US intel services deny being behind Trump leaks

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committe hearing on Russian Intelligence Activities, on Jan 10, 2017.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committe hearing on Russian Intelligence Activities, on Jan 10, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • US intelligence chief James Clapper has expressed "profound dismay" to Mr Donald Trump over leaked details of a security briefing that reportedly contained explosive but unsubstantiated allegations about the President-elect.

"James Clapper called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated. Made up, phony facts. Too bad!" Mr Trump wrote on Twitter yesterday, in acknowledging the call.

Last week, American intelligence officials gave Mr Trump, as well as President Barack Obama, a two-page synopsis about the potentially embarrassing allegations involving Russia, according to CNN, The New York Times and other media.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Trump denied the allegations about his ties to Russia, and attacked US intelligence agencies as "disgraceful" for allowing the allegations to surface, but Mr Clapper said he told the incoming US president that it is doubtful the leak came from within the intelligence community (IC).

"I emphasised that this document is not a US intelligence community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC," Mr Clapper said.

 
 

Yesterday, the Kremlin also reacted to Mr Trump's first press conference as President-elect.

Addressing reporters on a conference call, spokesman Dmitry Peskov hoped President Vladimir Putin and Mr Trump would get along and that there would be more mutual respect in US-Russia ties than there was under the Obama administration.

However, he said, the Kremlin did not agree with views on Crimea expressed by secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson on Wednesday, who said Moscow's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula was illegal.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'US intel services deny being behind Trump leaks'. Print Edition | Subscribe