House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday that the intelligence report regarding the alleged Russian government interference in the U.S. presidential election, was “really quite a stunning disclosure.”
A declassified version of a U.S. intelligence report is claiming that Russian leader Vladimir Putin “ordered” an effort to help Republican Donald Trump’s electoral chances by discrediting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The 25-page report was released on Friday by the Office of the Director after intelligence officers briefed President-elect Donald Trump.
Two U.S. security agencies, the FBI and CIA, are backing the report which states that Russia used a number of tactics to influence the out come of the 2016 election targeting individuals with restricted information within the Democratic party, including those on Hilary Clinton’s campaign, and publishing that information to third party websites.
“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency,” the report said.
The assessment goes on to say the “multifaceted” campaign was approved at the highest levels within the Russian Government, and had access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks July of 2015 until at least June 2016.
The agencies believe Russian military intelligence used intermediaries such as WikiLeaks, DCLeaks.com and the Guccifer 2.0 personal to release emails that it had acquired from the DNC and top Democrats as part of the effort. It said the operation went for “targets associated with both major US political parties.”
The report assessed with “high confidence” that the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, had used those intermediaries to release “US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said he did not receive emails stolen from the DNC and top Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta from “a state party.” Assange did not rule out the possibility that he got the material from a third party.
Russia has denied the U.S. government’s allegations.
The report was commissioned by President Barack Obama and outlines how cyber espionage against U.S. political organizations and intrusions into state and local electoral boards were key to the Russian government’s attempt to influence voting.
In a statement after the briefing, Trump did not squarely address whether he was told of the agencies’ belief Russia carried out the hacking.
Instead, he said: “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations” including the DNC.
“There was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines,” Trump said.
The New York businessman, who is to be inaugurated as president on Jan. 20, also said he would appoint a team to give him a plan within 90 days of taking office on how to prevent cyber attacks but suggested that he would keep their recommendations secret.
“The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm,” Trump said.
With files from Reuters