The Netherlands AIVD’s access to the Russian hackers’ networks yielded “crucial evidence” of Russian involvement in the Democratic leaks.

Image: AIVD

When hackers operating next to Moscow’s Red Square launched an attack against the Democratic Party in 2015, someone was watching. And that someone, according to new reports, was the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD).

Netherlands newspaper de Volkskrant and the public broadcaster NOS reported on Thursday evening that AIVD hackers had penetrated the Russian operation back in the summer of 2014.

The Russian operation was what security researchers at CrowdStrike would later dub Cozy Bear, which, along with a separate group called Fancy Bear, emerged as the prime suspects for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

The emails covered communications spanning 2015 and the early months of 2016 and — when they appeared on a site called DCLeaks and on Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks in mid-2016 — they greatly embarrassed the Democrats at a crucial time in the campaign.

Apart from reams of sensitive personal information, the emails demonstrated that the DNC had clearly favored the candidacy of Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries, and had undermined Bernie Sanders’ bid to take on the Republicans from the left.

According to the new reports, the AIVD’s access to the Russian hackers’ networks yielded “crucial evidence” of…