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‘Putin supervised US poll hacking’

Russian President Vladimir Putin supervised his intelligence agencies’ hacking of the US presidential election and turned it from a general attempt to discredit American democracy to an effort to help Donald Trump, three US officials said on Thursday.

US intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia tried to influence the election by hacking people and institutions, including Democratic Party bodies, has angered President-elect Trump, who says he won the Nov. 8 vote fairly. Russian officials have denied accusations of interference in the US election.

Separately, a senior White House official said on Thursday that Putin was likely to have been aware of the cyber attacks but he fell short of accusing the Russian president.

“I don’t think things happen in the Russian government of this consequence without Vladimir Putin knowing about it,” Ben Rhodes, the White House’s deputy national security adviser, told MSNBC. “When you’re talking about a significant cyber intrusion like this, we’re talking about the highest levels of government.”

The US officials – who have knowledge of intelligence information on the matter – said on the condition of anonymity that the hacking of US political groups and figures had a more general focus at first. (Reuters)