President Barack Obama
Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images
President Barack Obama
Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images

Russian hackers reportedly snooped through some of President Barack Obama’s emails in a breach of the White House’s unclassified computer system last year, according to the New York Times.

In a break that was “far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged,” the Times says, hackers accessed email archives of people inside the White House, and maybe some outside, with whom the president regularly communicated.


The hackers also gained access into the State Department’s unclassified system, but not closely guarded servers that control the flow of information from the president’s BlackBerry, which he or an aide carries constantly, the report says.

Sources confirmed that the White House intrusion was viewed as so serious that officials met on a nearly daily basis for several weeks after it was discovered. “It’s the Russian angle to this that’s particularly worrisome,” a senior official told the Times.

While Chinese hacking groups are known for heisting large amounts of commercial and design information, notes the Times, Russian hackers tend to hide their tracks better and focus on specific, often political targets.

The intrusion triggered a new debate about whether it is possible to protect a president’s electronic presence. In 2008, Chinese hackers hit Obama’s campaign.

Read more at the New York Times.

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