Two senior officials with direct access to the information told NBC News that new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how the material that was hacked from Democrats was to be leaked and otherwise used.
The statement said officials believed that...
"Only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."
That was an intelligence judgment based on an understanding of the Russian system of government, which Putin controls with absolute authority.
Now the U.S has solid information tying Putin to the operation, the intelligence officials say. Their use of the term "high confidence" implies that the intelligence is nearly incontrovertible.
The officials say the intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies.
They went on to explain that Putin's objectives were multifaceted saying what began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton for casting doubt on the integrity of Russia's elections in 2011 which then morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics. The endgame was to split off key American allies by creating the image that America couldn't be depended upon as a credible global leader anymore.
Ultimately, the CIA has assessed, the Russian government wanted to elect Donald Trump or at the very least harm Clinton's candidacy by leaking embarrassing material that they hacked and ultimately leaked under Putin's guidance.
The latest intelligence showing Putin's involvement is apparently more damning and more detailed than the information the U.S. was relying on back in October when all 17 intelligence agencies signed onto a statement attributing the DNC hack to Russia.
Adding fuel to this already roaring fire the White House, who obviously have a deeper knowledge of the intel on Russia's hacking, has gone on the record as saying that they believe that President-elect Donald Trump was "obviously aware" that Russia meddled in the US election to benefit his own campaign.
As for Donald Trump he asserts that the claims that Russia sought to help him win the US elections are "ridiculous" and has falsely asserted that the subject of hacking scandal was never brought up during the election.