US media reported that the high-level Russian government source who was extracted by US agents had confirmed Vladimir Putin’s direct role in interfering with the 2016 US presidential election.
The source, who had been providing information for decades, had access to Putin and had sent pictures of high-level documents on the Russian leader’s desk, CNN reported.
US agency offered to extract the source in late 2016, but the source refused, owing to family issues, according to New York Times. He was however extracted in 2017 due to concerns that President Donald Trump and his cabinet could expose the asset due to continued mishandling of classified intelligence.
Brittany Bramell, the agency’s director of public affairs, refuted that notion and told CNN that:
“Misguided speculation that the President’s handling of our nation’s most sensitive intelligence — which he has access to each and every day — drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate.”
The Times reported that the source was key in providing information that led US intelligence to reasonably conclude that Putin directly orchestrated Russian interference in favour of Trump and against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The informant was also directly linked Putin to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, resulting in the release of a flood of embarrassing messages, the newspaper reported.
According to the Times, the agent was the CIA’s most valuable Russian asset. The extraction has “effectively blinded” American intelligence to the Kremlin’s inner workings during the 2018 US midterm election, the Times report said, as well as the upcoming 2020 presidential election.