Earlier this week, the CIA said they suspected Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election with the purpose of helping Donald Trump win. And now, the FBI is agreeing with that assessment, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
The news marks a change of perspective from the FBI, which initially told lawmakers in a briefing that Russia’s motive for the cyberattacks was ambiguous.
According to U.S. officials, however, the FBI’s original position on the hacks may not have deviated all that much from the CIA .”The truth is they were never all that different in the first place,” an official said of the FBI and CIA positions. Regardless, the FBI’s public stance now is that Russia’s intentions were to boost Trump’s chances of winning the election.
When an FBI counterintelligence official addressed the House Intelligence Committee earlier this month, Republican and Democratic congressmen alike felt that the FBI and the CIA were not on the same page. “The FBI briefers think in terms of criminal standards — can we prove this in court,” one official who was present for the briefing said. “The CIA briefers weigh the preponderance of intelligence and then make judgment calls to help policymakers make informed decisions. High confidence for them means ‘we’re pretty damn sure.’ It doesn’t mean they can prove it in court.”
CIA Director John Brennan informed his agency’s workforce that he met with Comey and National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper Jr. this week to discuss Russia’s actions. “There is a strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,” Brennan reportedly said in a message.
“The three of us also agree that our organizations, along with others, need to focus on completing the thorough review of this issue that has been directed by President Obama and which is being led by the DNI,” Brennan said.