It is official: a recently concluded secret CIA assessment has found that Russia helped Donald Trump win the U.S. election.
According to the Washington Post, the CIA shared its assessment with key senators in a closed-door meeting at Capitol Hill last week, revealing that Russian state-sponsored actors had attempted to hack into DNC’s servers during the election, invariably hurting Hillary Clinton’s chances while boosting Trump’s. Citing multiple intelligence inputs, the CIA concluded that it was “very clear” that Russia had the goal of electing Trump.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected. It it a consensus view,” a senior U.S. official, who was also briefed by the CIA, told the Post.
The New York Times further revealed in a report on Friday that Russia had also hacked into databases belonging to the Republican National Committee (RNC), but decided against releasing that information, raising serious questions on the intentions of the Kremlin and whether it had engineered the releases in such a way that only Hillary Clinton was affected adversely.
Breaking: Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win the White House https://t.co/dfpFbqeRKF— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 10, 2016
This revelation confirms the widely suspected theory that the Kremlin played an active role in helping elect Donald Trump, quashing rumors that Russia was only content with undermining the veracity of the U.S. elections or disrupting the process. It also sheds an ominous light on Trump’s statement during the campaign in which he called on Russia to interfere with the U.S. elections.
The report revealed that the CIA had identified individual operatives responsible for hacking into various Democratic sources, including the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager’s emails. The officials described the individual actors as elements known to the wider intelligence community, but concluded that there was no incriminating evidence to link them “directly” to the Kremlin. Rather, these individual actors, were “one step removed” from the Kremlin. However, the CIA maintained that these operatives were working at the behest of Russia since the Russian government has been known in the past to use middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.
The Donald Trump transition team responded to the secret CIA assessment on Friday evening by raising questions on the agency’s credibility.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.'”
The president-elect himself told Time this week that he did not believe that Russia had interfered with the U.S. elections, despite the intelligence community now providing evidence suggesting otherwise.
“I don’t believe they interfered. It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”
This, despite him having called on Russia to release Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails back in July, according to the New York Times.
“Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will be rewarded mightily by our press,” Donald Trump had said at a press conference.
Following the explosive secret CIA assessment, President Barack Obama has ordered a “full review” of Russian hacking into the U.S. elections.
“We may have crossed into a new threshold, and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what has happened and to impart some lessons learned,” Lisa Monaco, Obama’s counter-terrorism and homeland security adviser, told reporters.
The report is expected to be submitted to the outgoing president before he leaves office on January 20.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]