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FBI chief says Russia hacked some Republican Party computers, but didn't leak the information

Brian Bennett, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Russian hackers stole information from state-level Republican Party computer servers and old Republican National Committee digital domains, FBI Director James B. Comey told a Senate panel Tuesday.

But that information wasn't leaked and posted online, he said.

That was in sharp contrast to the Russian hacks and leaks of thousands of emails from Democratic National Committee computers and from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta.

Comey said the FBI found evidence of Russian hacking "directed at" Republican state-level campaigns and old RNC domains, but "it was old stuff and none of that was released," he told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The FBI saw "no evidence" that hackers got into computers used by President-elect Donald Trump's campaign or domains used by the RNC during the 2016 election cycle, he said.

Russian hackers also infiltrated state voter registration databases and stole information, including home addresses of voters, Comey said. Those computers were not involved in tallying votes.

There is no evidence anyone changed the voter rolls, Comey said, but Russian intelligence officials may be planning to use the copied voter registration databases in a future attack.

It was Comey's first public appearance since the release of a declassified intelligence report Friday that said that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed an intelligence campaign that "aspired to help" Trump win and to "harm" Clinton's chances.

CIA Director John Brennan, National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper also spoke before the Senate committee.

Clapper said the intelligence report on Russia's interference in the campaign was based on data collected from informants, technical surveillance systems and open source information.

Trump has repeatedly denied that Russia was behind the hacks. He was briefed on the full classified intelligence report Friday, not just the portion made public.

On Saturday, he blamed the DNC for not protecting its computers, not Russia for conducting the hacks, and praised the RNC for having stronger cyberdefenses.

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