U.S. gave ‘heads up’ to France about pre-election hacking by Russia

The head of the National Security Agency told Congress on Tuesday that U.S. intelligence analysts saw signs of Russian involvement in a pre-election hacking attack in France, and moved to let their French counterparts know of the effort by Moscow in the days running up to the recent runoff elections for French President.

“We had become aware of Russian activity, we had talked to our French counterparts prior to the public announcements,” of the hacks, as Admiral Mike Rogers told a Senate hearing that the U.S. had given France a “heads up” on what Russia was doing.

“Look, we’re watching the Russians, we’re seeing them penetrate some of your infrastructure; here’s what we’ve seen, what can we do to assist,” was how the NSA chief described what went on, as emails from the front runner in the French race for President, Emmanuel Macron, were released online.

Rogers said U.S. Intelligence resources were also watching the Russians for any cyber moves that might impact upcoming elections in both Germany and England.

“We’re doing similar things with our German counterparts, with our British counterparts,” Rogers said.

“We’re all trying to figure out how can we learn from each other.”

At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee about cyber threats, Rogers found himself answering a number of questions about the Russia probe, with regards to the U.S. elections of 2016.

“We had high confidence in the judgment that the Russians were clearly trying to undermine our democracy and discredit us broadly,” Rogers said, restating part of the election judgment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

“It’s become crystal clear that Russia has really mastered this domain of digital disinformation,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

“They clearly had a preference that candidate Clinton not win,” Adm. Rogers said of the Russians their 2016 interference.

“And they also wanted to insure that if she did win, that she was weakened,” Rogers said.

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