A new investigation from the Associated Press shows that the FBI failed to notify dozens of US officials that Russian hackers were targeting their personal information and email accounts leading up to and during the 2016 Presidential election.
The investigation focused on targets of the hacking group Fancy Bear, who worked closely with Kremlin interests to hack the Democratic National Committee and release sensitive and damaging emails against the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The AP spoke with close to eighty government officials who had been targeted by Fancy Bear. Of those interviews, only two had been notified by the FBI that hackers were attempting to access their information.
This runs contrary to the statement the FBI released to the Associated Press when asked about the investigation:
“The FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of potential threat information.”
The investigation indicates that, out of 312 government and military officials targeted by Fancy Bear, 131 clicked hyperlinks in the phishing emails that were sent out. That is a frightening amount of sensitive information that could have been obtained by Russian hackers.
Charles Sowell, who worked as a senior official in Office of the Director of National Intelligence and was targeted by Fancy Bear in 2015, thought the FBI was being negligent, saying:
“It’s absolutely not OK for them to use an excuse that there’s too much data. Would that hold water if there were a serial killer investigation, and people were calling in tips left and right, and they were holding up their hands and saying: ‘It’s too much’? That’s ridiculous.”
The FBI had previously said that there were too many hacking attempts to contact everyone involved.
Russia still claims they had no hand in swaying the 2016 election to President Donald Trump, and the President has said that he believes the Kremlin. Of course, this also happened at one point during the election: