Clinton campaign said to be hacked, apparently by Russians

The New York Times reports: Computer systems used by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign were hacked in an attack that appears to have come from Russia’s intelligence services, a federal law enforcement official said on Friday.

The apparent breach, coming after the disclosure last month that the Democratic National Committee’s computer system had been compromised, escalates an international episode in which Clinton campaign officials have suggested that Russia might be trying to sway the outcome of the election.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said in a statement that intruders had gained access to an analytics program used by the campaign and maintained by the national committee, but it said that it did not believe that the campaign’s own internal computer systems had been compromised.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, also said on Friday that its systems had been hacked. Together, the databases of the national committee and the House organization contain some of the party’s most sensitive communications and voter and financial data.

Meredith Kelly, a spokeswoman for the congressional committee, said that after it discovered the breach, “we immediately took action and engaged with CrowdStrike, a leading forensic investigator, to assist us in addressing this incident.”

The attack on the congressional committee’s system appears to have come from an entity known as “Fancy Bear,” which is connected to the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence service, according to an official involved in the forensic investigation. [Continue reading…]

Reuters reports: Several U.S. officials said the Obama administration has avoided publicly attributing the attacks to Russia as that might undermine Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort to win Russian cooperation in the war on Islamic State in Syria.

The officials said the administration fears Russian President Vladimir Putin might respond to a public move by escalating cyber attacks on U.S. targets, increasing military harassment of U.S. and allied aircraft and warships in the Baltic and Black Seas, and making more aggressive moves in Eastern Europe.

Some officials question the approach, arguing that responding more forcefully to Russia would be more effective than remaining silent.

The Obama administration announced in an April 2015 executive order that it could apply economic sanctions in response to cyber attacks. [Continue reading…]

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Comments

  1. rosemerry says:

    This assumption that Russia is the culprit, when Wikileaks released the emails AFTER the known hacking by Russia (and others-“easy” said Assange) is just a continuation of the persistent anti-Russian comments and actions by the US establishment and, of course, the NYT.

  2. Paul Woodward says:

    Of course it looks like simply an assumption that Russia is the culprit if one skirts over the details of the reporting. In reality, the accusation comes from security experts studying a trail of evidence found in IPs, hacking tradecraft, and other sources.

    When it comes to cyberattacks or any other event where it turns out there was indeed a rush to judgement, then as non-confirming evidence emerges, the people who misjudged what happened will generally walk back from their initial claims. In this case in due course that might happen — maybe a couple of weeks from now there will be increased skepticism around the conclusion that Russia instigated these attacks.

    So far, however, far from anyone walking back any of their claims, the opposite appears to be happening: a growing body of evidence that Russia launched a multi-pronged attack on the Democratic Party, gathering material that it fed to Wikileaks.

    Note that Assange claims that the Russian angle on this story is simply a diversion from the real story: that the DNC favored Clinton. But seriously, anyone who didn’t already know that must have been comatose for the last couple of years.

    The part of this story that is indeed speculative is to assume that Putin wants Trump to become president. Russia’s goal might not be that specific. It’s primary aim might be to be disruptive and to weaken the power of the next president by undermining public perceptions of the legitimacy of the election process.

    Personally, I think that outcome wouldn’t simply be bad for the next president; it would be bad for democracy. And anyone who thinks that democracy in the U.S. is so deeply flawed that there’s nothing about it that’s worth defending, should try living in a country where political dissidents get imprisoned or disappear.

    From what I’ve observed, anti-Western cynicism is mostly an indulgence for individuals who take their own liberty for granted.