DNC official on alleged Russian hack: "This is unprecedented"

U.S. Intelligence is working against a deadline of January 20 -- the day President Obama leaves office -- to complete the investigation he ordered of attempts by foreigner hackers to disrupt the U.S. election.

One focus is the Russian break-in at the Democratic National Committee.

Investigators believe the attack began in July of 2015 -- more than a year before the presidential election. Thousands of emails were sent to hundreds of organizations.

Ultimately the hackers -- known as Cozy Bear and tied to Russian intelligence -- burrowed into the computers of the DNC. And for more than a year they stole documents and emails that would later come back to haunt Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“This is unprecedented...” said Adam Hodge, communications director with the DNC. “A foreign government attacked the entire Democratic Party...with one goal, and that was to help Donald Trump.”

The U.S. intelligence community is split on whether the hacks were intended to help Mr. Trump,  but since at least 2010 U.S. intelligence analysts have been warning of Russian cyber intrusions and information warfare.

Intel sources also tell CBS News that the hacks could not have occurred without the blessing of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“We were up against two adversaries. It wasn’t just Donald Trump. It was also the Russians,” said Hodge.  

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Adam Hodge, communications director with the DNC. 

CBS News

A 2013 threat assessment concluded Russia is among three countries focusing on “using internet content” that might contribute to “political instability and regime change.” 

With the DNC hack, an FBI agent first noticed the suspicious activity earlier this year.  He called the DNC and was transferred to a help desk. His calls went ignored.

It  took several months before the DNC realized that it had been contacted by the FBI. 

“To verify the authenticity of the FBI agent who said that he said who he said he was,” Hodge said. “It’s hard to believe, but that’s the reality,” Hodge said. 

President-elect Trump has brushed off allegations that the Russian’s were trying to boost his candidacy.  He recently tweeted that unless you catch hackers in the act it’s hard to determine who’s doing it and he wondered why this wasn’t brought up before the election.