Updated on January 7, 2017
In a “declassified version of a highly classified assessment” released on Friday January 6, the U.S. intelligence community laid out its judgment that “Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” with the specific goal of harming Hillary Clinton’s “electability and potential presidency.” The report went on: “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
These conclusions had previously been reported, based accounts anonymous intelligence officials gave to various news outlets. The January 6 intelligence assessment was the first time the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had detailed them officially in public.
The release came a day after Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at a hearing on foreign cyberthreats to the United States: “Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation.” (Our blog of the hearing is here.)
President-elect Donald Trump has been publicly skeptical of claims about Russia’s role. He says it’s difficult to definitively say who was behind the hacking, and has supported the views of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, that a “14-year-old could have hacked” Democratic officials. After reviewing a classified version of the assessment made public on Friday, Trump issued a statement citing the cyber threat from “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people,” but emphasizing that the hacking had “absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”