Assange of Wikileaks Says Russians Did Not Hack DNC Emails, DNC Fabricated Story as "Diversion"
Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, the organization which published 20,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee which showed that the DNC was committed to shutting out Bernie Sanders as the party's nominee for president, said in an interview that "there was no proof whatsoever" that Russia was behind the document leak.
The interview was on July 25th with NBC's Richard Engel.
The Clinton campaign has promoted the story, now taken up by the major media, that intelligence experts have determined that Russia was behind the DNC hacks. Allegedly using code names like "Cozy Bear" and "Fancy Bear," akin to code names used in the Sixties sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," experts hired by the DNC from the company Crowdstrike said that Russian intelligence was behind the DNC document leak.
However, Assange said that Crowdstrike and the DNC were disingenuously citing information from hacks which took place years ago into DNC servers. Assange said that the DNC was engaged in a "conflation trick" by implying that two completely different sets of hacks, which took place at different times, were the same hacks.
The association between Russia and the DNC email hacks made Donald Trump the beneficiary, said some political commentators, of foreign meddling in US elections. Last month Real Clear Politics held an interview with Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook in which he told them:
"Sources are saying the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump...I don't think it is coincidental that these emails are released on the eve of the [Democratic National] Convention...And that is disturbing, I think we need to be concerned about that. We also saw last week at the Republican convention that Trump and his allies made changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian."
Julian Assange told NBC's Engels:
"there is a conflation trick going on here. The DNC's cybersecurity experts have said for years that it is insecure, and the RNC as well. So it has been hacked for years on and off. Have some of the hacks which have been related to the DNC, have some of those been related to Russia? I don't know, we haven't looked into that. But that's has nothing to do with the emails that we have released. The emails that we have released are different sets of documents than the documents that those people have analyzed."
Assange went on to say that the DNC's story was nothing more than a "diversion" to distract attention from the fact that the DNC had been caught favoring one primary candidate over another in violation of its of own policy to conduct the primaries with "impartiality."
On July 26, the New York Times repeated the narrative that the Russian government was behind the leak with no mention of Assange's denials the previous day, or others he had made previously.
The New York Times reported:
"American intelligence agencies have told the White House they now have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee, according to federal officials who have been briefed on the evidence."
Credit for the DNC email hack has been taken by a Romanian hacker going by the name Guccifer 2.0, who took credit for the document leak. The New York Times reported that "investigators now believe was an agent of the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence service."
Guccifer 2.0 denies working for Russian intelligence, saying in a blog post in July of Crowdstrike's and the DNC's allegations:
"At first I was annoyed and disappointed. But now I realize they have nothing else to say. There's no other way to justify their incompetence and failure. It's much easier for them to accuse powerful foreign special services."
Guccifer 2.0 is not to be confused with Guccifer, an earlier hacker who is the prior's namesake and role model. Guccifer was arrested and convicted earlier this year on charges unrelated to the DNC, though he too claims to have penetrated and perused DNC emails and documents.
Wikileaks' policy is never to divulge the sources for its document publications, but only to ensure that leaked documents that it deems important in the interest of an informed world body politic are authentic. Assange has said that the leaked emails showed that Clinton's nomination has no legitimacy.
Speculation on the Internet as to the true leaker of the DNC documents to Wikileaks ranges as far as Seth Rich, the DNC data director found murdered in Washington DC last month, in a puzzling attack in which nothing was taken from him, in a relatively safe and quiet area of DC.