Law firm Reed Smith has released a statement Wednesday saying its computer systems were not breached after special counsel Robert Mueller revealed that someone claiming to be a hacker had posted discovery materials provided to its client, a Russian company accused of funding a Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
A Twitter account called @HackingRedstone, created in October, posted a link allowing access to the nonsensitive discovery materials. The National Law Journal, Courthouse News Service, Politico, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have stories.
The documents appear to have been altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign intended to discredit the investigation by Mueller, according to a court filing by Mueller and his prosecutors.
The discovery materials were posted with irrelevant files. The tweet said the files were “all the files Mueller had” about Russian collusion and the indicted Russian troll farm allegedly funded by Reed Smith’s client, Concord Management and Consulting.
The tweet suggests the aim was to make it appear the online files were “the sum total evidence” gathered in the case, according to prosecutors.
There is no evidence that the files were hacked from government servers, prosecutors said.
Mueller’s office disclosed the online document release in a court document opposing a request by Concord to disclose sensitive discovery documents to its officers and employees. Concord’s request would allow it to share the information with others in Russia, including indicted co-conspirator Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian chef and businessman who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“This episode illustrates the danger of allowing sensitive discovery to be viewed and possessed by individuals who are beyond the jurisdiction of this court,” Mueller’s office wrote. A protective order in the case could not be enforced in Russia.
Concord officials could travel to the United States to view the sensitive documents, the government filing said. “Indeed, the government does not oppose such a review even by indicted officers and employees of Concord, as their appearance in the United States would allow them to stand trial.”
Reed Smith released this statement Wednesday to the National Law Journal: “Reed Smith and its lawyers have at all times complied with the protective order in this case. As such, no data was obtained via a breach of Reed Smith systems, and we are confident that Reed Smith systems have not been breached. We maintain the highest levels of security and protection for all of our systems and their contents.”