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    US Intel Community Confident About Russian Intentions to Influence 2016 Election

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    The US Intelligence Community released a report saying it has "high confidence" on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, but the National Security Agency (NSA) has less confidence in the assessment than the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) —  A public version of the comprehensive intelligence report assessing Russian activities and intentions in the 2016 US presidential elections was released on Friday.

    "The CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment, the NSA has moderate confidence," the report said.

    The NSA is the US agency that specializes in gathering, monitoring and assessing electronic intelligence activities.

    The report is based on information from multiple sources a public version of the comprehensive intelligence report assessing Russian activities and intentions in the 2016 US presidential elections.

    "We have completed this report and briefed President Obama as well as President-elect Trump and Congressional leadership," the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) stated in a press release on Friday. "We declassified a version of this report for the public, consistent with our commitment to transparency while still protecting classified sources and methods."

    Moscow, the report alleged, will apply lessons learned from the 2016 campaign to future elections across the globe including against US allies.

    Russia has repeatedly denied the US allegations calling them absurd and characterizing them as an attempt to divert public opinion from revelations of corruption as well as other pressing domestic issues.

    The report noted the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concluded that Russian hackers targeted systems that were uninvolved with the 2016 US presidential election vote count.

    "DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying," it stated.

    In fact, according to the report, US intelligence agencies did not even assess the impact Russia’s alleged interference had on the final outcome of the election.

    Russian intelligence, the report added, accessed materials of some Republican Party affiliates, but did not launch a disclosure campaign similar to the one involving the Democratic Party.

    The report also claimed that media outlets owned by the Russian government were used during the 2016 US election to influence the campaign.

    However, the report reaffirms that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won fairly and his victory should not be delegitimized by acts of partisanship, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said in a press release.

    "We must also be clear that there is no evidence that there was any interference in the voting or balloting process. We cannot allow partisans to exploit this report in an attempt to delegitimize the president-elect’s victory," Ryan stated. "Donald Trump won this election fair and square because he heard the voices of Americans who felt forgotten."

    The paper entitled "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" excludes from itself any conclusion or assessment on the any effect that the alleged Russian interference had on the US election.

    "We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of 2016 election," it said.

    The report acknowledges that Russian President Vladimir Putin took care not to favor Trump publicly, but suggests this was must have been motivated by a Russian fear that praising Trump would backfire against him.

    "Beginning in June [2016], Putin’s public comments about the US presidential race avoided directly-praising President-elect Trump, probably because Kremlin officials thought that any praise from Putin personally would backfire in the United States," the report claimed.

    It stated that Russia’s "use of disclosures during the US election was unprecedented," but it nowhere specified what these disclosures were.

    Russian activities to influence the election by their very nature were deniable and could not be decisively proven, the report also claimed.

    "By their nature, Russian influence campaigns are multifaceted and designed to be deniable because they use a mix of agents of influence, cutouts, front organizations, and false flag operations," the report said.

    The Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) probably began cyber operations aimed at the US election by March 2016, the report alleged.

    "We assess that the GRU operations resulted in the compromise of the personal e-mail accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures. By May, the GRU had extracted large volumes of data from the DNC [Democratic National Committee]," the report maintained.

    However, the report does not provide any evidence to support this conclusion. Nor it acknowledges the statements by WikiLeaks head Julian Assange that the key compromising material on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was directly leaked to his organization by leakers working within the DNC itself.

    Assange has offered a $20,000 reward for finding the murderer of Seth Rich, a 27-yewar-old DNC computer programmer who was shot dead in still mysterious circumstances on the streets of Washington in July 2016.

    Assange has hinted that Rich, a supporter of Clinton presidential race rival Bernie Sanders, was a key whistleblower within the DNC.

    The report did acknowledge that WikiLeaks material was accurate throughout and was confirmed to be so by the US intelligence community.

    "Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries," it said.

    Moreover, the report alleges that Russia employed a "state run" propaganda machine including domestic media, RT and the Sputnik news agency, to serve "as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences."

    But the report nowhere provides any evidence that this alleged propaganda campaign had an effect on US voters or specific election results.

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    Tags:
    Russian hacking, 2016 US Presidential election, DNC, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, United States
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