Congress will be briefed next week on the intelligence community’s report detailing Russian cyberattacks during the 2016 election, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said Thursday.
An unclassified version of the report, which President Barack Obama ordered the nation’s spy agencies to draw up last month, will be released to the public as well, Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Clapper testified before the panel about cyberthreats, although the overwhelming interest in the hearing circled around what the intelligence community has determined was a Kremlin-orchestrated hacking campaign to undermine the U.S. election and help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre also appeared before the committee.
The hearing comes amid an extraordinary public dispute between the intelligence community and Trump, who has repeatedly cast doubt on the U.S spy agencies’ assessment that Russia was behind the election hacking.
Clapper told lawmakers that the intelligence community will brief its oversight committees early next week on the report before providing a similar briefing to the full House and Senate. The spy agencies will then release an unclassified version for the public.
“I intend to push the envelope as much as I can because I think the public should know as much as possible,” Clapper said. He said the intelligence community will be “as forthcoming as we can,” but that some information will be limited in order to protect the agencies’ “sources and methods.”
Clapper made clear early in the hearing that he would not discuss details of the report before it is officially rolled out next week. He did, however, provide a broader perspective on the intelligence community’s view of Russia’s influence operation.
Moscow’s campaign was a broad-based effort that included not just hacking, but also classical propaganda, disinformation and fake news, Clapper said.
“While there has been a lot of focus on the hacking, this is actually part of a multifaceted campaign that the Russians mounted,” he said.
He pointed to the RT television network, which is supported by the Russian government, and said the channel was “very, very active in promoting a particular point of view disparaging our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights, etc. Whatever crack or fissure they could find in our tapestry, they would exploit,” Clapper said.
“And so all of these other motives, whether it’s RT, social media, fake news, they exercised all those capabilities in addition to the hacking.”