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Report: CIA Believes Putin Is Directing Election Interference

Assessment concludes that Russian leader is likely behind efforts to boost Trump
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2020 5:02 PM CDT

(Newser) – The CIA believes Russia is once again trying to interfere in the presidential election—with Vladimir Putin personally directing the effort, according to a top-secret assessment distributed to lawmakers. Sources tell the Washington Post that the agency has concluded that Putin is likely directing operations to damage Joe Biden and boost President Trump's re-election chances. The New York Times reports that the assessment was distributed earlier this month, before the US imposed sanctions on Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach, accusing him of trying to interfere in the election by spreading anti-Biden material and saying he "has been an active Russian agent for over a decade"

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"We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia’s influence operations aimed at denigrating the former US Vice President, supporting the US president and fueling public discord ahead of the US election in November," the CIA Worldwide Intelligence Review states, per the Post. The assessment was made with input from the FBI and the NSA. The Times notes that the CIA has expressed less certainty about Putin's role in the interference than it did in 2016 "in part because the intelligence community appears to lack intercepted communications or other direct evidence confirming his direction of Mr. Derkach’s efforts." (Read more Russia stories.)

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