An intelligence report by the CIA, the FBI and the NSA concluded that “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.
All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.”
All three agencies, however, had “high confidence” in the conclusion that Russia developed a “clear preference” for Trump.
Trump’s current Secretary of State, who was formerly CIA Director was pressed by Democrats, following the report, on whether Pompeo accepted that finding. Pompeo responded, “Yes, sir.” This came after Pompeo’s initial insistance that Putin wanted to help Trump win the presidency was the “least confirmed, that is, there was the least support for that,” among all three agencies just weeks before Donald Trump took office.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen seemed altogether ignorant of the joint intelligence findings, saying “I do not believe that I’ve seen that conclusion that the specific intent was to help President Trump win, I’m not aware of that,” to reporters after briefing House members on the potential cybersecurity threat for this year’s midterm elections. Nielsen added,“But I do generally have no reason to doubt any intelligence assessment.”
In a letter to Nielsen’s department in late may, Representatives Andre Carson and Adam Schiff, who both serve on the House Intelligence Committee, cited the Department of Homeland Security’s role in election security in light of Nielsen’s apparent lack of awareness on the matter.
They wrote, “It is critical for the public to know with confidence that the Department is relying on the objective intelligence work product and analysis, rather than any political sentiment, as it continues offering support for election security.