Donald Trump criticized leaks to several media outlets detailing contents of a classified report on alleged Russian hacking of the presidential election. The leaks came before Trump’s own briefing on those details by the intelligence community.
The 50-page report was delivered to US President Barack Obama on Thursday, and is to be delivered to President-elect Donald Trump on Friday by top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, the Washington Post reports, one of several outlets that were given priority over the president-elect in learning the details of the document.
CNN and NBC News also reported on the classified report, sparking outrage from Trump.
“How did NBC get ‘an exclusive look into the top secret report he (Obama) was presented?’ Who gave them this report and why? Politics!” Trump said in a tweet.
How did NBC get "an exclusive look into the top secret report he (Obama) was presented?" Who gave them this report and why? Politics!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
According to the reports, US spies cited as evidence of Russian interference intercepted communications between Russian officials who called Trump’s victory a geopolitical success for Russia. The report also said that US intelligence identified the ‘go-betweens’ who allegedly handed over stolen Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks. The US media did not name those individuals or explain how they were linked to the Russian government.
Many Russian officials made no secret of their preference for a Trump presidency after his surprise win in November. The Russian parliament even stood and applauded at the news. The president-elect is perceived by many as capable of restarting relations with Russia with a clean slate, while his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was blamed for policies which in part have led to numerous conflicts between Russia and the US.
Both Russia and WikiLeaks deny allegations that the website had received sensitive emails from the Russian government. A WikiLeaks insider claimed that the DNC emails were not stolen, but rather leaked by a Democratic Party member who was disgruntled with the leadership’s bid to undermine the candidacy of Bernie Sanders in favor of Clinton.
Earlier, the FBI and DHS released a joint 13-page report on the alleged Russian interference with the US election. Dubbed ‘Grizzly Steppe’ by the American intelligence community, the operation was found to have involved, among other things, outdated Ukrainian malware and IP addresses that any cybercriminal could use in a hacking operation.
On Thursday, Clapper broadened the scope of what he described as a Russian effort to undermine US democracy to include RT’s reporting on the election campaign, unspecified ‘fake news,’ and communication through social media.