The Daily Beast is reporting that the supposedly independent hacker who went under the name “Guccifer 2.0,” was actually “an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU).” The whole Guccifer persona was created soon after Russia was identified as the force behind the thefts of DNC data in an attempt to provide cover to the state-sponsored actions.
Guccifer famously pretended to be a “lone hacker” who perpetrated the digital DNC break-in. From the outset, few believed it. … Based on forensic clues in some of Guccifer’s leaks, and other evidence, a consensus quickly formed among security experts that Guccifer was completely notional.
But while it was obvious to anyone who spent a moment looking into the affair, some Republicans were too anxious to get at the stolen goods to be bothered by who had done the stealing. In Florida,, Republican consultant Aaron Nevins jumped right in and offered to help Guccifer.
Learning that hacker “Guccifer 2.0” had tapped into a Democratic committee that helps House candidates, Mr. Nevins wrote to the hacker to say: “Feel free to send any Florida based information.”
Note that at this point, Nevins knows the information is stolen. But that doesn’t slow him down at all. And Nevins doesn’t just accept the information. Doesn’t just look through it to see what’s been found. He actively talks back and forth with the Russian intelligence officer, pointing out to him the most valuable items in the massive theft.
That included helping Russian intelligence identify Democratic voter turnout models. And it included sending the whole analysis to Trump adviser, Roger Stone.
Nevins was not a political outsider or amateur. He also didn’t keep his communications with Guccifer a secret. Far from it. Instead he shared his analysis with other consultants and with Republican campaigns.
Nevins, 36, is well known in political circles in South Florida. He has two companies, Chelsea Road Consulting and Painted Dog Productions. Nevins was the chief of staff for Ellyn Bogdanoff when she was a Republican state senator and state representatives. He is also the son of former Sun Sentinel political columnist Buddy Nevins.
He worked through the documents that Guccifer sent his way, talking to the Russians as he went, providing commentary on the relative value of different documents, complaining when things were out of date, encouraging the Russians to send more.
There was all sorts of information, including analyses of data about places and kinds of people that Democrats figured were their biggest sources of voters who could be persuaded to vote their way. And there was also research that revealed what the Democrats saw as vulnerabilities of their own candidates.
When Nevins found this voter analysis, he realized he had a treasure trove. It explained everything from the Democratic get out the vote plan, to the raw numbers from Democratic internal polls. So Nevins did what any Trump-supporting American would do when discussing stolen documents with a Russian intelligence officer.
More impressed after studying the voter-turnout models, Mr. Nevins told the hacker, “Basically if this was a war, this is the map to where all the troops are deployed.”
At another point, he told the hacker, “This is probably worth millions of dollars.”
That Nevins was likely dealing with Russian intelligence to help them defeat an American candidate may be confirmed now, but Nevins suspected it even then. After all, he certainly knew that he was helping a thief with stolen data. He wasn’t going to stop a little thing like aiding and abetting a foreign intelligence agency in corrupting an American election get in his way.
He isn’t convinced the Russians were behind it, Mr. Nevins said, but even if they were, it doesn’t matter to him because the agenda of the hackers seemed to match his own.
“If your interests align,” he said, “never shut any doors in politics.”
Nevins wrote up a report on what he saw in Guccifer’s information and posted it on his blog. The Russians liked his analysis so much, that they sent along a link — when they sent the whole thing to Roger Stone. Nevins sent the information to other Republican officials, and his analysis was used to provide an edge for Republicans in Florida.
Aaron Nevins was one of the witnesses that Adam Schiff had asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Republicans blocked his appearance.
If you want a definitive example of what conspiracy to defraud the United States by engaging in political activity with a foreign national without first registering with the Attorney General for the purpose of imposing undue foreign influence on a US election — otherwise known as colluding with the Russians — it would hard to be more blatant than Aaron Nevins.