The national intelligence director, James R. Clapper Jr., is the top intelligence official of the United States. On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing in which Clapper testified at. Clapper reiterated the intelligence community’s position that the evidence they gathered shows that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC emails during the U.S. presidential election.
Clapper also made a comment which seemed to be directed toward President-elect Donald Trump, although he didn’t refer to him by name. Clapper said that being skeptical of the intelligence community’s findings is different than disparaging the intelligence community. This is obviously a reference to Trump’s position that he does not believe the Russian government or Russian President Vladimir Putin had anything to do with the DNC email hacks, even though U.S. intelligence says they did.
Both Democrats and Republicans seemed to be bipartisan on this issue and they defended Clapper’s belief that Russia was involved in the hacks. This certainly puts Donald Trump in an awkward position because he seems to be the only American politician who is defending Russia. When he takes office on January 20th, 2017, he may receive backlash from his colleagues if he doesn’t adhere to the findings of his own intelligence community. Trump is reportedly attending three intelligence briefings a week now and so he may change his mind on the issue down the road.
At the hearing, Clapper also stated that he doesn’t think Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has any credibility on this issue. Trump just recently praised Assange for saying that Russia was not involved in the hacks, which only makes things more diverse in Washington D.C. But most importantly, Clapper said that Russia devised a strategy of publishing fake news on the internet during the election cycle. This news was designed to make Hillary Clinton look bad so that people would flock to Donald Trump.