FBI backs CIA's assessment of Russia's 2016 election hack


On the heels of the leak of the CIA's secret report that Russia attempted to meddle in American elections, a major question was how many in the intelligence community agreed with the CIA's conclusions. Now, surprisingly and following criticism, FBI director James Comey has endorsed the report, which gives it further credence and may cause more problems for Trump's attempts at a smooth transition of power.

The Washington Post reports that both Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper and Comey have seen the report and agree with its findings:

"Earlier this week, I met separately with (Director) FBI James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election," CIA Director John O. Brennan said in a message to the agency's workforce, according to U.S. officials who have seen the 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's message read.

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Trump has dismissed all allegations that Russia was involved in the elections or committed any hacking offenses against the United States, but Comey's endorsement of the report may be too difficult for Trump to brush off. Comey notoriously revived the concerns about Hillary Clinton's emails a week before the election, an announcement that ultimately came to nothing, and when ending the investigation in July, was pointedly critical of Clinton's actions even as he acknowledged they were not criminal.

In short, if Comey, no ally of Clinton, sees merit in the allegations, many on the right will have to weigh his opinion against Trump's denials. Brennan addressed that issue in another part of the message shared with the Post:

"Many – but unfortunately not all – members [of Congress] understand and appreciate the importance and the gravity of the issue, and they are very supportive of the process that is underway."

(via The Washington Post)