Shawn Henry as a former assistant director of the of the FBI's cyper crimes unit promoted by Robert Mueller, who then left the FBI in 2012 to become a top executive for CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the hack of its email system in early 2016.
During a technology conference in March 2016, CrowdStrike hosted a cyber “war game” with Obama administration officials: “Four teams of ten people met for two hours to play the game,” according to an October 2016 profile in Esquire. “[National Security Division chief] John Carlin; Chris Painter…at the State Department; and Chris Inglis, the former deputy director of the NSA, were all part of the government team. A former member of GCHQ, the British intelligence organization, was on the international team. Ash Carter, the defense secretary, arrived halfway through and asked to play, but the game was already under way.”
Russia hacking hoax
On April 28, 2016 DNC CEO Amy Dacy informed Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann of a data breach. Sussmann contacted Henry. The next day the DNC claimed to have been "tipped-off" that the hacking was by Russians.
CrowdStrike’s June 2016 assessment of a Russian hack remains the sole source of evidence of the claim. The FBI, nor any other U.S. law enforcement of intelligence agency, ever verified the claim. Later, it was used to bolster the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.
According to reporting by Michael Tracey, CrowdStrike had a contract with the FBI for $150,000 between July 2015 and July 2016 for unknown services.
Before Obama’s intelligence officials released a statement on October 7 that blamed the Russians for the DNC email breach, according to the Esquire article, Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder, was given a heads-up.
- “Alperovitch got a phone call from a senior government official alerting him that a statement identifying Russia as the sponsor of the DNC attack would soon be released. Once again, Alperovitch was thanked for pushing the government along.”
The statement, issued by Obama’s Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper one month before Election Day, lifted some of the wording from CrowdStrike’s report on the alleged DNC hack. No federal agency was ever allowed access to the DNC email servers; all allegations of Russian hacking came directly from CrowdStrike.
In March 2017, Henry participated in a forum to discuss the DNC "Russian hacking” hoax. The panel also featured former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and Marc Elias, the general partner at Perkins Coie. Perkins Coie’s also was the firm that hired Fusion GPS — who in turn hired Christopher Steele to author to author the Steele dossier — on behalf of the 2016 Clinton campaign and the DNC around the same time Perkins retained CrowdStrike. According to disclosure reports, the DNC paid Perkins Coie $7.2 million during the 2016 election cycle: The PAC also paid CrowdStrike more than $400,000 during the same time period.
In testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), Henry admitted under oath Crowdstrike had no evidence that Russians hacked the DNC:
Ranking Member Mr. [Adam] Schiff: Do you know the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC? … when would that have been?
Mr. Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have no indicators that it was exfiltrated (sic). … There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.
Mr. [Chris] Stewart of Utah: Okay. What about the emails that everyone is so, you know, knowledgeable of? Were there also indicators that they were prepared but not evidence that they actually were exfiltrated?
Mr. Henry: There’s not evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. There’s circumstantial evidence … but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. …
Mr. Stewart: But you have a much lower degree of confidence that this data actually left than you do, for example, that the Russians were the ones who breached the security?
Mr. Henry: There is circumstantial evidence that that data was exfiltrated off the network.
Mr. Stewart: And circumstantial is less sure than the other evidence you’ve indicated. …Mr. Henry: “We didn’t have a sensor in place that saw data leave. We said that the data left based on the circumstantial evidence. That was the conclusion that we made.
In answer to a follow-up query on this line of questioning, Henry delivered this classic: “Sir, I was just trying to be factually accurate, that we didn’t see the data leave, but we believe it left, based on what we saw.”
As of October 2019, the DNC paid CrowdStrike nearly $80,000 for the year.
MSNBC and the Kavanaugh smear
During the Kavanaugh smear, Henry was presented to MSNBC's audience as a “national security analyst.” Henry told viewers, “This is not...an investigation about the sexual allegations, I think it really has moved toward credibility. At this point now, there are very clear allegations, and subsequent to the judge’s testimony, people have come out who appear to be credible who...appear to be contradicting his testimony sworn before the United States Senate.”