The FBI is in agreement with the CIA’s assessment that the Russians strategically hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s emails, and then passed them along to WikiLeaks in an effort to help then-candidate Donald Trump get elected as President of the United States.
It was previously revealed that the CIA had independently concluded Russia was behind the hacks, but many Republicans pointed to the FBI’s relative silence on the issue as disagreement.
In a leaked memo sent to the CIA’s workforce on Friday, CIA director John Brennan addressed the views of both FBI Director James Comey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, according to the Washington Post.
“Earlier this week, I met separately with FBI [Director] James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,” Brennan said.
Although the CIA has briefed the U.S. Senate on the hacking issue, both agencies have declined comment to the press.
So, which Russian actors planned and executed the strategy intended to help Trump win? According to President Obama, Putin himself was potentially involved in the plot.
“Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin,” Obama said at Friday’s end-of-the-year press conference. “This happened at the highest levels of the Russian government.”
Russian state officials have denied involvement. President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Friday that America “should either stop talking about (the hacks), or produce some proof at last. Otherwise it all begins to look unseemly.”
President-elect Trump is also still denying Russia was behind the DNC hacking, although some of his advisers seem to be softening their tone. Reince Priebus, the incoming White House Chief of Staff, said that Trump might believe the revelation if both agencies present a united front.
“I think he would accept the conclusion if they would get together, put out a report and show the American people they are on the same page,” Priebus said.
However, Priebus seems far more more receptive to the development than Trump. Last week on Fox News, Trump took a decidedly skeptical attitude.
“They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place,” Trump said. “I mean, they have no idea.”
Actually, the CIA and FBI do have some idea. Although we will probably never know if they were sitting in bed or not, the hackers were definitely Russian.
[AP] [Washington Post] [CNN] [Fox News] [Wall Street Journal] [Photo courtesy Larry Downing/Reuters via PBS]