The Russians’ aim was to help Donald win and not just undermine the US electoral process, the paper reported.
Washington: A secret CIA assessment has found that Russia sought to tip last month’s US presidential election in Donald Trump’s favour, The Washington Post reported Friday, a conclusion that drew an extraordinary rebuke from the President-elect’s camp.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Mr Trump’s transition team said, launching a broadside against the spy agency.
“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 Washington Post report comes after President Barack Obama ordered a review of all cyberattacks that took place during the 2016 election cycle, amid growing calls from Congress for more information on the extent of Russian interference in the campaign.
The newspaper cited officials briefed on the matter as saying that individuals with connections to Moscow provided anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks with emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief and others.
Those emails were steadily leaked out via WikiLeaks in the months before the election, damaging Ms Clinton’s White House run.
The Russians’ aim was to help Donald Trump win and not just undermine the US electoral process, the paper reported.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favour one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” the newspaper quoted a senior US official briefed on an intelligence presentation last week to key senators as saying. “That’s the consensus view.”
CIA agents told the lawmakers it was “quite clear” that electing Mr Trump was Russia’s goal, according to officials who spoke to the Post, citing growing evidence from multiple sources.
Russian hackers did not limit their hits to the Democrats, according to The New York Times.
“We now have high confidence that they hacked the DNC. and the RNC, and conspicuously released no documents” from the Republican organisation, the Times cited one senior administration official as saying, referring to the Russians.
The Times also questioned when Russia started supporting Mr Trump. However, some questions remain unanswered and the CIA’s assessment fell short of a formal US assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies, the newspaper said.
“I’ll be the first one to come out and point at Russia if there’s clear evidence, but there is no clear evidence— even now,” said California Republican congressman Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the Mr Trump transition team.
Mr Obama also called for the cyberattacks review earlier this week to ensure the integrity of American elections.