The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have released a new report offering evidence of Russian intelligence meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The report landed shortly after President Barack Obama announced retaliatory measures against Russia.
On Dec. 29, the FBI and the DHS released a Joint Analysis Report detailing their investigations into the Russian government's alleged hacking of both the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The 13-page JAR asserts that Russian intelligence services (RIS) hacked into these organizations to steal and then leak sensitive emails through third parties. They report dubs the operation "Grizzly Steppe."
"This document provides technical details regarding the tools and infrastructure used by ... RIS to compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. Government, political, and private sector entities," the report said.
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The JAR adds that there is evidence that the Russian intelligence agencies FSB and GRU had used spearphishing campaigns to target "government organizations, critical infrastructure entities, think tanks, universities, political organizations, and corporations leading to the theft of information."
The report included the findings of private security firms that had initially investigated the hacks, using their forensic analysis to determine that both FSB and GRU had committed the cyber espionage through proxies.
The JAR was released shortly after the Obama administration announced new measures to punish Russia for its alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Obama has ordered the sanctioning of both FSB and GRU, three private companies that had aided them and six Russian individuals identified as complicit in the hacks, CNN reports.
In addition, Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and their families from the U.S., giving them 72 hours notice to vacate the country.
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"Russia's cyber activities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in U.S. democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the U.S. government," the White House said in an official statement. "These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitri Peskov issued a statement denying the allegations of cyber meddling and pledged that there would be retaliation against the U.S., The Washington Post reports.
"The response will be formulated in a direction determined by the president of Russia," Peskov said.