Emails belonging to a senior US State Department intelligence official involved in Russian affairs have been leaked, Foreign Policy (FP) reports. The official is said to have been particularly interested in Russian media and government reshuffling.
A hacker known as ‘Johnnie Walker’ leaked a batch of private correspondence of a US State Department intelligence official, whose work is focused on Russian domestic affairs, according to FP, citing the emails.
The emails, from a hacked nongovernmental account over a two-year period, were sent to “an unknown number of recipients,” the outlet – which reported on the story initially – notes. There is, however, no information on who exactly was among the recipients.
Although the leaks were received on Tuesday, according to the magazine, they did not gain widespread attention until Friday.
In a letter announcing the alleged hacking, Johnnie Walker said that the leak would provide evidence for establishing what was called “agenda formation in many countries worldwide, especially where the situation is insecure.”
The sender also reportedly claimed that the US State Department official was in contact with various intelligence agencies, including the CIA, as well as “mainstream media, NGOs, and international funds.”
Although the alleged hacking victim holds “a senior position in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research” and his name is public, according to FP, the outlet did not disclose the name, citing a request from the state department, which has so far neither confirmed nor denied the hack.
The alleged leaked correspondence was released online on Pastebin. Its authenticity remains unclear. The description to the three archives available for download also adds the name of the alleged agent.
Although the hacker’s nickname is not mentioned on Pastebin, some quotes from the description to the files partly coincide with those cited by FP.
“Perhaps you know that the U.S. State Department has a direct bearing on the agenda formation not only at home but throughout the world. Now you can make sure it’s true,” the description says.
The alleged hacker said he had “deleted his [the US State Department official] correspondence with his wife and relatives” due to “the respect for privacy.” A trove of internal documents of then-French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron was released on the same website just two days before the final round of the election.
Apart from the name of the hacker’s target, the content of the letters has not been published in the Western media. Russian newspaper Kommersant, however, claims it has access to the files.
The newspaper says that the intelligence official sent his colleagues links to articles from different Russian news outlets, including Novaya Gazeta, The New Times, Vedomosti, and RBK, among others.
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Topics of the official’s particular interest were social media accounts of Russian officials, staff re-shuffling in governmental bodies, and the influence of some state officials, according to Kommersant.
The report also notes that it is unclear if it was a single leak or only one in a series of hacking attacks.