Published: Tue, May 09, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Clapper: Trump Saying We Don't Know Who Messed With Election Helps Russia

Clapper: Trump Saying We Don't Know Who Messed With Election Helps Russia

Barack Obama's former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, testified Monday before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism that the intelligence community "unmasked" 1,934 US persons in 2016.

The three largest USA intelligence agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the CIA, and the NSA, made the unusual step of announcing, in January, that they all agreed Russian Federation was behind a series of high-profile hacks and leaks of data created to hurt Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Clapper served as director of national intelligence until President Donald Trump took office.

"They've been doing this since the '60s", said Clapper, adding that the 2016 presidential election hacking was unprecedented when compared with past Russian behavior.

"The Russians have to be celebrating the success of what they set out to do with rather minimal resources and expenditure", he said at the hearing on Russia's influence during the election. "And I believe they are now emboldened to continue such activities in the future both here and around the world, and to do so even more intensely". State-sponsored actors broke into the Democratic National Committee and emails and sensitive information was leaked to the public. Rice's official role would have given her the ability to request that names be revealed for national security purposes. Clapper testified before the Judiciary Committee along with former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

"Russia's influence activities in the run-up to the 2016 election constituted the high water mark of their long running efforts since the 1960s to disrupt and influence our elections", Clapper said in prepared remarks.

Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron's campaign had been hacked on Friday, two days before the election, but it's still unclear who was behind it. Clapper said that these are popular techniques Russian Federation uses to influence eastern European, and increasingly western European, politics.

CLAPPER: Well, I don't know about the latter, but I - and I think some news outlets were probably unwitting of that.

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