US Intelligence Chiefs Reiterate It’s Russia
Washington: The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Admiral Mike Rogers, director of United States Cyber Command, testified before the Armed Services Committee, chaired by John McCain, that Russia is behind the election hacks.
When asked about the level of confidence over Russian hackings, James Clappers said, “very high.” Soon after the committee, the Russian government released a statement that denied any involvement in the US election hackings.
The Senate committee went on for two-and-half hours, and the chiefs have defended their stand that Russia was behind the election hacks and that the orders for operation came from the highest command in the Russian government. Vladimir Putin, Clapper said, responding to Senator Lindsay Graham’s question of who is the highest in command in Russia, indicating that the orders had come directly from Putin.
Responding to a Republican senator who questioned why China was not penalized enough in the past for its hackings as compared to Russian sanctions, Clapper said, in the espionage world cyber attacks are common and that the US also conducts cyber attacks on other countries. Throwing rocks while living in a glasshouse is dangerous and that is how all the countries behave. Acting differently means change in policy issue, he said.
Trying to distinguish Russian cyber attacks from that of China and North Korea, Clapper said that there is a difference between hacking and using hacked material to influence or intervene in elections happening in a foreign country. He said Russia had manipulated big data that many US organizations and strategists were depending upon.
Senator Lindsay Graham, who has supported Obama’s act of penalizing Russia and opined along with John McCain that the laid sanctions were not enough, said that he was for peace, but given Russia’s provocation, it was time to throw rocks.
Clapper said that the legislators should have some amount of skepticism on intelligence and that mistakes happen in the intelligence world, but there is a difference between skepticism and disparagement. His remarks point to all of those who have undermined the US intelligence recently. Trump has expressed doubts over Russian involvement and talked about reforming intelligence.
Mike Rogers, chief of Cyber Command said that cyber attacks began a decade ago and that they as an agency have been evolving. He said that lots of more work has to be done to make the command faster and more efficient. He also defended Russia’s involvement in the hackings.
Trump is going to take briefings from intelligence about the cyber attacks from Friday.