by WorldTribune Staff, December 29, 2016
President Barack Obama has warned of retaliatory measures, including sanctions, against Russia for its alleged interference in the presidential election.
Obama, however, “has provided little documentation to back up” his accusations against Moscow and is being pressed by both Republicans and Democrats to do so, The Hill reported on Dec. 29.
In late November, seven Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee urged the White House to declassify “additional information concerning the Russian government and the U.S. election.”
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee earlier this month demanded a briefing on the subject but they were rebuffed by intelligence leaders, who said they will not brief Congress again until the completion of the report for the White House.
“Obama has asked the public to take the assessment of Russian interference largely on faith, suggesting that the American people already know everything they need to know to accept the conclusions of the CIA report,” the Hill report said.
The White House also has not corroborated “subsequent leaks from anonymous officials contending that the CIA believes the campaign was an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure Donald Trump’s victory,” the report said.
Meanwhile, Trump’s transition team has said the Obama administration should provide definitive proof of its claims.
“If the CIA Director [John] Brennan and others at the top are serious about turning over evidence … they should do that,” Trump aide Kellyanne Conway said earlier this month. “They should not be leaking to the media. If there’s evidence, let’s see it.”
Obama has ordered the intelligence community to produce a complete review of its findings on the alleged Russian meddling before Trump is sworn in as the nation’s 45th president on Jan. 20.
While the White House insists it will make as much of the report public as it can, some officials have warned that the report will contain “highly sensitive and classified information” and it is unclear how much concrete evidence will be released.
Trump has rejected assertions that the Kremlin was involved in the hacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
“There are still a whole range of assessments taking place among the [intelligence] agencies,” Obama told NPR earlier this month, referring to the report. “But that does not in any way, I think, detract from the basic point that everyone during the election perceived accurately — that in fact what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign.”
The Hill report noted that “private security firms have provided more detailed forensic analysis linking two well-known Russian intelligence groups to the data breach at the DNC.
“Beyond that, the evidence of Russian interference is compelling, though circumstantial.”