Make hacking probe public: Priebus to US intelligence leaders
Washington: US President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming Chief of Staff has cast doubt on the US intelligence community’s finding about the Russian hacking affecting the November 8 presidential poll results, media reports said on Monday.
It has been alleged widely that Russia was responsible for hacks into Democratic emails in an effort to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“It sure would be nice to hear from everybody. If there is this conclusive opinion among all of the intelligence agencies, then they should issue a report or stand in front of a camera and make the case,” Reince Priebus told Fox News on Sunday.
Priebus is currently the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).
On what it would take for Trump to accept the Russian hacking to be true, Priebus said: “He would accept if these intelligence professionals would get together, put out a report, show the American people that they’re actually on the same page.”
This was as opposed to “third parties through The Washington Post” that Trump refuses to buy, Priebus told the Fox News.
Meanwhile, CIA Director John Brennan had sent an unclassified letter on Friday to the agency’s employees that FBI Director James Comey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper agree with the CIA’s findings on the Russian hacking.
But Priebus said that it was not enough and the intelligence leaders should defend their findings publicly, CNN said in its report on the Fox News interview.
“I mean, we haven’t heard from Comey. So, look, I think that these guys should be straight with the American people and come out and say it.”
“I don’t think they’ve been clear about it. I think that it’s been all over the map,” Priebus said.
He said Trump might accept the US intelligence agencies’ conclusion, if “They were totally up front and transparent in their opinion as to who, what, where, and how this all happened.”
“And I think they’ll get there,” the RNC chair said, “And when they do, we can hear from the President-elect and get his opinion.”
However, Priebus said, “the reality of all of this…that are spinning these reports are… for a political purpose”, which, Priebus said, “is to delegitimise the outcome of the election.”
Priebus’ comments came amid a public spat between Trump’s aides and President Barack Obama’s White House over Russian hacking.