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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hack had no impact on election results, Trump says after intelligence briefing
Putin ordered campaign to influence to U.S. election: Declassified report

Eileen Sullivan, Deb Riechmann and Julie Pace, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

First posted: Friday, January 06, 2017 02:17 PM EST | Updated: Friday, January 06, 2017 11:36 PM EST

WASHINGTON — Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a hidden campaign to influence America’s presidential election in favour of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, U.S. intelligence agencies declared Friday in the government’s first formal allegation supporting sensational claims that Trump and his supporters have staunchly resisted.

The intelligence report, an unclassified version of a more-detailed classified account given earlier to Trump, the White House and congressional leaders, withheld the government’s evidence to back up its assertions.

Trump, in a brief interview with The Associated Press, said he “learned a lot” from his discussions with intelligence officials, but declined to say whether he accepted their assertion that Russia had meddled in the election on his behalf.

“It was a really great meeting, I really like those people a lot,” said Trump, who has challenged the intelligence community since winning the election. “I learned a lot and I think they did also.”

Trump would not detail what evidence he was presented with, saying only that he learned “a lot of confidential things.” Because Trump is not yet president, he is legally constrained from revealing classified information.

In an earlier written statement, Trump said it was clear Russian email hacking did not deliver him the presidency.

The unclassified version of the intelligence report was the most detailed public account to date of Russian efforts to interfere with the U.S. political process, with actions that included hacking into the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and individual Democrats like Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. Russia also used state-funded propaganda and paid “trolls” to make nasty comments on social media services, the report said. There was no suggestion that Russia affected actual vote counting or tampered with ballot machines. President Barack Obama requested the report last month and wanted it completed before inauguration day.

The report, for the first time, explicitly tied Putin to the hackings, called it the “boldest effort yet” to influence a U.S. election, and said the Russian government provided emails to WikiLeaks — something the website’s founder, Julian Assange, has repeatedly denied. The intelligence agencies also said Russia will continue to try to influence future events in the U.S. and worldwide, particularly among U.S. allies.

Since Election Day, the intelligence agencies said, Russia has launched a “spear-phishing” campaign to try to trick people into revealing their email passwords, targeting U.S. government employees and think tanks that specialize in national security, defence and foreign policy.

The report lacked details about how the U.S. learned what it said it knows, such as any intercepted conversations or electronic messages among Russian leaders, including Putin, or about specific hacker techniques or digital tools the U.S. may have traced back to Russia in its investigations.

Exactly how the U.S. monitors its adversaries in cyberspace is a closely guarded secret, since revealing such details could help foreign governments further obscure their activities.

The unclassified version included footnotes acknowledging that it “does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.” It said its conclusions were identical to the classified version, which was more detailed.

The unclassified report said the Russian effort was both political and personal.

“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency,” it said. “We further assess Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

Putin most likely wanted to discredit Clinton because he blames her for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he resents her for disparaging comments she has made about him, the report said.

The report was released shortly after intelligence officials finished briefing Trump — a move probably intended to bolster the intelligence findings against pushback from the president-elect.

Trump could use the lack of supporting details in the public version to fuel his dismissiveness of the findings, even though he has now been briefed on the classified portion.

Trump has been dismissive of the intelligence agencies’ claims of Russia’s involvement for months, long before he saw the classified information Friday.

Just hours before he was briefed, Trump dismissed the assessment and told The New York Times the focus on Russia’s involvement is a “political witch hunt” by adversaries. “They got beaten very badly in the election,” Trump said. “They are very embarrassed about it. To some extent, it’s a witch hunt. They just focus on this.”

After finally seeing the intelligence behind the claims of the outgoing Obama administration, Trump released a one-page statement that did not address whether Russia sought to meddle. Instead, he said, “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”

The top U.S. intelligence official, James Clapper, told Congress on Thursday that intelligence agencies had no way of gauging what influence this meddling had in the outcome of the election. It was unclear Friday what evidence Trump had to support his claims.

Trump acknowledged in his statement that “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people” are consistently trying to hack U.S. networks, including the Democratic National Committee’s.

He said, as did the intelligence report, that “there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.”

Trump said that as president he would appoint a team to develop a plan to “aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks.”

Still, by late Friday Trump was blaming the victim. “Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place,” he wrote on Twitter. “The Republican National Committee had strong defence!”

As Trump met in New York with intelligence officials, Congress tallied the Electoral College votes, officially confirming his November victory.

Before the intelligence agencies completed their assessment, Obama announced sanctions against Russia late last year. Trump has not said whether he will undo them once he takes office.


Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Chad Day and Jack Gillum contributed to this report.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assange blasts 'embarrassing' US intel report, insists Russia not his source

Cody Derespina

By Cody Derespina
·Published January 09, 2017
· FoxNews.com

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fired back Monday at the U.S. intelligence community for its report stating the anti-secrecy website was used by the Russian government to distribute hacked information from Democratic figures during the run-up to the presidential election.

Assange, speaking during an audio-only Periscope Q&A session, said the source of his information was not a member “of any government” or “state parties” and did not “come from the Russian government.” The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief blasted Friday’s declassified intelligence report on “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” as being inadequate and misleading.

“It was not an intelligence report,” Assange said. “It does not have the structure of an intelligence report. It does not have the structure of a Presidential Daily Brief. It was frankly quite embarrassing.”

He added: “It was clearly designed for political effect.”


Asked Monday whether it's possible that WikiLeaks' source was a go-between affiliated with the Russian government, Assange said he didn't want to "play twenty questions with our sources."

The intelligence report, prepared at the direction of President Obama, laid the blame for the breach of top Democratic officials’ emails directly at the feet of the Russians, whom the report said launched cyber operations as part of a Vladimir Putin-ordered “influence campaign.”

“We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence … relayed material to WikiLeaks,” the report said, adding this included material from the DNC and senior Democratic officials.

WikiLeaks famously published emails from top DNC officials before the 2016 Democratic convention, and later published thousands of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta -- but Assange has steadfastly insisted, including in a recent interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, that Moscow was not the source.

Asked Monday if he believed the intelligence community’s finding had been “fabricated,” Assange stopped just short, saying: “Most of this so-called intelligence report is not even fabricated. That is, it does not even make assertions for the most part to rise to the level of fabrications … it uses speculative terms and admits its own speculation.”

The report itself, perhaps in anticipation of such challenges, noted that the declassified version “does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.”

But Assange later indicated he didn’t think it mattered who supplied the information to his group.

“Even if you believed that hackers of some kind illicitly obtained the Podesta emails and the DNC emails we published … what are we talking about in terms of impact?” Assange said. “...What was discussed are the words of Hillary Clinton, John Podesta and her team revealing unethical practices, corruption, hypocrisy, etcetera.”

He asked: “Should the American people have been denied that true information?”

During the chat, which took place inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange has been holed up to avoid deportation on a rape charge he denies since June 2012, the WikiLeaks boss leveled a new accusation at the Obama administration.

“Past administrations of both Republican and Democrat flavors have engaged in mass destruction of records as they’ve left office. We are told that destruction of records is occurring now in different parts of the Obama administration,” Assange said.

He urged anyone within those agencies to “get hold of that history and protect it; because that’s something that belongs to humanity and does not belong to a political party.”

Assange’s assertion of mass document destruction may be the reason for a Tuesday tweet from WikiLeaks offering $20,000 as a “reward for information leading to the arrest or exposure of any Obama admin agent destroying significant records.”

He also challenged the claim that WikiLeaks was in league with President-elect Donald Trump and wanted him to win the election.

“We knew we were creating substantial conflict between us and the person we expected to be the next president,” said Assange, noting he believed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would be the likely victor based on pre-election polling. “So we understood that we were putting ourselves in a more persecuted condition by relentlessly exposing this material, increasing the risk for us. Not decreasing at all.”

Trump, meanwhile, has not outright challenged the findings in Friday's report despite having voiced skepticism before about Russia's involvement.

Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, told "Fox News Sunday" he thinks the president-elect “accepts the findings” and is “not denying entities in Russia are behind these particular hackings.”


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This story has been framed badly from the start. It acts as if all the big powers aren't 'hacking' into each others' communications systems since ... forever! A year or so ago, Merkel was making public noises about Obama knowing when her hair appointments were because they hacked her telephone. A little earlier, the US admitted that China had 'hacked' the personnel records of the federal civil service. It's spy vrs spy, just like Mad Magazine sez ... they ALL do it.

But that doesn't mean that the Russians were trying to tilt the election to Trump.

First, why would they do that when they can push the present regime around so easily? Putin didn't even do anything -- it's that Obama blew it on Syria, just as he has blown it all through the middle east. Russia came in at the behest of the official (elected) government of Syria, and have an interest, in the form of a naval base, that they were trying to protect. It's the Americans who are supporting Islamic insurgents bent on regime change.

As a result, the West has lost hegemonic control over the eastern Mediterranean, including the northern access to the Suez Canal. Why would Russia want to see a bunch of dummies like that go?

It's because US policy is drifting towards war all over the place, including with Russia. The US is financing an army opposing it in the Ukraine, for instance -- that's about 300 miles from Moscow. It seems bent on bringing the Ukraine into NATO. In fact, there are now more troops and equipment massed on the borders of Russia than there have been since Hitler's surprise attack in 1941.

Those are very aggressive policies, akin to the Cuba missile crisis, for Russia.

The point is there is no evidence that Russia released the information that the Democratic Party now feels was so damaging. This should be read, in my mind, as the start of a new bit of narrative-building. It's meant to make it seem that Trump's election was somehow illegitimate.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Priebus defends Trump, top aide; says media has 'obsession' to 'delegitimize' president

Published January 22, 2017
· FoxNews.com

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on Sunday defended President Trump and a top aide’s sharp criticism this weekend of news agencies, saying “there is an obsession by the media to delegitimize this president.”

“We are not going to sit around and let it happen,” Priebus told “Fox News Sunday.”

Trump suggested to CIA staffers Saturday on his visit to the agency that his well-publicized rift with the U.S. intelligence community was drummed up by the media.

Trump didn’t agree with some in the intelligence community’s who concluded that Russia influenced the 2016 White House race to help him win.

And he argued more recently that somebody within that community leaking an unofficial dossier with alleged damaging personal information about him was like living in “Nazi Germany.”

Priebus told Fox that “one bad actor” likely leaked the document so Trump wasn’t angry at all of the country’s intelligence officers.

“I’m telling you; It was a love fest in there,” Priebus said about Trump’s visit at CIA headquarters that was attended by about 300 staffers.

He also suggested that a reporter was at best careless in erroneously reporting that Trump has removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office.

“It could have had explosive ramifications. … It was shoot first, point later,” he said about the inaccurate report, for which the reporter later apologized.

Priebus also defended Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments Saturday about the news media underreporting the crowd size at Trump’s swearing-in Friday.

At a hastily called White House press conference, Spicer angrily accused the media of “false reporting” on the inauguration as part of what he called a “shameful” attempt to minimize enthusiasm for Trump. He then left without taking questions.

Priebus said Sunday: “The point is not the crowd. The point is the media is trying to delegitimize the presidency."

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Obama orders review of possible hacking during election

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