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Cyber Command Chief Says U.S. Warned France About Russia-Backed Hackers During Election

  • RFE/RL

The U.S. Cyber Command chief, director of the National Security Agency (NSA), and chief of Central Security Services, Navy Admiral Michael Rogers, appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 9.

WASHINGTON -- The United States' top cybersecurity official says Washington warned French officials during the recent presidential election that Russia-backed hackers were penetrating French computer networks.

Admiral Mike Rogers' comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 9 add to the growing body of evidence compiled by government and private companies about the nature of the French hack.

Rogers told the committee that U.S. officials were working with German counterparts to share data with French authorities.

France's election commission said "a significant amount of data" -- and some fake information -- were leaked on social networks following the attack on Emmanuel Macron's presidential campaign, which Macron's team called an attempt at "democratic destabilization, like that seen during the last presidential campaign in the United States."

Several private research companies also concluded that cyberattacks targeting Macron's campaign bore the fingerprints of Russia's intelligence agencies.

U.S. intelligence officials have accused the Kremlin of orchestrating a hacking and influence campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential campaign in 2016. Moscow denies that it meddled in the U.S. or French elections.

Macron decisively won the May 7 vote over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who favors lifting European Union sanctions targeting Russia for its interference in Ukraine.

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