Heritage had alerted staff about the attempted phishing attempt in the run up to the presidential election: “The same threat groups that have been releasing information about the DNC, Hillary Clinton, and recently John Podesta have been targeting specific people within Heritage via phishing campaigns,” stated an email by Heritage sent on Oct. 24, 2016. “Our security monitoring tools and services show no signs of an active compromise. However, we were contacted by the FBI agent-in-charge regarding emails sent to Heritage staff in August and September.”
The Heritage Foundation is extremely influential in Republican circles and is viewed as the backbone of modern conservative philosophy. The president has relied heavily on the organization’s input, and they proved instrumental in Trump’s transition process.
Former Heritage president Jim DeMint confirmed on Tuesday that the organization was victim to an attempted phishing attempt. However, these actions were, to his knowledge, unsuccessful. The alleged hackers targeted Heritage employees who worked “outside” the company’s firewall. They failed to infiltrate Heritage’s internal computer systems.
International agents attempting to hack Heritage (or any other major policy organization in America) is not exactly a new occurrence. Heritage was successfully breached by Chinese hackers in 2015 – they nabbed sensitive emails and donor information.
“Like other high-profile policy organizations, Heritage is the target of phishing attacks on a regular basis, some from sophisticated actors. We have extensive security measures in place and have not identified any unauthorized access of our systems. When appropriate, we share relevant information with law enforcement and the information security community,” read a statement from Heritage to The Daily Caller.
We do not yet know why the same Russian hackers who breached the email systems of the DNC and John Podesta would also want sensitive information from the Heritage Foundation. The DNC and Clinton’s campaign chair are certainly not connected to the country’s most respected conservative think tank.
Those on the left are determined to believe Russian agents did everything they could to help elect Donald Trump – which may have been the case. However, we see how these actions point to another, less partisan theory in Russian government-led attempts to meddle in outside elections: Vladimir Putin is looking to sow the seeds of chaos around the world, no matter if his victims be Democrats or Republicans.