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Putin has authorised operations to assist Trump in his fight against Biden.



US: Putin has authorised operations to assist Trump in his fight against Biden.
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US: Putin has authorised operations to assist Trump in his fight against Biden.

US: Putin has authorised operations to assist Trump in his fight against Biden.


According to a declassified intelligence report, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved influence operations to aid Donald Trump in last November’s presidential election. The assessment found broad attempts by the Kremlin and Iran to shape the outcome of the campaign, but no proof that any foreign agent changed votes or otherwise disrupted the voting process.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a study on Tuesday that is the most comprehensive evaluation of the range of global threats to the 2020 election. Iran’s attempts to weaken voter trust and damage Trump’s re-election chances were among them, as were Moscow operations that used Trump’s allies to slander Joe Biden, the eventual winner.

Despite the threats, intelligence officials find “no signs that any foreign agent tried to intervene in the 2020 US elections by altering any technological component of the voting process, including voter registration, ballot casting, vote tabulation, or reporting results,” according to the study.

Even as Trump supporters continue to make unfounded allegations of intervention from international or domestic actors and refuse to recognize Biden’s win, the report is the latest official affirmation of the election’s legitimacy. Several courts, including Trump’s own Justice Department, have dismissed charges of systematic fraud. Even though Trump has questioned the election’s validity, the document shows that intelligence officials believe Russia attempted to manipulate people close to Trump in order to sway the election in his favor.

The study delves into the politically charged task of determining which foreign adversaries backed which candidates in the 2020 presidential election, a topic that dominated headlines last year. Trump, whose 2016 campaign was helped by Russian intelligence officers’ hacking and a clandestine social media project, seized on an intelligence assessment from August that said China favored a Biden presidency, despite the fact that the same assessment also said Russia was trying to improve Trump’s candidacy by disparaging Biden.

However, according to Tuesday’s paper, China did not intervene on either side and “considered but did not deploy” influence operations aimed at influencing the outcome. Officials in the United States claim Beijing prioritized a cooperative relationship with the United States and did not see any election result as beneficial enough to risk the “blowback” that would follow if it was caught interfering.

According to intelligence officials, the primary threats came from Russia and Iran, though with different motives and using different methods.

According to the paper, Russia attempted to sabotage Biden’s campaign because he was seen as a threat to the Kremlin’s interests, while taking steps to prepare for a Democratic administration as the election approached.

According to the paper, Putin approved influence operations aimed at smearing Biden, bolstering Trump, undermining election confidence, and exacerbating social divisions in the United States.

The use of proxies linked to Russian intelligence “to launder power narratives” by using media organisations, US officials, and people close to Trump to promote “misleading or unsubstantiated” charges against Biden was central to that initiative.

Officials from the intelligence community did not point out any Trump supporters in this campaign. However, longtime associate Rudy Giuliani met with Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach on several occasions in an attempt to connect Biden to unsubstantiated corruption allegations. Derkach released heavily edited recordings of Biden in 2020. Officials in the United States have described Derkach as a “aggressive Russian agent,” and according to the report released Tuesday, Putin is believed to have “purview” over his activities.

Russia, on the other hand, was not as successful in seeking to hack election systems as it had been in previous election cycles. According to the paper, Russian cyber operations targeting state and local government networks last year were most likely not election-related, but rather part of a larger campaign to threaten the United States and global organizations.

Meanwhile, Iran conducted its own influence campaign aimed at undermining Trump’s re-election bid, which US officials believe was likely approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

One “highly targeted operation,” as defined by then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray in an October news conference, involved a flurry of emails to Democratic voters in swing states that falsely claimed to be from the far-right party Proud Boys and threatened the recipients if they didn’t vote for Trump.

Iran’s efforts were aimed at sowing discord in the United States, which officials claim were more militant than in previous elections and persisted long after the election was over, most likely because Tehran believed it would damage Trump’s re-election chances.

Despite the fact that Iran attempted to exploit vulnerabilities on state election websites and did “compromise US institutions affiliated with election infrastructure as part of a large targeting campaign across multiple sectors worldwide,” the study concluded that Iran did not attempt to influence votes or impact election infrastructure.

The 15-page text is a declassified version of an election interference report that was sent to Trump on Jan. 7, one day after a riot at the United States Capitol as Congress gathered to certify election results.

A separate document published Tuesday by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security came to a similar conclusion regarding the election’s legitimacy, arguing that there was no proof that any foreign agent had tampered with the results.

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