Hackers who targeted the federal government appear to be part of a Russian intelligence campaign aimed at multiple U.S. agencies and companies, including the cybersecurity firm FireEye, officials said Sunday.
A Commerce Department spokesman confirmed a breach, saying it occurred at an unidentified bureau.
Department officials alerted the FBI and a cybersecurity agency within the Department of Homeland Security, the spokesman said, declining to comment further.
The White House National Security Council also confirmed that it was looking into another potential intrusion at the Treasury Department after Reuters reported that foreign government-backed hackers accessed internal government emails.
The Washington Post first reported that the hacks were carried out by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR.
Among the SVR’s targets was FireEye, a major U.S. cybersecurity company with extensive government contracts, the Post reported. The firm’s CEO said last week that it had been hacked “by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities.”
A private cybersecurity official briefed on the matter confirmed the SVR’s involvement to NBC News.
FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia said the hackers’ primary goal appeared to be stealing information from the firm’s government clients.
It wasn’t clear how much information the hackers accessed, though the company said they obtained tools used by FireEye’s “Red Team,” or the section tasked with defending against new cyber attacks.
The Post reported that the Commerce Department breach targeted Solar Winds, an information technology system used by tens of thousands of organizations. NBC News has not independently confirmed this.
The FBI and National Security Agency declined to comment Sunday.
In a statement, the Homeland Security Department’s cybersecurity agency said it was investigating “recently discovered activity on government networks.”
The agency added that it was providing technical assistance to help blunt potential compromises.
‘QAnon Shaman’ Jake Angeli charged over pro-Trump riots
A prominent follower of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon has been charged over the US Capitol riots.
Jacob Anthony Chansley, known as Jake Angeli, is in custody on charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct.
Mr Chansley, who calls himself the QAnon Shaman, is allegedly the man pictured with a painted face, fur hat and horns inside Congress on Wednesday.
Donald Trump faces another impeachment charge for his role in the unrest.
Democrats accuse the president of encouraging the riots, in which five people died.
The FBI has been appealing to the public to help bring the assailants to justice.
Mr Chansley has not commented publicly on the charges.
A statement from the federal attorney for Washington DC said: “It is alleged that Chansley was identified as the man seen in media coverage who entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants.
“This individual carried a spear, approximately 6 feet in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade.”
The statement said police had also detained a man from Florida believed to have been photographed carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern from the House of Representatives chamber.
Adam Johnson, 36, is being held on charges including one count of theft of government property and one count of violent entry.
Also among those charged is West Virginia lawmaker, Derrick Evans. He is alleged to have posted a video of himself online, standing outside the building with Trump supporters, and then going inside.
He was arrested on Friday and is also accused of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds, the Department of Justice statement said.
More than a dozen people have now been charged in offences related to the assault on the Capitol building. They include an Alabama man allegedly found with 11 Molotov cocktails near the unrest.
Mr Trump is due to leave office in 11 days. Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to introduce an article of impeachment against him on Monday, for “incitement of insurrection”.
A White House spokesperson said impeaching the president at this late stage would only further divide the country.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55606044
US election: Trump tells Georgia election official to ‘find’ votes to overturn Biden win
US President Donald Trump has been recorded telling Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Mr Trump told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recording released by the Washington Post.
Mr Raffensperger is heard replying that Georgia’s results were correct.
Mr Biden won Georgia alongside other swing states, winning 306 electoral college votes to his Mr Trump’s 232.
Since the 3 November vote, Mr Trump has been alleging widespread electoral fraud without providing any evidence.
He tweeted on Sunday that Mr Raffensperger had not given details of the fraud the president alleges. “He has no clue!” the president tweeted.
All 50 states have certified the election result, some after recounts and legal appeals. So far, US courts have rejected 60 challenges to Mr Biden’s win.
Congress is due to formally approve the election result on 6 January.
Mr Biden, a Democrat, is due to be inaugurated as president on 20 January.
Voters in Georgia are due to vote again on Tuesday to elect two senators for the state. The result could determine the balance of power in the Senate – if the two Democrat contenders win, then there will be equal numbers of Republican and Democratic senators and Democratic Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will have the deciding vote.
Mr Biden’s Democrats already control the lower House of Representatives.
What happened during the call?
In the excerpts released by Washington Post, Mr Trump can be heard alternately cajoling and pressurising Georgia’s secretary of state.
He insisted that he had won the election in Georgia and told Mr Raffensperger that there was “nothing wrong with saying you have recalculated”.
Mr Raffensperger responded by saying: “The challenge you have Mr president is that the data you have is wrong.”
Later in the call Mr Trump said the rumour was that ballots had been shredded and voting machinery had been removed from Fulton County in the state – a charge Mr Raffensperger’s lawyer said it was not the case.
The president then threatened the official with possible legal consequences.
“You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal offence. You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer,” Mr Trump said.
He told Mr Raffensperger he should re-examine the result in the state.
“You can re-examine it, but re-examine it with people who want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers,” he said.
“Mr President, you have people who submit information and we have our people that submit information and then it comes before the court and the court has to make a determination,” Mr Raffensperger replied. “We have to stand by our numbers, we believe our numbers are right.”
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-55524838
Fact-checking Trump’s conspiracy theory connecting Georgia’s secretary of state to China
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