(Washington Post) Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state of interfering in Moscow’s affairs — and if Russian security was behind last week’s release through WikiLeaks of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails, it would look a lot like Kremlin payback.
Even if the breach was carried out by a mid-level intelligence official acting on his own initiative, hoping to please his boss, disclosures that seemingly raise questions about the legitimacy of Clinton’s nomination speak directly to Putin’s complaints about her.
American law enforcement and intelligence officials suspect that Russian military intelligence, the GRU, carried out the hack of the DNC email server, though no one has been able to suggest how the material got into the hands of WikiLeaks.
“We do not deal with hackers, we have nothing to do with such activities,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, told reporters Thursday, according to the Sputnik International website.
“As to any direct or indirect accusations against the Kremlin or Russia in general, alleging that they could be somehow involved in some kind of cyberattacks, these claims are completely absurd and represent a picturesque example of the use of Russophobia in the interest of an election campaign.” […]
Clinton had also pushed hard for the Libya intervention in the spring and summer of 2011, which Putin was appalled by as unwarranted interference in another nation’s sovereignty. After she stepped down as secretary of state, she made a well-publicized visit to Yalta — in 2013, when it was still part of Ukraine — to support Ukraine’s signing of an agreement with the European Union. Putin hoped to strong-arm Ukraine into joining his Eurasian Economic Union, which Clinton had called an attempt to “re-Sovietize” areas of the former Soviet Union.
That comment and others “were in part seized upon for domestic political reasons,” Samuel Charap, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington, said Wednesday. “She became a convenient scapegoat.”
Charap thinks it unlikely that the Kremlin was responsible for the release of the DNC emails. The hacking, yes, but not the release, because it seems out of character. Still, he said, Russian officials could say, “‘This is what the U.S. does everywhere. You guys have been training opposition activists for years. What’s the difference?’ Of course there is a difference.” […]
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