A little earlier today the White House announced a handful of additional sanctions against the Russians for hacking the DNC and John Podesta’s email account. My colleague, Jay Caruso, posted on it. This is one of those decisions that Obama has made to take a parting shot at Trump. It isn’t like the fact that the Russians were targeting out electoral system is news. They hit the voter records of Arizona and Illinois back when everyone thought Trump was a joke. But by imposing sanctions he takes a foreign policy decision away from the Trump administration. Generally, sanctions are a blunt instrument that are only marginally effective, but Trump doesn’t have the ability to not leave this decision in place because of Obama’s allegation that the Russians intervened to elect Trump.
To bolster the reasoning for the sanctions, the joint FBI/DHS report on the hacking has been released.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday released a joint report detailing how federal investigators linked the Russian government to hacks of Democratic Party organizations.
The document makes clear reference to the hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, though it does not mention either by name.
The 13-page report provides technical details regarding tools and infrastructure used by Russian civilian and military intelligence services to “compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. Government, political, and private sector entities.” (See the entire report below.)
The report, known as a “Joint Analysis Report” or JAR, refers to the Russian hacking campaign as “Grizzly Steppe.”
It comes as part of a slate of retaliatory measures against Russia issued Thursday by the Obama administration in response to the hacks, and expands on a joint statement issued by the two agencies in October, formally attributing the attacks to Russia.
In the October statement, officials described the the hacks and subsequent publication of stolen emails on WikiLeaks as an attempt to “interfere” with the U.S. election that is “consistent with the Russian-directed efforts,” but provided no evidence to support their assessment.
Not to ding the FBI but virtually everything in his report has been available on the internet for several months and in a lot more readable form. It lays out a very convincing circumstantial case that the hackers who burgled the DNC and spoofed John Podesta into giving up control of his email account were a) Russian and b) have a history of cooperating with the Russian security and intelligence services.
What it does not do is delve into motives of the hackers and those motives are, at the moment, of much more interest than their where they are located or who employed them.