Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama, McCain Campaign Computers Hacked

Computer systems used by the Obama and McCain campaigns were reportedly hacked over the summer by an unknown "foreign entity," according to an account of the attacks published Wednesday.

The sophisticated cyberattacks has prompted a federal investigation, Newsweek reported Wednesday. Attacks on both campaigns were similar in that investigators believed a foreign entity or organization sought to steal information on policy positions. Such information could be used in negotiations with the future administration.

Tech experts at the Obama headquarters initially believed that the computer systems had been invaded by a computer virus. The next day, however, they were told by the FBI and Secret Service that the problem was far more serious, the magazine reported.
"You have a problem way bigger than what you understand," an agent told Obama's team, according to Newsweek. "You have been compromised, and a serious amount of files have been loaded off your system."

Federal agents told Obama's aides that the McCain campaign had suffered a similar attack, which a top McCain official later confirmed to Newsweek.

Meanwhile, Newsweek also learned that the lavish shopping spree of McCain running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was more extensive than previously reported. The buying spree tainted the vice presidential nominee's campaign image as an everyday woman sympathetic with the plight of the working class.

While McCain's top advisers publicly supported Palin, behind the scenes they fumed at her behavior, the magazine said. Instead of buying just three suits and hiring a stylist, as instructed, she bought clothes and accessories for herself and her family at high-end stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

One McCain campaign aid estimated that Palin spent "tens of thousands" of dollars more than the reported $150,000, the magazine said. Another aide described the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast." Wasilla is the Alaskan town where Palin served as mayor before becoming governor.

The same aide said more details of Palin's shopping would likely come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

John McCain, GOP senator from Arizona, lost to Barack Obama, Democratic senator from Illinois, in Tuesday's Presidential Election.

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