No Doubt Russia Interfered in Election, US Intel Chief Says | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

No Doubt Russia Interfered in Election, US Intel Chief Says

The Armed Services Committee's cyber threats hearing on Thursday comes a day before the president-elect is to be briefed on the investigation into Russia's alleged hacking efforts



    U.S. intelligence officials appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to testify on possible Russian influence behind cyberattacks directed at Democratic targets. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says the possibility of Russia acting behind the attacks is "very high." (Published Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017)

    Brushing aside Donald Trump's dismissiveness, the nation's intelligence chief insisted Thursday that U.S. agencies are more confident than ever that Russia interfered in America's recent presidential election. And he called the former Cold War foe an "existential threat" to the nation.

    Did Russian hacking sway the results? There's no way for U.S. agencies to know, said James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

    Lawmakers 'Tricked' Into Honoring Ku Klux Klansman

    [NATL] Tennessee Lawmakers 'Tricked' Into Honoring Ku Klux Klansman

    Lawmakers in Tennessee are crying foul after Republican Rep. Mike Sparks sneaked in a resolution to honor former Ku Klux Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest with a bust under a different name. The resolution passed unanimously, 94-0, and the bust was installed at the state Capitol before lawmakers realized the mistake. 

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    Asked about the possible effect of the disclosure of private information stolen by hackers, Clapper said, "The intelligence community can't gauge the impact it had on the choices the electorate made." But he also said Russian hacking "did not change any vote tallies."

    Clapper's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee was short on concrete evidence of Russian activities, but it raised the stakes in the intelligence community's standoff with Trump. Clapper indicated the agencies he leads would not back down in their assessment, even if that threatens a prolonged crisis of confidence with their next commander in chief.

    That puts the pressure back on Trump, who has raised the possibility of more positive relations with Russia and has repeatedly disparaged the U.S. intelligence agencies.

    He will be briefed Friday on the classified evidence concerning Russian interference. And after yet another tweet questioning the intelligence community's efforts to uncover the hacking, it seems Trump will not be short of talking points at the meeting.

    UC Davis Now Sells Plan B and Condoms From a Vending Machine

    [NATL] UC Davis Now Sells Plan B, Pregnancy Tests and Condoms From a Vending Machine

    Students at the University of California, Davis, can now purchase $30 Plan B emergency contraceptives, pregnancy tests, condoms and other personal care products from a vending machine. The idea came from UC Davis senior Parteek Singh, after a friend was unable to buy emergency contraceptives in time. 

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    "So how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers?" Trump wrote, possibly referring to a recent Buzzfeed report that the FBI didn't examine the servers of the Democratic National Committee before attributing the attack to Russian hackers. Instead, the FBI relied on a third-party security company, CrowdStrike, to run the computer forensics.  

    Shortly after Thursday's hearing, news leaked that Trump would soon name former Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana to replace Clapper after the new president takes office.

    The intelligence agencies' classified report, which was shared with President Barack Obama on Thursday, identifies multiple motives for Russia's interference, Clapper said, but he did not provide details.

    In a joint report that roiled the presidential campaign last fall, the Homeland Security Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the U.S. was confident about foreign meddling, including Russian government hacking of Democratic emails.

    Millennials Found Most Susceptible to Robocalls and Scams

    [NATL] Millennials Found Most Susceptible to Robocalls and Scams

    A new study finds that it is not the elderly who are most susceptible to scam phone calls, but millennials, who are six times more likely to give away credit card information than any other age group. 

    (Published Saturday, April 29, 2017)

    "We stand actually more resolutely on the strength of that statement," Clapper said Thursday. He declined to discuss whether Russia's interference was aimed at helping Trump win.

    An unclassified version of the report will be released next week, Clapper said. That version, expected to be a fraction of the length of the classified one, is not likely to answer all the questions about Russia's actions. Exactly how the U.S. monitors its adversaries in cyberspace is a closely guarded secret, since revealing such details could help foreign governments further obscure their activities.

    "I think the public should know as much about this as possible," Clapper told the senators. "And so we'll be as forthcoming as we can, but there are some sensitive and fragile sources and methods here."

    Clapper was less shy about declaring Russia "an existential threat to the United States." That's strong rhetoric that harkens back to the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union, language Obama has avoided. For his part, Trump has embraced the possibility of warmer U.S.-Russian ties.

    Girl Scalped on Carnival Ride Talks Recovery One Year Later

    [NATL] Girl Scalped on Carnival Ride Talks Recovery One Year Later

    Elizabeth "Lulu" Gilreath talks about her recovery from a carnival ride gone very wrong. Gilreath was scalped when her hair was caught on the King's Crown ride in Omaha, Nebraska, but she does not dwell on the incident, saying "My scars don't define me."

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    Republican John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate panel, pressed Clapper as to whether Russia's actions constituted an "act of war." The intelligence director said that was "a very heavy policy call," more appropriate for others in the government to decide.

    Obama announced sanctions against Russia late last year, a move Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said was akin to throwing a pebble.

    "I'm ready to throw a rock," Graham said.

    The GOP is divided over how to deal with Russia. Once Trump takes office, he is certain to face opposition from Democrats as well as some in his own party regarding his posture toward Russia.

    Man Sees Vera Wang Diamond Ring on Sidewalk, Finds Its Owner

    [NATL] Man Finds Vera Wang Diamond Engagement Ring on Sidewalk, Tracks Down Its Owner

    Imagine looking down and finding a pristine diamond ring lying on the sidewalk. That was how Glenn Weddell found a Vera Wang diamond ring one afternoon in Sacramento, California. But instead of keeping it, Weddell hunted down the distraught owner to return the ring in a happy reunion. His method involved posting a sign to a tree downtown and hoping for the best. 

    (Published Thursday, April 27, 2017)

    Trump has criticized U.S. intelligence findings, even citing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's contention that Russia did not provide him with hacked Democratic emails.

    But in new tweets early Thursday, he backed away and blamed the "dishonest media" for portraying him as agreeing with Assange, whose organization has been under criminal investigation for its role in classified information leaks. "The media lies to make it look like I am against 'Intelligence' when in fact I am a big fan!" Trump wrote.

    In fact, Trump has been skeptical to the point of dismissive about the certainty of the assessment of Russian hacking, bringing up past failures, specifically intelligence reporting the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the lead-up to the war there.

    Trump has derided the intelligence community on Twitter, his comments widely reported by The Associated Press and other news organizations.

    Inmate Convulses During Execution With Controversial Drug

    [NATL] Fourth Arkansas Inmate Convulses During Execution With Controversial Drug

    The controversy over midazolam, a drug used during state executions of convicted inmates, rises following the execution of a fourth Arkansas inmate in eight days. Witnesses say Kenneth Williams, put on death row for the 1999 murder of two people, moved and shook during his execution Thursday night.

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    Clapper said Thursday, "I think there is an important distinction here between healthy skepticism, which policymakers — to include policymaker No. 1 — should always have for intelligence, but I think there's a difference between skepticism and disparagement."

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama is confident that the intelligence assessment on Russia is "unvarnished."

    "The president has insisted that the intelligence community should not hesitate to present to the president what could be considered bad news, because a whitewashed assessment doesn't serve anybody well," Earnest said. He added that anyone who consumes intelligence "using rose-colored reading glasses is not going to be able to make good decisions."