By Saagar Enjeti
Russia’s foreign minister refused to answer U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s question about Democratic National Committee (DNC) hacking allegations because he didn’t “want to use four-letter words.”
Kerry raised the allegations July 26 in Laos at the ASEAN summit, and told reporters, “I raised the question and we will continue to work to see precisely what those facts are.” Kerry did not reveal Sergei Lavrov’s private response, but highlighted the FBI had opened an investigation into the allegations that Russian intelligence services were behind the DNC hack.
Several FBI officials anonymously told The Daily Beast July 25 Russia was the top suspect in the DNC leaks. Two independent cyber security expert firms attributed the hack to Russian intelligence agencies, noting that hackers left behind a signature in Russian and that both groups responsible for the hack are well-known Russian intelligence fronts.
The FBI sources speculated Russia likely released the emails because of Republican presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s public embrace of Putin, and past comments wavering on U.S. Article 5 commitments under the NATO treaty. Former Defense Intelligence Agency chief David Shedd told The Daily Beast, “The release of emails just as the Democratic National Convention is getting underway this week has the hallmarks of a Russian active measures campaign.”
The first trove of Wikileaks emails were released just three days before the DNC convention to nominate Hillary Clinton opened. The timing of the leak and its possible intention to inject chaos into the convention raises the question as to whether Wikileaks has been “weaponized” by Russian intelligence agencies.
Wikileaks head Julian Assange is a paid contributor to RT, a Kremlin-backed propaganda outlet. John Schindler, a former NSA analyst and national security expert, noted Monday in The New York Observer, “that Assange and Wikileaks are surrogates for Putin is now obvious.”