‘Dis­gusted’ Demo­crat, not Rus­sia, gets blame

Wik­iLeaks link out­lines source’s email hand­off

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE BOYER

A Wik­iLeaks fig­ure is claim­ing that he re­ceived leaked Clin­ton cam­paign emails from a “dis­gusted” Demo­cratic whistle­blower, while the White House con­tin­ued to blame Rus­sian hack­ers Wed­nes­day for med­dling in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and as­serted that Don­ald Trump was “ob­vi­ously aware” of Moscow’s ef­forts on his be­half.

Craig Mur­ray, a former Bri­tish am­bas­sador to Uzbek­istan and a close as­so­ci­ate of Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange, said in the re­port by the Daily Mail that he flew to Wash­ing­ton for a clan­des­tine hand­off with one of the email sources in Septem­ber.

He said he re­ceived a pack­age in a wooded area near Amer­i­can Univer­sity.

“Nei­ther of [the leaks] came from the Rus­sians,” Mr. Mur­ray told the Bri­tish news­pa­per. “The source had le­gal ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion. The doc­u­ments came from in­side leaks, not hacks.”

Wik­iLeaks pub­lished thou­sands of emails stolen from Clin­ton cam­paign chair­man John Podesta, pro­vid­ing a steady stream of neg­a­tive news cov­er­age of the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee dur­ing the fi­nal weeks of the cam­paign. Mr. Mur­ray said the leak­ers were mo­ti­vated by “dis­gust at the cor­rup­tion of the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion and the tilt­ing of the pri­mary elec­tion play­ing field against Bernie San­ders.”

The Daily Mail re­port noted that Mr. Mur­ray was re­moved from his diplo­matic post amid al­le­ga­tions

of mis­con­duct.

The White House said Wed­nes­day that Mr. Trump was “ob­vi­ously aware” of Rus­sian hack­ing to ben­e­fit his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and sug­gested that the ad­min­is­tra­tion didn’t re­tal­i­ate against Moscow be­cause the U.S. has more to lose than Rus­sia does in an all-out cy­ber­war.

Re­fer­ring to Mr. Trump’s off­hand snark last sum­mer that Moscow might be able to lo­cate miss­ing emails from Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pri­vate server, White House press sec­re­tary Josh Earnest said the Repub­li­can might have viewed Rus­sia’s cy­ber­at­tacks as help­ful to his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

“There was am­ple ev­i­dence that was known long be­fore the elec­tion, and in most cases long be­fore Oc­to­ber, about the Trump cam­paign in Rus­sia, ev­ery­thing from the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee him­self call­ing on Rus­sia to hack his op­po­nent,” Mr. Earnest said. “It might be an in­di­ca­tion that he was ob­vi­ously aware and con­cluded, based on what­ever facts or sources he had avail­able to him, that Rus­sia was in­volved and their in­volve­ment was hav­ing a neg­a­tive im­pact on his op­po­nent’s cam­paign.”

Mr. Trump has openly re­jected the idea that Rus­sia was be­hind the at­tacks or that the cy­ber­in­tru­sions were in­tended to help him win the elec­tion.

He also ac­cused the ad­min­is­tra­tion and lib­eral news out­lets of try­ing to dele­git­imize his elec­tion. There is no ev­i­dence that the elec­tion process was hacked, by the Rus­sians or any­one else.

Mean­while on Wed­nes­day, the House Per­ma­nent Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence had to can­cel a closed-door clas­si­fied brief­ing on the is­sue of sus­pected Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence af­ter U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies re­fused to co­op­er­ate.

Rep. Devin Nunes, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can and com­mit­tee chair­man, re­quested that the FBI, CIA, Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency pro­vide wit­nesses, in part in re­sponse to re­ports last week in The Wash­ing­ton Post and The New York Times that in­tel­li­gence agen­cies think the Krem­lin de­lib­er­ately tried to push the elec­tion to Mr. Trump, some­thing not sup­ported by post­elec­tion tes­ti­mony to the panel.

But ac­cord­ing to Fox News, “agen­cies re­fused to pro­vide rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the ses­sion.”

“It is un­ac­cept­able that the In­tel­li­gence Com­mu­nity di­rec­tors would not ful­fill the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee’s re­quest to be briefed to­mor­row on the cy­ber-at­tacks that oc­curred dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign,” Mr. Nunes said in a state­ment. “The Com­mit­tee is deeply con­cerned that in­tran­si­gence in shar­ing in­tel­li­gence with Congress can en­able the ma­nip­u­la­tion of in­tel­li­gence for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.”

Kellyanne Con­way, Mr. Trump’s cam­paign man­ager, ac­cused peo­ple within in­tel­li­gence agen­cies of try­ing to un­der­mine the U.S. elec­tion re­sults to curry fa­vor with lib­eral me­dia and are now duck­ing ac­count­abil­ity.

“We should all be very con­cerned about that,” she said in an ap­pear­ance on Fox News Chan­nel.

The Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee, es­sen­tially an arm of the Obama White House, com­pounded the fric­tion Wed­nes­day by ac­cus­ing Mr. Trump of giv­ing Rus­sia “an early hol­i­day gift that smells like a pay­off” with the nom­i­na­tion of Exxon Mo­bil CEO Rex Tiller­son to be sec­re­tary of state. The DNC warned that Mr. Tiller­son would be too cozy in his deal­ings with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

“It’s rather easy to con­nect the dots,” the DNC said. “Rus­sia med­dled in the U.S. elec­tion in or­der to ben­e­fit Trump, and now he’s re­pay­ing Vladimir Putin by nom­i­nat­ing Exxon Mo­bil CEO Rex Tiller­son as sec­re­tary of state.”

It was the lat­est broad­side by the White House and its al­lies against the pres­i­den­t­elect in an in­creas­ingly tense tran­si­tion de­bate over the im­pact of the cy­ber­in­tru­sions, which mainly tar­geted Democrats such as Mr. Podesta.

De­part­ing Senate Mi­nor­ity Leader Harry Reid, Ne­vada Demo­crat, com­pared the al­leged Rus­sian hack­ing to ter­ror­ist at­tacks that killed nearly 3,000 peo­ple on U.S. soil. “I think this is as big a deal as Water­gate, as 9/11,” he said.

Democrats in hind­sight have ac­cused the ad­min­is­tra­tion of fail­ing to warn the pub­lic about Rus­sia’s al­leged hack­ing as early as May, when pri­vate as­sess­ments pinned the blame on Moscow. In Oc­to­ber, the ad­min­is­tra­tion re­leased a state­ment from Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence James R. Clap­per that iden­ti­fied Rus­sia as the cul­prit.

The White House said Mr. Obama waited un­til Oc­to­ber, just weeks be­fore the elec­tion, to raise con­cerns about Rus­sia’s in­volve­ment be­cause he didn’t want to ap­pear to be play­ing pol­i­tics with the is­sue.

“It would have been in­ap­pro­pri­ate for White House fig­ures, in­clud­ing the pres­i­dent of the United States, to be rush­ing the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity to ex­pe­dite their anal­y­sis of this sit­u­a­tion, be­cause we were con­cerned about the neg­a­tive im­pact it was hav­ing on the pres­i­dent’s pre­ferred can­di­date in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion,” Mr. Earnest said.

The pres­i­dent’s spokesman also said the ad­min­is­tra­tion tried to get bi­par­ti­san co­op­er­a­tion from Congress this fall to warn state elec­tion of­fi­cials about Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence, but top Repub­li­cans balked.

“Leader [Mitch] McCon­nell and Speaker [Paul D.] Ryan did not read­ily agree to it,” Mr. Earnest said. “We didn’t get the kind of prompt co­op­er­a­tion we would have liked.”

The ad­min­is­tra­tion even­tu­ally did is­sue warn­ings to state elec­tion of­fi­cials and said there was no ev­i­dence of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence via the in­ter­net on Elec­tion Day.

The White House still won’t say whether the U.S. has re­tal­i­ated against what it de­scribes as Rus­sian ef­forts to in­flu­ence the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump. “It mer­its a pro­por­tional re­sponse. I am not in a po­si­tion to con­firm whether we have ini­ti­ated it or not,” Mr. Earnest said.

He said “the United States is par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble” to cy­ber­at­tacks be­cause of its heavy reliance on the in­ter­net.

“Given the in­ter­con­nected na­ture of our so­ci­ety and our econ­omy, the United States is in a unique po­si­tion, vis-a-vis the rest of the world, be­cause we rely on 21st-cen­tury com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy for just about ev­ery­thing, in a way that lots of other so­ci­eties and economies and coun­tries don’t,” he said.

Craig Mur­ray, who is closely linked to Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange, said the source “had le­gal ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion. The doc­u­ments came from in­side leaks, not hacks.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHO­TO­GRAPHS

White House press sec­re­tary Josh Earnest wouldn’t say whether the U.S. has re­tal­i­ated against what it de­scribes as Rus­sian ef­forts to in­flu­ence the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump.

Senate Mi­nor­ity Leader Harry Reid, Ne­vada Demo­crat, com­pared the al­leged Rus­sian hack­ing to a ter­ror­ist at­tack. “I think this is as big a deal as Water­gate, as 9/11,” he said.

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