Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–January 5, 2017
Defense Undersecretary for Intelligence Marcell Lettre II, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and United States Cyber Command and National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Senate Armed Services chair John McCain opened Thursday’s much-awaited hearings into Russian election hacking with star witnesses James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, and Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency.
McCain called Russia’s meddling an “an unprecedented attack on our democracy ” but also heavily downplayed any conclusive evidence that the Russian meddling in 2016 was decisive in swaying the election. Of the combined intelligence reports that will be delivered to President Obama, pr*sident-elect Trump, and partially released to the public Monday, McCain offered, “The goal of this review, as I understand it, is not to question the outcome of the presidential election, nor should it be.” It was clearly an effort to make the findings palatable to Trump. Good luck.
Here’s some other highlights from Politico:
Senators trashed Julian Assange
McCain repeatedly went after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whom Trump had quoted Wednesday in tweets scoffing that Russia was involved in hacks aimed at the Democratic Party. […]
Asked by McCaskill about Trump’s “trashing” of the intelligence community, Clapper hinted that the president-elect’s rhetoric has crossed from skepticism into “disparagement.” He told her: I think there is an important distinction here between healthy skepticism, which policymakers, to include policymaker No. 1, should always have for intelligence. But I think there’s a difference between skepticism and disparagement.”
Clapper affirmed that the intelligence community “will ascribe a motivation” for why Russian President Vladimir Putin directed cyberattacks against the U.S. when it releases its report to Congress and the public early next week.
Trump’s reorganization of the CIA
Clapper denied involvement in a possible plan by Trump to rearrange the nation’s intelligence agencies. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Trump and his advisers are considering “a plan that would restructure and pare back the nation’s top spy agency.” Top committee Democrat Jack Reed asked: “Have you at all, as the experts in this field, been engaged in any of these discussions, deliberations, advice?” Clapper responded: “No, we have not.”
When questioning Clapper, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham made the point that Russian hacking could ultimately hurt the GOP in future elections just as much as did Democrats in this election—a point that will likely be lost on its intended audience: conservatives.
He also encouraged Clapper to challenge Trump in the briefing intelligence officials are set to give him Friday.
“Are you ready for the task” of challenging Trump on the intelligence? Graham asked.
You have used up your free articles for this month. To continue reading click here to login or subscribe.