Asked by RT’s Gayane Chichakyan if Friday’s public intelligence report should have contained evidence, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that no one should be surprised that US intelligence agencies were keeping evidence secret in order to protect their sources and methods.
“Most American people understand that they have the responsibility to protect their sources and methods,” Kirby said, adding it would be “irresponsible” to do otherwise. It is up to the agencies to decide which information they share with the public.
“We rely on them to make that determination for themselves,” the State Department spokesman said at Monday’s press briefing.
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The assessment in Friday’s report was made “by all 17 intelligence communities. All of them came to the same basic conclusion: that Russia interfered in the US election,” Kirby said. “All of our intelligence communities came to the same basic conclusion, over and over again.”
The actual report, however, describes itself as an “analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA).”
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him,” the agencies assert in the report, noting that the CIA and FBI have “high confidence” in this judgment, while the NSA – which, in theory, would have actual surveillance data to prove the assertion – had only “moderate” confidence.
When Chichakyan brought up the 2003 intelligence assessment on the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction – invoked by the Bush administration to justify the US invasion and occupation of that country – Kirby said the comparison was irrelevant, since that was a long time ago.
“We have moved on. We have learned a lot from those mistakes,” he said.
Secretary of State John Kerry “believes strongly that they handled this matter in the appropriate way, in terms of how it was analyzed, how it was presented, and how it was briefed to those who needed to see a deeper level of information,” Kirby said.