Clinton believes Russia’s influence campaign was ‘guided by Americans’

Alexis Madrigal writes: [Hillary Clinton] described a deal that Cambridge Analytica cut with the Trump campaign that put Steve Bannon, who had been running Breitbart, into the center of Trump’s world.

“They marry content with delivery and data. And it was a potent combination,” Clinton said. “The question is where and how did the Russians get into this.”

Then, like a prosecutor walking through her argument, she talked about the 17-agency report from the intelligence community about Russian interference into the presidential election.

“[The report] concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign to influence voters in the election,” Clinton said. “They did it through paid advertising, we think. They did it through false news sites. They did it through these 1,000 agents. They did it through machine learning, which kept spewing out this stuff over and over again, the algorithms they developed.”

Then she asked, not-quite-rhetorically, “Who were they coordinating with or colluding with?”

Unlike previous Russian cyberattacks inside the U.S., “This was different. They went public,” she said. “The Russians, in my opinion—and based on the intel and counterintel people I’ve talked to—they could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided.”

“Guided by Americans?” Mossberg asked.

“Guided by Americans,” Clinton answered. “And guided by people who had polling data and information.”

After a brief tour of James Comey’s behavior during the election, Kara Swisher asked Clinton who she thought was guiding the Russians. “I hope that we’ll get enough information to be able to answer that question,” Clinton responded at first.

Swisher prompted, “But you’re leaning Trump.”

“I am leaning Trump,” Clinton said.

“We’re going to, I hope, connect up a lot of the dots,” she said. “And it’s really important because when Comey did testify before being fired this last couple of weeks, he was asked, ‘Are the Russians still involved?’ And he goes, ‘Yes. They are.’ Why wouldn’t they be? It worked for them. It is important for Americans particularly people in tech and business to understand, Putin wants to bring us down and he is an old KGB agent.” [Continue reading…]

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