WASHINGTON Dec 29 The FBI squarely blamed
Russian intelligence services on Thursday for meddling in the
2016 U.S. presidential election, releasing the most definitive
report yet on the issue, including samples of malicious computer
code said to have been used in a broad hacking campaign.
Starting in mid-2015, Russia's foreign intelligence agency,
the FSB, emailed a malicious link to more than 1,000 recipients,
including U.S. government targets, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation said in a 13-page report co-authored with the
Department of Homeland Security. (bit.ly/2iuT8cp)
While the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the
Director of National Intelligence had said Russia was behind the
hacking in October, the report is the first detailed technical
analysis provided by the government and the first official FBI
The findings come the same day that President Barack Obama
announced a series of retaliatory measures, including the
expulsion of 35 Russian intelligence operatives and the
sanctioning of the GRU and FSB.
Among the groups compromised by the FSB hacks was the
Democratic National Committee, which was again infiltrated in
early 2016 by another Russian agency, the military GRU.
The report largely corroborates earlier findings from
private cyber firms, such as CrowdStrike, which probed the hacks
at the DNC and elsewhere, and is a preview of a more detailed
assessment from the U.S. intelligence community that President
Barack Obama ordered completed before he leaves office next
month, a source familiar with the matter said.
Much of the information provided in the report is not new,
the source said, reflecting the difficulty of publicly
attributing cyber attacks without revealing classified sources
and methods used by the government.
Some senior Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress have
expressed outrage at Russian interference in America's
elections, diverging from their own party's president-elect.
Throughout the raucous campaign, a steady stream of leaked
Democratic emails clouded the candidacy of party nominee Hillary
Clinton. In the aftermath of her defeat, Democrats have accused
Russia. Meantime, Trump has questioned whether Russia was truly
at fault and told the Democrats to get over it.
"We ought to get on with our lives," he said on Wednesday
when asked about possible retaliation against Russia.
The FBI said hackers gained access to and stole sensitive
information, including internal emails "likely leading to the
exfiltration of information from multiple senior party members"
and public leaks of that information.
The report did not name hacked organizations or address
previous conclusions reached by the Central Intelligence Agency
and FBI, according to U.S. officials, that Russia sought to
intervene in the election to help Trump, a Republican, defeat
Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, tapped
people seen as friendly to Moscow for administration posts and
rejected assessments by intelligence agencies on the hacking.
Russia has consistently denied the allegations of hacking.
"I would never expect Russia to come out with their hands up and
acknowledge what they did," a senior administration official
told reporters on a conference call. "They don't do that.
(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Lisa Shumaker)