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U.S. official says Russia undoubtedly meddled in election

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    National Intelligence Director James Clapper spoke on Capitol Hill in Washington in Feb. 2016. Clapper is among top U.S. intelligence officials set to testify today at a Senate hearing to be dominated by accusations of Russian meddled in the U.S. presidential election.

WASHINGTON >> Brushing aside Donald Trump’s dismissiveness, the nation’s intelligence chief insisted Thursday that U.S. agencies are more confident than ever that Russia interfered in America’s recent presidential election. And he called the former Cold War foe an “existential threat” to the nation.

Did Russian hacking sway the results? Not likely, indicated James Clapper, the direction of national intelligence.

Asked about the possible effect of the disclosure of private information stolen by hackers, Clapper said, “The intelligence community can’t gauge the impact it had on the choices the electorate made.” But he also said Russian hacking “did not change any vote tallies.”

Clapper’s testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee was short on concrete evidence of Russian activities, but it raised the stakes in the intelligence community’s standoff with Trump. Clapper indicated the agencies he leads would not back down in their assessment, even if that threatens a prolonged crisis of confidence with their next commander in chief.

That puts the pressure back on Trump, who has raised the possibility of more positive relations with Russia and has repeatedly disparaged the U.S. intelligence agencies. He will be briefed Friday on the classified evidence concerning Russian interference.

Shortly after Thursday’s hearing, news leaked that Trump would soon name former Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana to replace Clapper after the new president takes office.

The intelligence agencies’ classified report, which was shared with President Barack Obama on Thursday, identifies multiple motives for Russia’s interference, Clapper said, but he did not provide details.

In a joint report that roiled the presidential campaign last fall, the Homeland Security Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the U.S. was confident about foreign meddling, including Russian government hacking of Democratic emails.

“We stand actually more resolutely on the strength of that statement,” Clapper said Thursday. He declined to discuss whether Russia’s interference was aimed at helping Trump win.

An unclassified version of the report will be released next week, Clapper said. That version, expected to be a fraction of the length of the classified one, is not likely to answer all the questions about Russia’s actions. Exactly how the U.S. monitors its adversaries in cyberspace is a closely guarded secret, since revealing such details could help foreign governments further obscure their activities.

“I think the public should know as much about this as possible,” Clapper told the senators. “And so we’ll be as forthcoming as we can, but there are some sensitive and fragile sources and methods here.”

Clapper was less shy about declaring Russia “an existential threat to the United States.” That’s strong rhetoric that harkens back to the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union, language Obama has avoided. For his part, Trump has embraced the possibility of warmer U.S.-Russian ties.

Republican John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate panel, pressed Clapper as to whether Russia’s actions constituted an “act of war.” The intelligence director said that was “a very heavy policy call,” more appropriate for others in the government to decide.

Obama announced sanctions against Russia late last year, a move Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said was akin to throwing a pebble.

“I’m ready to throw a rock,” Graham said.

The GOP is divided over how to deal with Russia. Once Trump takes office, he is certain to face opposition from Democrats as well as some in his own party regarding his posture toward Russia.

Trump has criticized U.S. intelligence findings, even citing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s contention that Russia did not provide him with hacked Democratic emails.

But in new tweets early Thursday, he backed away and blamed the “dishonest media” for portraying him as agreeing with Assange, whose organization has been under criminal investigation for its role in classified information leaks. “The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!” Trump wrote.

In fact, Trump has been skeptical to the point of dismissive about the certainty of the assessment of Russian hacking, bringing up past failures, specifically intelligence reporting the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the lead-up to the war there.

Trump has derided the intelligence community on Twitter, his comments widely reported by The Associated Press and other news organizations.

Clapper said Thursday, “I think there is an important distinction here between healthy skepticism, which policymakers — to include policymaker No. 1 — should always have for intelligence, but I think there’s a difference between skepticism and disparagement.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama is confident that the intelligence assessment on Russia is “unvarnished.”

“The president has insisted that the intelligence community should not hesitate to present to the president what could be considered bad news, because a whitewashed assessment doesn’t serve anybody well,” Earnest said. He added that anyone who consumes intelligence “using rose-colored reading glasses is not going to be able to make good decisions.”

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  • still using the excuse that Russia helped trump win the election these intelligence people appointed by Obama are making all kinds of excuses because trump won and they cannot get over it. because they know they will not have a job when trump is sworn in, trump won the electoral votes fair and square and these liberals with mental disorders just can’t take it.

      • pretty close in us hacking e-mails, I will give you and all commenters a new year surprise, 2 weeks before the election I was listening to a talk show host name of M.S. on the podcast he got a call on a throw away cellphone from a guy named Kenny that’s the name he gave he was in the CIA for 26 years very interesting he talked about how the agency can turn on your cell phone even when you have it off, they can listen to you talking to someone else while your phone is off he even said they can watch you even when using you skype talking to another person anyway he said the wiki leaks came from all agents in the CIA NSA FBI and security agencies because 85% of all these agents did not want Hillary as our president, so wiki leaks did not come from asange or the Russians it came from our own people in all these agencies good conversation listening to this guy on a talk radio show. I believe he was a CIA agent.

        • sorry 1 week before the election if you want to hear it google Michael savage and go on where it says podcast listen to the November 2 show and go to the 24 minutes 25 seconds and listen to this person very interesting. to get to the those minutes just slide your curser along the bottom line until come up on this time and listen.

      • I have felt from the get go that it could easily have been an “inside job”. It’s amazes me how our current admin & the MSM expect we the people to be so naive.

        • I am still scratching my head trying to figure out at what point the typical Trump supporter put Russian interest ahead of American interest. While we know Donald Trump is in debt by hundreds of millions of dollars to Russian and German banks and therefore must follow their orders the typical Trump supporter is not.

        • I am still scratching my head why anyone would vote for lying crooked HiLIARy. Trump 2020

        • @ OldDiver
          “While we know Donald Trump is in debt by hundreds of millions of dollars to Russian and German banks and therefore must follow their orders the typical Trump supporter is not.”

          Is it just your opinion (which doesn’t matter)…if not then LINK please

        • Od, I doubt anyone is pugging Russian interests ahead of American interests. Fact is republicans were successful this election is voter suppression. But now republicans will have to perform and if the stock market is not at 25000 in 4 years but rather is only at 15,000, all the voter suppression in the world will not prevent a republican blood bath.

        • The Republicans broke into the Democratic Headquarters with Nixon’s approval. remember Watergate. Fox News, News of the World, Wall Street Journal, Fox Media Empire, all owned by Ruppert Murdock, whose people have been caught and convicted of hacking in Great Britain, and being in collusion with David Cameron. It would be not too far fetched to believe these entities could have provided Julian Assange of WikiLeaks the hacking data. Ruppert Murdock is a staunch conservative and fits right in the Alt-Right, Alt-Wrong mold

        • Trump wants a big payday when CEO Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil becomes Secretary of State, and the Republicans remove the oil and gas trade sanctions on Russia. Putin, the Russian oil & gas oligarchs, and Exxon Mobil will be able to sell their oil and gas from their operations in the Russian Arctic and Siberia. Exxon Mobil is and will be the leading oil and gas producer in the world, and Trump will greatly increase his wealth, power and Empire along with Putin

      • You siding with the commie RUSSIANS? My GOD I thought no one could ever get Ame Ricans to side with COMMIES. Putin you bastagge YOU WIN!!!!WE LOSE!! GOOD JOB COMRADE.

    • As Trump claimed at the time, “The election is rigged and not valid.” He failed to tell us it was rigged on his behalf. Something very odd here: Trump is putting the word of another country and their interests ahead of ours. He is doing it with Israeli as well as Russia. What is behind this? Financial ties or leverage? I hope we find out. He has zero mandate in any case.

      • From what I have read, Trump is putting the word of the FBI/Homeland ahead of Associated Press.

        Their FBI/HS 13 page report published several days ago did not say what is being reported here.

        Also, I think winning the election, under the rules by which our presidential election is conducted, can not be honestly characterized as “zero mandate”.

      • `Yes the election was rigged on the republican behalf. When you have so many people prevented from voting because of voter restriction activities by republicans, this should not be a surprise. Happened in 2000 and it happened now.

        But now republicans have to perform. Will the dow reach 25,000 in the next 4 years or will it fall to 15,000. That is the question everyone should be concerned with. Oh that is right many don’t own stocks so have no interest in the market. But the market basically reflects the health of the economy. It the market falls like a lead balloon, the economy is not very healthy.

        I think republicans will be in for some surprises. For example while the republicans may end up cancelling Obama care, don’t be surprised if the Donald proposes a single pay system. Why should businesses be responsible for health care? Donald will have no problems transferring it to government. Operating in foreign countries he probably appreciates the fact that he doesn’t have to worry about their health care.

        • I think the market also reflects inflation.

          When you have a huge increase in the money supply people are anxious to trade money for a real asset before it loses a large part of its value.

      • Well there were instances of dead people and illegal immigrants voting democratic. Republicans probably had some too but in either case, it was not enough to sway the election. I think the main rigging comments were further clarified to reference what had happened to Bernie Saunders by the Clinton campaign. Had Saunders won I suspect he would be the President elect now.

    • A joker and entertainer like Trump could never have been elected in past years. Perhaps America really is in decline. That said, we may need to delay the inauguration to determine if the election was legitimate or not. This is serious. I fear for democracy in America. WE all do.

    • I believe the 17 US Intelligence Agencies who unequivocally have evidence there have been Russian hacks to help Trump win the election. 64hoo,you know nothing about the security of this country. What a lame hair brained statement

  • The thoroughly discredited and dishonest AP pushing fake news for all it’s worth. This is a perfect example of passive-aggressive Barry and his MSM enablers pathetically trying to discredit PE Trump. Good thing there are a few of us around to correct the record for SA readers.

    • Even the story from the SA right here in front of us fails to mention the disclaimer on the DHS report that reads “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”

    • CEI, you must get all your news from reliable News sources like FoX News, Breitbart News, National Inquirer. Fascist neo-Nazi, White Supremacist, White Nationalist, extremist media

  • i don’t know why the Democrats are whining again. They took a lot of cheap shots themselves. If Podesta’s emails was the reason for Crooked Hilliary losing they had better look elsewhere. Perhaps her campaign was so putrid the voters had enough.

    • Advertisers and media got lot of mileage and still churning like greedy stockbrokers after your hard-earned money. It’s all about money! Campaigns are expensive, donors contribute enormous amounts enough to help the homeless get a start. Campaign managers are overpaid using volunteers who work for nothing! Podesta has created new organizations and paid by all?

  • I’m still waiting for the Chinese to be expelled/punished by Obama for hacking the DOD’s Office Of Personnel Management where they obtained very personal information for millions of federal workers.

    All this BS about the Russians is nothing but an attempt to delegitimize PE Trump’s election for POTUS. It’s plain as day to see right in front of us. The losers need to get over it!

    • latenight, Trump lied his way all through the campaign. The fact checkers could not keep up with all his lying tweets, and false campaign slogans, like I know more than the Generals, I am going to drain the swamp in Washington, he is actually filling the swamp and making it more corrupt and polluted, the Birther movement against Obama, now his disparaging of the entire intelligence and security community. Why are you siding with the Putin’s Russian hackers, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, and the fascist right wing of the Republican Party?

  • “dominated by the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the presidential election to help Donald Trump win.”

    The only published report that I am aware of, was a 13 page report from FBI/HomelandSecurity.

    This report did not say this, and if this is what the article is referring to, they are lying.

  • Why are so many people concerned about who did the hacking and not about what the hacking exposed, that being a very corrupt Democratic National Committee conspiring with the Clinton Campaign to help Hillary defeat Sanders in the primary election and trump in the general election? It also exposed the collusion between the Clinton Campaign, the media and the Obama administration to help in that effort.

    • Because then they would have to face up to it. I have not seen anything happen to Donna Brazile lose her chairmanship of the DNC. Hillary has not been investigated regarding her emails that clearly showed pay to play. Podesta has never owned up to working hand in hand with the MSM. Thats why people do not care nor believe that Russia had anything to do with oft. Assange said they didn’t get it from Russia and he said a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’s email.

    • People are very concerned about Steve Bannon, a far right extremist is now Chief Adviser to Trump. Bannon has been with Breitbart News, which has racist, White Supremacist, White Nationalist, KKK, and Neo-Nazi views

  • Trump won the election, fair and square. It’s over and done with. I’m concerned (and flabbergasted) that the PE can’t or won’t accept what a dozen of our intelligent agencies are trying to tell him … that Russia was involved in the hacking. Moreso, the PE instead takes the word of Putin and Assange? Well, at least he’s starting to back track … again. Four more years of this … how Tweet it is.

    • Good post. Doesn’t matter who won at this point. What matters is playing with a Russian snake will eventually lead to all of us getting snake-bitten.

    • I listened to part of Clapper’s testimony, and the little I was able to bring up was disappointing.

      For example, he supported his statement that Assange does not have credibility because Assange had previously released names of agents (?) in the field.

      If this information about the agents was correct, Assange can be attacked as a US national risk, but that is a different issue than credibility.

      In fact, it increases Assange’s credibility, not decreases it.

      I look forward to seeing the report to be issued next week.

  • Yet, no one has disputed that the “hack” revealed internal emails were 100% authentic and showed the Democrat Party to be infested with liars, cheaters, manipulators, thugs and mainstream media stooges (like the one that wrote this story).

  • “In fact, Trump has been dismissive”

    We’re gonna see a lot more — dare I say “dismissive”? — sentences starting with “In fact, Trump…” now that the media are no longer infatuated or intimidated.

  • the latest joint analysis report (jar-16-20296) released dec.29.2016, titled grizzly steppe, provides three pages of technical details of how russian civilian and military intel hacked computers not only in the u.s. but around the world. the rest of the 13 page report contains suggestions to detect, defend and thwart these attacks.

    the jar describes two advanced persistent threats (apt) 28 and 29 that in the u.s. has infiltrated government, political and university organizations stealing information as well as emails. the report claims that both atps infiltrated a political party (presumably democrat) and using remote access tools (rats) stole content and emails. atp28 is suspected of releasing the emails to the press.

    the jar does not claim that the released emails were tampered with or faked. the jar does not claim that election machines, tools, devices or accounting systems were compromised.

    the next unclassified report promised by clapper sometime next week should be interesting as it should provide more information specific to ris direct involvement in supporting trump.

    one wonders why the fuss about ris rats reading democrat party emails with the massive u.s. electronic surveillance by the nsa coupled with the overt attempts by obama to remove qadaffi from office in lybia and obama’s sending u.s. funds to a group opposed to the election of netenyahu in israel.

  • Where is the evidence? Anything? This is why Americans don’t trust the news or the government. The word “Undoubtedly” is ambiguous and troublesome in that it can a variety of interpretations and weight. It seems that the news will just run whatever it can to create tension with the Trump presidency, whether accurate or not.

  • I see. Folks on here who never know any facts about anything have now concluded (along with Mr. Trump, of course) that the entire United States intelligence community is wrong about Russian hacking. Somehow, Trump voters in Hawaii know more than intelligence professionals stationed around the world, who risk their lives for this country. Got it!

    The latest Twitter rants from Mr. Trump again validate the fact that he is profoundly mentally ill. He is a dangerous psychotic. Every single person who voted for him should be deeply ashamed of what they have done.

  • No proof has been presented by these intelligence heads that the Russians and Putin were involved in hacking and attempting to influence the elections.
    These are the same guys who reported that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction which provided the excuse for the neocons, the globalists,and the one world order nut cases
    to invade Iraq and depose Saddam and to pave the way for ISIS and the Islamic fundamentalists to begin their world wide jihad with the aim of imposing Islamic rule over the
    world. Saddam knew what this cabal was doing and warned that their actions would only destabilize the Middle East and allow the Islamic fundamentalists to rise to power.
    These guys are again attempting to raise another bogie man, the Russians this time to gin up the move for war at which point they plan to impose their one world order plan
    which they have been plotting for decades. These people are insane and do not care how many will die in order for the plan to be realized.
    It is pretty much the Hegalian dialectic method of controlling the population by creating or manufacturing the problem and letting things spin out of control and then coming to
    the rescue by offering the solution.
    You wil note that none of these intelligence heads are disputing the truth of the disclosures by Julian Assange and Wiki Leaks. If these disclosures did influence the outcome of the
    election, this was probably a good thing as it clearly showed how corrupt the democrats and their masters were. If anything we need more disclosures and “sunlight” as to
    what these corrupt politicians are up to.

  • Watched this live a minute ago. Rep. Chris Collins (R), a member of Trump’s transition team, acknowledging the hacking to CNN:

    “Yes, the Chinese were involved …”

    CNN: “Chinese? Don’t you mean Russians?”

    Collins: “Uhh, yes, I meant Russians.”

    Can’t always blame the “evil” media. Sometimes, these political bozos can’t help but make an a– out of themselves.

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