Chinese hackers crashed the Federal Election Commission’s website Oct. 1, the first day of the partial government shutdown, in “what may be the worst act of sabotage in [the FEC’s] 38-year history,” a non-partisan investigative journalism group reported.
David Levinthal, senior reporter at the Center for Public Integrity, told Fox News the hackers’ motivation was not yet clear, but taking down a website of the U.S. federal government is a “big deal to them.
"These are not people who like the United States,” he added. “These are people who want to do damage to the country. They want to do damage to freedom and democracy as we have it in this country.”
Because of the shutdown, none of the FEC’s 339 employees was on the job the day of the reported hacking attack.
The FEC declined comment on the subject, referring all inquiries to the Department of Homeland Security.
A DHS official told Fox News that it was investigating what happened at the FEC, adding, “While the investigation is ongoing and no final determination has been made, at this point, there are no indications that any sensitive information or other personal data was compromised.”
According to CPI, an independent audit of the FEC earlier this year found its IT systems were vulnerable to a hacking attack, but the FEC insisted its computer systems were "secure.”