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US lawmakers: Russia trying to 'influence the US election' through cyber attacks

Top Democrat lawmakers have accused Russia of trying to influence the US election through cyber attacks. The two House and Senate intelligence committee members have called on Russian President Putin to halt the hacks.

Two Democrat lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees said on Thursday that Russia is behind a recent spate of cyber attacks which they are using to impact the outcome of the November 8 election.

"Based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election," wrote Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam Schiff in a joint-statement.

"At the least, this effort is intended to sow doubt about the security of our election and may well be intended to influence the outcomes of the election. We can see no other rationale for the behavior of the Russians."

The two Californian politicians receive classified briefings as members of their respective intelligence committees. Based on that information, they believe the cyber attacks "could come only from very senior levels of the Russian government."

The statement also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin "to immediately order a halt to this activity."

"Americans will not stand for any foreign government trying to influence our election," they said.

DNC data hack

Officials are still investigating the cyberattacks which leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Additionally, election data systems in two US states have been breached.

The US government has yet to formally blame Russia for the Democrat email hacks. However, officials in President Barack Obama's administration concluded that Russia or its proxies were responsible for the cyber attack.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been criticized by both parties for praising Putin.

During his campaign, he has also encouraged Russia to hack his political opponent, Hillary Clinton. He later said the comments were made in jest.

Cyber security experts are concerned that hackers are likely to strike in the coming months which could harm the integrity of the elections.

As for election results themselves, Obama's homeland security adviser said earlier this month that a cyber attack on US voting systems would be difficult and would not likely impact election outcomes.

rs/kl (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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