Russia has been formally accused by the US government of hacking the US Democratic National Committee’s computer network (DNC) in order to ‘interfere’ with the US presidential race.
On Friday, the Obama administration firmly placed the blame for the stealing and disclosing of emails from the DNC, and from various other individuals and institutions on the orders of Russian hackers on a state-sanctioned-level.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement saying that the leaked emails were solely intended to interfere with the US election process. The statement starts:
“The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.”
The accusation marks a new low point in the US-Russia relationship which is already experiencing escalating tensions over Russia’s involvement in war torn Syria. On the same day as the USIC accused Russia of the hack, US Secretary of State, John Kerry called for the former Soviet Republic to be investigated for alleged war crimes.
A spokesperson for the Russian President, Vladimir Putin immediately poured scorn over the allegations, dismissing the USIC statement as, ‘rubbish,’ and stating that the US grounds for the accusation were evidence of “unprecedented anti-Russian hysteria,” and that there was no evidence linking Russia at a state level of any interference in either a perceived or real form.
The USIC statement however begs to differ:
“Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”
Whoever is to blame however, it as yet unclear what effect if any the DNC hack will have come election day in the US. Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton currently leads her Republican rival Donald J Trump, by a few points in most national polls.