Dutch spies watched Russian hackers attack Democrats

Dutch team infiltrated Russian hacker group, witnessing US election meddling, DNC attack: report

Dutch intelligence agency spied on and took photos of Russia-linked Cozy Bear hackers

The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD spied on the Russian group believed to be behind the hack of the Democratic Party ahead of US elections, local media reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the Dutch intelligence agency also likely contributed to the FBI's investigation into Russia's alleged attempt to influence the 2016 USA election. Not only can the intelligence service now see what the Russians are doing, they can also see who's doing it. Pictures are taken of every visitor.

After digging themselves by chance into the Russians' computer network run out of a university building near Moscow's Red Square, the Dutch agents also gained access to the security cameras surveilling the room.

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AIVD's hackers were in place to see the infamous Cozy Bear hacking group launch its attack on the United States' Democratic Party, an assault which resulted in emails being leaked, creating a controversy which - in the view of Hillary Clinton - may have swung the U.S. presidential election.

According to the reports, the Dutch government alerted the United States to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections after Netherlands-based officials watched the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other operations by the Russians, including a 2014 State Department hack.

"Yet, it will be months before the United States realise what this warning means: that with these hacks the Russians have interfered with the American elections". The information gathered during the surveillance, Modderkolk's sources suggested, was key to the USA intelligence agencies' attribution of the DNC breach to Russian Federation.

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AIVD's penetration into the Cozy Bear network lasted for more than a year. Mueller's team has spent the past eight months interviewing members of Trump's campaign and White House staff, and has issued four indictments, with two guilty pleas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov however dismissed the reports Friday, saying Moscow had "never heard or seen anything about such allegations from the Dutch secret services". After all, Cozy Bear's attacks on the State Department and the White House were actively fought as soon as they became apparent. However, the news outlets reported that Dutch officials were angered by the unnamed sources in the Washington Post report as that may have compromised the Dutch team. The United States agencies were able to shut down the Russian attacks in 24 hours.

According to the Dutch, the Americans then helpfully told the media they were tipped off by a western intelligence agency, prompting the Russians to turn off the cozy bear CCTV hack.

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