A stunning revelation concerning the Russian interference in the 2016 elections emerged Thursday after TIME Magazine reported that U.S. spies heard a Russian military intelligence officer bragging about his organization efforts to target Hillary Clinton in May 2016.
According to the report, the officer described the Russian interference as retribution for what Russian President Vladimir Putin considered Clinton’s influence campaign against him while serving as secretary of State.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials revealed that American spies recorded the Russsian officer telling a colleague that GRU would cause havoc in America’s presidential election, then transcribed the conversation and sent it to headquarters for analysis.
“We didn’t really understand the context of it until much later,” a senior U.S. intelligence official said.
Putin publicly accused Clinton of conducting a major operation against Russia when protests erupted in more than 70 cities in 2011.
The Russian dictator said that Clinton had sent “a signal” to demonstrators and that the State Department had actively worked to fuel the unrest.
U.S. officials told TIME that such operations would have required a special intelligence finding by former President Obama, who was unlikely to have issued such a directive.
Multiple investigations are now looking into Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and any possible collusion with President Trump’s campaign.