Two groups of hackers sponsored by the Russian government broke into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee and accessed emails, chat logs and a trove of detailed opposition research on Donald Trump assembled by the party’s researchers.
The hackers were removed from the system over the weekend, officials told The Washington Post, but not before they were able to comb through staff members’ day-to-day communications and their research on the presumptive Republican nominee.
One hacking group entered the system last year, and been monitoring DNC communications since then, The Post’s Ellen Nakashima reported. This April, the other group gained access to the Trump files.
Paired with the ongoing controversy over the private email server Hillary Clinton used during her time as secretary of state, the enormous breach at the DNC is the second large-scale cybersecurity setback that Democrats have run into during the presidential campaign.
The persistence and skill of the Russian hackers that penetrated the DNC’s defenses illustrates the threat posed by foreign online espionage. In the past, Russian hackers have gained access to email systems at the White House and the State Department, and their Chinese counterparts pulled off a colossal heist at the Office of Personnel Management last year, stealing the sensitive personal information of more than 22 million Americans.
The discovery of the Russian espionage operation vindicated James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, who warned last month that foreign intelligence agencies were spying on U.S. presidential campaigns. Indeed, as far back as 2008, the intelligence community gave a presentation to then…