Former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) has revealed that his presidential campaign staffers were hacked by Russians in July 2016. The victims had access to secret inner workings of the campaign. Yesterday morning, Rubio’s offices were hacked a second time, again by Russians.
This is explosive new information. Previously, it was thought that only the Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns were hacked by Russia. That, combined with an onslaught of Russian-created fake news, was considered to be the extent of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Now we know that hackers were also targeting Trump’s rivals.
Rubio dropped out of the race in March 2016, so it is currently unclear why the Russians who were attempting to propel Donald Trump to the White House attacked him in July when he no longer posed a direct threat. The attack did come just days after Rubio announced his run for reelection to the Senate.
But that doesn’t explain why he was hacked again yesterday, having won his reelection bid.
Yesterday evening, Rubio told the press,
“In the first [Senate Intelligence Committee Russia investigation] panel, one of the individuals who appeared before us mentioned me in connection with efforts in the 2016 presidential primary.
“In July of 2016, shortly after I announced that I would seek reelection to the United States Senate, former members of my presidential campaign team, who had access to the internal information of my presidential campaign, were targeted by IP addresses with an unknown location within Russia. That effort was unsuccessful.
“I’d also inform the committee that within the last 24 hours, at 10:45am yesterday, a second attempt was made, again against former members of my presidential campaign team, who had access to our internal information, again targeted from an IP address from an unknown location in Russia, and that effort was also unsuccessful.”
The congressional intelligence committees have a big job ahead of them to untangle the web of Russian efforts to undermine American democracy. Rubio’s admission leaves us wondering, How many more Republicans were hacked? Only time will tell. The only thing we know for sure is that this scandal is ever bigger than we thought.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.