The Intercept has offered a report on a “top secret” NSA document which claims Russian hacking attacks were carried out against companies involved with voter registration and voting software, which they purported amounted to Russian military intelligence attempts to undermine the 2016 election.
The report offers some new accusations of things that were said to have happened in the lead-up to the vote, in keeping with the Obama Administration’s narrative that Russia “hacked the election, but as was so often the case, the document declares that everything was done by the Russians without providing specific intelligence backing up those claims.
This centered on allegations of “spearphishing,” in which the attackers sent unsolicited emails containing infected Microsoft Word documents in hope that the targets would open the documents and in that way get infected. The report concedes it isn’t really sure how well that worked for them.
While the document has that typical lack of meat that is so common in government documents insisting that the hack took place, it is apparently an authentic one, as the FBI has subsequently captured an employee of the Pluribus International Corporation, identified as Reality Winner, for having leaked the document to the Intercept.
The complaint also claims that the top secret level of the document indicates that its release “could reasonably result in exceptionally grave damage to national security,” though again it isn’t clear that’s actually case, and the only damage here seems to be continued embarrassment at losing documents.
The criminal complaint says the Intercept contacted the government with regards to the document, and the pictures of the document showed it had a “fold” in it. Following that they conducted a probe into the six people who had physically printed the document that had the fold in it in the first place, finding that Winner had contact with the Intercept on a computer.
This adds considerable support to the authenticity of the document, which suggests that the NSA actually believes the narrative within. That this is yet another “top secret” document that offers no proper evidence to underpin its allegations, however, speaks volumes about the continued “high confidence” officials insist they have.
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