FBI and CIA don’t agree on Russian hacking charge
Dec 12, 2016
It seems that the FBI is not convinced of Russian hacking to influence the US election on Donald Trump last month, even though the CIA has made those charges. Here is a report from the Washington Post.
In a secure meeting room under the Capitol last week, lawmakers held in their hands a classified letter written by colleagues in the Senate summing up a secret, new CIA assessment of Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election….
For the Democrats in the room, the FBI’s response was frustrating — even shocking….
The FBI official’s remarks to the lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee were, in comparison, “fuzzy” and “ambiguous,” suggesting to those in the room that the bureau and the agency weren’t on the same page, the official said….
The competing messages, according to officials in attendance, also reflect cultural differences between the FBI and the CIA. The bureau, true to its law enforcement roots, wants facts and tangible evidence to prove something beyond all reasonable doubt. The CIA is more comfortable drawing inferences from behavior.
“The FBI briefers think in terms of criminal standards — can we prove this in court,” one of the officials said. “The CIA briefers weigh the preponderance of intelligence and then make judgment calls to help policymakers make informed decisions. High confidence for them means ‘we’re pretty damn sure.’ It doesn’t mean they can prove it in court.”
The FBI is not sold on the idea that Russia had a particular aim in its meddling. “There’s no question that [the Russians’] efforts went one way, but it’s not clear that they have a specific goal or mix of related goals,” said one U.S. official.
The murky nature of the assessments is maddening many lawmakers who are demanding answers about the Kremlin’s role in the presidential race.
In other words, the CIA, which claims to be sure that Russia hacked the elections, has no real proof of these allegations, at least not enough to satisfy the FBI’s standard of truth. “The CIA is more comfortable drawing inferences from behavior,” the report says. In other words, the CIA itself is far from “sure.” They have no hard proof and are merely drawing "inferences."
This is “maddening” and “frustrating” to the Democratic senators, who are trying hard to derail the Trump election.