Bears continue to maul anti-dopers

Fancy Bear are continuing to target the western sports establishment, publishing a series of emails from inside the World Anti Doping Agency, illustrating a number of small allegedly scandalous details from inside the organisation.

 Fancy Bear have gone in to take another bite out of WADA (Paxson Woelber via wikimedia commons)
Fancy Bear have gone in to take another bite out of WADA (Paxson Woelber via wikimedia commons)
Fancy Bear says it is still sniffing out World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) officials. The group, now going by the slightly altered name of Fancy Bears' Hack Team, published a series of internal WADA emails on 22 November, claiming to expose WADA hypocrisy.

    

Fancy Bear's offering includes emails from both WADA and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). If they are legitimate, they will expose some controversial details about both organisations.

The alleged revelations involve correspondence that highlights doubts among agency leaders over the cleanliness of athletes' drug tests. One piece of correspondence floats the rumour of US athletes using cocaine to lose weight before competitions as “likely credible”.

WADA released a statement to press saying that “the criminal leak” shows us “nothing new and is once again part of a continued effort to discredit WADA and the broader anti-doping system. Furthermore, this activity is part of an attempt to distract from the real issue: the serious breaches to world anti-doping rules that were evidenced in the McLaren report.”

The Mclaren report, released in July 2016 accused the Russian Ministry of Sport of systematically allowing athletes to use performance enhancing drugs in order to gain an edge in international competitions.

This is the first time Fancy Bear has poked its head out of the woods and into the public eye since October, when the group published the supposed medical records of leading western athletes, claiming to expose the western sports establishment as not only drug addled, but corrupt too. Among the accused was Olympic gold-winning gymnast Simone Biles, who Fancy Bear accused of using amphetamines and methylphenidate, a psychostimulant.

It was widely believed that the publication of this information, taking into account the Mclaren report and the group's history of going after Russian rivals, left little doubt that the Russian government was behind the leak.

Mark James, security specialist at ESET told SC at the time that while data was stolen for a number of reasons, “this particular breach involved private medical info about athletes in the US, any breach is of course bad but when it comes to very personal info it can have far reaching effects and sadly once this info is released, it's out – there's no changing it or indeed un-reading it.”

While the attempts to embarrass Olympic athletes may be the groups most public operation to date, Fancy Bear have their paw prints all over the large headline-grabbing breaches of recent memory. The group, also known at Sofacy, Pawn storm and APT 28, has taken on a wide array of significant targets such as the German Parliament, French news channel TV5Monde, and even the White House.

Its most significant target in recent memory may well be its breach of the US Democratic Party's governing body, the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The ensuing leak of emails from inside the the DNC showed clear favouritism among the party's leadership for Hillary Clinton over her outsider rival, Bernie Sanders in the party's presidential primaries. The leak not only reinforced the accusation of elitist corruption within the party, but may have influenced the election in Donald Trump's favour.

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