- US intelligence analysts learned last month that hacked emails from Ukraine’s Burisma Holdings were being posted as an “October surprise,” the New York Times reported.
- Russian military intelligence hackers successfully breached Burisma’s servers in January, The Times reported earlier this year.
- Wednesday’s report said analysts contacted people with knowledge of the hack because they feared “the Burisma material was leaked along with bogus materials to harm the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden”.
- On Wednesday, a month after US intelligence learned of Russia̵
- As Business Insider reported, the authenticity of the post item is highly questionable and its procurement raises numerous red flags.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
US intelligence analysts learned last month that hacked emails from Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings would have been leaked online as an “October surprise” in the 2020 US election, the New York Times reported.
The news that Burisma had been hacked for the first time surfaced in January. The Times reported at the time that the GRU, Russia’s premier military intelligence agency, was responsible for the violation and that its hackers had been trying to access Burisma’s servers since at least last November.
After US intelligence learned of the plan to dispose of stolen e-mail in September, analysts contacted “several people with knowledge” about the Burisma hack, The Times reported.
The paper said analysts were concerned, “Burisma material would have been leaked alongside counterfeit materials to violate Mr. Biden’s candidacy.” Biden is currently the Democratic presidential candidate for 2020.
On the previous Wednesday – a month after US intelligence was reported to have learned of plans to publish the hacked material – the New York Post published a dubious story of a “smoking gun email” between Biden’s son Hunter and a senior Burisma executive .
The email is from when the elder Biden was Vice President and Hunter Biden served on Burisma’s board of directors.
Trump and his allies used the report as evidence of their corruption allegations against the Bidens, Burisma and the Ukrainian government.
But as Business Insider reported, the story contained a number of holes and red flags:
- The Post learned of the alleged emails from former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and received them from Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
- The story quoted an unidentified computer repair shop owner who originally received the emails last year after an unidentified person dropped but never picked up a water-damaged laptop with a Beau Biden Foundation sticker on it.
- The shopkeeper reportedly made a copy of the hard drive and handed it over to Giuliani’s attorney in December before handing the material over to federal agencies, the article said.
- Business Insider identified the owner as John Paul Mac Isaac, an avid Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist who could not recall the timing of events in the Post’s history for which he was a major source.
- The Post has recycled a number of false claims about the Bidens’ connection to Burisma, which Trump and his fellow men reinforced, despite being exposed.
Some background information: Trump, Giuliani and their supporters have repeatedly claimed that Joe Biden abused his power as Vice President in 2016 to remove Ukrainian Attorney General Viktor Shokin from his position.
They say Shokin conducted a criminal investigation into Burisma while Hunter was on the board. In other words, they alleged that Biden used his office to protect his family’s personal interests.
However, as Business Insider reported last year, this theory has some important problems, not the least of which is the fact that Biden took the position of the US government, most of the West, and institutions like the International Monetary Fund in demanding Shokin shoots.
The criticism of Shokin was that he didn’t persecute corruption hard enough and not the other way around.
The Burisma probe was also largely inactive at the time of Shokin’s fall, Bloomberg reported.
And according to the Wall Street Journal, government officials and Ukrainian anti-corruption officials said Shokin actually obstructed the investigation of burisma long before Biden even stepped into the picture.
According to these reports, in demanding Shokin’s dismissal, Biden was doing the opposite of what Trump had implied: he increased the likelihood of an investigation into burisma rather than reducing it.
The sequence of events surrounding the Burisma hack is similar to the Russian government’s hack-and-dump operation during the 2016 elections. At that time, the GRU breached the servers of the Democratic National Committee and received thousands of emails related to the campaign the then Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Russian hackers then leaked the emails via the fake Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks personas, as well as WikiLeaks, which former CIA director Mike Pompeo once described as a “tool” of the Russian government.
A US security official told the Times in January that Russian hacking attempts against Burisma “appear to run parallel to efforts by Russian spies in Ukraine” to obtain material that could embarrass the Bidens.
Area 1, the cybersecurity firm that uncovered the Burisma attacks, said in a report that Russia’s hacking technique then showed significant parallels with the 2016 DNC hack.
Oren Falkowitz, Area 1 co-founder and former National Security Agency employee, told the Times the hack looked like “a repeat of Russian interference in the last election.”
The US secret services confirmed in the summer that the Russian government is again interfering in the 2020 elections to violate the Biden campaign and empower Trump.