- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on accusations that Russia meddled in America’s presidential election to help Donald Trump win (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

The White House says President Barack Obama is being briefed on a classified report about Russian and other foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

Spokesman Josh Earnest says senior members of Obama’s national security team are briefing him.

Earnest says Obama has asked intelligence officials to also brief members of Congress and the incoming president. President-elect Donald Trump’s briefing is scheduled for Friday in New York.

Russian hacking was also the subject of a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing at which Director of National IntelligenceJames Clapper declined to characterize the hacking as an “act of war.”

Earnest also declined to characterize the hacking as war, but he says Obama takes the issue “quite seriously.”


11:35 a.m.

The Director of National Intelligence says attempts to deter foreign hackers don’t work, despite President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for a buildup of defensive cyber capabilities.

James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing Thursday that the U.S. cannot put stock in what he called cyber deterrence. He says cyber weapons are different than nuclear weapons because they are ephemeral and difficult for enemies to see and evaluate. Clapper says that makes it hard to create what he calls “the substance and psychology of deterrence.”

During the presidential campaign, Trump said he will develop offensive cyber capabilities needed to deter attacks and, if necessary, to respond appropriately.


10:51 a.m.

Asked about President-elect Donald Trump’s frequent criticism of U.S. intelligence agencies, Director of National IntelligenceJames Clapper says there is a difference between skepticism and disparagement.

Clapper made his comments in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri during a hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

McCaskill asked Clapper who benefits from the president-elect “trashing” the intelligence agencies. President-elect Donald Trump has been critical of U.S. intelligence agencies and their conclusions that Russia is behind the hacking of the 2016 election.

Trump appeared to reverse course earlier Thursday, tweeting that he is a “big fan” of U.S. intelligence.


10:23 a.m.

Top intelligence officials are belittling WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (ah-SAHNJ’), saying his work has put American lives at risk.

National Intelligence Director James Clapper is telling Congress he believes Assange is responsible for the publication of names which put lives in danger. He did not elaborate. WikiLeaks immediately responded on Twitter by accusing Clapper of lying to Congress.

Wikileaks has been under criminal investigation for its role in leaks of classified information.

Sen. John McCain is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. At a committee hearing, McCain asked Clapper whether Assange has any credibility.

Clapper said “No,” and his assessment was seconded by Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency.


10:04 a.m.

The Director of National Intelligence says he won’t discuss details about the Obama administration’s comprehensive report on Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election early next week.

James Clapper said Thursday at a hearing on foreign cyber threats to the U.S. that he understands there is enormous public interest in the report’s conclusions but said he won’t be discussing them. He says an unclassified version of the report will be publicly released next week.

He says Congress will also be briefed on the report early next week.

The classified version of the report was delivered to President Barack Obama on Thursday.

U.S. intelligence services have concluded that Russian civil and military intelligence services used hacking to interfere in the election process.


9:40 a.m.

U.S. intelligence officials have delivered the classified report on Russian and other foreign meddling in American elections to the White House.

A U.S. official said Thursday that President Barack Obama has received the report. President-elect Donald Trump is to be briefed on the report on Friday.

The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the issue and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Director of National Intelligence told Congress that an unclassified version of the report is tentatively scheduled to be released early next week.

-By Deb Riechmann.


9:36 a.m.

Top U.S. intelligence officials say Russia poses a major and growing threat to U.S. government, military, diplomatic and commercial operations - as well as America’s critical infrastructure.

National Intelligence Director James Clapper and other intelligence officials are testifying at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing focused on Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election. They say Russia is among at least 30 nations that are developing capabilities to launch cyberattacks.

President-elect Donald Trump has expressed skepticism that Russia was behind the election hacking.

U.S. intelligence agencies disagree.

The officials aren’t expected to disclose details of a report on foreign influence in U.S. elections before President Barack Obama gets a briefing on that report Thursday.


3:11 a.m.

Top U.S. intelligence officials are set to testify at a Senate hearing to be dominated by accusations Russia meddled in America’s presidential election to help Donald Trump win.

The Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday comes a day before the president-elect is to be briefed by the CIA and FBI directors - along with the director of national intelligence - on the investigation into Russia’s alleged hacking efforts.

Trump has been deeply critical of their findings. He’s even appeared to back controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s contention that Russia did not provide him with hacked Democratic emails.

Slated to appear before the Armed Services Committee are the national intelligence director, James Clapper; the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Marcel Lettre; and the National Security Agency chief, Navy Adm. Michael Rogers.

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