U.S. Intelligence: Putin Ordered Hacking Campaign To Help Trump Win Election

06-01-2017 | Politics | 6 | 539


WASHINGTON -- U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a hacking campaign that aimed to help President-elect Donald Trump and influence the U.S. election.

A newly declassified report released on January 6 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the effort sought to help Trump, a Republican, by discrediting his Democratic rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was widely predicted to win the November 8 contest.

"We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency," the 25-page report said.

"We further assess Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," it said. "We have high confidence in these judgments."

The report comes amid mounting alarm among policymakers and legislators in Washington about the scope and intent of Russian cyberintrusions during last year’s election campaign.

"When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency," the report said.

Russian intelligence, the report said, did access some systems of state or local electoral boards. But the Department of Homeland Security concluded that the systems that were targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.

The report also concluded that state-run Russian media -- including the Sputnik news agency and the international television network RT -- "contributed to the influence campaign" by promoting Trump and "serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audience."

Margarita Simonyan, RT's editor-in-chief, responded incredulously on Twitter, saying: "They're joking, right?"

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