WASHINGTON — California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, vice chair of the House Select Intelligence Community, confirmed the committee’s probe into the breach of the Democratic National Committee’s servers will include why the DNC reportedly rebuffed the FBI when the agency asked for access to the organization’s servers over hack concerns
“Yes. We are going to look into what was the intelligence community and the FBI response to the Russian hack and that is how soon do we know that they were in the DNC, for example. What steps were taken? Were they adequate? Were they not adequate? What needs to be done in the future?” Schiff told The Daily Caller when asked if the committee would investigate the DNC’s not beef up its security following the FBI’s warning to do so.
According to an email statement given to Wired by a senior law enforcement official on Jan. 5, “The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated.”
The statement came one day after the DNC’s spokesman Eric Walker told Buzzfeed that the FBI never asked for access to the server.
“The DNC had several meetings with representatives of the FBI’s Cyber Division and its Washington (DC) Field Office, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and it responded to a variety of requests for cooperation, but the FBI never requested access to the DNC’s computer servers,” Walker said in an email statement to Buzzfeed on Jan. 4.
Walker told Buzzfeed at the time the FBI relied on data it collected from Crowdstrike, which the FBI official later alluded to Wired was true, but that the lack of access to the actual server itself “left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.”
Then President-elect Donald Trump questioned on Jan. 5 why Democrats were so sure that they were hacked if the FBI had not been allowed to look at their server.
So how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
Walker, whose emails were stolen and later sent out following the cyberattack, said in his statement that the DNC “at the time the intrusion was discovered by the DNC, the DNC cooperated fully with the FBI and its investigation, providing access to all of the information uncovered by CrowdStrike — without any limits.”
Schiff also warned that his committee just began their probe and no one should “prejudge at this point whether there were contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia either directly or indirectly through cutouts with business people or any other way.”
He later added, “The most that we’ve had are private conversations, the chair and I, with intelligence officials. That’s not a substitute for an investigation.”
California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the committee chairman, spoke earlier to reporters and said that calls for a special prosecutor to investigate the case seemed “almost like McCarthyism” to him.
“At this point we can’t go on a witch hunt against any American people…just because they appeared in a news story,” Nunes said.