’t be done,” he said. “But look at the things that were hacked, look at what was learned from that hacking.”

Mr. Putin has denied knowledge of a Kremlin-led hacking campaign against U.S. targets.

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