Top spy: ‘Russians hack our systems all the time’

Top spy: ‘Russians hack our systems all the time’
© Lauren Schneiderman

Russian hackers are constantly targeting U.S. computer networks, the nation’s top intelligence official said Wednesday, in an apparent tip of his hand toward blaming Moscow for recent attacks on Democratic Party institutions.

“The Russians hack our systems all the time,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said at the Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington. “Not just government but also corporate and personal systems.”

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“So do the Chinese and others, including non-state actors,” he added.

Clapper declined to specifically address the hacks of Democratic groups, which have been traced to hackers with suspected Russian ties.

But he referred to comments previously made by President Obama that “experts have attributed this to the Russians.”

“So I won’t get out ahead of the president on this, particularly while the FBI is conducting an investigation,” Clapper said.

“The point is, cyber will continue to be a huge problem for the next presidential administration.”

The comments are among the closest the intelligence community has come to fingering Russia for the theft of emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other campaign arms.

Revelations in the documents — including signs that senior DNC officials were pushing Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Momentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Warning signs flash for Lindsey Graham in South Carolina MORE's presidential bid over that of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNYT editorial board remembers Ginsburg: She 'will forever have two legacies' Two GOP governors urge Republicans to hold off on Supreme Court nominee Sanders knocks McConnell: He's going against Ginsburg's 'dying wishes' MORE (I-Vt.) — forced the resignation of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other officials this summer.

The hack has raised concerns that Russia is trying to influence the election, in an icy standoff in some ways reminiscent of the Cold War. The FBI is also investigating, separately, whether hackers tied to Russia infiltrated electoral systems in Arizona and Illinois.

Russia has denied allegations that it has been involved in the hacks.

Yet Democrats have been quick to point to the signs of Russian cyber activity as evidence that GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE is a stooge for the Kremlin, using rhetoric seemingly unprecedented in modern U.S. politics.