The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia was intervening in the 2016 US elections and was attempting to assist Republican candidate Donald Trump win the presidency, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
The Russian government has been accused of tampering with the US presidential elections. According to the US intelligence agencies, the hacking of emails of the US Democratic National Committee (DNC) right before their national convention was conducted by Russian hackers associated with the Kremlin government. The email leak by WikiLeaks dealt a huge blow to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Although it was being suspected that the Russian government was attempting to undermine the confidence in the US electoral system, now the federal agency has concluded that it was in fact trying to influence a Trump win for their own gain.
The report states that the intelligence agencies have identified individuals associated with the Russian government who gave thousands of hacked emails from the DNC to WikiLeaks, including the ones from the Clinton campaign's chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The email leak led to her resignation from the campaign. US officials said that these individuals were part of a wider Russian operation to increase Trump's chances of winning the elections and hurt Clinton's campaign.
"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. That's the consensus view," a senior US official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to senators said, the Post reported.
However, US President-elect Donald Trump's transition team dismissed the CIA findings in a statement on Friday, stating, "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again'."
The Obama administration has been struggling to find a way to deal with the alleged Russian interference in the US elections, with the White House officials concerned over appearing to boost Clinton's campaign and worsening its relations with Russia.