Trump questions ‘intelligence’ behind delayed briefing on Russian hacking
Donald Trump says that a briefing he was due to receive on Russia’s alleged hacking attacks and meddling with US elections was strangely delayed until Friday, making the President-elect to wonder whether there was enough “intelligence” to “build” such a case.
In a “very strange” turn of events, an intelligence briefing the US President-elect was expecting to receive early this week was delayed, Donald Trump said on Twitter.
The "Intelligence" briefing on so-called "Russian hacking" was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
After the US President-elect expressed his discontent, anonymous intelligence community sources rushed to assure CNN and NBC audiences that the briefing in question had always been planned for Friday. One of the unnamed officials even reportedly called Trump’s rant “adversarial.”
Trump previously expressed his skepticism about the US intelligence community’s assessment of Moscow’s involvement in hacking attacks on the US and its alleged attempts to influence presidential elections.
“I just want them to be sure because it’s a pretty serious charge,” Trump said on December 31, recalling the US invasion in Iraq was based on flawed and false intelligence. “If you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong.”
The incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said earlier that there was little to “zero evidence” presented by the intelligence community to officials, let alone the public, that Russia somehow influenced the US presidential election in November.
“The President-elect needs to sit down with the heads of the intelligence communities next week and get a full briefing on what they knew, why they knew it, whether or not the Obama administration's response was in proportion to the actions taken,” Spicer told ABC last week.
When pressured by with a question whether the new FBI/DHS report made Trump “accept the fact that Russia was behind the DNC hack,” Spicer responded that the report was not final, did not actually talk about the Russian government being responsible for the hack and offered nothing but evidence-free allegations and littered with disclaimers.
“The idea that we’re jumping to conclusions before we have a final report is frankly irresponsible,” Spicer emphasized.
“While the media played it up as this report about the hacking, what it actually is, if you look through it, and it’s available online, is a series of recommendations that should be taken, like changing passwords, changing administrative rights,” Spicer pointed out. “What it shows is that by all measures the Democratic National Committee had a very lax IT support.”