The Senate Select Comitee on Intelligence about Russian Spies in the US Eelection – Original Document

Senate Select Committee onIntelligence
July 3, 2018
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) is conducting a bipartisan
investigation into a wide range of Russian activities relating to the 2016 U.S.
presidential election. While elements of the investigation are ongoing, the
Committee is releasing initial, unclassified findings on a rolling basis as distinct
pieces of the investigation conclude.
The Committee has concluded an in-depth review of the Intelligence Community
Assessment (ICA) produced by CIA, NSA, and FBI in January of 2017 on
Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election (Assessing Russian
Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections; declassified version released
January 6, 2017) and have initial findings to share with the American people.
• The ICA was a seminal intelligence product with significant policy
implications. In line with its historical role, the Committee had a
responsibility to conduct an in-depth review of the document.
• In conducting its examination, theCommittee reviewed thousands of pages
ofsource documents and conducted interviews with all the relevant partiesincluding
agency heads, managers, and line analysts – who were involved in
developing the analysis and drafting the assessment.
• The Committee is preparing a comprehensive, classified report detailing our
conclusions regarding the ICA on Russian activities. That report, when
complete, will be submitted for a classification review, and the unclassified
version will be released to the public.
2
The Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russian Activities and
Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections
Summary of Initial Findings
The Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) released in January 2017 assessed
that Russian activities in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election represented a
significant escalation in a long history of Russian attempts to interfere in U.S.
domestic politics. This escalation was made possible by cyber-espionage and
cyber-driven covert influence operations, conducted as part of a broader “active
measures” campaign that included overt messaging through Russian-controlled
propaganda platforms. The ICA revealed key elements of a comprehensive and
multifaceted Russian campaign against the United States as it was understood by
the U.S. Intelligence Community at the end of 2016.
President Obama in early December 2016 tasked the Intelligence Community with
writing an assessment that would capture the existing intelligence on Russian
interference in U.S. elections. By early January, the CIA, NSA, and FBI produced
a joint assessment under the auspices of the ODNI, titled Assessing Russian
Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, which included both classified
and unclassified versions. Only three agencies were represented in the drafting
process because of the extreme sensitivity of the sources and methods involved.
InitialFindings
Summary
The Committee finds that the Intelligence Community met President Obama’s
tasking and that the ICA is a sound intelligence product. While the Committee had
to rely on agencies that the sensitive information and accesses had been accurately
reported, as part of our inquiry the Committee reviewed analytic procedures,
interviewed senior intelligence officers well-versed with the information, and
based our findings on the entire body of intelligence reporting included in the ICA.
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The Committee finds the difference in confidence levels between the NSA and the
CIA and FBI on the assessment that “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to
help President-elect Trump’s election chances” appropriately represents analytic
differences and was reached in a professional and transparent manner.
In all the interviews of those who drafted and prepared the ICA, the Committee
heard consistently that analysts were under no politically motivated pressure to
reach any conclusions. All analysts expressed that they were free to debate, object
to content, and assess confidence levels, as is normal and proper for the analytic
process.
As the inquiry has progressed since January 2017, the Committee 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.
Russian Efforts to Influence the 2016 Election
The ICA states that:
Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election represent the most
recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led
liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation
in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous
operations1
.
• The Committee found that this judgment was supported by the evidence
presented in the ICA. Since its publication, further details have come to light
that bolster the assessment.
• The ICA pointed to initial evidence of Russian activities against multiple
U.S. state or local electoral boards. Since the ICA was published, the
Committee has learned more about Russian attempts to infiltrate state
election infrastructure, as outlined in the findings and recommendations the
Committee issued in March 2018.
• While the ICA briefly discussed the activities of the Internet Research
Agency, the Committee’s investigation has exposed a far more extensive
1
Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, 6 January 2017. P.ii. (NOTE:
all page numbers referenced are from the Unclassified I CA)
4

Russian effort to manipulate social media outlets to sow discord and to
interfere in the 2016 election and American society.
Russian Leadership Intentions
The ICA states that:
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in
2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine
public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm
her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian
Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump2
.
• The Committee found that the ICA provided a range of all-source reporting
to support these assessments.
• The Committee concurs with intelligence and open-source assessments that
this influence campaign was approved by President Putin.
• Further, a body of reporting, to include different intelligence disciplines,
open source reporting on Russian leadership policy preferences, and Russian
media content, showed that Moscow sought to denigrate Secretary Clinton.
• The ICA relies on public Russian leadership commentary, Russian state
media reports, public examples of where Russian interests would have
aligned with candidates’ policy statements, and a body of intelligence
reporting to support the assessment that Putin and the Russian Government
developed a clear preference for Trump.
The ICA also statesthat:
We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect
Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and
publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him3
2
Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions inRecent U.S. Elections, 6 January
2017. P.ii.
3
Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, 6 January
2017.P.ii.
5
• The Committee found that the ICA provided intelligence and open source
reporting to support this assessment, and information obtained subsequent to
publication of the ICA provides further support.
• This isthe only assessment in the ICA that had different confidence levels
between the participating agencies -the CIA and FBI assessed with “high
confidence”and the NSA assessed with “moderate confidence”-so the
Committee gave thissection additional attention.
The Committee found that the analytical disagreement was reasonable, transparent,
and openly debated among the agencies and analysts, with analysts, managers, and
agency heads on both sides of the confidence level articulately justifying their
positions.
Russian Cyber Operations
The ICA states that:
Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets
associated with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including targets
associated with both major U.S. political parties. We assess Russian
intelligence services collected against the U.S . primary campaigns, think
tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future U.S. policies.
In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National
Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June
2016.4
• The Committee found this judgment supported by intelligence and further
supported by our own investigation. Separate from the ICA, the Committee
has conducted interviews of key individuals who have provided additional
insights into these incidents.
Russian Propaganda
The ICA states that:
Russia’s state-run propaganda machine-comprised of its domestic media
apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a
4
IntelligenceCommunityAssessment:AssessingRussianActivitiesand IntentionsinRecentU.S.Elections,6January 2017. P.2.
6
network of quasi-governmental trolls-contributed to the influence campaign by
serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international
audiences.5
• The ICA provides a summary of Russian state media operations in 2012 and
notes that RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik are coordinated Russianstate
platforms. The ICA fails to provide an updated assessment of this
capability in 2016, which the Committee finds to be a shortcoming in the
ICA, as this information was available in open source.
• The Committee notes that the ICA does not comment on the potential
effectiveness of this propaganda campaign, because the U.S. Intelligence
Community makes no assessments on U.S. domestic political processes.
Historical Context
The ICA states that:
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used intelligence officers, influence agents,
forgeries, and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the
Kremlin, according to a former KGB archivist…For decades, Russian and Soviet
intelligence services have sought to collect insider information from U.S. political
parties that could help Russian leaders understand a new U.S. administration’s
plans and priorities6
.
• The Committee found the ICA’s treatment of the historical context of
Russian interference in U.S. domestic politics perfunctory.
• The unclassified ICA cites efforts to collect on the 2008 election and the
Soviet recruitment of an activist who reported on Jimmy Carter’s campaign
in the 1970s, demonstrating two examples of Russian interest in U.S.
elections. The ICA failed entirely to summarize historic collection by U.S.
agencies as well as extensive open-source reporting -significant elements of
which are derived from Russian intelligence archives – to present a more
relevant historical context.
5
Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russia n Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, 6 January
2017. P.3.
6
Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russia n Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, 6 January
2017. P.S.
7
Counterintelligence Investigations
The ICA did not attempt to address potential counterintelligence investigationsfor
example, whether Russian intelligence services attempted to recruit sources
with access to any campaign. The FBI had a collection of reports a former foreign
intelligence officer was hired to compile as opposition research for the U.S.
election, referred to asthe “dossier,” when the ICA was drafted. However, those
reports remained separate from the conclusions of the ICA. All individuals the
Committee interviewed verified that the dossier did not in any way inform the
analysis in the ICA – including the key findings – because it was unverified
information and had not been disseminated asserialized intelligence reporting.
• The Committee will address the contents of the reports and their handling by
the United States Government in a separate part of its report.
Conclusion
Finally, the Committee notes that, as is the case with all intelligence questions,
information continues to be gathered and analyzed. The Committee believes the
conclusions of the ICA are sound, and notes that collection and analysis
subsequent to the ICA’s publication continue to reinforce its assessments. The
Committee will remain vigilant in its oversight of the ongoing challenges presented
by foreign nations attempting to secretly influence U.S. affairs.

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