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Activist group publishes ‘hacked e-mails’ from Russia

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson - Airman 1st Class Matthew Simmons, 3rd Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress systems journeyman, reads his emails containing comments, critiques and requests by his Youtube subscribers at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Sept. 15, 2016. (A1C Christopher R. Morales/U.S. Air Force)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A self-described “transparency collective” has released a massive trove of hacked e-mails and leaked documents from what it describes as “Russian politicians, journalists, oligarchs, [and] religious, and social figures.”

The materials were published online on January 25 by a group calling itself Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDOS), which says it is “aimed at enabling the free transmission of data in the public interest.”

The co-founder of the group, U.S. journalist Emma Best, said the materials would include various archives of hacked and leaked materials related to Russia that have been difficult for researchers to locate, the Daily Beast reported on January 25.

The group’s website would bring together these materials into one location online, Best said.

A day before the release, Best, a transparency activist focusing on national-security matters, told RFE/RL that some of the documents slated for release had not “previously” been found by the group.

“The rest is rather obscure and largely unknown or forgotten,” Best said.

“We can’t certify that any portion of it has never been released, though,” Best added.

Numerous batches of private e-mails and documents from Russian officials and businessman have been published online in recent years, including those purportedly from the e-mail account of senior Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov.

Ukrainian hackers claimed responsibility for an alleged 2016 hack of Surkov’s e-mail account, the contents of which appeared to show his office’s involvement with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin at the time did not explicitly say that the contents of those materials were fraudulent but suggested they may have been forged.

DDOS said the documents it released on January 25 included materials from “nationalists,” “separatists,” and “terrorists” operating in Ukraine.