Hackers with connections to the Russian government played a role in an effort to damage centrist French politician Emmanuel Macron's presidential campaign by hacking and leaking emails and documents ahead of the election, according to two U.S. intelligence officials.
Separately, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that Washington became "aware of Russian activity" in the French election long before purported campaign emails were leaked two days before Sunday's vote that Macron won in a landslide.
"We gave them a heads up ... "Look, we're watching the Russians, we're seeing them penetrate some of your infrastructure'," Rogers said.
The two officials and four others familiar with intelligence agency findings acknowledged that they have not found conclusive evidence that the Kremlin ordered Russian intelligence agencies to do the hacking, or that they directed it.
But it was conducted by "entities with known ties to Russian intelligence," said one of the officials, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Russian government has repeatedly denied any involvement in hacking of the French election.
Macron campaign digital director Mounir Mahjoubi told Reuters in an interview that he had no proof that Russian government-backed hackers were behind the attacks.
"We have no precise information on who did this," he told Reuters. "I have no confirmation, no proof." He said he was speaking in a personal capacity and not officially on behalf of the campaign.
Two of the U.S. government sources and one European official said there is clear evidence that Russia targeted Macron's campaign going back at least to February. Pro-European Union Macron defeated far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, who wanted to take France out of the EU and supports Russian policy on Ukraine.