Thursday, December 15, 2016

U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack

It seems that the information coming out about Russia's efforts to elect Donald Trump to the Oval Office only gets worse and worse and more frightening - at least to anyone who doesn't rely on Fox News, a/k/a Faux News, as their sole source of "news" and information.  One take away is that the next time you hear some Republican bloviating about their patriotism, (after vomiting) call them out and remind them that their party's president elect won the election likely thanks to the efforts of a hostile foreign enemy. Increasingly, Trump is seemingly the Manchurian candidate come to life and most Republicans could care less.  Their sole focus of GOP elected officials is to remain in power and the party base's fixation is on maintaining its white privilege and seeing its racism and bigotry supported.  They do not give a damn about the country over all much less foreign interference with America's electoral process.  A piece at NBC News looks at the increasingly alarming details of Russia's involvement - possibly, in my opinion with the Trump campaign's active cooperation.  Here are highlights:
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.
Ultimately, the CIA has assessed, the Russian government wanted to elect Donald Trump. The FBI and other agencies don't fully endorse that view, but few officials would dispute that the Russian operation was intended to harm Clinton's candidacy by leaking embarrassing emails about Democrats.
The latest intelligence said to show Putin's involvement goes much further than the information the U.S. was relying on in October, when all 17 intelligence agencies signed onto a statement attributing the Democratic National Committee hack to Russia.
The statement said officials believed that "only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities." That was an intelligence judgment based on an understanding of the Russian system of government, which Putin controls with absolute authority.
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.
He wants to discredit American democracy and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal democratic order. And most certainly he likes President-elect Trump's views on Russia," McFaul added. Clinton cast doubt on the integrity of Russia's elections.
A former CIA official who worked on Russia told NBC News that it's not clear the U.S. can embarrass Putin, given that many Russians are already familiar with allegations he has grown rich through corruption and has ordered the killings of political adversaries.
The former CIA official said the Obama administration may feel compelled to respond before it leaves office.  "This whole thing has heated up so much," he said. "I can very easily see them saying, `We can't just say wow, this was terrible and there's nothing we can do.'"
As for Comey's FBI being hesitant to admit the role Russia played, I hate to say it, but I believe that James Comey was part of the operation.  Why he still has a job is mind boggling.  He needs to be charged with interfering with the election, if not espionage, and subverting the Constitution. 

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