Senator Ron Wyden tells Guardian CIA, agencies and Congress must guard against political pressure as president-elect repudiates reports Russia aided his victory
Legislators overseeing the CIA and other intelligence agencies have told the Guardian they will be vigilant about reprisals from Donald Trump over an internal appraisal that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to ensure Trumps victory.
When the president-elects transition team is striving to discredit the entire intelligence community[ IC ], it has never been more important for the IC and Congress to guard against possible political pressure or reprisal against intelligence analysts, Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, told the Guardian.
Like his Democratic colleagues on the members of the commission, Wyden is pressing Barack Obama for additional public disclosures disclosing Russian electoral interference. Such pressure has placed the CIA and other intelligence agencies between the incoming chairman to whom they will soon answer and a chorus of legislators, mostly but not exclusively Democrat, who consider the Russia hack a national emergency.
It is not possible to gauge precisely how deep fears of reprisal run within the intelligence world. Two currently serving intelligence officers told the Guardian this weekend still have not hear their colleagues express such concerns.
One noted that civil-service statutes avoided Trump from launching a purge, but also called attention to a report that Trump is combing through the energy department bureaucracy to identify people who have attended climate change policy conferences.
Former intelligence officers told the Guardian they considered retaliation by Trump to be all but a certainty after he is sworn into office next month. Trump still has several appointments to make at the highest levels of the intelligence apparatus, picks which are likely to be bellwethers for the new chairmen attitudes toward the agencies.
There is not just smoke here. There is a blazing 10 -alarm fire, the sirens are screaming, the Russians provided the lighter fluid, and Trump is standing half-burnt and holding a match, told Glenn Carle, a retired CIA policeman and interrogator.
The facts hurt, Trump wont like the truth, and he will without question seek to destroy those individuals or organizations that tell or do anything that he thinks harm his precious grandiosity.
After congressional Democrat called for additional briefings and public disclosures about an intelligence consensus that Russia made a deliberate decision to intervene in the election, Barack Obama ordered a new review of the evidence.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported that intelligence sources believe the Russians decided to penetrate the Democratic National Committees digital networks with the goal of aiding Trump , not merely to spread uncertainty about the outcome of the election.
In response, Trump attacked the credibility of the intelligence agencies on which he will rely for early warning of security emergencies and geopolitical developments. His transition team said in a statement: These are the same people who told Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Trump cannot abide the idea that Russian hacking helped his campaign and was lashing out in a manner that undermined confidence in his handling of intelligence.
If Trump is willing to disregard voice intelligence now, and humiliate the hard-working and patriotic Americans who produced it, I fear what he will do as chairperson in order to address unpleasant truths, Schiff said.
Will he accept the best insights of our agencies, or punish them for daring to contradict his assumptions?
Trumps clash with the CIA goes at a moment of acute turmoil within intelligence circles. Obama officials jeopardized the tenure of National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers in a seemingly thwarted bureaucratic reorganization of the US surveillance and cybersecurity apparatus. Congressional sources have told the Guardian they expect to hold a public hearing on such issues in January.
Should Trump go through with the reshuffle, it will leave him appointing an NSA director as well as a director of national intelligence, after James Clapper announced his abdication last month. Trump has also been noncommittal about retaining the FBI director, James Comey, whose bureau houses significant sympathy for Trump.
Congressional Republicans are in an uncomfortable position, between a president of their own party and Russia, a traditional adversary.
Devin Nunes, a California Republican who chairs the House intelligence committee, said on Saturday Russian electoral hacking was no astound. He also blamed Obama for coming late to the threat out of hallucinations of resetting relations with Russia a policy that Trump is also seeking.
On Sunday, anti-Trump GOP hawks Lindsey Graham and John McCain offered a different route, joining with leading Democratic senators Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed to plead for a bipartisan inquiry into the alleged Russian hacking, which they said jeopardized the country.
Read more: www.theguardian.com