FBI Director James Comey believes Russian attempts to undermine U.S. elections will continue in the future, he told the House Select Committee on Intelligence Monday.
Comey characterized Russian attempts at meddling as “unusually loud,” saying that it was “almost as if they wanted us to know it was them,” and that “they’ll be back.” He speculated that Russia may have acted so brazenly in order to get a response from the U.S. government to “freak people out” about whether the U.S. election process is sound.
Comey’s statements echo the U.S. intelligence community’s Jan. 6 determination that Russia’s intent in meddling in the 2016 election was to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
The report determined that elements of the Russian government stole information from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. This information was then disseminated via proxy to the Wikileaks. The report elaborated that Russia’s actions “demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”
Both Comey and Rogers reiterated that Russian meddling did not effect any vote tallies in the 2016 election, the same determination that was also made in the Jan. 6 report, which unequivocally stated, “The types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.”
The FBI director characterized Putin’s intent as inspired by personal “hatred” for Clinton, which led to efforts aimed at aiding the Trump 2016 campaign. Putin’s animus towards Clinton stems partly from her 2011 remarks as U.S. Secretary of State alleging widespread fraud in Russia’s 2011 parliamentary elections. Putin became so incensed by Clinton’s remarks, he accused her of trying to meddle, saying her comments gave a “signal” to his opponents.
He told reporters in 2011 that the leaders of the opposition tried to undermine him “with the support of the US state department began active work.”
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