US Officially Accuses Russia Of Hacking the 2016 Presidential Election
The Obama administration on Friday officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.
The denunciation, made by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, came as pressure was growing from within the administration and some lawmakers to publicly name Moscow and hold it accountable for actions apparently aimed at sowing discord around the election.
“The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations,” said a joint statement from the two agencies. “. . . These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”
The public finger-pointing was welcomed by senior Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who also said they now expect the administration to move to punish the Kremlin as part of an effort to deter further acts by its hackers.
The White House has been mulling potential responses, such as economic sanctions, but no formal recommendation to the president has been made.
The DNC publicly disclosed the intrusions in June, saying its investigation determined that Russian government hackers were behind the breach. That was followed shortly after by a major leak of DNC emails, some so embarrassing that they forced the resignation of the DNC chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), on the eve of the Democratic National Convention.
The administration also blamed Moscow for the hack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the subsequent leak of private email addresses and cellphone numbers of Democratic lawmakers.
Other leaks of hacked material followed.