AMSTERDAM – The Dutch daily newspaper de Volkskrant reported that in 2014, Dutch government hackers from AIVD, the Dutch intelligence agency, managed to infiltrate “the computer network of the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear.” A year later, the Dutch operatives witnessed “Russian hackers launching an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States.”
That’s how the AIVD becomes witness to the Russian hackers harassing and penetrating the leaders of the Democratic Party, transferring thousands of emails and documents. It won’t be the last time they alert their American counterparts. And yet, it will be months before the United States realize 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 access provides crucial evidence of the Russian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party, according to six American and Dutch sources who are familiar with the material, but wish to remain anonymous.
It’s also grounds for the FBI to start an investigation into the influence of the Russian interference on the election race between the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidate Donald Trump.
According to de Volkskrant, when an AIVD hacker penetrated “the computer network of a university building next to the Red Square in Moscow” in 2014, he did not know it was the home to Cozy Bear.
The penetration of the Russian network allowed the Dutch intelligence services to provide the FBI with valuable information, including security video footage of people coming and going from the facility.
De Volkskrant reports:
The Cozy Bear hackers are in a space in a university building near the Red Square. The group’s composition varies, usually about ten people are active. The entrance is in a curved hallway. A security camera records who enters and who exits the room. The AIVD hackers manage to gain access to that camera. Not only can the intelligence service now see what the Russians are doing, they can also see who’s doing it.
Access to Cozy Bear turns out to be a goldmine for the Dutch hackers. For years, it supplies them with valuable intelligence about targets, methods and the interests of the highest ranking officials of the Russian security service. From the pictures taken of visitors, the AIVD deduces that the hacker group is led by Russia’s external intelligence agency SVR.
Recently, the head of the AIVD, Rob Bertholee, said on the Dutch TV program CollegeTour that there is ‘no question’ that the Kremlin is behind the Russian hacking activities.
De Volkskrant notes that President Trump’s refusal to accept and admit the fact Russia’s election interference has forced the U.S. intelligence community to leak information to prove the Kremlin’s broad hacking and disinformation campaign, and that some of the leaks made the Dutch intelligence professionals angry.
Far-right conspiracy theorists, conservative talk radio and TV personalities, and some GOP lawmakers, in an attempt to cast doubt over the FBI investigation and the Mueller probe — and the probe’s eventual conclusions, should these conclusions find fault with Trump — have been advancing the notion that the FBI launched its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election as a result of the Steele Dossier, which was paid for in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Unfortunately the last camp which has faith in Trump the American Evangelicals base after accepting without any criticism the Trump’s affair with porno-actors are morally disarmed to play the role of President’s collective pastor.