Russian hackers reportedly targeted a vulnerable Democrat using a similar method that led to the release of Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016

  • Russia’s GRU foreign-intelligence agency reportedly targeted Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri last year, according to a report from the Daily Beast published on Thursday.
  • The same group was suspected of hacking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2016, and several members were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller earlier in July.
  • McCaskill, a vocal critic of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, appeared to confirm the hacking attempt but said it was not successful.

Russia’s GRU foreign-intelligence agency, the same group suspected of hacking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2016, reportedly targeted Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri last year, according to a Daily Beast report published Thursday.

McCaskill, a vocal critic of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election, appeared to confirm Russia’s hacking attempt, but said it was not successful. In an email shared by CNN national security reporter Zachary Cohen, McCaskill said, “Russia continues to engage in cyber warfare against our democracy. I will continue to speak out and press to hold them accountable. While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this.”

In earlier comments to the Daily Beast, McCaskill said, “I’m not going to speak about it right now. I can’t confirm or do anything about it right now.”

The attempted hack reportedly took place sometime in August 2017.

Kremlin MoscowWikimedia CommonsThe Kremlin.

The GRU reportedly sent fake notification emails to Senate targets claiming their passwords had expired, and included a link to a fake login page.

Through its own investigation, prompted by remarks from Microsoft Vice President Tom Burt, who said his company found three midterm election candidates who were targeted by a phishing campaign, the Daily Beast determined that McCaskill was one of the candidates being targeted.

John Podesta, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, was the victim of a similar email phishing attack by the GRU-affiliated “Fancy Bear” hackers in 2016. One of Podesta’s aides received an email that purported to be from Google and entered his credentials after clicking on a link that led to a fake website.

News of the attempted hack comes shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian officials for launching cyberattacks against several Democratic campaign committees in 2016.

Earlier in July, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said US intelligence agencies did “observe malicious cyber activity from various actors against US election infrastructure” but that there was still “no indications that Russia is targeting the 2018 US midterms at a scale or scope to match their activities in 2016.”

McCaskill is seen as vulnerable in her home state of Missouri, where Donald Trump overwhelmingly defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by more than 18 percentage points. She is running against the state’s attorney general, Josh Hawley, who has received glowing endorsements from Trump as recently as this week.

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