In what has been reported as a “major hack” during the 2018 midterm election, thousands of emails were exposed after the House GOP’s campaign arm was compromised by an outside intruder, according to Politico.
The email accounts of four senior aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee were surveilled for several months, the party officials said. The intrusion was detected in April by an NRCC vendor, who alerted the committee and its cybersecurity contractor. An internal investigation was initiated and the FBI was alerted to the attack, said the officials, who requested anonymity to discuss the incident.
However, senior House Republicans — including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) — were not informed of the hack until POLITICO contacted the NRCC on Monday with questions about the episode. Rank-and-file House Republicans were not told, either.
Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), who served as NRCC chairman this past election cycle, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Though party officials would not say who was behind the hack or when it began, the nature of the hack indicates it was a foreign agent, Politico reported.
“The NRCC can confirm that it was the victim of a cyber intrusion by an unknown entity. The cybersecurity of the Committee’s data is paramount, and upon learning of the intrusion, the NRCC immediately launched an internal investigation and notified the FBI, which is now investigating the matter,” said Ian Prior, a vice president at Mercury.
Officials noted that no donor information was compromised during the hack and said that to date, no emails have turned up in public.
President Donald Trump has previously said that Republicans are superior when it comes to cybersecurity, claiming this is why the Democratic National Committee was hacked during the 2016 election but Republicans were not:
“The DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses, and they were able to be hacked,” Trump told CBS News in July. “I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans, too. But, and this may be wrong, but they had much stronger defenses.”