Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said he’s skeptical of U.S. intelligence assessments that blame Russian hackers, under Kremlin direction, for interfering in the presidential election.
King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, met with President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday to “give him some ideas” on issues of national security, and spoke to reporters afterward in the lobby of Trump Tower.
“To me what happened has been disgraceful,” King said of intelligence agencies, according to a pool report. “Whatever conclusion they want to come up with is one thing. There is no CIA conclusion. The CIA has repeatedly told us that they have no idea what the intent was. If there is an intent, it’s to disrupt the election, create confusion and cast a cloud over the winner.”
King then made a novel argument. He alleged that the media and lawmakers were doing Russia’s bidding just by discussing the hacking of the election.
“They’re creating this uncertainty over the election. This is several days before the Electoral College,” King said.
Though he remained unconvinced Russia was behind the hack, King supports a congressional probe into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the attempted hacking of the Republican National Committee.
The controversial congressman questioned whether “rogue” intelligence operators were sources for articles published this month by The Washington Post and The New York Times on the hacking, which pointed to Russia and even Vladimir Putin himself as playing a key role in the cyber intrusions,
“To suddenly have it appear in The Washington Post and The New York Times that the intelligence community ... has concluded this. Who? Who in the CIA? Is it [CIA Director] John Brennan? Is it some rogue person behind a desk somewhere?” King asked. “People in the intelligence community are using this against the president-elect of the United States, and that is disgraceful.”
Earlier Thursday, Trump once again sought to cast doubt about the motives behind the hack. Trump wondered in a post on Twitter why the White House didn’t “complain” about the hacking until after the election defeat of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest offered an answer to the question at his daily press briefing a day earlier: President Barack Obama did not want to be blamed for politicizing intelligence during the election.