Wow, we are so surprised. We did not see that coming. Despite all of the times Assange said Russia wasn’t his source and the lack of evidence to support the CIA’s claims, we still were unprepared for this conclusion.
Can you hear the sarcasm through the screen yet? Check out this report, then forward to all your friends who still believe the Russian hacking story.
Russia’s original hacking intent had nothing to do with President-elect Donald Trump, according to intelligence officials who detailed their assessment in a report released Friday.
The intel chiefs are highly confident the core motivations behind the extensive Russian campaign were to undermine the integrity of the election, denigrate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and undermine her potential presidency. Although the report states Russia developed a “preference” for Trump late in the campaign, it’s clear they believe the underlying goal was always to hurt Clinton.
“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” the report states. “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
Given the timeline of the hacks and the bad blood between Putin and Clinton, the intel assessment of his motivations isn’t surprising. U.S. intelligence has traced the launch of the hacks as far back as Spring 2015 — months before Trump announced his bid for the presidency — and that launch almost certainly took several months of planning. Trump was a media punchline, if anything, at that point, while Clinton had long been on Putin’s bad side.