BELGRADE – The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Post said intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks.
The officials described the individuals as people known to the intelligence community who were part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and reduce Clinton’s chances of winning the election, Reuters reports.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” the Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying. “That’s the consensus view.”
The Post said the official had been briefed on an intelligence presentation made by the Central Intelligence Agency to key U.S. senators behind closed-doors last week.
The CIA, in what the Post said was a secret assessment, cited a growing body of evidence from multiple sources. Briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, the Post quoted officials as saying on condition of anonymity.
In October, the U.S. government formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.
President Barack Obama has said he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about consequences for the attacks. But Russian officials have denied all accusations of interference in the U.S. election.
A CIA spokeswoman said the agency had no comment on the report.