“Guccifer,” the Romanian hacker who broke into Sydney Blumenthal’s email server in March of 2013, claimed in an interview with Catherine Herridge of Fox News that he has already been interviewed by the FBI. Marcel Lehel Lazar, aka “Guccifer,” made his first court appearance after being extradited to the United State on April 1. Lazar was charged in a nine-count indictment that includes three counts of gaining unauthorized access to protected computers. Fox News reported earlier this week that Lazar also claims to have easily – and repeatedly – hacked into Clinton’s personal email server in 2013. Law enforcement sources, however, subsequently told CNN and Fox News that investigators found “no sign” that the notorious hacker breached Clinton’s server.
Lazar claimed in the latest interview with Fox that he spoke with the FBI at length on the plane when extradited from Romania to Virginia last month. Fox News has learned that a second meeting between Lazar and the FBI was expected as early as this week to discuss some “hot data” that he came across (that apparently doesn’t involve Clinton).
“They came after me, a guy from the FBI, from the State Department,” 44-year-old Marcel Lehel Lazar, who goes by the moniker “Guccifer,” told Fox News during a jailhouse phone interview. He said the conversation was “80 minutes … recorded,” and he took his own notes.
A government source confirmed that the hacker had a lot to say on the plane but provided no other details. Lazar was flown to the U.S. to face separate cyber-crime charges.
In addition to the apparent conversation with the FBI on the plane, Fox News has learned a meeting was expected as early as this week at the Alexandria, Va., detention center where he’s being held involving Guccifer, the FBI, the U.S. attorney and the defendant’s court-appointed lawyer.
These officials have not commented on his clams or detention.
An intelligence source close to the investigation, speaking with Fox News last month, questioned the timing of Lazar’s extradition to the U.S., coming amid the Clinton email probe. As for what was discussed on that plane, Lazar said he told a State Department representative on the plane about “hot” data, some of which was hidden in Google drives, and other data that was too sensitive and deleted. The hacker, who offered no proof for his claims, said cryptically that he could not say more.
“I can’t tell [you] now. I can’t tell because I want to talk to the FBI. It is a matter of national security. Yeah,” he said. Pressed by Fox News, Lazar seemed to indicate the data was not connected to the ongoing FBI criminal probe of Clinton’s server.
Fox News recently met with Lazar in the secure visitor center in Alexandria, then followed up with a series of phone calls which he gave permission to be recorded. Separated by reinforced glass, Lazar was polite and methodical as he explained how he allegedly accessed the Clinton server in early 2013, by using her longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal’s AOL account as a stepping stone.
Fox News was first to report the hacker’s claims of accessing the Clinton server, which he said “was easy.”
Lazar said he got into the Blumenthal account by correctly guessing his security question, after doing extensive research on the web. He said his hacking always followed a “four step process”: identify the target, do extensive web research on the target, access the target’s account to harvest data, and send it out to the media.
Lazar said he was puzzled by the American media. He said he sent the Blumenthal emails, which is how the Clintonemail.com account first came to light, to many large news organizations in 2013, and it was The Smoking Gun that picked it up.
While anonymous sources have told Fox News that “a review of the Clinton hard drives does not appear to indicate a breach,” cybersecurity experts “warned that Clinton IT specialist Bryan Pagliano was the server’s administrator and not principally a cybersecurity specialist – and may not have installed an adequate detection system for a Cabinet secretary’s email.”“If you have a bank and you have one video camera when you need 20, then you missed it,” cybersecurity expert Morgan Wright said. “If they weren’t capturing all the activity, their security logs may say they didn’t see anything.”
Bob Gourley, another cyber specialist, told Fox that there will “always be uncertainty and ambiguity” with hackers like Guccifer. But he added: “One thing I would say with certainty however — if this computer were in a well-managed facility, where everything was being monitored and watched, we would have more information and ground truth.”
U.S. officials say the FBI has not yet found evidence to prove that Clinton willfully violated the law, but as Herridge notes in her Fox News report, under the Espionage Act, “the standard is actually gross negligence, and intent is not required.”