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U.S. intel expert says Russians 'weaponized' e-mail leaks

-- The rhetorical war between the Washington establishment, and President-elect Donald Trump, over disputed Russian hacking allegations, is heating up, with one leading Democratic intelligence expert claiming on Sunday that Moscow had "weaponized" the shameful e-mails of the Hillary Clinton campaign by leaking them to the media during last year's election campaign.

Trump had claimed in remarks to reporters on New Year's Eve that "no computer is safe" from hackers and that "hacking is a hard thing to prove." The remarks were in response to questions about the White House expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. last week over the hacking scandal.

The president-elect added, that he "knows things that other people don't know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation. You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday" after his next briefing by the CIA.

The commonsense remarks touched off an incindiary response from a leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee during a TV appearance on Sunday morning.

"They didn't just steal data; they weaponized it," said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), on ABC's This Week program. "They dumped it during an election with the specific intent of influencing the outcomes of that election and sowing discord in the U.S. That's not something that China has ever done."

The e-mail messages provided insight into the Clinton team's mindset, its disdain of certain blocs of voters, and the text of many of Mrs. Clinton's speeches to Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and other investment banks on her vision for a borderless North and South America.

Most interestingly, The Washington Post picked up the "weaponizing" meme, and claimed online on Sunday that the president-elect was making it more difficult for U.S. intelligence agencies to detect hackers with his attitude and that hackers would be emboldened by his stance. The publication also claims that Trump's posture toward the Russian hacking allegations could harm U.S. national security.

The U.S. private sector, according to one recent report, is projected to spend $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021 dealing with cyberthreats, and companies like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), among others, earn significant revenues from cyber security software, hardware and consulting. The U.S. government budget for cyber-software is approximately $100 million per year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that the Russian government hacked the free Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) e-mail service, G-Mail, of Clinton advisor John Podesta, and has not retaliated for the Obama administration's sanctions last week for the purported shenanigans.

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