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Iran Press TV

Top spy agency does not endorse CIA analysis on Russia hacks

Iran Press TV

Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:32PM

The office overseeing all 17 US spy agencies has not embraced a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election to help Republican Donald Trump win the race.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has not endorsed the CIA's findings because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Russia carried out cyber attacks to boost Trump's chances against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, three American officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The hacked emails were a regular source of embarrassment to the Clinton campaign during the presidential race.

"ODNI is not arguing that the agency (CIA) is wrong, only that they can't prove intent," one of the officials said. "Of course they can't, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow."

The position of the top spy agency will give Trump fresh ammunition to dispute the CIA assessment, which he has called "ridiculous."

The growing distrust between Trump and the intelligence community he will soon command marks the latest in a series of disputes over Russia's international conduct and its alleged ties with the president-elect.

The CIA has not made its analysis public, but The Washington Post reported on a "secret assessment" by the spy agency concluding that Russian intelligence hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton's campaign to help Trump win the White House.

James Clapper, the nation's top intelligence officer, told Congress last month that his agencies did not have "good insight" into a direct link between WikiLeaks and the Russian cyber operations.

"As far as the WikiLeaks connection, the evidence there is not as strong and we don't have good insight into the sequencing of the releases or when the data may have been provided. We don't have as good insight into that," the DNI said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also declined to accept the CIA's assessment.

The divergent messages have angered congressional lawmakers who are demanding answers about the Kremlin's alleged role in the presidential race and its possible motives for the hacks.

In October, Washington formally accused Moscow of a campaign of cyber operations against American political organizations ahead of the November 8 election.

President Barack Obama last week ordered the intelligence community to fully review Russia's cyber attacks during the presidential campaign and wants a report before he leaves office in January.

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