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US news network claims Putin directly involved in Hillary Clinton hack

Intelligence officials are said to have a “high level of confidence”, according to NBC.

Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko AP/Press Association Images

US INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS now believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in hacking during the American election campaign, NBC News reported late yesterday.

He was said to have become involved as part of a personal vendetta against Clinton.

Putin personally instructed how material hacked from US Democrats was leaked and otherwise used, the US television network said, quoting two senior officials with access to this information.

The officials said they have a “high level of confidence” in this new assessment, NBC reported.

Last weekend The Washington Post reported a CIA evaluation that Russia had hacked the emails of US persons and institutions as a way to sway the election in favor of Republican Donald Trump, who eventually did beat Clinton on 8 November.

Putin is said never to have forgiven Clinton - then secretary of state – for publicly questioning the integrity of parliamentary elections in 2011 in Russia, and accused her of encouraging street protests.

The intelligence officials told NBC that Putin’s goals in the alleged hacking began as revenge against Clinton.

But they transformed into a broader effort to show that the world of US politics was corrupt and to, in the words of one official, “split off key American allies by creating the image that (other countries) couldn’t depend on the US to be a credible global leader anymore.”

In preparation for possible retaliation, US intelligence agencies have intensified probing of Putin’s personal wealth, NBC said, citing US officials.

Trump, who has spoken warmly of Putin, has dismissed as “ridiculous” the allegation that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and people close to Clinton.

Leading US lawmakers have called for a formal congressional investigation into the hacking.

© – AFP, 2016

Read: Clinton campaign presses for intelligence briefing on Russian hacking

Read: Trump says CIA finding Russia helped him win election is ‘just another excuse’

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