Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – It is now beyond doubt that “Guccifer 2.0,” the hacker or hackers that stole data from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer network in 2016 and then leaked these documents to the media, is a Russian intelligence officer or a Russian spy group.
The U.S. Intelligence Community last year concluded that some of the genuine leaks revealed by Guccifer 2.0 were part of a series of cyberattacks on the DNC committed by two Russian intelligence groups. This conclusion has since been reaffirmed.
Over the weekend, The Daily Beast (an American news website) confirmed Guccifer 2.0 is, in fact, a Russian intelligence officer. Guccifer 2.0 inadvertently revealed his identity by failing to conceal his use of a Russian computer server. The Daily Beast reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has hired the FBI investigator who tracked down and positively identified Guccifer 2.0.
The Daily Beast expose is another confirmation of what has been bruited about for almost two years. This news is significant for what it could mean to the Mueller investigation of collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign.
The indictment against 13 Russians in February provides a clue. This indictment charged the defendants with what’s called a “Klein Conspiracy,” or a conspiracy to defraud the United States. A Klein Conspiracy is an agreement to impair, obstruct or defeat the lawful functioning of some agency of the federal government. In this case, the affected agency was the Federal Election Commission, among others, in its role to administer federal elections.
The February indictment focused on the use of social media to improperly influence the election. Until then, it was unclear if Mueller wanted to pursue such a theory. Now that he has done so in one case, it’s likely he’ll ask for another indictment charging Guccifer 2.0 and others under a similar theory based on the hacking of the DNC emails.
In addition to charging Guccifer 2.0, Mueller might also indict anyone that conspired with him or aided and abetted him — meaning the Trump campaign and possibly Trump himself. One feature of the Klein Conspiracy theory is that Mueller need not show the co-conspirators were involved in the hacking, as long as he can show they agreed the emails would be disseminated afterwards, since the crime is not based on the computer intrusion, but on the disruption of the election.
The Trump campaign can also be charged with aiding and abetting if they assisted or even encouraged either the hacking or the publication of the emails. Another potential charge is accessory after the fact for anyone who might have advised how or when to release the emails after they had been hacked.
It seems likely that Mueller is closely examining the relationship between former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone and Guccifer 2.0, which could provide the link he’s been seeking to fulfill his mandate. And if other members of the campaign participated in the decision to release the emails, then they could find themselves named in an indictment along with Guccifer 2.0.
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