Washington — Top US intelligence officials stood firm in their conclusion that Russia’s most senior officials authorised data theft and disclosures during the 2016 election campaign and pushed back against public criticism of their work by president-elect Donald Trump. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Service Committee on Thursday that the intelligence community’s confidence in its findings is now "very high" and that the nation’s spy agencies are "even more resolute" in their conclusion about Russian involvement than when they first publicly weighed in on the issue October 7. Asked to respond to public questioning by Trump of the intelligence community’s conclusions, Clapper said "there is a difference between scepticism and disparagement. Public trust and confidence in the intelligence community is crucial." Without citing Trump, Clapper added that he has heard concerns from his foreign counterparts about the perceived belittling of the US inte...

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