U.S. Intelligence: Vladimir Putin was personally involved in hacking U.S. election

Two news organizations reported yesterday that U.S. intelligence has documented Vladimir Putin’s personal involvement in hacking the U.S. Election.

NBC News reported U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack:

cartoon_55U.S. intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

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The latest intelligence said to show Putin’s involvement goes much further than the information the U.S. was relying on in October, when all 17 intelligence agencies signed onto a statement attributing the Democratic National Committee hack to Russia.

The statement said officials believed that “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.” That was an intelligence judgment based on an understanding of the Russian system of government, which Putin controls with absolute authority.

Now the U.S has solid information tying Putin to the operation, the intelligence officials say. Their use of the term “high confidence” implies that the intelligence is nearly incontrovertible.

“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,” said Michael McFaul, who was ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.

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As part of contingency planning for potential retaliation against Russia, according to officials, U.S. intelligence agencies have stepped up their probing into his personal financial empire.

American officials have concluded that Putin’s network controls some $85 billion worth of assets, officials told NBC News.

Neither the CIA nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would comment.

CBS News similarly reported Vladimir Putin likely gave go-ahead for U.S. cyberattack, intelligence officials say:

American intelligence officials say they are convinced that Russian hacking of our presidential election was approved by President Vladimir Putin. Sources confirm to CBS News they believe Putin was aware of attacks that began in July of last year.

An official investigation is still going on. But this is the first time the hacking that plagued the Democratic National Committee until Election Day has been linked to Putin, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues.

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The hacks were so widespread and sustained over such a long period of time that U.S. Intelligence sources say it could not have been carried out without the knowledge of senior levels of the Kremlin. CBS News has learned that investigators believe the initial cyberattack involved thousands of malicious emails aimed at the U.S. government, military and political organizations.

U.S. officials tell CBS News that U.S. Intelligence believes that Putin, at some point, was directly involved in the hacking around the U.S. election and approved the dissemination of the information.

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The operation started in the summer of 2015 and was a large undertaking.

First attempts by foreign hackers to disrupt the election came in the form of malware and phising emails, which allowed them into systems inside the Democratic National Committee.

U.S. intelligence sources tell CBS News this type of cyber hacking could not have happened without Vladimir Putin’s blessing, saying: “The orders to do it would have had to come from the highest level.”

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Congressman Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence, argues lawmakers are being denied a briefing on the hacks.

“We want to clarify press reports that the CIA has a new assessment that it has not shared with us,” Nunes said.

But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said: “We will not offer any comment until the review (requested by President Obama) is complete.”

Senator Lindsay Graham said Wednesday the feds knew who cracked his email over the summer.

“We were told by the FBI in August that we were hacked in June,” Graham told CNN. “So they pointed us to the fact that the Russians did it. Yes the Russians did it.”

On Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the reports of Putin personally influencing the results of the U.S. presidential elections “ludicrous nonsense.”

Do you know who else dismissed the latest intelligence reports? That’s right, Putin’s pal Donald Trump. Trump rejects Russia hacking plot:

Putin-Trump-KissPresident-elect Donald Trump on Thursday again rejected the CIA’s conclusion that Russia manipulated the US election, as the hacking scandal expanded into a hefty foreign policy challenge just five weeks before he takes office.

Even as NBC News reported that US intelligence has concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a direct hand in the hacking plot, Trump took to Twitter to dismiss the issue, which has been roiling since before he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton on November 8.

If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House waite [sic] so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” he tweeted.

[For the record, Contrary To Trump’s Tweet, Russian Hacking Came Up Before Election (A Lot)]

But the 70-year-old billionaire-turned-president-elect appeared increasingly isolated in his stance as the scandal posed a deep challenge to his aim of resetting Washington’s strained relations with Moscow.

The conclusions by key intelligence bodies including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been accepted throughout the government, including among top members of Trump’s Republican Party.

Now we have the spectacle of Trump attacking White House press secretary Josh Earnest for making a true statement that Trump knowingly benefited from Russian involvement in the U.S. election and encouraged Russian hacking, Trump calls Obama’s press secretary ‘foolish’ and ‘so bad’ during Pennsylvania rally, and Trump’s Rasputin, Kelly Ann Conway, questioning the patriotism of those who say Trump benefited from the Russian hacking. Conway: Obama and Clinton could ‘shut down’ lingering election questions:

Asked on Fox if Earnest’s comments were coming from Obama, Conway declined to say, but acknowledged that the president did not stop his press secretary from making them. Without offering specifics, she then suggested that both Obama and Clinton could stop the criticism to pave the way for “this peaceful transition in our great democracy between the Obama administration and the Trump administration.”

“There is another person who has not, and her name is Hillary Clinton,” Conway said. “If you want to shut this down and you actually love the country enough to have this peaceful transition in our great democracy between the Obama administration and the Trump administration, there are a couple people in pretty prominent positions, one’s named Obama, one’s named Hillary Clinton, since it’s people want to fight for her election, they can shut this down.”

UPDATE: On Friday, the Washington Post reported, FBI in agreement with CIA that Russia aimed to help Trump win White House: FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. are in agreement with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in part to help Donald Trump win the White House, officials disclosed Friday, as President Obama issued a public warning to Moscow that it could face retaliation.

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post gets it right: We need an independent, public investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal. Now.

The Trump-Russia scandal continues to widen, with revelations that are making it increasingly clear that not only do we need a full investigation, but that investigation needs to be independent and bipartisan, and include public hearings. Some Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, have suggested that the Senate Intelligence Committee can handle it.

But let’s make no mistake: that’s a way of sweeping it under the rug. The Intelligence Committee’s hearings are closed to the public and press, and while there will certainly need to be parts of this investigation that are kept behind closed doors lest “sources and methods” be compromised, we need to learn as much as possible about this scandal. A dusty, redacted report released a year from now will not be enough.

If this keeps going in the direction it’s headed, this could stand alongside Watergate and Iran-Contra as one of the most important scandals in modern American history. It’s increasingly looking like a hostile foreign power run by a murderous thug tried to swing an American election, and may have succeeded — at least, in helping to tip it.

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And this is critical to understand: There is reason for serious skepticism about whether the Republican Congress can be trusted to investigate this scandal. Their response to Donald Trump’s copious and appalling financial conflicts of interest has essentially been, “eh, no biggie.” As this blog detailed yesterday, that response is part of a broader pattern in which Republicans are effectively looking the other way while Trump assaults our norms and democracy, and given that, there’s no reason to assume Republicans will investigate the allegations of Russian interference with the seriousness they deserve.

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What’s important now is that we get an independent, unconstrained, public investigation, so Americans can know exactly what happened in 2016. Anything less will be a betrayal of the public trust.

12 responses to “U.S. Intelligence: Vladimir Putin was personally involved in hacking U.S. election

  1. John Huppenthal

    Well, thank you Wikileakis for bringing some truth about the democrat candidate to the electorate. A candidate who spent 1.2 billion deceiving the American public. The stock market has had the largest post election bounce in history in percentage terms and staggering $2 plus trillion dollars.

    That’s what it is worth not to have Clinton as president and to have Trump as president. So much for spending all that money to deceive us that she had a better economic plan. I guess people didn’t believe her.

    And, Putin was perhaps one outside force that revealed her incompetence, hypocrisy and duplicity. Cheating on the debates, despising Catholic beliefs, knee capping Sanders.

    If the election were to be run again, Clinton would lose by 6 million votes.

    • When did you start working for Breitbart, Thucky? Or is it Info Wars? Storm Front?

      • John Huppenthal

        Blue,
        How do you know when a liberal is dead?

        He quits accusing you of being a racist.

        The whole Saul Alinksy thing didn’t work for you in Arizona, didn’t work for you nationally, in fact it has completely destroyed you in both arenas.

        Keep it up for another two years and the US Senate will be veto proof.

        The model is fundamentally flawed and self destructive. Incomes of the poor, who Alinsky pretended to be agitating for as he went around thieving and destroying people, have stagnated horribly and democrats have been decimated four times over at the state level and the national level.

        The Alinsky model has been a disaster for the Democrats.

        It’s fine to punch it out with me, I don’t mind brawling. I am a nobody now. But, Kavanaugh and Steve have been perfect gentlemen and it is pretty disgusting that their comments haven’t been dealt with in a more civilized manner.

        Its obvious that you are really smart, really motivated. Now, it’s time for you to be civilized.

        It is also time for you to recognize how transparent this entire column is as another alinsky playbook ploy.

        Since Trump got elected, IRA’s have gone up $600 billion, 401k’s have gone up $400 billion, Private pension funds $240 billion, Government pension funds $400 billion. It is just frickin amazing. Who would have thought it?

        The entire Russian stock market isn’t worth a trillion dollars. Turns out Trump as president is worth $2 trillion – amazing!

        Putin is so irrelevant and insignificant.

        • Well I’ve never actually read Saul Alinksy and I have never been a “community organizer,” so I don’t know what the hell your raving is about.

          • He hasn’t read Alinsky either. He’s just raving.

          • John Huppenthal

            I have read Rules for Radicals, Reveille for Radicals and Hillary’s master’s thesis, “There is only the fight” which is entirely about Alinsky, and Obama’s books complete with his and Michelle’s references to Alinsky’s screed as being the bonding agent in their relationship.

            Everthing that Obama does, every action he takes, every comment, is consistent with the Alinsky playbook – this includes the Josh Earnest shot about Trump.

            I’ve read enough to know how destructive Alinsky has been for the nation, for his party, for Chicago and for Blacks – the people he was supposed to have been agitating and extorting for.

            Just look at the neighborhoods he and Obama organized for in Chicago. From Woodland to Armour Square. Everything he did was about sharing value someone else created, never about creating value itself. The population of those communities has gone from over 900,000 in 1950 to less than 450,00 today. The crime rates make these neighborhoods look like shit holes from hell.

            I drive into south Phoenix twice every day, once in the morning, once in the afternoon, into one of the five highest crime zip codes, perhaps the highest crime zip code of the state. A normal Maricopa county zip code has three people in prison, in jail, on probation or on parole. These five zip codes have over 3,000 each.

            Unlike Alinsky’s destructive vision, my mission is total value creation. I teach elementary school math using a completely new theory of memory, class organization and success. My students have averaged 41 minutes of math work per day since August 8th.

            As this unfolds, I will be able to get the typical south phoenix student to be highly skilled at calculus by 8th grade. Not take calculus, be highly skilled at it.

            By the end of next year, I will have reversed the ethnic achievement gap, reversed it. My Black and Hispanic students will not only be above grade level after starting two years behind, but they will have done further and overtaken and passed white student achievement.

            Something Obama spent 5 billion on and completely failed unless you count the fact that he reduced white academic achievement by more than he reduced Black academic achievement.

            Let me assure you, when I am done, my school zip code won’t be one of the top five crime zip codes in the state.

            My students aren’t just learning math, they are learning how to work, something much more important than math and how to work hard and how to work long and how to have fun doing it.

            The classical classroom teaches teaches the poor and minority student to be lazy and to hate.

            Coming in January, we start my system up for reading too.

            Just look at the communities in which he was active in Chicago:

            Just look at Chicago and the communities that he “organized”: East Garfield Park, Archer Heights, Armour Square and several others. The combined population of these communities has plummeted from

        • Funny how this market move is Trump’s according to His Royal Thuckiness. The market has gone up over 10,000 points in Obama’s 8 years (and still rising). Care to say anything about that, Falcon?

    • For Sure Not Tom

      One quarter of the post election gains in the DOW have come from one company.

      Goldman Sachs. Not housing stocks, not manufacturing stocks. Not durable goods, not agriculture or health stocks.

      A quarter of all gains from one stock a stock in demonstrably criminal MULTI-NATIONAL financial “services” company.

      GS was $181 on November 7th and is at $241 today.

      This is the market, forward looking, telling us that the wealth extraction from the middle class to the top 1% of the 1% is going to accelerate under The Orange-utan and his cabinet of billionaires.

      Plutocracy achieved.

      And Falcon9 et all, please shut up about Saul Alinsky. The only reason you know Alinsky is because Newt Gingrich made Alinsky required reading for the right back in his GOPAC days in the 90’s.

      The right puts Alinsky to good use and has for decades. The Tea Party mastered Alinsky.

      The sociopath will always accuse you of doing the very thing that they are guilty of themselves.

      • John Huppenthal

        I am not citing the DOW which is only a small fraction of total market capitalization, I’m citing the Wilshire index which is the total market. Goldman Sachs’s 33 billion increase in capitalization is a small sliver of $2 trillion total market increase. And, that’s just listed companies. A proportionate increase in private companies might add another trillion to that mix.

        And, I don’t recall Gingrich ever mentioning Alinsky, something I would remember. I picked up on him from Clinton’s work.

        But, he’s worth talking about endlessly because the the culture he suffused through the democrat party has now almost completely destroyed it. It purports to be culture of “sharing” but it is really a culture of extorting and thievery accomplished through a complete lack of ethics.

        The neighborhoods he saturated this philosophy with in Chicago have never recovered. What value creator in their right mind would ever move into these places? Alinsky extorted every one of them. He was just the mob by another name. He never created one dime of value.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          But I am citing the DOW and I’m saying that the rapid rise in stock prices, and especially Goldman Sachs, is alarming, not cause for celebration.

          You’re doing that thing they did during the tech bubble of the late 90’s, when they said P/E’s don’t matter anymore, revenue doesn’t matter anymore, because tech has made the business cycle obsolete.

          You’re ignoring the bigger picture and cheering the bubble.

          If using Alinsky’s tactic’s is to blame for Chicago’s woes (it’s so much more complicated as you damn well know), the I would posit that by your thinking, the right’s use of Alinsky tactics is responsible for the thin skinned man baby currently leading your party.

          And for your party continually failing to win the popular vote at the federal level.

          FYI, you of all people calling the left unethical is funny, and that you regard creating value over humans just makes it funnier.

          At least your not posting while collecting a government paycheck from a computer my taxes paid for anymore.

          I do hope your students succeed.

          • John Huppenthal

            A rise in stock prices simply means that the future is potentially more prosperous as a result of some change. Right now, the ratio of listed stock market value to gdp is the highest it has been in decades. It seems to be forecasting that Trump will get his income tax reforms through congress.

            Bob is waxing poetic about Finland and its welfare reform. Welfare reform without tax reform is pretty worthless – the two interact. Finland has stagnated for 40 years – their population has increased by only 14% while the US population has increased by over 40%. The difference largely just got up and left for the United States, where they could get a job.

            Their per capita gdp is a full $10,000 less than the United States.

            The stock market is saying that we are going to do another 45% in the next 36 years – that we will be a nation of over 450 million.

            Maybe more if Trump fully succeeds. Maybe we will be 600 million.

  2. the voters of western pennsylvania said I don’t care that mrs. clinton wants to shut down all of the coal mines and put us out of good paying jobs I am voting for her anyway. Oh! russia hacked dnc e-mails. I will have to vote for trump now! blame it on russian hacking and you don’t have to look at why white working class abandoned the democratic party. clinton got 6,000,000 more votes then trump in california and new york. in other 48 states she got 3.3 million less votes then trump. that is why democratic party is in the minority in the hous and senate.