Key officials from the FBI and the Democratic National Committee provided strikingly contradictory accounts about their cooperation in connection to the alleged hack of the DNC servers in 2016, according to newly declassified transcripts.
The two top FBI officials at the time of the alleged hack—James Comey and Andrew McCabe—claimed that the DNC denied numerous requests from the FBI for evidence related to the hack. Meanwhile, the two top technology officials at the DNC—Yared Tamene and Andrew Brown—claimed that the committee fully cooperated with every FBI request.
The stark contrast in the accounts from the key players raises new questions about the alleged hack of the DNC systems that served as the foundational theme in the now-disproven narrative of alleged collusion between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia.
McCabe, who served as the deputy director of the FBI at the time of the alleged hack, told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Dec. 19, 2017, that the DNC never responded to the FBIs early warnings about a potential Russian intrusion and failed to provide logs requested by the bureau. The former deputy director also said he was not aware of the DNC handing over server images to the bureau.
“We had over a course of many months numerous interactions with the DNC. This is the best of my recollection as to how that took place. I have described how the early interactions took place and were not productive,” McCabe told lawmakers, according to a transcript (pdf) of his sworn testimony.
“Eventually, we kind of escalated our contact with individuals at the DNC. My best recollection is that we requested that sort of access to logs, things of that nature, and we did not get that.”
DNC information technology director Yared Tamene offered directly contradictory testimony on Aug. 30, 2017. Tamene told lawmakers that he cooperated with the FBI on at at least a monthly basis beginning in September 2015, when a bureau agent reached out with a warning that hackers may have targeted the DNC.
The cooperation included in-person meetings and regular calls during which Tamene reported the findings of his team to the FBI. When the FBI requested email metadata logs from the DNC, Tamene escalated the request to his bosses and, with their approval, handed the logs over to the FBI on April 29, 2016, according to a recently declassified transcript (pdf) of his testimony.
The testimony of DNC technology director Andrew Brown, also given on Aug. 30, 2017, corroborates Tamenes account. Brown told lawmakers that Tamene notified him about the FBIs initial call in September 2015 and kept him updated about the ongoing cooperation. Brown notified DNC CEO Amy Dacey about the FBIs warnings.
“We fully cooperated with the FBI in every request they made along the way, and we took everything they gave us seriously,” Brown said, according to a transcript (pdf) of his testimony.
The testimonies by Brown and Tamene also contradict the version of events aired by Comey to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in January 2017. Comey told lawmakers that the DNC declined several FBI requests for access to physical DNC servers.
Tamene and Brown were not the only ones to contradict the top brass at the FBI. Michael Sussman, the outside legal counsel for DNC, testified that Dacey, the CEO of DNC, told the FBI that the bureau “could have access to anything they needed.” The FBI declined the offer to access the physical servers, according to a transcript of Sussmans testimony (pdf).
“And I recall offering, or asking or offering to the FBI to come on premises, and they were not interested in coming on premises at the time,” Sussman said.
Shawn Henry, the president of the private cybersecurity firm contracted on behalf of the DNC to address the alleged hack, likewise testified he was not “not aware” of the FBI ever asking or being denied any information or access to the DNC servers, according to a transcript (pdf) of his testimony.
Shawn Henry, the president of CrowdStrike Services, coordinated the cybersecurity firms work with the DNC, Perkins Coie, and the FBI. Henry told the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017 that he was “not aware” of the FBI ever asking for or being denied any information or access to the DNC servers, according to a transcript (pdf) newly declassified on May 7 alongside Sussmans deposition. Henry also said he was “not aware of the FBI asking the DNC for data.”
The FBI, the DNC, CrowdStrike, and the attorneys for Comey and McCabe did not respond to requests for comment.
The revelation about the clashing accounts arrive at a time when other elements of the Russia-collusion narrative are falling apart. The Justice Department moved to dismiss the special counsel against former national security adviser Michael Flynn earlier this month. In March, the government moved to drop the charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller against the Russian firms accused of meddling in the election via a social media campaign.
The social media charges were alleged by the special counsel to be part of a two-pronged Russian interference campaign to influence U.S. electioRead More From Source