Intelligence agency leaders repeated their determination Thursday that only "the senior most officials" in Russia could have authorized recent hacks into the U.S. electoral and political system.
The director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, affirmed an Oct. 7 joint statement from 17 intelligence agencies that the Russian government directed the election interference — and went further.
"We stand more resolutely on that statement," Clapper said during a Senate Armed Services hearing with the intelligence chiefs into the politically charged issue.
Clapper noted that the intelligence officials would not dive into many more details at this hearing, deferring to a broader, unclassified report on the election interference to be released next week.[...]
In addition to Clapper, testifying before the committee were Defense Undersecretary Marcel Lettre and Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command of the National Security Agency. All three will be leaving their positions at the end of the Obama administration.[...]
Assange has denied the Russian government gave Wikileaks the emails. McCain asked Clapper if Assange had any credibility.
"Not in my view," Clapper said.
President-elect Trump, however, has openly questioned whether Russia was involved in the hacking, pointed to errors the intelligence community made over the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and has appeared to back Assange in tweets.
Clapper also said there is a difference "between skepticism and disparagement" of the intelligence community. Trump has taken to Twitter, referring to "Intelligence" and its officials in quotations.[...]