District of Columbia: A secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assessment has concluded that Russia interfered in last month`s US Presidential Election with an aim to help Donald Trump win the White House, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Citing US officials briefed on the matter, the Post said intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks.
The officials described the individuals as people known to the intelligence community who were part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and reduce Clinton`s chances of winning the election.
"It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected," the Post quoted a senior US official as saying. "That`s the consensus view."
The report comes after US President Barack Obama ordered a review of all cyberattacks that took place during the 2016 election cycle, amid growing calls from Congress for more information on the extent of Russian interference in the campaign.
President-elect Donald Trump has rejected the intelligence community`s conclusion of Russian involvement.
"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," Trump`s transition team said in a statement late Friday.
"The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It`s now time to move on and `Make America Great Again.`"
The Post said the official had been briefed on an intelligence presentation made by the Central Intelligence Agency to key US senators behind closed-doors last week.
The CIA, in what the Post said was a secret assessment, cited a growing body of evidence from multiple sources. Briefers told the senators it was now "quite clear" that electing Trump was Russia`s goal, the Post quoted officials as saying on condition of anonymity.
However, some questions remain unanswered and the CIA`s assessment fell short of a formal US assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies, the report said.
For example, intelligence agents don`t have proof that Russian officials directed the identified individuals to supply WikiLeaks with the hacked Democratic e-mails.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied any links with Russia.
Those individuals were "one step" removed from the Russian government, which is consistent with past practices by Moscow to use "middlemen" in sensitive intelligence operations to preserve plausible deniability, the report said.
In October, the US government formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organisations ahead of the November 08 Presidential Election.
President Barack Obama has said he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about consequences for the attacks. But Russian officials have denied all accusations of interference in the US election.
A CIA spokeswoman said the agency had no comment on the report.
The hacked e-mails passed to WikiLeaks were a regular source of embarrassment to the Clinton campaign during the race for the presidency.
(With Agency inputs)