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NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) – U.S. intelligence sources are not just pointing fingers at Russian hackers, but squarely at the Kremlin for a cyberattack that began in July of 2015 — more than a year before the presidential election. CBS News is reporting that they now believe Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the cyber interference that first targeted the Democratic National Committee.

The initial assessment from U.S. intelligence sources was that the senior levels of the Kremlin were somehow involved in the cyberattack on hundreds of organizations. Now, it’s clear to them that the Russian president and former KGB agent gave them the go-ahead.

First attempts by foreign hackers to disrupt the election came in the form of malware and phising emails, which allowed them into systems inside the Democratic National Committee.

U.S. intelligence sources tell CBS News this type of cyber hacking could not have happened without Vladimir Putin’s blessing, saying: “The orders to do it would have had to come from the highest level.”

It took months for an urgent alert from federal investigators to get through to the party.

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