How Russian hacking has tied U.S. government in knots

CNN reports: Whatever Vladimir Putin’s goal is in a year-long campaign of apparent cyberattacks against the US political system, the Russian leader has accomplished this much: tying the US government in knots over what to do about it.

There’s debate in the Obama administration about how to respond to the hacks targeting Democratic Party organizations and increasing evidence that Russian hackers also were behind attacks on election registration websites.

FBI and Justice Department officials believe there’s strong evidence to warrant publicly naming Russia as responsible for the political organization attacks, law enforcement and intelligence officials briefed on the investigation say.

But there is opposition from US intelligence agencies and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who have cautioned about moving to “name and shame” Russia, in part because of concerns about Russian retaliation and the possible exposure of US intelligence operations, the routine spy work that the US carries out against Russia and other countries.

White House officials, meanwhile, are cautious for other reasons, administration officials say: the political overtones of making such an attribution against Russia weeks before the US presidential election. Some White House officials also believe the FBI and intelligence agencies have more work to do to show definitive links between Russian intelligence hackers, whom US investigators believe stole documents from the Democratic National Committee, and WikiLeaks, the organization that published the material the weekend before the Democratic Party’s convention. [Continue reading…]


Politico reports: House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul said that he “misspoke” Wednesday when he told CNN that Russian hackers had penetrated the computer systems of the Republican National Committee.

In a statement released shortly after his TV appearance ended, McCaul (R-Texas) said it was “Republican political operatives,” not the RNC, that had been hacked. The RNC also swiftly denied that its systems had been breached. [Continue reading…]

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