- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Sen. Tom Cotton said Wednesday he has more faith in U.S. intelligence than in people like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, while also saying it’s important to continue asking questions about the hacking of Democratic officials’ emails.

“I have a lot more faith in intelligence officers serving around the world, very smart and experienced analysts that we have here in the nation’s capital, than I do in people like Julian Assange, I can tell you that much,” Mr. Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Mr. Cotton said he doesn’t dispute the intelligence community’s assessment from October that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic officials during the presidential campaign and that the country was doing it to interfere with the U.S. elections process.

“That’s to be expected from Russia,” he said.

President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly cast doubt on such conclusions from U.S. intelligence, which later reportedly went a step further by saying Russia actively intervened in the election to boost Mr. Trump’s chances.

On Wednesday, the president-elect touted Mr. Assange’s assertion that Russia was not WikiLeaks’ source for the internal communications from Democratic National Committee officials and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that Mr. Assange’s organization released on a rolling basis throughout the election.

Mr. Cotton also said “it’s right to probe” U.S. intelligence agencies as elected leaders.

“There are real questions, too, about why there have been so many leaks over the last seven or eight weeks from the administration about the motivations or the intentions of Vladimir Putin or other foreign leaders,” he said.

The Obama administration recently slapped new sanctions on Russian officials in response to the hacking. Mr. Putin, the Russian president, declined to respond immediately in kind — a move Mr. Trump publicly praised.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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