US intelligence officials now believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the american election campaign as part of a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, NBC News reported late Wednesday.
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.
When asked if there was any basis to the allegations, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said “Ridiculous nonsense cannot have any basis”
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 favour of Republican Donald Trump, who eventually did beat Clinton on November 8th.
Putin is said to never have forgiven Clinton for publicly questioning the integrity of the 2011 parliamentary elections in Russia thereby encouraging street protests.
The intelligence officers told NBC that Putin’s goals in the alleged hacking began as a revenge against Clinton but transformed into a broader effort to show the world of US politics as corrupt and to split off-key American Allies by creating the image that other countries couldnt 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.
Trump who has spoken warmly of Putin, dismissed the allegations as “ridiculous”.
Leading US Lawmakers have called for a formal congressional investigation into the hacking.