The US government has formally accused Russia of hacking the Democratic party’s computer networks and said that Moscow was attempting to “interfere” with the US presidential election. Hillary Clinton and US officials have blamed Russian hackers for stealing more than 19,000 emails from Democratic party officials, but Friday’s announcement marked the first time that the Obama administration has pointed the finger at Moscow. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” said the office of the director of national intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)in a joint statement. The accusation marked a new escalation of tensions with Russia and came shortly after the US secretary of state, John Kerry, called for Russia to be investigated for war crimes in Syria.
The deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “This whipping up of emotions regarding ‘Russian hackers’ is used in the US election campaign, and the current US administration, taking part in this fight, is not averse to using dirty tricks.” He said Moscow reiterated an offer to US officials, first made last year, to hold talks on fighting cybercrime together.
The White House declined to say whether the formal attribution would trigger sanctions against Russia.