"In early January, two weeks before the Inauguration, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, released a declassified report concluding that Putin had ordered an influence campaign to harm Clinton’s election prospects, fortify Donald Trump’s, and ‘undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process.’ The declassified report provides more assertion than evidence. Intelligence officers say that this was necessary to protect their information-gathering methods.
Critics of the report have repeatedly noted that intelligence agencies, in the months before the Iraq War, endorsed faulty assessments concerning weapons of mass destruction. But the intelligence community was deeply divided over the actual extent of Iraq’s weapons development; the question of Russia’s responsibility for cyberattacks in the 2016 election has produced no such tumult. Seventeen federal intelligence agencies have agreed that Russia was responsible for the hacking.
In testimony before the Senate, Clapper described an unprecedented Russian effort to interfere in the U.S. electoral process. The operation involved hacking Democrats’ e-mails, publicizing the stolen contents through WikiLeaks, and manipulating social media to spread ‘fake news’ and pro-Trump messages."