Bolton: 'Bad reporting’ twisted my 'false flag' remarks

John Bolton says the media misrepresented him by tying his skepticism about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election to the Obama administration.

“There are reports out that I said on Fox yesterday that I thought the Obama administration had conducted the hack into the [Republican National Committee] and the [Democratic National Committee],” he said on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” Monday. "It’s typically bad reporting.

“I’ve never believed that,” the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations added.


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

“I think it’s at least a question to be asked whether or not this was a false flag operation with some foreign government other than Russia,” he said, pointing to China, Iran and North Korea as possible antagonists.

“The question is, so, why would Russia leave fingerprints that it was trying to interfere in the election," said Bolton, who is often floated for a possible role in President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE’s State Department.

“I can see Russia easily trying to undermine trust and confidence in our political system generally among Americans. But for them to be so inexpert that the trail can rapidly be taken back to them is just hard to understand.”

Bolton added he is troubled that President Obama and the intelligence community have quickly pointed fingers at Russia.

“It bothers me that Obama is rushing to get this report out before his administration ends. [It’s] just as it bothered me that the intelligence community seemingly came to this conclusion so quickly and coincidentally in the middle of an election campaign.”

A secret CIA assessment has concluded that Russia intervened in the U.S. presidential election to help Trump win, according reports last Friday.

Intelligence agencies have identified various individuals who helped the Russian government leak hacked documents from several Democratic sources to WikiLeaks.

Compromised sources included the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHouse Intel Republican: 'Foolish' not to take info on opponent from foreign ally House Intel Republican: 'Foolish' not to take info on opponent from foreign ally It's about the delegates, stupid MORE’s campaign manager.

Bolton on Sunday cast doubt on the scope of Russia’s interference, suggesting it may be “a false flag operation.”

“We just don’t know,” he told Fox News’s Eric Shawn. "But I believe that intelligence has been politicized in the Obama administration to a very significant degree."