aside Breaking News: Intelligence Community Releases Public Report About Russia’s Hacking

Image result for photo of james clapper
James Clapper, Intel Chief who fired Gen. Mike Flynn in 2014 as head of DIA

Greg Miller of the Washington Post has just published today, 1/6/2017, the intelligence community’s report made public, regarding Russia’s hacking of U.S. institutions in order to leak data to influence the 2016 presidential elections.

Here are excerpts from the article, “U.S. intelligence agencies: Putin ordered intervention in presidential election:”

Russia’s President Putin/ Reuters

“Russia carried out a comprehensive cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential election, an operation that was ordered by Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and “aspired to help” elect Donald Trump by discrediting his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in a report released Friday.”

“The (report is about 14 pages) depicts Russian interference as unprecedented in scale, saying that Moscow’s assault represented “a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort” beyond previous election-related espionage.”

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Hillary Clinton

“The campaign was ordered by Putin himself and initially sought primarily to undermine public faith is the U.S. democratic process, “denigrate Secretary Clinton” and harm her electoral prospects. But as the campaign proceeded, Russia “developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump” and repeatedly sought to elevate him by “discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”

“The document represents an extraordinarily direct and detailed account of a longstanding United States’ adversary’s multi-pronged intervention in a fundamental pillar of American democracy.”

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Donald Trump

“Trump emerged from a briefing on the report by the nation’s top intelligence officials Friday seeming to acknowledge for the first time at least the possibility that Russia was behind election-related hacks. But he offered no indication that he was prepared to accept U.S. spy agencies’ conclusion that Moscow sought to help him win.”

Instead, Trump said in a statement issued just minutes after the high-level meeting ended that whatever hacking had occurred, “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”

John Brennan

Trump’s statement seemed designed to create the impression that this was the view of the intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and CIA Director John Brennan, who had met with him.

But weighing whether Russia’s intervention altered the outcome of the 2016 race was beyond the scope of the review that the nation’s spy agencies completed this week. And Clapper testified in a Senate hearing Thursday that U.S. intelligence services “have no way of gauging the impact . . . it had on the choices the electorate made. There’s no way for us to gauge that.”

Mike Rogers / (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

Trump’s statement came after his first face-to-face encounter with the leaders of intelligence agencies whose work he has repeatedly disparaged. Others who took part in the meeting included FBI Director James B. Comey and National Security Agency chief Adm. Mike Rogers.

All four of the spy chiefs have endorsed a classified report that was briefed to Trump and circulated in Washington this week that concludes that Russia used a combination of aggressive hacking, propaganda and “fake news” to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

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Clapper

Trump appeared to acknowledge that hacking of Democratic and Republican computer networks had occurred, but was apparently not prepared to accept the consensus view of U.S. spy services that Russia sought to help him win.

“I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the intelligence community,” Trump said. He acknowledged that “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our government institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee.”

 “The session was seen as an early indicator of whether Trump could reach some sort of accord with U.S. intelligence agencies or is determined to extend his increasingly bitter feud with America’s spies and analysts into his first term.”

“In an interview with the New York Times before Friday’s briefing, Trump said the focus on Russian hacking “is a political witch hunt.”cabinet-fbi-download

“In Thursday’s testimony, Clapper appeared to take aim at Trump and the stream of social-media insults he has targeted at the intelligence community over the Russia issue.”

“There is an important distinction here between healthy skepticism, which policymakers, to include policymaker number one, should always have for intelligence,” Clapper said. “But I think there is a difference between skepticism and disparagement.”

“The meeting, which was requested by Trump, comes on the heels of a series of revelations about Russia’s role and motivations in last year’s campaign.”securityscorecard-2016-govt-cybersecurity-report-final-dragged

“The Post reported in December that the CIA and other agencies had concluded that Russia sought not only to disrupt the election and sow doubt about the legitimacy of American democratic institutions but also to help Trump win.”

“U.S. intelligence agencies based that determination on an array of interlocking intelligence pieces, including the identification of known “actors” with ties to Russian intelligence services who helped deliver troves of stolen Democratic email files to the WikiLeaks website.”

Lystseva Marina/TASS via ZUMA

“U.S. spy agencies also monitored communications in Moscow after the election that showed that senior officials in the Russian government, including those believed to have had knowledge of the hacking campaign, celebrated Trump’s win and congratulated one another on the outcome.”

“Trump has rejected intelligence agencies’ unanimous conclusions about Russia, saying it could just as easily have been China or “some guy” in New Jersey.”

“Trump has seemed to court conflict with U.S. intelligence agencies on several fronts. During his campaign, he vowed to order the CIA to return to the use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation measures widely condemned as torture. Since his surprise victory, Trump has skipped the majority of the daily intelligence briefings made available to him, saying that he has no need for sessions that he finds repetitive.”

“But the president-elect softened his message on Thursday (1/5/17), saying on Twitter that he is a “big fan” of intelligence, although, as has been his practice, he set off the word “intelligence” in quotes.

16 comments

  1. Thanks Gronda. Our President-elect is big on pronouncements and little on substance. The weekly discussion with Mark Shields and David Brooks on PBS reiterates that Trump’s ego cannot allow in the idea that he had help winning this election. This may be the main reason for his insistence that Russia was not involved.

    Yet, the bigger issues are we cannot allow another country to do what Russia did regardless of who won. A leader would understand this. The other issue is the lack of respect shown by this man to the intelligence community. This has been his modus operandi during his business career and campaign – destroy the person criticizing you or not supporting your argument. This is where the name calling comes, so now Senator Chuck Schumer is a “clown.”

    The other interesting story is the excellent interview with Joe Biden (boy I wish he ran). He shared his concern and best wishes for our President-elect, but he ended with an appropriate admonishment toward Mr. Trump. He said “grow up.” Those two words could not have been better said about the concern of many about him around the world and in our country. He may have won, but his negative traits did not go just go away. But, we need them to.

    • Dear Keith,

      As always, thanks for your commentary.

      Our president-elect is so thin skinned, that this alone should have disqualified DT to be U.S. president. His job description entails the reality that he will be frequently subjected to criticisms from a myriad of sources.

      Yet, he is more concerned that people might think that he won the presidency because of help from Russia. The horse has already left the barn, because he did have help from Russia which he openly welcomed.

      Ciao, Gronda

      • Gronda, this man is in for a rough ride, as are we. For someone who does not like criticism coupled with his propensity to be less than truthful or informed, he will be getting even more criticism than the usual president. The job is hard enough, but his shortcomings will not serve him or us well. Keith

        • Dear Keith,

          You said it. Unlike in the past, he and his team cannot control the news media and the CIA, to their liking. The USA is not Russia. What is definitely not very smart is his making enemies out of these two institutions.

          Ciao, Gronda

    • Dear Horty,

      I read the report. While it is worth reading, I wish it had included more facts. But I know that this would compromise sources and our methods for collecting this data.

      Thanks a million for all your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

  2. Thanks for this post, Gronda. I imagine it must have galled the members of the intelligence community to have to brief the man who has none (intelligence), and especially after he recently implied that he trusted Julian Assange more than he trusted them.

    • Dear Jill,

      It looks like they wasted their time. DT is now attempting to deflect by stating that the DNC was at fault because its computer systems were not secure. I am convinced that this is the reason that the intelligence community decided to make public a non classified version almost right after the meeting with DT.

      In the report, it is very clear that both democratic and REPUBLICAN computer systems were penetrated by Russian hackers.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Gronda, as we have discussed, he is missing the larger point. It matters not the “who was hacked.”: The issue is “who did the hacking.” And, if we think they are finished, then he should think again. They will use information against Trump to further their cause, if he does not do what they want.

        To answer one of his questions, of course, we want a relationship with Russia, but we must be very mindful of the leader is and what he stands for. Keith

        • Dear Keith,

          As usual you are right on target!

          With a sober and realistic mind set, most business folks do deals with people they don’t care for out of mutual interests. In this situation, the deal is created to benefit both but there are negative, easily enforceable consequences if the contract is not adhered to by all parties.

          He is not only a Russian asset but if fellow republicans are not sober about this situation, they can become Russian assets also.They can also be subjected to having their compromising emails leaked if they do not act according to Russians’ interests.

          Caio, Gronda

      • I saw that and didn’t even bother to read the articles … just shook my head. You, Keith, Hugh and I need to put our heads together and divvy up the responsibility of keeping an eye on this ignorant ass … no one person can possibly cover all the bases! 🙂 Hugs, my friend!

        • We all do. If you have not seen Meryl Streep’s speech from the Golden Globes last night, take a look. She, of course, will get feedback (I think the P-E has used a personal name calling favorite of “stupid” already) from the President-elect and his followers, but her points are valid and should give us all concern. We must support credible journalism as they are needed to point out the bullying, lying and poor judgment which will flavor this presidency.

        • I did see it earlier today, and have a post going out tomorrow evening about it! She was awesome … so full of grace. She has always been among my favourites, and this just added a layer to that respect. Yes, the media must be ever-vigilant, and we must support them, fighting with our pens, keyboards, and voices. I don’t expect to run out of things to write about anytime soon. 🙂

  3. Dear Keith,

    D-E has tweeted that Meryl Streep’s acting is way overrated. That is not credible. Her comments have been repeated on TV news coverage, over and over again and has been reported on most print media outlets.

    I am in favor of splitting up the blogging on D-E. But I want his Russian ties portion for sure.

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, I saw that, too. When she said her remarks, I speculated he would call her “overrated” as I watched them live. This is the most celebrated film actress in movie history. If she is overrated, then she must be fooling an awful lot of people. Her comments were statesperson-like, as opposed to the speeches given by the President-elect where someone must be ridiculed. Keith

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