According to BuzzFeed, the FBI never requested access to the hacked DNC servers. In fact, one U.S. senior intelligence official said no government entity has conducted an independent forensic analysis.
“The DNC had several meetings with representatives of the FBI’s Cyber Division and its Washington (DC) 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,” the DNC’s deputy communications director Eric Walker told BuzzFeed.
Yet they still blamed Russia anyway.
Instead, the intelligence community is relying on a forensic analysis from CrowdStrike, a third-party tech security company. Last year, CrowdStrike concluded that Russian hackers were responsible for the DNC hack.
It’s unclear why the FBI didn’t request access to the DNC servers, and whether it’s common practice when the bureau investigates the cyberattacks against private entities by state actors, like when the Sony Corporation was hacked by North Korea in 2014.
BuzzFeed News spoke to three cybersecurity companies who have worked on major breaches in the last 15 months, who said that it was “par for the course” for the FBI to do their own forensic research into the hacks. None wanted to comment on the record on another cybersecurity company’s work, or the work being done by a national security agency.
In a 13-page report made public the last week of December, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed in a joint analysis that Russia was behind the widespread hacks, which targeted Democrats with the intention to manipulate the US election. But the analysis was attributed to broad intelligence across both public and private sectors. Nowhere in the report does it say that the government conducted its own computer forensics on the DNC servers.