Former British ambassador Craig Murray has come forward in the foreign press to assert the DNC emails released by Wikileaks were not obtained by hacks, but rather came via leaks within the Democratic National Committee.
Murray has a checkered past, according to his detractors, as a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who came under fire for alleged unethical practices. After an investigation, Murray was cleared of charges of misconduct; but he left the service in 2004 and later joined forces with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
The Wikleaks operative told his version of the story how DNC and Clinton Foundation emails were obtained by Wikileaks to The Daily Mail.
“Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,” Murray said in an interview. “The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.”
The Daily Mail explains the motivation of a purported source within the Democratic Party for turning over emails:
A Wikileaks envoy today claims he personally received Clinton campaign emails in Washington D.C. after they were leaked by 'disgusted' whisteblowers - and not hacked by Russia. [...]
He said the leakers were motivated by 'disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.'
U.S. intelligence agencies and private firm Crowdstrike, contracted by the DNC itself to investigate, have a high degree of certainty that the DNC was hacked from the outside. A partial list of the evidence leading investigators to believe the emails were obtained by hackers, via The Intercept:
- Phishing: Domain similar to the target's domain used in order to obtain transmissions from DNC employees associated with IP of Russian-affiliated hacking network Apt 28/Fancy Bear
- Malware: The same IP is believed to have placed malware on the DNC's computers to communicate with Apt 28/Fancy Bear
- DCLeaks.com was registered by person using same email service as hackers involved in phishing expedition
Such evidence conflicts greatly with Murray's account of how Wikileaks obtained the DNC emails. Nonetheless, he alleges that he met a contact near American University, which is located near Washington D.C.
Murray declined to identify his source within the Democratic Party. Conspiracy theorists have put forth if could have been murdered Democratic Party staffer Seth Rich, who died under murky circumstances in July.
As a Newsweek report quelling suggestions of nefarious Clinton activity put it about the Rich case:
At 4:19 a.m., police patrolling nearby responded to the sound of gunfire in Bloomingdale and found Rich lying mortally wounded at a dark intersection a block and a half from a red-brick row house he shared with friends. He had multiple gunshot wounds in his back. About an hour and 40 minutes later, he died at a local hospital. Police have declined to say whether he was able to describe his assailants.
The cops suspected Rich was a victim of an attempted robbery, one of many that plague the neighborhood. Strangely, however, they found his wallet, credit cards and cellphone on his body. The band of his wristwatch was torn but not broken.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange not only commented on the case, but he offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the criminal who committed it. Newsweek noted:
[Assange] hinted darkly that the slain man [Rich] had been a source in his organization's recent publication of 30,000 internal DNC emails. The fallout from that embarrassment had led to the firing of several top Democratic Party officials.
“What are you suggesting?” a startled interviewer from Dutch television asked him.
“I am suggesting,” Assange said, “that our sources, ah, take risks, and they, they become concerned to see things occurring like that.” His organization later “clarified” on Twitter that “this should not be taken to imply that Seth Rich was a source for WikiLeaks or to imply that his murder is connected to our publications.”
Wikileaks has often been accused of having ties to the Kremlin. The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper earlier denied that there is strong evidence tying Wikileaks to Russian hackers.
As reported by the Free Beacon:
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers last month that the U.S. intelligence community does not have strong evidence showing a connection between WikiLeaks document releases and Russian cyber attacks against American political networks during the 2016 election.
Clapper testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 17 and said there is insufficient information available to show Moscow and WikiLeaks coordinating their activities.
As Politico reported, Assange has denied that Wikileaks had anything to do with Russian hackers in early November.
“The Clinton camp has been able to project a neo-McCarthyist hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything,” Assange said. “Hillary Clinton has stated multiple times, falsely, that 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That’s false — we can say that the Russian government is not the source.”