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Harry Reid asks FBI to investigate potential Russian election tampering

Harry Reid asks FBI to investigate potential Russian election tampering

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In a letter published yesterday, Senate minority leader Harry Reid writes to FBI Director James Comey to request that the bureau make a public investigation into the possibility that the Russian government will attempt to tamper with results of this year's US presidential election.

Reid says classified briefings fed his concern about Russian hacking

"I have recently become concerned that the threat of the Russian government tampering in our presidential election is more extensive than widely known and may include the intent to falsify official election results," Reid writes in the letter, first reported by The New York Times. In an interview with the Times, Reid added that classified briefings had led him to believe Vladimir Putin planned on "tampering with this election."

In his letter, Reid points to news reports this week that voter registration systems in Arizona and Illinois were targeted by hackers. In the Illinois breach, hackers were able to steal data on 200,000 registered voters, although the Arizona hack installed malware on a system but did not lead to any stolen data. Some circumstantial evidence linked the attacks to Russia, but there was little reason to believe the hacks could have altered the results of an election. The FBI is currently investigating those intrusions.

Reid also made note of the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee, which may have involved Russia and was theorized to be an attempt to embarrass Hillary Clinton. Reid took Donald Trump to task in the letter as well, referring to "a series of disturbing reports suggesting other methods Russia is using to influenced the Trump campaign." Trump has previously made his admiration for Russia and Putin known, leading a former acting CIA director to call him "an unwitting agent" for the country.