Russian military spies hacked hundreds of computers at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
According to the report, the Russian agents attempted to place the blame on North Korea, planting false evidence to make it look like the country had done the hacking.
U.S. intelligence officials, who spoke to the Post anonymously, said the “false-flag” operation caused broadcast and internet disruptions, while some attendees found themselves unable to print tickets. The U.S. officials believe the attack was retaliation over the International Olympic Committee’s decision to ban Russian officials from attending this year’s ceremonies over doping violations.
Some U.S. officials also told the Post that they worry Russia may attempt a similar disruption Sunday during the closing ceremonies.
“We’re watching it pretty closely,” said one U.S. official. “It’s essentially a Korean problem,” the official added. “We will help the Koreans as requested.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment to the Post, and the intelligence has not yet been publicly acknowledged.
The reported attempt to blame North Korea for the intrusion comes amid unprecedented cooperation between North and South Korea during the games, which featured a joint team representing athletes from both nations for the first time.
North Korean officials called off a meeting at the Olympics with Vice President Pence earlier this month after Pence announced the Trump administration’s newest round of sanctions targeting the country.
“We regret [the North Koreans’] failure to seize this opportunity,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement following news reports of the meeting plans. “We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses, or for mourning a young American’s unjust death.”