FBI director James Comey has signed on to a previously reported CIA assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin directly intervened in the US presidential election in aid of Donald Trump, according to an internal CIA memo obtained by the Associated Press and Washington Post.
The report has also been endorsed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, giving it the unanimous support of US intelligence agencies.
The assessment focuses on the digital theft and subsequent publication of emails from the Democratic National Committee, an act that agencies publicly attributed to Russian agents in October.
President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned claims of Russian involvement in the hacks, saying in an interview last week, “It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”
Notably, the reports do not suggest any direct tampering in election results, and there’s no evidence that any such tampering took place. The report also doesn’t suggest any direct coordination between Putin and the Trump campaign, which the FBI investigated and ultimately dismissed earlier this year.
President Obama concurred with the reported assessment in a press conference earlier today. “Based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC,” President Obama said. “As a consequence, it is important for us to review all elements of that and make sure that we are preventing that kind of interference through cyberattacks in the future. That should be a bipartisan issue.”
Other critics have joined Trump in doubting the conclusion and called for the intelligence community to release more public evidence — but in today’s press conference, the President seemed skeptical that much of the evidence could be made public. “We will provide evidence that we can safely provide that does not compromise sources and methods,” he told reporters, “but I’ll be honest with you, when you’re talking about cybersecurity, a lot of it is classified.”