NPR

5 Unanswered Questions Raised By The Leaked NSA Hacking Report

The appearance of a National Security Agency report about Russian cyber-mischief adds new detail about what American spies know — but it also highlights much of what still isn't clear.

America's sprawling elections infrastructure has been called "a hairball" — but as people in Silicon Valley might ask, is that a feature or a bug?

Then-FBI Director James Comey touted it as a good thing — "the beauty of our system," he told Congress, is that the "hairball" is too vast, unconnected and woolly to be hacked from the outside.

That was before Monday's leak of a top secret National Security Agency report about a Russian election cyberattack. What that document confirms is that if the whole is safe, its many individual parts may not be.

The NSA report, posted by The Intercept, documents a scheme by Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, to compromise the systems of a Florida elections services company — then use that access to explore local voting registration records.

"It is unknown whether the aforementioned spear-phishing deployment successfully compromised the intended victims, and what potential data could have been accessed by the cyber actor," as one NSA analyst wrote in the report.

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