Ukraine Wants Help from FBI in Burisma Hacking Case

The Ukrainian government has asked the FBI for help to investigate an alleged hacker attack against Burisma Holdings, on the same day the U.S. Senate officially began impeaching President Donald Trump, Reuters reported.

The impeachment investigation is closely related to previous government requests that Ukraine announces an investigation into the gas company.

Artem Minyailo, an official from the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, told reporters on Thursday that “the national police have initiated the creation of a joint international investigation team to which FBI officials have already been invited,” Reuters reported. He also announced that Ukraine would launch its own investigation into whether Trump employee Marie Yovanovitch had been monitoring during her time as U.S. Ambassador to Kyiv.

An FBI spokesman told Mother Jones that the agency had made no comment, “in line with our usual practice of neither confirming nor denying the existence of an investigation.”

The news comes a few days after Area 1 Security, a Silicon Valley company founded by former NSA computer experts, found evidence that the same group of Russian military hackers was filtering out emails from democratic activists as part of Russia’s 2016 election intervention efforts ongoing email phishing campaign against Burisma and its subsidiaries that dates back to early November.

The report described the ongoing campaign as “successful,” but no evidence was provided that data was available. Reuters cited an unnamed source near Burisma that “the company’s website has been subjected to several intrusion attempts in the past six months,” but refused to disclose further details. 

Email phishing campaigns aimed at companies are not particularly up to date, but the geopolitical context and timing of Area 1 report – just like impeachment procedures started again after a holiday break – caused an immediate sensation in the headlines.

Area 1 results were published on Monday by the New York Times, quoting an anonymous American official that the ongoing phishing campaign was parallel to the “parallel” efforts of Russian spies in Ukraine to collect information that could affect former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had previously been paid as a Burisma board member.