Trump spokesman Sean Spicer, who will become White House Press Secretary after Trump is inaugurated on January 20th, said on Fox News’ Fox & Friends yesterday that there doesn’t seem to be conclusive evidence from within the intelligence community about Russian hacking during the U.S. election season.
Spicer made those skeptical comments despite a wide body of U.S. intelligence statements issued over the past few months from several top U.S. intelligence agencies that concludes there is a clear connection between the Russian government and the hacking of U.S. political organizations, institutions, and individuals.
“There are people who believe certain things, but what we’re waiting for is this final report to whether or not it is actually conclusive or whether or not there is just general belief that it’s the direction they think this thing is in” Spicer told Fox News & Friends.
Spicer said that U.S. President elect Trump is still waiting until a final intelligence report is given to him later this week when he meets with the heads of the U.S. intelligence agencies and explained that “rushing to judgment about stuff like this is not in anyone’s best interest.”
Intelligence statements about cyber hacks in the U.S. haven’t been rushed and started emerging 3 months ago and were later confirmed by other U.S. intelligence agencies through joint statements over the past week.
Based on multiple statements from high level U.S. intelligence agencies, the prevailing consensus view is that the Russian government was directly involved in the hacking efforts against U.S. political organizations, institutions, and individuals which were later disclosed on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks.
The CIA briefed key Senators in early December during a closed door meeting about a CIA assessment that identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Campaign Chair John Podesta.
“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. That’s the consensus view” a senior U.S. official briefed on the intelligence presentation made to Senators told the Washington Post.
On October 7th the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement, claiming the U.S. intelligence community is “confident” the Russian government directed the hacking efforts against U.S. political organizations, institutions, and individuals.
“The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations” the intelligence agencies stated in their October 7th joint statement.
“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities” they concluded.
President Barack Obama held back from issuing a strong statement addressing the Russian hacking issue on U.S. political organizations after the release of the report on October 7th due to concerns about how the new intelligence report could impact the close U.S. presidential election.
On December 29th the F.B.I., the Office of the Director Of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security issued a joint statement that expanded on earlier statements and pointed out that “the intelligence community is confident the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations, and that the disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks are consistent with the Russian-directed efforts.”
Their joint statement explains that a great deal of forensic information related to Russian government activity was already published by a wide range of security companies and the U.S. Government can confirm the Russian government and Russian military intelligence involvement in those activities.
“The U.S. Government can confirm that the Russian government, including Russia’s civilian and military intelligence services, conducted many of the activities generally described by a number of these security companies” the joint statement concludes.
President elect Trump has been reluctant to acknowledge Russia’s role in the cyber attacks on U.S. political organizations that were viewed as a negative distraction for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the election.
President Obama said he will provide U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill with a detailed analysis about the Russia’s efforts to impact the U.S. election.