In a development that characters in a Tom Clancy novel would probably dismiss as far-fetched, intelligence figures fear that the next president might retaliate against the CIA and other agencies that have linked Russian hackers to election interference. "There is not just smoke here. There is a blazing 10-alarm fire, the sirens are wailing, the Russians provided the lighter fluid, and Trump is standing half-burnt and holding a match," retired CIA officer Glenn Carle tells the Guardian. "The facts hurt, Trump won't like the truth, and he will without question seek to destroy those individuals or organizations that say or do anything that he thinks harm his precious grandiosity." Trump has attacked the CIA's allegations as "ridiculous."
Lawmakers including Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, say that in light of the Trump team's attempts to "discredit the entire intelligence community," they will be on their guard for any attempts to retaliate against intelligence officers. In other coverage:
- The New York Times takes a look at what it calls a "mountain of circumstantial evidence" suggesting Russian hackers worked to help Trump and damage Hillary Clinton. Sources say there is disagreement between the CIA and FBI on whether this adds up to actual proof of Russia actively trying to get Trump elected president.
- Politico reports that former UN ambassador John Bolton suspects the hacking may have been a "false flag" attack involving the Obama administration. "I believe that the intelligence community has been politicized in the Obama administration to a very significant degree," Bolton, who is rumored to be bound for a senior position in the Trump administration, told Fox News Sunday.
- The AP reports that the Russia issue is likely to cast a shadow over a week in which Trump is expected to unveil his choices to head the Energy, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs departments and hold a news conference Thursday detailing how he plans to distance himself from his business enterprises.
- In an op-ed at the Washington Post, EJ Dionne Jr. looks at why Trump's response to the allegations "inspires fear," saying he finds it "outrageous" that Trump can "ignore the risks our intelligence agents take on so many fronts to protect us."
(On Sunday, four senators demanded a bipartisan investigation of the CIA's claim