The CIA has concluded that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election with the specific intent of helping Donald Trump be elected as president of the United States, it was revealed Friday night.
Intelligence agencies identified people close to the Russian government who obtained thousands of hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, The Washington Post reported.
The hackers then funneled the stolen material over to WikiLeaks, which spread the information across the Internet in a sophisticated cyber propaganda campaign.
“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,” the paper quoted a senior US official as saying. “That’s the consensus view.”
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” read the statement from Trump’s transition team. “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.’ ”
The New York Times also reported Friday night that Russians had hacked the Republican National Committee in addition to the DNC.
But the hackers did not release any information gathered from the GOP computer systems.
President Obama earlier on Friday ordered a broad review of campaign-season cyber attacks. The review, led by intelligence agencies, will be a “deep dive” into a possible pattern of increased “malicious cyber activity,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
The review will look at the tactics, targets, key actors and the US government’s response to the recent e-mail hacks, as well as incidents in past elections, he said.
Obama ordered up the report this week and asked that it be completed before he leaves office next month, according to Schultz. The spokesman also said Obama sought the probe as a way of improving US defense against cyber attacks and was not intended to question the legitimacy of Trump’s victory.
During the campaign, Trump dismissed reports of Russian interference, saying the hackers could be “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” At another point, Trump urged Russian hackers to target Hillary Clinton and “find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.”
This article originally appeared in the New York Post.