President-elect Donald Trump has dismissed a report by the CIA claiming that there is proof that Russian government hackers smoothed his route to the White House.
On Friday, representatives from the CIA told US Congress that it had evidence that the Russians had hacked the servers of both the Democrats and Republicans, but had only released data from the former in order to help Trump win the election. Senators on both sides of the political spectrum immediately called for an inquiry.
"Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American," said Senators John McCain (R‑AZ), Lindsey Graham (R‑SC), Charles Schumer (D‑NY), and Jack Reed (D‑RI).
"This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country. We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security."
But in an interview Sunday on Fox News, Trump dismissed the CIA's report as ridiculous and said that any hacking could be by Russia, China, or just someone doing this in their basement. "They have no idea," he said, taking to Twitter later on the topic.
Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
Unless you catch "hackers" in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn't this brought up before election?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
To muddy the waters further, senior FBI officials reportedly told a closed session of the House Intelligence Committee that the CIA's claims are "direct and bald and unqualified." They said that although Russia had interfered on one side of the election, it wasn't clear what its intentions were.
Meanwhile, members of the Electoral College, which meets on December 19 to vote and confirm Trump into office, have asked for an intelligence briefing on the matter before they vote. The College, made up of 538 members, could – in theory – change the course of the election by refusing to elect Trump.
On Friday, President Obama added his voice to calls for an investigation, saying the facts need to be ascertained and protections put in place to avoid this sort of kerfuffle happening again.
However, Craig Murray, the UK's former man in Uzbekistan and WikiLeaks insider, says that the hacking claims are wrong. The Democratic emails didn't come from hacking, but from an individual in the campaign who leaked the data to WikiLeaks.
"The worst thing about all this is that it is aimed at promoting further conflict with Russia," Murray said.
"This puts everyone in danger for the sake of more profits for the arms and security industries – including of course bigger budgets for the CIA. As thankfully the four-year agony of Aleppo comes swiftly to a close today, the Saudi and US armed and trained ISIS forces counter by moving to retake Palmyra. This game kills people, on a massive scale, and goes on and on." ®