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FBI Probes Suspected Foreign Hacks Targeting Phones Of Democratic Party Officials

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FBI Probes Suspected Foreign Hacks Targeting Phones Of Democratic Party Officials


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI is investigating suspected attempts to hack mobile phones used by Democratic Party officials as recently as the past month, four people with direct knowledge of the attack and the investigation told Reuters.

The revelation underscores the widening scope of the U.S. criminal inquiry into cyber attacks on Democratic Party organizations, including the presidential campaign of its candidate, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

U.S. officials have said they believe those attacks were orchestrated by hackers backed by the Russian government, possibly to disrupt the Nov. 8 election in which Clinton faces Republican Party candidate Donald Trump. Russia has dismissed allegations it was involved in cyber attacks on the organizations.

The more recent attempted phone hacking also appears to have been conducted by Russian-backed hackers, two people with knowledge of the situation said.

Federal Bureau of Investigation representatives had no immediate comment, and a Clinton campaign spokesman said they were unaware of the suspected phone hacking.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) did not respond to a request for comment. An official of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) said that nobody at the organization had been contacted by investigators about possible phone hacking.

Interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile told CNN: “Our struggle with the Russian hackers that we announced in June is ongoing – as we knew it would be – and we are choosing not to provide general updates unless personal data or other sensitive information has been accessed or stolen.”

FBI agents had approached a small number of Democratic Party officials to discuss concerns their mobile phones may have been compromised by hackers, people involved said. It was not clear how many people were targeted by the hack or whether they included members of Congress, a possibility that could raise additional security concerns for U.S. officials.

If they were successful, hackers could have been able to acquire a wide range of data from targeted cellphones, including call data, text messages, emails, photos and contact lists, one person with knowledge of the situation said.

“In a sense, your phone is your office brain,” said Bruce Schneier, a cyber security expert with Resilient, an IBM company, which is not involved in the investigation. “It’s incredibly intimate.”

“Anything that’s on your phone, if your phone is hacked, the hacker can get it.”

The FBI has asked some of those whose phones were believed to have hacked to turn over their phones so that investigators could “image” them, creating a copy of the device and related data.

U.S. investigators are looking into whether hackers used data stolen from servers run by Democratic organizations or the private emails of their employees to get access to cellphones, one person said.

Hackers previously targeted servers used by the DNC, the body that sets strategy for the party, and the DCCC, which raises money for Democrats running for seats in the House of Representatives, officials have said.

Clinton said during Monday’s presidential debate there was “no doubt” Russia has sponsored hacks against “all kinds of organizations in our country” and mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin by name.

“Putin is playing a really tough, long game here. And one of the things he’s done is to let loose cyber attackers to hack into government files, to hack into personal files, hack into the Democratic National Committee,” Clinton said.

Trump countered that there was no definitive proof that Russia had sponsored the hacks of Democratic organizations.

“I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” he said. “It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people.”

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Kevin Krolicki and Grant McCool)

IMAGE: The headquarters of the Democratic National Committee is seen in Washington, U.S. June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron



  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth September 27, 2016

    Hacking of data sheds more light on the importance of cultivating the values of truth and trustworthiness, virtues that are lax or non-existent depending on the degree and quality of exposure to principles written regarding these two virtues.

    Not so long ago, many would scoff at the importance of these twin qualities. But the urge to violate other people’s information, and the material benefits therefrom, are too strong for any of us who are not well-grounded. One can see the possibility of a dearth of these characteristics in societies where Religion was outright outlawed. As for societies where Religion was hamstrung in its expression, and/or lacked sufficient written Texts on the subjects, the door was open for members of society motivated by greed, and having a general disdain for the privacy of others, to eagerly want wreak havoc on the lives of others and cash in.

    Regarding trustworthiness, here are several passages from the Pen of Baha’u’llah, and also supplemented by Abdu’l Baha, on the subject. Humor me, if you would, and consider them:

    The virtues and attributes pertaining unto God are all evident and manifest, and have been mentioned and described in all the heavenly Books. Among them are trustworthiness, truthfulness, purity of heart while communing with God, forbearance, resignation to whatever the Almighty hath decreed, contentment with the things His Will hath provided, patience, nay, thankfulness in the midst of tribulation, and complete reliance, in all circumstances, upon Him. These rank, according to the estimate of God, among the highest and most laudable of all acts.

    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CXXXIV

    Trustworthiness is the greatest portal leading unto the tranquility and security of the people. In truth the stability of every affair hath depended and doth depend upon it. All the domains of power, of grandeur and of wealth are illumined by its light.

    Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, Tarázát

    Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues. Without truthfulness progress and success, in all the worlds of God, are impossible for any soul. When this holy attribute is established in man, all the divine qualities will also be acquired.

    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, cited in The Advent of Divine Justice


    Hackers, governments(USA, Russia, China, etc.) and their agents, and garden-variety criminals in their basements, or wherever, would benefit from the above

    Just thinking out loud on the keyboard.

  2. dtgraham September 28, 2016

    Not to worry. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz will walk away, head held low, straight into her new Hillary Clinton White House job.

  3. yabbed September 28, 2016

    Our enemies want Trump to win the presidency so they can take our great nation down.

  4. waggaze September 28, 2016

    Which country has the most to gain if they can get Drumpf elected? The only candidate doing business with Putin and his mob bosses is the Trump Org and have been for several years according to Donnie, Jr. and Dumpster. The latest revelation of Drumpf’s presidential advisor, a bank financer, has the ear of Putin and possibly sharing inside info with Putin offering to lift sanctions on Russia if Drumpf wins POTUS. Follow the money people which I am sure the FBI has factored that in to their investigative algorithm.

  5. meridaest September 28, 2016

    Why would anyone in 2016 use a mobile device to communicate anything confidential? Reform of government and private communication systems is way over due. If we want millennials to show up at the polls in November we must address this and other issues that deal with the future.

  6. LCR78 September 28, 2016

    Ever wonder why Trump defends Putin and Russia from any statement made the FBI, CIA, or the Democrats?

    1. Paul Bass September 28, 2016


    2. dpaano September 28, 2016

      No, I would expect it of him!

    3. Daniel Wright October 2, 2016

      Ever wonder if Obama was more flexible after the 08 election? Ever wonder if that reset button Hillary pushed got Russia 20% of our Uranium?

  7. Jon September 28, 2016

    Trump is convinced it is the 400 pound person lying on their bed who is doing the hacking. I am a little surprised he didn’t call Alicia Machado by name as that is his opinion of her.

  8. dpaano September 28, 2016

    It’s pretty sad that this is what the wide world of internet has spawned! Now we can’t even feel safe with our cell phones!

  9. johninPCFL October 2, 2016

    Why aren’t they also hacking into the RNC and Trump? Oh yeah. They already have the account data.
    Thanks, Donald!

    1. Daniel Wright October 2, 2016

      What did he do to deserve your thanks?

      1. johninPCFL October 2, 2016

        I edited my original post to clarify it for the redstate boys.
        I hope that helps.

        1. Daniel Wright October 2, 2016

          Donald is responsible for NSA activities?

          1. johninPCFL October 2, 2016

            Don’t need the NSA. Donnie asks Vlad for a favor.

          2. Daniel Wright October 2, 2016

            So Donald asked Vlad for new hacks?

          3. johninPCFL October 2, 2016

            “Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, and encouraged them to publish whatever they may have stolen, essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state.”

          4. Daniel Wright October 2, 2016

            That is a direct quote from the pages of the NY Times. It isn’t a Trump quote. It also wasn’t made last Wednesday like your post implies. It was published in July. This is October. The exact,word for word quote is: “Russia,if your listening I hope you find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.” The emails he referred to had already been wiped with bleachbit, so they couldn’t be obtained by hacking. The Russians having those emails is only speculation and not an established fact. He urged Russia to release those they already had (if any). That is NOT;I repeat,NOT,a request to engage is future hacking. Liberals rely on unreliable propaganda organizations believing they always print the truth. The NY times was,at one time,the greatest and most reliable newspaper on Earth. To day it is just an arm of the DNC’s propaganda machine.

          5. johninPCFL October 2, 2016

            No implication in anything I posted here.
            Putin and Trump are thick as thieves, so the request was received and I’m sure the latest hacks are the response from good buddy Vlad.

          6. Daniel Wright October 2, 2016

            NO implication? Actually accusation is more accurate. Obama told Putin he would be more flexible after the 08 election,not Trump. Hillary pushed the reset button,not Trump.OH, I know,you forgot.

          7. johninPCFL October 2, 2016

            Nice diversion. Trump is already cutting deals with Putin, and with the placement of your head up Trump’s ass, you must already be comfortable being ruled from Moscow.

          8. Daniel Wright October 2, 2016

            No diversion:HISTORY. Now about your claim about the alleged deal. I see nothing backing your statement,just a lot of left wing spin and distraction.


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