Russian hackers read US President Obama's unclassified e-mails last year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russian hackers who penetrated sensitive parts of the White House computer system last year read President Barack Obama's unclassified e-mails, the New York Times reported on Saturday, quoting US officials.

"There is no evidence that the President's e-mail account itself was hacked, White House officials said. Still, the fact that some of Mr Obama's communications were among those retrieved by hackers has been one of the most closely held findings of the inquiry," the paper said.

The White House confirmed the breach earlier this month, saying it took place last year and that it did not affect classified information.

The New York Times said on Saturday the breach had been "far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged."

It said that although no classified networks had been compromised, officials conceded that the unclassified system still contains highly sensitive information such as e-mail exchanges with diplomats, exchanges about personnel moves and legislation, presidential schedules and discussion about policy.

Officials did not disclose the number of Mr Obama's e-mails that were read by the hackers nor the sensitivity of their content, the New York Times said. It added that the President's e-mail account itself was apparently not hacked.

The paper said that Senior White House officials had known for months about the depth of the intrusion.

White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday's report.

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