Speed Reads

Russian Hacking

U.S. spies reportedly caught top Russian officials patting themselves on the back after Trump's win

An unclassified version of the 50-page report on Russian hacking delivered to President Obama on Thursday is expected to be released to the public on Monday. Until then, unidentified intelligence officials are parceling out some highlights to the news media. The biggest piece of news is probably that U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly identified the individuals who passed hacked Democratic emails from Russia to WikiLeaks, which then published them before the election. But U.S. officials also told The Washington Post, NBC News, and CNN that intercepted conversations showed Russian officials celebrating the election results and congratulating themselves on Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton.

"The Russians felt pretty good about what happened on Nov. 8 and they also felt pretty good about what they did," a senior U.S. official tells The Washington Post. The signals intelligence on the Kremlin celebrating Trump's win was just one of several bits of data that convinced U.S. intelligence that Russia's eventual goal in the election hacking was to help elect Trump, not just disrupt the U.S. election, and there is no intercepted conversation that is a "smoking gun" on Russia's intentions, officials tell CNN.

Other tools Russia relied on included social media and "fake news" platforms, both used as an "accelerant" to help Trump and hurt Clinton, a second official tells The Washington Post, adding that the intercepted communiqués show that Russian officials "were as surprised as the rest of the world" that Trump actually won. A "senior U.S. intelligence official with direct knowledge" confirmed to NBC News that senior Russian officials were captured celebrating Trump's win, as The Post reported, but only because "the official felt that the details the paper chose focused too much on the Russian celebration and not enough on the thrust of the report." You can watch NBC's report on that broader thrust below. Peter Weber