In a recently released unclassified report, the intelligence community and Senate Select Committee On Intelligence (SSCI) in their Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) have found Russia did indeed seek to get Trump elected.
By Kriss Perras
“Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”
“Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order…” Intel Report
The Committee said the overall judgments issued in the ICA were well supported and the tradecraft was strong. The course of the Committee’s investigation has shown that the Russian cyber operations were more extensive than the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and continued well through the 2016 election.
“The Committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning the Intelligence Community Assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions,” said Senate Committee Chairman Burr (R-NC).
The ICA found since its initial findings “further details have come to light to bolster its assessment.” This report also states the Intel community has learned of Russian efforts to infiltrate state election infrastructure. As is already widely known, this same report also states Russia manipulated social media outlets to sow discord and to interfere in the 2016 election and American society. The order for an influence campaign came from President Putin himself to develop a clear preference for Trump. While this was so, it was also true Putin and Moscow sought to develop a strategy to denigrate Secretary Clinton.
The manner in which these objectives were accomplished were cyber operations via intelligence agencies. The targets were associated with the 2016 US Presidential election, including target associated with both political parties.
“In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June 2016,” stated the report.
Further operations by Russia to interfere with the US election were conducted via propaganda consisting of domestic media apparatus targeting global audiences such as RT, formerly Russia Today, and Sputnik, and a “network of quasi-governmental trolls-contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.”
There report makes important note of the lack of historical context of these Russian activities in the report.
“During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used intelligence officers, influence agents, forgeries, and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin, according to a former KGB archivist…For decades, Russian and Soviet intelligence services have sought to collect insider information from U.S. political parties that could help Russian leaders understand a new U.S. administration’s plans and priorities,” states the report.
After this paragraph the report cites how the investigators failed to relate how similar Russian activities happened during Jimmy Carter’s campaign and the 2008 election. The report also makes a scathing assessment of how the Intel community failed to assess counterintelligence investigations, that is whether or not Russian Intel services sought to recruit sources with access to either US Presidential campaign.
The Committee concludes the investigation is still ongoing, Intel is still being gathered and analyzed.