FBI never examined hacked DNC servers itself: report

FBI never examined hacked DNC servers itself: report
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The FBI never examined the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computer servers during its investigation into Russian attempts to interfere in the presidential election, BuzzFeed reports.

“The DNC had several meetings with representatives of the FBI’s Cyber Division and its Washington (D.C.) Field Office, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and it responded to a variety of requests for cooperation, but the FBI never requested access to the DNC’s computer servers,” DNC deputy communications director Eric Walker told BuzzFeed in an email.

According to one intelligence official who spoke to the publication, no U.S. intelligence agency has performed its own forensics analysis on the hacked servers.

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Instead, the official said, the bureau and other agencies have relied on analysis done by the third-party security firm CrowdStrike, which investigated the breach for the DNC.

“Crowdstrike is pretty good. There’s no reason to believe that anything that they have concluded is not accurate,” the intelligence official told BuzzFeed.

The report comes as controversy continues to surround the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was behind the cyberattack on the DNC and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal email account.

The Obama administration has characterized the hacks as an attempt to interfere in the U.S. election, and officials have said they are “100 percent certain” that Russia is the culprit.

But President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE has repeatedly rejected that assessment, characterizing it as an attempt by the Obama administration to undermine his presidency.

In a series of tweets this week, he accused intelligence officials of delaying a briefing until Friday in order to build a case against Russia — an allegation denied by other officials.

He also appeared to side with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who released emails believed to have been hacked by Russia, over U.S. intelligence agencies. Trump noted in a tweet that Assange has asserted that the emails did not come from Russia, while repeating that anyone could have hacked the DNC.

The White House has been under fierce pressure to provide a public account of the intelligence community's assessment.

Security experts widely derided a joint Homeland Security-FBI report released last week that purported to give technical indicators linking Russia to the breaches, calling it overly broad and “a mess.”

CrowdStrike has gone much further in its published forensics analysis.

That evidence is very strong, outside experts say.

And Russia is widely known to conduct the kind of “active measures” the administration has accused it of using in this case.

The intelligence community is reportedly delivering its final, classified assessment of the campaign to President Obama on Thursday, which the White House has said it will provide to lawmakers as soon as possible.

But it remains unknown how much of that document will be declassified and released to the public. The White House has said it will make public as much as it can.