Russians Also Reportedly Hacked RNC Computers, But Didn’t Release Data

 
 

Senate Democratic Leader Calls For Congressional Investigation

American intelligence agencies have determined that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee's computer systems this spring, but didn't release the data, according to a report in The New York Times. 

This determination served as the basis for the agencies' finding, first reported Friday by The Washington Post, that Russia intervened in the election with the goal of helping Donald Trump win.  

People with connections to the Russian government are believed to have provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, which were released in the run-up to Nov. 8.   

"One senior government official, who had been briefed on an F.B.I. investigation into the matter, said that while there were attempts to penetrate the Republican committee’s systems, they were not successful," the NYT reports. "But the intelligence agencies’ conclusions that the hacking efforts were successful, which have been presented to President Obama and other senior officials, add a complex wrinkle to the question of what the Kremlin’s evolving objectives were in intervening in the American presidential election." 

A senior official told the NYT that the Obama administration has "high confidence that [the Russians] hacked the D.N.C. and the R.N.C., and conspicuously released no documents" from the RNC.

Obama has ordered a complete review of the cyber attacks targeting the 2016 presidential election, and directed that it be complete before he leaves office. 

Trump's transition team responded to Friday's bombshell report by mocking American intelligence officials, calling them "the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction." 

On Saturday, incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called for a full bipartisan congressional investigation. 

Schumer said the idea that Russia “could be meddling in our elections should shake both political parties to their core.”

“Reports of the CIA’s conclusion that Russia actively sought to help elect Donald Trump are simultaneously stunning and not surprising, given Russia’s disdain for democracy and admiration for autocracy,” Schumer said in a statement. "It’s imperative that our intelligence community turns over any relevant information so that Congress can conduct a full investigation." 

Meanwhile, a top Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn, downplayed the Russian hacking, saying it "has been going on for years" and is "serious, but hardly news." 

In a related development, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is now the leading candidate to become Trump's secretary of state. 

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