Demo­crat crit­i­cizes obama for slow re­sponse to rus­sian hacks

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - WORLD NEWS - Eileen sul­li­van and deb riech­mann

Washington — The se­nate in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee’s top demo­crat crit­i­cized the obama ad­min­is­tra­tion on Tues­day for its slow re­sponse to al­le­ga­tions of rus­sian hack­ing dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign as the panel heard from the di­rec­tor of the FBI, whom sev­eral democrats crit­i­cized for an­nounc­ing a new probe of hil­lary Clin­ton’s emails 11 days be­fore the elec­tion.

sen. Mark Warner’s com­ments re­flected the on­go­ing dis­con­tent among democrats with how Pres­i­dent Barack obama han­dled ev­i­dence of the Krem­lin’s tam­per­ing with the u.s. democratic process. The Virginia demo­crat said the ad­min­is­tra­tion de­served at least some crit­i­cism for the pace of its re­sponse and made clear he thought it should have acted sooner and stronger.

FBI di­rec­tor James Comey and James Clap­per, the di­rec­tor of na­tional in­tel­li­gence, were speak­ing to the com­mit­tee about the con­clu­sions of a re­port pre­sented last week by u.s. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies to obama, Pres­i­dent-elect don­ald Trump and se­nior mem­bers of Congress. an un­clas­si­fied ver­sion also was made pub­lic, out­lin­ing the agen­cies’ claims of rus­sian ac­tions de­signed to un­der­mine the elec­tion and help Trump by hurt­ing Clin­ton.

While democrats say they ac­cept the vote, many law­mak­ers feel that if obama and his in­tel­li­gence agen­cies were more forth­right in the run-up to the elec­tion about putting up red flags and warn­ing signs, the re­sult may have been dif­fer­ent.

sen. richard Burr, r-n.c., the in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee’s chair­man, said he had no rea­son to doubt the find­ings of last week’s re­port. But he said “our democ­racy is not at risk,” adding that amer­i­cans can have faith in the democratic process. and he said his com­mit­tee’s staff would as­sess the sourc­ing be­hind the in­tel­li­gence agen­cies’ con­clu­sions.

The de­clas­si­fied re­port ex­plic­itly tied rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin to the hack­ing of email ac­counts of the democratic na­tional Com­mit­tee and in­di­vid­ual democrats like Clin­ton’s cam­paign chair­man, John Podesta. rus­sia also used state-funded pro­pa­ganda and paid “trolls” to make nasty com­ments on so­cial me­dia ser­vices, the re­port said, although there was no sug­ges­tion such op­er­a­tions af­fected the ac­tual vote count.

The re­port lacked de­tails about how the u.s. learned what it says it knows, such as any in­ter­cepted con­ver­sa­tions or elec­tronic mes­sages from rus­sian lead­ers, in­clud­ing Putin. it also said noth­ing about spe­cific hacker tech­niques or dig­i­tal tools the u.s. may have traced back to rus­sia in its in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Cliff owen/ap PHOTO

Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Di­rec­tor James Clap­per, left, and FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey, cen­ter, tes­tify on Capi­tol Hill in Washington, Tues­day, be­fore the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee hear­ing on Rus­sian In­tel­li­gence Ac­tiv­i­ties.

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