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Report: Intelligence community not buying CIA Russian hacking assessment due to lack of evidence

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

High-ranking officials in the United States intelligence community have not "embraced" a recent CIA report that alleged Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election to aid President-elect Donald Trump, according to a new report from Reuters.

According to the outlet, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence does not necessarily dispute the CIA's report, but the umbrella agency — which oversees all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies — doesn't endorse it either due to a lack of evidence that Moscow intended to "boost" Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"ODNI is not arguing that the [CIA] is wrong, only that they can't prove intent," one top U.S. intelligence official told Reuters. "Of course they can't, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow."

More from Reuters:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose evidentiary standards require it to make cases that can stand up in court, declined to accept the CIA's analysis — a deductive assessment of the available intelligence — for the same reason, the three officials said.

The CIA assessed after the election that the attacks on political organizations were aimed at swaying the vote for Trump because the targeting of Republican organizations diminished toward the end of the summer and focused on Democratic groups, a senior U.S. official told Reuters on Friday.

Moreover, only materials filched from Democratic groups — such as emails stolen from John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman — were made public via WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization, and other outlets, U.S. officials said.

Reuters spoke with three anonymous top U.S. intelligence officials who said the CIA assessment was based on the fact that in the latter stages of the campaign only Democratic information was leaked — despite hacks into both Republican and Democrats.

"[It was] a thin reed upon which to base an analytical judgment," one official said of the assessment.

Many senators have also taken a similar position: that it's quite obvious Russia regularly attempts to tamper with U.S. elections, but there is no solid evidence that they did so this time solely to aid a Trump victory.

"It's obvious that the Russians hacked into our campaigns," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Reuters. "But there is no information that they were intending to affect the outcome of our election and that's why we need a congressional investigation."

President Barack Obama also told Trevor Noah of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" recently that there is no evidence that Russia successfully manipulated the outcome of the election.

Still, Obama has ordered a "full review" into the allegations to be completed before he leaves office next month.

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