The story keeps getting thicker. Citing anonymous US intelligence sources, NBC News reports “with a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in a covert operation to interfere in the US presidential election and smear Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
According to two senior intelligence officials with direct access to the information, Putin oversaw how hacked materials from Democrats were leaked and otherwise used.
While the operation purportedly began as a “vendetta” against Clinton for her role in inciting unrest during Russia’s parliamentary elections in 2011, it eventually turned into a mission designed 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,” the sources said.
But here’s the thing: Although the CIA has assessed that the Russian government meddled with the election to give Donald Trump an edge, the FBI and other agencies remain reluctant to fully endorse this view. The consensus is, however, that the operation was intended to harm Clinton’s candidacy.
A recent report from the New York Times suggests intelligence officials found evidence that Russian hackers breached sensitive data from both the Democrat National Committee as well as the Republican National Committee, but ultimately forwarded only the former to WikiLeaks.
Where opinions mostly diverge is whether this was done to undermine Clinton’s campaign or the American political system as a whole.
The extent to which Russia disrupted the election remains unclear, but it’s widely believed Russian hackers stood behind the DNC voicemail leaks in July as well as the John Podesta email hack earlier in March.
via The Verge