Where’s the proof? Calls grow to declassify evidence of alleged Russian hack

“Let’s have some proof.”

That’s what some observers are demanding of President Barack Obama, urging him to declassify as much evidence as possible to support CIA claims that Russia interfered in the U.S. elections to bolster President-elect Donald Trump’s candidacy.

Ten members of the Electoral College have signed an open letter asking Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to provide them with classified briefings on Russia’s alleged hacking during the campaign.

“The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations,” the letter reads.

But in a piece published Tuesday, The Intercept‘s Jeremy Scahill and Jon Schwarz call for a more general release of such information, “to aid the public debate over interference in our election by a powerful nation state.”

“Taking Donald Trump’s position—that we should just ignore the question of Russian hacking and ‘move on’—would be a disaster,” they write. “Relying on a hazy war of leaks from the CIA, FBI, various politicians, and their staff is an equally terrible idea.”

In turn, they argue: “The only path forward that makes sense is for Obama to order the release of as much evidence as possible underlying the reported ‘high confidence’ of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia both intervened in the election and did so with the intention of aiding Trump’s candidacy.”

Indeed, some are pointing to a lack of such “hard evidence,” while others claim the matter at hand is not, in fact, a “hack,” but a “leak.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reported exclusively on Tuesday that even “[t]he overseers of the U.S. intelligence community have not embraced” the CIA’s assessment of cyber attacks.

Despite these questions, “there is a disturbing trend emerging that dictates that if you don’t believe Russia hacked the election or if you simply demand evidence for this tremendously significant allegation, you must be a Trump apologist or a Soviet agent,” Scahill and Schwarz say at The Intercept, calling for “anyone [with] solid proof that Russia interfered with U.S. elections, [to] send it to us via secure drop and we will verify its legitimacy and publish it.”

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Deirdre Fulton is a Common Dreams staff writer.

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