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Report: FBI failed to tell US officials they were targets of Russian hackers

Report: FBI failed to tell US officials they were targets of Russian hackers
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The FBI reportedly did not inform U.S. government officials that a Russian hacking operation was attempting to breach their personal emails.

According to an investigation by The Associated Press, the bureau possessed evidence for a year that showed the officials were targets of a Kremlin-linked hacking entity known as Fancy Bear.

The AP said that in the course of its almost 80 interviews, it identified only two instances in which the bureau informed the officials.

Three sources confirmed to the news outlet that the bureau was aware of the cyber efforts for over a year.

“The FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of potential threat information,” the FBI said in a statement to the AP.

The AP said the Fancy Bear operation was connected to DCLeaks, one of the websites that published emails of Democratic Party officials during the 2016 election.

While some officials told the news service that the lack of warnings was concerning, others provided reasons as to why the bureau did not inform them.

“Perhaps optimistically, I have to conclude that a risk analysis was done and I was not considered a high enough risk to justify making contact,” retired Gen. Norton Schwartz told the AP.

One former senior official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence who was a target of the hacking effort said the bureau could have conducted its own version of the AP’s investigation.

“It’s absolutely not OK for them to use an excuse that there’s too much data,” said Charles Sowell. 

“Would that hold water if there were a serial killer investigation, and people were calling in tips left and right, and they were holding up their hands and saying, ‘It’s too much?' That’s ridiculous.”