Top Democrat on Senate Intelligence committee says Russian election attacks were "much broader" than NSA document shows

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia elaborates on the true scope of Russian interference into the 2016 election

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published June 6, 2017 3:29PM (EDT)

Mark Warner   (Getty/Win McNamee)
Mark Warner (Getty/Win McNamee)

The most powerful Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Tuesday that the Russian hacking effort during the 2016 presidential election was worse than even the top-secret document leaked from the National Security Agency suggests.

A report by the NSA leaked and published by The Intercept on Monday revealed how that agency believed that "Russian military intelligence executed a cyber attack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election." It also claimed that Russian military intelligence "executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions," and that it most likely did this in order to "launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations."

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"I don't believe they got into changing actual voting outcomes," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, told USA Today on Tuesday. "But the extent of the attacks is much broader than has been reported so far."

He added, "None of these actions from the Russians stopped on Election Day."

Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to deny that his government attempted to hack the election, recently telling journalist Megyn Kelly in an interview that intelligence agencies had been "misled" into blaming Russia and insisting that "I haven’t seen, even once, any direct proof of Russian interference in the presidential election in the United States."

A contractor with Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia named Reality Leigh Winner has been accused of "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet," according to a report by CNN. The site also reports that Winner is indeed accused of leaking the same NSA document that was published by The Intercept on Monday.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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