- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The acting chair of the Democratic National Committee denounced the release Tuesday of a new cache of internal party documents as an attempt by Russian hackers to sway the presidential election towards Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Less than two months after her predecessor was ousted as a direct result of internal DNC emails being leaked online, interim Chair Donna Brazile was quick to condemn the release of additional documents this week as further evidence of an illegal hacking campaign courtesy of the Kremlin.

“The DNC is the victim of a crime — an illegal cyberattack by Russian state-sponsored agents who seek to harm the Democratic Party and progressive groups in an effort to influence the presidential election,” Ms. Brazile said in a statement.

“We have been anticipating that an additional batch of documents stolen by Russian agents would be released. Our legal team is now in the process of reviewing these private documents, and attempting to confirm their authenticity, as it is common for Russian hackers to forge documents,” the interim chair added.

Ms. Brazile’s statement came in response to the most recent data dump in a series of leaks attributed to “Guccifer 2.0,” a hacker or hackers that has used a personal blog to repeatedly published Democratic Party documents during the course of the unprecedented cybercampaign that has befallen the party in recent months.

Federal investigators in the U.S. have reportedly concluded with high certainty that Moscow was responsible for hacking the DNC and other organizations and individuals tied to the Democratic Party, and several cybersecurity researchers have suggested that the Guccifer 2.0 persona may be a front created by Russian intelligence. President Vladimir Putin denied any role in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month, but described the leaking of hacking DNC documents as a public service.

Unlike past disclosures published through their blog, the latest release attributed to Guccifer 2.0 was revealed at a London cybersecurity conference on Tuesday by a person who read prepared remarks purportedly authored by the alleged hacker. A link to the cache of documents was shown to attendees, Forbes reported, and before long the files were being widely shared online.

Among the documents contained in a nearly 700 megabyte archive unveiled Tuesday are files that include the personal details of Democratic donors, as well as the contact information for senior White House staffers and data concerning the DNC’s internal network infrastructure. Previously leaked information attributed to the alleged Russian-led cybercampaign included internal emails that spurred Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation as DNC chair earlier this summer, as well as memos that have since been included in at least one GOP-sponsored smear campaign.

“There’s one person who stands to benefit from these criminal acts, and that’s Donald Trump,” Ms. Brazile said Tuesday. “Not only has Trump embraced Putin, he publicly encouraged further Russian espionage to help his campaign. Like so many of the words Trump has uttered this election season, his statements encouraging cybercrime are dangerous, divisive and unprecedented.”

Mr. Trump said during a press conference in the initial aftermath of the DNC email leak that he hoped Russian hackers could locate correspondence that’d gone missing from Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton’s personal email server.

“I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Mr. Trump said at the time. He later insisted he was being sarcastic when he made the comment. 

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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