FBI director James Comey has announced his support for the CIA’s conclusion that Russia intervened in the U.S. election to help Donald Trump get elected.
The announcement makes a drastic u-turn from the FBI’s previous announcement that Russia had nothing to do with hacking the election.
“Earlier this week, I met separately with (Director) FBI James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,” CIA Director John Brennan wrote in a message to staff, according to the report.
“The three of us also agree that our organizations, along with others, need to focus on completing the thorough review of this issue that has been directed by President Obama and which is being led by the DNI,” Brennan reportedly added.
NBC News also confirmed the report of the FBI’s assessment.
NBC News confirms: the FBI agrees with the CIA's assessment that Russia intervened in the election in part to help Trump win pic.twitter.com/E9hWJjThRc
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) December 16, 2016
The Post reported last week that a secret CIA assessment concluded that Russia interfered with the goal of helping elect Trump.
Trump has fiercely disputed the idea that Russia interfered in the election. And lawmakers had suggested the FBI did not agree with the CIA’s assessment.
“The truth is they were never all that different in the first place,” an official told the Post of FBI and CIA findings.
Brennan wrote that he has been briefing Congress about the matter, but added that not all of the lawmakers “appreciate the importance and the gravity of the issue.”
“In recent days, I have had several conversations with members of Congress, providing an update on the status of the review as well as the considerations that need to be taken into account as we proceed,” Brennan reportedly wrote.
“Many – but unfortunately not all – members understand and appreciate the importance and the gravity of the issue, and they are very supportive of the process that is underway.”
NBC News on Thursday reported that U.S. intelligence officials believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally in charge of supervising the hacking operation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the report of Putin’s involvement “nothing but nonsense.”
“I think this is nothing but nonsense. There is not a chance that anybody could believe that,” he said Thursday.
The Kremlin on Friday also demanded that the U.S. provide evidence that Russia was directly involved in the cyberattack before making any more public accusations.
“They should either stop talking about that or produce some proof at last,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Otherwise it all begins to look unseemly.”
President Obama on Friday addressed Russia’s call for evidence.
“We will provide evidence that we can safely provide that does not compromise sources and methods,” Obama said during a White House press conference.
“But I will be honest with you, when you are talking about cyber-security, a lot of it is classified and we are not going to provide it, because the way we catch folks is by knowing certain things about them that they might not want us to know, and, if we are going to monitor this stuff effectively going forward, we don’t want them to know that we know.”