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DNI says Russia hack proof will have to wait

The director of national intelligence rejected calls to speed up release of evidence that would show Russia tried to tamper with the U.S. election, saying Friday that they’ll finish out their review before making the proof public.

But the DNI’s office said it stands by its conclusion that Russia’s “senior-most officials” ordered the theft of emails to interfere with the election. The DNI issued a statement just an hour after President Obama, in a year-end press conference, blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Accusations of tampering have roiled the U.S. political scene in recent weeks — though Mr. Obama and the DNI’s office both said they have been making the case for two months that Russia stole emails from the Democratic National Committee and from top Clinton campaign official John Podesta in order to interfere.

“On October 7, 2016, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence publicly stated that they were ‘confident’ that the Russian government directed compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions and that these thefts, as well as disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails by the Guccifer 2.0 persona, were intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” the DNI press office said. “We continue to stand by this statement.”

Missing from that October statement was the FBI, which did not sign on. Several news outlets reported Friday, however, that the FBI does agree with the CIA that Russia did attempt to interfere with the election through hacking.

A number of Democrats had called on the Obama administration to release proof now, ahead of the Dec. 19 date when the Electoral College meets to confirm President-elect Donald Trump won the election.

“This is a national crisis that must be fully explained to the American people right now,” Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat and member of the intelligence committee, said Friday after Mr. Obama’s press conference. “When a foreign nation interferes in our election, delays and closed-door investigations are not good enough. We cannot continue to sweep this under the rug or to wait until just before Inauguration Day before leveling with the public.”

But the DNI statement makes clear that while it is conducting the investigation, it won’t produce any proof now.

“This effort is ongoing and involves sensitive classified information. Once the review is complete in the coming weeks, the Intelligence Community stands ready to brief Congress and will make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods,” the DNI said.

Earlier Friday a spokesman for Mr. Putin demanded the U.S. produce evidence or cease blaming Moscow, saying it was unseemly for international relations to make the charges otherwise.

Mr. Obama, who ordered the review of Russian efforts, told reporters that his administration will make public what it can, but said some of the information won’t be released because it would let enemies know American intelligence capabilities.

He also said that while Russian-backed hackers did try to sway the public by releasing damaging information about Democrats during the campaign, there is no evidence to think that Russians actually tampered with voting or vote-counting.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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