In a report to be published next week, the United States intelligence community will provide further support for its assertions that Russian intelligence services compromised government and private networks to influence the November presidential election. The report also will include details on a motive for the hacking campaign.
The new report is the result of an order from President Barack Obama to investigate whether elements of the Russian government hacked U.S. networks in the months leading up to the election. There will be a classified version of the report delivered to Congress, as well as an unclassified version released to the public. In a hearing before the Senate Armed Service Committee Thursday, senior intelligence officials said they are highly confident that Russian intelligence was behind a number of intrusions tied to the election.
“This was a multifaceted campaign. The hacking was only one part of it. It included classical propaganda, fake news, disinformation,” said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper during Thursday’s hearing.
In a report issued in late December, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said that Russian intelligence services were behind a pair of compromises of the Democratic National Committee that resulted in the release of DNC emails and other information. The report included some technical details and references to previous cyber espionage campaigns attributed to the same Russian APT groups. But it didn’t have much in the way of direct evidence. Clapper said on Thursday that next week’s report will have more information and address why the intel community thinks Russia is behind the attacks.
“Yes, we will ascribe a motivation,” he said.
In a joint statement for the hearing, Clapper, NSA Director Michael Rogers, and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre said that there are more than 30 countries that are developing offensive cyber capabilities. The trio called out Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea as the top tier of that group, and Rogers said during the hearing that Russia is at the pinnacle.
“NSA have worked extensively with our intelligence partners to detect Russian cyber activities,” Rogers said. “The Russians are the peer competitor for us.”
Image: Vicente Villamon, CC By-SA license.