Good grief: FBI never saw full CrowdStrike report on the DNC server

Good grief: FBI never saw full CrowdStrike report on the DNC server
The "Old" (Eisenhower) Executive Office Building across from the White House in Washington, D.C.. (Image: Wikimedia)

American Thinker’s Thomas Lifson highlights a significant find by Conservative Treehouse in the discovery information from the Roger Stone trial: the FBI has never had a complete copy of the CrowdStrike report on the famous DNC server.

It may be even worse than that.  As a refresher, the DNC server reportedly ransacked by the Russians in 2016 was never turned over to the FBI for hands-on analysis, a Russiagate Fact everyone is now familiar with.  To the extent the FBI was consulted in follow-on assessments of the server intrusion, attributed to the Russians, the Bureau’s responses were based instead on the assurances of the firm CrowdStrike, which was called in by the DNC to analyze the damage.

As Lifson emphasizes, the hacking of the DNC server was a major point used in the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) that Russia had interfered in the U.S. 2016 election.  The intrusion into the DNC server has always figured as a key pillar of the Russiagate narrative.  Skeptics have, equally, always questioned the basis for the certainty about this, given that we’ve known from the beginning the FBI never had the server in-hand, and could never do its own forensic probe.

Now a response from the prosecution in the Roger Stone trial has clarified that neither the DOJ nor the FBI, to this day, has a complete copy of the CrowdStrike report.  With a key omission, the response also raises the question whether the FBI received any copy of the report before the ICA was published to the world in January 2017.

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According to the Department of Justice, in its response to the Stone defense asking for a copy of the CrowdStrike report, lawyers for the DNC and DCCC voluntarily, at an unspecified later time, provided redacted draft copies of the CrowdStrike report “to the government.”

(Scribd document h/t Conservative Treehouse, Techno Fog)

 

Stone – De 123 DOJ Response… by on Scribd

The DCCC reference is key, because the DCCC intrusion didn’t become an issue until late July 2016, three months after the initial DNC response to the intrusion on the DNC server (the end of April 2016).

According to the Stone prosecution response, the DNC and DCCC provided copies redacted by CrowdStrike to protect “material concerning steps taken to remediate the attack and to harden the DNC and DCCC systems against future attack.”

“According to counsel,” says the prosecution filing, “no redacted information concerned the attribution of the attack to Russian actors.”

The prosecution response to the Stone request doesn’t say when this happened, or which agency the copies were given to.  The vagueness is interesting in this regard, raising questions rather than clarifying the situation.

The first question is why two separate instances of IT intrusion, involving different intrusion profiles and different actors (Fancy/Cozy Bear for the DNC, Guccifer 2.0 for the DCCC), would be the subject of joint document production by the DNC and DCCC in the summer or fall of 2016 – which is when the documents would have had to go to the DOJ or FBI to figure in the ICA later produced between November 2016 and January 2017.

The DNC and DCCC might want to do it that way, and have the same contractor provide both reports.  But under normal circumstances, the FBI seriously wouldn’t.  That’s not how you source reliable evidence.

The second question is whether the DOJ/FBI didn’t get the CrowdStrike copies until the DNC and DCCC jointly sued Trump, Russia, and WikiLeaks over the server intrusion.  That lawsuit was brought in April 2018.

The opaque, uninformative language of the prosecution response to Stone unmistakably sparks that question.  The 2018 lawsuit would be the premier point at which both Democratic organizations would have wanted to jointly provide “the government” with evidence favorable to their complaint.

The other question raised by this disclosure is why the DOJ and FBI let CrowdStrike get away with not providing original documentation.  According to the Stone prosecution, neither agency has ever gotten anything directly from CrowdStrike.  What they have came from the lawyers for the DNC and DCCC.

The answer to that is probably pretty simple, and we needn’t fear to give voice to it at this point.  The DOJ and FBI let CrowdStrike off the hook because holding the CrowdStrike reports in their files – and hence having them be discoverable – would be more inconvenient to the health of the Russiagate narrative than not holding them.  Why invite inconvenient evidence into your vault?

Thomas Lifson and sundance at Conservative Treehouse both stress the important point that this disclosure means the FBI didn’t have unredacted copies of the CrowdStrike documents before the intelligence community assessments were completed.

I’d like to help dramatize that in your minds with this reminder.  The high-level interagency task force convened in the White House in the first week of August 2016, at the behest of John Brennan and with President Obama’s explicit approval, would have had the DNC and DCCC intrusions as one of its key topics.

That’s what these people were assembled for: the “evidence” and alarming “clues” of Russiagate.  The intelligence assessments that came later were produced by a Brennan core group from his working-level team for the White House task force: the team of three dozen analysts from the CIA, FBI, and NSA.

And the whole time they were purportedly deliberating the import of this cyber-intrusion factor for U.S. national and electoral security, sitting around conference tables, in whatever conversations they had about it, the very most they had in the way of forensic evidence was a small set of redacted documents from the commercial security firm contracted by the DNC and DCCC – provided via the lawyers.

Since we don’t know when the lawyers voluntarily produced those documents to “the government,” the 2016 task force may not have even had that.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.