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FBI director says Guccifer admitted he lied about hacking Hillary Clinton’s email
Director James Comey says hacking attempts were made—but not by Guccifer.
Guccifer, real name Marcel Lehel Lazar, told Fox News and NBC News in May 2016 about his alleged hacking. Despite offering no proof, the claim caused a huge stir, including making headline news on some of America’s biggest publications.
FBI Director James Comey testified under oath before Congress on Thursday that Guccifer never hacked into Clinton’s servers and in fact admitted that he lied.
Following his extradition from Romania, Lazar is now in custody in Alexandria, Virginia, awaiting trial for hacking charges. He’s most famous for hacking former President George W. Bush and releasing Bush’s paintings.
Mainstream American media took Lazar’s word and plastered it across their most prominent outlets. The Daily Dot, along with numerous other security journalists, expressed grave doubt about the claims.
The testimony came while Comey was being questioned before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about his recent decision to not recommend criminal charges against former Secretary of State Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic nominee, or her staff for their use of a private email set-up and handling of classified material during Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.
That hearing was often contentious and confrontational.
Guccifer was brought up as a possible breach of security of Clinton’s email servers. Comey was not able to say definitively whether foreign governments hacked into those servers and accessed classified materials. He did, however, say that sophisticated hacking attempts against the server were made.
Guccifer’s tale appears to be a lie, however, that was promptly and largely uncritically promoted by American media on the wave of the 2016 presidential election.
Correction: Lazar is currently being imprisoned in Alexandria, Virginia, following his extradition from Romania. We regret the error.
Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.