The Democrats and Republicans are not the only parties with contradictory messages relating to the 2016 election hacks and Russia's involvement. The CIA and the FBI also appear to have differing explanations on Russia's role and motives in the cyberattacks, according to reports.
The two agencies have reportedly provided US lawmakers with differing explanations on the hacks, widely considered to be perpetrated by Russia to influence the outcome of the elections. While the US intelligence community appears to be confident about Russia's role in the election hacks being powered to help President-Elect Donald Trump win, the FBI in comparison is reportedly not on the same page.
According to an unspecified official, present at the House Intelligence Committee briefing, which took place in a secure meeting room last week, the FBI's comments were "fuzzy" and "ambiguous", the Washington Post reported. In comparison to a previous briefing with the CIA, where the intelligence agency provided "direct and bald and unqualified" statements about Russia's aim to help Trump.
The conflicting messages are also indicative of the cultural differences between the CIA and the FBI, according to officials who attended the briefings.
"The FBI briefers think in terms of criminal standards — can we prove this in court," one of the officials said. "The CIA briefers weigh the preponderance of intelligence and then make judgment calls to help policymakers make informed decisions. High confidence for them means 'we're pretty damn sure.' It doesn't mean they can prove it in court."
"Some people in that briefing heard what they wanted to hear. We just gave them the facts and it's up to the policy makers to do what they want with it," a US intelligence official said, CNN reported.
President Obama recently ordered an official inquiry into the US election hacking. According to an unnamed "top White House official", the president wants the report to be completed before he leaves office in January 2017. US lawmakers want the inquiry to be accompanied with a joint congressional investigation.
Incoming Democrat Senate leader Chuck Schumer said that a lack of agreement between the CIA and the FBI calls for the added scrutiny into the matter. "The fact the CIA and FBI disagree shows the need for a bipartisan investigation to get to the bottom of this. The investigation should be tough, strong, bipartisan and have access to all materials, classified and not," he said.