Does the CIA Believe Russia Influenced U.S. Elections?

tl;dr It’s unclear. Even if they do, it’s not the opinion of every U.S. intelligence agency.

The Washington Post, not necessarily a bastion of quality journalism these days, recently posted an article with an extraordinary claim as a headline: “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House“!

If you read through the article, that’s not quite what happened. The headline is (unsurprisingly) sensationalized.

CIA agents supposedly held a secret meeting with some members of Congress about a secret report on alleged Russian interference with the U.S. election. Agents were said to have potentially “identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others.” Those individuals are not employed by the Russian government and may not have direct ties to the Kremlin. The CIA further claimed “it was now ‘quite clear’ that electing Trump was Russia’s goal,” according to the report. It’s important to note that the Washington Post’s article is not based on statements from the CIA. It’s based on statements from someone (likely a member of Congress) who attended the “secret meeting” or read a Senate-written summary about it. Therefore, this is all second-hand unverified information.

The New York Times ran a similar story, seemingly using another source (of course, also anonymous). The source said “We now have high confidence that [Russia] hacked the DNC and the RNC, and conspicuously released no documents [from the RNC hack].” This seems to be the basis of the “Russia helped Trump” claim. Meanwhile, there is no proof that the RNC was hacked. The RNC denied that their systems were breached, saying the FBI had personally reviewed RNC cybersecurity.

Many of the Wikileaks documents from government officials came from whistleblowers, FOIA requests, and unsophisticated phishing scams. It can also be argued that the contents of those documents and emails were more damaging than the leaks themselves. If so, certain officials would rather point fingers at a nuclear power (without proof) than accept personal responsibility for their own words and actions. Of course, cybersecurity is a serious issue and the source of alleged hacks should be discovered. That investigation is ongoing. But finger-pointing isn’t helping at all.

Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, was quoted in the Guardian as saying the CIA claims were “bullshit.” Murray said he knew who gave information to Wikileaks, claiming that it was an ‘insider’ – who wasn’t Russian and wasn’t a hacker. He also said “America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it’s not been shy about extraditing hackers. [The CIA] plainly [has] no knowledge whatsoever.” He believes that if the CIA really found out who performed the hackings, that person (or persons) would already be in an American prison.

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This week in news: November 27 – December 3 rundown

TL;DR – TOP 10 STORIES FOR THE WEEK

  1. Massive Tennessee wildfire causes evacuations, injuries, deaths
  2. 11 people injured in Ohio from attack
  3. Fire at California event kills at least 9
  4. Trump: Carrier, Taiwan, flag-burning
  5. First commercial flight between USA and Cuba lands
  6. Colombian peace deal with rebels approved
  7. Bolivian plane crash kills 71
  8. South Korean President may be impeached
  9. Wikileaks releases documents from USA and Germany
  10. Fighting continues in Yemen and Syria

Further information and more stories:

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This week in news: October 30 – November 5 rundown

TL;DR – TOP STORIES FOR THE WEEK

  1. Philadelphia transit workers strike
  2. Cubs win the World Series
  3. FBI investigations into Clinton, Trump
  4. Italy’s most powerful earthquake in almost 40 years
  5. Turkish crackdown/purge continues
  6. Car bombs in Turkey and Iraq kill or wound 200 people
  7. Continued fighting in Mosul and Yemen
  8. Train crash in Pakistan kills 17
  9. South Korean protests continue
  10. James Webb Space Telescope complete

Further information and more stories:

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This week in news: October 23-29 rundown

TL;DR – TOP STORIES FOR THE WEEK

  1. Obamacare prices to increase by an average of 20-25%
  2. North Dakota Pipeline protests continue
  3. Trump Hollywood star destroyed in California
  4. FBI reopening investigation into Hillary Clinton over new emails
  5. Calais migrant camp “The Jungle” cleared out
  6. Fighting continues in Iraq and Syria
  7. Pakistani college attacked, leaving 150+ dead or injured
  8. South Korean “Choi-Gate” scandal
  9. Some African countries will leave the International Criminal Court
  10. Large marine sanctuary will be established in Antarctica’s Ross Sea

Further information and more stories:

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This week in news: October 16-22 rundown

TL;DR – TOP STORIES FOR THE WEEK

  1. Third presidential debate between Clinton and Trump
  2. Wikileaks releases more emails
  3. British spies had unlawful databases of citizen private data for 17 years
  4. Russian and Syrian governments announce pauses in Syria conflict, humanitarian corridor
  5. Yemen cease-fire
  6. Operation begins to retake Mosul, Iraq, from Islamic State militants
  7. Protests in Philippines
  8. Train derailment in Cameroon
  9. Rockets lift off for the International Space Station
  10. Large-scale attack on DNS provider leads to global internet interruptions

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This week in news: October 9-15 rundown

tl;dr – top stories for the week

  1. Hurricane Matthew’s effects still felt in Haiti and the United States
  2. Second Presidential Debate featuring Clinton and Trump
  3. Wikileaks releases thousands of emails from John Podesta
  4. US Navy and Houthi rebels trade missile fire in Yemen
  5. Bombings in Iraq and Turkey
  6. Ethiopia state of emergency
  7. Sudanese civil war
  8. Colombian protests
  9. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 still explodes, even replacements
  10. World’s longest-reigning monarch, Bhumibol Adulyadej, dies

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