US warned France about Russian hacking before Macron leak: NSA chief
Iran Press TV
Wed May 10, 2017 1:49AM
The head of the US National Security Agency (NSA) says Washington had warned French authorities about Russia's meddling in the country's presidential election before hackers could allegedly steal documents from the centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron's party.
"If you take a look at the French election … we had become aware of Russian activity," Mike Rogers said during a hearing before the Senate's Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
"We had talked to our French counterparts prior to the public announcements of the events publicly attributed this past weekend and gave them a heads-up: 'Look, we're watching the Russians, we're seeing them penetrate some of your infrastructure.'"
Macron won the French presidential run-off on Sunday by a resounding margin over far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen. Two days earlier, Macron's En Marche ! political party announced that it had "been the victim of a massive, coordinated act of hacking."
Although Rogers did not clearly refer to any country but he abstained to correct the other members of the committee such as Senators John McCain or Elizabeth Warren when they pinned the blame on Russia.
Warren claimed that the Russian hackers had been trying to shift the result of election in France by releasing Macron's party emails like what they did to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election.
Senator Tim Kaine, Clinton's 2016 running mate, also described the last week's events as a cyberattack by Russia "aimed at destabilizing the democracy of an ally."
Rogers further reiterated that Washington is working with European allies like Germany and Britain to preserve the upcoming elections in Europe from similar digital assaults.
"We're trying to figure out how we can learn from each other," he underlined, adding that "We need to make it very clear to nation-states that engage in this behavior that it's unacceptable and there's a price to pay for doing this."
The comments by Rogers comes as allegations of Russia's role in the US 2016 presidential election were resurfacing in America.
Testifying before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Monday, former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of directly meddling in the 2016 election, warning that Russia is now "emboldened" to interfere in elections in the US and around the world.
Meanwhile, the US President Donald Trump, who has so far refused to accept any kind of interference by Russia, described Clapper's comments as "old news," "a total hoax" and "fake news" in a series of tweets.
US intelligence agencies voiced certainty on October 2017 that the Russian government had interfered in the election. They claimed that Russia favored Trump and that the Russian president personally had ordered a campaign to harm Clinton, allegations dismissed by Moscow.
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