According to former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, the Democratic National Committee deserves at least part of the blame when it comes to the hacking of their emails last year. The hacks, believed by the intelligence community to have originated from the Russian government, ended up exposing the dirty tricks the Democrats were playing to make sure Hillary Clinton won the primaries, thus widening the rift between her supporters and those of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. A second round of hacks deepened the problems and ended up forcing two successive chairwomen out of their positions. And while Hillary and the Dems have blamed Russia for costing them the election, Johnson says that the DNC had plenty of chances to shore up their security ahead of 2016.
In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Johnson said that the DNC was offered several opportunities for extra security before the hacks – which they declined. He said they also declined to have Homeland Security officials look into their servers after the first round of hacks to help determine who was responsible.
“You know, with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps I should have camped out at the front door of the headquarters of the DNC,” Johnson said.
“In your defense,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, “it wouldn’t have made any difference if you had. Because they weren’t going to give you the server.”
Because the DNC wouldn’t cooperate directly with the government, Johnson said DHS had to rely on a third-party vendor, CrowdStrike, to determine who had hacked into the database.
“The response I got was FBI had spoken to them,” he said. “They don’t want our help. They have CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm. And that was the answer I got after I asked the question a number times over the progression of time.”
Republican Peter King asked Johnson why the DNC would be so adamant about keeping the feds out of their server.
“Maybe it’s editorializing on my part,” said King. “That really is an unusual response by the DNC. I mean, you’re talking about a presidential election. You have an unprecedented amount of cyberhacking by a foreign power, an adversary from my point of view. And they would not accept all the help that could possibly be given. It’s not even like it’s a Republican administration trying to intrude into the DNC.”
Johnson said that King’s “editorializing” was, nonetheless, very close to the truth of it
“I recall very clearly that I was not pleased that we were not in there, helping them patch this vulnerability,” he said. “I was not very happy to be hearing about it several months later, very clearly.”
Very bizarre, and you can’t help but get your “conspiracy theory” antennae perked up by the way the DNC behaved following the hacks. What was it that they so desperately wanted to hide from the federal government? And how can we be 100% certain, given their refusal to cooperate, that CrowdStrike got it right? That it was, in fact, Russian government operatives who stole the emails?
Nothing about this whole story has smelled right from the beginning, and Johnson’s testimony has only added more cloudiness to the water. We need to get some of the DNC’s top officials in front of Congress, and they need to start answering some questions.