November 6th, 2008
03:09 PM ET
5 years ago

Computers of Obama, McCain campaigns hacked

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Computers at the headquarters of the Obama and McCain campaigns were hacked CNN confirms.
Computers at the headquarters of the Obama and McCain campaigns were hacked CNN confirms.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Computers at the headquarters of the Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns were hacked in mid-summer by a foreign government or organization, a source with knowledge of the incidents confirms to CNN.

Another source, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation, says federal investigators approached both campaigns with information the U.S. government had about the hacking, and the campaigns then hired private companies to mitigate the problem.

U.S. authorities, according to one of the sources, believe they know who the foreign entity responsible for the hacking is, but refused to identify it in any way, including what country.

The source, confirming the attacks that were first reported by Newsweek, said the sophisticated intrusions appeared aimed at gaining information about the evolution of policy positions in order to gain leverage in future dealings with whoever was elected.

The FBI is investigating, one of the sources confirmed to CNN. The FBI and Secret Service refused comment on the incidents.

The sources refused to speak on the record due to the ongoing investigation and also because it is a sensitive matter involving presidential politics.

As described by a Newsweek reporter with special access while working on a post-campaign special, workers in Obama headquarters first detected what they thought was a computer virus that was trying to obtain personal information of users.

The next day, agents from the FBI and Secret Service came to the office and said, "You have a problem way bigger than what you understand... you have been compromised, and a serious amount of files have been loaded off your system."

One of the sources told CNN the hacking into the McCain campaign computers occurred around the same time as the breach into those of Obama's campaign.

Representatives of the campaigns could not be reached for comment on the matter.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. JDC

    BOTH campaigns were so stupid, I doubt much was learned.

    November 6, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. ednadavid

    Which countries have the sophistication and wherewithal to carry out this type of activity??

    November 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Boise, ID

    Religion is the root of all evil.

    November 6, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. N. S. Huntsville, Al

    CNN THIS OLD NEWS YOU GUYS ARE ALWAYS TWO DAYS LATE

    November 6, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. N. S. Huntsville, Al

    The next day, agents from the FBI and Secret Service came to the office and said, "You have a problem way bigger than what you understand… you have been compromised, and a serious amount of files have been loaded off your system."

    NOT BUYING IT. THE FBI PROBABLY DID THIS BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO FIND OUT ABOUT OBAMA.

    November 6, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. DB

    Hmmm, high degree of sophistication and a high degree of motivation. I'm thinking Russia, China or Israel.

    Russia to see what's going to happen to their neighbors, China to see what's going to happen to their money, and Israel to see what's going to happen to their foreign aid.

    November 6, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. Barnhardt in NC

    Ten bucks says its Russia.

    November 6, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    It was Borat! He was in League with Harold and Kumar. They took their orders from Cheech and Chong who are henchmen for the notorious Dr. Evil.

    November 6, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Obama/Biden 08!

    With the economic melt down and each candidates policies/stratgies being redrawn to acommodate the economic crisis as prioity 1 the information that was hacked is probably worthless by now! Great job idiots!

    November 6, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Neal

    This is bad. I heard John McCain had dozens of pictures of his grandkids as well as a handful of e-cards and "inspirational" forwards from his Bridge club pals stolen. We are lucky he lost...can you imagine what N. Korea could do with that?

    November 6, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Patty in the CA mountains

    Seeing as how London "broke" the story of Mr Obama's Aunt and her illegal residence in this country, I would look that direction and narrow in on who had the most to gain.....remember the adage, "Follow the Money"....

    November 6, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Probably a Bush Hater like the democrats who are pushing for conservatives to approve of their porgressive (European Socialist) agenda. Weak Military, High Taxes, Wasted Spending, and Craddle to Grave Welfare. Sorry but if you want the good life you need to work hard for it. Buffit is right to give all his money away as his relatives can work as hard as he has if that is what he wanted. Be responsible for your actions and if you break the law which is just then you must pay!

    November 6, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. tally

    @ednandavid : You sure are a frog in the well.

    November 6, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. jane in Columbus,ks

    If the story has been made public then why not the name of the "foreign entity" behind the hacking?

    November 6, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Colorado

    It was China...

    November 6, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    That was no good.

    November 6, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. LIP

    Probably Ahmadinejad hacking away while cajoling with Obama on his victory.
    Lets not forget President Carter giving up 55 hostages for 444 days to the Iranians the last time they were slapping us on the back.

    November 6, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Proud to be American

    Well, well, well and they didn't leak any information? They where better then the McCain camp hehehehehe

    November 6, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. danny

    My money is on Israel. They've been pretty busy in this country, particularly over the past decade.

    November 6, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. OldDad

    First guess: China; their economy is going down the toilet, too, and they depend a lot on exports to the US. So, what will the US trade policy be?

    Second guess: Russia; only other negative nation with the compute savvy and gall to try this. Other compute savvy nations are our positive friends (sort of).

    November 6, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. DFinFL

    My bet is on Israel. That would explain the refusal to name the "entity".

    ..

    November 6, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Michael J, Toronto

    It was either Russia or China, of the two my money is on China.

    November 6, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Nia Hussein- Phoenix, AZ

    I blame Ron Paul

    November 6, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Matt

    Anyone else smell an embargo coming? Suck it up whichever foreign government did this...you're going to have a lot to answer to your people for when we stop spending our money on your goods and pull out all our businesses.

    November 6, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    ednadavid November 6th, 2008 3:46 pm ET

    Which countries have the sophistication and wherewithal to carry out this type of activity??
    ---------------–
    All of them!

    November 6, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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