The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) all but ruled out the possibility that electors within the Electoral College will be briefed on the Russian hacking investigation before they meet on Monday.
All 538 electors will convene to certify the results of the US election, effectively making President-elect Donald Trump’s victory official.
The agency said an intelligence review that President Barack Obama has requested on potential foreign influence in US presidential elections dating back to 2008 “involves sensitive classified information.” It said the review would be finalised “in the coming weeks” — essentially ruling out any substantive briefing for the electors who are meeting on Monday.
“The Intelligence Community stands ready to brief Congress and will make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods,” the DNI’s statement read.
A group of electors had requested information about Russia’s meddling in the election, which was carried out through a series of data breaches and the release of emails and documents embarrassing to Democratic Party organisations.
Leaders close to the party’s presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, were the hacker’s primary targets, according to assessments from the CIA and the FBI. The two agencies on Friday confirmed that they were in agreement about the veracity of the Russian cyberattacks and the motive — to hasten a Trump victory.
Trump and some leaders in the Republican Party have downplayed Russian influence in the election.
Trump falsely accused the White House of waiting until after he won the election to bring it up, even though the Department of Homeland Security and the DNI officially accused Russia of election-meddling in October.
Obama had words for Russian President Vladimir on the matter in his final press conference of 2016 on Friday.
Said Obama: “Our goal continues to be to send a clear message to Russia or others not to do this to us, because we can do stuff to you.”