Back in July, I noted that Vladimir Putin started waxing about independent hackers’ “art” as it looked more and more likely that Yevgeniy Nikulin, the guy DOJ has accused of hacking Linked In and MySpace, among others, would be extradited to the US. Nikulin also made some news by alleging that back in February, the FBI Agent who had interrogated him in Prague had asked him about the election hack.
Now Nikulin has gone one better, writing to President Trump with his claim that he was asked to perjure himself by claiming credit for the DNC hack. (h/t ME)
Obviously, this might just be a ploy to garner attention and give Russia some ammunition to bolster their (thus far reportedly losing) claim that they should get custody of Nikulin for a minor hack rather than the US for a number of very major ones. It is a good way to get attention, especially given the way Trump keeps raising doubts about who hacked the DNC.
But it is actually not crazy to think Nikulin had a role in the DNC hack. One fairly credible alternative theory for the source of the DNC emails dealt to WikiLeaks is that someone used easily cracked credentials from Nikulin’s alleged breaches to obtain the email boxes of about 9 people at the DNC. If that were the case, it would raise the stakes for the logic behind the hacks Nikulin is alleged to have committed and the timing of the more public release of the stolen credentials.
In which case Nikulin’s appeal to Trump (who of course has shown zero interest in the plight of unjust DOJ claims for anyone else, even American citizens, since being elected) would be far more interesting — a way for Trump to personally intervene to prevent potentially damning information from landing in the hands of American prosecutors.
It’s the kind of thing that might come up in hour long conversations on the sidelines of meetings between Putin and Trump.