FBI head: We're taking suspected political hacks 'very seriously'

FBI head: We're taking suspected political hacks 'very seriously'
© Getty Images

The FBI is “very seriously” examining alleged hacks at two state election offices, director James Comey said Tuesday.

“We take very seriously any effort by any actor — including nation states but especially nation states — that moves beyond the collection of information about our country, and then offers the prospect of an effort to influence the conduct of affairs on our country, whether that’s election or something else,” Comey said at a conference in Washington hosted by Symantec, a digital security company.


“Don’t want to comment on the particular, but those kinds of things are something that we take very, very seriously and work very, very hard to understand so that we can equip the rest of our government with options for how to deal with it.”

Comey’s comments were the first he has given publicly since news broke on Monday that the FBI had previously raised alarms about the suspected hacks of voter databases in Arizona and Illinois earlier this month. News of the Aug. 18 alert sparked fresh fears about the ability of foreign governments to interfere in American elections.  

The state database hackers are suspected to be linked to Russia, in what could be an escalation of state-sponsored cyber activity in the U.S. ahead of the November elections.

Russia has previously been tied to a massive hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other party arms, which resulted in scores of emails being posted on WikiLeaks on the eve of the party’s nominating convention this summer.

Documents unveiled in the leak, which some have interpreted as an effort to put a finger on the scale of U.S. democracy, appeared to show Democratic Party leaders trying to boost Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Monica Lewinsky responds to viral HBO intern's mistake: 'It gets better' Virginia governor's race poses crucial test for GOP MORE’s candidacy over that of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay MORE (I-Vt.). The release forced resignations from senior party officials including DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.).