- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2017

In the weeks leading up to last year’s presidential election, Russian military intelligence launched a cyberattack on a U.S. voting systems manufacturer, according to a classified National Security Agency report obtained by The Intercept.

Dated May 5, 2017, the NSA document was provided anonymously to the online news site — which specializes in national security issues — and indicates that Kremlin efforts to hack America’s voting infrastructure were deeper than U.S. Government officials have previously admitted.

Independently verified, the report includes analysis of a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort directed by the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU.

The Intercept wrote that the report “is the most detailed US government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.”

In addition to cyberattacking at least one U.S. voting software supplier, Russian hackers also sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before the poll, the Intercept reported.

The spear-phishing emails were intended to spread a malware virus, however the report concluded it was unclear whether any local officials were infected.

According to the Intercept, the intelligence assessment exposes the NSA’s understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking but does not reveal any sources or “raw” intelligence on which the conclusions have been drawn.

As a result, a U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified in Monday’s report, cautioned against drawing major conclusions because the analysis is single source and non-definitive.

The NSA report also doesn’t say whether the cyberattack had an overall impact on the 2016 presidential vote, which saw Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in several closely contested states.

In January, the Obama administration said that Russia tried to undermine America’s confidence in its election process.

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denied that the Kremlin interfered. “We never engaged in that on a state level, and have no intention of doing so,” he said.

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