On Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that 12 Russian nationals, connected with the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), were indicted for their alleged role in hacking the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton campaign, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee servers in 2016.
The charges included "identity theft, conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to commit computer crimes," according to a CNN report.
Per the indictment, Russian officials accessed the emails with passwords obtained through spearfishing. They then proliferated these emails through websites that they built, Facebook and Twitter accounts that they created, and "Organization 1," presumably a coded name for WikiLeaks.
However, despite the fact that the accounts that disseminated the emails clearly appear to have been linked to the GRU, independent observers still question whether the alleged DNC hack was conducted by the Kremlin.
According to reporting by Justin Caruso of The Daily Caller, "The analysis that alleged that Russia was behind the DNC server breach was carried out not by the U.S. government, but by the private security group CrowdStrike."
Since the assessment that the servers were hacked by the Russians didn't come from U.S. investigative services, there is still ambiguity regarding whether this fundamental claim is accurate. The hacking could have been conducted by another entity or the emails could've been leaked by someone within the DNC.
Even more jarring is the fact that CrowdStrike, far from being an independent investigator, has extensive ties to the Democratic Party and liberal movements.
For example, Steven Chabinsky, the former general counsel for CrowdStrike, was tapped by former President Barack Obama for a position on a White House cybersecurity council. Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder and CTO of CrowdStrike, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, funded by George Soros, the liberal billionaire, and Victor Pinchuk, who donated $25 million to the Clinton Foundation.
In addition, according to Caruso's reporting, CrowdStrike has received $100 million from financier CapitalG, which is led by Clinton-connected Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet.
With all of these connections taken into consideration, it is clear that CrowdStrike's investigation should not be allowed to stand on its own merit. To this date, there have been no indications that the FBI has conducted an independent assessment of the Clinton server, and until they do this, Friday's indictments -- and the liberal claims that Team Trump worked with the Kremlin to hack and disseminate the emails -- have little merit.
Thankfully, while the special counsel bought into the tainted CrowdStrike assessment, Rosenstein did acknowledge that there "is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result."
Therefore, Rosenstein betrayed that Friday's indictment -- much like the Manafort indictment -- has little bearing on the fundamental duty of the special counsel, which is to identify “coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
The special counsel's investigation should certainly continue, but it should personally examine the DNC server and focus on identifying possible Trump-Russia collusion, evidence of which has yet to surface.