December 13, 2016 2:01 am -

So Donald Trump blurted out a matched pair of Twitter tantrums this morning:


Never mind that Donald the Super Genius doesn’t seem to know that correctly implemented security and server logs can and do catch hackers after the fact. The mini-tweetstorm was calculated to deflect attention from an investigation ordered by President Obama and growing calls by legislators from both sides of the aisle to hold hearings:

The story has been brewing all weekend…

According to the Washington Post, the intelligence agencies have identified various people who helped the Russian government leak hacked documents from Democratic sources, including the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, to WikiLeaks.

The New York Times also reported Friday that Russian actors hacked the Republican National Committee but chose not to release the information.

“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,” a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators told the Post. “That’s the consensus view.”

While lawmakers were seemingly united on the need to present a strong bipartisan response, the FBI and CIA gave lawmakers differing accounts on Russia’s motives, according to The Post.

Last week, during a meeting with the House Intelligence Committee, a senior FBI counterintelligence official gave remarks to lawmakers that were “fuzzy” and “ambiguous” in comparison to those made the CIA, the paper reported.

“The FBI briefers think in terms of criminal standards — can we prove this in court?” one of the officials said, according to The Post.

“The CIA briefers weigh the preponderance of intelligence and then make judgment calls to help policymakers make informed decisions. High confidence for them means, ‘We’re pretty damn sure.’ It doesn’t mean they can prove it in court.”

… and The New York Times ramped the story up a notch this morning with…

American spy and law enforcement agencies were united in the belief, in the weeks before the presidential election, that the Russian government had deployed computer hackers to sow chaos during the campaign. But they had conflicting views about the specific goals of the subterfuge.

Last week, Central Intelligence Agency officials presented lawmakers with a stunning new judgment that upended the debate: Russia, they said, had intervened with the primary aim of helping make Donald J. Trump president.

The C.I.A.’s conclusion does not appear to be the product of specific new intelligence obtained since the election, several American officials, including some who had read the agency’s briefing, said on Sunday. Rather, it was an analysis of what many believe is overwhelming circumstantial evidence — evidence that others feel does not support firm judgments — that the Russians put a thumb on the scale for Mr. Trump, and got their desired outcome.


It is unclear why the C.I.A. did not produce this formal assessment before the election, although several officials said that parts of it had been made available to President Obama in the presidential daily briefing in the weeks before the vote. But the conclusion that Moscow ran an operation to help install the next president is one of the most consequential analyses by American spy agencies in years.

Trump’s Twitter pushback was nothing compared with Sen. John McCain’s statement calling Russian interference

“another form of warfare.”

Appearing on “CBS This Morning” with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the next minority leader, Mr. McCain said the wide-ranging investigation of Russian meddling in the election would include his committee as well as the Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.

He said a Senate investigation would be necessary despite President Obama having already ordered up an inquiry, as that one would not be completed before the end of the Obama administration. The implication was that the new Trump administration would not follow through.

“We don’t want to point a finger, and I don’t want this to turn into the Benghazi investigation,” Mr. Schumer added, referring to the House investigation into the attacks on an American compound in Libya, which he said had been partisan. “This is serious stuff.”


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.