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Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats confirmed Thursday the intelligence community sees Russia has tried "to hack into and steal information from candidates and government officials alike."

Why it matters: Microsoft's Tom Burt said hacking has happened to candidates without attributing it to Russia, and Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said hacking has happened to them. Coats is now confirming Russia is behind some attacks, although not necessarily these.

Speaking at a White House Press briefing alongside FBI Director Chris Wray, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and NSA and Cyber Command Director General Paul Nakasone, Director Coats explained, "We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States. These efforts are not exclusive to this election…We know the Russians tried to hack into and steal information from candidates and government officials alike."

The details: Director Coats said the Russians don't appear to be distinguishing between party in their attempts to hack right now: "What we see is the Russians are looking for every opportunity regardless of party whether or not it applies to the election."

  • General Nakasone explained the U.S. is "prepared to conduct operations against those attempting to undermine our nation's midterm elections."

"In the context of 2018 we are not seeing the same kinds of efforts to target [election] infrastructure...voter registration databases in particular," Director Wray said when asked if they are seeing more targeting of election infrastructure by information warfare.

  • Director Wray added that "any moment is just a moment before the dial can be turned up…potential penetration of voter registration databases" is still possible, he said. "And that in turn can be a vehicle for them to…undermine confidence."

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat — Study: Trump campaign rallies likely led to over 700 COVID-related deaths.
  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  4. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

North Carolina police pepper-spray protesters marching to the polls

Officers in North Carolina used pepper spray on protesters and arrested eight people at a get-out-the-vote rally at Alamance County’s courthouse Saturday during the final day of early voting, the City of Graham Police Department confirmed.

Driving the news: The peaceful "I Am Change" march to the polls was organized by Rev. Greg Drumwright, from the Citadel Church in Greensboro, N.C., and included a minute's silence for George Floyd. Melanie Mitchell told the News & Observer her daughters, age 5 and 11, were among those pepper-sprayed by police soon after.

6 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.