NSA chief: U.S. warned France about Russian hacks before Macron leak

The U.S. notified French officials of Russian digital meddling before hackers on Friday leaked internal documents stolen from centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s political party, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers told Congress on Tuesday.

"If you take a look at the French elections … we had become aware of Russian activity," Rogers told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing.

"We had talked to our French counterparts prior to the public announcements of the events that were publicly attributed this past weekend," he added, noting the U.S. "gave them a heads up: ‘Look, we’re watching the Russians, we’re seeing them penetrate some of your infrastructure. Here’s what we’ve seen. What can we do to try to assist?’"

But Rogers stopped short of directly blaming Moscow for the Macron hack, which some researchers have done.

It’s believed that the leak in France — which came just days before voters went to the polls on Sunday — was intended to help nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen, who is friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Despite the data dump, Macron still won the election handily.

The suspected Russian meddling in France came on the heels of what U.S. intelligence officials have said was a Kremlin-ordered digital assault on the U.S. election aimed to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Rogers said the NSA is working with other European allies that have elections later this year, specifically citing "our German counterparts, our British counterparts."

Both Germany and Britain have expressed fears that Russian hackers are trying to sway the outcomes of their upcoming votes.

"We’re trying to figure out how we can learn from each other," Rogers told lawmakers.

Already, the U.S. intelligence community has shared with key European allies its classified findings from a recent investigation into Russia’s alleged interference during the 2016 American election.

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