Back in April, the FBI told the Democratic National Committee that it probably was hacked by two Russian intelligence agencies, the same ones suspected of cyber break-ins at the White House, Defense and State departments, major corporations and universities.
This master-class type of spying by rival nations is expected, and over the decades only the methods have changed. What is unexpected and alarming, however, is that a foreign nation might use its stolen information to influence a U.S. presidential election. The hacks reportedly took place in April and last summer.
The FBI confirmed Monday that it has an ongoing investigation into the hack, which took an ominous turn over the weekend. WikiLeaks, the website that boldly publishes secret information from sources it refuses to identify, posted more than 19,000 DNC emails from January 2015 to May 2016. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is friendly with the Russian government and is a fierce antagonist of Hillary Clinton. His site has released tens of thousands of emails from the private server Clinton used while secretary of state, and in an interview with Britain’s ITV earlier this month, Assange predicted that it would “provide enough evidence” to derail her campaign.
The strategic timing of the data dump threw the opening of the Democrats’ nominating convention into turmoil, swiftly ending the tenure of the chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and outraging supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who long felt the DNC favored Clinton.
The Clinton campaign is trying to link the hacking and Donald Trump because of the GOP candidate’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin has returned the compliment. The Clinton team points out that Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was a consultant for a former president of Ukraine who is pro-Putin. In a tweet, Trump dismissed the claim as “a joke,” and Manafort described the rival campaign as “pretty desperate.”
The FBI must tell the nation as quickly as possible of its findings. The integrity of our presidential election is at stake.