A new report from NBC News claims that Russian president Vladimir Putin personally knew and orchestrated the leak of stolen material from the Democratic National Committee.
Two senior intelligence officials told NBC they have a “high level of confidence” that Putin directed how the hacked material would be used.
The report claims Putin’s motive was initially to pursue a vendetta against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but the mission soon morphed into an effort to undermine U.S. credibility as a global leader.
The fervor over Russian involvement in the U.S. electoral process has reached a fever pitch over the past week.
Last week, The White House revealed that President Barack Obama had recently commissioned U.S. intelligence agencies to compile a comprehensive report containing information about malicious cyber activity aimed at past presidential elections. Deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told journalists that that this report would be completed before inauguration day and shared with congress and potentially, in a redacted form, with the public.
Earlier this week, Evidence uncovered by the New York Times noted that “human and technical” sources in Russia aided the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian intelligence forces were involved in the DNC data breach.
The NBC report says that the CIA is now weighing its options for retaliation, including digging into the Russian leaders vast financial holdings.