Trump sent CIA chief to meet ex-NSA official who claims DNC hack was inside job: report

Trump sent CIA chief to meet ex-NSA official who claims DNC hack was inside job: report
© Greg Nash

At President Trump's direction, CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOfficial: UAE complying with Iran sanctions 'as it is published by the United States' Turkey knocks US support for YPG as ‘big mistake’ Trump to speak with CIA about Khashoggi's murder MORE reportedly met with a former National Security Agency official who helped author an analysis casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was behind email hacks targeting the Democratic National Committee last year. 

According to The Intercept, Pompeo met with William Binney, the former NSA official turned whistleblower, at the end of October, according to Binney’s account to the publication. Binney said that Pompeo told him that Trump had pressed him to arrange the meeting to discuss the assessment that the DNC operation was the result of an inside leak.

The CIA declined to comment on the reported meeting.

"With respect to whether the Director met with this particular individual, we decline comment. As a general matter, we do not comment on the Director’s schedule," a CIA spokesman told The Hill on Tuesday. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Binney and other former intelligence officials have published an analysis concluding that the July 2016 intrusion into the DNC network was not a hack but rather that the data was leaked out by a person with physical access to DNC computers. 

The analysis has helped fuel conspiracy theories on the right casting doubt on Russia’s role in the hacking operation. The analysis also provided a basis for a controversial article published in The Nation in August that has since been amended after being widely challenged.

According to The Intercept, the meeting between Pompeo and Binney took place on Oct. 24 at CIA headquarters. Binney also told The Intercept that Pompeo asked if he would meet with NSA and FBI officials about his analysis, though those meetings appear to have not yet materialized.

Binney, a more than three-decade veteran of the NSA, resigned from the agency in 2001 in protest of the intelligence agency’s collection activities put in place after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Binney has also told Fox News that Trump was “absolutely right” to allege that the Obama administration “wiretapped” his phones in Trump Tower. 

The revelation could stoke criticism of Pompeo, a former Army captain and Republican congressman whom Trump installed at the CIA at the start of his administration.

While Pompeo has stood by the conclusion that Russia interfered in the election, he caught heat at an event last month for saying that the intelligence community concluded that Russia’s efforts did not affect the outcome of the 2016 vote. 

The unclassified report released by the director of national intelligence in January made no such assessment. The CIA later seemingly walked back Pompeo’s assertion, saying the conclusion had not changed.

"The Director stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment," the CIA spokesman said Tuesday. 

 

This post was updated at 11:56 a.m. to reflect statements from the CIA.