According to a new report by the Washington Post, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) secretly assessed in August that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top aides “are aware of and probably directing Russia’s influence operations” aimed at undermining Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and favoring Donald Trump in the 2020 election
The CIA compiled its August 31 assessment with input from the National Security Agency and the FBI using public, unclassified and classified intelligence sources, the Post reported.
“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 U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. president and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November,” the first line of the assessment reads, according to the Washington Post report.
Former CIA officer Douglas London speaking to CNN in response to the report said that the agency’s use of the word “probably” when concerning an issue of such importance means its “analysts are sufficiently confident based on their deep expertise to put their reputations on the line in making such a call.”
“It means the intel is good enough that they’re not guessing, but have enough pieces of the puzzle to confidently make out the image,” London said.
US intelligence in August publicly accused Russia of actively interfering in the 2020 election.
“We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment.’ This is consistent with Moscow’s public criticism of him when he was Vice President for his role in the Obama Administration’s policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia,” William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in a statement in August.
Following the 2016 presidential election between Trump and Clinton, the US accused Putin in 2017 of directing election meddling efforts.
“We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes,” US intelligence said.