Putin is 'probably directing' Russian influence operation to denigrate Biden, CIA assessment reportedly says

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a teleconference meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation, at his Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow on Septe
(Image credit: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

A top-secret CIA assessment reportedly concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "probably" directing influence operations to denigrate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The reported CIA assessment was detailed Tuesday by The Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, who quotes it as saying, "We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia's influence operations aimed at denigrating the former U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. president and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November."

This assessment was reportedly published on Aug. 31 in "an internal, highly classified" report and was compiled "with input from the National Security Agency and the FBI" using information from "public, unclassified and classified intelligence sources." The assessment reportedly includes details on efforts by Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach, who was previously sanctioned by the Treasury Department for aiding a Russian "attempt to undermine the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election."

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William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in August that Russia was "using a range of measures to primarily denigrate" Biden and that "some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television." However, CNN notes that U.S. intelligence agencies had not provided "any assessment" on the possible involvement of Putin.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.