No Real Evidence, But Officials Blame Russia in Recent Pentagon Hack

Officials Say 'Fairly Sophisticated' Attack Could've Conceivably Been Done by Russia

Fresh off of a farcical situation where US officials revealed a hack against the Office of Personnel Management, suggested an unnamed “state actor” might’ve done it, and media and Congressional attention ended up blaming China by the end of the day, US officials look set to be doing the exact same thing in the hack of the Pentagon’s unclassified email system, only this time blaming Russia.

The email system was compromised late last month and brought down, in what officials say was a spear-phishing attack, getting email users on the system to click on harmful links. One US official, speaking anonymously, said it seemed “fairly sophisticated,” concluding it may well have “come from a state actor such as Russia.

That Russia could conceivably have done it is, in the eyes of most covering the story, as good as unimpeachable proof, and they’re already linking this and the OPM hack in a narrative of Sino-Russian hackers going after the US in some vague plot.

With no more evidence than one official saying ‘maybe Russia’ there’s no way to confirm or deny anything, and that official seemed to be trying to downplay his uncertainty by saying attribution is “virtually impossible.” That seems to be the case, to the extent that the US rarely even tries to provide evidence of culpability and instead starts plotting revenge attacks at whoever the first guy on the scene thinks may well have done it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of