Bolton questions if Russian hacks were ‘false flag’

John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who has been floated for a possible role in President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans hold on to Arizona House seat Dems win majority in New York Senate, but won't control it Mulvaney to bankers: Campaign donations will help limit consumer bureau's power MORE’s State Department, questioned reports of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election.

“It is not at all clear to me, just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the [Democratic National Committee] and the [Republican National Committee] was not a false flag operation,” he told Fox News’s Eric Shawn on Sunday.

When pressed about his use of the phrase “false flag” and whether he was accusing an entity in the U.S. of involvement, Bolton said, “We just don’t know.”

“But I believe that intelligence has been politicized in the Obama administration to a very significant degree.”

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On Monday, Bolton said the media misrepresented him by tying his “false flag” statement to the Obama administration. 

Bolton said he meant to suggest a foreign government might have planted evidence that implicates Russia instead.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the CIA concluded Russia intervened in the election to help Trump win the presidency.

Various people have been identified who helped the Russian government leak hacked documents from Democratic sources, including the Democratic National Committee and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDems flip New York state seat that Republicans have held for nearly four decades Dems win majority in New York Senate, but won't control it Chelsea Clinton hits back at NYT reporter over details in new book MORE's campaign chairman, to WikiLeaks, according to the report.

Trump assailed Democrats over the issue on Sunday, saying it was ridiculous to think Russia interfered in the election to help him get elected, even as a bipartisan group of senators called for an investigation.

But, “if you think the Russians did this, then why did they leave fingerprints” that led the CIA to its conclusion, Bolton questioned.

“We would want to know who else might want to influence the election and why they would leave fingerprints that point to the Russians. That’s why I say until we know more about how the intelligence community came to this conclusion we don’t know whether it is Russian inspired or a false flag."

 

Updated Monday 3:22 p.m.