A new report says Russia was behind a hack of a White House computer network last year that exposed sensitive information about President Obama. Now, federal agencies are investigating the breach, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Plante.
The White House would not say who they think is responsible, but sources told CBS News it did come from Russia. The White House has two computer systems: one that handles classified information, the other non-classified information. The unclassified system is the one that was reportedly breached.
"There's always vulnerability," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said at a press conference. "The fact is that's why we have a classified system because there's less risk in the classified system and that is secure. On the unclassified system we take regular actions to prevent vulnerabilities and to enhance security."
Rhodes did not provide specifics about reports that the Russians were behind that hack of the White House's unclassified system last year. That system contains non-public information, including Mr. Obama's sensitive, unpublished schedule.
The reported hack happened during a tense time between the White House and the Kremlin when Mr. Obama and Russian President Putin were at odds over Moscow's involvement in Ukraine.
"It is a demonstration that the Russians are willing to up the ante in the cyber games against the United States and they're willing to demonstrate their capabilities against the White House itself, the center of American power," CBS News senior national security analyst Juan Zarate.
Last October, officials confirmed suspicious cyber activity was detected on the White House computer network around the same time the State Department system was compromised. According to reports, that's how the hackers slipped into the White House system.
"The reality is that Russia, China and other competitive nation states have at their command, impressive and potentially detrimental cyber tools and they are willing to use them," Zarate said.
In February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate committee that the Russian cyber threat is more severe than previously assessed.