A new Yahoo News report reveals that when Russian intelligence agencies hacked the Democratic National Committee, they obtained personal data on major democratic contributors, emails disparaging donor’s personal business dealings, and targeted personal emails of staffers, making the hack much more intrusive than previously understood.
When DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa was investigating Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s connections to Putin surrogate and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, she received a warning from Yahoo email reading “We strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors,” Michael Isikoff of Yahoo reports.
“That’s when we knew it was the Russians,” a DNC staffer told Yahoo News. Yahoo’s Chief Information Security officer Bob Lord said in a Tumblr post that the company only posted such warnings when it had a “high degree of confidence” in who was behind an intrusion.
More emails from Wikileaks are likely to be released over the course of the election, causing severe consternation among Democratic donors. “They’re having to do serious damage control with the donors right now,” one democratic party official told YahooNews.
DNC officials acknowledged in late June the organization had suffered an email hack, and that two independent cyber security expert firms attributed the hack to Russian intelligence agencies. John Schindler, a former NSA analyst and national security expert, noted Monday in The New York Observer that the hackers left behind a signature in Russian and that both groups responsible for the hack are well known Russian intelligence fronts. DNC officials have not yet officially acknowledged the deep extent of the hack.
U.S. intelligence officials generally consider Wikileaks, the source of the leak, to be an intelligence arm of the Kremlin. Wikileaks head, Julian Assange, is a paid contributor to RT, a well known Kremlin-backed propaganda outlet. Schindler elaborated, “That Assange and Wikileaks are surrogates for Putin is now obvious.”
Chalupa’s revelation demonstrates the deep extent to which Russian intelligence operatives targeted all facets of DNC communications, and how large an impact future Wikileaks revelations could cause in the U.S. presidential election.
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