U.S. intelligence officers intercepted a conversation last May of a Russian spy bragging Moscow “was getting ready to pay [Hillary] Clinton back” by meddling in the November election, according to news reports Thursday.
“In May 2016, a Russian military intelligence officer bragged to a colleague that his organization, known as the GRU, was getting ready to pay Clinton back for what President Vladimir Putin believed was an influence operation she had run against him five years earlier as secretary of state,” Time magazine reported.
“The GRU, he said, was going to cause chaos in the upcoming U.S. election.
“What the officer didn’t know, senior intelligence officials tell Time, was that “U.S. spies were listening,” Time reported, quoting top U.S. intelligence officials.
“They wrote up the conversation and sent it back to analysts at headquarters, who turned it from raw intelligence into an official report and circulated it.
“But if the officer’s boast seems like a red flag now, at the time U.S. officials didn’t know what to make of it,” the magazine said.
“We didn’t really understand the context of it until much later,” the senior intelligence official said.
The boast is now considered “the first indication U.S. spies had from their sources that Russia wasn’t just hacking email accounts to collect intelligence but was also considering interfering in the vote,” Time reported.
In 2011, Putin publicly accused Clinton and the State Department of fueling protests in 70 cities that threatened his re-election bid.
The demonstrations were organized on social media by a popular blogger named Alexei Navalny.
The State Department retorted it only financed pro-democracy organizations.
According to Time, a Russian soldier in Ukraine “successfully infiltrated a U.S. social media group by pretending to be a 42-year-old American housewife and weighing in on political debates with specially tailored messages.”
Moscow also created a Facebook profile to spread stories on specific issues that sought to influence particular reporters, the U.S. officials said.
Source: newsmax – Time: US Caught Russian Spy Boasting of Election Meddling