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US intelligence officials: Russian sources have gone quiet

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kremlin
The Kremlin is pictured
above in Moscow on March 7, 2017.


Spencer
Platt/Getty



  • Sources in the Kremlin and close to Russian President
    Vladimir Putin have gone silent recently, US intelligence
    officials told The New York Times on Friday.
  • Officials don’t believe the sources have been
    compromised or killed, but rather have become more afraid of
    getting caught and taken out as Moscow ups the ante in hunting
    down traitors.
  • This has left US intelligence agencies with no clear
    picture of Putin’s intentions for interfering in the upcoming
    midterm elections. 

For years, there has been a small but steady stream of
intelligence leaks out of the Russian government, but US
officials say information has all but dried up as the midterm
elections approach, according to a new report
The New York Times
 published on Friday. 

US intelligence officials who spoke with the Times, on the
condition of anonymity, said high-ranking Russian sources have
gone quiet recently, leaving them with no clear picture of
President Vladimir Putin’s intentions for influencing the
upcoming elections — which could lead the Democrats to taking
back Congress. 

It’s never been a question of whether Russia will try interfere
with the elections, but rather how and why. With the 2016
presidential election, the CIA and other US intelligence agencies
knew well in advance that the Russians would try and influence
the election to help Trump, former Director John Brennan
testified last year. putinRussia
President Vladimir Putin is pictured on
Thursday.
AP

The US is working with much less information now that sources
high up in the Kremlin and close to Putin have stopped
communicating. 

US officials don’t believe that the sources have been compromised
or killed, but rather have become afraid of getting caught —
especially after the high-profile poisoning of a former Russian
intelligence officer in the UK, who traded secrets with MI6.

“The Russians are very focused and upset,” CIA veteran John
Sipher told the Times. “They have shown they are willing to kill
sources.”

Cultivating sources who are close to Putin is difficult,
officials said, and in recent years there have only been a few
speaking with the US. 

While there are already signs of foreign interference — from the

hacking of a Republican think tank
to the creation of

fake left-wing Facebook accounts
— it’s unclear whether Putin
favors a specific US political party, undermine faith in
democratic institutions or simply create chaos. 

Some experts have asserted that Putin also seeks to target
individuals and groups that have taken policy positions that
disadvantage Russia.

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