Jailed Russian Says He Hacked DNC On Orders From Kremlin, And He Has Proof

While multiple American intelligence and law enforcement agencies have concluded that Russia did indeed interfere with the 2016 election, one of the men who hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is now saying he did so on the direct orders of the Kremlin.

According to McClatchy News, Konstantin Kozlovsky, who is currently jailed in Russia, admitted during an interview with a Russian TV station that he was behind the hacking of the DNC. And Kozlovsky says he has proof in the form of a unique digital signature he left behind:

“In an interview with Russia’s RAIN television channel made public Wednesday, Konstantin Kozlovsky provided further details about what he said was a hacking operation led by the Russian intelligence agency known by its initials FSB. Among them, Kozlovsky said he worked with the FSB to develop computer viruses that were first tested on large, unsuspecting Russian companies, such as the oil giant Rosneft, later turning them loose on multinational corporations.

“Kozlovsky first came to public attention in early December when word spread about his confession last Aug. 15 in a Russian courtroom that he was the person who hacked into DNC computers on behalf of Russian intelligence. The Russian was jailed earlier this year, alleged to have been part of a hacking group there that stole more than $50 million from Russian bank accounts through what’s called the Lurk computer virus.”

If Koslovsky can indeed prove his allegations, that would directly contradict Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly said his government had anything to do with hacking U.S. databases as part of its effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Would Russian intelligence have hired someone such as Koslovsky to conduct a highly sensitive operation? Leo Taddeo, chief information security officer for Cyxtera Technologies and a former head of cyber operations in the FBI’s New York office, thinks so:

“Based on my experience and understanding of professional intelligence operations, the blending of criminal activity with sanctioned intelligence operations is an old page out of the Russian intelligence-services playbook. What the defendant (in Russia) is describing would not be inconsistent with past Russian intelligence operations.”

Koslovsky’s interview may also benefit Special Counsel Robert Mueller as he continues to investigate members of the Trump campaign who may have conspired with Russian operatives. In particular, Jared Kushner, who ran the campaign’s digital operations, seems to be in the most danger as a result of the Russian hacker’s allegations.

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