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Reports of alleged U.S. Army raid on German server may stem from separate incident, say experts

"There's some cross-information about what happened and where," one intelligence official said.

Published: November 17, 2020 9:09pm

Updated: November 18, 2020 8:43am

Reports that the U.S. military recently seized computer servers in Germany for evidence of election fraud likely pertain to an earlier raid by German authorities over a different issue involving hacked police files, U.S. security sources said.

"There's some cross-information about what happened and where," an intelligence official with expertise in cyber operations told Just the News. "Verified reports about one incident probably got conflated with speculation about another."

The "verified reports" involve a July raid on a German server that hosted sensitive, hacked files from U.S. law enforcement agencies, authorities said. The files reportedly were accessed over the summer, in the course of a Houston data breach.

In that incident, known as "BlueLeaks," a group calling itself Distributed Denial of Secrets [DDoS] reportedly used a German computer server to share sensitive U.S. police material. The material, culled from more than 200 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, spanned nearly 25 years. It included audio and video files, along with the names, personal phone numbers, and emails of law enforcement officers throughout the United States.

Prosecutors in the Saxony region of Germany seized the DDoS server in July.

"Due to a U.S. request for preliminary security in the context of international mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, the Zwickau public prosecutor secured a server in a data center in Falkenstein (Vogtland) on July 3, 2020, which can be assumed to have been accessed by people on the Internet under the name Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDosecrets)," German prosecutors reportedly said.

The DDoS raid likely is what fueled social media reports that the U.S. Army raided Scytl in Germany and seized computer servers allegedly used to throw the U.S. election, three government security experts told Just the News. And yet, those experts acknowledged, public information about Scytl raises questions about the company's wide reach into computer and election systems around the world. Among those are systems connected to U.S. security. 

In a 2015 lawsuit asking that Scytl be held liable for unpaid wages from a dissolved company it assumed, court documents viewed by Just the News list the U.S. Department of Defense as a Scytl client.

The DOD continues to use Scytl, the company's current website claims, "to provide a secure online ballot delivery and onscreen marking systems under a program to support overseas military and civilian voters for the 2010 election cycle and beyond."

Other U.S. government clients include U.S. Elections, the state of Alaska, and the South Carolina Election Commission. International clients include the European Union, the French Ministry of the Interior, and a social media platform based in the Russian Federation.

The company denies reports and rumors of wrongdoing.

"The US army has not seized anything from Scytl in Barcelona, Frankfurt or anywhere else," the company states amid other declarations on its website. The company does not say whether its property was captured by any other entities besides the U.S. Army — leading one security expert to observe that "it's not unreasonable" to ask whether a raid did in fact take place.  

Neither the Pentagon nor the State Department immediately responded to questions from Just the News.

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