Putin spokesman disputes Russian ties in political hacking


MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, while not directly denying Russian involvement in the hack, says Moscow would never interfere in another country's election.

"President Putin more than once has said the Russia would never interfere and does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, especially in the electoral process," Dmitry Peskov told journalists Wednesday in a conference call.

Peskov also criticized the willingness to accuse Russia of wrongdoing. "If we talk about some sort of suspicions against a country, then it is necessary at a minimum to be precise and concrete," the spokesman said. He said "speculation in this case does not show a constructive attitude."

President Barack Obama's decision to identify Russia as almost certainly the culprit in hacking the Democratic National Committee and releasing politically embarrassing emails fits his administration's new penchant for openly blaming foreign governments for such break-ins.

Even as the U.S. continues to secretly hack its own adversaries, Obama is raising the stakes for countries caught behind the keyboards engaging in cyber espionage. That includes even major powers like Russia and China.

Obama traditionally avoids commenting on active FBI investigations. But he told NBC News that outside experts have blamed Russia for the leak and appeared to embrace the notion that President Vladimir Putin might have been responsible.

The developing U.S. strategy, unofficially dubbed "name and shame," is intended to raise diplomatic consequences for foreign governments involved in state-sponsored hacking.


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