Russia hacked U.S. presidential election for Trump, says CIA

Illustration: Rob Beschizza

The Washington Post reported Friday evening that the CIA says Russia intervened in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win, rather than just to undermine confidence in the political system as was reported during the campaign.

Snip:

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

The CIA shared its secret assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill last week, the report goes on to explain. In the meeting, CIA officials referenced a growing body of intel from multiple sources, and told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal.

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Julian Assange, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks speaks via video link during a press conference on the occasion of the ten year anniversary celebration of WikiLeaks in Berlin, Germany, October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Don't just skim this story, though. This is a deep dive into literal infowars. What the hell did Mitch McConnell do here?

The Obama administration has been debating for months how to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions, with White House officials concerned about escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.

In September, during a secret briefing for congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to officials present.

Team Trump shrugged off the report Friday evening, after the Washington Post story broke.

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. 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,’ ” read the Trump Transition team statement. Two of these three sentences are provably false.

Trump has been dissing the intelligence community's assessment of the Russia matter for some time now.

“I don’t believe they interfered” in the election, he told TIME in his long-coveted "Person of the Year" feature this week. The hacking “could be Russia,” he told TIME.

“And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

Maybe he meant Chris Christie.

The New York Times reports that officials believe Russia acted covertly late in the campaign season to destroy Hillary Clinton’s odds, and help Trump, but that the assessment also confirms that the Democrats weren't the only ones Russia pwned. The RNC was hacked by Russia, too.

They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.

And yet, instead of reporting on any of the infowars, American media mostly reported on the contents of the leaks themselves. Just like Russia wanted.