AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
As Democrats’ narrative about “Russian collusion” in the 2016 presidential election continues its third (or is it fourth?) round of discrediting, some of Russiagate’s closest observers are asking if the next domino to fall may be the granddaddy of them all: the DNC Hack.
For years, intelligence agencies, politicians, and the media have asserted with near-unanimity that the DNC server was hacked by Russian agents before a selection of embarrassing internal emails were released during the Democratic National Convention in 2016. And until recently, even many who saw right through the Russia Hoax have generally been willing to stipulate that the “DNC server hack” story was probably correct.
Yet recent revelations have raised new questions. In particular, Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation has uncovered an ever-expanding web of lies that now suggests we don’t yet know the whole story behind the DNC server hack.
In 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey testified in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian agents had hacked the DNC for the explicit purpose of influencing the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. But there have always been aspects of this official narrative that struck skeptics as sketchy. At the top of that list is the fact that the FBI never actually examined the servers—something Comey has admitted under oath and that Donald Trump has pointed out on numerous occasions.
Comey has asserted repeatedly that the agency tried to obtain the servers, but the DNC refused “multiple requests at different levels” by the FBI to examine them. DNC officials refuted this characterization of events, insisting that the FBI never directly asked for access to the servers. The FBI contests that claim.
Either way, what no one disputes is that the FBI in fact relied on a “third party” to provide an overview and analysis of the data contained on the servers. It was on the basis of this analysis, the FBI drew its conclusions about the alleged Russian hacking.
The third-party cybersecurity firm that did the investigation is known as Crowdstrike. While it is a respected firm, it struck many experts as odd that a private company would be entrusted with verifying potentially the most significant cyberattack on a political party by a foreign power in history. When senior officials expressed concerns about how the FBI could be so sure without ever seeing the servers, the agency assured the public that Crowdstrike was “first-rate.” This is where Durham’s indictments come in.
Crowdstrike was contacted and hired not by the DNC directly, but by one of its lawyers: Michael Sussman. Sussman was an attorney at Perkins Coie, a law firm that represented the DNC and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election—and if Durham’s allegations are borne out, Sussman was knee-deep in the Russia Hoax. In September of last year, Sussman was indicted for lying to the FBI. Specifically, he allegedly gave the FBI documents that asserted a “suspicious” link between the Russian-backed financial institution Alfa-Bank and the Trump Organization. During that meeting, Sussman allegedly assured the FBI he was not acting on behalf of a client. But as the indictment states, he was actually working on behalf of Clinton at the time.
In other words, the very person who hired Crowdstrike to examine the DNC servers is one of the first indicted members in the Russia Hoax conspiracy.
If Sussman’s involvement with Crowdstrike isn’t suspicious enough, new reporting from Margot Cleveland at The Federalist seems to prove that Special Counsel John Durham has expanded his investigation and is now also looking into questions surrounding the 2016 DNC server “hack.”
According to documents obtained by Cleveland, the researcher who allegedly provided Sussman with now-debunked documents outlining a supposed secret link between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization is the very same person who researched the “origins” of the DNC server hack.
What are the chances the same people alleged to have criminally fabricated the Alfa Bank connection were scrupulous and honest in their handling of the DNC server hack investigation? That is the question that careful observers are waiting eagerly to see if John Durham has the nerve to answer.
If the DNC server hack narrative does indeed crumble, it will be a collapse heard around the world. Scarcely anyone in Washington will emerge from the rubble unscathed, and there will be some very difficult questions for all of our beleaguered three-lettered institutions—the DNC, the FBI, the CIA, NBC, and CNN foremost among them.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.