Putin: US is a 'Banana Republic' Whipping Up Hysteria Over Hacking

US officials are trading in “hysteria” when it comes to Russian hacking claims, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As claims that Moscow is trying to influence the upcoming presidential election show no signs of slowing down, Putin told a group of foreign policy experts during a Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Sochi that blaming Russia for hacks on the Democratic National Committee and other targets are a distraction tactic.

“Hysteria has been whipped up in the United States about the influence of Russia over the US presidential election,” Putin said. “It's much simpler to distract people with so-called Russian hackers, spies and agents of influence [than to offer policies around national debt and gun control]. Does anyone really think that Russia could influence the American people's choice in any way? Is America a banana republic or what?”

American intelligence agencies and cybersecurity experts from across the globe have said that there is reasonable certainty that the high-profile attacks on the DNC and other political targets are indeed tied to the Kremlin. Clinton postulated that Russia is trying to influence the election in rival Donald Trump’s favor, as his policies are much more pro-Russia than her own.

And indeed, Trump in the last presidential debate and at campaign stops seemed to let Putin’s regime off the hook.

 “I don't know if they're behind it and I think it's public relations, frankly,” he said this week. “Do you know what bothers me? I have nothing to do with Russia. People are hacking all over the place and nobody knows. They don't know if it's Russia. They can't guarantee it's Russia.”

Photo © rzoze19

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