On Friday, the United States officially accused Russia of trying to influence the 2016 election by hacking political officials' and organizations' computers, including the Democratic National Committee's. A joint statement by the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declared, "The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations." Moreover, it continued, "These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process."
The statement specifically alleged that top Russian authorities had directed the hacking: "We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities." Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has denied any ties to the hackings.
In addition to referencing the emails posted on WikiLeaks and DCLeaks.com that were hacked from DNC computers, the joint statement also cited state "election-related systems" that had been "probed" as part of the Russian hacking. Last month, NBC News reported that a senior Homeland Security official revealed there had been "attempted intrusions" on more than 20 state online election systems.
The Obama administration's formal accusation against Russia come as there are increasing questions about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's relationship with Russia. Hours before this statement was released, it was reported that Russia filed its own official complaint at the United Nations over criticism of Trump by U.N. high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein.