I have not has a chance to read the "report" on the hacking. From everything I have seen, it seems to say nothing about anything. I would not expect a whole lot of detail on methods and sources in a declassified report.
What did catch my attention was something snowden said recently about the sort of intel that the U.S. might have that would allow them to confirm that russia was involved.
Essentially, he said the U.S. can trace the route of any information, pretty much anywhere in the world, especially in retrospect.
I started thinking about what he meant by that, and it is really a pretty easy trick, if you got the computing horsepower and access.
It goes something like this.
The U.S. has observation points on the internet everywhere. They can see all data packets traversing everywhere, even if they can not read say encrypted data, they can still see it move from point A, to B, to C, and then a million copies to where ever. They create hashes of the data (mathematical sums or finger prints of what the data looks like). So, for example, the NSA (and everyone else too) seems to have access to yahoo networks. They have other monitoring points say in Russia, Ukrain, China, various trans-atlantic data cables, and so on. If the data passes one of those monitoring points, they hash it, and compare it to data seen at other points around the globe. This way, they don't even need to keep a copy of the data, they just need to track it. It is basically cookies for all data on the internet. It also keeps them from needing to keep multiple copies of the same data, once it is seen anywhere on the globe (saves money and computing resources). So, any time they want to know where a piece of data went, even if they don't know what was in the data specifically, they can map it's progress across the internet. This is what they are really talking about when they talk about "meta data". No one cares about the 5000 email addresses in your spam, and they don't need to keep a copy of all 5,000 emails. hash once and forget.
I do something similar in my own networks to keep from backing up the same data, over and over again. I am only interested in backing up data that has changed since the last copy was made.
So, it is completely plausible in my view that they can see that data went from say yahoo email, to the kremlin or russian goverment hackers, then back to say wikileaks. Since they know exactly what was in the data (what the email looked like), even modified versions are comparable.
In fact, it is such a common and well known I am a little baffled by why they simply did not release it to shut-up the critics. that they did not release it is almost more suspicious than them having that capability at all.
Spencer Global Chile: Legal, relocation, and Investment assistance in Chile.
For more information visit: https://www.spencerglobal.com
From USA and outside Chile dial 1-917-727-5985 (U.S.), in Chile dial 65 2 42 1024 or by cell 747 97974.