Politico | December 14, 2020
By Eric Geller

The sophisticated cyber campaign that breached email accounts across the federal government created a deepening crisis Monday as signs multiplied about the scope of the foreign intruders’ reach.

“This is probably going to be one of the most consequential cyberattacks in U.S. history,” one U.S. official said, after the National Security Council held its second meeting in three days about the attacks, which security experts have linked to Russian intelligence. “That’s the view from inside government — that we’re dealing with something of a scale that I don’t think we’ve had to deal with before.”

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The intruders may have gained access to the email accounts as far back as June, POLITICO and other publications reported Sunday. Such an extended duration raises a huge red flag about the attacks’ impact on the government, said Sue Gordon, a former top deputy in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“It is massively disruptive once you have long-term penetration by a nation-state,” Gordon said in an interview.

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