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WashPost: Vladimir Putin Seeking Revenge, Respect With Russian Hacks

Image: WashPost: Vladimir Putin Seeking Revenge, Respect With Russian Hacks

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By    |   Friday, 16 Sep 2016 10:46 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking revenge on and respect from the United States via the recent spate of embarrassing thefts and leaks of critical data by Russian hackers, experts there and in the U.S. say.

"He’s giving us the finger . . . and the hacks are meant to intimidate the hell out of us," Fiona Hill, a national intelligence officer for Russia during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, told The Washington Post.

Hill, who is now at the Brookings Institution, experienced problems with five iPhones in six months her book "Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin," was released last year.

"He’s saying, if you think you have the chops to do this — well, we do, too!" she told the Post.

Putin, 63, the former KGB chief whose most-recent presidential term began in 2012, is also trying to rebuild Russia's stature as a superpower as he faces his own election in 18 months and amid a deep recession, the experts say.

"Putin is still recovering from belittling remarks" that President Barack Obama made two years ago when he described the country as a regional power, Angela Stent, national intelligence officer for Russia from 2004 to 2006, told the Post. "It’s a way of reasserting Russia.

"Whatever the truth, Russia is back."

In recent months, Russia has been linked to hacks of the emails of top U.S. officials and the servers of the Democratic National Committee.

This week, medical records of several American Olympians, including decorated gymnast Simone Biles, were breached in apparent revenge for Russian athletes being expelled for illegal doping.

Putin denied any Russian role in the DNC hack, while calling the release of the information a "public service."

The breaches also threaten the integrity of the U.S. presidential election — and law enforcement and intelligence agencies are stepping efforts to monitor any covert actions by Russia to undermine the outcome of the November voting.

"This is his country's major adversary, and he sees a chance to exploit its weakness at a crucial moment," a senior diplomat in Moscow told the Post.

Others, however, see Putin's actions as a global threat.

"I find the political reaction from the United States very harmful to democracy all over the world," said Alexander Baunov, a former Russian diplomat and now a senior associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

"They do the same that Putin does, ascribing every problem possible . . . to interference from abroad," he told the Post. "You can’t imagine how much harm it does.

"The image we see here is the Putinization of American politics."

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking revenge on and respect from the United States via the recent spate of embarrassing thefts and leaks of critical data by Russian hackers, experts there and in the U.S. say.
vladimir putin, russia, revenge, respect, hacks, washington post
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2016-46-16
Friday, 16 Sep 2016 10:46 PM
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