FBI’s Comey says GOP also targeted by Russia, but refutes claim of tough cybersecurity

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (R) chats with FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which heard testimony regarding the U.S. intelligence community's belief that Russia hacked Democratic and Republican organizations last year in an attempt to sway the election in Donald Trump's favor. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) — Testifying in the Senate Tuesday, FBI director James Comey said that Democrats weren’t the only ones purportedly targeted by Russian government hackers last year.

Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that investigators believe the hackers also targeted records of the Republican National Committee — though that breach was limited.

Comey said, however, that the hack was only moderately successful because it targeted the RNC’s older and less sophisticated computer systems.

“There were successful penetrations of some groups and campaigns, particularly at the state level on the Republican side of the aisle, and some limited penetration of old [RNC] domains,” the FBi chief said. “It was old stuff.”

He noted, though, that no evidence exists to indicate hackers tried to break into the committee’s current computer system or any used by Donald Trump‘s campaign.

Comey’s disclosures directly contradicted claims by Trump and other Republicans recently, which said hackers were never able to access GOP information due to tough RNC cybersecurity. Democrats, they said, were hacked because their systems weren’t as secure.

In a report last week, the U.S. intelligence community outlined its conclusions that Moscow — and President Vladimir Putin — directly had a hand in going after Democrats and Republican-affiliated organizations. Officials say Russia was attempting to sway the election in Trump’s favor.

Also Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee said it will conduct its own “independent” review of the allegations.

“We owe it to our colleagues and the American people to do an independent review of the report and its conclusions,” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who’s chairman of the panel, said.

Last week, three top U.S. intelligence officials — National Intelligence Director James Clapper, Under Secretary of Defense For Intelligence Marcel J. Lettre and National Security Agency and Cyber Command Director Michael Rogersdefended the conclusions in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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