Mueller Redacted: GRU Used Wikileaks But Did Not Conspire With Trump

Redactions still obscure the full story of Trump’s non-conspiratorial ties to Russian intelligence operatives.

While Russian military intelligence operatives hacked the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton, they used the radical transparency organization Wikileaks to disseminate the stolen material, according to the report of special prosecutor Robert Mueller partially released Thursday.

President Trump’s campaign actively pursued the stolen material and communicated with Wikileaks about how it could be deployed against Clinton but did not violate any laws while doing so, Mueller concluded.

The 448-page report fleshes out a declassified January 2017 intelligence findingthat asserted, without evidence, that Russian agents used Wikileaks to help Trump’s campaign.

While the CIA has secretly intervened in scores of elections around the world in recent decades, Mueller’s report provides the strongest evidence to date that the Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) did the same in U.S. presidential election of 2016.

The Mueller report, heavily redacted in places, depicts a sporadic and improvised relationship—not a coordinated conspiracy–between the Russian intelligence office known as Unit 26165 and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign

Within Hours

The GRU responded rapidly to Trump’s interest in Clinton’s private communications, according to the report.

Trump Twitter
When he said, “Give me emails,” the GRU started spearfishing his opponent.

At a campaign rally on July 27 Trump denounced Clinton for deleting emails from her personal server, declaring, “Russia if you’re listening , I hope you can find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you’ll probably be rewarded mightily  by our press.”

“Within approximately five hours of Trump’s statement, GRU officers targeted for the first time Clinton’s personal office,” according to the report. “After candidate Trump’s remarks, Unit 26165 created and sent malicious links targeting 15 email accounts at a domain” controlled by Clinton’s personal office.

The GRU and the Trump campaign took actions “that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests,” Mueller concluded. But because there was no explicit agreement between them, “the investigation did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

The Operation

The GRU targeted the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in March 2016, according to the report. They used “spearfishing” campaigns against unwitting targets to gain access to their computers and then inserted malicious software to extract information and documents.

The hackers of Unit 26165 gained access to the DNC computers between May 25 to June 1, 2016, according to the report. Another GRU office, known as Unit 74455, assisted in the dissemination of the material.

The haul was not small. The Russian hackers obtained 70 gigabytes of data from the DNC servers in the spring of 2016 and another 330 gigabytes in the fall, according to the report.

Both GRU offices sought to hide their actions behind fictional online entities called “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0.”

Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller, special prosecutor (Credit: Wikipedia)

The day after a cybersecurity firm retained by the DNC blamed Russian hackers for the attack, the report says the GRU created the “Guccifer 2.0” persona. Ostensibly a lone Romanian hacker, “Guccifer 2.0” was a disguise for GRU officers, according to the report.

In his first posting of DNC material, “Guccifer 2.0” used several unique English words and phrases that the GRU officers had searched for that day, according to the report.

Julian Assange, now in custody in London, has denied that he received the emails from the Russians.

Mueller’s report asserts that “GRU officers used both the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 personas to communicate with WikiLeaks through Twitter private messaging and through encrypted channels, including possibly through WikiLeaks’s private communication system.”

On June 22, 2016, Wikileaks is said to have sent a private direct message to “Guccifer 2.0” asking for “any new material [stolen from the DNC] for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.”

On July 6, 2016, Wikileaks reportedly contacted “Guccifer 2.0”  to say “if you have anything Hillary-related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days because the [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify Bernie supporters behind her after.”

“Guccifer 2.0” reportedly responded, “ok I see.”

At the same time, an unnamed “former Trump campaign member” was in touch with the GRU officer posing as “Guccifer 2.0,” but did not seem that interested in his documents.

The report says that in early August 2016, “Guccifer 2.0” sent the campaign member a thank you message, and asked “do you find anything interest in the docs I posted?” Later that month, “Guccifer 2.0” asked the campaign member what he thought of one hacked documented posted online. The campaign member reportedly replied, “pretty standard.”

In short, the Mueller report shows that Trump and his campaign welcomed Russia’s covert support but did not break any laws to get it.

Shroud of Secrecy

Assange Arrested
The arrest of Julian Assange (Credit: RT)

Key details about the relation between the Trump campaign, the GRU, and Wikileaks remain secret.

The passages on the GRU hacking operations and Wikileaks are the most heavily redacted in the report. In 26 pages on Russian hacking efforts, at least 235 lines of text and footnotes, more than four full pages of material,  are blacked out because they might “harm an ongoing matter.”

“Ongoing matter” could be a reference to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Trump’s actions in regard to Russia. A counterintelligence investigation seeks to identify persons under the influence of a foreign power or intelligence service. Mueller is supposed to report to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on that investigation.  

“Ongoing matter” might also be a reference to other criminal investigations, perhaps of Assange, who could face additional charges if he is extradited to the United States. Civil liberties groups have rallied to Assange’s defense saying his prosecution poses a threat to freedom of the press.

For all his efforts to help the Trump campaign in 2016, Assange has reaped an ironic reward: He now faces prosecution by Trump’s Justice Department.


4 Replies to “Mueller Redacted: GRU Used Wikileaks But Did Not Conspire With Trump”

  1. Michael Tracy, a much more reliable non partisan reporter states

    “Mueller asserts that the GRU hacked DNC/Podesta, but he doesn’t establish a chain of custody whereby the hacked materials were transferred to WikiLeaks. In fact, he explicitly leaves open the possibility that a non-state actor (as Assange always claimed) transferred the materials”
    https://twitter.com/mtracey/status/1119939241319043072

    Thus it is more likely to me that the leak (not hack) came within the US.

  2. Call me a skeptical cynic.

    Notice everything out there pushing the official story line and still no technically supported facts. And maybe it’s not so strange that we have scenarios with no or little hard documented info,verified facts, or technical explanations to support them.

    I think it’s to be expected. Most likely all that technical stuff will be classified stuff and redacted, those of us who are unworthy do not need to understand. Why would have any reason to need to understand what happened to our free elections and secret vote. The very living core of our Union.

    I believe looking to the past at what has happened previously in situations such as the Kennedy murders, CIA covert operations, especially the diversion of HEU from NUMEC, where obstruction efforts by CIA against FBI investigations are there presented by IRmep.org to view, government lies about Vietnam, Watergate, the “October Surprise”, Iran-Contra, right up to the War in Iraq based on Saddam’s possession weapons of mass destruction and the war in Syria where we are alleged to have defeated ISIS, we all can agree that getting anything declassified in an effort to learn the truth about the events will be hell if at all possible.

    The intelligence community lawyers get together with with their intelligence declassification experts and together they render official crucial documents unintelligible through redaction. Likely if all the experts are truly gifted the redacted document that results might even be misleading. Who would know.

    So since “We the People” cannot justify why this information would benefit us we will once again find ourselves “screwed” in the end by the establishments compromised Department of Justice and it’s pardoning AG.

    I’ve seen way to much by now to buy any story currently out there. Something happened and what the authorities are saying happened, “just ain’t necessarily so”. But something happened and it’s leaving a bad mark.

    Pretty strange that an internet security company was hired by the Dimocraps to keep Hillary’s stuff safe, a highly touted Corporation according to their ad at their wiki didn’t manage to keep the DNC computer system safe.

    I think the IDEA is to keep the hacking from happening, not so much just
    identifying or misidentifying the hacker.

    This is starting to smell like something very large has died.

    Thanks Jeff!

  3. Could it be that DOJ and CIA, NSA et alia, who argue that the revelation of sources and methods presents a danger to the security of the country shouldn’t be required by congress to defend this position. Certainly at least with respect to the fifty year old murder of President John F. Kennedy. Especially since the courts seem too impotent to deal with the issues there.

    After fifty years the quality of this screen used to shield the case from the light of day has lost some of it’s translucence. In fact as the story slowly comes into view no such danger to the state seems to found.

    I would argue the that the exact opposite seems to be the case. Based on what is now known about the case just the opposite seems to be coming to light.

    What I see clearly now is the distinct possibility that these proponents of the of often cursed, seldom praised and never proven protection of “the sources and methods” in the interest of “national security” instead fear the danger posed to their agencies and ultimately to themselves, will be that those agencies must be held accountable by someone for the actions of their appointed staffs and employees. Maybe not in the past some much as in the future.

    If they want to use this claim they need to be forced to prove how any damage could occur. They cannot do it they cannot use it.

    The current chaos ongoing in the nations capital bears witness to this illegal use of secrecy problem. Now the ensuing arguments have the government hogtied. Hog tied by it own inability to deal with itself.

    I cannot see how this situation can in any should be protected by sources and methods and it sure as hell is destructive to our system of government.

    Someone felt that killing people was a viable option. I will not list them again, but those people died because someone felt that killing them, but only by secret conspiracy, was a viable option to being stuck with them and the influence to had on the American public. These actions were hardly the actions of leader ship, in fact they were quite the opposite.

    I do not for one moment agree with Trump or his ilk, no more than Allen Dulles or his ilk agreed with JFK but I do known who I am supposed to be and I thought I knew what our country is supposed to represent. Murder of elected officials for any reason cannot be tolerated which is what the American public has been asked by the DOJ to do.

    But murder is no viable option for anyone or entity. What about the civil rights of those on my list. What about their Freedom?

    I read your Kennedy Article and got energized and put it here. It seems to fit in either place.

    Thanks Jeff.

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