FBI director: Russian hackers broke into state GOP campaigns

FBI Director James Comey (Flickr / Brookings Institution)


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State level republican campaigns and political organizations were the target of Russian hacking operations, FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday during a Senate hearing.

“They were successful in penetrating some groups and campaigns, particularly at the state level, on the Republican side of the aisle. And some limited penetration of old Republican National Committee domains … [that] were no longer in use,” testified Comey at a hearing held by the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Although investigators found that current RNC domains were not penetrated by Russian spies, phishing emails hit outdated email services once used by the organization, explained Comey.

Last week, incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said that the RNC had not been hacked.

“We contacted the FBI months ago when the DNC issue came about … They’ve reviewed all of our systems. We have hacking detection systems in place. And the conclusion was then, as it was again two days ago, when we went back to the FBI to ask them about this, that the RNC was not hacked,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Tuesday’s hearing follows last week’s publication of a historic, declassified intelligence report that focused on the scope and impact of recent Russian influence operations on the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in the report that Russian hackers, under the direction of Vladimir Putin, acted to denigrate Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s electability.

“We did not receive any information that the Trump campaign or current RNC was successfully hacked,” Comey said.

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election security, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), James Comey, political campaigns, Republicans (GOP), Russian hackers