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Russia's October Surprise

Its Failed Attempt to Hack the Election

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin, Germany, October 19, 2016. Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters

The month of October is never a quiet one in a U.S. presidential election year. But this time, the run-up to the vote has been marked by a series of high-stakes cyber-skirmishes between Washington and Moscow. Over the summer, intent on derailing the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Russia released damning emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), leading to the resignation of chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Hoping to create yet another stir, Russia then handed over a batch of Clinton’s e-mails to WikiLeaks on October 7. But much to Moscow’s chagrin, Washington was able to rob Moscow of the element of surprise, and Russia’s “October surprise” fizzled.

Just before the WikiLeaks dump, the White House released a statement in which it directly accused Russia for the first time of hacking the e-mails of DNC and Democratic Party members. The unexpected and unprecedented announcement dominated

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