Donald Trump’s refusal this weekend of U.S. intelligence analysts’
conclusion that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help him win the White House is the
latest in many conflicts between Trump and the intelligence community he will rule.
Russia, which has grown increasingly aggressive – according to what U.S.
intelligence agencies have told Congress,
in Syria and Ukraine. The agencies also reported that Russia has increased activities in cyberspace including meddling,
sometimes secretly, in European and U.S. elections.
The intelligence agencies have concluded with certanity that not only did their Russian counterparts
direct the hacking of Democratic Party organizations and leaders, but they did so to weaken Democratic
candidate Hillary Clinton, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.
Statement that was released form the president transient office exaggerated his margin of
victory and attacked the U.S. intelligence community’s work on Iraq, but did not address the analysts’ conclusion about Russia.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction,” the statement said.
“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.'”
On Saturday, California Democrat Adam Schiff, a member of the House intelligence committee,
stated that the Russian hacking of the U.S. election was very successful.
“One would also have to be willfully blind not to see that these Russian actions were uniformly damaging to Secretary
(of State Hillary) Clinton and helpful to Donald Trump,” Schiff said. “I do not believe this was coincidental or unintended.”
Trump has rejected such thoughts from the IA.
“I don’t believe they interfered,” he told Time magazine about the Russian help in an interview published this week.
“That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say,
‘Oh, Russia interfered.'”
Russian officials have denied all accusations of interference in the U.S. election.
The president has been receiving the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), one of the most top secret
documents in the U.S. government and which can include details of U.S. and allied secret operations,
only once a week. That is far less often than most of his predecessors.
So far, intelligence officials said,
Trump didnt wanted a special briefing on Russia, despite the agencies’ warnings that Russian President
Vladimir Putin is trying to weaken trans-Atlantic unity and test U.S. and allied determination.
Two officials with knowledge of the situation stated on Saturday that Trump’s transition team has made only
“incidental contact” with the Central Intelligence Agency. This is despite the fact that Trump’s choice to head the CIA,
U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, has close to no experience working with the agency.
Democrats and some Republicans in Congress who have been informed on the Russian activities share the intelligence agencies’
fear about Trump’s plans for the 17-agency intelligence community, which includes the National Security Agency,
the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Counterterrorism Center.
Some members of the covert service, the CIA’s body of spies, said they would resign rather than
obey any order to resume waterboarding or other “enhanced interrogation techniques” that Trump endorsed during
his campaign. Elsewhere in the $70 billion-a-year intelligence community officials on Saturday said they are afraid that
Trump might invite legal trouble by trying to increase electronic and physical surveillance of suspected terrorists
based on their religion or national origin.
None of this may happen, and campaign rhetoric and tweets do not always predict policies,
the officials conceded. However, Trump’s expressions about Russia and business dealings there, as well as those
of retired Army Lieutenant Michael Flynn, Trump’s choice for national security adviser,
are troublesome to many of the officials tracking Putin’s growing aggressiveness from seas to skies to cyberspace.