US Intelligence: Putin Launched Cyber Campaign to Aid Trump in Elections

A US intelligence report has revealed that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has directed a hacking effort to undermine the Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton, and helped Republican Donald Trump in his win in the 2016 presidential elections.

An unclassified report released on Friday has claimed that Putin ordered an online campaign aimed at influencing the 2016 presidential elections by undermining public faith in the US democratic process while smearing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

An excerpt from the report read:

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgements.

The report states that all three agencies, the CIA and the FBI and the NSA agree with this judgement. The CIA and FBI are said to have high confidence in the judgement while the NSA has moderate confidence in the assessment.

The report added:

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

Putin’s pro-Trump stance, according to the report, is due to the now President-elect’s stated policy of working with Russia, particularly with Russia-friendly positions on Syria and Ukraine. With Clinton, Putin holds a grudge against the former secretary of state, according to the report, due to her comments which he saw to be disparaging him.

Related read: White House Announces Sanctions for Russian Hacking

In a statement following his intelligence briefing, Trump pointed to hacking attempts by “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people” who are continually trying to infiltrate the cybersecurity infrastructure of US institutions and businesses.

About the influence of Russia’s hacking endeavors, Trump added:

There was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.

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