The DNC email leak that took down Debbie Wasserman Schultz is widely believed to have been instigated by hackers working for Russian intelligence. Now, FBI reportedly believes the Hillary Clinton campaign may have been hacked weeks before the DNC was. (And earlier today, news also broke that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was hacked too.)
On Friday afternoon, Reuters first reported this hacking “as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations.” Although the FBI — at the time — had not yet commented on this particular development, Reuters’ sources claimed the U.S. Department of Justice was looking into whether the hacking threatened national security. And the sources also say the Obama administration believes the hacking was “state sponsored” but didn’t involve Clinton’s private email server, which hails back to her Secretary of State days.
The New York Times updates the incident, which “appears to have come from Russia’s intelligence services,” according to an anonymous federal officer. The paper also spoke with the FBI, which acknowledges that it’s looking into such a reported hacking but declined to specify the target: “[We are] aware of media reporting on cyberintrusions involving multiple political entities, and [are] working to determine the accuracy, nature and scope of these matters.”
And according to Yahoo News, there may have been warnings beforehand. Last year, the FBI reportedly met with campaign officials at the Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y., which raised concerns that someone tried to hack their computers using phishing emails. They had asked the campaign to turn over internal computer logs and senior campaign officials’ personal email addresses, but the campaign refused, saying that the request was “too broad and intrusive.” Yahoo cites an anonymous source who says that the campaign was already aware of the attempted attack, and that they had taken steps to prevent them from succeeding, and that there was no evidence that they were able to hack the computers in question.
As for whether the U.S. government can prove that Russia is behind these recent attacks, the Director of U.S. Intelligence said on Thursday that investigators weren’t “quite ready yet” to go public with who was behind the cyberattack. He also said that there isn’t enough information to assign a motive to the hackers. Last but not least, he downplayed speculation that it was Russia, saying that many intelligence agencies would do something like this.