NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers cast a dash of doubt Tuesday on the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia-tied hackers sought to help Donald Trump in the 2016 election, explaining for the first time in public testimony why his agency had only "moderate confidence" in that judgment.
Testifying before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Rogers affirmed he and the NSA were highly confident the Russians sought to hurt Hillary Clinton in the election. But Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., asked Rogers – who also heads U.S. Cyber Command -- why the NSA differed on the related conclusion about Trump in the Jan. 6 intelligence report on alleged Russian interference in the election.
That conclusion stated that the Russian government “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”
The FBI and CIA backed that with high confidence, but the NSA only held that judgment with “moderate confidence.”
Cotton noted that fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., during the hearing called Trump “Russia’s preferred candidate” and asked Rogers to “explain the discrepancy.”