WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.
In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.
It is possible that in hacking into the Republican committee, Russian agents were simply hedging their bets. The attack took place in the spring, the senior officials said, about the same time that a group of hackers believed to be linked to the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, stole the emails of senior officials of the Democratic National Committee. Intelligence agencies believe that the Republican committee hack was carried out by the same Russians who penetrated the Democratic committee and other Democratic groups.
The finding about the Republican committee is expected to be included in a detailed report of “lessons learned” that Mr. Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to assemble before he leaves office on Jan. 20. That report is intended, in part, to create a comprehensive history of the Russian effort to influence the election, and to solidify the intelligence findings before Mr. Trump is sworn in.
...The New York Times article goes on to provides details on the DNC hacking:
Intelligence officials and private cybersecurity companies believe that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by two different Russian cyberunits. One, called “Cozy Bear” or “A.P.T. 29” by some Western security experts, is believed to have spent months inside the D.N.C. computer network, as well as other government and political institutions, but never made public any of the documents it took. (A.P.T. stands for “Advanced Persistent Threat,” which usually describes a sophisticated state-sponsored cyberintruder.)
The other, the G.R.U.-controlled unit known as “Fancy Bear,” or “A.P.T. 28,” is believed to have created two outlets on the internet, Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks, to make Democratic documents public. Many of the documents were also provided to WikiLeaks, which released them over many weeks before the Nov. 8 election.Unfortunately, I doubt the intelligence agencies' review ordered by President Obama will include a comparison of the paper ballots in Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois versus the computer tallies in those states. Computer hackers have shown how easy it is to insert malicious code into a computer software program and flip a number of votes to change an outcome. Did it happen in 2016? Highly unlikely. But those of us concerned about the integrity of the ballot should always welcome review of the paper trail in states and localities that use computer generated tallies sans any sort of review to ensure those tallies reflect actual votes cast.
While some Republicans unbelievably welcome foreign interference with an American election to get a result - the defeat of Hillary Clinton - they wanted, several Congressional Republicans, include Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) recognize the extraordinary danger of such interference and have joined Democrats in calling for hearings into the Russian role in the 2016 election.