This week, outgoing President Obama ordered a full review into hacking aimed at influencing this election.. and he wants it finished -before- incoming president Trump is inaugurated. This week came reports that the FBI differs with the CIA, which had blamed Russia and concluded the motive was to elect Trump. We sought some clarity from David Shedd, President Obama's former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Sharyl: Looking at what I heard reported on the news in the past couple of weeks it sounded like it was a conclusion that our intel agencies had definitively concluded that Russia had hacked into somehow our election system or our elections to try to get Donald Trump elected.
David Shedd: I don't know that uh we can say that uh the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper said that in October quite that explicitly. I think the attribution that Russia doing the collection and then releasing the information was where he, he established to that conclusion What's interesting though is the Director of FBI, stayed silent in October in terms of the attribution to Russia. And I think now, there is a, there is a real tension in trying to sort out what, in fact, did the intelligence or does the intelligence community know about that, those three areas between even the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of CIA, John Brennan, who has then said, categorically, the Russians were behind the attacks? So this about to get very interesting.
Sharyl: Is it possible to make it look as though a hack came from one country, when, in fact, it came from somewhere else? \Or was set up by somebody else in that country?
David Shedd: I think you're, you're, you're going right to the core of why this is so difficult to detect. I think our, our adversaries are keenly aware of our generic capabilities to detect the, the source of origin unless, and of course, what the intelligence community would call these cutouts, that is, being able to bounce it off of other servers, out of other countries, who, by the way, to be very clear, would be unwitting that their servers are being used for this. So, the appearances are far less straightforward and this is what the American people need to know.
Sharyl: What is the public to make of what sounds like a disagreement, maybe one agency or certain politicians very sure that Russia did this, and other agencies that we trust saying, um, they're not so sure?
David Shedd: I always side with the not so sure because the indicators are not always that clear in terms of the attributes associated with those who either did the attack or, in fact, attempted to influence the elections. And so, I'm, I'm far more cautious in terms of, of the attribution, not so much that Russia was behind it, but rather its intent.
Sharyl: On the news this week, what do you make of Donald Trump saying he doesn't necessarily need daily intelligence briefings?
David Shedd: Well I find the comment just interesting from the standpoint of how does he know with so little exposure to it, at this point? I would like for him to spend a little time going deeper into the intelligence that's provided and then make the judgement perhaps that it either isn't as relevant as he wishes it to be in terms of his decision making,
Sharyl:Why not get it directly and have the ability then to spend the time with those who are presenting that intelligence to them, and allow it to shape then his decision making by way of options. And then, if he decides not to use the intelligence to make the decision, that's perfectly understandable.
He is ultimately the President and the decision maker