The White House formally accuses Russian hackers of cyber-attacks that are interfering in the 2016 presidential elections. The U.S. government believes that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized such activities.
Intelligent officials concluded weeks ago that the Russian government was either conducting or leading cyber-attacks against the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, possibly with the objective to discredit liberal candidate Hillary Clinton.
Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence made the formal accusation. It came amidst growing pressures within the Federal institutions to publicly hold Moscow accountable for actions apparently aimed at disrupting U.S. presidential elections.
Although the investigation doesn’t say, it’s worth noting that the Republican nominee Donald Trump is an open admirer of Russian’s Vladimir Putin. He has said Obama should be as “strong” as Putin, while some U.S. medias have been suggesting both leaders maintain a close relationship.
Rising tensions between U.S. and Russia
A Kremlin spokesperson called the U.S. accusations “nonsense.” However, the incident flames the already unstable relationship between Obama administration and Moscow. Diplomacy is under stress over Russia’s actions in Syria, Ukraine, and cyberspace.
“EVERY DAY, PUTIN’S SITE GETS ATTACKED BY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF HACKERS. MANY OF THESE ATTACKS CAN BE TRACED TO U.S. TERRITORY. IT’S NOT AS THOUGH WE ACCUSE THE WHITE HOUSE OR LANGLEY OF DOING IT EACH TIME IT HAPPENS” said the Kremlin spokesman.
Members of Homeland Security committee said: “Russia must face serious consequences.” The institution urges President Obama to meet Russia with robust diplomatic, political, cyber and economic response.
What’s more, the results of the investigation arrived just a day after Russia warned U.S. government not to interfere with its military operations in Syria – on Twitter.
An online persona identified as “Guccifer 2.0” claimed responsibility for the hacked material
The joint statement of the U.S. federal institutions agrees that Guccifer 2.0 is consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.
The Democratic National Convention publicly disclosed the breach in June, saying its investigation pointed at Russian hackers working for Putin’s government. A major leak of DNC emails followed the remarks, some of them so embarrassing that they forced the resignation of the DNC chairwoman, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Other leaks of hacked material followed, including leaks of private emails, email addresses, and cell phone numbers of Democratic politicians and lawmakers.
The digital material appeared on WikiLeaks. On July, WikiLeaks revealed thousands of DNC emails that gave an unseen look behind the structure of the Democratic Party.