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U.S. intelligence says Putin wanted to damage Clinton, help Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Hillary Clinton to lose the election and clearly preferred Donald Trump, the U.S. intelligence community concluded, according to its assessment report released Friday.

The report was highly redacted and offered no specific evidence of the hacking, instead reporting conclusions of the FBI, the CIA and the National Security Agency on their assessments of Moscow’s motives and intentions.

“Moscow’s use of disclosures during the U.S. election was unprecedented, but its influence campaign otherwise followed a longstanding Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations — such as cyber activity — with over efforts by Russian government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries and paid social media users or ‘trolls,’” the intelligence community said in its report.

The analysts said Russian intelligence services tried to snoop on the candidates in the primaries, on think tanks and on important lobby groups.

Russian intelligence had access to the Democratic National Committee’s network from July 2015 through at least June 2016, with its military intelligence service compromising Democratic Party officials’ email accounts between March and May of this year, the U.S. agencies said.

Russian intelligence then had the information shared through WikiLeaks and other online leakers, the U.S. agencies said.

The U.S. officials said RT, a television network formerly known as Russia Today, was instrumental in facilitating the dissemination, acting as intermediary with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Mr. Trump has questioned the U.S. version of events.

He was briefed on the report earlier Friday and afterward released a statement that seemed to spread blame around.

“While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines,” he said.

Mr. Trump also said as president he’ll form a task force to make recommendations about how to defend against cyber attacks.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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