Photo Credit: YouTube.com / de Volkskrant
Dutch spies alerted their American counterparts as early as 2014 about Russian hacking into State Department and White House computers and successive Russian hacking of the Democratic Party in the 2016 election, according to a series of reports in Dutch media.
The corner review by de Volkskrant journal and Nieuwsuur (“News Hour”), a current-affairs radio program, report how Dutch comprehension experts accessed the Russian hackers’ computers and cameras in hallways at a university in Moscow. The Dutch spies watched a organisation of Russian hackers dig the State Department, the White House and the Democratic Party to purloin emails and electronic documents, including 2016 campaign emails after published by Wikileaks.
The disclosures supplement new sum to Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential election, which, according to the Dutch reports, was partial of a incomparable settlement of Russian nosiness in Western elections. The reports also lift questions about because the Democratic Party did not amply respond when alerted to the hacking, which shadowed the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“In the summer of 2015, Dutch comprehension services were the first to warning their American counterparts about the cyber-intrusion of the Democratic National Committee by Cozy Bear, a hacking organisation believed to be tied to the Russian government,” Nieuwsuur’s report began. “Intelligence hackers from Dutch AIVD (General Intelligence and Security Service) had penetrated the Cozy Bear mechanism servers as good as a certainty camera at the opening of their operative space, located in a university building adjacent to the Red Square in Moscow.”
“Over the march of a few months, they saw how the Russians penetrated several U.S. institutions, including the State Department, the White House, and the DNC. On all these occasions, the Dutch alerted the U.S. comprehension services, Dutch TV program Nieuwsuur and de Volkskrant, a distinguished journal in the Netherlands, jointly report on Thursday,” Nieuwsuur said. “This comment is formed on interviews with a dozen political, tactful and comprehension sources in the Netherlands and the U.S. with approach believe of the matter. None of them wanted to pronounce on the record, given the personal sum of the matter.”
Dutch comprehension spied in genuine time on the hackers’ computers and a mezzanine certainty camera in a circuitously corridor, the reporters said. They pronounced the Dutch shortly satisfied they were watching a scandalous Russian cyber-espionage unit. The Dutch agents “consider Cozy Bear an prolongation of the SVR, the Russian unfamiliar comprehension service, which is resolutely tranquil by President Putin.”
“The information shared by the Netherlands about the hacks at the DNC finished up on the table of Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor heading the FBI review into probable Russian division in the American elections,” Nieuwsuur said. “As early as December, the New York Times reported that information from, among others, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands had propelled the FBI investigation.”
The reporters also offering new sum about what information and communication channels were accessed opposite the U.S. executive bend and Democratic Party. The report also describes battles fought in cyberspace between Russian hackers and western counter-espionage technologists, with attacks, countermoves and continued assaults.
Political Espionage and Cyber Warfare
The Dutch news reports pronounced their country’s comprehension service pennyless into the chosen Russian operation 4 years ago, but primarily did not know its significance.
“It’s the summer of 2014. A hacker from the Dutch comprehension organisation AIVD has penetrated the mechanism network of a university building next to the Red Square in Moscow, preoccupied to the implications,” Volkskrant reported. “One year later, from the AIVD domicile in Zoetermeer, he and his colleagues declare Russian hackers rising an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States. The AIVD hackers had not infiltrated just any building; they were in the mechanism network of the barbarous Russian hacker organisation Cozy Bear. And unbeknownst to the Russians, they could see everything.”
Soon after, the Dutch spy organisation celebrated a real-time and successful Russian hacking attack on State Department and White House computers, Nieuwsuur reported.
“After a few months, in Nov 2014, the Dutch watched as the Russian hackers penetrated the mechanism network of the State Department. After being alerted to this by the Dutch comprehension chiefs, it took the Americans over 24 hours to avert the Russian attack, after a digital strife which, years later, at a contention forum in Aspen, the Deputy Director of the NSA would impute to as hand-to-hand combat. Basing itself on comprehension sources, the Washington Post wrote that a Western fan had been of assistance. In the autumn of 2014, the Russians also gained entrance to the non-classified mechanism network of the White House. This allowed them to see trusted memos and non-public information about the channel of President Obama, and to at slightest partial of President Obama’s email correspondence. These hacks, too, were unprotected by the Dutch comprehension services, which subsequently told the Americans.”
Volkskrant gave some-more sum about the State Department and White House attacks.
“Using supposed command-and-control servers, digital management centers, the Russians try to settle a tie to the malware in the Department, in sequence to ask and send information. The Americans, having been told by the Dutch where the servers are, regularly and quickly cut off entrance to these servers, followed any time by another try by the Russians. It goes back and onward like this for 24 hours. Afterwards, sources tell CNN that this was the ‘worst dig attack ever’ on the American government. The Department has to cut off entrance to the e-mail complement for a whole weekend in sequence to upgrade the security.
“Luckily, the NSA was means to find out the means and strategy of their attackers, emissary executive of the NSA Richard Ledgett states at a contention forum in Aspen in Mar 2017. ‘So we could see how they were changing their methods. That’s very useful information.’ On the management of comprehension services, American media write that this was interjection to a ‘western ally.’ Eventually, the Americans conduct to diffuse the Russians from the Department, but not before Russian enemy use their entrance to send an e-mail to a person in the White House.”
Volkskrant reported the Russian hackers posed as a State Department employee to benefit entrance to the White House’s mechanism networks.
“A White House central ‘thinks he’s perceived an e-mail from the State Department—the e-mail residence is similar—and clicks a couple in the message. The couple opens a website where the White House employee then enters his login credentials, now obtained by the Russians. And that is how the Russians dig the White House,’ the paper said, adding that successful dig even allowed Russia to spy on President Obama.
“They even benefit entrance to the email servers containing the sent and perceived emails of President Barack Obama, but destroy to dig the servers that control the summary traffic from his personal Blackberry, which binds state secrets, sources tell the New York Times. They do, however, conduct to entrance e-mail traffic with embassies and diplomats, agendas, records on policy and legislation. And again, it’s the Dutch comprehension agencies who warning the Americans about this.”
The 2016 Election
Several months later, with the 2016 presidential election underway, the Dutch spy organisation saw the Russian hackers spin to a new target: The Democratic Party. According to Volkskrant:
“That’s how the AIVD becomes declare to the Russian hackers badgering and perspicacious the leaders of the Democratic Party, transferring thousands of emails and documents. It won’t be the last time they warning their American counterparts. And yet, it will be months before the United States comprehend what this warning means: that with these hacks the Russians have interfered with the American elections. And the AIVD hackers have seen it happening before their very eyes.
“The Dutch entrance provides essential justification of the Russian impasse in the hacking of the Democratic Party, according to 6 American and Dutch sources who are informed with the material, but wish to sojourn anonymous. It’s also grounds for the FBI to start an review into the change of the Russian division on the election race between the Democratic claimant Hillary Clinton and the Republican claimant Donald Trump.”
The FBI review into Russian division in the presidential election was taken over by former FBI executive Robert Mueller in 2017. The information supposing by the Dutch comprehension agencies to the U.S. spy agencies was the basement for top sovereign officials to state with certainty in late 2016 that Russia was behind the hacking.
The Dutch report raises new questions about insufficiency at the Democratic National Committee, which needless to say, did not mind warnings about Russian hacking, even yet a Democratic administration had been successfully attacked.
“It is not transparent because the hacks at the DNC could continue for so prolonged despite the Dutch warnings,” Nieuwsuur wrote. “Last year, the New York Times reported that for months, the DNC had not taken the FBI warnings seriously. Eventually, cybersecurity company Crowdstrike, which was questioning the matter on interest of the Democratic Party, also resolved that Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear were jointly obliged for the hacks. According to the U.S. comprehension services, Russian officials eventually upheld on the emails hacked by Fancy Bear to Wikileaks, which published them. The published emails caused a outrageous liaison in the American election campaign.”
The stolen DNC emails positively caused a scandal, one that Robert Mueller and several congressional committees are still investigating. In the meantime, it appears that a heading Dutch TV program and journal have filled in many blanks about what happened in the election. Their reports lift new questions about because the sovereign supervision and the Democratic Party lost the opening rounds in this century’s early cyber-wars.
Steven Rosenfeld covers inhabitant domestic issues for AlterNet, including America’s democracy and voting rights. He is the author of several books on elections and the co-author of Who Controls Our Schools: How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and the Charter School Industry (AlterNet eBook, 2016).