There has been an apparent breakthrough related to the hack of the Democratic National Committee. TheatConnect, a collection of cyber-security experts, has uncovered evidence indicating that Guccifer 2.0, the alleged Romanian hacker, is actually a propaganda effort created by the Russian government.

If you haven’t been paying much attention to this story, you might want to start here. Essentially there is technical evidence suggesting Russia is behind the DNC hack. However, one day after initial conclusions were announced (that Russia was responsible) a hacker calling himself Guccifer 2.0 appeared online and claimed responsibility for the hack. Here’s what I wrote about Guccifer 2.0 yesterday:

And that’s really the question. Is Guccifer 2.0 really an independent Romanian hacker or just a distraction created by government backed Russian hackers as a way to politically launder this material. The Clinton camp thinks the answer is the latter and they may be right.

According to ThreatConnect, their investigation points to Guccifer 2.0 being Russian propaganda:

As we pointed out in our previous analysis, we conclude Guccifer 2.0 is an apparition created under a hasty Russian D&D campaign, which has clearly evolved into an Active Measures Campaign. Those who are operating under the Guccifer 2.0 Twitter, WordPress and Email communications are likely made up a cadre of non-technical politruk attempting to establish “Guccifer 2.0” as a static fixture on the world stage along the likes of Manning, Assange or Snowden. Their use of Russian VPN services with French infrastructure may shed light on a method Russian intelligence operatives use — domestic services coupled with foreign infrastructure — to help hide their hand and deter any potential attribution to Russia…

Our research into Guccifer 2.0’s infrastructure further solidifies our assessment that the persona is a Russia-controlled platform that can act as a censored hacktivist. Moscow determines what Guccifer 2.0 shares and thus can attempt to selectively impact media coverage, and potentially the election, in a way that ultimately benefits their national objectives.

The Hill notes Guccifer 2.0 (or whoever is pretending to be him) has previously claimed not to speak any Russian, which makes it very difficult to explain how he signed up for Russian VPN services:

Guccifer 2.0 has long claimed to be Romanian. In an online chat interview with Motherboard, Guccifer 2.0 claimed not to know how to speak Russian. In it, Motherboard asked a question in Russian, and Guccifer replied “What’s this? Is it russian?”…

In the same interview, when forced to answered questions in Romanian, he used such clunky grammar and terminology that experts believed he was using an online translator.

If you’re wondering why Russia would go through all this trouble to meddle in a U.S. election, I discussed one possible explanation here.