On Thusday, the same day that former FBI agent Clint Watts testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian intelligence targeted the Republican primary campaigns of Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, Rubio himself discussed how both his campaign and Senate office had staved off Russian hackers.
“In July 0f 2016, shortly after I announced that I would seek reelection to the United States Senate, former members of my presidential campaign team who had access to the internal information of my presidential campaign were targeted by IP addresses with an unknown location within Russia. That effort was unsuccessful,” Rubio told the Senate.
He added, “I would also inform the committee within the last 24 hours, at 10:45 a.m. yesterday, a second attempt was made, again, against former members of my presidential campaign team who had access to our internal information — again targeted from an IP address from an unknown location in Russia. And that effort was also unsuccessful.”
Watts himself later said during this hearing that Rubio had not been alone among the Russian government’s alleged recent targets.
“This past week we observed social media campaigns targeting speaker of the House Paul Ryan hoping to foment further unrest amongst U.S. democratic institutions,” Watts said.
Rubio’s disclosure sheds new light on his comments in October, when he warned his fellow Republicans against trying to make political hay out of WikiLeaks’ revelations regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails. After denouncing the hacks as “an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process,” Rubio said that “I want to warn my fellow Republicans who may want to capitalize politically on these leaks: Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us.”