NBC is reporting that U.S. officials are concluding that Putin personally ordered the leaking and hacking of emails that would influence the U.S. election.
U.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.
Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” the official said.
This of course, goes against the official line being pushed by Republicans in league with the President-elect, who says there was absolutely no influence whatsoever.
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.
I doubt any of this will matter. Politics has been completely tribalized with Trump – no one cares what’s true or false, they only care what is good for their politics, and bad for their politics. Vladimir Putin could put out video of himself personally breaking into Hillary’s house, hacking her server, and printing out emails, and Sean Spicer would say there’s no proof while Newt Gingrich would call it un-American to say otherwise. Welcome to the Trump age.