Washington: A secret CIA assessment has found that Russia sought to tip last month’s US presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor, The Washington Post reported on Saturday, a conclusion that drew an extraordinary rebuke from the president-elect’s camp.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump’s transition team said, launching a broadside against the spy agency.
“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.’
The Washington Post report comes after President Barack Obama ordered a review of all cyber attacks that took place during the 2016 election cycle, amid growing calls from Congress for more information on the extent of Russian interference in the campaign.
The newspaper cited officials briefed on the matter as saying that individuals with connections to Moscow provided anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks with emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief and others.
Those emails were leaked out via WikiLeaks in the months before the election, damaging Ms Clinton’s White House run. The Russians’ aim was to help
Mr. Trump win and not just undermine the US electoral process, the Post said.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Mr Trump get elected,” the newspaper quoted a senior US official briefed on an intelligence presentation last week to key senators as saying.
CIA agents told the lawmakers it was “quite clear” that electing Mr Trump was Russia’s goal, according to officials who spoke to the Post.