NBC has reported that Vladimir Putin was personally involved in Russia’s attempts to influence the presidential election. Two intelligence officials told NBC that the news comes from various sources including diplomats and spies working for U.S. allies.
Putin’s main role was in directing the use of the hacked material. The Russian president’s goals were multi-layered, but the hacks allegedly began due to him holding a grudge against Hillary Clinton. From there his goal became to highlight corruption within the American political system and “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.”
Micheal McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia, said that Putin has had a vendetta against Clinton for several years. He further stated that Putin seeks to “discredit American democracy and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal-democratic order.” McFaul also noted that Putin certainly likes Donald Trump’s views on Russia.
The CIA believes that one of Putin’s main goals was to ensure the election of Trump. The FBI doesn’t agree with that claim, but it is clear that he wanted to harm Clinton’s campaign by leaking emails and other documents.
In October, the intelligence community issued a statement tying Russia to the hacked DNC emails. However, they didn’t reveal Putin’s involvement until much later. Now the intelligence community is saying with “high confidence” that the Russian president was personally involved in these efforts. Their use of the term “high confidence” is a sign that they are nearly 100 percent certain of Putin’s involvement.
McFaul, who now works as a correspondent for NBC, said that the CIA’s evidence fits with what he knows of the Russian leader.
‘It is most certainly consistent with the Putin that I have watched and used to work with when I was an ambassador and in the government.’
As part of a possible retaliation, U.S. intelligence agencies have investigated Putin’s financial holdings and concluded that he controls nearly $85 billion in assets. The intelligence community noted that it might be difficult to embarrass the Russian president since most Russians are familiar with the charge that their country’s leader has amassed his wealth through corruption. That being said, Putin is particularly sensitive to information that makes him appear weak. One intelligence official said that it was possible the Obama Administration might retaliate before the President leaves office.
‘This whole thing has heated up so much. I can very easily see them saying, “We can’t just say wow, this was terrible and there’s nothing we can do.”‘
For more information, you can check out NBC’s video below:
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) December 14, 2016
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