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Media kept Russia's invasion of White House computers secret until after election?

AFP 514666585

POWERLINE

CNN has made news with this headline: “How the U.S. thinks Russians hacked the White House.”

Russian hackers behind the damaging cyber intrusion of the State Department in recent months used that perch to penetrate sensitive parts of the White House computer system, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.

While the White House has said the breach only affected an unclassified system, that description belies the seriousness of the intrusion. The hackers had access to sensitive information such as real-time non-public details of the president’s schedule. While such information is not classified, it is still highly sensitive and prized by foreign intelligence agencies, U.S. officials say.

The White House in October said it noticed suspicious activity in the unclassified network that serves the executive office of the president. The system has been shut down periodically to allow for security upgrades.

The FBI, Secret Service and U.S. intelligence agencies are all involved in investigating the breach, which they consider among the most sophisticated attacks ever launched against U.S. government systems. he intrusion was routed through computers around the world, as hackers often do to hide their tracks, but investigators found tell-tale codes and other markers that they believe point to hackers working for the Russian government.

This is the story that we reported on last October, just before the election, herehereherehere and here. We got the story due to a tip from a reader. Virtually no one else reported on it.

Only on October 28, days before the election, did the Obama administration admit that White House computers had been down for weeks. The administration said that it learned of the foreign intrusion, apparently by Russia, from “an ally.” So we didn’t detect it, and there was no indication of how long one or more hostile powers had access to White House computers before the intrusion was discovered.

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