The Obama administration has kept secret information about Russian hacker attacks

Washington. — In the last days of the Obama administration, some White house staff began to urgently disseminate information about Russia’s attempts to undermine the presidential elections and on possible contacts between aides of President-elect Donald trump and Russian. These are former American officials say that had two goals: to make such intervention is not repeated in the future on the U.S. and European elections, and leave a clear trail that could go public investigation.

American allies, including the British and Dutch, provided information about meetings held in the cities of Europe between the Russian officials from the entourage of President Vladimir Putin and supporters of the elected President of the trump. This was told by three former us government employees, who asked not to name their names because it was confidential information.

In addition, U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted conversations and correspondence between the Russian officials, including employees of the Kremlin, where they discussed contacts with the assistants of trump.

Information about these contacts came amid new questions about the relations of the General Prosecutor Jeff and Roman sessions with the Russian. As one former high-ranking American leader, last year sessions twice met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Details of these meetings are unknown, but the fact of the contact is contrary to the testimony given to Sessom in Congress in January, when it argued in the post. Sessions then stated that no contact with the Russians.

Wednesday sessions issued a statement in which he noted that “never met Russian officials to discuss issues relating to the electoral campaign.”

“I have no idea what linked these statements. It’s a fake,” he said.

Trump has stated that none of his staff had no contact with Russian officials, and once even openly suggested that American intelligence agencies could concoct information that the Russian government tried to interfere in the U.S. presidential election. Trump has accused the Obama administration in that it is deliberately fanning the story about the Russian intervention in an attempt to discredit him and his team.

Statements trump called the Obama administration concerns about the fact that when there is a change of government, of the intelligence may be hidden or destroyed (and its sources are revealed). So she tried to hide this information, thus showing with what anxiety the White house and the U.S. intelligence community are looking at the threat from Moscow.

It also shows how serious were the suspicions of many officials from the White house Obama that the headquarters of the trump might collude with Russia on the issue of hacker attacks in the electoral process. As claimed by American officials, these suspicions were not confirmed. Former senior officials from the Obama administration announced that Obama himself, these actions had no relationship.

New press Secretary of the White house Sean Spicer said, “the Only news that is known is that political appointees from the Obama administration specifically to mislead, to somehow justify their defeat in the elections”. He added: “Nothing else”.

The closer the day of the inauguration of the Obama White house is increasingly convinced that the received intelligence information is of a damning nature. His staff felt that this information needs to see more people from the government, even if they do not have appropriate access. Some leaders in the intelligence briefings began to ask specific questions, knowing that answers will be recorded in the minutes, and later they will be able to easily read the investigators including investigators from the Senate intelligence Committee, which in early January announced that it would conduct an investigation into the facts of Russian attempts to influence the election.

Intelligence Agency sought to handle the maximum possible number of raw data to conduct on the basis of its analysis and did not try particularly to classify, so that access to it has received more people from the government, and in some cases European allies. This gave the opportunity to place a large amount of information in a closed information system Intellipedia, used by American analysts for data exchange in the intelligence community.

There were also attempts to convey information and classified material to Congress. In one case, the state Department a few days before the inauguration sent the Senator from Maryland Benjamin Cardino (Benjamin Cardin) documents classified as “secret”. There is detailed information about Russian attempts to interfere in the electoral process in different countries of the world, and they were sent in response to the request Cardin, who is the chief Democrat on the Committee on foreign Affairs. He shared these materials with my colleagues on the Committee.

“The situation was serious, as evidenced by President Obama’s call to carry out an inspection and made US response — said the press-Secretary of Obama’s Eric Schultz (Eric Schultz). — When the intelligence community is conducting this kind of comprehensive audits, it usually compiles much of the information and registers it”.

But with the most secret information, such as names of sources and foreigners, which were regularly shadowed, there was something opposite. Authorities have narrowed the already small circle of persons having access to this information. Officials knew that this information cannot be concealed from the new President and his key advisors, however, wanted to reduce the number of people having the opportunity to see these materials.

Former and current officials spoke about various attempts to conceal and dissemination of intelligence information, and some of them noted that it was guided by the desire to bring to these materials and attention to achieve a proper investigation at the level of Congress. They were asked not to name their names, because we are talking about classified information, the neck which in most cases is not removed to this day. Because of this secrecy it is impossible to conduct an independent public analysis of conflicting claims, which are the people from the administrations of Obama and trump.

The FBI is conducting an extensive counter-intelligence investigation into the Russian’s actions in the electoral process and examines the alleged links between trump’s assistants and representatives of the Russian authorities. The Committee on intelligence of the house of representatives and the Senate are conducting their own investigation, although they have to rely on information gathered by FBI and intelligence agencies.

On Wednesday, a justice Department official confirmed that and Roman sessions last year when a Senator has held two conversations with Ambassador Kislyak, although the sessions on 10 January when the statement in the post said that no contact with the Russians. These hearings and Roman sessions was asked what he would do, knowing that someone from the headquarters trump spoke with representatives of the Russian state during the election campaign. Sessions responded that he was unaware of such contacts.

“In the course of the campaign, I called a couple of times a confidant. I have not communicated with the Russian, and I can’t comment on this subject,” said sessions.

But officials from the Ministry of justice reported that the sessions spoke to Kislyak twice: once in July, when it the event of the Foundation “Heritage”, held during the national Convention of the Republican party in Cleveland, approached the group of ambassadors; and the second time on 8 September in the office and Roman sessions. The first of these meetings, reported The Washington Post.

Press Secretary and Roman sessions Isgur Sarah Flores (Sarah Isgur Flores) stated that “in this answer there’s absolutely nothing deceptive” because he was talking to the Ambassador, not as a Trustee of the trump. According to her, in 2016 sessions, working in the Senate Committee armed services, had at least 25 conversations with the ambassadors of various countries, including Britain, Japan, China, Germany and Russia.

This information forced the Democrats from Congress to throw out the flow of the statements in which they demanded that sessions recused himself and refused to oversee the investigation of possible associations of assistants trump with Russia. Sessions has so far refused to do so.

A member of the house of representatives Democrat Adam Schiff (Adam B. Schiff), working in the intelligence Committee, on Wednesday made a statement in which he said that if reports about Sense untrue, “he doesn’t just have to refuse to participate in the investigation of the relations of trump with the Russian — he is obliged to do it.”

The leader of the Democrats in the house of representatives Nancy Pelosi (Nancy Pelosi) called and Roman sessions to resign, wrote on Twitter: “It is not suitable to work as the chief defender of law and order in our country”.

One who refused to give his name an employee of the White house on Wednesday defended and Roman sessions, calling the sounded accusations “another partisan attack by Democrats on the administration of the trump.”

Speaking Wednesday at the headquarters of the CNN, Republican Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham (Lindsey Graham) said that he did not know whether there was some connection between headquarters trump and Russian. However, he said: “it is clear to Me that Jeff sessions, who is a close friend of mine could not make this decision without trump.”

Speaking on Wednesday at a hearing with the approval of the Director of National intelligence, former Senator Dan Coates (Dan Coats) said the Senate intelligence Committee: “I think we have an obligation to provide you with access to everything you need”.

Some employees of the Obama administration did not really believe in what the White house trump will keep such promises, and therefore to the very end continued to hide available information. This was partly due to the fact that the process of collection and analysis has not yet ended, but at the same time it shows that many officials at first did not quite realize the scale of the Russian operation, and then it was too late.

Alarms sounded all summer, but the clarity in them was not enough. When WikiLeaks was posting in the network correspondence, stolen from the National Committee of the Democratic party, American intelligence began to listen to conversations in which Russian officials discussed the contacts with the assistants of trump. But the European allies have begun to disseminate information about the people around Republican candidate, who met with the Russians in the Netherlands, Britain and other countries.

But it is unclear what happened at those meetings. And the materials of the intercept did not add clarity. It seems that Russian were arguing about how far you can go by intervening in the presidential election. Anxiety the Obama administration has intensified since September began a cyber attack on the election system in the United States, and in October, the White house decided to publicly accuse the Russian.

But only after the election when more details emerged, the administration began to understand the scale of the Russian intervention, and came to the conclusion that his goal is to tilt the vote in favor of trump. In early December, Obama ordered intelligence agencies to carry out a full analysis of the Russian operations.

The results of the analysis were published in January, and before that the intelligence community conducted a thorough review of databases, finding materials to intercept conversations and messages, and other information, including that which was collected many months ago. Then the security services began to compile a report, which shows that the contacts between helpers trump and Russian representatives during the election campaign took place.

The nature of these contacts remains unknown. Some assistants trump involved in the Russian business, and some contacts could be associated with a commercial business.

The New York Times, citing former employees and the current administration, said last month that the us government has received information about repeated contacts between members of staff of the trump and senior leaders of Russian intelligence. The white house called the message a fake.

After the appearance of this article on 14 February, several officials have confirmed that between the Russian and assistants trump has had a variety of contacts. The word “representative intelligence” in Russia have a vague meaning, as the former spies, oligarchs and government officials are often subject to special services and other Kremlin agencies, sharing information with them.

The former head of the Russian direction in CIA Steven Hall (Steven Hall) said that Putin is surrounded by very peculiar people. “It is no exaggeration to say that many of them in the past served in intelligence or security agencies. In Russia former intelligence does not happen”, — he said.

Concern about these contacts intensified when it became aware of several telephone conversations between Kislyak and Michael Flynn, who was to become adviser to trump national security. These calls began on 29 December, shortly after Kislyak was summoned to the state Department and advised that in response to Russian intervention in the elections, the United States expelled 35 suspected espionage activities of the Russians and impose certain other sanctions. Kislyak was furious and threatened harsh retaliatory action, said people familiar with the course of the conversation people.

But the next day Putin said that his government was not going to take retaliatory action, which trump is on Twitter praised the Russian President — and puzzled officials from the Obama administration.

On 2 January, they learned that Kislyak after a call to the state Department called Flynn, and that during the next two days they called up repeatedly. American intelligence agencies are usually tapped the phones of Russian diplomats, and transcripts of the conversations showed that Flynn was called on Russians not to respond to the us move, saying that after joining trump in the position of the relationship will improve.

The Obama administration also wanted to help European allies in the fight against the threat that has caught the United States. Published in in January a declassified version of the intelligence report, American intelligence agencies have clearly stated that in their view, Russia intends to use hacking attacks against the United States as a template, in order for it to continue its intervention in other countries. “According to our estimates, Moscow will put into practice the lessons learned, the report said — to continue operation impact, including against American allies.”

Your content for this article was provided by the mark Mazetti (Mark Mazzetti), Matt Apuzzo (Matt Apuzzo) and Charlie savage (Charlie Savage).