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How the Olympics might have played a role in Russia’s election-campaign hacking

FILES-OLY-2014-CLOSING
Flags of the Olympic Games and Russia displayed side by side during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Feb. 23, 2014.
(Andrej Isakovic / AFP/Getty Images)

Did the Olympics play a role in alleged Russian hacking that targeted the U.S. presidential campaign?

The U.S. intelligence report released Friday, which says Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the operation, raises that possibility.

“Putin publicly pointed to the Panama Papers disclosure and the Olympic doping scandal as U.S.-directed efforts to defame Russia, suggesting he sought to use disclosures to discredit the image of the United States and cast it as hypocritical,”  the report said.

Intelligence officials allege that Putin both “aspired to help” President-elect Donald Trump in November and to “harm” Trump’s rival, Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with leaks of pilfered emails and other covert activities.

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Over the last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency has presented evidence that Russian athletes, coaches and government officials have been involved in systemic cheating. Reporting by the New York Times and “60 Minutes” chronicled many of the allegations.

The Russians have been banned from competing in some international events and a large portion of their national team was barred from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

WADA has also been hacked, with information about U.S. athletes leaked to the public.

david.wharton@latimes.com

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Follow @LAtimesWharton on Twitter


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