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Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The Russian government is increasingly partnering with cyber criminals in its online espionage efforts, Obama administration national security official John Carlin told "60 minutes" Sunday.

"This is a kleptocracy. This is a government by theft. And the thing that matters the most is that you do what the don wants, what the head of the crime family wants. And here, the head of the crime family is Putin."
— John Carlin, former U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security

Why it matters: Carlin's comments come after the release of the redacted findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation showed concerns of Russian interference in U.S. elections. "We understand the FBI believes that this operation enabled [Russian military intelligence] to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government," in the 2016 elections," the report states.

The other side: Putin has previously denied any allegations of Russia being involved in hacking.

The big picture: Carlin, author of "Dawn of the Code War," told CBS' Lesley Stahl Russian cyber espionage is one of the greatest threats to the U.S. Spy agencies can cover their tracks by hiring cyber criminals to do the work for them.

"Increasingly, you cannot tell which is which when it comes to the criminal and the intelligence agency. So one day, the same crook may be doing something purely to make a buck. But that same crook may be directed by a trained intelligence operative using the same tools and techniques to steal information from them for the goals of the state."
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper: Growing Russian interference calls for coordinated response

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.

Scoop: Over 200 papers quietly sue Big Tech

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Newspapers all over the country have been quietly filing antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, alleging the two firms monopolized the digital ad market for revenue that would otherwise go to local news. 

Why it matters: What started as a small-town effort to take a stand against Big Tech has turned into a national movement, with over 200 newspapers involved across dozens of states.