A Democratic delegate protests against the Democratic National Committee after its political operations were revealed in emails published by WikiLeaks. (file photo)
The US government is investigating a “broad covert operation” by Russia to disrupt the November presidential election, according to a report.
Intelligence and law enforcement agencies are probing to understand the scope of the alleged Russian campaign which officials say is aimed at sowing public distrust in American political institutions and elections,The Washington Post reported.
Intelligence and congressional officials told the newspaper that the alleged campaign also includes cyber attacks against systems used in the US political process.
The investigation is being spearheaded by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. “This is something of concern for the DNI,” Charles Allen, a former longtime CIA officer familiar with the investigation, told the US daily.
“We’ve seen an unprecedented intrusion and an attempt to influence or disrupt our political process,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the US does not have “definitive proof” at this point of any Russian plans to tamper with the US political process.  
“But even the hint of something impacting the security of our election system would be of significant concern,” the official said. “It’s the key to our democracy, that people have confidence in the election system.”
Other officials said the Kremlin may not intend to sway the result of the US presidential election, but to cause chaos and spread propaganda to attack “US democracy-building policies,” especially in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
The hack of the Democratic National Committee, disclosed in June, and the subsequent release of 20,000 DNC emails by WikiLeaks, were widely blamed on Russia.
Hillary Clinton (R) speaks during a campaign rally at Temple University on July 29, 2016 in Philadelphia a day after accepting the democratic presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention. (AFP photo)
The disclosures, which included a number of embarrassing internal emails, forced DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down.
The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton accused Russia, saying the publication of the stolen emails was aimed at helping Republican nominee Donald Trump win the election.
However, the FBI and other counter-intelligence agencies involved in the probe of the DNC hacking have not yet officially attributed the cyber attack to Russian government hackers.
The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations, saying it would work with any US administration if they wanted it to.

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