After weeks of speculation, the Obama administration has formally accused the Russian government of using cyber attacks to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a joint statement Friday that officially blames Moscow for the series of systems hacks and email leaks that have harassed political organizations and high-profile U.S. officials for several months now, including the Democratic National Committee in June, former secretary of state Colin Powell in September, and others.
"The U.S. intelligence community is confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions," the statement reads. "We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."
The statement further blamed Vladimir Putin's government for leaking the stolen information to sites such as WikiLeaks and DCLeaks. U.S. intelligence officials for weeks have unofficially pointed fingers at the Kremlin as investigations were underway, but this statement marks the first public accusation leveled toward Moscow. Putin's government has yet to respond, but Putin has denied the allegations in interviews statements in the past weeks.