WASHINGTON, December 16 (Sputnik) — White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes in an interview declined to discuss specific intelligence on reports that Russian leadership was involved in 2016 election hacking despite claiming the Kremlin was probably aware.
"[W]ithout getting into a specific piece of intelligence, I don't think things happen in the Russian government of this consequence without [Russian President] Vladimir Putin knowing about it," Rhodes suggested in the interview to MSNBC on Thursday.
Rhodes argued that, ultimately, Putin should be "responsible" for the actions of Russian senior officials.
On Wednesday, NBC channel claimed citing unnamed intelligence community sources that Putin directed the cyberattacks to interfere with the US election process and help the Republican candidate Donald Trump to win the presidency.
US Secretary of State John Kerry at a breifing earlier on Thursday refused to comment on the report because it was based on anonymous sources.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded to the allegations by calling them "obviously foolish and pointless."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier this year dismissed US intelligence agency allegations as baseless and unfounded.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the charges were an attempt to distract American voters from domestic issues, while Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called them a hysterical election-year campaign tactic.