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Sources say Clinton campaign also hacked in attacks on Democrats

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The computer network used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign was hacked as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations, people familiar with the matter told ...

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Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton accepts the nomination on the fourth and final night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The computer network used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign was hacked as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The latest attack, which was disclosed to Reuters on Friday, follows reports of two other hacks on the Democratic National Committee and the party’s fundraising committee for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The U.S. Department of Justice national security division is investigating whether cyber hacking attacks on Democratic political organizations threatened U.S. security, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The involvement of the Justice Department’s national security division is a sign that the Obama administration has concluded that the hacking was state sponsored, individuals with knowledge of the investigation said.

The Clinton campaign, based in Brooklyn, had no immediate comment.

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The Department of Justice had no comment.

It was not immediately clear what information on the Clinton campaign’s computer system hackers would have been able to access.

 

RUSSIAN HACKERS

Hackers, whom U.S. intelligence officials have concluded were Russian, gained access to the entire network of the fundraising Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, said people familiar with the matter, detailing the extent of the breach to Reuters for the first time.

Access to the full DCCC network would have given the hackers access to everything from emails to strategy memos and opposition research prepared to support Democratic candidates in campaigns for the House.

The hack of the DCCC, which is based in Washington, was reported first by Reuters on Thursday, ahead of Clinton’s speech in Philadelphia accepting the Democratic party’s nomination.

Russian officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Several U.S. officials said the Obama administration has avoided publicly attributing the attacks to Russia as that might undermine Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort to win Russian cooperation in the war on Islamic State in Syria.

The officials said the administration fears Russian President Vladimir Putin might respond to a public move by escalating cyber attacks on U.S. targets, increasing military harassment of U.S. and allied aircraft and warships in the Baltic and Black Seas, and making more aggressive moves in Eastern Europe.

Some officials have privately said responding more forcefully to Russia would be more effective than remaining silent over what one called “a continuing campaign of intrusions, attempted break-ins and bullying.”

The hacks under scrutiny did not involve the private email system Clinton used while she was secretary of state.

The FBI said on July 5 that no criminal charges should be filed over Clinton's use of private email servers while she was secretary, but it rebuked her for being "extremely careless" in the handling of classified information.

After emails were leaked from the DNC hack, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday invited Russia to dig up thousands of "missing" emails from Clinton's time at the State Department, prompting Democrats to accuse him of urging foreigners to spy on Americans.

On Thursday, Trump said his remarks were meant as sarcasm.

Earlier in the week, Clinton campaign senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan had criticized Trump and called the hacking "a national security issue."

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In Washington, the DCCC said on Friday it has hired cyber security firm CrowdStrike to investigate. "We have taken and are continuing to take steps to enhance the security of our network," the DCCC said. "We are cooperating with federal law enforcement with respect to their ongoing investigation."

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said she had not heard about the hacking investigation involving theClinton campaign.

But she told CNN: "It wouldn't surprise me. I think it should be pretty clear that both campaigns should be aware that there's a problem out there. Everybody should be cautious."

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