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Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

A Russian intelligence operation sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before the election, which ran through a hack of a U.S. voting software supplier. The Russian cyber espionage operation was functional for months before the 2016 U.S. election, according to a classified NSA report obtained by The Intercept (which also says the May 5 document was independently authenticated).

Why it matters: As The Intercept wrote, it's "the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light." Plus, the report shows Russian hacking may have weaseled its way further into U.S. voting systems than was previously known.

  • The NSA leaves no room for doubt for who carried out the attack by pointing the finger at Russian military intelligence — specifically, the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). That stands in stark contrast to Putin's denial that Russia has ever engaged in hacking the U.S. election at the state level.
  • Although the NSA doesn't name the breached company, it does reference a product made by a Florida-based vendor, VR Systems, which is used in eight states.

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).