A top official with Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Sunday accused the Russian government of orchestrating the release of damaging Democratic Party records in order to help the campaign of Republican Donald Trump — and some cyber security experts in the U.S. and overseas agree. The extraordinary charge came as some national security officials have been growing increasingly concerned about possible efforts by Russia to meddle in the election, according to several individuals familiar with the situation. Late last week, hours before the records were released by the website Wikileaks, the White House convened a high-level security meeting to discuss reports that Russia had hacked into systems at the Democratic National Committee.
Although other experts remain skeptical of a Russian role, the hacking incident has caused alarm within the Clinton campaign and also in the national security arena. Officials from various intelligence and defense agencies, including the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, attended the White House meeting Thursday, on the eve of the email release.
If the accusation is true, it would be the first time the Russians have actively tried to influence an election in this manner, analysts said.
Her campaign chief, Robby Mook, told ABC News on Sunday that “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke in to the DNC, took all these emails and now are leaking them out through these Web sites … It’s troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.”