In June 2016, suspected Russian threat actors were discovered in the networks of the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC). Intruders gained access to its research on Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and emails and correspondences among DNC officials. Over the course of the presidential campaign, the threat actors released DNC correspondence through intermediaries such as WikiLeaks, revealing information about infighting among top party officials and leading to the resignation of the DNC chair. The threat actors also went after John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and released more embarrassing data throughout the summer. The secretary of homeland security and the director of national intelligence released a joint statement asserting that the protracted cyber espionage campaign was the work of Russian actors. The Barack Obama administration subsequently sanctioned Russian intelligence officials and deported suspected officers working in the United States. The DNC compromise is believed to be part of a larger Russian espionage campaign waged for the purpose of manipulating the electoral systems in Western democracies and undermining faith in the democratic process in the United States, France, Germany, and elsewhere. In July 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted twelve officials of the Russian military intelligence agency, known as GRU, believed to have been responsible for this incident. In October 2018, the UK government announced that the compromise was the work of Russian military intelligence.
- Democratic National Committee
- Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Suspected state sponsor
- Russian Federation
Type of incident
- Civil society