Top-Secret Doc May Explain Why Russia Blamed for Hack

It all starts with the 2006 murder of a Russian journalist
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2016 5:35 PM CST
Report: Russians Hacked Journalist Before Her Murder
Anna Politkovskaya   (AP Photo/Fyodor Savintsev, File)

Thanks to a top-secret document on a murdered journalist leaked by Edward Snowden, we may know why US intelligence agencies are so certain Russia was behind the recent hacks of the DNC and others during the election. This is important, the Intercept reports, because the information about the cyberattack so far made public by the government is far from enough to prove Russia was behind it. In 2006, Russian journalist and US citizen Anna Politkovskaya was shot and killed in her apartment. It's been suspected—though not proven—that the Kremlin had her killed for reporting on Chechnya and criticizing Vladimir Putin.

While it remains unclear who was behind Politkovskaya's murder, an NSA document leaked by Snowden reveals a Russian intelligence group hacked her email account a year earlier using "malicious software" not publicly available. It appears the NSA was able to use "intercept signals" to determine where the cyberattack came from. "If the NSA could use signals intelligence to track a specific hack of an American email account in 2005, it’s not too much to assume that, 10 years later, the agency possesses the same or better capability," the Intercept states. The cyberattack on Politkovskaya's email account is similar to that on the DNC, and it seems probable the NSA tracked it to the source in the same way. Read the full story here. (More Russia stories.)

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