U.S. Formally Accuses Russia of Stealing D.N.C. Emails
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday formally accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and from a range of prominent individuals and institutions, immediately raising the issue of whether President Obama will seek sanctions or other retaliation for the cyberattacks.In a statement from the director of national intelligence, James Clapper Jr., and the Department of Homeland Security, the government said the leaked emails that have appeared on a variety of websites “are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.” The emails were posted on the well-known WikiLeaks site and newer ones that have run under the names DCLeaks.com and Guccifer 2.1.
“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement said. It did not name President Vladimir V. Putin, but that appeared to be the intention.
For weeks, aides to Mr. Obama have been debating a range of possible responses to the Russia action, from targeted economic sanctions to authorizing covert action against the computer servers in Russia and elsewhere that have been traced as the origin of the attacks.
The White House has not said whether Mr. Obama has reviewed those options, or decided on any.
The statement said that the recent “scanning and probing” of election systems “in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company,” but did not say the Russian government was responsible for those probes.