In the most weighty declaration of Russian interference in the election to date, the FBI, CIA, and NSA have released a declassified version of their combined assessment of the chances of hacking by that country. Although the report stops short of claiming the Russians tried to breach voter machines and affect tallies, it nevertheless goes further than previous accusations by directly charging Vladimir Putin with ordering hackers and Internet operatives to tamper in the election:
“The report, for the first time, explicitly tied Putin to the hackings, called it the “boldest effort yet” to influence a U.S. election, and said the Russian government provided emails to WikiLeaks — something the website’s founder, Julian Assange, has repeatedly denied. The intelligence agencies also said Russia will continue to try to influence future events in the U.S. and worldwide, particularly among U.S. allies.
Since Election Day, the intelligence agencies said, Russia has launched a “spear-fishing” campaign to try to trick people into revealing their email passwords, targeting U.S. government employees and think tanks that specialize in national security, defense and foreign policy.
The report lacked details about how the U.S. learned what it said it knows, such as any intercepted conversations or electronic messages among Russian leaders, including Putin, or about specific hacker techniques or digital tools the U.S. may have traced back to Russia in its investigations.
Exactly how the U.S. monitors its adversaries in cyberspace is a closely guarded secret, since revealing such details could help foreign governments further obscure their activities.
The unclassified version included footnotes acknowledging that it “does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.” It said its conclusions were identical to the classified version, which was more detailed.”
John McCain framed the ‘discoveries' as an ‘act of war'. John Kerry is now also calling this a ‘hostile act'.