Russian hack of Democrats more widespread than previously believed

The hack of the Democratic National Committee was just the tip of the iceberg. The FBI has expanded its investigation after discovering that as many as 100 Democratic party officials were hacked. From the NY Times:

The widening scope of the attack has prompted the F.B.I. to broaden its investigation, and agents have begun notifying a long list of Democratic officials that the Russians may have breached their personal accounts.

The main targets appear to have been the personal email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s campaign officials and party operatives, along with a number of party organizations.

The NY Times takes it as a given that Russia was behind the hack. Later in the story we learn the reason for that:

F.B.I. officials briefed staff members of House and Senate Intelligence Committees last week on the investigation into the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee…

Much of the briefing to the committee staff focused on the fact that American intelligence agencies have virtually no doubt that the Russian government was behind the theft, according to one staff member, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss elements of the confidential briefing.

The FBI is said to be unsure whether the hack of the DNC, DCCC and Clinton campaign officials was part of a relatively routine cyber-intrusion by Russia or whether it was specifically intended to impact the 2016 election.

Whatever the intent, it has already made an impact on the race. Last month, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz resigned her position as DNC chair in the wake of WikiLeaks release of 20,000 DNC emails. And just last week, the DNC announced the resignation of three more senior leaders, including CEO Amy Dacey. All three had been part of an embarrassing email chain in which the possibility of publicly questioning Bernie Sanders’ religion was raised as a way to damage him in the primaries.

WikiLeaks has refused to acknowledge that Russia is the source of the material it has released. This week, Julian Assange helped fuel an online conspiracy theory suggesting a murdered DNC staffer may have been his source. The staffer’s family later issued a statement asking the conspiracy theorists to stop politicizing their personal tragedy.