President-elect Donald Trump has apparently antagonized the U.S. Intelligence Agencies by his scornful denial of their assessment that President Vladimir Putin’s government had a hand in his victory over Hillary Clinton.
In a scathing statement issued by his transition team on Friday evening, they demeaned the U.S. Intelligence’s conclusion that Russian hackers had a role to play in Trump’s victory.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the statement said. “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’
Not only has he rubbed the national security establishment the wrong way, he is at odds with the G.O.P. as well. Most Republicans have a different view as opposed to that of Trump and his transition team.They are of the opinion that Russia did interfere in the election; however, they recommend an in-depth investigation, hearings, and public reports to understand the extent and intent behind the Russian interference.
“To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his priori assumptions — wow,” said Michael V. Hayden, who was the director of the N.S.A. and later the C.I.A. under President George W. Bush.
Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who is the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee did not mince words when he said at the conservative Heritage Foundation, “We cannot allow foreign governments to interfere in our democracy. When they do, we must respond forcefully, publicly and decisively.”
On Saturday the intelligence officials declared that Russia was not just attempting to destabilize the election but also had a hand in giving one candidate the edge.
According to one intelligence official, there were indications in early October that the Russians were focused on harming Hillary Clinton. However, CIA officials were reluctant to make public their assessment in the middle of the campaign as they were circumspect of being accused of trying to politicize their findings.
The C.I.A’s procrastination in shifting their assessment and findings, according to another intelligence agent, is the reason why President Barak Obama has ordered a full review and detailed report of “lessons learned” on Russia’s covert intervention in influencing the election before he leaves office on January 20, 2017.
The F.B.I., which is responsible for domestic cyber investigations, is not in sync with the C.I.A Findings as it has reportedly told Republicans that no evidence of breach has been seen.
Representative Devin Nunes, a California Republican and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also known to be one of Trump’s avid supporters, said on Friday that he had no misgivings about Russia’s involvement in manipulating the election.
Mr Nunes said that the intelligence agencies had “ignored pleas by numerous Intelligence Committee members to take more forceful action against the Kremlin’s aggression.”
However, what still remains unclear is the objective behind Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election. At this point of time, one can only speculate.