Hillary Clinton and Putin

But I Thought It Was The Russians? Two Young American Hacktivists Arrested Over WikiLeaks Publications

One of the most talked about moments in the last presidential debates was when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump discussed Russia’s influence (or lack thereof) over the current United States election. Clinton boldly stated that Russia was behind the WikiLeaks email dumps and that the Kremlin was trying to influence our election through the hacks which she found “deeply disturbing.” However, Trump says there is no way that Clinton could know it was Russia and that it could be anyone for that matter. Though Clinton stated with almost certainty that Russia was to blame, there may be more to the story. In fact, two American hacktivists, Andrew Otto Boggs and Justin Gray Liverman, were arrested over their purported involvement with WikiLeaks and hacking into federal agency email systems and neither have been linked to Russia.

The two “activists,” 22-year-old Andrew Otto Boggs and 24-year-old Justin Gray Liverman, from the United States, were reportedly part of a group known as “Crackas With Attitude.” The hackers reportedly targeted CIA Director John Brennan’s emails as well as other high-ranking CIA staff members. The group then allegedly turned over those documents to WikiLeaks, which subsequently posted the information to the public in October of 2015.

CBS News reports that both young alleged hackers are from North Carolina, not Russia. In fact, it was noted that the young adults were recruited to the “Crackas” hacking group by teens in Great Britain. Three young hackers in the U.K. were arrested and have been deemed members of the conspiracy and believed to have started the group. The British teens ranged in ages from 15 to 17. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the youth’s hacking was part of a larger Russian plot but rather, it seems the group was most interested in getting information about “aliens” and stumbled upon the rest which was reportedly turned over to WikiLeaks.

Wikileaks seemed to confirm that the young activists were Wikileaks sources when they tweeted that “Two alleged hackers arrested over WikiLeaks publications.Young activists in the US” which included a link to a BBC article about the pair. The Wikileaks connection was further credited as court documents revealed the hackers released emails to Wikileaks which appeared on October 21, 2015.

“While Brennan is not named in the affidavit, he appears to be “Victim 1.” The affidavit states that Victim 1’s emails were released by WikiLeaks on Oct. 21, 2015, which corresponds with a WikiLeaks disclosure pertaining to Brennan.”

With young British and American hacktivists providing damning emails from top U.S. government officials, would it be so unlikely that someone other than Russia was responsible for leaking the DNC and Podesta emails to the publication?

WikiLeaks has denied that the hack is the result of the Russian government election interference and says that Clinton’s claims that 17 intelligence agencies have agreed Russia is to blame is false. In fact, they say there is no sound evidence that Russia is behind the hacks.

Despite the apparent lack of evidence against Russia, that hasn’t stopped the DNC and Clinton from latching on to the narrative that Putin is to blame and his motive is to “influence” the U.S. elections. Clinton has never addressed the validity of the email contents leaving many to suggest that it is accurate. To further the point that the documents are real, WikiLeaks has noted that they have a 10-year record of providing accurate leaks to the public noting none of their publications have ever been proven false or fabricated.

What do you think about the claims by the DNC and Clinton that Russia is behind the WikiLeaks emails? If the emails are authentic, do you believe it should be released to the public regardless of the source?

[Featured Image by Mikhail Metzel/AP Images]

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