World

NEW YORK – In a spine-chilling categoric statement, top U.S. intelligence official told a congressional panel on Thursday that he believed Russia had undoubtedly interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said he was highly confident that Russia hacked Democratic Party and campaign staff email, and disseminated propaganda and fake news to influence elections.

“Our assessment now is even more resolute than it was on October 7 when the government first publicly accused Russia,” Clapper told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In October last year, the US intelligence community issued a joint statement, alleging that Russia had interfered in the election to help Republican Donald Trump win but the latest statements threw more weight behind the popular notion.

As part of the ongoing investigations, Mr. Clapper, Marcel Lettre, the under-secretary of defence for intelligence, and Admiral Michael Rogers, head of the US Cyber Command, endorsed the reports before the committee on foreign cyber threats, and especially on Russian hacking aimed at November 8 elections.

The three officials released a joint statement before their testimony, calling Russia “a full-scope cyber actor that poses a major threat” to America’s infrastructure and networks.

Mr. Clapper who refrained from terming the Russian influence an “act of war” said intelligence officials will do another briefing for lawmakers next week and will also release to public an unclassified report on the Russian hacking.

Interestingly, the revelation came a day before CIA, FBI and other US intelligence agencies are due to brief president-elect Donald Trump about the Russain involvement.

On the other hand, Donald Trump shrugged off the suspicions regarding any influence of Russia for his victory.

Trump raised questions as to how the spy agencies were so sure of hacking without any examination of computer servers.