US president elect Donald Trump blamed “gross negligence” by the Democrats for any hacking that might have occurred in the run up to the election.
His tweet on Saturday came a day after Trump met agency chiefs to discuss their conclusion that Russia interfered in the US election in favour of the Republican candidate.
The agencies subsequently released a heavily redacted report detailing their conclusions, in which they said Russian president Vladimir Putin “ordered” the operation to help get Mr Trump elected.
On Saturday, Mr Trump used Twitter to issue comment.
“Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results,” he wrote. “Voting machines not touched!
“Only reason the hacking of the poorly defended DNC is discussed is that the loss by the Dems was so big that they are totally embarrassed!”
“Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place.The Republican National Committee had strong defense!”
The US intelligence agencies found that Mr Putin ordered an effort to help Mr Trump’s electoral chances by discrediting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Russia’s objectives were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Mrs Clinton, make it harder for her to win and harm her presidency if she did, an unclassified report released on Friday by the top US intelligence agency said. “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the USpresidential election,” the report said. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”
Russian authorities, which have previously denied interfering in the US elections, offered no immediate comment on the report on Saturday, and the reaction of the country’s media was low-key. The report, although it omitted classified details, was the US government’s starkest public description of what it says was an unprecedented Russian campaign to manipulate the American body politic. Reports of Russian interference in the already divisive election have roiled Washington, even as the US Congress on Friday certified.
Nominee for director of national intelligence
The tweets came after he confirmed that the former Indiana senator Dan Coats is his nominee to be director of national intelligence, promising “ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm”.
In a statement, Mr Trump said: “[COATS] will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration’s ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm.”
Mr Coats said: “A robust and responsible intelligence infrastructure is essential to our homeland security, and if confirmed I will ensure our national security decision-makers have every piece of information they need to protect the American people from the threats facing our nation.”
Mr Coats is a former US representative and ambassador to Germany who retired from the Senate this year. Like the influential vice-president elect, Mike Pence, he is a strong social conservative from Indiana.
Coats has held views on intelligence and foreign policy that do not tally with those expressed by Trump.
In a November 2015 Senate speech, for example, he said the fight against Islamic State militants should include “Islamists who believe that their faith and their culture is being perverted brutally by Isis”.
He does, however, align with the president-elect on keeping open the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the subject of intense international pressure over alleged human rights abuses and which the Obama administration has sought to close.
In 2016, Coats called Guantanamo “a valuable tool in our counter-terrorism efforts”.
In 2015, Coats voted against the USA Freedom Act, which curtailed mass domestic surveillance by US agencies as revealed by the leak of National Security Agency files by Edward Snowden.