Last Updated Jan 5, 2017 10:49 AM EST
“I think there is an important distinction here between healthy skepticism,” Clapper said, “… I think there’s a difference between skepticism and disparagement.”
Clapper said that the U. S. intelligence community is “not perfect” and that it’s made up of organizations of human beings and they’re prone sometimes to making errors. He added, however, that the intelligence community doesn’t get the credit it deserves for what it does each day.
“There should be howls,” McCaskill responded about Russian cyberattacks, adding that “if the roles were reversed, there would be howls from the Republican side.”
“Without going into internal decision-making, it was a consensus inter-agency view,” Clapper said.
“Hacking was only part of it,” Clapper told the panel. “It also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation and fake news.”
He added that they have not been in touch with the Trump transition team about its plan to overhaul the office of the Director of National Intelligence .
Clapper added that Russian hackers did not change any vote tallies and that the U. S. intelligence community has no way of determining the impact on the choices voters made.
“Whether or not that constitutes an act of war, I think, is a very heavy policy call that I don’t think the intelligence community should make.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on foreign cyber threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U. S., January 5, 2017.
He also had some advice for Mr. Trump who hasn’t yet been briefed yet,: “Don’t question things until you’ve been informed of them, then question them.”
McCain said that the Russian cyberattacks during the election are “part of a much bigger cyber problem” and he slammed the Obama administration for having “no policy” that results in cyber deterrence.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, is chairing the hearing and Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, is the top Democrat on the panel. Some of the other members include Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.