US intelligence officials believe that Vladimir Putin was personally involved in hacking during the American election campaign as part of a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, NBC News has claimed. The Russian president 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. 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 favor of Republican Donald Trump, who defeated Clinton on 8 November.
Putin has reportedly never forgiven Clinton – then secretary of state – for publicly questioning the integrity of parliamentary elections in 2011 in Russia, and accused her of encouraging street protests.
The intelligence officials told NBC that Putin’s goals in the alleged hacking began as revenge against Clinton.