CIA Director John Brennan said last night that the U.S. intelligence community was on the brink of completing its report into Russian hacking activities throughout the U.S. election. The report, which will be delivered to President Obama upon a request he made in December, is expected to outline the role that Russian cyberhackers played in the outcome of the recent presidential election. Preliminary findings indicate that the Russians gathered and released information on the DNC and its campaign operatives as part of an effort to sway the election toward Trump, as he was palpably the more pro-Russia, pro-Putin candidate in the race. While the official report has not yet been released, leading officials have already claimed that they are 100% certain of Russian intervention in the sacred democratic institution that is our presidential election.
The intelligence community is intended to be non-partisan, however recent statements made by both Democrats and Republicans indicate that this is likey no longer true. In fact, President-elect Trump has gone so far as to reject the findings, arguing that the media and American public should “move on” from the matter. He has dismissed the CIA entirely, claiming that they lack credibility after their decision to enter Iraq under the false premise that the country was developing weapons of mass destruction. Just this morning, however, Trump has made his most controversial statement on the matter to this point by siding with famed hacker, quasi-enemy of the United States, and founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.
In an interview with Fox News, Assange blamed Democrats for not having tighter security measures to prevent hacks on their emails and private correspondences. Assange also claimed that, despite U.S. intelligence findings that Russia was the source for the leaks, the Kremlin did not actually play that role. He explained that phishing scams were responsible for the seized correspondences and that unskilled teenagers would have been able to access the information. "Podesta gave out that his password was the word 'password'. His own staff said this email that you've received, this is totally legitimate. So this is something ... a 14-year-old kid could have hacked Podesta that way."
In response to these statements, Trump tweeted a clear agreement with Assange, criticizing Democrats for their failure to secure their own information. "Somebody hacked the DNC but why did they not have 'hacking defense' like the RNC has and why have they not responded to the terrible things they did and said (like giving the questions to the debate to H). A total double standard! Media, as usual, gave them a pass."
This positions Trump against leading Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who condemned Assange for his pro-Russia ties in an interview this morning. "I have really nothing (to say) other than the guy is a sycophant for Russia. He leaks. He steals data and compromises national security."
Democrats have also issued a scathing response to the manner in which Trump has handled this situation and particularly the recent alignment with Assange. The DNC issued a statement saying that Trump "is putting his own insecurities ahead of national security because he is sensitive about how he won,” implying that the Russians allowed him to carry the election rather than his own supporters. "It's nothing short of terrifying that Trump has chosen to take the word of an enemy of our country over the word of 17 United States intelligence agencies including the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA," said an operative with the DNC.
As for how Trump’s statements might affect U.S. security, an official who served under both Bush and Obama had nothing but condemnation for the President-elect. "Let's stare this reality square in the face: PEOTUS is pro-Putin and believes Julian Assange over the CIA. On Jan. 20 we will be less safe," he tweeted this morning.
What do you think about this situation?