WASHINGTON — Elected officials and others in Washington warn that the CIA’s assessment of Russian involvement in the presidential election should not be considered the last word.
Both the FBI and the director of national intelligence, however, reached different conclusions and lawmakers and officials appear irritated that some are using politics to undermine the little information from the intelligence community that has gone public.
New York Republican Rep. Peter King, chairman of the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee, told reporters Thursday he never heard anything from the CIA about allegations that Russia tampered with the presidential election.
“To me what happened has been disgraceful. Whatever conclusion they want to come up with is one thing. There is no CIA conclusion. The CIA has repeatedly told us that they have no idea what the intent was, if there is an intent it’s to disrupt the election, create confusion and cast a cloud over the winner. And right now, certain elements of the media, certain elements of the intelligence community and certain politicians are really doing the work of the Russians. They’re creating this uncertain over the election,” King said.
He went on to say, “This is several days before the Electoral College. I’ve been in briefing after briefing and even in public statements the director of national intelligence, the director of the FBI have all said they don’t know what the motive is, if there is a motive it was to disrupt the election, not to prefer one candidate over the other. To suddenly have it appear in the Washington Post and the New York Times that the intelligence community…has concluded this. Who? Who in the CIA? Is it John Brennan? Is it some rogue person behind a desk somewhere? People in the intelligence community are using this against the president-elect of the United States and that is disgraceful.”
Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry downplayed the intelligence reports relating to Russia’s involvement in the election as well telling reporters at a Thursday briefing, “Well, let me – look, I am not going to start making comments at this point. I haven’t commented on this publicly because of the job I do.”
He added, “I’m not going to comment on anonymous reports from ‘intelligence officials’ that are not identified that have quotes around the concept of intelligence officials,” Kerry went on to say.
One intelligence source close to the CIA told The Daily Caller on Tuesday pointed the finger directly at CIA Director John Brennan as the person at the agency pushing a political agenda behind the scenes.
“The bigger issue with Brennan is he strictly is a political operative… I know the guys at the operational level at the agency are not happy that he’s out there doing this stuff. He’s committing the same exact mistake that Comey made with the bureau. It goes to the security organization becoming so politicized that they are polluting the way the system even works,” the source said.
Others have made this assertion about Brennan including a former Army intelligence officer, The Daily Caller previously reported.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who is spearheading the House investigation on allegations of Russia’s efforts to taint the election became frustrated with the intelligence community Thursday when four agencies — the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence — refused to come to Capitol Hill to brief his committee on the matter, asking instead for a delay.
“The Committee is deeply concerned that intransigence in sharing intelligence with Congress can enable the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes. The Committee will continue its efforts and will insist that we receive all the necessary cooperation from the relevant leaders of the Intelligence Community,” Nunes remarked in a statement released Wednesday.