A sinister portrait of Russia’s cyberattacks on the U.S. emerged Wednesday as current and former U.S. officials told Congress Moscow stockpiled stolen information and selectively disseminated it during the 2016 presidential campaign to undermine the American political process. The Russians ‘‘used fake news and propaganda and they also used online amplifiers to spread the information to as many people as possible,’’ Bill Priestap, the FBI’s top counterintelligence official, told the Senate Intelligence committee.
While he said the Russians had conducted covert operations targeting past American elections, the internet ‘‘has allowed Russia to do so much more’’ than before. But, he added, the ‘‘scale and aggressiveness’’ was different this time, with the primary goal being to sow discord and aid the candidacy of Republican Donald Trump, the eventual winner.
Russia’s actions did not change the final election count, they said, but warned that Moscow’s efforts will likely continue.