The Trump administration acknowledged on Sunday that hackers acting on behalf of a foreign government — almost certainly a Russian intelligence agency, according to federal and private experts — broke into a range of key government networks.
If the Russia connection is confirmed, it will be the most sophisticated known theft of American government data by Moscow since a two-year spree in 2014 and 2015, in which Russian intelligence agencies gained access to the unclassified email systems at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It took years to undo the damage, but President Barack Obama decided at the time not to name the Russians as the perpetrators.
Emboldened, the same group of hackers went on to invade the systems of the Democratic National Committee and top officials in Hillary Clinton’s campaign, touching off investigations and fears that permeated both the 2016 and 2020 contests. Another more disruptive Russian intelligence agency, the G.R.U., is believed to be responsible for then making public the hacked emails at the D.N.C.
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