Russian government hackers infiltrated the computer network of the US Democratic Party and stole a massive trove of information, including research on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials said they first detected the intrusion in April and that hackers may have had access for about a year, according to the Washington Post.
A security firm hired by the DNC traced the hacks to two separate Russian spy agencies: the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a military intelligence service; and the Federal Security Service (FSB), the powerful successor to the KGB.
The Post reported that the Russians “gained access to the entire database of opposition research” on Trump, which the Democrats were presumably planning to use in the presidential election.
Such research could include everything from press clippings to legal and tax documents—especially unflattering information that could be used against Trump in the presidential election.
Trump and Russian Vladimir Putin have had a rather warm relationship. Putin recently called Trump “a brighter person, talented without a doubt.” Trump liked that. “I like him because he called me a genius,” he boasted. “He said Trump is the real leader and he’s a total genius.”
Russia is the only country where a majority of citizens would prefer Trump over a Clinton presidency.
Yes, the two men have spoken glowingly about each other, and Trump has been skeptical about the US-led NATO alliance, which is Russia’s primary adversary. But regardless of the mutual admiration society, Putin is likely keen to know more about Trump’s business dealings and background—especially unflattering or embarrassing information that could be used against him.
A spokesman for the Russian ambassador to Washington told the Post that he had no knowledge of any intrusion.