The Dutch intelligence service passed on “crucial evidence” to the FBI about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant reported Friday, citing the results of an investigation. Hackers from the Dutch intelligence service known as the AIVD gained access to the network of Russian hacking group “Cozy Bear” in the summer of 2014. While monitoring the group’s activities, the AIVD learned of attacks launched on the Democratic Party, according to six unidentified American and Dutch sources cited by the investigation. The information provided by the Dutch gave grounds for the FBI to start an investigation into the influence of Russian interference on the election race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, according to the newspaper report based on a collaborative investigation with Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal, a journalist at Dutch news program Nieuwsuur. A spokeswoman for the AIVD declined to comment on the report when contacted by phone on Friday.
Russia didn’t hear any statement from Dutch special services in this case, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin, told reporters on a conference call.
A Jan. 6, 2017 report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, based on an assessment by the CIA, FBI and NSA, said that the U.S. had “high confidence” that Putin had ordered “an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” The Kremlin “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting” Clinton, the report said.