Former US ambassador John Bolton suggests Russian hacks were ‘false flag’ by Obama administration
John Bolton has recently been floated as a likely candidate for a position in Donald Trump's state department REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, has reportedly questioned accusations of Russian interference in the US presidential elections. Bolton suggested that the cyberattacks could possibly have been a "false flag" operation by the Obama administration, according to reports.

Bolton, who has recently been floated as a likely candidate for a position in Donald Trump's state department, also questioned FBI director James Comey's testimonial of Hillary Clinton's private email server investigation. Bolton wondered why Comey said there were no direct links found of any foreign intelligence agencies' infiltrating Clinton's private server but that there was evidence in connection to the election hacks, the Politico reported.

"It is not at all clear to me just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC computers was not a false flag," Bolton told Fox News' Eric Shawn, in an interview on Sunday (11 December). "So the question has to be asked, why did the Russians run their smart intelligence service against Hillary's server, but their dumb intelligence service against the election?"

A false flag is a term used to describe a cover- up operation, orchestrated by the government or others in power.

When asked if Bolton was deflecting the blame for the alleged false flag to someone in "the administration or in the intelligence community", he responded: "We just don't know. But I believe that the intelligence community has been politicised in the Obama administration to a very significant degree."

Bolton continued: "The whole thing has been called into question, which is why the notion of some kind of independent investigation becomes extremely important. I do think it's critical to answer the question that I posed: If you think the Russians did this, then why did they leave fingerprints?"

Bolton, however, claimed that the US "should retaliate" if the allegations against Russia were proved. He called for further clarification on how US intelligence services concluded that Russia perpetrated the cyberattacks.

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

President Obama has already ordered a full-scale investigation into the series of hacks during the elections. Leaked documents of a secret CIA assessment blame Russia for conducting the cyberattacks as a way to help Trump win.

Trump has dismissed the CIA's analysis, calling the reports "ridiculous".