Rus­sia hacked Democrats, CIA nom­i­nee agrees

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - NATION - By Eileen Sul­li­van and Deb Riechmann Eileen Sul­li­van and Deb Riechmann are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

WASH­ING­TON — Don­ald Trump’s pick to run the CIA told Congress on Thurs­day that he ac­cepts the find­ings in an in­tel­li­gence as­sess­ment that Rus­sia in­ter­fered in the U.S. elec­tion with the goal of help­ing Trump win, even though the pres­i­dent-elect has been skep­ti­cal of some of the re­port’s conclusions.

“Ev­ery­thing I’ve seen sug­gests to me that the re­port has an an­a­lyt­i­cal prod­uct that is sound,” said Mike Pom­peo, a Kansas Repub­li­can con­gress­man. His com­ments struck a dif­fer­ent tone than those of his fu­ture boss, who called the fo­cus on Rus­sia and the elec­tion a “po­lit­i­cal witch hunt” be­fore he was even briefed on the find­ings.

Trump ac­knowl­edged Wed­nes­day, for the first time, that Rus­sia was be­hind the com­puter hack­ing that sin­gled out Democrats dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign.

As head of the CIA, Pom­peo would be re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing to Trump in­tel­li­gence as­sess­ments the pres­i­dent may find po­lit­i­cally un­ap­peal­ing, in­clud­ing ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion on Rus­sia’s in­ter­fer­ence with the Amer­i­can demo­cratic process. Pom­peo promised sen­a­tors on the in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee that he would do so.

“My obli­ga­tion as di­rec­tor of CIA is to tell ev­ery pol­i­cy­maker the facts as best the in­tel­li­gence agency has de­vel­oped them,” Pom­peo said. He is cur­rently a mem­ber of the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee.

Trump has been crit­i­cal of the in­tel­li­gence as­sess­ment that Rus­sia was be­hind the hack­ing of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee and other po­lit­i­cal sites and that Moscow’s aim was to get Trump elected. This week, he said in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials might be to blame for the leak of an ad­den­dum to the Rus­sia as­sess­ment that was a sum­mary of un­ver­i­fied claims that Rus­sia had ob­tained com­pro­mis­ing sex­ual and fi­nan­cial al­le­ga­tions about Trump.

The top U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial, James Clap­per, said he did not think the dis­clo­sures came from in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, and Clap­per said late Wed­nes­day that he told Trump the U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity “has not made any judg­ment that the in­for­ma­tion in this doc­u­ment is re­li­able, and we did not rely upon it in any way.”

On other is­sues, Pom­peo said he will up­hold the law and not di­rect the CIA to re­vert to us­ing tor­ture tac­tics to in­ter­ro­gate sus­pected ter­ror­ists. He also said that while he has been crit­i­cal of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s deal with Iran on nu­clear weapons, he would carry out the pol­icy as it stands.

He told the com­mit­tee that he un­der­stands that as CIA di­rec­tor he would have to make the tran­si­tion from a par­ti­san, pol­i­cy­mak­ing law­maker to an ob­jec­tive in­tel­li­gence col­lec­tor.

Joe Rae­dle / Getty Im­ages

Rep. Mike Pom­peo, Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­nee for CIA di­rec­tor, waits for his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing to be­gin. He said he would not re­vert to tor­ture tac­tics in in­ter­ro­ga­tions of ter­ror sus­pects.

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