USA: White House says intelligence claims over Russian hacking ‘more than gut instinct’1:56
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended the assertion that Russian hackers interfered in the 2016 US presidential election during a press briefing in Washington DC, Thursday, while fielding questions on the extent to which the government could provide evidence linking Moscow to the hacks. Citing a pre-election joint statement by US intelligence agencies from October 2016 warning of Russian hacking, Earnest stated that the announcement, ?making clear that Russia was interfering in our election, represented the consensus view of 17 different intelligence agencies.” ?That kind of unanimity of opinion, particularly when the stakes are so high, is notable. The decision by the intelligence community, not just to reach that conclusion but to make it public, is notable and I think it reflects that depth of their confidence in that assessment.” According to Earnest, the extent of the analysis of the hacks was “an indication that the intelligence community is following more than their gut instinct.” Earnest was referring to a pre-election joint statement released by the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence which stated that the leaking of hacked emails during the election campaign was “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.? However, the statement and the consequent support given by the US Democratic Party to the assertions have come under fire by both journalists and the Russian state for failing to provide tangible evidence that Moscow was involved in the hacks. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has since denied any links between the Russian government and the hacked documents taken from the Democratic National Committee?s (DNC) network, which were later released by the organisation during the election campaign. Despite questions over the intelligence communtiies’ evidence, US President Barack Obama signed an order for some 35 Russian diplomats to be expelled from the US, as well as for the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in retaliation. Moscow has denied any involvement in the hacks, with Russian President Vladimir Putin choosing not to retaliate with tit-for-tat sanctions.
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