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.
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.
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.
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
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
• 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
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)
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
Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions inRecent U.S. Elections, 6 January
Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, 6 January
• 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
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
• 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.
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
IntelligenceCommunityAssessment:AssessingRussianActivitiesand IntentionsinRecentU.S.Elections,6January 2017. P.2.
network of quasi-governmental trolls-contributed to the influence campaign by
serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international
• 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.
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.
Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russia n Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, 6 January
Intelligence Community Assessment: Assessing Russia n Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, 6 January
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.
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.
Page Count: 227 pages
Date: August 2017
Originating Organization: Defense Personnel and Security Research Center
File Type: pdf
File Size: 1,822,386 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256):EE5714F0ABC8D7898E1CA34E9540C09EE39B05088C0AE7BA00E1057EDF35011A
The report describes characteristics of 209 Americans who committed espionage-related offenses against the U.S. since 1947. Three cohorts are compared based on when the individual began espionage: 1947-1979, 1980-1989, and 1990-2015. Using data coded from open published sources, analyses are reported on personal attributes of persons across the three cohorts, the employment and levels of clearance, how they committed espionage, the consequences they suffered, and their motivations. The second part of the report explores each of the five types of espionage committed by the 209 persons under study. These include: classic espionage, leaks, acting as an agent of a foreign government, violations of export control laws, and economic espionage. The statutes governing each type are discussed and compared. Classification of national security information is discussed as one element in espionage. In Part 3, revisions to the espionage statutes are recommended in light of findings presented in the report.
This report is the fourth in the series on espionage by Americans that the Defense Personnel and Security Research Center (PERSEREC) began publishing in 1992. The current report updates earlier work by including recent cases, and it extends the scope by exploring related types of espionage in addition to the classic type. There are three parts to this report. Part 1 presents characteristics of Americans who committed espionage-related offenses since 1947 based on analyses of data collected from open sources. Part 2 explores the five types of espionage committed by the 209 individuals in this study: classic espionage, leaks, acting as an agent of a foreign government, violations of export control laws, and economic espionage. Each type is described by its legal bases, and examples of cases and comparisons with the other types of espionage are provided. Part 3 considers the impact of the changing context in which espionage takes place, and discusses two important developments: information and communications technologies (ICT) and globalization. Recommendations are offered for revisions to the espionage statutes in response to these accelerating changes in context.
Part 1 compares data across three cohorts of persons based on when the individual began espionage: 1947-1979 (the early Cold War), 1980-1989 (the later Cold War), and 1990-2015 (the post-Soviet period). As the Cold War recedes in time, the recent cohort offers the most applicable data for the present. Among the characteristics of the 67 Americans who committed espionage-related offenses since 1990:
•They have usually been male and middle-aged. Half were married.
•Reflecting changes in the population as a whole, they were more diverse inracial and ethnic composition, and more highly educated than earlier cohorts.
•Three-quarters have been civil servants, one-quarter military, and compared tothe previous two cohorts, increasing proportions have been contractors, heldjobs not related to espionage, and/or not held security clearances.
•Three-quarters succeeded in passing information, while one-quarter wereintercepted before they could pass anything.
•Sixty percent were volunteers and 40% were recruited. Among recruits, 60%were recruited by a foreign intelligence service and 40% by family or friends.Contacting a foreign embassy was the most common way to begin as avolunteer.
•Compared to earlier cohorts in which the Soviet Union and Russiapredominated as the recipient of American espionage, recent espionageoffenders have transmitted information to a greater variety of recipients.
•Shorter prison sentences have been the norm in the recent past.
•Sixty-eight percent of people received no payment.
•Money is the most common motive for committing espionage-related offenses,but it is less dominant than in the past. In the recent cohort, money was amotive for 28%, down from 41% and 45% in the first and second cohorts,respectively. Divided loyalties is the second most common motive (22%).Disgruntlement and ingratiation are nearly tied for third place, and more peopleseek recognition as a motive for espionage.
Returning to the full population, the majority of the 209 individuals committed classic espionage in which controlled national security information, usually classified, was transmitted to a foreign government. Classic espionage predominates in each cohort, but declined from 94% the first cohort to 78% in the most recent. This reflects authorities’ recent increasing treatment as espionage of the four additional types discussed in Part 2: leaks; acting as an agent of a foreign government; violations of export control laws; and economic espionage. Each of the four additional types is prosecuted under its own subset of statutes, which differs from those used in cases of classic espionage. The various types are usually handled by different federal agencies. They also differ in how involved the information of private companies and corporations is alongside government agencies.
The five types of espionage are not mutually exclusive, and a person may be charged with and convicted of more than one type. The assumption that espionage consists simply of classic espionage should be reexamined in light of how these four additional crimes are similar to or even charged as identical to classic espionage. All five types impose losses of national defense information, intellectual property, and/or advanced technologies that cause grave damage to the security and economy of the nation.
Four elements frame the analyses in Part 2. First, the legal statutes that define the crimes are identified and described. Prosecutorial choices as to which statutes to use are considered, alternate statutes that have been used in similar circumstances are identified, and reasons for the choices suggested. Second, examples of each type of espionage are presented as case studies. Third, issues resulting from classification of information are identified and discussed for each type, if applicable. Fourth, the numbers of individuals among the 209 are presented in tables for each of the five types, along with descriptive statistics to identify trends over time.
Part 3 discusses these trends by recognizing two central dimensions of the current context in which espionage occurs: ICT and globalization. Spies have moved with the times, and they employ all the technological sophistication and advantages they can access. Implications from this changing context are discussed, including how American espionage offenders gather, store, and transmit intelligence to a foreign government, and how a foreign government may now steal controlled information directly across interconnected networks, threatening to make spies obsolete.
Globalization affects many dimensions of life, and is especially apparent in areas relevant to espionage, such as political and military affairs, development of defense technologies, and international finance. It can influence the recruitment of spies and the likelihood that people will volunteer to commit espionage as a consequence of the ongoing trend toward a global culture, with its easy international transmission of ideas, civic ideals, and loosening allegiances of citizenship.
This report concludes by recommending revisions to the espionage statutes (Title 18 U.S.C. § 792 through 798) in order to address inconsistencies and ambiguities. Based on provisions enacted in 1917 and updated in last 1950, they are outdated. Three approaches to revision are outlined. First, try to eliminate inconsistencies among the espionage statutes themselves. Second, consider how to update the espionage statutes to reflect the current context of cyber capabilities, the Internet, and globalization. Third, consider how to amend the statutes that apply to all five types of espionage discussed in this report to reconcile inequities, eliminate gaps or overlaps, and create more consistency in the legal response to activities that are similar, even though they take place in different spheres.
In an appendix, this report examines how espionage fits into the broader study of insider threat, and considers three insights from insider threat studies that may illuminate espionage: personal crises and triggers, indicators of insider threat, and the role of organizational culture.
LEAKS AS A TYPE OF ESPIONAGE
Leaks are disclosures of classified information to the public. They are usually accomplished through the press or by publication in print or electronic media. A leak follows the form of classic espionage except that the recipient is different. Instead of being given to an agent of a foreign power or transnational adversary, leaks go out to the American public. Then, through modern communication channels, the information is transmitted around the world as it is re-published, translated, and discussed in additional press coverage. Both the content of the information and the fact that it is no longer under the government’s control are made available to everyone, including adversaries who systematically monitor the American press for insights.
The seven leakers discussed here were diverse. They ranged in age from 22 to 52 years of age: one person was 22, four persons were in their middle years (their 30s or 40s), and two persons were in their early 50s. They worked in various agencies: two were members of the military (U.S. Navy and U.S. Army); two were civilian federal employees, current or former (OSD and CIA); and three were contractors (two to the FBI, and one to DoS). They had reached different stages in their careers, from an Army Private First Class to people at mid-career to a respected senior defense policy specialist. Three common motives run through the seven cases.
•The leakers strongly objected to something they saw being done in the course oftheir work. Franklin, Diaz, Leibowitz, Kiriakou, and Manning each objected to government policies or actions that they observed, and they chose to intervene,usually by making their objections public by releasing classified information.
•The leakers enjoyed playing the role of expert. Franklin, Leibowitz, Kim, Kiriakou, and Sachtleben each sought out or responded to opportunities to share their expertise.
•The leakers wanted to help and saw themselves as helping. Diaz, Kim, and Manning, were, in their view, trying to help people they had befriended or with whom they sympathized.
To illustrate how leaks are a form of espionage in most ways, but not in every way, the elements of classic espionage discussed earlier are here applied to the actions of Franklin based on details are from his superseding indictment (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 2005).
•A context of competition. Franklin’s job was to monitor the hostile international relationship between the U.S. and Iran after its 1979 revolution. After 9/11, a debate simmered in Franklin’s agency over preparations for the invasion of Iraq.
•Secret means. Franklin verbally conveyed highly classified information to recipients in meetings held in places where they were less likely to be observed.
•Goal is secrets. Rosen and Weissman sought out a well-placed contact in OSD who could provide them with information. Rosen is quoted as saying on the telephone “that he was excited to meet with a ‘Pentagon guy’ [Franklin] because this person was a ‘real insider.’”
•Political, military, economic secrets. The classified information Franklin leaked to Rosen and Weissman included CIA internal reports on Middle Eastern countries, internal deliberations by federal officials, policy documents, and national intelligence concerning Al Qaeda and Iraq.
•Theft. Franklin was not accused of passing stolen documents to the recipients,only verbal information based on them. He was accused of stealing and taking home classified documents.
•Subterfuge and surveillance. Franklin, Rosen, and Weissman held their meetings at various restaurants, coffee shops, sports facilities, baseball games,and landmarks in the Washington, DC, area. In one instance, they met at Union Station, and conducted their conversations at three different restaurants.
•Illegality. Franklin was convicted of Title 18 U.S.C. § 793(d) and (e).
•Psychological toll. In July 2004, after the FBI explained the evidence and the likely consequences of a prison term on his family, Franklin took the FBI’s bargain for leniency and wore a wire during subsequent conversations with Rosen and Weissman.