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Pentagon Spokesman Denies Agency Had A Role In Blaming Russia For DNC Hack

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A Pentagon agency has denied having a role in the Democratic National Committee to Russia after an email showed that a member of Special Counsel John Durham’s team asked a computer expert who had researched “Trump-Russia” collusion claims about it.

“Democratic cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann was indicted last year for allegedly concealing his clients, including Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, from the FBI when he pushed since-debunked claims of a secret backchannel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank,” The Washington Examiner reported.

Durham revealed in February he has evidence Sussmann’s other client, known to be former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe, “exploited” domain name system internet traffic at Trump Tower, former President Donald Trump’s Central Park West apartment building, and “the Executive Office of the President of the United States.”

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Dr. Manos Antonakakis, dubbed “Researcher-1” in Durham’s filings, is a professor at Georgia Tech, wrote in a July 2021 email that Durham prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis asked him about work he had done associated with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, apparently also asking him about an online persona named “Guccifer 2.0,” whom U.S. intelligence officials and special counsel Robert Mueller concluded was created by Russian intelligence to assist in a hack-and-leak operation against the DNC in 2016.

The attribution of the hack to Russia has been the subject of curiosity for years, and emails first published by the Federalist prompted DARPA to deny to the Washington Examiner that it had any involvement in determining it was Russian intelligence behind the hack, despite the email from Antonakakis.

“During one of my interviews with the Special Counsel prosecutor, I was asked point blank by Mr. DeFilippis, ‘Do you believe that DARPA should be instructing you to investigate the origins of a hacker (Guccifer 2.0) that hacked a political entity (DNC)?’ Let that sync for a moment, folks,” Antonakakis said  last summer. “Someone hacked a political party (DNC, in this case), in the middle of an election year (2016), and the lead investigator of DOJ’s special council [sic] would question whether U.S. researchers working for DARPA should conduct investigations in this matter is ‘acceptable’!”

“While I was tempted to say back to him, ‘What if this hacker hacked GOP? Would you want me to investigate him then?’, I kept my cool and told him this is a question for DARPA’s director, and not for me to answer,” he said.

The email from July 2021 was sent to Ling-Ling Nie, the Georgia Tech general counsel Ling-Ling Nie and two more officials from the institute.

“DARPA was not involved in efforts to attribute the DNC hack. Dr. Antonakakis worked on DARPA’s Enhanced Attribution program, which did not involve analysis of the DNC hack,” DARPA’s chief of communications, Jared Adams, said to the Washington Examiner. “Further, DARPA was not involved in efforts to attribute the Guccifer 2.0 persona, nor any involvement in efforts to attribute the origin of leaked emails provided to Wikileaks.”

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He went on to mention the meeting between DARPA and Durham.

“The meeting between DARPA and special counsel Durham was to provide a high-level overview of the Enhanced Attribution program,” he said. “During the course of that meeting, DARPA did not discuss matters related to the DNC hack, Guccifer 2.0, or leaked DNC emails provided to Wikileaks.”

He said that “to the best our knowledge, no DARPA-funded researchers investigated” the DNC hack, and he added that the agency did not assist the FBI’s nor Mueller’s investigation in the matter.

“The meeting between DARPA and special counsel Durham was to provide a high-level overview of the Enhanced Attribution program,” he said. “During the course of that meeting, DARPA did not discuss matters related to the DNC hack, Guccifer 2.0, or leaked DNC emails provided to Wikileaks.”

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