The FBI would not provide a comment when asked whether it saw the un-redacted sections of three reports from the private firm CrowdStrike that served as a basis for the Obama-era intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russian agents hacked the servers of the Democratic National Committee.
“The FBI does not have a comment to provide,” a spokesperson for the FBI Office of Public Affairs wrote in response to a Breitbart News email request on the matter.
Yesterday, this reporter documented that, according to a U.S. government filing, the Obama-era intelligence community relied on three redacted CrowdStrike reports marked as drafts to reach the Russia hack conclusion.
The U.S. government further admitted in the same lawsuit that it does not possess the un-redacted CrowdStrike reports about what allegedly happened to the DNC servers and that it relied upon DNC lawyers to generally characterize what was in the redacted sections. The revelation prompted Breitbart News to request comment on whether the FBI ever saw the un-redacted sections of the reports at all.
The admissions about the CrowdStrike reports were contained in a U.S. government court response to a motion filed by attorneys for former Trump confidante Roger Stone, seeking to compel the government to release un-redacted CrowdStrike reports about the alleged hacks — reports the government says it doesn’t possess.
The DNC famously refused to allow the FBI to access its server to verify the allegation that Russia carried out a hack during the 2016 presidential campaign. Instead, the DNC reached an arrangement with the FBI in which a third party company, CrowdStrike, conducted forensics on the server and shared details with the FBI.
As Breitbart News previously documented, CrowdStrike was financed to the tune of $100 million via a funding drive by Google Capital.
Google Capital, which now goes by the name of CapitalG, is an arm of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company. Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet, has been a staunch and active supporter of Hillary Clinton and is a longtime donor to the Democratic Party.
It was previously reported that Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the DNC and Clinton’s campaign, helped draft CrowdStrike to aid with the DNC’s allegedly hacked server.
On behalf of the DNC and Clinton’s campaign, Perkins Coie also paid the controversial Fusion GPS firm to produce the infamous, largely-discredited anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
The January 6, 2017 U.S. Intelligence Community report alleging Russian interference in the presidential race says, “Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June 2016.” The charge is not attributed, but no government agency ever assessed the DNC servers and instead the FBI relied on CrowdStrike.
Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s indictment of Stone specifically references CrowdStrike as providing the data on the Russian hack.
The indictment states:
- By in or around May 2016, the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (“DCCC”) became aware that their computer systems had been compromised by unauthorized intrusions and hired a security company (“Company 1”) to identify the extent of the intrusions.
“Company 1” clearly refers to CrowdStrike.
The charge document continues:
- On or about June 14, 2016, the DNC — through Company 1 — publicly announced that it had been hacked by Russian government actors.
- From in or around July 2016 through in or around November 2016, an organization (“Organization 1”), which had previously posted documents stolen by others from U.S. persons, entities, and the U.S. government, released tens of thousands of documents stolen from the DNC and the personal email account of the chairman of the U.S. presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton (“Clinton Campaign”).
“Organization 1” refers to WikiLeaks.
The indictment led Stone’s lawyers to seek the un-redacted CrowdStrike reports.
In its response, the U.S. government for the first time details how it received three CrowdStrike reports labeled “draft” detailing the results of the firm’s investigations into the DNC servers.
“Although the reports produced to the defendant are marked ‘draft,’ counsel for the DNC and DCCC informed the government that they are the last version of the report produced,” says a footnote in the government filing.
Another footnote describes the extent of the redactions. One sixty-two page report contains redactions that appear on 12 pages. Another report is 54 pages, and has redactions on 10 pages. A third, 31-page report has five lines redacted in an executive summary section.
DNC lawyers voluntarily produced the redacted CrowdStrike reports for the FBI to assess, according to the lawsuit response.
The government relied on DNC attorneys to generally describe the themes of the redacted sections.
The document states:
At the time of the voluntary production, counsel for the DNC told the government that the redacted material concerned steps taken to remediate the attack and to harden the DNC and DCCC systems against future attack. According to counsel, no redacted information concerned the attribution of the attack to Russian actors.
The U.S. government response says it cannot provide Stone with the un-redacted CrowdStrike reports because “the government does not possess the material the defendant seeks; the material was provided to the government by counsel for the DNC with the remediation information redacted.”
In June 2016, The Washington Post reported on the Perkins Coie law firm’s involvement in bringing in CrowdStrike to investigate the DNC’s allegedly hacked server.
The Washington Post documented how Michael Sussmann, a partner with Perkins Coie who also represented the DNC, contacted CrowdStrike after the DNC suspected its server had been hacked. CrowdStrike then identified hacker groups allegedly tied to Russia.
The Post reported that Sussman called in Shawn Henry, president of CrowdStrike.
The Post reported:
DNC leaders were tipped to the hack in late April. Chief executive Amy Dacey got a call from her operations chief saying that their information technology team had noticed some unusual network activity. “It’s never a call any executive wants to get, but the IT team knew something was awry,” Dacey said. And they knew it was serious enough that they wanted experts to investigate.
That evening, she spoke with Michael Sussmann, a DNC lawyer who is a partner with Perkins Coie in Washington. Soon after, Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor who handled computer crime cases, called Henry, whom he has known for many years.
Within 24 hours, CrowdStrike had installed software on the DNC’s computers so that it could analyze data that could indicate who had gained access, when and how.
According to the Post, citing DNC officials, the “hackers” had “gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.”
In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in January 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI registered “multiple requests at different levels,” to review the DNC’s hacked servers. Ultimately, the DNC and FBI came to an agreement in which a “highly respected private company” — a reference to CrowdStrike — would carry out forensics on the servers and share any information that it discovered with the FBI, Comey testified.
A senior law enforcement official stressed the importance of the FBI gaining direct access to the servers, a request that was denied by the DNC.
“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated,” the official was quoted by the news media as saying.
“This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier,” the official continued.
CrowdStrike is a California-based cybersecurity technology company co-founded by experts George Kurtz and Dmitri Alperovitch.
Alperovitch is a nonresident senior fellow of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council. The Council takes a hawkish approach toward Russia and has released numerous reports and briefs about Russian aggression.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whose agency released the intelligence assessment on Russian hacking, is on the Council’s international advisory board.
The Council is funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc., the U.S. State Department and NATO ACT.
Another Council funder is the Ploughshares Fund, which in turn has received financing from billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.