U.S. intelligence report identifies Russia who provided hacked e-mails to WikiLeaks
U.S. media report that U.S. intelligence agencies have identified the Russians they say fed hacked e-mails to WikiLeaks in an effort to influence the November presidential election.
Reuters and The Washington Post reported on January 5 that US senior officials said that according to a new U.S. intelligence report the CIA has identified Russian officials who provided material hacked from the Democratic National Committee and party leaders to WikiLeaks at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin through third parties.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Central Intelligence Agency and others have concluded that the Russian government escalated its efforts from discrediting the U.S. election process to assisting President-elect Donald Trump's campaign.
Reuters said the intelligence assessment was presented to President Barack Obama yesterday and is scheduled to give to President-elect Donald Trump today.
The findings are important because WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied getting the leaks from Russians and Trump has rejected the broad intelligence community's assessment that Russia staged cyber attacks during the election campaign to undermine Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Russia has rejected the hacking allegations.
Reuters said hacked material in some cases followed "a circuitous route" from the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency, to WikiLeaks in an attempt to make the origins of the material harder to trace, a common practice used by all spy agencies.
These handoffs enabled WikiLeaks to say the Russian government was not the source of the material published on its website, Reuters said.
The Washington Post says the new report incorporates material from previous assessments and assembles in a single document details of cyber operations dating back to 2008. Still, U.S. officials said there are no major new bombshell disclosures even in the classified report. A shorter, declassified version is expected to be released to the public early next week.
U.S. intelligence officials think that Putin has for years held a grudge against Clinton, whom he accused of fomenting demonstrations in Moscow in 2011 and 2012 that embarrassed Putin and rattled the former KGB operative’s confidence in his grip on power, The Washington Post said.
Russia’s elite spy services have for years used cyber espionage capabilities to gather information on U.S. policymakers and political candidates — as the United States does on Russia. But Moscow’s decision to dump thousands of stolen emails into public view on WikiLeaks was seen as a provocative departure from the traditional lanes of espionage, U.S. officials said, according to The Washington Post.