Did Russian hackers help elect Trump? U.S. intelligence has conflicting views, one on the record, one off

by WorldTribune Staff, December 11, 2016

The CIA has “secretly” come to the conclusion that Russian hackers supplied stolen emails to WikiLeaks in an effort to influence the Nov. 8 election, according to unnamed sources that formed the basis for reports by the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Publicly, however, Director of U.S. intelligence James Clapper said there is no “good insight” into a direct link between Russian hackers and Democratic Party emails released to WikiLeaks.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. /AFP/Getty Images
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. /AFP/Getty Images

“Democrats are now on a campaign implying that the hacking won the election for Donald Trump and have pressed the Obama administration for a far reaching investigation,” Rowan Scarborough wrote for The Washington Times on Dec. 10.

In a Dec. 9 report, the Washington Post said the CIA believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime directed hackers to “penetrate the Democrats’ emails expressly to help Republican Trump win the election.”

The Post said the CIA has identified people who were “one step” removed from the Russia government who supplied the stolen emails to WikiLeaks.

That is not what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee at an open hearing on Nov. 17.

Asked about Russia and WikiLeaks, Clapper said: “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.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied receiving the emails from people connected to the Putin government.

President Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to do a review of Russian hacking during the election and report back before he leaves office Jan. 20.

President-elect Donald Trump, in an interview with Time magazine, said: “I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say, ‘Oh, Russia interfered.’ ”

“The idea that Trump’s victory, and thereby voter judgment, was guided by Russia is a slap in the face of the American electorate,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican. “Trump won because he had a winning message and he’s got the backbone to see it through. Russia had nothing to do with the fact that Hillary Clinton didn’t resonate with the right voters the same way Donald trump did.”