Multiple news outlets now report that the FBI has officially backed CIA assessments that Russia intervened in the 2016 election with the goal of electing Donald Trump.
According to an account from the Washington Post, corroborated by NBC, CIA Director John Brennan sent out a message to agency employees explaining that the head of the FBI and the director of National Intelligence agree Russia was behind the interference.
“Earlier this week, I met separately with (Director) FBI James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,” he wrote in the message, which was quoted by the Washington Post:
“The three of us also agree that our organizations, along with others, need to focus on completing the thorough review of this issue that has been directed by President Obama and which is being led by the DNI.”
The CIA and the FBI both declined to comment officially to the Post. But it appears to be a bit of a turnaround for the FBI, whose director last week reportedly used the terms “fuzzy” and “ambiguous” when briefing members of the House Intelligence Committee on the hacks. (In an alternate reading, an official told the Washington Post that “The truth is [the CIA and FBI assessments] were never all that different in the first place.”) The Los Angeles Times
notes that the message “appeared designed to put to rest concerns inside the CIA that other intelligence agencies didn’t support the agency’s conclusions.”
Donald Trump, the incoming President of the United States who benefitted from the leaked material, has repeatedly questioned the veracity of claims that Russia hacked the U.S., if you can even believe it.