- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rep. Peter King says CIA Director John Brennan is orchestrating a “hit job” against President-elect Donald Trump by going around the intelligence community and leaking information to the press suggesting Russia is behind the hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Mr. King, a New York Republican who sits on the House intelligence committee, said the intelligence community has not been presented with any evidence to support the claim.

“What we’ve been told all along is that it was virtually definite that the Russians did hack the Democratic National Committee. I’m willing to accept that; I have no reason not to,” he said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “But as far as John Podesta, it was uncertain whether or not that could be directly traced to the Russians, and I haven’t seen anything since then.”

“And that’s what infuriates me about this, Martha, is that we have John Brennan, supposedly John Brennan, leaking to The Washington Post, to a biased newspaper like The New York Times, findings and conclusions that he’s not telling the intelligence community,” he said.

Mr. King called the CIA leaks “shameful” and suggested they were timed to coincide with the Electoral College vote on Monday.

“It seems like to me there should be an investigation with what the Russians did, but also an investigation of John Brennan and the hit job he seems to be orchestrating against the president-elect,” he said.

Citing a “secret CIA assessment,” The Washington Post reported earlier this month that the intelligence community has reached a “consensus” that Russia hacked the email accounts of top Democratic National Committee officials and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman in order to help Mr. Trump win the presidential race.

But subsequent reports undermine that claim.

Three anonymous officials from James Clapper’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence told Reuters there is only a “thin reed” upon which to base such a judgment.

One of those agents said the FBI has also declined to endorse the CIA’s position based on the available evidence.

WikiLeaks, which published the emails, has denied that the Russian government played a role in the hacks.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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