Ex-CIA boss amazed President-elect Trump doesn’t believe Russia hacked US election

President-elect Donald Trump

NEW YORK  — “Wow.” That’s a former CIA director’s reaction to President-elect Trump’s refusal to believe that Russian hackers tried to influence the American election.

President Obama ordered U.S. intelligence agencies on Friday to produce a “full review” into claims of Russian hacking, including intelligence officials’ conclusions that Russian hackers stole electronic communications of Democrats in an attempt “to interfere with the U.S. election.”

On Wednesday, Time Magazine quoted Trump saying: “I don’t believe they interfered… it could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

Retired General Michael Hayden talked about Trump’s refusal accept the intelligence conclusion at a private forum in Manhattan Wednesday evening.

“To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions. Wow,” he said.

“The data matters,” Hayden said. “He continues to reject the Russians did it… and claims that it was politicized intelligence.”

Hayden pointed out that the current director of national intelligence, James Clapper, cited “high confidence” when he blamed Russia for the hacks. That level of certainty is rare, Hayden said.

Hayden was director of the U.S. National Security Agency during the lead-up to the Iraq War. He later served as head of the CIA.

Despite Trump’s skeptical stance on Russia hacking the Democrats, the general had some suggestions for next president to retaliate against Russia.

Option one: Arm Ukraine with better weapons

Russia and Ukraine are locked in a tense standoff following a bloody conflict in which Russia annexed the southern region of Crimea in 2014.

The United States has offered weapons to Ukraine’s military, as well as funding for pro-democracy media in the region. Hayden suggests stepping that up.

“A response might be antitank missiles to the Ukrainian national armed forces,” Hayden said.

Option two: Handicap Russia’s oil economy

European nations rely on Russia for nearly a third of their crude oil and natural gas, according to the European Union. Hayden said the United States could become Europe’s gas supplier.

“You want to go long? A response could be a declaratory American national policy to wean our European allies off of Russian gas,” he said. “I can think of nothing that pulls the choke collar on Vladimir’s chain more than: ‘We’re taking your only hole card away from you.’ It’s going to take us 10 years, but it’s going to happen.”

Option three: Go after Russian criminal hackers and financiers

The U.S. government has been reluctant to identify the foreign governments that have hacked American companies and agencies. It’s even more rare for investigators to identify the individual hackers themselves.

Hayden said the United States should engage in a “name and shame” campaign.

“Keep pinning their photos up in the global post office. Don’t be reluctant about it,” he said in response to a question from CNNMoney. “That gets everyone’s attention. It’s a very potent tool.”

Meanwhile, U.S. government hackers could “hack away at the infrastructure used by the Russian criminal gangs” to shut them down.

Option four: Give Russian citizens privacy tools

Critics have said Russia’s authoritarian approach has quieted dissent.

Hayden’s favorite American approach is to undermine the Russian government’s surveillance state by giving Russian citizens high-tech communication tools to hide from their own government.

“I find this most intriguing. Just go all out, shoving by whatever means possible, anonymizing tools into the Russian cyberspace. Nothing more threatens Vladimir Putin than not being able to track his own citizens.”

Some options already exist. Internet browsers like the Tor Browser, originally developed by the U.S. Navy, offer anonymity for browsing websites.

10 comments

  • DanU

    I wonder if he believes that the Dept of Homeland Security hacked into Georgia’s voting system, as the Georgia Sec of State asserts?

    • Abe Lincoln

      How do you “Hack” into a system that isn’t even online?
      They use Machines to feed, count and record the ballots.
      Those numbers are added up and you get a some total.
      Votes are not going online or through the internet.

  • Abe Lincoln

    “Trying” to hack and actually “doing” it are two different things.
    What “PROOF” does the ex-CIA boss have?
    Does the current CIA have any PROOF?

  • Liberal Hypocrisy

    As usual, CNN/Fox6 (lack of) News, push any and all things negative Trump.

    Nobody tell those two that it is crap just like this that got him elected in the first place. We want them to keep up the good work.

  • DAN

    The one thing I’ve learnt about this whole election is how undemocratic America truly is. How on earth can you have 2.7 million more people vote for the other candidate & then accecpt this result. How on earth can you all just sit there & happily take this. You don’t live in a democracy at all. It’s a disgrace & you should all be ashamed of yourselves for being so spineless in accepting this. The rest of the world view this & all of you as a joke.

    • Margie

      The US is’t a democracy, it is a democratic republic, which prevents one or two highly populated areas from always calling the shots; voting is set up the same way as Congress, for the same reason, with 2 senators to each state and then the number of representatives according to population. It was as pretty genius way to do things; considering that many of the other governments in the world dissolve themselves and start over everytime there is a no confidence vote, which to me would be pretty blasted unsettling. There have been a number of elections that were not called by the popular vote, both of Bill Clinton’s, for example…

    • grunt

      Undemocratic like a President ruling by executive order?
      Undemocratic like a Governor getting elected, then a bunch of crybaby senators fleeing the state, a crybaby government hack delaying a law by waiting until the last minute to post it?
      Undemocratic, like a bunch of crybabies demanding a recall because the don’t like election results, and the governor winning a couple more elections?

    • DamonLee22

      You are correct, we are not a Democracy.. We are in fact, a Republic. The founders of this country, in their infinite wisdom, chose this system because it doesn’t allow the majority to rule over the minority.

  • DamonLee22

    Remember how the media lied, and told everyone Texas, Georgia, and Arizona were all leaning toward Hillary.. Either polling is a joke, or the people doing the polling were manipulating the data. Ask the right people, get the answer you’re looking for.

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