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Putin personally interfered with the US election

US intelligence officials believe that Vladimir Putin was personally involved in hacking during the American election campaign as part of a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, NBC News has claimed. The Russian president personally instructed how material hacked from US Democrats was leaked and otherwise used, the US television network said, quoting two senior officials with access to this information. The officials said they have a “high level of confidence” in this new assessment, NBC reported. The evidence to support the CIA’s conclusion that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump remains mostly secret. But the outline of the case is no mystery.

Both Democratic and Republican Party servers were reportedly hacked by foreign agents, yet the Moscow-friendly folks at Wikileaks somehow only obtained the contents of Democratic servers. Putin has reportedly never forgiven Clinton  then secretary of state  for publicly questioning the integrity of parliamentary elections in 2011 in Russia, and accused her of encouraging street protests. The intelligence officials told NBC that Putin’s goals in the alleged hacking began as revenge against Clinton.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump ran a campaign that sometimes seemed almost designed to please Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump lavishly praised Putin. He hired a campaign manager who had previously gained a fortune working for a Putin-backed strongman in Ukraine.  The campaign then rewrote the Republican platform to remove pro-Ukrainian language likely to irk Putin. Trump selected as his principal foreign-policy adviser a retired general previously paid by Russia’s English-language propaganda network, RT. Trump himself publicly urged the Russians to do more hacking of his opponent’s email.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election to boost Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, according to reports. A secret CIA assessment found that Russian operatives covertly interfered in the election campaign in an attempt to ensure the Republican candidate’s victory, the Washington Post reported, citing officials briefed on the matter.

A separate report in the New York Times said intelligence officials had a “high confidence” that Russia was involved in hacking related to the election. The revelations came after the US president, Barack Obama, ordered a review of all cyber attacks that took place during the 2016 election cycle, amid growing calls from Congress for more information on the extent of Russian interference in the campaign. According to the Washington Post, individuals with connections to Moscow provided the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks with emails hacked from the Democratic national committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, among others.

Those individuals were “one step” removed from the Russian government, consistent with past practice by Moscow to use “middlemen” in sensitive intelligence operations to preserve plausible deniability, the report said. “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favour one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” a senior US official briefed on an intelligence presentation last week to key senators was quoted as saying. “That’s the consensus view.” CIA agents told the lawmakers it was “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to officials who spoke to the Post, citing growing evidence from multiple sources.

However, some questions remain unanswered and the CIA’s assessment fell short of a formal US assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies, the report said. For example, intelligence agents do not have proof that Russian officials directed the identified individuals to supply WikiLeaks with the hacked Democratic emails. The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied any links with Russia. President-elect Trump has rejected the intelligence community’s conclusion of Russian involvement. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump’s transition team said.

“The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest electoral college victories in history. It’s now time to move on and make America great again.” The New York Times reported that senior administration officials were confident Russian hackers infiltrated the Republican national committee’s computer systems as well as those of the Democratic party. It said those same officials believed the hackers did not release information gleaned from the Republican networks. The Russians were said to have passed on the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks, it was reported.

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