President Barack Obama hit at Russia and President Vladimir Putin during his final end-of-the-year press conference.
Obama stopped short of blaming Putin directly for hacks that interfered with the US presidential election, but he still pointed his finger in that direction.
“The intelligence that I’ve seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that the Russians carried out this hack,” he said.
Questions surrounding Russian interference in the election have become a central focus in recent days amid reports that a CIA assessment concluded Russia interfered in the US election with the specific goal of aiding Trump’s campaign. It was reported Friday that the FBI supported the CIA’s findings.
Internal emails from members of the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, were leaked online throughout the campaign. The organization WikiLeaks released a steady stream of Podesta’s emails in the final weeks of the campaign.
Intelligence officials reportedly believe that Putin himself was directly involved in the hacks. And Obama seems to share that opinion, even if he neglected to fully endorse it.
“Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin,” Obama said. “This is pretty hierarchical operation. Last I checked, there’s not a lot of debate and democratic deliberation, particularly when it comes to policies directed at the United States.”
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