The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday it was investigating the “cyber intrusion” at the Democratic National Committee after leaked internal emails show party leaders sought to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders.
The leaked documents on Friday have provoked an uproar as the Democratic convention gets underway in Philadelphia, set to tap Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination.
The Clinton campaign has sought to deflect questions about party efforts to derail the rival Sanders bid with suggestions that Russia was behind the leaks to help Republican candidate Donald Trump.
“The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC and are working to determine the nature and scope of the matter,” the agency said in a brief statement.
“A compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously, and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”
Anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks at the weekend released nearly 20,000 emails from between January 2015 and May 2016, gleaned by hackers who apparently raided the accounts of seven Democratic National Committee leaders.
The furor over the apparent bias in the party, which is supposed to be neutral on the candidates, forced the resignation of the DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on Sunday, effective at the end of the convention.
Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, was pushing the notion that Russia was behind the email leaks in an effort to help Trump win.
“Experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, took all these emails, and now are leaking them out through these websites,” campaign manager Robby Mook told ABC.
“It’s troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.”
Trump has long sought to scoop up disaffected voters who feel Sanders — a self-described democratic socialist initially dismissed as a fringe candidate — was denied a fair shot at the nomination.