Hacking initiative Wikileaks has said it is “skeptical” that the large cache of data hacked from French Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign includes faked material.
Via: Dona Rachel Edmunds
Macron’s En Marche movement confirmed that some of the material was genuine, but in a statement insisted that faked material had been included to “seed doubt and disinformation.”
Yet they were unable to point to specific faked documents, and the claim has now been challenged by Wikileaks.
Commenting on Twitter, the organisation called the cache a “significant leak” Adding: “It is not economically feasible to fabricate the whole. We are now checking parts.”
Three hours later they added: “We have not yet discovered fakes in #MacronLeaks & we are very skeptical that the Macron campaign is faster than us.”
However, they questioned the timing of the leaks, pointing out that Macron is still comfortably ahead in the polls. The late timing of the release, they suggested, means the information will have little impact on the final result.
#MacronLeaks assessment update: This massive leak is too late to shift the election. The intent behind the timing is curious.
Why #MacronLeaks will not change French election. Macron has a 13 point advantage and French media pre-poll blackout has already started.
They speculated whether the dump, which includes material dating as recently as 27th April, might have been released to frame Russia:
Alleged multi-GB team Macron email archives. Could be a 4chan practical joke. We are examining https://archive.is/eQtrm
Who benefits? Timing of alleged dump is too late to hit vote but will surely be used to boost hostility to Russia & intelligence spending.
Former Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon tweeted on Friday evening: “Putin is waging war against Western democracies and our President is on the wrong side”, linking to Reuters coverage of the Macron leaks.
Linking to the same article, former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook tweeted in a similar vein: “For those who thought Russia was dialing back.. Macron’s French presidential campaign emails leaked online.”
Meanwhile Vitali Kremez, director of research with New York-based cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint, told Reuters that he had already tied the leaks to APT 28, a group with links to the Russian military intelligence directorate GRU, citing similarities with US election hacks also attributed to the group.
Last month APT 28 registered decoy internet addresses to mimic En Marche, including onedrive-en-marche.fr and mail-en-marche.fr, he said, speculating that the domains were used to send tainted emails to the legitimate campaign.
“If indeed driven by Moscow, this leak appears to be a significant escalation over the previous Russian operations aimed at the U.S. presidential election, expanding the approach and scope of effort from simple espionage efforts towards more direct attempts to sway the outcome,” Mr Kremez said.
The Macron campaign has grown increasingly hostile to Russia as the Presidential race has progressed, culminating, on Friday April 28, in the campaign pulling accreditation for Russian state funded RT television (formerly Russia Today) and media outlet Sputnik.
A spokesman for En Marche said that other Russian outlets had been accredited, but that RT and Sputnik were considered “alternative media” that produce “propaganda.”
Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of RT and Sputnik retaliated: “We’re sick of their lying. We’re going to sue.”