Senate Intel Panel Backs Russia Election Meddling Assessment

(CN) – The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday backed the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to sow discord and aid President Donald Trump.

In a seven-page release, the committee says it has concluded an in-depth review of the Intelligence Community Assessment produced by the CIA, NSA and FBI in January 2017, and found it “a sound intelligence product.”

In a statement, Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said, “The Committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning the Intelligence Community Assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions.”

It goes on to say the assessment that “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances” appropriately represents the analytic differences between the intelligence agencies, and was reached in “a professional and transparent manner.”

The committee goes on to say that as its inquiry has progressed since January 2017, it “has seen additional examples of Russia’s attempts to sow discord, undermine democratic institutions, and interfere in U.S. elections and those of our allies.”

In the same statement, Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., “as numerous intelligence and national security officials in the Trump administration have since unanimously re-affirmed, the ICA findings were accurate and on-point.”

“The Russian effort was extensive and sophisticated, and its goals were to undermine public faith in the democratic process, to hurt Secretary Clinton and to help Donald Trump,”  Warner said.

Tuesday’s release contradicts the final report from the House Intelligence Committee, which concluded its own probe into Moscow’s 2016 election meddling earlier this year and said the evidence suggested the Kremlin’s intention was to foment chaos and dissent, not specifically help Trump.

The Senate committee’s work connected to the Intelligence Community Assessment is ongoing. It is now preparing a final, classified report detailing its conclusions, and then will conduct a classification review with the intention of making a version available to the public.

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