U.S. Intelligence Believe With a ‘High Level of Confidence’ That Vladimir Putin Was Personally Involved in Election Hacking

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin on December 6, 2016 in Moscow, Russia.  Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

U.S. intelligence officials believe with a “high level of confidence” that Russian president Vladimir Putin was personally involved in a campaign to interfere with the U.S. presidential election as part of a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton, NBC News reports.

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Officials told the news site that “two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used” and that “the intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies.”

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According to the sources, Putin initially interfered as a “vendetta” against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the hack then “morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics” and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore.”

According to NBC News, the CIA has determined that Putin wanted Republican presidential nominee and now president-elect Donald Trump to win the race. The news site notes that the FBI and other agencies, however, “don't fully endorse that view.”

In October, the Obama administration publicly accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee. On Tuesday, December 13, The New York Times posted a report that a typo made by one of Clinton’s campaign aids may have offered the hackers access. On Monday, the Clinton campaign demanded that the CIA declassify all information regarding the hacking and to give a briefing to Electoral College voters.

On Sunday, December 11, Trump called the hacking allegations “ridiculous,” claiming Democrats were just embarrassed over Clinton’s shocking loss. 

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