Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar, better known as “Guccifer,” was extradited from his native Romania to a detention center in Alexandria, Virginia, last month.
The curiously-timed move was widely assumed to have some connection to the Hillary Clinton email scandal, as Lazar’s exploits are the major reason the American people know about Hillary Clinton’s secret mail system.
Clinton was able to keep her official correspondence hidden from Congress and the Freedom of Information Act, until Guccifer hacked the America Online account of Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal. The former Secretary of State’s “Clintonemail.com” address appeared on some of the stolen Blumenthal emails.
Fox News scored a jailhouse interview with Lazar on Wednesday, and he made the bombshell claim that he did hack into Clinton’s server, which — as the world now knows — contained thousands of classified documents, some at the highest Top Secret level.
“For me, it was easy,” said Lazar. Then he made it less of a boast and more of a slam on Clinton’s weak system security: “Easy for me, for everybody.”
As Fox News notes, Lazar’s claims cannot be independently verified, but presumably the FBI is working on that. If he’s telling the truth, the damage from his penetration of Clinton’s system was mitigated by his lack of interest in what he found.
“I was not paying attention. For me, it was not like the Hillary Clinton server, it was like an email server she and others were using with political voting stuff,” said Lazar. Clinton’s server held an estimated fifty to sixty thousand emails, of which she has destroyed half, claiming they were not official correspondence. It would be the luck of the draw that Lazar didn’t see the classified documents or recognize sensitive documents when he saw them. (Clinton’s aides tended to leave the classification markings out when they used “cut and paste” techniques to extract sensitive material from the secure State Department system.)
Lazar was rather coy about what he expected to find in Clinton’s system. As for his method of gaining access, he said he extracted the Internet address of Clintonemail.com from the header information in Blumenthal’s emails, then used readily available programs to hammer the server and discover its security vulnerabilities, including ports left open to the outsider world.
Fox’s cyber experts confirmed the process he employed is “plausible.” One of them said it sounded like “the classic attack of the late 1990s.”
The article notes that while the security logs from Clinton’s server have been reported as showing no evidence of a breach, some methods of entry wouldn’t be caught by the security logs. It is also duly noted that hackers love to boast. Lazar claims he has a few gigabytes of data hidden away that would impact national security, which could be either another boast or part of his bargaining process with the U.S. justice system.
Lazar is scheduled to go on trial in September for a nine-count federal indictment of hacking crimes against U.S. victims, presumably including Blumenthal.
Also of interest, as Fox News notes, is that the former State Department staffer who set up Clinton’s email server, Bryan Pagliano, has been “granted immunity by the Department of Justice and is cooperating with the FBI in its ongoing criminal investigation into Clinton’s use of the private server.” It would seem logical to compare Pagliano’s testimony about the security systems on the server with Lazar’s account of gaining entry to determine if his claims are believable.
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