An explosive report in the Wall Street Journal Thursday provides the first confirmed evidence of collusion between an alleged Russian hacker and the Republican Party — and the operative also told the Journal that the stolen information provided to him by the hacker "Guccifer 2.0" was also shared with Roger Stone, a close friend and adviser to Donald Trump.
The stolen documents contained highly valuable and sensitive voter targeting research compiled by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and pilfered through illegal computer hacking by "Guccifer 2.0," a hacker who according to an official United States intelligence assessment is not a real person at all but, in fact, a "legend" — that is, a fabricated persona — created by Russian intelligence services.
Russia, through the "Guccifer 2.0" persona, is also believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be responsible for several major hacks that played a prominent role in last year's presidential campaign, including the hack of the Democratic National Committee and of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Documents stolen by the fictional hacker were then posted online by WikiLeaks as well as on others sites including "DC Leaks," a site apparently created by the Russian intelligence agents behind the hacks.
Stone himself has admitted communicating directly with "Guccifer 2.0" online through direct Twitter messages. While Stone has claimed that his correspondence with "Guccifer 2.0" was "completely innocuous," he also posted public Twitter messages indicating that he knew about the Podesta hacks in advance.
Trust me, it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel. #CrookedHillaryThe hacked emails from Podesta's account began appearing on the WikiLeaks site on October 7 of last year, about six weeks after Stone's cryptic Twitter posting.
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) August 21, 2016
As revealed by the Wall Street Journal, Stone was not the only Republican party operative to communicate with "Guccifer 2.0." Florida GOP strategist Aaron Nevins told the paper that he reached out to the hacker in September, two months after the initial reports surfaced revealing that the hacker was merely a front for agents of the Russian government.
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Nevins said that he asked "Guccifer 2.0" to "feel free to send any Florida based information." A few days later, Nevins received a massive 2.5 gigabyte file containing documents hacked from inside DCCC computers. The trove of documents contained sensitive voter targeting information such as data-based assessments of individual voters, including such information as each voter's expected reliability to vote Democrat or Republican, or if he or she is on the fence and can be persuaded.
Nevins published the stolen information on his own blog, HelloFLA.com, exposing the internal and confidential Democratic research for anyone to view and download for themselves. Shortly after Nevins published the data, "Guccifer 2.0" sent a link to the online files directly to Stone.
The voter information covered Florida and other key "swing" states, including Pennsylvania, where Trump defeated Clinton by a mere 44,292 votes, to win the state's crucial 20 Electoral College votes. Whether the hacked information was utilized by the Trump campaign to sway the election in Pennsylvania or other battleground states remains unknown.
Nevins said he had no remorse about collaborating with the mysterious hacker believed to be working for Russian intelligence.
"If your interests align, never shut any doors in politics," he said.
The Wall Street Journal report, in full, may be accessed at this link, but the article is behind a paywall and will be accessible only to subscribers.
[Featured Image By Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]