|Hey, have I warned you about the Dutch yet?|
In the Summer of 2015, Dutch intelligence services were the first to alert their American counterparts about the cyberintrusion of the Democratic National Committee by Cozy Bear, a hacking group believed to be tied to the Russian government. Intelligence hackers from Dutch AIVD (General Intelligence and Security Service) had penetrated the Cozy Bear computer servers as well as a security camera at the entrance of their working space, located in a university building adjacent to the Red Square in Moscow.
Over the course of a few months, they saw how the Russians penetrated several U.S. institutions, including the State Department, the White House, and the DNC. On all these occasions, the Dutch alerted the U.S. intelligence services, Dutch tv programme Nieuwsuur and de Volkskrant, a prominent newspaper in The Netherlands, jointly report on Thursday. This account is based on interviews with a dozen political, diplomatic and intelligence sources in The Netherlands and the U.S. with direct knowledge of the matter. None of them wanted to speak on the record, given the classified details of the matter.
Not only had Dutch intelligence penetrated the computer network of the hackers, they also managed to hack a security camera in the corridor. This allowed them to see exactly who entered the hacking room. Information about these individuals was shared with the US intelligence services. Dutch intelligence services consider Cozy Bear an extension of the SVR, the Russian foreign intelligence service, which is firmly controlled by President Putin.
The information the Dutch gathered ended up in the hands of Robert Mueller, so that is even more information that he has to work with.
Earlier reports only identified help from a "Western ally" but now the Dutch have come out to identify themselves as that ally.
But they also tell us this:
Last Sunday on Dutch television programme College Tour, Rob Bertholee, head of AIVD, said that he had no doubt that the Kremlin was directly responsible for the Russian cyber campaign against U.S. government agencies. Bertholee as well as Pieter Bindt, who was heading MIVD at the time, personally discussed the DNC matter with James Clapper, at the time overall head of the US intelligence services, and Michael Rogers, who is soon to retire as the head of the NSA.
As of now, the AIVD hackers do not seem to have access to Cozy Bear any longer. Sources suggest that the openness of US intelligence sources, who in 2017 praised the help of a Western ally in news stories, may have ruined their operation. The openness caused great anger in The Hague and Zoetermeer. In the television programme College Tour, this month, AIVD director Bertholee stated that he is extra careful when it comes to sharing intelligence with the U.S., now that Donald Trump is President.
This clearly suggests that the American intelligence agencies under Donald Trump were careless in revealing that the Dutch were involved, which led to their operation losing access to those Russian hackers, and has convinced our "western allies" that they can no longer trust the leader of our country with sensitive information.
It essentially implies that Trump is an agent for the Kremlin.