Russia-linked hacker edited DNC document to call it 'confidential': report

Russia-linked hacker edited DNC document to call it 'confidential': report
© Greg Nash

The Russia-linked hacker behind a massive breach at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) altered a stolen document by labeling it "confidential," a move intended to draw attention from the news media, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

The document in question was the first document published by the hacker Guccifer 2.0 in June 2016. Billed as coming from the DNC, it was actually stolen from John Podesta, the former chairman of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKim Kardashian West defends Kanye on Trump: 'He's a free thinker, is that not allowed?' Trump comments on Fifth Amendment resurface after Cohen filing The 'Handmaid's Tale' liberal feminists created MORE's presidential campaign.

That document was marked "confidential." But a former DNC official told the AP that the label was added only after it was stolen. 

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The document was just one of at least 50,000 messages stolen from Podesta's inbox by hackers believed to be tied to the Russian government. Guccifer 2.0 and the websites WikiLeaks and DCLeaks published more than 150,000 messages stolen from more than a dozen Democrats.

Clinton, who was widely projected to win in the months before Election Day, ultimately fell short to President Trump. She has since argued that the email leaks, as well as former FBI Director James Comey's announcement less than two weeks before the election that the agency had renewed its investigation into her handling of classified material, contributed to her loss. 

Trump has repeatedly blasted the notion that Russia-backed hackers influenced the outcome of the election and has also denied allegations that members of his campaign team coordinated with Russian officials and representatives.

On Monday, it was revealed that George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser for Trump's campaign, pleaded guilty in early October to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with a professor with ties to the Kremlin. During an April 2016 meeting with the professor, he was reportedly told that the Russians had gathered dirt on Clinton.

— This report was updated on Nov. 5 at 1:55 p.m.