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Iran Press TV

Distrust growing between Trump, US intelligence agencies

Iran Press TV

Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:48PM

US intelligence officials have expressed mounting concern and confusion about how to proceed in President-elect Donald Trump's incoming administration because of its open hostility to the function and role of spy agencies.

The growing distrust between Trump and US intelligence agencies escalated into public antagonism Saturday after he rejected a CIA report that Russian hackers had intervened in the US presidential election to help Trump defeat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The Post reported Friday that the CIA had concluded that individuals with connections to Moscow provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others to WikiLeaks.

The hacked emails provided to WikiLeaks were a regular source of embarrassment to the Clinton campaign during the presidential race and may have contributed to her defeat.

"I don't know what the end game is here," a senior US intelligence official told the Washington Post. "After January 20, we're in uncharted territory," the official said, referring to the presidential inauguration day.

"Given his proclivity for revenge combined with his notorious thin skin, this threatens to result in a lasting relationship of distrust and ill will between the president and the intelligence community," said Paul Pillar, former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center.

Pillar added: "Everything Trump has indicated with regard to his character and tendencies for vindictiveness might be worse" than former president Richard Nixon, who also had a dysfunctional relationship with the intelligence community.

US President Barack Obama on Friday ordered American intelligence agencies to provide him a comprehensive report on Russian intervention in the election before he leaves office in January.

The investigation, led by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, is aimed at reaching a definitive judgment about the Russian role in the election.

The tensions between Trump and spy agencies could escalate even further as dozens of analysts begin work on the project.

In October, the US government formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations ahead of the November 8 presidential election.

Trump has repeatedly rejected past reports that Russian hackers were working to help his campaign and says the reports were politically motivated.

"I don't believe it. I don't believe they interfered," Trump told Time magazine in a recent interview.of the alleged Russians cyber attacks.

Trump's transition office issued a statement Friday questioning the credibility of the CIA assessment about Russian cyber attacks aimed at influencing the US election.

The statement said the CIA had discredited itself over faulty intelligence assessments about Iraq's weapons stockpile more than a dozen years ago. "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," it said.

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