Russian President Vladimir Putin was likely directly involved in the Democratic Party hacks, U.S. intelligence officials believe.
The hacking campaign targeting Democratic Party officials and organizations in full campaign for the U.S. presidential elections reportedly aimed to discredit and undermine the United States as a global leader and hurt Donald Trump's rival candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Putin Directly Involved In Democratic Party Hacks
A new report from NBC News, however, reveals that U.S. intelligence officials still think that Putin was directly involved in the hacking campaign. The publication cites two senior intelligence officials who spoke under condition of anonymity, saying that new evidence reveals that Putin orchestrated the distributions of hacked information and emails from the Democratic Party and Clinton's campaign.
During the weeks before Election Day, WikiLeaks and other organizations regularly dumped a slew of documents, publicly revealing information and communications affecting Clinton and Democrats.
According to the unnamed officials who spoke with NBC News, the intelligence was obtained from diplomatic sources, as well as spies employed by allies of the United States. Putin's involvement reportedly started as a "vendetta" against Clinton, which eventually escalated in a bid to prove corruption in U.S. politics, as well as to spark a divide among key U.S. allies by making the United States seem undependable as a global leader.
Russia And The U.S. Presidential Elections
The CIA came to believe that the Russian government wanted Donald Trump to become the president of the United States. While other agencies such as the FBI don't share this view entirely, the U.S. government has already accused Russia of interfering with the presidential elections. Other accusations also alleged that Trump has Russia's support, reportedly communicating through a Trump Organization server.
The new evidence now shows that Putin was even more deeply involved than thought at the time. Solid information reportedly ties Putin to the operation and the officials speaking with NBC News used the term "high confidence," suggesting that the intelligence is nearly incontestable.
Michael McFaul, who was the U.S. ambassador to Russia between 2012 and 2014, said that it definitely seems like something Putin would do.
"He has had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, that has been known for a long time because of what she said about his elections back in the parliamentary elections of 2011," McFaul told NBC News. "He wants to discredit American democracy and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal democratic order. And most certainly he likes President-elect Trump's views on Russia."
According to Business Insider, a number of electors within the Electoral College have requested a briefing on the alleged involvement Russia had in the U.S. presidential elections. The group will meet next week, on Dec. 19, to officially attest the election results.