James Comey Reveals To Congress That Russian Hacking Attacks Began Earlier Than Many People Realized

Today is James Comey’s testimony in front of the Senate, and many are expecting a lot of public revelations. And even early on, Comey hasn’t disappointed, revealing that a seemingly minor incident nearly two years ago was actually a prelude to much larger problems.

In 2015, the FBI informed the DNC that at least one email system had been breached by “The Dukes,” a hacker group with ties to the Russian government. At the time, it was perceived as an annoyance; the Dukes attacked multiple unclassified government email system across several years. But it appears that it was the beginning of the 2016 leaks and disinformation campaign, although Comey was unable to elaborate beyond that date.

Comey’s revelation, that the timeline starts much earlier than previously though, raises a few questions about both the leaks and how the campaign might have evolved. The Dukes were doing what was basic intelligence gathering; everyone reads everyone else’s mail, in the world of spies. But this raises the question of how long this has been planned, and just what might have inspired this idea. Especially as one of the main questions in the Trump Russia investigation is how much contact occurred between the Trump campaign and the Russian government occurred, and when.