U.S. authorities are investigating what they believe is a series of Russian intelligence cyberattacks targeting information collected by journalists at The New York Times and other news organizations.
The security breaches have been detected over the past several months, U.S. news organizations reported Tuesday. The attacks are thought to be part of a broader campaign targeting the Democratic Party, which is in the midst of trying to ensure former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's election as president.
U.S. authorities say the cyberattacks appear to be targeting American organizations outside government agencies, such as Washington think tanks and news organizations, to gain an understanding of the current American political scene in the weeks before the quadrennial presidential election on November 8. Clinton principal rival is Republican Donald Trump.
Information collected by key journalists could provide links to their sources or offer hints about possible unpublished stories related to Russia.
Shortly before last month's Democratic National Convention that nominated Clinton for president, the information-sharing group WikiLeaks released more than 19,000 emails from computers at the party's national headquarters in Washington. WikiLeaks has declined to say who its source was, but U.S. experts say they believe the hacking was carried out by Russians.
Some of the hacked emails showed party officials favored Clinton's nomination over that of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who engaged her in a spirited, monthslong campaign before ending his run for the White House and endorsing her.
Trump recently suggested that Russia ought to hack into Clinton's computer to see whether its agents could find 33,000 emails that Clinton said were private in nature from her days as the State Department chief from 2009 to 2013 and had been deleted.
A day later, after critics attacked Trump's suggestion that a foreign government meddle in the U.S. presidential campaign, he said he was being sarcastic.