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US Spy Agency Disputes CIA Assessment on Russia Hacking
International

US Spy Agency Disputes CIA Assessment on Russia Hacking

The overseers of the US intelligence community have not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyberattacks were aimed at helping Republican president-elect, Donald Trump, win the 2016 election, three American officials said on Monday.
While the Office of the Director of National Intelligence does not dispute the CIA’s analysis of Russian hacking operations, it has not endorsed their assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, said the officials, who declined to be named.
The position of ODNI, which oversees the 17 agency-strong US intelligence community, could give Trump fresh ammunition to dispute the CIA assessment, which he rejected as “ridiculous” in weekend remarks, and press his assertion that no evidence implicates Russia in the cyberattacks, Reuters reported.
Trump’s rejection of the CIA’s judgment marks the latest in a string of disputes over Russia’s international conduct that have erupted between the president-elect and the intelligence community he will soon command.
An ODNI spokesman declined to comment on the issue.
“ODNI is not arguing that the agency is wrong, only that they can’t prove intent,” said one of the three US officials. “Of course they can’t, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose evidentiary standards require it to make cases that can stand up in court, declined to accept the CIA’s analysis-a deductive assessment of the available intelligence-for the same reason, the three officials said.
The CIA conclusion was a “judgment based on the fact that Russian entities hacked both Democrats and Republicans and only the Democratic information was leaked,” one of the three officials said on Monday.
“(It is) a thin reed upon which to base an analytical judgment”, the official added.
In an angry letter sent to ODNI chief Clapper on Monday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said he was “dismayed” that the top US intelligence official had not informed the panel of the CIA’s analysis and the difference between its judgment and the FBI’s assessment.
Noting that Clapper in November testified that intelligence agencies lacked strong evidence linking Russian cyberattacks to the WikiLeaks disclosures, Nunes asked that Clapper, together with CIA and FBI counterparts, brief the panel by Friday on the latest intelligence assessment of Russian hacking during the election campaign.

 

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