US: Putin ordered cyber-meddling to favor Trump

A declassified report from US intelligence agencies cites hacking, leaks and propaganda

A highly anticipated U.S. intelligence report claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to covertly influence last year’s presidential election in favor for Donald Trump.

However, the report – or at least the declassified version – offered no new evidence or sources to prove the Kremlin’s role in sponsoring the effort, which included hacks and online propaganda.

The U.S. government published the 25-page document on Friday amid skepticism from incoming President-elect Trump over whether Russia was really involved.

Outgoing President Barack Obama has nevertheless ordered sanctions against Russia and threatened covert action in retaliation for the cyber-meddling.

Friday’s report was compiled by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. It was a modified version of a larger, classified report that included details about the methods and sensitive sources used to collect the intelligence.

The declassified paper focuses on the conclusions that the agencies reached about Russia’s effort to influence the election. It claims that Putin ordered the covert effort in 2016 “to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process” and to denigrate Trump’s campaign rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  

Eventually, the Kremlin aspired to help Trump win, the report said. “All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence,” the report said.

To influence the election, Russia used a mixture of cyberspies, state-sponsored media and paid social media users to boost Trump over Clinton. Among those actions was Russian intelligence hacking Democratic Party organizations and leaders as a way to steal sensitive files.

Russian intelligence then allegedly used WikiLeaks, the hacker persona Guccifer 2.0 and hacktivist site DCLeaks.com to release the stolen data to the public.

Russian intelligence had also been found accessing “multiple state or local electoral boards,” though none of those were involved in tallying votes. Since early 2014, Russian intelligence has been researching U.S. electoral technology, the report claimed.

The report warned that the Kremlin will use the lessons it learned in the operation to influence future elections around the world, including those of countries allied with the U.S.

Many, if not all, of the claims made in Friday’s report have already been covered by the U.S. media in recent months. However, the original classified version reportedly contains details that showed U.S. spy agencies have identified who supplied WikiLeaks with the stolen Democratic emails.

In addition, U.S. intelligence reportedly has intercepted communications showing that senior Russian government officials celebrated Trump’s election win.

Before Friday’s report was published, Trump met with U.S. intelligence leaders about their findings. However, in a statement, he withheld any direct endorsement of their conclusions and instead focused on the importance of combating cyberattacks in general.

Russia has denied any involvement in the hacks. 

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?