Senate Intelligence Committee: Russia Investigation Not Political

The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that the intelligence communities' 2017 assessment that Russia engaged in an unprecedented campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to help eventual Donald Trump and hurt eventual loser Hillary Clinton was supported by the intelligence.

"The Committee found the ICA presents a coherent and well-constructed intelligence basis for the case of unprecedented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election," was the top-line conclusion. 

That came in a just-released “Review of the Intelligence Community Assessment,” the fourth (of five) installment in the committee's investigation into the intelligence community assessment (ICA). 

President Trump has repeatedly criticized the ICA as a political witch hunt. But the committee, which is chaired by Republican Richard Burr (N.C.), said its investigation affirmed "that analysts were under no political pressure to reach specific conclusions." 

"The ICA reflects strong tradecraft, sound analytical reasoning, and proper justification of disagreement in the one analytical line where it occurred," said Burr. “The Committee found no reason to dispute the Intelligence Community’s conclusions." 

“The ICA summarizing intelligence concerning the 2016 election represented the kind of unbiased and professional work we expect and require from the Intelligence Community," said vice chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.). "The ICA correctly found the Russians interfered in our 2016 election to hurt Secretary Clinton and help the candidacy of Donald Trump," he said, adding: "There is certainly no reason to doubt that the Russians’ success in 2016 is leading them to try again in 2020, and we must not be caught unprepared.”  

The Committee will put off until the final installment discussion of the Steele dossier that included salacious allegations about President Trump, but pointed out that the dossier, though appended to the ICA, was not used to support any of its analytical judgments. 

The Committee review does conclude that the ICA would have benefited from a deeper dive into the role of Russian propaganda, RT's coverage of the Wikileaks' release of information from the DNC for example. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.