President-elect Donald Trump may have found an ally in his rejection of the CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks were orchestrated with the end goal of helping him win the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and this support comes from no less than the overseers of America's intelligence community.
Trump has dismissed the CIA assessment as ridiculous, while the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) does not use such colorful description, it has instead said that it has not endorsed the said assessment because of lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow indeed intended to boost the candidacy of Trump over his rival Democrat Hillary Clinton.
ODNI oversees 17 agency-strong U.S. intelligence community. Reuters scored an exclusive interview with three officials of ODNI who requested anonymity due to the sensitive matter and their disclosures.
ODNI's separate and contradicting assessment with the CIA follows the same opposite findings of the FBI from that of CIA's. The FBI also found there was no conclusive evidence that could stand up in court that can prove of Russia's intent to help Trump win the U.S. election.
The ODNI officials interviewed by Reuters said that the CIA apparently arrived at its conclusion on the basis only of the fact that Russian entities hacked both Democrats and Republicans but only the information from the Democrats was leaked. The officials think it was a thin reed upon which to base an analytical judgment.
The ODNI was established after the September 11 attacks in 2001 to improve coordination among U.S. intelligence agencies. It is headed by James Clapper. Clapper in November testified that intelligence agencies lacked strong evidence linking Russian cyber attacks to WikiLeaks disclosures.