Aidan Quigley Newsweek
Russian Military Intelligence attempted to cyberattack a U.S. voting software supplier and more than 100 local election officials in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election, The Intercept reported Monday.
According to an NSA document acquired by the Intercept, Russian Military Intelligence cyberattacked a U.S. voting software supplier, using information gained in that attack to “launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.”
The NSA document did not reach a conclusion on if the interference had any impact on the outcome of the election. While there’s no indication in the report that voting machines or the result of the election was tampered with, it is the first report of its type that raises serious questions that Russian hackers attempted to breach the voting system.
The report comes amid the growing scandal regarding investigations into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian attempts to influence the result of the election. Although the intelligence community has reached the conclusion that Russia did try to influence the results of the election in Trump’s favor, the president has called the ongoing investigation a “witch hunt.”
It also comes days before former FBI Director James Comey’s highly anticipated congressional testimony, scheduled for Thursday. Comey was fired by the president in May and his testimony is expected to center around his interactions with the president and memos he reportedly wrote after discussions with the president. According to media reports, Trump told Comey that he hoped Comey would drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has widely mocked questions when asked if Russia attempted to influence the election. Putin told NBC’s Megyn Kelly that the American media had “created a sensation out of nothing” and was using the allegations as “a weapon of war against the current president.”
The NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on The Intercept’s report but asked the publication not to publish the story and for some redactions after The Intercept made clear it was planning on publishing.