A new report from U.S. intelligence agencies says that Russian president Vladimir Putin “ordered an influence campaign” during the 2016 United States presidential election. U.S. intelligence believes the Russian campaign was aimed at undermining Hilary Clinton’s “expected presidency” citing Putin’s belief that the Olympic doping scandal was a “US-directed effort to defame Russia.”
Deadspin first reported on the news on Friday.
The declassified report was released by the CIA, FBI, and NSA on Friday. The Associated Press says that the campaign was done as “retaliation” for the World Anti-Doping Agency investigation into Russian doping.
The first page of the U.S. intelligence report reads: “We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency…When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign then focused on undermining her expected presidency.”
The Democratic National Committee was hacked in the leadup to the 2016 presidential election on Nov. 8. The DNC chair, according to the New York Times, resigned just before the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump won the election.
“Putin publicly pointed to the Panama Papers disclosure and the Olympic doping scandal as U.S.-directed efforts to defame Russia, suggesting he sought to use disclosures to discredit the image of the United States and cast it as hypocritical.”
The Russian athletics federation was barred from competing at the 2016 Olympics after it was discovered that the country had participated in state-sponsored doping. Russia was found non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency regulations and would miss the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Hacker group Fancy Bear has been releasing leaked documents to the public following the Olympics including information on therapeutic use exemptions, which are legal, of notable runners. Athletes involved in the leaks include Mo Farah and several high-profile American athletes. It’s believed that Fancy Bears is connected to Russian intelligence.
“These election-related disclosures reflect a pattern of Russian intelligence using hacked information in targeted influence efforts against targets such as Olympic athletes and other foreign governments,” the report states. “Such efforts have included releasing or altering personal data, defacing websites, or releasing emails.”