The Russian government is dismissing the U.S. intelligence report substantiating Moscow’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election as “unfounded” and “reminiscent of a witch-hunt.”
The U.S. intelligence community on Friday released a declassified 23-page report on the alleged Russian hacking, concluding that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a multifaceted cyber and disinformation campaign aimed at undermining the U.S. democratic process and damaging Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
A spokesman for the Kremlin characterized the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions as “unfounded,” telling Russian news outlets on Monday that the report appeared amateur and was not worth reading in detail.
“The absolutely unfounded accusations [in the published report] sound at a rather amateurishly emotional level that can be hardly applied to a highly professional work of high-class special services,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday, according to an article published in the state-controlled TASS.
“We still don’t know what is in fact and what data those who make such unfounded accusations have,” Peskov said, adding that the report is “reminiscent of a witch-hunt.”
U.S. intelligence officials first accused Russia in October of directing cyber attacks on American individuals and organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, in an effort to interfere with the presidential election. The CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency then conducted a comprehensive investigation into the matter.
“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” the intelligence agencies concluded in the unclassified report issued last week. “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
The Obama administration responded to Russia’s election hacking in December, announcing new sanctions on Russian individuals and entities and expelling 35 Russian diplomats suspected of being spies from the United States.
Peskov would not say wether Putin himself read the report, which was published online after President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump were briefed on the classified version’s conclusions.
“In the part in which the report was published, certainly, this was accessible for everyone, including the Russian president, but I repeat once again: the published part arouses nothing but disappointment,” Peskov stated. “There was nothing in this report that deserved to be read in detail.”