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.”
“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 ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE's presidential bid over that of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo This week: Congress starts year-end legislative sprint Restless progressives eye 2024 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 TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE is a stooge for the Kremlin, using rhetoric seemingly unprecedented in modern U.S. politics.