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Intelligence Officials Plan To Release Report On Russia Hacking Efforts Next Week

The report will ascribe “multiple motives” to the cyberattack.

01/05/2017 03:35 pm ET
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WASHINGTON ― The intelligence community plans to release an unclassified report early next week, detailing its findings on Russian cyberattacks aimed at disrupting the 2016 presidential election.

Last month, President Barack Obama ordered a full review of foreign hacking efforts aimed at interfering with U.S. elections dating back to 2008, asking that it be completed before he leaves office. Intelligence officials plan to brief lawmakers on the full classified version of its findings next week, in addition to testifying at public hearings, outgoing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday.

The report will build on an Oct. 7 joint statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, which concluded that the Russian government had directed a widely publicized hack of the Democratic National Committee’s emails.

“We stand more resolutely on the strength of that statement” than ever before, Clapper testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Clapper declined to preview the contents of the forthcoming report, which was prepared by the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency. However, he told lawmakers that intelligence agencies had identified “multiple motives” for Moscow’s interference in the election.

The DNI chief, who is generally tight-lipped in public hearings, said he plans to “push the envelope as much as I can on the unclassified version” of the report, because “the public should know as much of this as possible.”

Leaks from CIA and FBI officials show that both agencies believe Russia’s interference in the election was aimed, in part, at helping President-elect Donald Trump win.

Russian meddling in the election, Clapper said, was a multifaceted effort involving propaganda and disinformation in addition to cyberattacks. The intelligence community does not believe that Moscow changed vote tallies. It is outside the intelligence community’s purview to assess the overall effect Russia’s efforts had on the outcome of the election, Clapper said.

The hearing, which is likely Clapper’s last before the committee, comes amid growing tensions between the intelligence community and Trump. The president-elect, who favors closer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has dismissed intelligence assessments on the hack and accused intelligence officials of building a false case against Moscow. Trump is scheduled to receive a classified briefing on Russian hacking efforts on Friday. 

Tom Williams/Getty Images
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Director of the National Security Agency Adm. Michael Rogers testified on Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee on foreign
Original Post

Trump Tweets He’s A ‘Big Fan’ Of Intelligence As Congress Begins Russia Hacking Probe

Trump is due to be briefed by intelligence agency chiefs on Friday on hacks that targeted the Democratic Party. President Obama will be briefed on Thursday.

01/05/2017 09:50 am ET | Updated 1 hour ago
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By Dustin Volz and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top U.S. intelligence officials will testify in Congress on Thursday on Russia’s alleged cyber attacks during the 2016 election, as President-elect Donald Trump described himself as a “big fan” of intelligence agencies despite casting doubt on their findings that Moscow orchestrated the hacks.

Trump is due to be briefed by intelligence agency chiefs on Friday on hacks that targeted the Democratic Party. President Barack Obama will be briefed on Thursday.

Trump is heading for a conflict over the issue with Democrats and some fellow Republicans in Congress, many of whom are wary of Moscow and distrust the New York businessman’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and efforts to heal the rift between the United States and Russia.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre are due to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is chaired by Republican John McCain, a vocal critic of Putin.

In the afternoon, State Department and Department of Homeland Security officials will brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee behind closed doors on the Obama administration’s response to the hacking and harassment of U.S. diplomats.

Their testimony came a week after Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their alleged involvement in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 election.

U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia was behind hacks into Democratic Party organizations and operatives before the presidential election, a conclusion supported by several private cybersecurity firms. Moscow denies the hacking allegations.

U.S. intelligence officials have said the Russian cyber attacks were aimed at helping Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election.

Several Republicans have acknowledged Russian hacking during the election but have not linked it to an effort to help Trump win.

 

STOLEN DOCUMENTS

Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta were leaked to the media in advance of the election, embarrassing the Clinton campaign.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump said: “(WikiLeaks founder) Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ - why was DNC so careless? Also said the Russians did not give him the info!”

However, on Thursday, Trump said in a post on Twitter that he was not against intelligence or in agreement with Assange.

“The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!” Trump tweeted.

Trump and top advisers believe Democrats are trying to delegitimize his election victory by accusing Russia of helping him.

Some lawmakers, including McCain, said a firmer response was needed to check Russian aggression in cyberspace and elsewhere, and to discourage other countries from trying to influence more U.S. elections.

McCain is among a handful of Republicans to join Democrats in pushing for a special committee to investigate Russia’s political hacking, although that effort faces opposition from Republican leaders in Congress.

Trump has nominated people seen as friendly toward Moscow to senior administration posts, including secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, who was awarded Russia’s “Order of Friendship” in 2013 while Tillerson was Exxon Mobil chief executive.

Rogers, the NSA chief, visited Trump in New York in November and is among a handful of people being considered by Trump to succeed the retiring Clapper as U.S. spy chief, in addition to former Republican Senator Dan Coats, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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