United States officials are almost convinced that the hacker responsible for the recent email leaks is connected to a network of groups and individuals who are being shielded by the Russian government.
The hacker, who goes by Guccifer 2.0, is thought to be working with the hacking groups Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, according to The Wall Street Journal's sources. Though Guccifer 2.0 denies Russian involvement in the hack, both of those groups have known ties to the Russian government.
Cybersecurity experts link Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.com, the website that published much of the hacked data, along with WikiLeaks, to Russian hackers.
Guccifer 2.0 reached out to the Journal via direct messages on Twitter to explain his reasons for his actions. He hopes to expose political corruption and the ways that corporations influence policy. He also seeks to shed light on "global electronization."
"I think I won't have a better opportunity to promote my ideas than this year," he said.
The Journal cannot confirm that the person contacting them is the hacker himself or communicating on his behalf, but the account was also used to publish leaked information about the Democratic Party.
Neither WikiLeaks nor DCLeaks.com responded to the Journal's questions about Russian involvement.
On Sept. 7, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said it "shouldn't come as a big shock to people" that Russia was behind the hacks. James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Journal.
"I don't think there's any doubt that it was the Russian government that was behind the hacks."
"This is the continuity of spy games and trolling and phishing for what the Russians call kompromat — compromising information — that has gone on for decades," Matthew Rojansky, who director the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told the Journal.
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