recommended reading

Senate Staffers to Assess Intel Community’s Russian Hacking Report

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin // Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AP

Senate Intelligence Committee staffers will review and vet the classified sources underpinning intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a massive hacking operation to destabilize the 2016 presidential election, Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said Tuesday.

The review will boost the legitimacy of those agencies’ conclusions but may be insufficient for some critics, including several advisers to President-elect Donald Trump, who say the intelligence community should release additional evidence to back up its findings.

It’s not clear whether the congressional review will include intelligence community leaks to NBC News and other news organizations as Trump has requested. Asked by Sen Tom Cotton, R-Ark., whether the leaks will be part of the review, Burr replied he and ranking member Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., are discussing the matter.

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

Trump plans to ask congressional intelligence leaders to investigate those leaks, according to a Sunday tweet, though there’s no indication Trump has made that request formally.

Trump has repeatedly questioned intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russian leaders were responsible for the breaches and has said intelligence leaders’ interest in the issue is a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

The president-elect has declined to say whether his position has changed on the Russian attribution since being briefed on the more extensive classified report Friday, but he may address the question during a Wednesday press conference.

Trump’s nominee to lead the Homeland Security Department, Gen. John Kelly, said he accepted the report’s conclusions “with high confidence” during a confirmation hearing Tuesday. DHS is the government’s top civilian cyber agency and charged with helping the private sector ensure the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure.

Burr, who has also been briefed on the classified version of the Jan. 6 report, stressed Tuesday he is confident about the report’s conclusions. However, the staff investigation, he said, will be thorough and bipartisan.

“We will follow the intelligence wherever it leads,” he said. “We will conduct this review in a nonpartisan manner.”

Burr previously announced committee staffers would investigate the underpinnings of an Oct. 7 statement attributing breaches at the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign to the top levels of the Russian government.

Information gathered following that statement and in the wake of the election have given intelligence officials even greater confidence that top Russian officials ordered the breaches, outgoing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said. He reiterated that position during Tuesday’s hearing, saying, “I’ve got great confidence we got it right here.”

During Tuesday’s Senate Intelligence hearing, FBI Director James Comey also confirmed press reports his agency did not examine the breached DNC servers or the personal devices of Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta despite making multiple requests to do so. Instead, the FBI agreed with the organizations it would review forensic evidence gathered by the private cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, he said.

“Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or serve involved,” he said. “It’s the best evidence.”

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Software vulnerability

Hundreds of Thousands of Job Seekers' Information May Have Been Compromised by Hackers

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.