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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Obama RUSHED to Preserve Intelligence of RUSSIAN Election HACKING
NEW YORK TIMES
WASHINGTON — In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald Trump and Russians — across the government.
Former US officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling is not duplicated in future US or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.
Then and now, Trump has denied that his campaign had any contact with Russian officials. And Trump has accused the Obama administration of hyping the Russia story line — as a way to discredit his new administration.
At the Obama White House, Trump’s statements stoked fears among some that intelligence could be covered up or destroyed — or its sources exposed — once power changed hands.
What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and US intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.
Former senior officials in the previous administration said none of the efforts were directed by Barack Obama when he was president.
But as Inauguration Day approached, Obama White House officials grew convinced the intelligence was damning and that they needed to ensure as many people as possible inside the government could see it, even if people without security clearances could not. Some officials began asking specific questions at intelligence briefings, knowing that the answers would be archived and could be easily unearthed by investigators.
At the intelligence agencies, there was a push to process as much raw information as possible into analyses and to keep the reports at a relatively low level of classification to ensure as wide a readership as possible in the government.
More than a half-dozen current and former officials described various aspects of the effort to preserve and distribute the intelligence, and some said they were speaking to draw attention to the material and ensure a proper investigation by Congress.