Intelligence Chief Sets High Expectations For Next Week’s Hacking Report

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper listens to questions while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017

Evan Vucci/AP

AA Font size + Print

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper listens to questions while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017

James Clapper promises more details of Russian influence operations aimed at U.S. election.

The debate over Russian influence operations in the U.S. presidential election will enter a dramatic new phase next week when the intelligence community releases a public version of its report on the matter. An unclassified version of the one delivered to the Obama administration, the report will touch not just on the now-famous stolen emails published by Wikileaks, but also on the broader role of Russian propaganda, fake news, and disinformation in the runup to the Nov. 8 election.

“This is actually part of a multi-faceted campaign that the Russians mounted,” James Clapper, the Director of the Office of National Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Clapper told lawmakers that Putin-backed actors were already carrying out similar activities in Europe in the runup to elections later this year.

The theme of fake news came up again and again at the hearing, which was Congress’ first public inquiry into the matter. When asked if Russia was continuing to use disinformation, masquerading as alternative journalism, Clapper answered matter-of-factly, “Yes.”

At the hearing, intelligence community professionals and senators of both parties all agreed that state-backed actors did indeed steal email from Hillary Clinton and John Podesta and that it was linked to a broad campaign to destabilize the election. This remarkable consensus set lawmakers and the IC against the President-elect, who has repeatedly said he does not believe that Russia meddled in the election he won. But Clapper and his cohorts dodged the opportunity to quantify what actual impact the published emails had on the election’s outcome. They emphasized that the efforts did not extend to actual vote changing or disenfranchisement.

Clapper said next week’s report will also touch on the “multiple” motivations of the Russian actors.

More importantly, he said that his confidence had grown in the intelligence community’s fall 2016 statement naming Putin-backed actors as the email thieves: “We stand actually more resolutely on the strength of that statement that we made on the 7th of October.”

Reuters later reported that members of the intelligence community had acquired new information after the election that had strengthened their certainty.

Panel members offered expressions of support and gratitude to Clapper and the intelligence community in general, hours after Donald Trump took to Twitter to make comments that many took as “disparaging” toward the IC. (He has since attempted to walk back the remarks.)

Clapper is set to retire later in January. On Thursday, multiple news outlets reported that he would be succeeded by retired U.S. senator and Army veteran Dan Coats. In 2014, Russia barred Coats from entering the country in retaliation for his support of sanctions for its illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download
  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Top 5 Findings: Security of Internet of Things To Be Mission-Critical

    As federal agencies increasingly leverage these capabilities, government security stakeholders now must manage and secure a growing number of devices, including those being used remotely at the “edge” of networks in a variety of locations. With such security concerns in mind, Government Business Council undertook an indepth research study of federal government leaders in January 2017. Here are five of the key takeaways below which, taken together, paint a portrait of a government that is increasingly cognizant and concerned for the future security of IoT.

    Download
  • Coordinating Incident Response on Posts, Camps and Stations

    Effective incident response on posts, camps, and stations is an increasingly complex challenge. An effective response calls for seamless conversations between multiple stakeholders on the base and beyond its borders with civilian law enforcement and emergency services personnel. This whitepaper discusses what a modern dispatch solution looks like -- one that brings together diverse channels and media, simplifies the dispatch environment and addresses technical integration challenges to ensure next generation safety and response on Department of Defense posts, camps and stations.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.