10152019What's Hot:

Vladimir Putin Hints at Russian Role in Hacking of U.S. Election

Photo

President Vladimir V. Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday. Credit Pool photo by Dmitri Lovetsky

MOSCOW — Shifting away from his previous blanket denials of Russian involvement in cyberattacks last year to help the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia denied any state role on Thursday but said that “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers could have been involved.

Mr. Putin’s comments, made during a meeting with Russian and foreign news agencies in St. Petersburg, were a departure from the Kremlin’s previous position: that Russia had played no role whatsoever in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and that, after Mr. Trump’s victory, the country had become the victim of anti-Russia hysteria among crestfallen Democrats.

Graphic

Why It’s Hard to Have an Independent Russia Investigation

A special counsel does not ensure that the F.B.I. investigation will be free from political interference.

OPEN Graphic

Raising the possibility of attacks by what he portrayed as free-spirited Russian patriots, Mr. Putin said that hackers “are like artists” who choose their targets depending how they feel “when they wake up in the morning.”

“If they are patriotically minded, they start making their contributions — which are right, from their point of view — to the fight against those who say bad things about Russia,” he added.

What All the Russia Investigations Have Done and What Could Happen Next

The firing of James B. Comey as director of the F.B.I. has led several lawmakers to call for an independent investigator or commission on top of the current investigations into potential links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

His remarks echoed ones by Mr. Trump, who has dismissed accusations of Russian meddling and said that the person responsible for the attack on the Democratic National Committee “could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

All the same, Mr. Putin stuck firmly to earlier denials that Russian state bodies or employees had been involved, an accusation leveled by United States intelligence agencies. They concluded in January that Mr. Putin himself had directed a Russian “influence campaign” involving cyberattacks and disinformation intended to tilt the November election in Mr. Trump’s favor.

“We’re not doing this on the state level,” Mr. Putin said on Thursday.

The boundary between state and private action, however, is often blurry, particularly in matters relating to the projection of Russian influence abroad. Nominally private Russian citizens have fought alongside Russian-speaking rebels in eastern Ukraine and have taken part in various campaigns to advance Moscow’s agenda in Eastern and Central Europe.

Source: NYT > World

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic