Ex-CIA chief says multiple countries could have committed election-related hacking

Bill Clinton's former CIA chief James Woolsey, now a top advisor to President-elect Donald Trump, speculated that Russia was perhaps one of many foreign state actors who likely meddled in the US election.

Outlets like the New York Times reported last month that intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia hacked and leaked internal emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chair's private email account in order to sew discord in the presidential election.

Related: Hack reveals Democratic Congress members' phone numbers

Hack reveals Democratic Congress members' phone numbers
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Hack reveals Democratic Congress members' phone numbers
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., attends a news conference at the DNC where members of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, February 11, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Representative James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Thursday, July 28, 2016. Division among Democrats has been overcome through speeches from two presidents, another first lady and a vice-president, who raised the stakes for their candidate by warning that her opponent posed an unprecedented threat to American diplomacy. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JUNE 29: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., attends a rally with lawmakers and gun violence victims to call for action on gun safety measures on the steps of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore, Md., June 29, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16: Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., speaks at a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on the Smith-Amash Amendment to the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act that would 'prevent the indefinite detention of and use of military custody for individuals detained on U.S. soil - including U.S. citizens - and ensure access to due process and the federal court system, as the Constitution provides.' (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 21: Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., speaks with a reporter at the Senate subway on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, the Trump advisor reiterated his belief that Russia was among other states responsible for the hacks.

"This is not an organized operation that is hacking into a target. It's not like taking a number at a bakery and standing in line to politely get your dozen cookies you want to buy. It's more like a bunch of jackals at a carcass of an antelope. Is it Russian? Probably some. Is it some Chinese and Iranian, maybe — who knows?" Woolsey said.

He added: "It shouldn't be portrayed as one guilty party. It's way more complicated than that."

During Tuesday's interview, CNN host Chris Cuomo pointed out that Woolsey's claim was different than reports from intelligence agencies — who have found that Russia was involved — and the incoming Trump administration, which has thus far denied evidence that Russia was responsible for the hacks.

Woolsey argued that Trump "could have people talking to him from within the system" who believe that other state actors were involved in hacking.

"When something like this drags on for a significant amount of time, people in the system sometimes will call you and say 'Here's what I know,'" Woolsey said. "I think the possibility that there's more than one country involved is really there. I don't think people ought to say that there's only one. I don't think they'll be proven correct."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said this week that he was 1,000% certain the hacked emails did not come from Russia.

Since leaving Clinton administration, Woolsey has occasionally espoused beliefs at odds with both Democratic party orthodoxy and public stances from the intelligence community.

In 2001, he speculated in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks that the Iraqi government may have been involved in the planning, though no evidence has ever supported that claim.

Watch the clip from CNN below:

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