National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers said Sunday that he does not believe the publication of stolen Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
“I would agree with that assessment,” Rogers said Sunday, although he did not specifically name Russia. Last week, he had said there was no doubt “a nation state” intentionally tried to interfere in the U.S. election.
Rogers is thought to be a leading contender to head the intelligence community under President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE.
Digital security experts and the intelligence community have almost universally levied blame on Moscow for the intrusions into several political organizations.
Democrats characterized the theft and release of the DNC emails as an attempt to bolster Trump's bid for the White House, citing the real estate mogul's warm treatment of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump fiercely disputed claims that the Russian government was helping his campaign.
The president-elect has declined to blame Russia for the attacks, despite an October statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence officially attributing the hacks to the Russian government and calling them an attempt to “influence” the U.S. election.
Rogers' comments come as he is reportedly one of the leading names Trump is considering to take on the DNI position — although other reports suggest that the president elect’s national security team is weighing the removal of the position altogether.
The remarks also come as Defense Secretary Ash Carter and current DNI James Clapper are reportedly petitioning to remove Rogers from his dual-hat position as head of the NSA and the military’s specialized cyber warfare unit.
Among the reported reasons is a meeting with the Trump transition team that Rogers did not notify superiors was taking place.
Officials are also reportedly concerned about multiple security breaches under Rogers’ command and dissatisfaction with his handling of cyber warfare techniques in the fight against ISIS.